Guest Post – F J Curlew

Author of To Retribution, F J Curlew has kindly agreed to write a Guest Post for Books and Beyond Reviews today. You can find my review for To Retribution here. In the mean time, please be upstanding and welcome to my blog F J Curlew!
I’m tearing my hair out. Second book syndrome. Can’t get it right. Or so I think. I become
totally engrossed in the story, write, write, write. Several thousand words later re-read it and think rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. Cut it, maybe save it for later…And so the circle continues.

It’s just that something isn’t quite working this time. My first book, ‘To Retribution’, was easier, wasn’t it? The words flowed. The plot revealed itself to me. The characters spoke through me. Maybe this time the story isn’t right? Maybe I should give up on it, start something else? But I’ve written so much, 60 000 words for goodness sake! Spent so many hours on it. I can’t do that…I decide I’m too self critical. Too caught up in being a writer, too intense.

I’ve become very methodical in my writing, sticking to a routine. Writing time is writing time and I love it. I do. But it isn’t just when you write is it? Your whole life becomes the story, the characters, their journey. Now I’m used to that. It’s been a part of my life since I became a primary school teacher. You seldom switch off. It’s always, ‘Oh, I could do that with them,’ as you’re out at the shops, or ‘Maybe if I tried that with wee Johnny?’ as you’re washing the dishes, or ‘I could try and show it that way,’ or…you get the picture.

But writing? Well, it sneaks in to your breakfast, your favourite television programme, movies, music, casual conversations with fellow dog walkers, everything becomes your story, or the next one. Always switched on.

I try to put it away. Let it settle but I can’t. I have to work. I have to finish it. I have to, I have to, I have to. Now what does all of this have to do with football? Well. I’m a massive fan. Love the game. Shout and scream etcetera. The only time my neighbours hear ascending ecstatic cries of, yes, yes, yes coming from my apartment it’s because of some fabulous sequence of skill on the football pitch, not the bedroom! I get so caught up in it. So excited. It’s EURO 2016 time and I have hours, days, weeks of fabulous football to watch. That’ll do it, won’t it? Switch me off. Give me down time. And so it begins. Yes. My attention has been grabbed, snatched, taken for a wee wander. Great! Just what I need. Intent on the football, the art of the game, the skill of the players, the passion of the fans. GOAL! Brilliant.

But the scorer isn’t celebrating. He looks despondent, sad and I can’t understand it. No run at his team-mates, no little dance for the fans. Nothing. Just turns away, walks off the pitch and up to the trainer, gives him a kiss. Turns back and carries on as if nothing has happened. Then the commentator explains that both of them, the player and the trainer, lost their fathers that week. I gasp, hold my hand to my mouth. It makes me cry. The sadness. The awful contrast of feelings. And I think, That could make a great premise for a story.

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