I can tell you that I know how fucked up and out of control I feel by how frequently I read my astrological stars. Not that I pay a ridiculous amount of attention as they have varying degrees of accuracy, but I somehow find it soothing to read them. They give me time to take a moment and decide to discard, or absorb, or sometimes a glimmer of much needed hope that everything is going to be alright. Mercury has been in retrograde for the last three weeks and it ends on Friday, or thereabouts. Apparently, when Mercury goes Retrograde, which it does a few times a year everything goes tipsy topsy , or topsy turvy for three weeks and it’s not a good time to strike out into the new.
Now, as it happens on Friday, as we cease to be all retrograded I will be at the London Author Fair striking out into the new. I have finally composed Volume 2 of The Tales from the Domestic Frontline – The Art of Not Giving a Fuck and so I am going to be testing the water and deciding what to do.
Options, options, options.
Seek a traditional publisher and combine Volume 1 & 2
Self publish Volume 1 & 2 via a new platform
Self publish Volume 2 only via Amazon Kindle and Createspace
The London Author’s Fair is championing the independent author. Author’s can no longer simply compose words – we are brands in charge of our destiny. We are publishers. We are marketeers. We engage directly with our audience. We no longer hide with crazy hair, in dusty attics tied to our typewriters – we are pivotal in surrounding ourselves with the potential audience and pitching directly to them – read me! Read me! READ ME!!!!!
I was lucky enough to listen to the great Oz himself, Armistead Maupin speak on his whistlestop tour of the UK and he said many things that resonated with me because he was one of the first authors to capture me in my youth – Enid Blyton, Judi Blume, Judith Kerr, Nicholas Fisk and then as I matured it was Tales of the City that I devoured hungrily. But he said in an interview with the BBC, that the next thing he was thinking about doing a one man show, where he would sit on the stage and tell his stories to the audience – directly from him to them. Maybe at the Edinburgh Fringe. The next day the Edinburgh Fringe rang him and offered him a slot.
With this in mind, I am also writing a play. A platform to create an opportunity to take my words on tour so that I can in turn sell more books and keep the conversation conversing. As time passes, my tale stops just being about my experiences, but an epoch in history when for a decade the British military rolled on roulement constantly in out of the enduring ops of Afghanistan.
So as Mercury cease to retrograde on Friday, I hope that new doors open as #WritersUnite at the London Author’s Fair and we find solutions to bring our books to life, and into the hearts and minds of the reader, so we can satiate their hunger, like Armistead Maupin did mine, back in 1986, in my bedroom, lost in the gay community of San Francisco, wishing I was there in person.
Wish me luck. It’s Carpe Diem.
Follow the action on twitter:
A taste of the play:
Scene Two – in Kitchen set
Alice, who is in her mid twenties, is sitting on a chair with her leg in a plaster cast resting on another chair. She is smoking a joint.
Suddenly, Hagar, who is in his late twenties, wearing a yellow rugby shirt, high waisted jeans and bike boots, bursts loudly into the room.
Hagar Hello, dream date!!!
Hagar stands in the corner of the room with his hands on his hips.
Alice jumps out of her skin and quickly stubs the joint out in ashtray and waves the smoke away with her hand. She looks up completely embarrassed. Hagar strides over and kisses her on the cheek.
Hagar Where are Stasia and Barry?
Alice They sharp exited left when they heard your bike turn up so they could completely humiliate me. In fact, they got me so stoned I can barely speak, while continuously showing me photos of you and Stasia when you were young. It’s all a bit surreal. I feel slightly altered.
Hagar Look at your cast. Are you ok?
Hagar pulls up a chair and sits really close to Alice, slightly invading her personal space.
Alice It’s ok. It does hurt. I really fucked it up. I was under for 5 hours while they operated. I have 8 pins in it. I was worried that I was going to set the metal detectors off at an airport but apparently the pins are made of titanium so they don’t set them off. I’m not sure if I am disappointed or not. You know, all that pain and injury, I wanted to eek the most out of it and bore airport security to death with a tale of impressive injury.
Hagar Grimacing How did you do it?
Alice I was watching the start of the Whitbread Round the World Race on an 8m RIB, with a 350 horsepower inboard engine.
