Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Perhaps it was the drink as well

Champagne, Stella Artois lager, Adnam’s and Fuller’s ale failed to dispel our conviction that there was too much to say and too little time, when Plutarch and I met yesterday at The Blogger’s Retreat. Blogonames cropped up and were rearranged in the pantheon. I mentioned I was considering resuming a dormant novel and to husband my waning resources Works Well should be closed down. “Write both,” said Plutarch succinctly. Outside it was pouring and he lent me his umbrella, explaining that his wide-brimmed leather gaucho’s hat offered sufficient protection.

And then an epiphany. On the rush-hour-jammed tube to Paddington I found myself pressed against a small man standing up and contriving to read a paperback. I was pierced with homesickness for life in London. The greatest city in the world and you pay the price in discomfort, as this man was quietly proving. It’s worth it. But London is for youth, not old age.

TECHNOLOGY IN YOUTH Trolley buses, painted blue and cream and adorned with the city’s coat of arms (Motto: Labor omnia vincit), carried me to the centre of Bradford years ago. When the driver floored the “accelerator” relays clacked open and shut, powering the motor. If you pressed your ear against the metal post supporting the overhead cables you could detect a faint whirring as the bus – as yet unseen – approached.

The bus stop I used stood close to the open door of a carpenter’s workshop where an unguarded circular saw was frequently at work. I can hear the rising scream now as the noise changed steplessly from C in alt to G# above. In those days I had perfect pitch, now I resort to perfect lies.


Plutarch said...

Starnge but curiously understandable that discomfort should induce nostalgia.

The Crow said...

Even a once-a-week post would be wonderful to read, BB. I hope you will not close down Works Well. I would miss you something awful.


marja-leena said...

How wonderful to be able to fully picture both you and Plutarch enjoying talk and drinks at the Blogger's Retreat! Indeed, please do keep going with Works Well, even if less often. I've become fond of your perfect pitch and imperfect lies :-) The book sounds like a wonderful project to take up again, wish you much creative energy!

Rouchswalwe said...

I will only agree to translate your book into Deutsch if you continue Works Well. Call it a blatant bribe.
Please don't stop WW alltogether. If begging works, I shall beg)

Barrett Bonden said...

All: Oh cor! I'm touched although it now looks in retrospect as if I was soliciting. The post was an extremely compressed version of our conversation and it's more complex than I imply.

I wrote three chapters (getting on for 10,000 words) some years ago, and worked hard at refining them. Recently I re-read them and noticed a denseness, perhaps a wordiness, I hadn't detected before. My proposition to Plutarch late in the day, when drink had reduced my ability to put one word in front of another, was whether he'd be prepared to read, say, one chapter and comment on the general quality. On that judgement I might then consider resuming work on the MS for which WW might be considered a distraction. Lots of ifs and buts as you can see.

Plutarch had an ingenious argument for saying I should continue with both, and it's an argument I can respond to. However I was at least sober enough not to come to a decision then. Subsequently Plutarch has repeated what he said in an email.

I'm still not sure. Despite its flibberty-gibbet nature WW does require a modicum of creative thought and I am no longer the hack journalist that once upon a time could hammer out a 1000 words an hour (albeit of a dubious quality).

Given your good wishes another thought has crossed my mind. Perhaps I should admit you to my cerebellum, send you each a copy of the first chapter and let you decide what I should concentrate on. Let you decide whether WW should continue or close. But it's only a thought for the moment; I'll have ten more before lunch. In the meantime thank you for your responses.

The Crow said...

I volunteer to read for you. This is what we did for each other in my writers group...and I miss it.


Rouchswalwe said...

Me, too should you so decide, BB.

Barrett Bonden said...

Crow/RW (zS): Chapter 1 now on its way to you both.

Julia said...

You know me and questions, but I really am curious about Plutarch's argument for continuing both. Pray tell! And two further pleases - do keep WW rolling and may I see the script?

Barrett Bonden said...

Questions make my world go round so I am hoist by my own petard. Yes you can see the chapter and the covering email will include Plutarch's ingenious argument.

Avus said...

Stop WW? Don't you bloody dare!