Lucy talks to the painter Gina Higgins, creator of the American Noir Blog

Well I had a good night sleep last night. It was so unpleasant here that I went to see a friend for a couple of hours in the evening over where she lives (lovely quiet village replete with a school which has recently doubled in size and lots more young children to annoy her and pull up her wall flowers). I am still trying to get the visuals of "God's disco" out of my head :0

I pondered quite a lot about your question about 'getting into character'. I think it is not so much 'getting into character' which is more acting anyway but I suppose the sense of transformation you pinpoint must come in that whilst I definitely am not them I am in their world, in imagining it I see it in my mind's eye and it is vivid. As my dad always said the pictures are much better in one's own head anyway as not having a television or screen in the home when young there was ample freedom to day dream which is what the writing is really. So you are an observer of sorts in their world, but not them – this makes sense. I was so much more creative before computers – even in the 90's I did so much more art. I only really got into computers in the late 90's. I guess I kind of envy the pre-television population!

People ought not to be so keen to believe everything they are told or read for that matter but what can we all do? Sense will prevail in the end (vis a vis the 'bigger picture'). I love the bigger picture! It drives me nuts when people get caught up in the petty details.

As for the Wikipedia page I think we should wait to tackle it (also I am not dead-yet April 2020). The lady who wants to do it is one of those who dashes about frantic earning money. She says she must pay for wine and shoes. A slave to wine and shoes! I must meet her!

Concerning the old'uns I really do think it is almost like 'Cocoon' which I never saw but gather is about the elixir of eternal youth. I never saw it either – it looked boring. However it sounds as if your mother is really quite infirm whereas mine is hell bent on 'keeping going' whilst complaining loudly to anyone who will listen about the medical options being a 'second class service' although you can't stop her from wizzing about in her car, getting in coaches, digging her allotment and WhatsApping me at midnight. Well I did stop that in the end by changing my mobile number! That's funny. No, mine is medically disabled, but I also have the problem of her being a highly-strung artist who had a fabulous and famous career in the 70's & 80's and is now very dissatisfied with her current predicament.

So exciting about the 8 new pieces etc etc. I must get back to California. My friend in San Francisco comes here quite a lot as her (twin) sister lives in South Wales and we manage to keep in touch quite well as the internet is rather wonderful really. Yes!

I now seem to have a friendship with a somewhat characterful lady over the way who likes to do the gardening in denim hot pants. She has a Maori boyfriend who is a plasterer and very muscular. He has taken to conversing with me over matters concerning her chihuahua dog which is always trying to run off. This entire paragraph is a potential painting, you know.

I have now marked up 50 odd chapters of the novel 'The Feminist Playwright' – not ‘live’ –yet – sorry folks! I have written about 6. I have a new character called Tatiana who I think as a character is the new Mary. People are upset to hear I may be sidelining Mary but this is not the case it is way of dealing with issues such as ageing and also introducing some new people such as her parents Björn and Nancy and also trying to write in a slightly 'softer' style and some different worlds (they are European industrialists). But anyway as that old soul record goes 'If it don't fit don't force it'. It is my vision of myself as Judy Blume as opposed to Larry McMurtry or Alison Lurie or another hot shot Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist you care to name. ...Is there anything better than writing?! NO!!!!!

© Ellis Johnson