Quantum Relativity

One of the projects I’m working on has the physical attributes of a book. It looks like a book and it reads like a book (or will do when it’s finished). In its present state it contains about 80,000 words all typed up in the same Word document. The content is snippets from diaries, journals, and scraps of paper going back to when I started writing such things half a century ago when I was twelve or thirteen.years old.

I’ve got a few more bits to type up – say a couple of thousand words. When that chore is complete the real work will begin and I reckon it will take about a year. The idea is to then superimpose a story over these seemingly random unconnected scribblings, so the end result will be a kind of meta-fiction-autobiography-fantasy type of thing. So far it looks like there’s a Magic Elf and a thirteen-year-old Alien girl involved in the plot. Continue reading

This is it

Besides the work on other people’s books I do as a publisher I am working on at least three of four of my own.

The second and third books in the DI Frank Lee trilogy – Beats and Bones – the first book Bums has already been published. These are two full-length novels.

The second edition of my poetry collection – The Words in Me, though I may rename it.

This is it – is a full length novel-cum-autobiography. The title and content may change

So this is something I wrote about This is it just now

Friday October 30th 2015

For the blog

As well as all the other stuff I’m working on at the moment I’m writing an ‘experimental novel’. Its working title is ‘This is it’. It’s not easy to explain without sounding like an apologist for Tracey Emin’s Bed, but that is what it is – the Tracey Emin’s Bed of literature – at least that’s the sort of thing is might look like to the casual reader (which is what Tracey Emin’s bed looks like to the casual observer – or I may be wrong and Tracey Emin’s bed might actually be rubbish as may the book I’m working on.).

The point is, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of my book because I’m writing it only to myself – my future self in fact. So I make the rules and revise them or break them as I please. So, if you were really nasty and / or cynical you could say it’s a wanky book, created only to please myself.

The process by which I am writing (or constructing) the book might be of interest though.

So far I have compiled a total of almost 45,000 words. Some of it is new writing, some of it is copied from old documents in the depths of my hard drive and some of it is typed in from the many dozens of notebooks and thousands of loose papers usually lurking in cardboard in my attic, or more accurately, because I’m working on them, they are now dominating the dining room.

There is so much material in my personal archives that I am having to be very selective in choosing which pieces to include in the new book. This is a good thing because most of the material is so unpolished as to be unrecognisable as writing in the first place – still I hang on to it because I know that underneath the patina are gems waiting to be revealed – whether I will ever have the time to hack away at them is another matter.

The book is a novel, and it is also an autobiography. Obviously it can’t be a full autobiography because how can you get a whole lifetime into a book, or even a library. As a novel it is hard to pin down to any genre but let’s say it has elements of fantasy, magic-realism, science-fiction, crime, suspense, literary, historical, speculative (whatever that is) and I can’t be bothered to carry on searching for words to describe stories.

Let’s put it this way – it is definitely a story, it is definitely fiction, and it is definitely true.

And another thing – this piece is being written for a blog post, but I’m also going to put it in the book.

 

first impressions of the new reality

After a slightly stimulating chat with a mate today regarding the nature of reality that incorporated such things as quantum foam, event horizons, and Zeno’s paradoxes, I realised that every moment is unique. Ha! So what eh! Of course every moment is unique, I mean, in one moment my thumb is hovering above the space bar on the keyboard I’m using and in the next the same thumb is touching the same space bar. And, if you consider a moment to include every other event that is occurring at that exact point in time then it becomes even more unique (if there is such a thing as a sliding scale of uniqueness).

So, between one moment and the next, countless molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles have moved in some way, in fact it’s probable that every single particle that exists in all the infinity of the universe has moved, because nothing is actually static, nothing stays the same, everything changes, all the time.

zenoThe friend who I was talking to – over a cup of tea in the Chapter Arts Centre as it happens, later emailed me a link to a wikipedia article about Zeno’s paradoxes, if you want to find out more here it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno’s_paradoxes

I have read it and will go back to it and I promise I’m not being lazy but I am not a scientific writer – I don’t really care about science – and probably don’t believe in it anyway. Science is just a feeble attempt to make sense of something that is beyond making sense of – the something that exists before science and will exist when science fades, as all things do. No matter how far out science goes, how deep it penetrates, how far back in time, or forward in time, there is always something more, something that science cannot explain.

Also philosophy – which is a sort of science in that it tries to prove something using logic and, arguably, evidence. Yes, also philosophy is merely a wisp on the breeze of eternity.

So, if science and philosophy fail me what is left?

No, it’s not religion.

I was trying to get to a point, so let me see if I can just jump to it without all the bother of following a structured logical path.

OK, this is it. You are a different person than you were a moment ago, the universe you are in now is a different universe than the one you were in a moment ago. Every moment is another you, another universe.

