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Pelzer, Ballard and poorly children

The RGS School Pool, Newcastle. (Where I learnt to swim)

The kids had school off yesterday; we’ve all been grizzling for days, not quite well enough to give up; they went to school though I didn’t swim. Yesterday we gave up. I’ve not swum for a week, I’m getting behind with my swimming training. Set backs. Dealing with them. I wont give up, when I do get back in the pool I’ll have lost some of my gains. My writing schedule has gone out of the window too, not only because I’m writing so little during the week, but my planned ‘writer’s week’ has been consumed by Darlingest’s clients who have failed to stick to any of their promises. Such is the life of a freelance, I keep telling her.

I’m up at 3.15 a.m. Or was it 4.15 a.m.

I found a couple of media jobs I could apply to. I write a covering letter and CV that could take me back into a London producing job. I spend a year saying this is the last thing I will do, but end up doing it anyway.

I take solace in Dave Pelzer, ‘A Boy Called it’ and his tips on sticking to your plans; Darlingest supports me in a move to Cornwall where we can live on less and I can write for a few more years.

Life Lessons

Dave Pelzer

I like this book for its simplicity; it is also very short. Five or six ideas are enough to keep in your head at any one time; I’m going to pick through the following, chant them, put them in a prayer, remind myself each day what I want to achieve.

1. Be resilient

2. Learn to fly

3. No one is perfect

4. Let go of your past

a. ‘You cannot move forward until you free yourself from the shackles of your past.’

5. Deal with everyday problems

a. ‘Settle your problems as promptly and as thoroughly as you are able.’

6. Rest your mind.

a. Get a good night’s sleep.

i. I go to bed early.

7. Let go, let rip daily.

a. I go down to the sea.

8. Purge your soul

a. I do so in a diary, often in Diaryland.

9. If you have been subjected to negative surroundings, use them to make you strive for something better.

a. I don’t want to be an absent father, not away all week or for weeks at a time, nor a divorcee.

10. Limit your response to negative settings and, if necessary, make a clean break.

a. I got out of TVL, I got out of Worth Media (or did they push).

11. Overcome your guilt. Make amends and move on.

12. Don’t give yourself away in the vain hope of appeasing others.

13. To help yourself, be yourself.

14. Never go to bed upset.

15. Resolve mattes before they envelop you. Compromise.

16. Hate no one. It is like a cancer.

17. Forgiveness cleanses.

18. When life’s not fair.

a. ‘Before you quit on yourself when life isn’t fair, exhaust all your options for making things happen.’

19. How badly do I want it?

a. Resolve to make things happen to you.

20. What have I accomplished?

a. Ask yourself what can you not accomplish when you truly commit to that one thing?

21. Know what you want and determine to make it happen.

22. What is truly important to me? (us)

23. Attempt the so-called ‘impossible’ until it becomes an everyday part of your life.

24. Don’t give your best away.

a. ‘We allow self-doubt, time, situations or whatever else to erode our dreams. We quit on ourselves. We carry regret, regret turns into frustration, frustration into anger, anger into sorrow. We’ve lost one of life’s most precious gifts: the excitement, the fear, the heart-pounding sensation of taking a step outside our protective womb.’

25. Go the distance.

a. ‘Part of the thrill of success is the journey of the struggle. If it were easy everyone would be doing it.’

26. Be happy.

a. The older we get, the more complacent, hopeless and despondent we become.

27. A consistent, positive attitude makes a world of difference.

28. There may not be a tomorrow to count on, so live the best life that you can today.

29. Start saying positive, rather than negative things about myself (and everyone around me).

30. Focus. If you have no goal or the self-belief that you can accomplish them, you will end up going nowhere.

a. A little bit of adversity can help to realign you, make you humble and make you want it more.

i. Darlingest asking me why I turn to write whenever I’m up against it is highlighting my hearts desire I’m not entering a cave.

31. Deflect negativity.

a. Flush it away and replace it with something positive (from a positive environment).

32. I wallow in my own abyss of doom and gloom.

33. Every day see the brighter side of things.

Super-Cannes J G Ballard

With a six and four year old sick at home I do little else but supervise their activities, ensure that they are warm, safe, fed and entertained. I snatch at J G Ballard’s novel, ‘Super Cannes’ from which I exhumed the following quotes. I’ll chew over them another time, when I feel better and I don’t have a four year old having a tantrum.

‘Relaxing on the coast highway, I changed down to third gear. For the next thirty minutes I drove like Frenchman, overtaking on the inside lanes, straddling the central market lines on the most dangerous bends, tailgating any woman driver doing less than seventy, my headlamps flashing, slipping the clutch at traffic lights as the exhaust roared through the muffler and the engines wound itself to a screaming 7000 rev, swerving across the double yellows and forcing any oncoming drivers to skid their wheels in the refuse-filled verges.’ J G Ballard.

It sounds like my brother driving on the A1 up to Beadnell from Gosforth.

‘Senior policemen are either philosophers or madmen …’

So I have heard; it gives me a way ahead in my novel.

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I’ve just read ‘Tough Guys Don’t Dance’ by Norman Mailer and ‘Super-Cannes’ by J G Ballard.


Norman Mailer

18/02/2003

I’ve just read ‘Tough Guys Don’t Dance’ by Norman Mailer and ‘Super-Cannes’ by J G Ballard. I’m now back with Mailer:

Norman Mailer’s ‘Harlot’s Ghost’

Author’s Note

‘Some good novels can start far from one’s immediate life and derive instead from ones cultural experience and ones ongoing imaginative faculty. Over the years, that faculty can build nests of context on to themes that attract it.’

