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Thursday, 9 April 2015

A bird, blurred – and other signs of spring


Just when I thought I could start coasting, it got busy. And spring arrived. It was only a few days ago that I noticed this hole in a tree outside my casita. I assumed it was the work of one of the woodpeckers I’d heard hammering away in the grounds. It may well have been, but the residents, two little birds with short, blunt beaks and long tails, are a different species altogether. Yesterday I watched for ten minutes as they darted in and out, flew to a nearby branch and spat out mouthfuls of sawdust. Here’s one of them poking his (her?) head and taking a breather.


My manuscript finally came back from my reader. She loved it. She also suggested I kill one of my darlings – a three-page ramble built around Dvorak’s New World Symphony – and tone down a rather lurid ending. I have learned over the years that the more people you ask for an opinion, the more confused you become. I decided some time ago to decide who I trusted and follow their advice. I have made both of the suggested changes and am now working on the dreaded synopsis, outline and author biog. I think I am slowly getting better at the first two; as to the last, I regard that as an opportunity to re-define myself as a buccaneering sort of chap whose life the reader will wish he had lived. It’s all about producing good copy – and hey, that’s my job, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, the elm trees around here are making zillions of lime-green seeds and raising everybody’s spirits – not that they need lifting: I think we’re all having the time of our lives.


A week on Saturday I’ll be heading to Santa Fe and Lamy, taking the train to Chicago and flying home. I’m sure I’ll be sad to leave this place – and the friends I’ve made – but there’s no better time than late April to return to England.

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