I would go on but I am tired and no one is listening, not in this universe anyway!

how it all works – part 1

It’s all a bit random and it could have all come together in endless different ways, but this is the reality we have to deal with. According to the latest quantum thinking there are multiple versions of the universe and they all exist in parallel. I find this difficult to understand, or to get my head round, as they say. Maybe that’s because my head isn’t the right tool to do the job of understanding, maybe it’s too small – after all, even just in physical terms, my head takes the space of a small watermelon.

Comparatively, a melon-sized head is infinitely small in an infinite universe, even our dear Mother Earth is a tiny smudge in the night sky when viewed from Venus and in the context of the galaxy our precious planet is a grain of sand that’s slipped between the pebbles on Brighton beach – There are up to 400 billion stars in our little galaxy – The Milky Way; and and there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe – and that’s just the observable universe and that’s just one of countless parallel universes.

milky-wayWhat some people think The Milky Way looks like. There’s 400 billion stars in there.

The numbers dissolve into mulch and become meaningless, but let’s just say that in the grand scheme of things a single person is beyond insignificance. But I know, yes, I know, that one single person is also the most significant thing there is or was or ever will be, because in the end, without that person, without that consciousness to experience it, those billions of galaxies and gadzillions of stars might as well not be there. They’d be unseeable and unknowable and unknown forever.

Doesn’t mean we’ll ever get our heads round it though. I mean, think about it. If we could understand the multiverse with something the size of a melon then there’d be something very wrong with it (them).

So, how does it all work then?

Maybe I’ll come back to that one.

In the meantime:

It’s only 9 am. As usual I have Radio 4 on in the background. I do sometimes listen to Radio Wales or Radio 6, and occasionally Radio 3, but more often than not Radio 4 is my companion during the day and has been for decades. I’m just wondering what that’s done and is still doing to my take on how it all works.

“You’ve got to fight for every little thing you want to achieve.” Words of wisdom from Rebecca Adlington, Olympic swimmer, who is the guest on this morning’s Desert Island Discs. But, is that true or is it just a part of the world view we’re expected to stick to and which is propagated on mainstream media such as BBC Radio 4. What does a lifetime of absorbing Jenny Murray’s drone and Melvyn Bragg’s whine do to your mind?

Who the fuck am I? What would I be like if I had donated my brain to Radio Hip-Hop instead? Would there be any difference anyway, since both types of media delivery are based on the idea that we must share a common vista. What if you didn’t engage in all that? One of my Facebook friends has just posted a link to a news story about a man who became a hermit for 27 years. The headline is: ‘What Happens to Your Identity When You Don’t Speak to Anyone for 27 Years?”

The hermit article goes on to say: ‘Anyone who reveals what he’s learned, Chris told me, is not by his definition a true hermit.’

Maybe I’ll come back to that too.

God, that Rebecca Adlington is full of herself isn’t she? You’re just a swimmer mate, you’re not going to bring world peace or anything. OK, she’s a success, I get it, she’s worked hard for what she’s achieved, she deserves it – yeah yeah OK. And she is quite young I suppose so perhaps her full-of-herself-ness is forgiveable.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not really, I understand that life and everyone, every creature even, who possesses it, is as complicated as the aforementioned multiverses, but that doesn’t mean I buy into the middle-class, middle-of-the-road, middle brow stew that the BBC and particularly Radio 4, has been pumping into my brain since I crawled from the swamp of adolescence.

I will not be brainwashed.

Resist . . .

Resist . . .

Resist . . . . . .

click here for part 2

in anticipation of going out

18:54

Mark Steel is on the radio in Paisley doing his usual low-level piss-taking routine, tickling the locals with his research and turning trivial facts into jokes. To be fair, he’s quite entertaining and informative, but I’m not sure if it’s very funny. News on soon, then The Archers. I’ll probably leave the radio on – it provides some background company while working on my own even if I don’t actually pay any attention to what’s coming out of the speaker.

At some point in the next few hours I will be walking to town (i.e. the centre of Cardiff) to meet my wife, who is out after work, celebrating a colleague’s retirement.

I thought I could write a piece about expectations versus actualities – in this case, writing down what I expect to happen on the hour plus walk to town and back and then, after the event, writing down what actually happened.

But, I can’t imagine what will happen on that walk, partly because I just can’t – you know, it’s just a blank when I try to sift through the possibilities – there’s nothing there. The other reason I can’t imagine what will happen is because I don’t want to imagine it. Part of me had the idea to speculate and write it down, but a stronger part of me simply doesn’t want to know.

I wonder if that’s the deal we’ve made with life – you know, just get on with it, take things as they come, don’t think too much?

I heard on the aforementioned Radio 4 earlier that the accent a person speaks with has absolutely no correlation with how intelligent they are. So, just because you speak with a posh accent doesn’t mean you’re clever and/or just because you sound like a daft sheep-shagger doesn’t mean you’re thick.

Fair enough, at first glance. But if you think about it, have you ever heard a bloke who speaks with received pronunciation asking for a couple of quid to clean your windows? Or have you ever seen a sheep-shagger collecting an Olivier award?

The conclusion, for me at least, is that being successful, at least in monetary and mainstream terms is not a measure of how clever you are. You can be stupid, sound posh, and be successful or you can be intelligent, sound crass, and be poor.

