#writephoto Arch – Through The Window

It’s Thursday, and time for another #writephoto prompt, courtesy of Sue Vincent. This week’s photo brought a character to mind, and here he is:

He liked to watch the world change. Today it was snowy, the little tree purged of leaves by winter, the land beyond carpeted white.

Some days he saw green grass and flowers, butterflies dancing. At other times wind blew the little tree, bending it so he feared it might break, russet and gold leaves streaming into the air. Lightning crashed, bright across the landscape, and sometimes, if he woke at the right time, the sky was clear and full of stars, silence ringing like a bell.

Around and above him the stones wept dampness, green moss blurring what was once carved precision. The rainbow of glass was long gone, the windows wide and open to whatever the elements brought.

But he was beyond it all as he paced the old pathway, no wind coming to touch him, no water cold upon his neck. He wondered at that, standing with arms wide beneath stormy skies, staring up to where the roof had once arched.

He couldn’t remember his name, anymore. All he knew was that he was stuck there. Sometimes other people came to walk the stones with him, but he couldn’t make them hear his voice, no matter how he cried and called to them. Children seemed more aware, jumping when he touched their faces, or trailed his fingers through their hair. One little girl had cried, telling her mother over and over about ‘the man in black.’ But she had gone, just like everyone else, leaving him alone beneath the stone arches.

Watching the world change.


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Bits and Pieces

The light at the end of the tunnel...

The light at the end of the tunnel…

I’ve been a little bit absent from the blogosphere this week – mainly because I’ve been working on the final edit for No Quarter, the second book in my Ambeth series. This is the part of writing I like the least. (though I still know how fortunate I am to be able to do this at all).

I had some issues with my proof copy, as you know – thankfully the lovely people at Createspace got right on it and it is now resolved, plus they are replacing my faulty proof copy. It hasn’t stopped me from reading through and sacrificing endless quantities of sticky notes as I record small changes and the occasional typo. These corrections have been made, the new file uploaded and, once I get through the fiddle-faddle of formatting for Kindle, I should be ready to publish.

One part of the process I find frustrating is that everything always takes longer than expected. This is why I’ve not yet explored the option of setting up pre-orders for my books. I’ve already had to push my (self-imposed) publication date out several times, due to health, family life, the edit taking longer than expected, and issues with the proof. I would hate to be in a position where I was locked into a date and had to deliver a book that wasn’t finished to my satisfaction

The other thing I don’t like about this part of the process is the doubt. Scurrying up like beetles from under the floorboards, doubts come to plague me as I read through my book for the last time before pressing ‘publish’.

Is the story good enough? Will people like it? Have I covered all the different storylines? Does the language flow? Will anyone read this, ever?

I don’t think I’m alone in this, nor am I alone in thinking I will unleash dragons or some form of unpleasantness onto the internet once I hit that publish button. And yet, I’m still going to do it. And then I’m having a couple of days off. 🙂

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‘Look at the tree..’

Oh, and in my post the other day, Autumn Sky, I recounted the tale of a teacher I once had. A few of my commenters suggested I look him up and, guess what, I did! I had thought maybe he would have passed away, as I remember him being about 60 when I was in his class, almost thirty years ago. And yet, a google search of his name and my high school revealed… he is still working there??!!!

And a further link revealed, complete with photo to corroborate, that he was also working there in 1961!!

So we have four options: Either he was younger than I remembered when I took his class (though I distinctly recall him having silver hair and a beard), or he has been working at the same high school for 54 years and refuses to retire, or the website listing him as employed at the school has not been recently updated, or he is a vampire.

What do you think?

Oh and finally, the lovely Geoff LePard is coming for a virtual visit on Monday, with a guest post to promote his new release, My Father and Other Liars – yay!

Autumn Sky

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I’ve posted photos of this sky before, and it seems to be turning into a bit of a series. The photos are taken somewhere I visit regularly, and at the same time in the evening, so are a good illustration of the seasons as they change. Now the nights are starting to draw in, the leaves burning with autumn colours. Soon it will be full circle again, back to the original image I took.

When I was in high school, I had an Ancient History professor called Mr. Mawson. He was always dapper in jacket and tie, his beard silver, his tone dignified. He had two sayings that he used often – one was, ‘Don’t be sorry, be on time.’ That one is self-explanatory, I think. The other was, ‘Look at the tree.’ This was a little less obvious. When he said it, he would gesture to the tree outside our second-floor classroom, and we would all look at the tree. There would be a moment of silence, then he would go back to discussing Sparta or Corinth or some other city-state, as though nothing had happened.

I never really knew why he said that. We all talked about it, of course. ‘What is the deal with the tree?’ I wondered whether it was to remind us of the impermanence of things, a commentary that everything comes to an end, just like the mighty civilisations he taught us about, their cities and accomplishments returning to dust. Or perhaps it was to mark the passing of the seasons, a reminder that time was marching on, taking us with it. I never asked him, and I wish I had.

And now, as I take pictures of the same tree through the seasons, I wonder if it was just about observation. But I guess I’ll never know.