I have just finished reading this book, Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. It’s a book which took him nearly thirty years to write and finish it and then have it published. There are many books written about war and many of them about the Vietnam war but there are few that can depict such a real insight into the conditions which were endured by a young generation of boys. Sent to a strange country to fight an enemy, young boys, much like themselves. Who they were taught to hate but never met. Spending days and nights in wet, humid jungle. Often without water and proper food and every minute scared of every shadow. It is funny but often gruesome and it is a true story based on Marlantes own experience of the war. Where seventeen-year-olds commanded ten to fifteen men and a twenty-three-year-old officer was responsible for every waking and sleeping hour of the lives of over two hundred. It’s a tale of bravery, sacrifice and of how quickly they grew up when facing death, leeches, near starvation and even tigers every day.
It’s actually the second time I’ve read this book in two years. The first time I devoured every page and felt loss when I finished it. Having finished reading it again, albeit a little slower this time, I once again feel that loss. I’ve tried starting two books since but can’t really get going on either. I seem to find that when I have read a book I particularly like, so what’s the answer?
How do you get started on another book after a really good read? I know I’ll just persevere until a book clicks but I just wondered what the secret is.
I’ve fallen in love with Grammarly, an app extension of Google Chrome but also available in Windows. It seems to work really well and monitors your use of grammar and spelling, even on those websites which don’t normally spell check for you. (Something I have found to be essential in recent years). On initial set-up, you advise it to use either UK English or the USA English dictionary, alleviating a source of irritation that most spell checkers present to UK writers.
The added bonus is that it checks the grammar too, so the occasional incorrect word use is highlighted immediately. In effect, it’s doing a form of first line proofreading for you.
It’s available to use in its free version but enhanced features are added if you subscribe to the Premium, where it monitors many more areas of your text including sentence structure and writing style issues.
Have a look at the website https://app.grammarly.com/
I think you may like it too (No I’m not on commission)
I’ve just won third prize in a small writing competition. The premise was to write less than 1500 words with the prompt ‘on another planet’. Science fiction writing is not my strongest suit but I do like to write odd stories (mainly because I’m pretty odd) and I like to have a bit of a twist. This one I wrote in about half an hour once given the prompt.
It’s a monthly competition and the entries are read by the forum members and they vote for their favourite story. I suppose that third place is not the pinnacle of literary achievement but it’s my first time in the numbers after an awful lot of entries, over an awful lot of years.
So I pat myself on the back instead of filing another rejection letter/email.
You know the ones that are congratulating you on your child moving onto the next milestone. The ones from the baby shops that are really just trying to promote their equipment and encourage you to buy it.
Every one is a big fat slap of reality. Take that mummy. You’re child is sooooooo unbelievably behind, I think I will just remind you of just how far every few months.
And I will also make you so mad at the email that you will delete it before you have a chance to unsubscribe. So we will just continue to send them.
And we will always send them on one of your bad days.
Or something like that!!
Milestones are always a worry. A concern. Something you think about as soon as your baby is born. There’s the mummy competitions and the strangers asking seemingly…
You know the kind. When you worry you’re not doing something right. That you must be failing because nothing is coming together.
I was singing the same old nursery rhymes, doing the same actions. Asking Dixie the same old questions. Are you clapping Dixie? Where’s your nose? Can you poke out your tongue? Look at mummy banging on the tray. Can you?
Nothing but blank stares or a soft smile. No copying with the claps or the banging of the tray. And that is her usual response. On my wobble days I find it hard!
Nevertheless I pushed it down deep and carried on.
We moved onto some floor time. Some sitting. Only today that resulted in Dixie forcing herself backwards. Again.
I tried several more times. With her favourite toys, me sitting behind her, her sitting against the sofa. Every time…
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll always be an infrequent blogger. I only post a blog post when I have something to say, as opposed to those who feel they have to post every day. I have nothing against those who wish to do this but it’s really up to them. I always think I’ll do more blogging but it never actually happens as other things take precedence. I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to finish my NaNoWriMo novel and am still to complete its first draft. Even though I’m over 100,00 words it shows no signs of concluding. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing!
Then I’m writing short stories and entering contests regularly, something I promised myself I would do this year. Blogging seems to be falling a poor third in the race for my time. I’m not complaining, its never been my desire to have hundreds or thousands of followers or to earn any sort of reputation or living from my blog, although I do realise that is possible.
I like a story prompt, but they inspire me to write fiction, not about me as I’m pretty uninteresting anyway (say awww), no don’t- please.
So I’ll continue with my sporadic and often disjointed posts, when I feel I have something to contribute and hopefully people on the same wavelength as me will find them a. Amusing b. Thought provoking c. Now what is c?