It is said that everybody has a book within. Based upon the size of my waistline I must have hundreds. Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if just a little expulsion of gas brought forth a pristine best-seller perfectly ready for an expectant publisher.
Even for the serial-published author, life is not that easy, although it is a lot easier than for the ‘newbie’…that would-be writer that thinks ‘er’* knows it all, but in truth knows bugger-all.
Thirteen years ago, I had a story running around inside my head and night after night, I laboured to complete it. I now look back at my completed first draft and cringe when I see what a load of rubbish it was. Even after countless revisions, many punctuation corrections and a host of grammatical changes to its 130,000 words, it still wasn’t quite right. Yet, what exactly is ‘right’?
For several months, I was a member of a group called YouWriteOn, which is a peer review site with the potential of a professional review should one’s excerpt do well. After some wonderful reviews of my piece, ‘A$$URANCE’, it achieved YWO bestseller status. One of my reviewers was a man who is, perhaps, where I was twelve years ago…he has a novel running around inside his head that he is determined to complete. He is even considering taking a sabbatical from his doctor’s job in the medical profession to complete it.
What would I say to him? Without a doubt it would be: ‘Don’t give up your day job, unless you have private means, or have a reasonable pension and time on your hands. Yes, you’ll ‘complete’ your novel within a year or so, but getting it somewhere near the standard expected by a literary agency or publisher will increase this time threefold. My first novel has not yet achieved the acclaim it deserves, yet I am still expulsing novels as regularly as a baked bean addict clears his ‘throat’.
Why then do I do it? Well if you are a baked bean addict, or if you are too close to somebody that is, you will know that the occasional ‘churn’ is unavoidable if an uncomfortable build up of pressure is to be avoided. Until such times as Alzheimer’s puts the brake on all those stories running around inside my mind, I must write or I shall burst…but whether I shall ever burst forth on the writers’ stage and stand under the spotlight wallowing in the plaudits of the literary intelligentsia, is an imponderable.
The pressure is building up again. I feel an urgent need to ‘churn’ out my fifth book, ‘Harry the Louse’. For me, anticipation is a marvellous antidote for colic; I hope it will be for the good doctor.
*‘er’ is Somerset dialect for he or for she and was used as a gender-neutral word long before
the corruption of the English language to use ‘they’ in the singular. I don’t think political correctness was behind it as such; more likely somebody wearing a white smock and a crumpled hat, chewing on a length of straw might be of either gender.
My book Harry the Louse goes to the dogs
While once more I focus on writing blogs
So two birds I’ll kill with one large rock
This blogging business is poppycock
The first in my sights, my damned editor
Whatever I write she demands far more
The next perhaps Harry’s golden goose
Shall I rewrite her as a grabbing moose?
Harry thought she was just right for him
Elegant, sexy, well-heeled and slim
It turns out that she’s no bimbo blonde
The type of woman of which he’s fond
She’s with poor Harry when he’s robbed
She felt his anguish while he sobbed,
‘The thieving swine’s taken all my cash
But to lend to me would just be rash’
He sits there hurt with blooded nose
His building plans beset by woes
‘I will not let you invest your money
In Cretan dreams of milk and honey’
Could his refusal be calculation
To hide his plan’s examination
Does he believe that by saying no
More likely to him her cash will flow?
My webpage is lacking something, I have to toil yet more
My editor wants more verses, she says only poems soar.
‘My novel, it will suffer when mere days would see it done!’
‘Your lousy story’s not wanted; folk find poetry more fun.’