Hagar Nice boat. I bet that went some.
Alice Yes, like shit off a shovel. I was stood up just in front of the console, holding onto the painter. Y’know, the rope off the front that is attached to the bow. I was leaning back and so the rope was tight and I was bending my knees as the boat bounced up and down – a bit like mogul skiing. We were doing about 30 knots. Then a ferry wake came out of nowhere and the boat skipper didn’t see it. The boat took off and the painter acted like a pendulum and it swung me up into the air. As I came down I went over on my ankle and clean snapped it. I felt it go. I knew instantly that I had broken it so I lay on the floor of the boat and rested it on the sponsons – the rubber inflatable tubes on the side of the boat. For some reason all I could think about was my first aid training. Bam – that’s it leg broken. So Stasia set me up on this blind date with you to make me feel better.
Alice smiles shyly and leans forward looking at the door
Alice I can’t believe that those two ran out on me like that. I am so embarrassed.
Hagar It’s so good to meet you at last. I loved it when we talked on the phone. You know you have a really sexy voice. It’s so cool that you are so adventurous. I love that. I have had the best week just cruising around Scotland on my bike, visiting my old haunts and hanging out with my buddies and then to top off I have this crazy blind date with you. It’s great. Last week, that night, when we chatted on the phone, I hadn’t seen Stasia since we split up after our trip to Australia together 10 years ago.
It’s been an awesome week off. But I am gutted that I have to get back to Northern Ireland tomorrow night.
Alice Stasia said you and her went out with each other.
Hagar Yeah at school. After Highers we went to Australia together. We worked at a vineyard and then flew back via Bali. They were good times but we drifted apart when I moved to Edinburgh and started uni at Napier. I was so chuffed when she rang me. I hadn’t heard from her in years.
Alice So Stasia says that you are in the army and you’re a helicopter pilot.
Hagar No, I am not in the army, I am the RAF – the Royal Air Force. I am navigator on Pumas.
Alice A what on whats?
Hagar A Puma is a type of helicopter and it has two seats in the cockpit. One for the pilot and one for the navigator. I am the navigator and I tell the pilot where to go.
Alice My grandad was in the RAF in the war. He was a gunner. Apparently, they had a low life expectancy, but according to my dad, grandad spent most of his RAF career in the brig pissed up. I am not even sure if that is strictly true though!
Hagar It wasn’t a great job that’s for sure.
Alice It must be pretty tricky in Northern Ireland? What’s that like?
Hagar It’s great. There’s a ceasefire at the moment so it’s fairly routine but down south it can be more dangerous. I have a decent room in the Officer’s mess. It’s a shared ensuite with another guy, my mate, Moonie. He’s called Dave Moon but we call him, Moonie. It’s 21 days on and then we get 7 days off. We get some free flights home and BMI airlines do a military discount on flights, so that we can get back to the mainland cheap and easy. But I have just bought a bike so I caught the ferry over and thought I’d put it through it’s paces on a road trip around Scotland. My parents live in Aberfeldy so I needed to go and visit them and I haven’t spent much time in Scotland recently. I used to live in Edinburgh so it’s good to be back.
Alice I love Edinburgh. I think it’s my favourite city in the whole world.
Hagar I love Edinburgh too.
Alice Are you one of those Scottish folk who hate the English?
Hagar laughs loudly Well, I work for the Queen. She’s my boss. The Government may pay my wages but it’s the Queen’s name on my commission.
Alice I used to go out with a Scottish bloke called Hamish. It was when I was with him that I first came to Edinburgh. Do you remember in 1990 when Scotland won the Five Nations, The Triple Crown and the Calcutta Cup against England in the final game of the tournament at Murrayfield. Well, I was in Edinburgh watching that match. It was a very unfortunate time to be a lone English girl in Edinburgh. The racism that I experienced was unbelievable. For a start I could be less bothered about rugby so I watched it because Hamish wanted to and I didn’t know anyone else. Then, of course, because I was so ignorant and naïve I just assumed that Scotland was a part of England.
Hagar winces visibly
This blog is managed by Clare Macnaughton; a modern military mother; a feminist, British military spouse, and lifestyle journalist, writing about real life adventures.