Whatever happened to Travellin’ Bob?

I’ve been a bit blocked lately. Not in the digestive-y way, you understand, but….well, in the head. Which is why there’s not been a lot posted so far this year. My Muse, always a bit hit and miss for me, has buggered off.  Again. Truth to tell, I’m out of ideas.  No inspiration.  Not for blogs, not for longer stuff like short stories. Or essays  And as for complete book length writing…….not a snowball in Hells chance!


I mean, it’s not as though is there is nothing going on in the world to bring a little inspiration. There’s Putin’s War for a start, but I’ve lost a little bit of, I suppose, focus as it drags on through the winter months. There are war crimes being committed on a daily basis by the Russian invaders, and heroic resistance by Ukrainian forces to counter them. Life goes on mostly, as people try to live as normally as possible amid the power cuts, lack of heating, food shortages, and the constant fear of being blown to bits. I should be able to write tons of stuff, full of righteous anger and frustration at the still patchy assistance and support being given by the West – the US, and EU and NATO are doing more than ever before, but it still seems insufficient somehow. But it’s all so sad and depressing, and I can’t bring myself to even follow closely the news coverage, never mind try to write anything to add my own spin to it.

There are other conflicts going on, of course, that perhaps understandably don’t get the coverage. In Yemen, for instance, where oil rich Saudi Arabia, armed with American and British weapons, is still trying to subdue a small, poorly armed but strategically important country that doesn’t agree with its views. Then of course American backed Israel, with a new Far Right coalition headed by the thug Bibi Netanyahu in government, continues its attempted genocide of the Palestinian Arabs (who admittedly are no shrinking violets when it comes to lobbing home made bombs, bricks and bottles around). Skirmishes as usual in Africa, in the Far East (Myanmar springs to mind) and of course the Butcher Assad’s civil war in Syria that has been dragging on for more than 10 years. And the poor sods in the northern province if Idlib now have to contend with the after effects of a massive earthquake that has killed nearly 20,000 people (and still counting) there and across the border in Turkey. God, what a world we live in!

That delusional oaf Trump, despite a lengthening list of court cases lined up against him and a shrinking list of loyal supporters, says he’s going to run again in 2024, against an ageing Joe Biden (assuming he decides at 80 to stand himself). What a choice America will have to make!  Back home in Britain the chaos caused by a combination of Brexit and Tory greed and incompetence continues to drag the country into the doldrums. Cost of living crises, the NHS, railways, postal workers, border control force officials and civil servants striking, beg for a change of government that isn’t likely to come for another year or more…. But, shit, I’m repeating myself: I’m sure I scribbled something about all that in December last or January this ……. The fact that not a thing has changed simply underlines the state of the nation (to borrow an American term).

But I can’t find anything to say about any of it (at least that I haven’t already said).

See what I mean about “blocked”?


As to stories and stuff…….well, that’s even worse.

The last new thing I wrote was in May/June last year, an addition to my short story collection, and I think it’s another pretty good one.  But since then, I’ve not had the glimmer of an idea. Nothing. Complete radio silence from My Muse. How I envy writers that can bash out a full length book or short story collection every year or so, and still find stuff to say! I’m buggered if I can. The Match remains unpublished, mainly because I don’t want to bung it out on Amazon without having something to follow it up with quite quickly, so this ancient saga of sex booze and football in the 1970s (originally written in the 1990s, for God’s sake!) remains a PDF on my hard drive. Another couple of shorts added to the collection would do the trick….. 

Where the hell are you, Muse, you tetchy and unreliable bitch? Come back, please (I’m asking nicely), and give me a nudge….

The memoir keeps it company. I re-worked a big chunk of it in the summer, but yet again I’ve become bogged down. That’s stupid, really, because I know what it’s about, the entire plot is my life. I don’t need to make anything up, just recount my memories. Perhaps I’ve just fallen out of love with it (or myself…) because I can’t see anyone except my close family having the slightest bit of interest in it and it just seems like a lot of work for basically nothing. But then that’s always been the point, not making any money out of it – just something for them to remember me by while they toast me on birthdays and Christmases when I’m gone and my ashes scattered to the four winds…. It’s a companion to The Match on my hard drive (but not even a PDF because it’s not finished yet).

But I dumped the travel book. Copying over all the travel pieces I’ve written for the blogs since 2010 (I know – that long!) and ordering them into some kind of logic gave me a first draft of well over 500 pages. I made some changes and expansions, filling in background about the places visited to add to my own experiences and thoughts that took it up closer to 600 pages – and I was still less than a quarter of the way through and I hadn’t started editing the essays themselves. It was too daunting for me. I deleted it – probably a mistake, but it seemed like a good idea at the (foggy, post Covid) time….


And here I am now, the start of a new year, struggling to find something new, preferably both interesting and entertaining, to say and bleating on about My (missing) Muse – again. And coming up with close to eleven hundred words in little more than an hour…… 

 That’s not bad, actually. When it comes, it flows, quickly and easily.


Muse? Are you there?


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