Been so busy the last few weeks with work, I’ve been meeting myself coming backwards!
But…I’ve also been writing, though I don’t know when – perhaps in my sleep. Not only writing but completed my thesis too. It feels like forever since I started my PhD, but now it’s all done except for dotting and crossing, etc. Which is great because I have another novel waiting to be written. It’s been very patient, but is now feeling free to prod me whenever I have a spare second.
If you’re a writer you know how it goes. It seems like you might have a free day to play out and just the fact that you’re relaxed means that ideas can start jumping around and demanding attention and before you know it you have the outline for another story or poem. I love it!
I’ve tried to update my blog today, and it’s driven me crazy. Couldn’t work out how to put individual posts onto pages, so have made categories too. Couldn’t tag on pages either, so that was a bit rubbish. I’m sure it’s just me not knowing what I’m doing, but I think this all works now. I’ll force my friends to have a look and let me know!
The opening chapters in my novel and an introduction to the characters.
Ade arrived in Manchester when she was 17, in 1945 with James, who she had met in her father’s compound in Nigeria. James was the white man who sometimes drove her father to his work with the foreign office. Ade was a willful child and at age 15 decided that she would marry James. Meanwhile her father began holding meetings against the colonialists within his compound and Ade, along with her cousin, Funmi, started to listen in to what was being said. Move forward to Manchester, 1945, and the 5th Pan African Conference as Ade finds her feet in a new city.
Elizabeth isn’t sure where she belongs. She has been brought up with stories from her mother ranging from politics to magic and all things in between. She spent a lot of time wandering around the house when she was younger making up her own stories. Her friend Dia becomes involved in the black British feminist movement in the 70s and renounces men. Elizabeth wants to go along with her but resists because she is still very much caught up in her identity issues and struggles to control her OCD.
Kutes is Elizabeth’s daughter and thinks that her mum and nan are mad. She has her own pressing issues and can’t be bothered to cater to her mum’s neuroses or her nan’s forgetfulness. Kutes is Mancunian born and bred and has no issues with who she is and where she belongs. But when her friend Wahida is about to be deported she helps to organise a fundraiser.
I am precisely where I should be; half way round the lake at Chorlton Water Park. It’s what I do on Monday afternoons. I finish work at two-thirty; have a late lunch in my car and then walk. I look at the trees, even when they’re bare like today. I listen to the birds, sit on this bench and watch the ducks. Sometimes there’s a heron. It stands on the left side of the lake. It isn’t here today. I can hear a magpie behind me, but if I don’t turn around I won’t see it and it won’t be bad luck.
jeez me mum never stops moan moan moan she needs to get a grip at least I rang her whats her problem anyways bout hope im gonna get changed whats wrong wiv these jeans an I have to wear me vest top cos ive gotta put me work tshirt on over it an there aint no way that skanky tops touchin me skin its gross
So, my husband has gone. Before I lifted the telephone to my ear and before Funmi greeted me I sensed that something had happened. I do not know how many hours I have been sitting in this chair but my body is stiff. My room looks strange to me as though I have just entered somewhere I do not know. Peter is dead. He is gone. If it had not been for that man, Sha! But what am I saying? Did he force me to come to this place?
So today I completed re-drafting my novel.
So tonight I am drinking a large glass of red wine!
My head won’t leave the novel alone, I don’t feel ecstatic, I feel anxious. As though I’ve neglected a dependent. I am so tempted to go back and have another look, because I know something somewhere doesn’t quite match up. However, I shall resist, give it 2 days, load it onto my kindle and read it through. This should help me to pinpoint any little niggles.
But for now, cheers!
I’ve been really busy with work, but spent yesterday and today on my novel and am almost there. I’ve worked through the most difficult parts and am on the home run. It’s really interesting finding bits that don’t match up and having to tweak them, so time is a good example. I will write the time in one chapter and in the next it’s reversed – pretty !clever, but not cohesive.
A concerted effort tomorrow and then it’s ready for the big read through.
This time next week I will be twiddling my thumbs with a completed manuscript and a completed thesis – what joy!
