Elmore Leonard’s first rule of writing advice is, never open your book with weather. So with apologies to Mr. Leonard and his learned wisdom, I’m starting off March with a few comments about the state of the climate. It was not that long ago that I recall temperatures plunging to the minus twenties in the middle of February, jagged sheets of ice coating my apartment windows and blocking the view of the mountains of white beyond. I’m not going to complain about a more modest than usual February heating bill, but this is ridiculous. I’ve had to shovel the driveway exactly twice this entire winter. I missed doing it so much I actually shovelled both my neighbours’ driveways just to get in the extra few minutes of cardio. My better half’s allergies have been in overdrive all season as it never got cold enough to kill off the mould and spores of autumn rot. And we did double-takes this morning when birds started chirping outside. The geese have figured it out – they never flew anywhere this winter. Think there could possibly be a relation to, well, I don’t know, um, global CO2 emissions being higher than ever before? Nah, it’s sunspots. We’re actually in a cooling phase. It’s just Al Gore, Solyndra and the Islamofascisocialists trying to sell you solar panels. Think I’ll fill my Hummer with Super-Hi-Grade and then run over a spotted owl. Suck it, Mother Nature. FREEDOM!!!
Yep, it’s gonna be one of those days.
I love the Search Engine terms tracker on the WordPress dashboard. It is genuinely amusing to see how people find me, and I can’t help imagining the tremendous disappointment that must occasionally result. I’ve been fortunate to get a lot of hits from people who saw The Grey and are looking for references to the “Live and die on this day” quote – that at least relates to something of substance. I get a few from people searching for My Little Pony, The Verve, Coldplay, other search terms that happen to coincide with some of my random word strings, like “grahams wall of sound”. But some of these other search engine terms are just plain bizarre. The one that really made me laugh was “kesha good looking”. Someone on the hunt for images of Kesha for what I’m certain are nothing less than the purest of purposes ended up here? Granted some of what I write can hopefully be very thought-provoking, but those are definitely not the thoughts I’m trying to provoke. Eeeww. We won’t have none of that ‘ere, mate. Keep calm and carry on. Besides, silly rabbit, you should know that “Kesha” and “good looking” are not terms that relate. Ooh, how catty of me. Thanks, try the veal.
I wonder what it must feel like to have a voice that other people love to impersonate. Do they ever listen to themselves and think, “good God, do I really sound like that?” My own voice is quite unremarkable, so I enjoy dressing it up with different accents whenever the opportunity arises. The other day I was watching a YouTube clip of Michael Caine doing an impression of himself, or more accurately, Michael Caine doing Peter Sellers doing Michael Caine. It was all in good fun, of course, but how frustrating must it be that almost everyone you meet will be some wag who thinks he can “do you”? As I’m certain even ordinary lads from Glasgow or Belfast must roll their eyes at attempts by continentals to affect their unique, history-nurtured tones. One of the cardinal rules on whatever film set he happened to be working was that no one was allowed to impersonate Sean Connery, which I’m sure didn’t stop them from trying to slur “Missh Moneypenny” behind his back. That is the problem, naturally – everyone thinks they can mimic Sean Connery and almost no one can pull it off. The same goes for John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Johnny Carson and most of Rich Little’s repertoire. Voice actors, I’m told, often start from a celebrity impersonation when they’re working up a new character. The scratchy warbles of The Simpsons’ Moe the bartender began from what his performer Hank Azaria called a bad Al Pacino impression. Somehow I doubt anyone will ever be accused of doing a bad Graham Milne impression – except maybe myself.
So what are my goals for this month? Thirty-one days of possibility lie ahead, full of opportunity for both triumph and tragedy. Gonna try to keep blogging as close to daily as I can, have a new screenplay to start working on, and, because I find that putting it out there publicly is a good way to motivate myself, I’m going to begin sending out my long-gestating novel to agents and publishers. Hopefully the response will be as promising as that which has greeted my musings here. If all goes well, maybe, by the 31st, I will, like the lion, have a good reason to roar. Stay tuned!