8 Months, 28Days, still sober
Monday was ‘Big Buddha’ day for little Noo.
Last month, when I went to the UK, Noo and her friend had planned to spend 3 nights at the Big Buddha Wat on Pratumnak Hill in Pattaya as Buddhist Nuns. Unfortunately, they didn’t choose their date very wisely and when they turned up on August 12th to ‘sign in’ for their stint as nuns, they were surmised to find the Wat overwhelmed with visitors, and the monks were far too busy to attend to the two budding novitiates. So they had been effectively ‘sent packing’ only to regroup and try again this past Monday.
After picking up her friend from the bus stop down the road on her motorbike and bringing her to our home, I drove the two of them to Wat Phra Yai to try again. This time they were more successful, so Mobi was now on his own for next 3 days!
So what have I been doing with this brief bit of freedom?
As ever – some good things, and some not so good things. Monday saw me meet up with Rick and his wife at a little restaurant /bar down the road for lunch, and after that, I confess I did an extended trawl through some of the ‘fleshpots’ of the Darkside.
I know that I stated in my last blog that I would be cutting right back on this type of activity, but I’m afraid that freedom and temptation got the better of me. In any case, I never said that I would stop completely, and in all fairness, this was one of the occasions where I could indulge my desires without fear of upsetting anyone.
In point of fact, I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed myself very much. I encountered a number of young ladies that I had known from previous excursions and enjoyed a bit of banter with them and the odd bit of groping, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
I kept moving on to new places, in the hope that something would get my heart racing a bit but I just found it all quite tedious. The ladies were nice enough, sexy enough and willing enough, but I just couldn’t gather up much enthusiasm. I missed my little Noo, and after having an early evening snack at one of the few Darkside bars that serves food, I called it a day and went home.
Yesterday I spent the entire day at home, working at my computer and even doing a bit of cooking, when hunger drove me to the kitchen!
I am pleased to report that at long last I have made some progress on my novel. A recent comment from one of my readers suggested that as I was now sober, I had lost the creative desire or juices necessary to continue with my novel. Well firstly, I would point out the entire new novel writing so far has been undertaken since I have been sober, and in any case, in all the years that I have been a hopeless drunk, I have never written anything, be it stories, bogs or whatever, when I was under the influence of alcohol.
This has always been my golden rule. I want my writing to come from me, Mobi, not from a bottle of whisky. Of course I was often very hung over when I wrote, but never, ever drunk. As soon as I opened the first bottle of beer, or poured the first glass of wine or liquor, I would stop all writing – even my blog.
I have written much in the past 9 months, including some 52,000 words of my new novel. The reasons why I ground to halt were, I think, two-fold. Firstly, my attempts to keep my blog going for at least 3-4 days a week, in order to increase my readership, was draining me and I had no creative juices remaining to attack my novel when I had finished blogging.
The second reason concerned the development of the novel itself. I confess that I hadn’t properly planned out where the novel was actually going, plot-wise. I had a few, somewhat sketchy ideas, but as I had planned that the first few chapters would be largely autobiographical, I decided to get stuck in and assume the detailed plot structure ideas would come later, as they often had in the past.
I was also quite motivated by the notion that a revamping of my ‘life story’ would provide a good basis for my novel, as had been suggested by many, some of them authors in their own right.
But in the end, I came to a shuddering halt. I couldn’t figure out quite how the story would develop followoing the first few chapters, and it was this, just as much as the lack of available free time, that has caused this long period of apparent ‘Writer’s block’.
Quite by chance, it was on my flight back from the UK, that I finally managed get to grips with this problem.
You may recall that I was not in a particularly relaxed state of mind when I embarked on Thai airways for my journey home – partly because of the recent series of upsets with my sister, and party due to the ‘off limits’, but enticing thighs, barely a few inches to my right. All this made it very hard to get to sleep and after tossing and turning for a few hours, I gave up the unequal struggle and turned my mind to plot structure.
One thing led to another, and a few hours later, I finally worked out in my head what I determined could be some plausible and workable plot lines. I turned on the overhead light, pulled out my tablet and proceeded to make quick, brief notes of all the plot details to ensure that I wouldn’t forget them after I landed.
So yesterday, I went back to my notes and spent a few hours flushing them out further. I now believe I have the makings of a good yarn, which is less autobiographical and hopefully much more commercial and readable.
The characters already introduced in the original writings will remain as the key players going forward, but I now realise – indeed I have known for a long time – that the character-development is over the top. I have devoted far too much space in recounting the life stories of these people – Na, Bobby and Ying; they are almost novelettes in themselves. So I have decided to re-write these chapters in their entirety to make them shorter, punchier and more interesting.
Also, I will use a technique that I used to some extent in the Chapter on Tobi’s childhood – a series of ‘movie-like’ flash backs to the various notable events in their lives, rather than the long, rambling, chronological accounts that I had previously wrote.
I think that even the chapters on Toby’s early life will need to undergo further shortening and sharpening. I have already done this once but I’m still not completely happy with it, and I have still got quite a way to go in his life, leading up to the disastrous situation he eventually finds himself in present day Pattaya.
I am aware that not all my readers will have the slightest interest in this self-serving, introspection on my unfinished novel, but for the few that are following the progress of my novel, I thought that it would be good idea to share my ‘highs and lows’ with you as the novel progresses. As you can see, it is often one step forward, two steps back, but I want to get it right; ultimately, I want it to be a decent, publishable piece of fiction, even if I never make one cent from it.
