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.
I dreamt a word last night. Or it could have been this morning because it was with me when I woke up. I didn’t just hear the word I saw it written down and not in a form that is in the dictionary, which could be seen as me leading the way in variations of words.
So what was it? UBIQUITOUS – What a fantastic word! Didn’t really know what it meant when I woke up but it tasted like a sherbert dab in my mouth so that was good enough for me. So the short form I saw (with italics and other little squiggles) was UBIQUITA. Which to me makes it singular and more personal, even if it doesn’t exist.
Want to know what ubiquitous means? Dig out that dictionary…
I’m writing, it’s happening. Despite being ridiculously busy with four different projects at the moment I’m back on track with my novel and first thing every morning my 800 words are going on the page. Might seem like nothing, but to me it’s a bigggggg thing. So hopefully when work calms a little I’ll be writing my novel in the morning and my short story in the afternoon. Oh what bliss! Wouldn’t life be great if I could just write, write, write and magically all my bills paid themselves – I have a dream…
I have to write 800 words every morning on my novel so that I can finish the first draft by October. I’ve been a bit slack for the last couple of weeks and today I’ve only done 400. I don’t know why I’m so rubbish sometimes, but such is life. I’ll do better tomorrow!
I’m not writing enough. That’s something that you’ll be seeing a lot on here. I want to. I have the inspiration. I have the work space. I have the time. So what the hell’s going on? Probably the fact that I have 3 jobs I’m trying to juggle at the moment, plus freelance stuff that pops up now and then, and let’s not forget the PhD that is racing into it’s final year with the first draft of the novel to be completed by October. And I’m tired, which will be another constant refrain.
Anyhoo! I took my short story that I’m working on to the Commonword Advanced Novelist Group last night. I got some great feedback, especially from the Mello man. And interestingly I didn’t take anything personally, it was all about the writing. I’m going to post what I’ve done so far just to track the changes, to see what happens with it as I edit and apply the feedback I’ve received. The bits in italics are actually my thoughts and shouldn’t be in the text in such a didactic manner, which I knew as I was re-reading it to myself. It’s the background information that the author should have but not necessarily needed for the story if the writing is strong enough. I can drip feed information as and when.
I was interested to learn that even writing in third person I need to follow one character. I did this in the first novel I wrote for my Masters, but then the feedback was that it should be in first person because the writing’s so close to the character. I will have to find the happy medium somewhere. And actually while I’m writing this I could be writing so I think I’d better get on with it!
I started a short story last Friday, I had an idea floating around and wanted to see how it would work out on the page. I wrote the first four pages longhand sat on a bench in Dunham Massey. I was pecked at by many flesh eating flies and one actually drew blood on the sole of my foot, hmph! Anyway the writing went ok and typing it up I was able to make changes, which I find really useful for a first draft. So I’ve just added some more and I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s not in my usual style and it’s a little bit dark I think, but I’ll try and finish the first draft by tomorrow and see how I feel. If it’s ok’ish I’ll probably submit it to a magazine, but I’ll try it out on friends first. I don’t like rejection…