Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Cool Running


After a night of heavy rain, the west Wales coast was at its most beautiful this morning when I went out for a run. Blue sky, fluffy white clouds and hedgerows bejewelled with harebells, cornflowers and diamond-chipped feathery grasses shimmering in the watery sunlight. Not so great sights included a poor little dead mole lying on its back, forlorn starfish hands reaching for the sky, and a banana skin. (Note: always avoid the banana skins.)

Hotel H has been heaving. I’ve finally got round to unpacking my bag from our recent trip to the south (don’t worry – I did unpack the manky bits on our return). We’ve had MiL and DiL here (on the ‘go-to-south-to-catch-up-with-one-set-of-rellies-bring-another-lot-home’ basis) and they like to spread out a bit. Surprise entertainment this week has included DiL suddenly being afflicted with an inability to walk – his slippers were on the wrong feet – and a mystery object falling out the washing machine with my tea towels – DiL’s undercrackers, leftover from MiL’s wash.

But now, with a book to deliver and the Cardiff half marathon in October, I’m glad to get back in the groove of steady work. There are no short cuts, at least not for me; to run 13.1 miles you need to build up slowly and train regularly. To write a book, you need to put the hours in and watch the word-count build. I’m naturally impatient and always want quick results, but running’s taught me the value of taking life a step at a time. Just watch out for the banana skins.

And finally...
My sister and I always used to dread exam results. Not because we were bad scholars, but because there was no pleasing Ma. Even 99% would have her sighing and saying something like, ‘Oh well, perhaps you’ll do better next time.’ I don’t think even Ma would find fault with today’s marks for Turning the Tide over at Novelicious – I’m thrilled to bits. So, with Miss Write's review yesterday, it’s been a brilliant couple of days for the book. It doesn’t half feel good too!

My thanks too, to lovely Wordtryst who was kind enough to give me an award – I’ll collect it as soon as poss, but do go and read Liane’s blog for wise words about writing, reading and a dash of Caribbean sunshine.

Painting is ‘Rain setting in – Pembrokeshire Coast’ by Tom Tomos

19 comments:

Frances said...

Chris, cool running is a great title for this post. (Of course, I am singing the tune to myself all the way through.)

Your ability to keep it all going (with perspective and humor, too) continues to inspire me.

I have now begun to treat myself to a chapter or two of Turning the Tide every evening. I do not want to rush my reading, as I meet all of your book's characters, and see the Little Spitmarsh come to life.

Best wishes to you and Tom. He's certainly got rain well captured in today's posted picture! Quite wonderfully.

xo

Pondside said...

That's a lot going on - will you take a breather at all? Is there time? I know you had the NYC trip, but that seemed a whirlwind - I hope you get a chance to just sit back for a time.
I'm SO glad to hear of the accolades for TTT!

Jane Lovering said...

Half-marathon! How do you do it! I thought my few miles a week was doing well.. hey ho. I'm soo enjoying TTT that I too am rationing myself (although I forecast a glom as soon as school holidays start). Your reviews are well-deserved (and I promise not to fall asleep in the sun reading the rest!)

Debs said...

Am giggling and grimacing at the thought of those undercrackers falling out of the washing machine with your tea towels.

I've been preparing for family/friends and their arrivals, and it all starts with lunch tomorrow. Groan. I will have fun, I always do, but I'd rather be tapping away quietly in my newly cleaned shed.

Good luck with the training and the writing. Can't wait to read your next book.

錢靜怡錢靜怡錢靜怡 said...
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snailbeachshepherdess said...

undercrackers indeed! LOL!! You sound totally in control - relaxed even........

Sarah Callejo said...

What a busy life Chris. And I'm not surprised at your excellent review from Novellicious after reading it myself last week!!

Exmoorjane said...

Been having a lovely time reading back through your last few entries. Find I keep missing out on blog-reading and then months path mysteriously!
Good on you for talking - I hate public speaking. And the new book - yay! Keep on writing and running. Tons of loveJxxxx

Fennie said...

