Out of The Frying Pan: The Story of the First Spacewalk

On 18 March 1965, Alexei Leonov completed the world’s first ever spacewalk. Then things became difficult. His suit pressure skyrocketed, (pun very much intended), the cabin became dangerously flammable, the re-entry system failed and he, along with his commander Pavel Belyayev, crash landed into dense, snow covered, Siberian forest.

Siberian forests are home to several species of wolves and bears. March is breeding season. Breeding season is when these creatures are at their most dangerous, most aggressive. Alexei and Pavel had one pistol with which to defend themselves and the shelter of the landing craft, which, by this stage, had no power. 

Alexei Leonov himself painted this depiction of his spacewalk. He has created a number of other images that are well worth a google. All credit for this image belongs to Alexei Leonov.
When I first read about this story I thought two things:

1) How have I not heard about this before?

2) I’ve got to try and tell it.

What gripped me most was the idea that these two men, who had been to space, could fall to Earth and be presented with the most alien environment of their lives. I have attached a PDF version of a 15 minute radio script that goes some way to expressing this idea.

As much as I would like to say otherwise, writing this for the radio was not some inspired decision, a realisation that the radio would be the best medium for the story. I have now submitted this script for a creative writing module at uni entitled, ‘Writing for Radio’, needing a piece of work for this module is the only reason I chose to tell this story in this way.

I am very glad I did.

There is something about only having voices and the odd sound effect to depict events that would have many opportunities for spectacular visuals, (think Gravity meets The Revenant), that is incredibly exciting. As kids, we all make up our own worlds in which we go on fabulous adventures and these adventures are all the better for the imagined places we create. The beauty of radio is that it is a requirement of your listener to channel some of this childhood creativity in order to get the most out of their experience. In this way, it is incredibly engaging.

I am not done with this project. Once exams are finished, which, as of the date of this blog post, they will be in 23 days, I aim to turn my 15 minute script into a full, 45 minute, radio drama. (If anyone from Radio 4 happens to read this, email me in about 3 months and I might have something for you.)

For now though, I hope anyone who might stumble upon this, (which I know is likely to be a reader of one, thank you loving and very patient girlfriend), enjoys the read.

Out of the Frying Pan

Also, if you’d like to read more about the first spacewalk, here are some excellent articles:

BBC: The First Spacewalk

Air & Space: Learning to Spacewalk

The Guardian: Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space


In Pursuit of Perfection

Looking through my emails I can see that I set up The Write Site on the 10th of February, the date of my, and the, first post. I haven’t posted again since.

In part that’s because I’ve been busy. Busy with coursework for uni. Busy with trying to write a chapter a month for Achieving December and busy with actual, bringing the pennies in, work. But, as real as all of those things are and have been, they are excuses. I don’t have an audience yet so they are excuses I’ve been telling myself, (and my loving and very patient girlfriend), but they are still excuses. The real reason I haven’t posted anything is because I haven’t felt anything is good enough. This is the same reason I have always given up or put off ideas for stories. “I don’t want to write it until I’m ready. Until I can do it justice.” A phrase I have said far too often. All this has meant is that I didn’t write anything. How am I ever going to be “ready” if I don’t write anything? I’m not going to wake up one morning suddenly able to craft perfect sentence after perfect sentence.

But this year I have been writing. I haven’t put it off. Despite all the things I’ve been busy with, I have completed a solid first draft of three chapters. I’m even quite pleased with them. My intention was to put one of these up on this site. But they aren’t finished yet. So I haven’t. Even with a readership of one, (thank you once again loving and patient girlfriend), the idea of putting something out into the world that even I can still see problems with, is completely terrifying. I’m constantly pursuing perfection.

Of course, everyone knows this doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t stop my brain thinking it is the only acceptable standard. Which is why I’m writing this. This is draft one of one. It will not be perfect. It will be published.

In my first post I wrote:

I am going to try and publish something at least once a month to start, but I hope to increase the amount as time goes on.

That was too ambitious, I was aiming for too little. If my goal is to only put one thing up every month, there is an expectation that it will be something of a high standard. As has transpired, this is a standard I will never feel my writing meets, so I won’t post anything. Instead I’m going to aim for twice a week. It might be too much, it might still be too little, but either way I’m hoping it will take some of the pressure off. This isn’t to say that I’ll post any old crap, just that I won’t be as concerned about crafting every syllable.

My writing is worse because I’ve been so intent on it being just right. By allowing myself to be wrong a bit more often, hopefully I’ll write more. This might even mean I get a bit closer to that perfection I’ve been pursuing. What I’ve learnt though, is it doesn’t matter if I don’t.

The first post

As a first entry, this feels strange to write. As of this moment, I am very much writing into the void. There are only two people who know this space exists, and I am one of them. I hope, given time, the void will begin to recede as others find The Write Site, but if not, I’m happy to keep filling my empty corner of the internet with what I create.

This site is going to be my space for sharing what I am writing, be that novel chapter drafts, scripts, book reviews or even just my opinions on the world around me. I am going to try and publish something at least once a month to start, but I hope to increase the amount as time goes on. Given much of what will be posted will be in draft form, some spelling and grammatical errors might creep in, but I’ll try and keep them to a minimum. At heart though, this is a site for ideas.

Over time I may also branch out and have contributors post their own work here, giving them a space to share their  ideas too. That is a long way in the future though and, for now, I’m content to have finally written something as the idea for The Write Site has been banging around in my brain for a while. So, if there is anyone out there reading this, I hope you enjoy. If not, I am at least enjoying the process.