A potholed detour through Zimbabwe…

Writers have to be focussed, churn out at least one blog a week, spurn writer’s block, still make a living while writing, and… oh, I forget the rest!

I think I am okay with spurning writer’s block and eking out a living while writing (‘making a living’ is stretching the truth somewhat, even for someone who is energised by fabricating lies and calling it fiction). But the remaining items in the above list are as far from me as my first book is from the NY Bestsellers List. But that’s okay, I tell myself, because I am still a writer. I write everyday, whether I feel like it or not. And that’s no big deal, because I always feel like it.

So, she says, finally getting to the point… With Scarlatti done and dusted and awaiting greatness (and suitably impressed publishers), I feverishly began the sequel, Blackbourne. All was proceeding according to plan (pantser style), and then it happened: a detour loomed ahead in my brain. I was adamant I would not be side-tracked, distracted, or whatever else writers are accused of when they dump one book (in this case, most definitely temporarily), in favour of another nagging idea. Let’s face it, how do you know if the story that is just a twinkle in your eye (as opposed to the real words of Current Project before you) is any good unless you follow the trail of neuronal breadcrumbs that the birds might steal while you sleep (or, ahem, write something else).

And the twinkle grew until it was a searchlight backed by a bullhorn. So, I am blameless if I cannot focus on Blackbourne anymore. I have every right, nay, duty, to preserve my sanity. Robert-MugabeKillbob.com is a jaunt through African politics and human rights and what ifs. If that sounds clever and important, you’ve been misled.

Killbob.com was first attempted last year, but it was not its time, as the stewing process that precedes my books was not yet complete. However, when I picked up my pen again (after trashing everything else I had written in a previous manuscript), the story had spawned a life of its own. The previous attempt had not left a story filling my brain. But, now normality has moved out to make way for things that should be unthinkable.

For instance, should anyone assassinate a tyrannical leader to save a nation? Is it morally reprehensible (as I suspect) or is it a good deed? That is the basic thought behind the story of killbob.com. Would the international community be prepared to pay some kind soul to bump off a political wart that just won’t disappear, no matter how many times you blow it to the moon and wish it away?

Sounds like serious stuff, right? But three sisters in killbob.com rise to the challenge, in a manner of speaking. Actually, a couple of bottles of wine land them in some deep dung and they are too scared to backtrack, in case they get into other kinds of trouble — including fraud. So they embark on an adventure that they are not prepared for.

Then there’s Androcles, the five-year old Zimbabwean boy whose dying mother (the last adult in the remote village) says that she prayed to God, and a man is coming to help to take her son to safety, beyond the dangers of the village that is run by desperate and dangerous children. Who is this educated old man, Freeman? I asked myself the same question for a couple of days as I wrote him in, and I was surprised and delighted at the answer.

Enter Zimbabwe, a beautiful country filled with beautiful, friendly people and amazing landscape. I know this from experience. But I do not know as much as I should about the complex political situation. And this is where I plan to, finally, put blogging to good use. I want to find out as much as I can about Zimbabwe, and then to chew my cud (I hope that animal-husbandry terminology is correct) publicly on my blog. Hopefully one or two of you will correct me where I am wrong, or cheer me on when I get it almost right.

Regardless, thank you for reading this far. Hopefully I’ll see you around in the coming weeks. And I pray that Robert Mugabe lives at least until I finish the book. After all, he is already 90 years old, and completing the book after his death will seem stoopid, at the very least.

Long live Bob!!




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