I received a link to on online diary website I had forgotten I ever joined. It has taken me back to Viet Nam…
Beethovens Ode to Joy is beginning to sound recognisable, although he probably never envisaged the distortion from the amp or the effects of the whammy bar
. I’m also getting to grips with a jazzy version of Happy birthday for Munch’s big day in only three weeks time. Two already –
hard to believe.
Im teaching full time now. So the book is grinding to a halt. Who am I kidding? It ground
ages ago. It’s not really a writer’s block -more a writer’s apathy. This project is in danger of slipping out of sight and mind. I just can’t get to it.
Sometimes I just look at my daughter and I think, ’That’s it. I’ve achieved. Anything else I do from here on in is a bonus.’
And it’s not a bad thought.
Thoughts on this, 12 and a half years later…
- Beethoven’s Ode to Joy is still on the agenda. Guitar lessons have been revived as I invested in an electric guitar for my mid-life crisis.
- The book – The Year of the Monkey – never got back off the ground after a return to full time teaching. Other bits of writing, as this site is testament, do surface from time to time.
- Munch is now 14, and I still look at her and think the same thing.
This year, The Year of the Monkey, will be the year that my next novel, The Year of the Monkey, gets revived. Not finished, you’ll note, I’m not that confident, but revived. For sure. It’s playing out in my head and it’s growing of its own accord. It’s changing direction. It’s taking on new life. It’s ditched a character, and opened the door for another. It’s entering the realm of magical realism. It’s alive!
An here’s an extract:
It was dark when she awoke. She was cold. The air-conditioning remote control showed her both that it was eleven pm and that the room was at 20 degrees centigrade. Neither of these particulars was a comfort to her. Channel surfing twenty minutes later, Tien berated herself for not being sufficiently courageous to step out into the night to explore. There was no rush though, this was an investment in her future – she didn’t need to follow the back-packer route around the country in less than three weeks. There was no desperate need to ‘do’ Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it remained in her stolen memories. She had enough money to stay comfortably ensconced in middle-of-the-range hotels for the next month or so before resorting to looking for work. She found that in fact she was happy, sitting cross-legged on this strange bed, having settled on a soundless MTV as background to her thoughts, mentally ticking off everything that she had going for her. An unanticipated confidence sprang from unfamiliar depths. She was charged, with jetlag, or caffeine, or plain excitement. She sat in a trance-like state, breathing in the optimism she now felt about her life. Suddenly the lingering doubts had vanished, and she knew she had made the right decision.
Ngoc smiled knowingly. She didn’t interfere, but instead revelled in the strength of her granddaughter. All was coming together. Her smile broadened.
In the morning, when Tien awoke to the clatter of metal shutters opening, motorbikes starting and street hawkers announcing their wares, she would vaguely remember dreaming of her grandmother, of a parting wink and a pat on her shoulder. The aroma of garlic and chilli would linger in her room, but she would assume it came from the street.