Friday, July 22, 2011
Home on the Range
Above is my tipi, which went up a month ago. I've just got round to repairing the inner lining and putting it in. I've had the tipi for 11 years, but have hardly used it. Now that we are living in Devon, I have some land up behind the house that I can put it on. Tipis aren't entirely practical unless you live on the American plains. They are designed for dry weather with the wind blowing in a constant direction. In Blighty, the rain comes through the top, and the continual changes in the wind make it hard to get the smoke flaps right. Nevertheless, they are wonderful spaces when the weather is good.
I also have a yurt, which has been up in the same field since May. They are more practical for the UK climate. I sleep in it every night, and this is what I see when I look up:
I have to keep my mattress away from the edge or beetles take up residence and bite me in the night. In the morning I make my coffee, put the mattress against the back wall, and look out over the Teign Valley. It is very still and quiet. A few yards away are our horses, and sometimes the dog hangs out outside the yurt. He's a 9 month old saluki-lurcher, and would chew up the contents of the yurt if I allowed him in. Sometimes he howls at night in the house when he realises I've gone up to the yurt without him.
Drinking my coffee, I read novels. I'm very mood driven with novels. I can look at a book, see it's pretty good, but can't read it. At present I've been reading two Native American novelists, Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexei. Very poetic and funny and they tell it as it is. Smoke Signals is a film based on one of Alexei's, I think it's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Back in the house, I read philosophy or bridge problems on the toilet.
About once a year I back up all the blogs I written onto a memory stick. I noticed the other day that Word does a word count, so I added up all my blogs over the last 5 years. 500,000 words! That's 5 books worth, one a year. Now I'll know what to say when someone askes me what I do, I can say I'm a writer!
I often chew over the fact that I never write anything longer than a few pages. Is it because I am shallow, or is it that I am just not made that way? Or is it that I'm aware that modern readers are internet-based and want a few main points and then they move on?
Is it also because what I think changes from Monday to Friday? I think if I published a book I'd feel most of it was out of date by the time anyone read it. I suppose I could collect all the pieces that are not of the moment and sew them together. Certain themes do develop over time.