I pluck these quotes to justify my kind of writing (the currently unpublished, egotistical ramblings of an obsessive lifetime diarist). I liked this:

‘Novelists not only live their own lives but develop other characters within themselves who never reveal their particular intelligence to the novelist’s conscious mind until, perchance, the day they come into one’s working literary preoccupations.’

I’m full of them, full of it and always on the look out for more; you’re probably in here too (the fiction that is, not the non-fiction). Talking of which, I liked the way this was put:

‘Some non-fiction awakens the imagination. Its personages take on the lustre of good fictional characters, that is, they seem as real and complex as men and women we know intimately.’

This is how I’d describe David Waller’s non-fiction account of the Mercedes-Chrysler merger ‘Wheels on Fire’

It reads as well as a novel in characterisation, milieu and narrative structure. Go and buy it; I’ll get him to send you a signed copy if you like it. I did, even though he’s a mate of 22 years standing. He then said this (Norman Mailer that is).

‘It is the author’s contention that good fiction – if the writer can achieve it – is more real, that is, more nourishing to our sense of reality, than non-fiction.’

Can I feel the same way about visualising a film?

‘Novelists have a unique opportunity – they can create superior if imaginative histories out of an enhancement of the real, the unverified, and the wholly fictional.’

And just to prove I can fill a page with cuttings without mentioning a school-run, a swimming trip, the state of the my health, the health of the family, the weather (ooh isn’t it warm for the time of year) or the height of the tide as I write on the pebbles 152 yards from where I am sitting, here’s another quote. I might need these one day. Help yourself, they’re all from Norman Mailer and all in the ‘Author’s Note’ to ‘Harlot’s Ghost.’

‘I have done enough indifferent writing myself over the years, and have spent so much time contemplating why it is bad, that by now I can read another author’s work and penetrate on occasion to what he is or, even more important, is not really saying.’

Super-Cannes J G Ballard

J. G. Ballard, painted portrait DDC_2018

J. G. Ballard, painted portrait DDC_2018 (Photo credit: Abode of Chaos)

 

With a six and four year old sick at home I do little else but supervise their activities, ensure that they are warm, safe, fed and entertained. I snatch at J G Ballard’s novel, ‘Super Cannes’ from which I exhumed the following quotes. I’ll chew over them another time, when I feel better and I don’t have a four year old having a tantrum.

‘Relaxing on the coast highway, I changed down to third gear. For the next thirty minutes I drove like Frenchman, overtaking on the inside lanes, straddling the central market lines on the most dangerous bends, tailgating any woman driver doing less than seventy, my headlamps flashing, slipping the clutch at traffic lights as the exhaust roared through the muffler and the engines wound itself to a screaming 7000 rev, swerving across the double yellows and forcing any oncoming drivers to skid their wheels in the refuse-filled verges.’ J G Ballard.

It sounds like my brother driving on the A1 up to Beadnell from Gosforth.

Familiar territory.

‘Senior policemen are either philosophers or madmen …’

So I have heard; it gives me a way ahead in my novel.

‘A perverse sexual act can liberate the visionary self in even the dullest soul’‘ writes Ballard.

‘Reading is a skill: you have to be taught how to do it.’ Nabakov

Movie Poster House Tour: Crash

Movie Poster House Tour: Crash (Photo credit: fimoculous)

 

Crash

 

Originally posted on 02/02/2003 in my Diaryland blog.

 

From Martin Amis

 

I read a review by Martin Amis each time I go to the loo; which is often given the column of vegetable matter and brown rice that I’m consuming.

 

J G Ballard ‘Crash’

 

A 1996 review of the film by David Cronenbourg with more reference to the book on which the film was based that was published in 1971.

 

I’m so ill read I didn’t even now Ballard had written ‘Crash’.

 

Everything about him as an author appeals to me though given how his writing style, especially his ‘early style’ as described by Amis. The local library does not have ‘Crash’ – if you have a copy do send me one. Address on request. Was I time I’d order anything on a whim from Amazon, tuck into my credit card; was I time I’d so the same in the bowels of Blackwell’s in Oxford.

 

I like the way it is explained to us that the main character, James Ballard, does one thing in the film and another in the book .. a book that preceded the firm by 25 years.

 

‘Under the sway of a ‘benevolent psychopathy’, a ‘new logic’, the entire cast surges eagerly towards an autogeddon of wound-profiles and sex deaths.

 

I like the idea that crash deals with ‘obsession’, I must of course, having read all of this, get a copy of ‘Crash’ – from the library I hope.

 

‘Crash emerged from a background of surrealism, cultural activism, hyper-permissiveness and lysergic acid.’

 

Anthony Burgess

 

On being a A novelist or a B novelist.

 

  • Nabakov: His Life in Part by Andrew Field review by Martin Amis
  • Nabakov regarded cliché as the key to bad art, yet it is an attractive irony that bad art is what his life so frequently resembles.
  • Lectures on literature by Vladimir Nabakov. Edited by Fredson Bowers. Reviewed by Martin Amis.

 

‘Reading is a skill: you have to be taught how to do it.’

 

Nabokovian advice. The only things that a good reader needs are imagination, memory, a dictionary and some artistic sense.

 

I need to read Kurt Vonnegut, ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ perhaps, and ‘Galapagos.’ State otherwise.

 

The library doesn’t even have Kurt Vonnegut

 

I found a J G Ballard though (not crash). I’m after ‘Les Particules elementaires’ by Michel Houellebecq too.

 

I can pick holes in the translation of ‘Atomised’ – why? It’s been translated into American English. Ha! You see. There needs to be a English English version, an Australian English version, a Canadian English Version and an Indian English version … there are more. Now who was it who predicted, that like Latin, English would gradually form several separate languages????

 

 

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