Yes, I know it’s snowing in the frozen north but I just wanted to tell you that the Algarve greeted February with cherry blossom; yes, they’re now in bloom and we’ll have snow of an entirely different sort; I could write a haiku on the subject if I knew how to condense a world of feeling into a few syllables of Japanese. Chelly Brossom.
The beta readers have almost finished their review of Flight Into Darkness. I’m grateful for their devotion but am aware that this kind of proof-read has its limitations because it’s impossible to be objective about a novel. Some like it, some don’t and my experience with beta readers is that they usually tell me what I want to hear whereas what I really want is to hear about what’s bad. I’m no better. I can recall the number of manuscripts that I’ve sent out, thinking they were word-perect, only to find out that my understanding of the rules of English grammar was not as good as I had thought. Well, it’s 45 years since I did them at school. Give a guy a break!
Before I get the MSs back I have time to waste. One of the things I have always done is to go to the gym. Most people would hate it, but it keeps me fit and makes me feel young(er) at heart. Plus, you get the added benefits of endorphins, nature’s little drug that simply makes you feel good about yourself. And it’s free. Personally, I find it rather addictive. You might think it strange for a retired person to be mixing it with the meat-heads but I’ve always done it and am a creature of habit. I remember when I was about 35 working out in a gym in a hotel in Cairo when this young Egyptian of about 20 told me that he thought it was good for a person of my age to still be doing weights! When I was 30 I thought I’d stop at 40 and grow old gracefully. When that birthday came round, I thought I’d see if I could make 50. Then I thought, why not try 60? Now, I’m on the wrong side of that and think I’ll try for 70 and grow old disgracefully. It’s a strange thing, but most men start to fall apart at 35 but I’ve always felt that we have been tricked by our brains into thinking that our bodies were made for sitting in offices, punching keyboards. Actually, we still have the bodies of hunter/gatherers and, well, use it or lose it. So, my overall philosophy is not to give up. Be as good as you can be until you fall off your perch.
I wonder whether those cherry trees bloom so wonderfully thinking that it’ll be their last chance. If they could hear me I’d tell them not to give up. Next year may not be as good as this year but it’ll still be next year. Never give up.