1. Recent goings-on.
Starting a newsletter during a health emergency seems frivolous somehow. But even in quarantine life goes on. So I sit in the garden, drinking in pale afternoon sunshine while April birdsong fills the air. Also the next door neighbour’s lawnmower fills the air.
I am on a laptop writing a sequel to my previous novel. They are both set on the Southern Oregon Coast. Oregon lies between California and the State of Washington.
I chose the location because the book is about people going missing and I needed fog. The Pacific Northwest has plenty.
I soon discovered that this stretch of coast is quite unique.
The ocean that crashes into the rocks is cold. The waters that flow along the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California come down from the Arctic ocean.
So if you fancy a dip wear a wetsuit against the chill. Also, beware of rip tides.
The mild coastal climate and sandy soil allow cranberry farming. Cranberry plants are vines, which grow in rectangular beds known as bogs. The bogs are flooded at harvest time and the fruit floats to the top ready to be harvested.
The world of “Cape Misfortune,” a fictional headland I invented, has become quite real to me.
I’m breaking my rule of not giving writing advice (because everyone is different) here reprinting advice I have found helpful myself.
Let’s start with this list taken from George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language,” published in 1946.
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Not quite sure what “barbarous” in the last point is, but let’s go with it.
A link to Orwell’s full essay is here: https://faculty.washington.edu/rsoder/EDLPS579/HonorsOrwellPoliticsEnglishLanguage.pdf
And a couple more:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci.
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov.
Finally, practical advice from Will Self: “Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.”
That is the end of my first newsletter! Thanks for reading. See you next month.
Link to newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/5a56b9d5f97e/newsletter
Copyright © 2020 Henry Anderson Author, All rights reserved.