The first draft of ‘A Foolish Escape’ is finished.
It’s taken far longer than I’d planned.
I started writing it at the back end of 2018 when we returned to the UK after leaving ‘Gleda’ for the last time.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that wasn’t a smart move.
Those of you who’ve read my books will know that I don’t hold back. With me it’s not so much wearing my heart on my sleeve as bleeding out on the page. I need strength to do that, and 2018 was a year that drained me mentally.
Selling ‘Gleda’ and moving on was the right decision. Trying to write about all the pleasurable times we had sailing her, right after it all ended, was not.
Time is a healer, we all know that’s true, but I underestimated how long the process would take for me.
I kept pushing; I did what I could when I felt like it, but writing only when you feel like it isn’t the way to get a book finished.
But the coronavirus lockdown took away any excuses I’d been making. Writing has been my escape during this uninvited prison sentence. Reviving memories of our pre-virus freedom has reminded me of how enjoyable life can be, and how it will be again.
The published version of ‘A Foolish Odyssey’ ended up at 91,125 words. It was too many.
My target for the first draft of ‘A Foolish Escape’ was 80,000, and it’s finished up at 86,625. That’s OK, by the time I’ve finished the second draft it’ll be a lot less. I’ve learnt to be more ruthless in editing my ramblings.
That work will start next week. I’ve given myself until the end of July to get the second draft finished. I’m under no illusions. The second draft is harder work than the first. But I’ll get it done, I’m a pro now.
This week I’ve taken it easy. Wednesday was a highlight. With the lockdown eased and the sun shining, we headed to the beach. I got out on the SUP for the first time since early March. I can’t tell you how good it felt.
I paddled away from the screaming and shouting.
I paddled away from all the madness.
Once I was far enough away I immersed myself in the silence and sat looking towards the horizon, pretended I was way out at sea once more.
A lot has changed in our world these last few months, but the ocean remains, uncaring, unchanged and utterly, utterly beautiful.
Keep the sun on your face and the shadows behind you and I’ll catch you next time.