A Growing Addiction
Writing is one of those things that, for me at least, is highly addictive. When I first started writing about my travels, I would work feverishly to complete the text select the photographs as quickly as possible after my return.
Now, as the text for a typical trip has expanded to be anything up to 15,000 words, I find that I have to write it as I go. Or, at least write a first draft while it is fresh in my memory. I take my laptop and spend the hot African afternoons in the shade, writing a few hundred or, at most a few thousand words about the adventures of the day. When I return home, I read through this and make whatever corrections and changes that i feel it needs to be more coherent.
The thing is, though, once I'm finished, I'm left with this urge to write something else. Normally, I can push back against the urge and, after a few days it works out of my system and I can get on with other, more mundane everyday tasks. This year, however, I have not been able to do this.
Words, Words and More Words
Since I returned from Tanzania at the end of February, I've simply kept on writing, probably about 100,000 words so far, with no end in sight. I've written the book about my trip, both the coffee-table photobook and a smaller paperback version - they are both now published and available worldwide.
I've also written 'A Slice of Love', a deeply personal, frank, honest and explicit snapshot of probably the most important part of my life. I wrote it for myself, as a form of therapy, to help my ongoing need to rationalize and compartmentalize my thoughts and feelings. I couldn't settle until I had completed it, cover and all and had ordered a copy for myself. There will only ever be a single copy. I'll never order another and this one will stay in my publishing cabinet for the rest of my life. If someone happens to read it after I am gone, I think that'll be fine. The other person the book concerns will hopefully forgive me for my hubris and candour. I might tell him that I've written it when I next see him, giving him the option to have it left to him in my will.
I'm still not finished writing though. I'm trying to get out of my head that novel that I always thought I might have buried in there somewhere. It's a bit more difficult than biography - actually, a lot more difficult - and there might be still too much of me in it. It also might be a bit too graphically, erotically, explicitly gay, which limits any potential audience severely.
Whatever, I'm not stopping now and, If I don't like it at the end, I'll simply try again in a different genre. I've found something that I can do whenever I feel like it. I can pick up at any time and let go when I've had enough. It's equally taxing and relaxing and I think I love it.