A Psychiatrist’s Project (Or Just Another Author)

Q: Hello again, blog visitors. It is question time once more. This person surely needs no introduction

Me: What’s with the admiration society? You hoping to get a cut of the film rights?

Q: …but I will leave no stone unturned to get to the…

Me: …Geez, give it a rest. And who are you again?

Q: I’m you. You trying to be an obnoxious author again?

Me: Darn right. I’m a genius and deserve to be treated that way.

Q: Anyway, to my first question: So, you have left Twitter?

Me: You must have seen my post in which I announced my Twitter retirement. I think lots of us hate that platform, but don’t actually want to say so. From when I started my first account in 2009, it always struck me as profoundly empty and a waste of creative energy. If it was great in 2011 when the Arab Spring was when it really took off as ordinary people used it to try to bypass oppressive governments’ attempts to silence their opposition voices, by now it is mostly fakes and c-apola and celebrities talking rubbish…

Q: You don’t mean there to allude also to our US former president?

Me: It was not limited to him of course, before he got banned because he was so high profile and his tweets were often those of any other nutcase violating its terms of service. It had for nearly a decade been mostly smoke with no fire. Or worse. I commented on that retirement post here also:

Q: Gosh, it’s pretty clear you really don’t like Twitter.

Me: Honestly, of mainstream social media, only Goodreads is probably worse.

Q: What is it with you? Do you just like being contrary? Running down platforms millions use and love?

Me: Any author who declares a love for Goodreads is either lying or has been lucky to have not experienced it at its fullest on troll crazies yet. My advice to any author: If you want to use it as a reader would, well, okay, but don’t use it as an author or try to promote your books there. IT IS NOT FOR AUTHORS. Look, I know of course I have no say over what anyone writes about me on the big wide internet, unless it’s defamatory, and not about my books either, but I don’t have to provide a private business like Goodreads with my participation in order to allow myself to be beaten over the head like I’m in a Roman arena with the howling mob demanding my blood. Goodreads is a cesspool with “reviewers” allowed to scribble whatever the hell they want with no moderation…

Q: You are allowed to take a breath. Have a sip of the wine…

Me: …Thank you. Anyway, let me finish my point. In that sense Goodreads is far worse than even Twitter, which does at least ban, of course, as our ex-president discovered. As agents and publishers like to say, as for Goodreads I’ll pass. And unlike Twitter I have not really wasted my time there and consider that one of my smarter social media moves. Think about this? I left Twitter and just a few days later, eh, I had a short story written. If you are interviewing me and haven’t even seen it…

Q: Give me some credit, of course I have I prepare…

Me: Good, so you remember how it starts then…

{Opening to “A 2006 Moment.” Click here for the short story.]

Q: Well, that’s not exactly set in “1800.”

Me: That was the point: to write a modern and free and new short. Isn’t doing that a much better way to use my time rather than tweet into the void or, worse, attract an angry mob for some reason I can’t fathom? What is the point to tweeting? For a non-celebrity, I still don’t see one. I have always felt other writers are not my audience and Twitter is overrun with them. Sure, writers are readers, too – they have to read – but I am not writing for writers, but for people who just like books and are looking for entertainment.

Q: Okay, but you have no problem with Instagram or your blog here?

Me: I think it’s important to discern what social media is truly useful for a writer and which is just wasteful chit chat. None of us have unlimited time to kill in life. For me, Twitter just did not work. But Insta and especially here are indispensible and do work. Also on Instagram at least I feel I get a laugh or two as I scroll memes for a bit. And some Insta-shared observations are pretty good:

[From Instagram.]

Q: It’s true. It is pretty insane.

Me: If you think that is insane, imagine how “insane” it is when what you have written is read around the world by disparate people you will never know. Don’t let anyone kid you, there is no other way to write than my Instagram typing post from a few weeks ago…

Q: I remember that one…

Me: Writing is a “hard grind” regardless of the fact that some may want to say it is not. It being hard is, to me, showing respect for your readers because you care enough to put real effort into what you are doing. And anything that requires effort is going to be hard. However, that does not mean it must be “unpleasant” to write. There is little more satisfying than finishing… and if you “grind” away, you will eventually finish. Some authors seem to imagine and even hope they can put as little effort into writing as possible, spend most of their days tweeting, and still reap writing rewards.

Q: Speaking of writing rewards. Do you feel a bit on the older side now, nearly a decade into this? There are so many younger writers out there?

Me: Only in that it can be a little scary if they are really good at age “25,” because they are likely then to be superb by “50.” I think writing only improves as you get older. It’s not like being a pop singer or even an actor. Writers can write until they are 100 and still be sought after and respected. That is not the case for other creatives.

Q: So how does it feel now writing such a long-term books series as you are now?

Me: It has been a personal eye-opener in some ways. For example, “Héloïse” is born in Conventions: The Garden At Paris; in Tomorrow The Grace we move ahead to her 40s briefly, but mostly she is a child in that second novel; and by this coming third book she becomes a young lady. In a sense I have “watched” her – and her two brothers – “grow up.” My English two nephews and niece are the closest to my own kids I will ever have – and that was reinforced a couple of decades ago when they were all little, when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law assigned us in their will to take custody of them if anything had happened to them before the kids became age 18.

Q: Have you used them for any inspiration?

Me: As I think about it now, there is quite a lot of my niece in “Héloïse.” I drew on her I think subconciously and only now truly realize it. I have watched her grow up in real life and I know how she has treated me as an uncle. I also know a bit about rural France, a bit about horses and she loves horses, something of the history of British soldiers of that era, and more… meaning again I write there – indeed, I try to write everywhere in my books – what I feel I know about… If that makes sense to you. In some ways, I am probably a project for a psychiatrist. Or I am just another author.

Q: On that note, I don’t want to keep you from your next appointment.

Me: On that note also, I am shocked. This was almost a serious and professional interview. The electric fireplace on set and before the start of this you actually offered me a glass of white wine…

[The end of a white wine. Photo by me, May 27, 2021.]

…and you are not even France 24. I am really impressed. Santé.

Q: Santé. LOL! And if you reading this are in the UK or the US, have a good three day weekend!

Me: Talking to myself out loud again on the blog. Maybe I should see someone? LOL!

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