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On not writing

I have not written a post in ages.  Ages!  What can I say? It is due to the finishing of many things.

I say finishing.  It is, of course, only a furlough.  The furlough, being, a bit of a holiday from obligation.  A week of sloth and sun, reading the juicy books that feel too long for home: Byatt’s The Children’s Book, Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, Mantel’s Wolf Hall, now at the beginning of Kingsolver’s The Lacuna.  Rich, epic journeys all, and my holiday was/is much the richer for them.  But Monday will find me back at my desk, back at the research and the writing.

The editing and rewriting of the first novel that I hope are done are not, of course, really done and the “work” I had and finished will begin again, then increase in earnest when the schools reopen.  There are autumn events to plan, a schedule to make for the rest of this year, the beginning of next.

There is a hope that I can go back to where I left the second novel, when the rewriting took over, and find something there…but I probably will simply begin again.  I probably will have to. I imagine I will read what I have left and think – no, that’s not it at all.  The first scratchings away at character and voice are so tentative – like parting clouds, like shaping mist.  What will I find when I read what I left?

But that’s for Monday.  Today it is raining in Liverpool. There is a book to be read, there are catch-ups of Masterchef to be watched.  It is still a holiday, even as “real life” reminds you it is waiting for you…

Little darlings

I think it’s a strange phrase, that, that you should kill your darlings in your writing.  Maybe I don’t know darling when I see it – I wouldn’t know what to slaughter first.  When I’m editing, I’m just trying to hone the story, trying to chip away at the other roads I might have taken, roads whose destination signs have been left as small hooked snags, unresolved meanderings, or descriptions that have no purpose whatsoever.  And then there is, simply, the pursuit of elegance…

But there is not enough time for this editing.  I am working with other people’s darlings, namely their children.  As is the way, nearing the end of term there are not enough days to fill with all of the workshops that want doing.  I finished a large poetry and science project yesterday, that featured some splendid site-specific installations and POV writing for insects, and am off today to continue the crafting of an alien invasion in Sittingbourne.  Future workshops over the next two weeks will feature a film with 200 Year 9s on the 3 Ages of Ramsgate, with some lovely poems about journeys to the famous bathing town from the points of view of Georgians, Victorians, and modern-day students, as well as days spent creating new games with business studies students and how to produce a festival with grammar school girls.  On the last day of term, the aliens will arrive and be sent, all things being well, back into space and I will contemplate a lie down and a stack of books, secure that we may live to eat a few more days.

So, that is not an excuse for shoddy workmanship.  The first book has been redrafted and I am playing hide and seek with typos and wrong words that don’t “tool” as typos, and have been sending first pages out.  Terrifically exciting.  Meanwhile, this book – the book for this blog – languishes.  It’s time will come, but not soon enough for me.

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