Laying the Foundations

Dilapidated buildingLast week we had new windows fitted after enduring almost a decade and a half of huge frames with tiny apertures that had been installed before I moved in, and that allowed very little air to circulate around our home. And very nice they are too, even if I do say so myself. But as with most household jobs, it failed to run smoothly and subsequently threw up another problem we hadn’t envisaged. In this case crumbling plaster around several of the windows that has fallen back to the brick, requiring damp treatment and replastering; a further cost we had failed to anticipate. Although the old adage ‘if you want a job done well, do it yourself’ is usually a fairly accurate estimation, in this instance it wasn’t possible.

But it got me thinking about my writing projects and how, in the same vein as building work, it’s almost impossible to identify problems until the job is done. Only after the author has pulled together the framework of a story can it be assessed as to whether its foundations are strong enough, and its building blocks properly laid to tell a good tale and withstand the critique of the reader. With these in place, any cosmetic alterations can make the finished product aesthetically pleasing. If one of these steps is overlooked or poorly executed the structure is diminished and the end result will crumble, just like my plaster. I think there are still a few damp patches in several of my stories that demand my attention before they can be deemed weather proof.

On a lighter note, yesterday was my birthday and my husband decided to take us out for lunch. A simple exercise, I imagine you’re thinking. But there was definitely something amiss around Sunday lunchtime, in our part of the world.

The pub we had chosen to visit was made inaccessible on all roads due to a police incident, which we later discovered to be a man threatening to throw himself off a building. On a Sunday? At midday? Then a cyclist, fully clad in hi viz gear, collapsed onto the road entwined in his bike before on-coming traffic and an audience of motorists and pedestrians, all aghast at this seemingly pantomime feat. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt… apart from his pride, that is.

All this confusion forced us to change tack and revisit a pub that has since miraculously transformed into an up-market restaurant. The view from the picture window overlooking the hills was spectacular; the beautifully orchestrated food on the plate, delicious; the bill – astronomical. I think next year we’ll eat at home.

And one last thought… my birthday was tinged with sadness at the news of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. A great actor who brought Truman Capote to life in the eponymously named film which served to outline the pinnacle of the writer’s life: the creation of the book, In Cold Blood. So young and such a waste of a talent, but thanks for sharing that talent, however short-lived.

Image credit: spetenfia / 123RF Stock Photo

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2 Responses to Laying the Foundations

  1. Only after the author has pulled together the framework of a story can it be assessed as to whether its foundations are strong enough and its building blocks properly laid to tell a good tale and withstand the critique of the reader.

    Yes, definitely. You need to look at the whole, something which, for years and years, I personally have been very lazy about. Interesting to compare it to installing new windows, though.

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