Saturday, September 27, 2008

CONF 570: DRIVEN TO TEARS




Zapping down A4 last night to collect daughter from her friend's house, flicked the radio to come in half way through this. Turned it up to full volume & by the girly chorusy bit 14 minutes in a lump had appeared in my throat. At the Chiswick flyover the tears were falling dangerously. When I arrived had to sit in the car outside for a while to get myself out of complete jibbering, shaking wreck state.

Inside, parent friends of daughter's friend were out so I couldn't join them in the usual tankard of wine which was probably just as well. Instead, walked into brightly-lit kitchen full of 18 year olds sitting around being cool. Daughter & her friends were camped out on the trampoline in the garden. Managed to slip away unobtrusively but - blimey. Even I've heard this 500 thousand million times before - first introduced to my friend J and I by David Bowie at his Ziggy shows where we knew it as the Clockwork Orange music - but never quite this powerfully. Or maybe it was just my mood. Don't know what Tom Cruise is doing in violins & George Bush in the choir though.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CONF 569: STAYING WITH THE CRAP


Have just caught up with The Guardian's how to write series over my morning tea & granola.

Robert Harris quotes several of his favourite pieces of advice & this bit rang the biggest bell:

Have courage, and remember the words of my third authority, Philip Roth, in 2003. "Over the years," he observed, looking back on his career on his 70th birthday, "what you develop is a tolerance for your own crudeness. And patience with your own crap, really. Belief in your crap, which is just 'stay with your crap and it will get better, and come back every day and keep going'."

Something from Ted Hughes' letters has been lodged at the back of my mind as I've been compiling my new early chapters. He said Gulliver's Travels is something every aspiring writer should read. I read it so long ago I had to look at the first chapters again to see what he meant. What I noted was the effortless, calm but breakneck speed at which the story gets going.

Progress has been slow, I'm on Chapter 2 now, but Chapter 1 has been put in an online file labelled LOCKED AND DONE. I spent a lot of time on it and now it's dusted and not to be looked at again until I've finished the whole draft. I'm much more relaxed about this book, I've got a good agent now, I have some work and am balancing it all up into as pleasant a way of being as is possible. Yesterday I was in a foul mood but today am not letting anything get me down. Sometimes the supermarket haul gives me an idea of how things are going. Today's fresias, grapefruit, vine toms, and chives has a good feel about it. Maybe it's just the joy of getting away from our local rubbishy Waitrose.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

CONF 568: MUDDLING

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500 words a day? No.

Mile run a day? No. On Week 2 of fab podcast programme though, thanks to writer friend's recommendation. In 8 weeks should be up to 5K.

French every day? Um, once - did 4 'sections' though, & so can't remember any of it.

Crisps. No, on the whole. Did buy some assorted mini bags of Kettle Chips today but they're not for me (ha).

Bread. A bit of toast... one bacon sarnie or thereabouts...

Still in adjustment-mode, getting used to work working again and fitting it around. Writing hasn't had much of a look-in, thought have spent a day on the plot today and a half day on character yesterday.

Putting everything onto one document, eventually it'll be split into segments but at the moment I'm finding bits and pieces all over the place. Having too many master documents is like having too many calendars or diaries. The plan now is for everything to be in one place under its relevant chapter. Have had to forcibly stop myself researching or I'll have so many notes they'll become useless and timewasting. Character & story development all the way now but I have to keep on reminding myself.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

CONF 567: THE PLAN

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To St Pancras Champagne Bar, the longest champagne bar in Europe didn't you know, for a birthday drink with my sister. It was disappointing. So disappointing we hovered at the entrance for a bit before slinking off to a caff nearby. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was imagining, like, a really really long bar? Full of people, many of them drinking champagne. Some of them eyeing each other up, maybe. It's not long. It's not even short. It's round. Like a little round bar you'd get at any old terminus. True, the seats chunder off in a long, thin train-like line against the platform, low down and intimate. Fine if you're with a group of people you want to be with and not be disturbed by anything other than trains going in and out. The roof was good though. And the statue. The caff was so so.

Back to school/work day 2 today. The plan is forming:

500 good words a day on the novel, no more, no less

1 mile run, 5 laps of football field or equivalent, no more, no less

1 mini-lesson of Michel Thomas Advanced French (nicely mini and not as advanced as all that - yet)

No crisps

No bread

Plus work work. I did the email today saying am available, so last days of relative freedom.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

CONF 566: BACK TO CHAPTER ONE

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Am out and about again, sitting in the sunshine outside Costa's with peppermint tea and a sandwich. Feels good.

First day of school didn't start till noon & that was pushing it. Realised, as driving along at 11.30 this morning, that had completely forgotten to give daughter any breakfast. She hadn't thought to make herself any of course, too excited and busy finishing off homework.

So, after days of procrastination, cleaning & polishing about the place there's no avoiding chapter 1 now. Except to come here for a bit. Must also do the email saying am available for work again, but first things first. Have brought the plot summary I did on holiday and have downloaded the last draft. Am condensing several chapters into one, bringing forward a scene from C3 I think will start it off so... here goes then.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.