Cool to sit in garden, literally

I find myself bundled up, sitting in the garden once again. It is not very warm but I wanted to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air. I remember reading that Roald Dahl used to write his children’s books sat in a shed at the bottom of his garden, wrapped up in a rug when it was chilly. I have some empathy for a man like that.

The day started well enough. I awoke early and spent an hour or two playing piano. Because it is a digital piano, I can do that through my IEMs whithout waking up the household. I was able to use my Bose IEMs for the first time for several weeks. I had had a bad connection problem (although I did not realise that was what it was until a few days ago). Toby Lancaster, from Second Life, advised me to get some Halfords Electrical Contact Cleaner and I did that yesterday. A couple of good squirts, and it seems to have worked very well, so far.

I had a pleasant breakfast at the Bungalow cafe overlooking Roker harbour. When I came home, I felt tired so I went to bed (I had been up playing piano very early this morning, as I have already mentioned). I was woken up from my nap prematurely, but I don’t think I will go into the details of that. Suffice it to say that the shine of the day has been tarnished somewhat.

Out here, sitting in the garden, a sprightly robin red-breast comes to see me from time to time. Some of the shrubs are continuing to flower. I have taken a pic. Last night I read some more of the book on keeping an illustrated journal (by Danny Gregory). The author advocates drawing frequently each day. I still have not got my head around that. The act of drawing interferes with the activity of the moment to a considerable degree. Yesterday, for my blog entry I made a pastel sketch of the supermarket car park. I looked closely at the carpark when I was there, and took a reference pic to work from. But the actual drawing took me quite some time to complete. And I had to do it back in my studio. I just did not have my full set of pastels with me in the car when I went to the supermarket. And in any case, I had some frozen food in the boot, which needed to be put into the freezer. I am clearly drawn to the idea in principle because this is the second time I have read the book. However, I do have problems about drawing in public, because I am very self-conscious. I don’t like doing it.

I know that sitting here in the garden, at this time of year and on a day like this, would be considered strange by many people. Of course, if I were to potter it would be ok. And there are lots of things I could do. The easiest would be to weed a border. I could even run the mower over the lawn. I just don’t want to do any of that. If I am not careful my watchword will become I can’t be bothered. My friend Tom asked me whether I was now starting to enjoy the freedom of not having to go down to the studio and meet the deadlines of my MA degree. I said that although I had felt very sad about leaving it, I was now beginning to enjoy the lack of pressure.

Sitting here, I suddenly miss Harold Hake. He was the hero of my e-novel. I read it in instalments on the first Sunday of the month, about a year ago in Second Life. There were about 6 installments and a little group assembled at Hexx’s Rastafairy Beach venue. Each reading lasted for about two hours and  I played some songs during the reading, relating them fictionally to the story. It was, for me, a very exciting thing to do from a creative standpoint.

I remember when I was writing the fiction. My characters lived with me in my mind. If I went shopping, then Harold came with me to the mall. It was like having a cast of invisible friends. My everyday life became a scratchpad for possible episodes in the plot, as it unfolded. I would make a few notes on a scrap of paper (the literal back of an envelope) about any ideas that had occurred to me while I was walking around the stores (or whatever else it was that I was doing), then at the next opportunity I would type them up into draft manuscript and file them into an appropriate chapter folder.

Sometimes I wrote longhand drafts on a pad. I would them type them up, often word for word, or sometimes making a few alterations here and there. I also had a very small computer, not dissimillar to the one that I am using now and I would frequently use that on location. I would park my car, preferably somewhere I would not be disturbed, and turn the steering wheel so that I could lodge a stiff plastic bread board against the rim (the other side resting on my tummy). This provided a stable enough table to enable me to type using all fingers (my mother taught me how to touch type when I was a teenager).

I have just read over what I wrote concerning my fiction writing practices on location. Why on earth I can’t adapt that strategy to include sketching, I do not know. I must give this some thought.

Fyrm Fouroux is about to enter some changes in Second Life. His little performance venue will cease to exist in a couple of weeks time. Already The Vibe island, where he performed two Mondays per month, has vanished. There is only ocean visible where it once stood. Fyrm’s performance island, Terra Fyrmusica, is going to the south ocean in Acheron. It is bound to take a while to adjust to these changes but I think they will be good in the long term. Tonight there is no gig, but it will be Foxy Hollow on Saturday morning as usual, followed by Cascadia Harmonics on Sunday.

It is starting to get a little cold out here. I shall get on with something else for a while. I’ll speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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