In the meantime I am happy to report that as well as filling out the plot lines, I have also made a start on revising Chapter one, and will be continuing with this over the next few days. As soon as it finished, I will publish it on my blog.
Finally on this subject, some of you may have spotted that I have changed the novel title from ‘Som Nam Na’ to ‘Lust’. I is still a provisional title, but it may end up being the real title – who knows? In the meantime, I feel it is a more relevant and certainly a lot more commercial, than the previous effort.
I read the other day, that despite still being the richest country in the world, the USA now has an incredible 46 million people living below the poverty line.
46 Million! That’s the number of people in a decent size country. In fact out of the 225 countries in the world, only 26 have a greater population than 46 million. Countries such as Spain and Columbia have 46 million and major states such as Canada, Ukraine, Argentina, Poland, Venezuela, Holland, Australia, Austria to name but a few, have considerably less than 46 million.
I fully accept that the definition of what constitutes ‘poverty’ is subject to much argument and controversy, but these are statistics that were published by America’s own Census Bureau
The current figure of 46 million is the highest since the census began tracing poverty in 1959.
Now before my dear American readers, such as Big Skippy, start spouting similar ‘poverty’ percentages in European countries – and in particular my native UK, let’s just remember that, in spite of all that has happened over the past few years, The USA remains the biggest economic power that has ever existed on this planet and is still the richest, by any standards of measurement.
How long that will remain is anybody’s guess, but in my book, a country, in spite of all that has happened, is still the richest in world, can retain, within its borders, 46 million of its citizens living below the poverty line is a damning indictment in the way that the USA is being run in 2011.
For many decades, certainly since the Second World War, the free world has looked to America for moral and economic leadership, but increasingly in recent years, I regret that most of the world has become utterly disillusioned, on both counts.
So what went wrong? The collapse of the Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe and the dire sate of countries such as Cuba and North Korea in the modern world is testament to the fact that extreme socialist principals never work. Indeed, it is only by embracing many of the principals of capitalism that countries such as China, (soon to overtake the USA as the world’ largest economic power), and to a lesser extent Vietnam, have succeeded in becoming modern economic powerhouses.
So where and how did America lose it? The jury is still out, but I believe that history will record that the decline of America followed a decline in moral leadership and the corresponding hi-jacking of government by the money-grabbing, power seeking, vested interests: banks, lawyers, commercial and manufacturing conglomerates and the like, who for many decades have dictated American economic policies and laws and whose lobbyist have had a total, life-sapping stranglehold over the Federal government.
There is probably more ‘legal corruption’ between the Washington lobby groups and members of the US Congress than the more blatant, so-called illegal corruption that exists in counties such as Thailand.
A classic example of this is the recent Solyndra scandal where no less than 535 million dollars was wasted on what was effectively a corrupt, and now bankrupt solar energy company – one of Obama’s shining new examples of ‘investing for jobs and the future in green energy projects.’
For those of you who follow American politics, you will know that the Solyndra scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Wherever you look – American business and/or America lifestyle – from the corrupt justice system to the incompetent secret services, (buying and selling guns to Mexican criminals), to the utter failure to control their borders for fear of upsetting the Latino voting lobby (corrupt or what???). All you can see is doom, despair and…. corruption?
American-style capitalism and political partisanship has become so utterly corrupt that there is little hope of a quick solution. The country is fast becoming a failed state. Their education system is third rate; held to ransom by the powerful teachers’ unions who maintain incompetent, corrupt teachers in the posts for the rest of their working lives, bankrupting their cities and States in the process.
The states and cities are further extorted by all powerful public sector unions who refuse to accept any redundancies in their work forces and refuse to discuss changes to their generous pension schemes, even though there is clearly no money left in the kitty to pay for it all. Generations of American politicians, at Federal, State and City level, have given into these lobbyists and agreed ridiculous employment and pension deals which have never been sustainable, and are in effect sophisticated Ponzi schemes, as no funds were ever set up to pay for it all, and the politicians simply hoped they would all be long gone before the day of reckoning arrived.
Well folks, it looks like the day of reckoning is almost here and your beloved leader, the estimable Barrack Obama, who was swept into Washington on a ticket of ‘It’s time for Change’ has started campaigning early for his re-election.
With his head in the sand, he preaches to his left-wing, union-loving faithful, and steadfastly refuses to take any serious action to get his country out of the mess they are in and even refuses to acknowledge the dire need to drastically reduce their budget deficits.
Did you know that the poorest city in America is a town called Camden?
Here is what it looks like today.
Camden is in the state of New Jersey and is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 77,344
Although once a thriving centre for manufacturing and industry, Camden is perhaps best known for its struggles with urban dysfunction.
No less than three Camden mayors have been jailed for corruption, the most recent being Milton Milan in 2000. In 2005 the school system and police department were taken over and have been operated by the State of New Jersey; the takeover will expire in 2012.
In 2008, Camden had the highest crime rate in the U.S. with 233 violent crimes per 10,000 people while the national average was 45 per 10,000. Two out of every five residents are below the national poverty line. After many years of economic and industrial growth, the city of Camden now faces years of rising crime and blight.
To me, Camden is a microcosm of what is happening to America. Once a thriving community, it lost its way and became bogged down by endless City corruption, an increasing crime rate and was mismanaged by the public sector unions who ran down the schools and police department to such an appalling extent that the State had to take them over. Multiply this across the vast American sub-continent…
BUTT… BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot!