My grandparents had a swimming pool. They constructed it themselves along with the rest of their house, back when my father and uncle were boys. Palmerston North is far from the best place to have a pool -- the temperatures only climb into the twenties in the full bloom of summer, and even then, the wind and rain are not completely absent -- but this is perhaps the charm of such a thing. To persevere through a winter such as this, one requires more than the promise of nine or ten swims in a pool not much larger than a modern spa. But it was a kind of magic nonetheless, to strip off in the room my father and his brother shared, put my togs on and run to the pool for the first time. In the weeks leading up to this moment, there would have been jockeying with my cousins who were just as keen to be the ones who took the first plunge of the summer. Sometimes both sets of kids would be there, five of us lined around the edge of the pool, a parent entrusted with the countdown. Sometimes my brother and I would arrive forlorn in the knowledge the other Cliffs had christened the pool the day before, but still excited by our own first plunge. Once or twice it was just me and my brother who were the first… It is the middle of winter.I am back in Palmerston North after four years in Wellington, three years in Brisbane (now that’s a place where you can make full use of a pool), six months traveling to get to the UK, a year in Scotland, and six months traveling to get home. And here I am, christening this new blog. My previous blog, The Year of a Million Words, set out to do what it said on the label. While I only managed 800,737 words, I achieved the higher goal of completing a book length manuscript and getting it accepted for publication. While the old blog was useful in focusing my attention on writing, especially the volume of writing, it made it difficult focusing my attention on specific projects. If 2008 was the year of 800,737 words, the old blog dedicated to quantifiable output, I hope to focus my future blogging (*this*) more on the inputs in my writing life. The books I am reading, and my reactions to them. The things that have captured my attention, and I must work into such a form that fiction can be made from this fascination (at the moment it is Eugen Sandow, and shipwrecks around Cape Horn at the end of the nineteenth century). And the para-literary carry on that comes with being a young writer back in his homeland: attending the odd book launch (see my forthcoming entry about TRUST), settling on the cover and blurb for my book, being interviewed for the first time (about matters literary)… [I apologise for the fact this blog will probably become Spruik Central for A Man Melting & Other Stories around May next year… Forewarned is forearmed, I guess.] I cannot give you full access to the reservoir of my thoughts, but perhaps once and a while you will capture a glimpse of me stripping off my suit and tie, putting on my togs and leaping into the water.
Welcome to This Fluid Thrill.