Coming home on the ferry today, the spray was over the top of the bus!
After a long and complicated day, I had to read my work (see here
) aloud to the creative writing class.
My voice was shaking, just a little.
But I did it.
Homework is a piece entitled or beginning with the words The clown was suicidal
Still flowering on..and on.. Papaver ruprifragum.
A little more about my class (I'll change the subject tomorrow - promise!). There are 17 students, 7 men and 10 women, mixed ages but predominantly young. The tutor, Alan McMunnigall, is experienced, organised, friendly and relaxed, and highly regarded. I think the discipline of attending and doing assignments, and being in the company of other aspiring writers will be the motivation I need to get down to some serious work. It's quite a long journey there and back and I'll use the time to work on a few pages of the novel each week.
That's the plan anyway - and don't worry, I'm not going to post all my assignments on the blog! Thanks for the encouraging comments....
Some of you may remember I am writing a novel (see post here
). It began as a fun way to get through February which was my least favourite month of the year. The first February (2011) with the aid of a book called No Plot, No Problem
by Chris Baty, I wrote about 25,000 words - half a novel. In February 2012 I wrote the second half, and the third year I began to edit. February 2014 I aim to have my final draft. (I've only worked on it in Februaries so far, but very intensively - see posts under Simply Write.)
I knew by now that I needed some help.
As a painter I am used to seeing all the elements of a piece of work at once - they are all there, visible on the canvas, and if I make a change I can immediately see what effect this has on the rest of the composition. With 50,000 words on I've forgotten how many pages, I find myself struggling to see the overall shape and structure.
I am now floundering in it so badly I enrolled in a course Writing Fiction: The Novel
to help me along. The class is in the Open Course programme at Glasgow University - one night a week.
I have never been on a writing course before, but I think I have struck lucky....
Well, here goes! I've joined a writing course - (more about it tomorrow). I think it is going to be great.
The Tutor's First Assignment.
Write to me of Love, he said,
write to me of Love.
Of love, in love, love-fifteen.
Maternal love? Love of life, love of fast cars, of crochet, of comic books, or cupakes?
Love of nature, for the love of God!
Unrequited or quited, love eternal, love divine. Self love and the love that dare not speak its name.
Love-in-a-mist, love is all there is, All You Need Is Love, especially In A Cold Climate or In The Time Of Cholera.
Amo amas amat, amour, and how many words do the Inuit have for snow, or the Masai for brown? The Greeks have agape, philia, eros, storge and more. We have Love. Oh, and Luv, luv, then there's luurve..and that little heart thingy, as in I Love New York.
Free love (In The Afternoon) in a love triangle perhaps.
It has its downside, love: you can be love-sick, you can't buy it, it's sometimes blind and Love Hurts you know. You can love someone to death....and it's Labours can be Lost.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, and have you tried to love your enemy?
There's the love them and leave them type, and the love-child, poor mite.
Love Me Tender and love my love handles, Make Love Not War, in A Summer of Love. Love is never enough they say, but don't forget:
Love Conquers All
Got out my satchel - I'm a student again. Yay! I always say I feel most alive when I'm learning....
What makes you feel most alive?
And can you fit more of it into your life?
Liz asked what would be my advice to someone who is thinking of starting a blog.
I would suggest:
Would any other bloggers reading like to add to this?
- Write about something you love and have plenty to say about! (I am amazed I have so much to say. I think those who know me would say I am quite a quiet person....)
- Post regularly - it doesn't need to be daily of course, but it should be consistent.
- I read somewhere to write about one subject at a time, and one aspect of that subject at a time. I try to do this - it makes for clarity and simplicity I think.
- Choose your title carefully. My Simply Live/Eat/Organise/Write......format allows me to blether away on all sorts of subjects!
- Have one or two ideas for posts that you can use when you are truly pressed for time.
- Read other blogs and analyse what it is you like (or dislike) about them.
- Watch the tutorial videos on potential blog platforms.
- Go for it. You won't die if you fail. You'll just be a bit embarassed that your words are floating forever out there in cyberspace (you can't get them back!) There are worse fates!
My (self imposed) task for February 2013 was to do some editing and rewriting work on my novel, but the underlying reason was to get through February without feeling a bit low as I used to always do at this time of year.
It worked. I've had a lovely February!
Editing is a very different thing from writing, as I'm sure you know. Writing my novel the NaNoWriMo way (see here
) was like a fast sprint - exciting, all consuming and very challenging - a lot of adrenalin going around. Editing on the other hand is a more plodding activity. Not as much fun I have to say, though just as challenging. Part of the challenge is to be objective about this creation you have grown to care deeply about and to try to get into the mind of a potential reader and see if it still makes sense!
So I have plodded gently through February this year, enjoying it, with plenty to occupy me and plenty to do still. I will be working on my novel for some months yet....but as the gardening season approaches, and with commitments to teaching, painting and community projects, I won't be as single minded about it as I have been through February.
I am so lucky to have work that I love, and to have found a way of making this month a month that I love too!Did you have a good February? (Or can you think of a way to make next February more fun?)
Yesterday's ending was from Counterparts
in James Joyce' s The Dubliners.
It chokes me up every time I read it. What can I say, except sorry to end the endings on such a tragic note....
A change of subject tomorrow - Hurrah!
Yesterday's words were of course by Vita Sackville West in her son Nigel Nicolson's biography Portrait of a Marriage. I love her garden writing about Sissinghurst best.
Warning! Today's last lines could break your heart.
I've been thinking for days about whether or not to use these - the saddest closing lines I have ever read - from another short story by a great writer whom I have quoted already....but it is such a powerful example of courageous and compassionate writing that I felt I should include it..
Oh Pa! he cried. Don't beat me, pa! And I'll...I'll say a Hail Mary for you...I'll say a Hail Mary for you, pa, if you don't beat me....I'll say a Hail Mary...
Couldn't resist illustrating yesterday's quote with my own jug, sitting on the table shouting 'Spring!'
The line comes from Doris Lessing's The Pit.
Today's closing lines are Scottish, and sad, from the author of a famous trilogy:
But she still sat on as one by one the lights went out and the rain came, beating the stones about her, and falling all that night while she still sat there, presently feeling no longer the touch of the rain or hearing the sound of the lapwings going by.
The risk with printing endings is that they can be a bit of a 'spoiler' I realise. Sorry!
The triumphant ending of yesterday's novel Grace Notes by Bernard Maclaverty won't, I hope, spoil this lovely novel for you if you have not read it before. The author makes you experience the world through the mind and the ears of a young composer....I reread this one every now and then.
I've not read this one, and don't remember how I came to find the opening lines:
A final sprig of flowering cherry among the white lilac and yellow jonquils, in a fat white jug...she stuck this in judiciously, filling in a peetern that needed just so much attention. Shouting 'Spring!' the jug sat on a small table in the middle of the room.
This rusty candle ring which I hang above the table on special occasions is a favourite thing.
Birch twigs now, and tiny flower shapes made of card,
glittery bits and gypsophila for Christmas 2012,
twinkling stars Christmas 2009, and at other times I use just ivy or some wild flowers, (though I've not photographed these, yet).