Robert Pimm

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Where to write

So. The rather awesome J K Rowling wrote swathes of the “Harry Potter” series in cafes in Edinburgh.

Can other writers do this?

With iPad at the Wolfgangsee.

When I am writing major pieces – such as a novel – I write in longhand, in an A4 pad. While typing straight onto a keyboard is in theory quicker, I find sitting staring at a screen for long periods makes my brain melt. Making quick amendments to what you have already written is also clumsier, and slower, on a computer.

By contrast, on my A4 paper pad I am constantly making amendments, (more…)

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The Americans: Avenue of the Heroes

In 1979 I hitch-hiked for seven weeks around the United States.

What did I learn about the US of 1979, and what does that tell us about America today?  What about me?  How have I changed, and should I seek to reconnect with that carefree 21 year-old?

Find out on my page The Americans, where I have gathered together several episodes of my US odyssey.  Enjoy the ride.

The changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery, July 1979

Here is my account of a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C. on 6 July 1979.

Avenue of the Heroes

I walked towards the bridge.

Two metal statues flanked the road: huge, muscular, nude, bearded men on huge, muscular horses, each accompanied by a naked woman.

The women were both on foot.

One of the men clutched a child.  Looking at pictures now, I am reminded of the statue of a Soviet soldier unveiled at Treptow, in Berlin, in 1949.

Also sculpted in metal on a titanic scale, the Soviet hero holds a child in one hand and an improbably large sword in the other.

The children which the men in Berlin and Washington are holding look eerily similar.   (more…)

“Prep”: is this how women think? 7/10

Many years ago I worked alongside a young woman who, long before in another city, had had a relationship with a man who now worked in the building we were in.  Whenever she spoke of him, her voice quavered and her eyes brimmed with tears.  She was sure he was in love with her, but was dismayed that he showed no interest.  She longed for him, but had not spoken to him for years.  At certain times of day, when he might be due to leave work, she would go to the window and gaze out, hoping to catch a glimpse of him in the distance.

The cover of my (borrowed) copy of Prep

I thought of that colleague when I read “Prep” by Curtis Sittenfeld, published in 2005.  The book follows a 14 year-old girl, Lee Fiora, who leaves her family home in Indiana to take up a scholarship at Ault, an elite boarding school on the US East Coast.  Through her four years at the school, she obsesses about her relationships and develops a crush on a boy.

What a crush. (more…)

How to be understood: 7 tips

The influential gallery director sits down with the visiting guest in a museum cafe.  Both are speaking English but only the guest is a native speaker.

‘This place is epic,’ the guest begins, meaning the museum.  ‘Back home, the Arts Council is doing its bit but they don’t have the oomph to shift the dial.  ITV has done a whole series on cock-ups in UK local authority arts funding but it’s a dog’s breakfast.  You are blessed!’

Anish Kapoor show in Istanbul.  But the conversation could be about business, politics, or anything at all.

‘We are very lucky, yes,’ the local gallery director says, cautiously.  She has understood: her guest thinks the gallery director is fortunate, and something about a dog.

We live in an age where English is spoken to a high level as a second language by large numbers of people.  But native English speakers often make no allowances for (more…)

Hard boiled: Chandler, Spillane and Hammett

All I saw was the dame standing there in the glare of the headlights waving her arms like a huge puppet and the curse I spit out filled the car and my own ears. I wrenched the wheel over, felt the rear end start to slide, brought it out with a splash of power and almost ran up the side of the cliff as the car fishtailed.  

My 1960 Signet edition of “Kiss Me, Deadly”, swapped on a Greek ferry*

The opening lines of Mickey Spillane’s 1952 Kiss Me, Deadly are arresting.  So is the blurb: “Mike Hammer swears to avenge the killing of a satin-skinned blonde and rips into the vicious Mafia mob to run down her murderer”.  

When I first read Kiss Me, Deadly in the ’80s, I was shocked by the casual violence and sexism.   (more…)

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves: review and quotes

Those who know the code of the Pimms will know that the blogs on this site are consistently honest.  No fake news here, or indeed fake reviews.

So I have to report, sadly, that “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves” was not my favourite P G Wodehouse book.

In fact, of the mouth-watering shelf-full of Wodehouse I have enjoyed so far since 2017, it comes some way behind Thank You, Jeeves, Ring for Jeeves, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen or indeed Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, all of which I have reviewed on this site (click on links above) and all of which positively heaved with quotables.

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves”

To say that Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves is less hilarious than some other P G Wodehouse masterpieces, however, is not to say it lacks humour.  I feel it has less of a  (more…)

A new blog every week? Views welcome

It has been a good run.

Since 12 August 2017 I have written a blog every week, usually published on a Saturday afternoon, in addition to writing my new novel and one or two other writing projects such as the Hotel Stories.

Thanks to all my readers for clicking on robertpimm.com, and sometimes the links in the blogs.  It makes me happy when you do so.

And should I update my author pic from the 1981 black and white version?

It is not always easy to produce a blog every week.  Today, for example, I have written my novel for a couple of hours, have 30 minutes to write my blog, then am going out for a walk and to watch the England-Sweden game.

Usually my blogs take 2-3 hours to write – time when I could be writing that novel!

So I have a couple of questions for you.  You do not have to answer all or indeed any of them, but feedback would be welcome.  You can find a “comments” form at the bottom of this page.  Or you can write to me privately using the “Contact me” tab at the top of the page.

Questions:

(i) does the regularity of my blogs, ie one a week on a Saturday afternoon, make any difference to you, (more…)

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