It doesn’t really mean anything, all this, you know. It’s just words, it’s an attempt to connect, to share some common vision – to prove that we’re not alone.

19:15

Anyway – The Archers has just finished  and some review programme has just come on where some middle-class reviewer is talking about a Norwegian Crime Thriller which of course ‘is not just a Crime Thriller’.

It (and this) is getting boring.

19:53

Still sitting here, Radio 4 still on, now it’s an adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. Lots of cleverly constructed dialogue but nothing new of course – it’s a story that’s been told a million times before and in a thousand different ways. Good old Cyrano has provided overpaid employment for many hundreds of scriptwriters, actors and directors.

Maybe that’s the answer, you can be too clever for your own good. Just find something that is considered ‘good’ by the arbiters of culture, and copy it, being careful to add a little twist so you can claim it’s your own work. Maybe that’s the real intelligent thing to do – who needs original thought and innovation?

Here’s a sketch of what’s supposed to be a beggar.

beggarA Beggar goes Pop!

Despite the speech bubble, the thing in his right hand is a crutch, not a gun.

Anyway – it’s just a doodle related to the cover of my next novel – ‘Bums’. There’s more about that elsewhere.

21:55

SEAGULLS

I’ve been told there’s no such thing as ‘seagulls’ – they’re just ‘gulls’ apparently, but a lifetime of conditioning will not allow me to accept that, And while we’re on the subject of the nomenclature of birds, since when did some birds of prey become known as ‘raptors’? Anyway, I don’t really care about all that, but we were stalked by seagulls just now, on the way back from town. We bought some chips on the way up the main road and ate them as we walked home. A seagull circled above our heads, then another, then another,and so on, until there were at least seven of them; and as they circled they descended in slow spirals.

We covered the chips up and they dispersed, looking for another incorrectly filled recycling bag to shred no doubt. I thought about taking a photo but by the time I got my phone camera ready they’d gone over the rooftops. I took a picture anyway – of a seagull-less sky.

seagulls-notSeagulls – Not!

Then I saw half a bag of discarded potatoes on the pavement. I guess the seagulls weren’t interested in them because they weren’t cooked.

Fussy birds.

spudsVery bad photo of half a bag of spuds

Ah yes – it was a nice walk to town and back – a lovely evening.

Heads or Tails?

Heads-or-tailsBranwen is an A* pupil who has been offered university places at both Oxford and Cambridge. She’s agonised for days about which one to choose. She’s weighed up all the pros and cons and it’s pretty much 50-50.

She decides to flip a coin. If it comes up heads she will choose Oxford; if it’s tails Cambridge will have the privilege of her attendance.

In a parallel universe a Branwen who is identical in every respect down to the last sub-atomic particle has, of course, exactly the same dilemma, and does, of course, exactly the same thing.

This scenario is not science fiction but is based on theories that are taken very seriously by very serious scientists

The Branwens in both universes flip their respective coins. Remember, they are exactly the same. Every thought, every emotion, every breath is exactly the same for each of them. Since there is not a sub-atomic particle of difference between them they are, in effect, exactly the same person.

The coin spins in the air and clatters to the floor of the little coffee shop where Branwen’s working for the summer holidays. She leans down to look more closely at the coin, supporting the small of her back, it’s still sore after the fall from her bike yesterday.

The coin lands heads side up in one universe and tails side up in the other. Now we have two versions of Branwen. Branwen A heads to Oxford while Branwen B takes up residence in Cambridge.

Branwen B loves Cambridge and settles in straight away. In her third year she meets Joseph, a politics student. They fall in love and get married. Joseph wants to devote himself to a political career. Branwen gives him the emotional and financial support he needs to do it.

Ten years later Joseph becomes a Member of Parliament and over the next twenty years ascends the political ladder until he becomes Prime Minister.

Branwen A can’t settle down in Oxford and drinks too much alcohol for her own good. She skips lectures, neglects her coursework and misses exams. In her third year she is asked to leave.

Branwen A goes back to her home town suffering from a breakdown and lives the rest of her life dependent on medication and benefits. Joseph meanwhile, loses interest in politics and becomes a corporate lawyer.

Now, along the way both Branwens make thousands of choices, for example, whether to get a bus to the market or cycle, or whether to wear the red or the green coat. You could say that every time Branwen makes a decision a parallel universe version of Branwen makes a different decision.

This leads me to conclude that if you’re sitting there with your head in your hands lamenting that you should have gone to Cambridge instead of Oxford, or you should have got the bus that day you cycled to the market and got flattened by that idiot in the taxi, then you should stop fretting. In a parallel universe you did go to Cambridge and your husband’s the Prime minister. (For the sake of balance, in yet another one you are the Emperor of the Galaxy.)

Note: I may come back to this. Actually, in another universe I do come back to this and write the most brilliant philosophical piece that leads to the Nobel Prize and world peace, while you win a hundred million on the lottery.

Sorry it’s not this one.