Harry the Louse was sidelined, I yielded to her request
I sadly pulled the plug on him when almost at his best
Convincingly he’d whispered, sweet words to a dishy blonde
She took him to her hotel room to stroke his magic wand
It excited her the thing she saw, she believed t’would do the trick
She hoped he would lead gently in, not wave his wand too quick
The lights were dim upon the scene, her cunning barely showing
As Harry moved towards her charms, his magic wand a-glowing
The stage was set most carefully, she squirmed with expectation
She took his wand with outstretched hand, an act of supplication
But in urgency she pulled too hard, caused the wand to blow a fuse
And brought a damp squib ending that neither one would choose
I have given Harry a firm promise, I’ll just focus on my book
Her demands for rhyming verse put him firmly on the hook
Harry won’t help with poetry or before a woman grovel
He only wants to be a star in a first class proper novel
Have you ever been to an All-Inclusive (A-I) resort? I know we don’t like to admit it, but if you have kids and particularly if you are one of the few working people who can afford to have kids, A-I's are a good way of limiting the casual expenditure of an overseas and even home-based holiday.
I have never fully understood the economic theory behind this burgeoning hotel business. I think I accept the notion that it is a good way to attract custom, but what foxes me is the hotels’ almost demonic need to keep guests corralled within their confines.
Here in Crete, even in summer, tourists are hardly seen. However, we are told there are vast amounts of holidaymakers here. Obviously, the hotels are succeeding in keeping them in, restrained by a constant supply of food and drink.
A friend of mine went around nearby A-I’s to ask if she could put up notices to tempt guests to her local Mexican speciality restaurant. Out of eight hotels she visited, not one was interested. ‘Why do they want to keep people in?’ she moaned, ‘the more they stay there, the more they consume and the more it costs the hotels.’ I confess I do not see the logic of it, but it was the last throw of the dice for her; she had almost no customers and weeks later, packed up and returned to the UK.
She told me before she left, that the councils had tried to make A-I’s within two kilometres of other facilities illegal, but they never seemed to be able to pass the bye-laws. I wonder why? Could it be vested interests? We’ve all heard about these and money does talk, doesn’t it?
I hear now that the victor in the recent Greek elections, but sadly not the victor in the Battle of Brussels, one Alexis Tsipras of Syriza, the ultra-left, anti-capitalist hero of the moment (moments are short here in Greece) has proposed an outright ban on the All-Inclusive. Of course his ban will only be applicable to Greece, so devotees of the A-I will take their trade to Turkey, Egypt and Morocco leaving Greek resorts, beaches and tavernas even more empty than they are now, yet throwing thousands of A-I hotel workers on the jobless pile for no gain at all.
Of course, the global backers of the All-Inclusive will deliver their closure slap to Mr Tsipras’ policies before returning when they are ready to repopulate the empty hotels, probably with EU grants. What dear naïve Mr Tsipras forgets is that these people have been making a small fortune out of the hospitality business and a minor hiccough like Syriza will not stand in the way of their daytime job of making profits nor their night-time job of unbridled tax evasion.
As I mentioned in another post where a would-be leading European politician had his sights set on the foundations of the hospitality industry, failure is easily achievable.
I include a picture of a Cretan resort devoid of tourists but with the looming replacements for A-I’s already chalked up. Alexis will have to spend the next four years attacking and trying to close each of them. Now two things must be evident, firstly he has to remain in power long enough to work his way down the list and more importantly…does he really not understand that the industry has another ten ‘****sives’ waiting in the wings, should he be nearing his goal?
The moral of the story? Do not argue with big business, Alexis. Take your lead from your EU colleagues, do what you are told and invite big business to Greek soil to open up examples of the following new-style resorts:
The industry champions have asked a sample poll of people which of the above services they might be interested in, so that a report may be sent to those that would invest others’ hard-earned cash in the new ventures. I have heard of only one question thus far, ‘Will they build a sixth departure building at Heathrow called ‘Terminal Illness’ for the outgoing All-Conclusives? Only one respondent has asked about returns.
However, a cautionary tale for the future; watch out when your son and heir tells you he’s bought you an all-conclusive holiday to the sunny Mediterranean.
Which of these glowing options would tempt you? Do you have some suggestions for others that the industry could consider?
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