This week: sneak preview and what keeps you writing?
This week it’s from the new project provisonally entitled December Radio a sci-fi World War II story.
The following scene takes place in an aeronautical centrifuge in Cologne. Remember those? I seem to remember they featured in a few 60s films and as a very young boy, one of these left a lasting impression on me. In fact the scene has such a powerful effect on me personally – it almost disturbs me in the same way OCD does sometimes – that I would love to pin down the film I originally watched and see it again. The Gerry Anderson film Doppelganger, sometimes called Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, may well have been the one. It is reputed to have a centrifuge scene in it and the only other film I know if is the Roger Moor Bond film Moonraker, but this would have been too late for it to have affected me so powerfully and yet be a vague memory. If anybody knows of any other film where a man has trouble surviving a centrifuge, please get in touch.
Copyright © 2013 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved
The cage-wall began to blur. He began to feel nauseous.
“Is 3 Gees fine?”
“Yes. I can feel the pressure in my head.”
“It’s lack of pressure.” After a pause the voice continued, “Still alright?”
“Yes. Increase to… the next Gee.”
“4 Gees. Increasing to 4 Gees now. That’s 4 Gees. How does it feel? Take your time…”
“It… feels… tough. I feel a bit… sick.” Robert was struggling to stay conscious.
“That’s normal. How about 5 Gees?”
“Going up to 5 Gees… now. You’re doing superbly. 5 Gees now.”
“God! How do I…” Robert had to close his eyes for a moment. The cage-wall was just a blur and seeing it was just adding to the dizziness he felt overwhelming him. It was frightening him slightly.
“Are you alright, Robert? Shall we stop?”
“No… no, it’s… alright. Just a little longer. Is this the top Gee?”
“No. Six is the highest. You want to try it?”
“No. But do it.” Robert knew he was being tested. Priller told him he was the best and he wasn’t going to let his commander down.
“Up to 6 Gees.”
“Oh! Aewargh-…” Robert passed out.
“Robert? Robert? I am going to stop if you don’t respond. Okay, stopping. 5 Gees, 4 Gees, 3
Gees, 2 Gees, 1 Gee, stopped. Okay, let’s get him out.”
What Keeps you Writing?
I am often asked this. I guess the question has two main answers for me:
1. What motivates me in the first place?
2. Why don’t I just give up, since I am making very little money and it’s extremely labour-intensive?
Both are easy to answer.
1. My first attempt at a novel was while travelling to Egypt on a cruise ship when I was 19. Now, it’s not what you think! In fact, I had just dropped out of an Aeronautical Engineering course at Queen Mary College and decided to catch the Magic Bus to Athens. From there, the plan was to go through Iran and on to Bombay. In fact, I was too curious about Africa to stick so entirely to my plan, and the bus was Hell on Wheels. So I jumped off in Athens and caught a boat – a DFDS Seaways ship. I was travelling third class – the swimming pool was a bilge tank in the bottom of the ship – and we slept on deck after the other passengers had all gone to bed. Meals were only served to the first fifty or so of us arriving in the ‘canteen,’ and entertainment was a movie shown on one of those plastic screens in the ‘canteen’. I well remember translating El Cid (a movie about a Christian beating Moors) to a canteen full of Muslim Egyptians. They were bemused and I was worried for my life (because the Muslims lose)!
It was natural in such a place, given that my normal hobby/career of writing and composing music had to be put on hold for the journey, that I would turn to something famliar; writing. The novel was abandoned after about one hundred pages. I thought it was awful (in fact I recently discovered some of the MS and it’s not too bad!).
When I left the music industry permanently in 1994, it would seem natural that I returned to writing. In fact, it took nearly ten years to give it ago. Maybe it was a lack of confidence, maybe I was just plain dried-up creatively. In any case, my first efforts met with some positive comments, so I continued. I don’t think I could live without creating something. It’s just in my DNA, my bones or my psychological makeup. Whichever way you put it, I just have to write. I think it’s cathartic – probably a way of releasing the huge amount of anger I felt every day as a child and which built up over the years until I could contain it no longer.
2. The second answer is that people seem to like what I write. It ‘resonates’ with them. If it was just my anger that drove me – my anger about the inhumanity in the world today, anger about inequality, anger about ignorance – then it would just be vanity writing, and I couldn’t bare that. In about 2006 I was approached by a publisher who wanted me to come to a seminar at their offices in Milton Keynes. I drove up there in a rainstorm and sat down with about a dozen other writers. It quickly became apparent that this was all about vanity publishing; we put up the money for marketing and production, and the publisher reaps the financial rewards. Some of the titles I saw hardly bare thinking about. I was out of there within ten minutes.
Recently I have started getting reviews from people I have never met, good reviews, and these have really inspired me to keep going; to try harder. I think at the end of the day, a good review from somebody who has paid for your book and doesn’t even know you, is the best tonic of all. So the second answer is; good reviews.
I’ve given my answers to what keeps me writing? I would love to hear from you. What keeps you writing? Please comment below. If I like your comment, you can make a more detailed post about your reason on my blog.