Love that painting. Yes steady work without interruptions is the trick although I suppose without interruptions we would have nothing to write about. Getting the words into a state where they are vaguely readable is what (for me anyway)takes the time.

Poor little mole, what is his story? I take it he was dead and not drunk? If the banana were very old it might have fermented and the juice gone to mole's head. If then he had been showing off - perhaps to a lady mole - 'look what I can do with my eyes closed!'- he might have slipped on the banana skin (as one does) and landed flat on his back and being three sheets to the wind and then found that he couldn't be arsed to get up and just slept it off with the Pembrokeshire wind in his face. Or then again, of course, he might not.

Brown Dog said...

Hi Chris - sorry I've been a bit sporadic of late - life has been getting in the way.

Know what you mean about running after rain (mind you, I'm sure I don't run nearly as far as you - RESPECT for attempting another half marathon, I am still at the panting and hobbling stage) - but it is lovely when it's all dewy and the birds are singing at the tops of the voices.

Totally agree with Novelicious's results for TTT - totally fabulous.

PS - What are "undercrackers"? Hope they're not what I think they are...

xoxox

Chris Stovell said...

Frances, I also think Tom does rain very well! Thanks for your comments about Turning the Tide. Sorry to fix a song in your head!

Pondside. Thank you! Yes, it is a bit rushed at the moment - hoping to take a short breather in Norfolk much later in the year. Fingers crossed.

Jane, aw, thanks! Good luck with the school holidays.

Debs - good luck with the #toomanyvisitors!! Watch out for unexpected objects in your tea towels.

SBS, Gritting my teeth a bit! Good to see you.

Hi Jane, good to see you too. Hope your boy is fully recovered now. Thanks for good wishes.

Sarah, thanks - I'm chuffed you read the p/b given your preference for ebooks.

Fennie, sorry to report that mole and banana skin were about a mile apart... suppose mole could have staggered that far before keeling over, poor thing. There's an outside chance he could have been deeply asleep...

BD, is Christmas over for you yet? (You will know what I mean!) Must have been hell rushing round pretending it was the depths of winter... although we haven't had to pretend very hard here, weather has been so bad. Undercracker are, sorry to say, exactly what you think. Traumatic.

Posie Rosie said...

Lovely painting...again. Felt like I was on the run with you, very refreshing. I am so glad that all of the hard work paid off and your novel is such a success. I too am like Francis and devouring the chapters, but also taking my time to really savour and enjoy the book, which I am doing. Posie x

Preseli Mags said...

Poor moley. I keep encountering squished frogs, snails and the hot breath of collie on the back of my legs. Well done on the continuing success of TTT and good luck with the next one. xx

Frances said...

Chris, I like that tune, so don't at all mind having it in my head. It will now remind me of you ... and that is also good.

xo

elizabethm said...

You see these commenters were cleverer than I am and kept the pleasure of the book going by rationing themselves, whereas I just rushed at it and couldn't stop.
Maybe I will go back and read it again.

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蕙春蕙春 said...
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Bluestocking Mum said...

I'm tittering at DiL's undercrackers - bet they end up in a story somewhere.

But tsk, tsk, are you mad woman, running another half marathon when you should be basking in the glory of publication and easing yourself along with the follow up novel?
Still, some of my best creative thinking is when I'm swimming my lengths so am sure it's same for you.

Hat's off to you Chris, for everthing you have done and wish to do.

Like Elizabeth, I gobbled TTT in one sitting and marvelled. You deserve all the accolades you receive. Well done you
xx

Chris Stovell said...

Posie, thank you. I'm very grateful to you, and to all, for buying TTT and I'm so glad you're enjoying it.

Mags, poor Moley looking even worse now. That hot breath of collie is particularly unnerving. Yikes! And thank you.

Frances, aw!

Elizabeth - thanks! I don't mind how quickly or slowly folks read it - it's just so lovely to hear they've enjoyed it.

BSMum, I find the running really helps the writing and I feel much happier in myself when I'm running so a bit of an essential in my routine - just, as you say, like your swimming. Thanks so much for what you've said about TTT.