So I just spent 4 days being a real life writer. And it was great. I haven’t got through as much as I wanted but my novel has grown by 10,000 words, which hopefully is a good thing. Of course they could be 10,000 rubbish words which wouldn’t be good, and I won’t know until I drop it in my Kindle and read it. But I’m not going to do that until I get to the end. It won’t be long now. I think a few 6.00 am sessions before work should do it.
It’s really hard, this editing lark. But it is worthwhile. I think maybe there should be an ‘editing-your-own-writing-course’. Maybe there is. It’s so much easier editing other people’s work because you don’t have such a close relationship with the characters.
So this edit is for the PhD (yes it’s still going on!) and the thought that I have to go through all this again after it’s been submitted to the publisher and different changes are required fills me with joy…
I’m editing – again. And it’s taking a long time. And I almost feel as though it isn’t writing. But of course it is. And it’s probably the most important aspect. So, then, why do I find it so hard to concentrate? I think that getting an idea down on paper (or screen) is the easy part. It’s making that idea hang together properly that’s hard.
I’ve been using my kindle for editing, which surprises me, because I didn’t think I was that techy! But it’s really simple to do, I just have to email my novel to my kindle email address. And it’s been a great way for me to read it and highlight bits that don’t work and put notes for sections that need changing. And it feels like I’m reading something ‘real’, which is kinda cool.
However, even with cute gadgets, I would choose writing over editing any day. Except that I know, when I’ve completed this draft, I will feel fantastic. So maybe editing isn’t that bad after all…
PS: it can be noted that I’m updating my blog for the first time in a year which just shows the lengths I will go to in order to avoid the dreaded edit 🙂
It’s been more than 2 years since I updated my blog! It’s official. I’m a bit rubbish at it. I can change…
I can’t believe I haven’t visited since October. Perhaps I’m not a blogging person!
Well I’m here now, and I’ve been writing and editing and doing a thousand other things in my absence.
I visited the Emory Douglas exhibition at Urbis a couple of weeks ago, as part of a Commonword event. It was a real eye opener for me, of course I knew about the Black Panther’s but I didn’t realise the extent of their activities. It’s fascinating and educational and I definitely recommend it for a visit – it’s there until April, I think. Anyhoo, the whole point of the event was for us to be inspired to write a poem about the people behind the movement. I hardly moved from the seat next to the enormous print of Huey P Newton. But it was nothing to do with his physique, honestly, it was just that there was so much going on in the photograph. So I wrote a poem and it’s on the Commonword.org blog. (Yes I know, I’ve been there when I haven’t been here!)
What else have I been writing? Well I wrote a short story called imaginatively ‘a love story’ for the Scribble event in Rochdale yesterday. That was fun, even when two people said they ‘really enjoyed my poem’. I graciously said thank you. It so isn’t a poem. My good buddy Kim Wiltshire came along for support, which was great because she was able to give me some honest feedback about my performance, which is pretty important. In hindsight I should have invited someone who would have simply said I was great, not really. Honesty is one of Kim’s good points and she gave me some really useful feedback. (And said I read well, and I believe her).
I’ll try and come back more often, I forgot how much fun it is!
I went to a writing workshop yesterday, to observe essentially and support Commonword who had arranged the thing. It was with Bernadine Everisto and she was really good. There were lots of Shirley’s young Identity crew there and it was great to see them respond and write outside of what they would normally pen.
What was most interesting for me personally, was the absolute joy I got out of doing the exercises. The freedom to just write anything and not to be the one setting the workout was great. I think that all writers should attend workshops just for the hell of it. Just to remind ourselves of where we’re coming from and to surprise ourselves by the amount of stuff we can churn out on tap – especially needed when you’ve been slogging over a single chapter that won’t happen, no matter what you do to it.
So that was a nice introduction for me to this years Manchester Literature Festival, and the reading at St Ann’s Church was great too, although I was charged with taking photo’s for Bernadine and either I was crap at it or she is constantly on the move! I think I managed a couple of good shots though.