Archive for the ‘writing’ Tag

I am in that place…

I am in that place between years… I used to work and I will work again… I used to go to bed and sleep, for now, I watch films too late and lie-in till I hear the bin men in the street, then rush to catch them before they leave. I shop, with a thousand million shopping drones and feel like I do in church, waiting for it to make some sense, while those around me seem to get it, I do not. I am going through the motions. I am waiting for my PUK code, my MAC code to release me from the contract with this year, so I can move on to the next. I am sorry 2011, it isn’t you, it’s me… 2012 looks so appealing, I know it’s just flirtation, that once I’m in it the old routines will seem the same, but I have to try, or I will never know. There’s a few slugs in the old carton, but I want to open a new one, fresh and cold. I am in this zone, this place, a matter of days before I can move on.

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Back to School

Summer is finally over, Curly Boy’s first day back at school today. New teacher, new uniform, except the trousers are too small and I shall have to go and change them today, sending him in an old pair. He has shot up over the summer and I realise what a different body type he is from my other lanky two.

I am planning on blitzing the writing now, just two weeks before I start back at work, losing my precious day off as the grip of finances tightens… hopefully teaching one night a week, if the bookings start rolling in- Nottingham Trent University are running a series of Creative Short Courses out of their Art & Design Department and I pitched to do a ten week course on creative writing: Writing the Right Writing (yes, clumsy title I know). I aim to take a tour through blogging, poetry, stage, screen, novel, short story, non fiction- I’ll be asking participants to try each genre and explore what mode of writing suits their topic. I have realised that sometimes I may sit down to write a poem and discover that actually this story needs to be told a different way. All I have to do now is write my lesson plans… no pressure!

The holidays…

And so I find myself on Day 1 of The Holidays. Eight weeks stretch before me. A tatty, untidy, rather grubby house surrounds me. An unpublished novel and unanswered mail wink at me from a pile on what we laughingly call ‘the dining room table’.

I was woken by a solitary magpie doing sentry duty across the skylight at gods know what time (watch strap broken, not wearing watch, must get new strap). In the street I can hear the deafening tinkle of glass being hurled into the bin truck by the recycling men (quick, put bin and glass box out before they get to us).

The phone rings, it is school: can Tall Boy and Lovely J please return their text books today or tomorrow or their results will not be released (don’t be ridiculous! They can’t NOT give results because a few text books are due – YAWN – school never changes, empty threats about nonsense whilst the bullies and cheats go unchallenged).

There is a strange odour coming from under the floorboards, reminiscent of last year when the soil pipe cracked and leaked under us. Please let it not be the same again!

The blue Ikea bags full of ‘to do/to sort’ seem to have multiplied. Tall Boy appears in boxers, his head banging into the paper-sphere light shade (which I keep promising I will change to spare him the indignity of it falling onto his head every time he passes and knocks it) – ‘anything for breakfast?’

Eight weeks? I can get it ALL done in eight weeks can’t I? Get novel published, finish second one, tidy house, paint house, get first year accounts sorted and tax done, MOT car, swap it for bigger one, go on Arvon course, go to Wales for ‘holiday’, keep on top of allotment, rebuild rabbit hutch, phew!
Happy Holidays.

I found an Ap

Well look what I found… an Ap. No excuse not to blog now. July well under way and I only just feel like I’m coming out of winter. Since my phone is rarely far from me I’m hoping that I manage to blog from here. I miss the discipline of writing every day, but since Christmas the poor old laptop hasn’t really had a look in.
Since I last blogged, what have I been doing?
I’ve been working with Mouthy Poets, a group of extremely talented wordsmiths who have been brought together by Deborah ‘Debris’ Stevenson, who I first met in 2009 when we worked together on Lyric Lounge Leicester.
I’ve been sending out ‘Korakas’ – still no news on that.
I’ve been battling with squirrels in the loft, broken relationship, new relationship, Tall Boy doing GCSEs, Lovely J doing A levels, Small Boy loathing Big Write at school, work, laundry, finances, the usual stuff.
Once I’ve worked out how to add links using this Ap, I will blog properly, but until then, at least I’m blogging.

Running hell for leather into reading for pleasure

I think it would be fair to say that I tend to run headlong into things. Once I’ve decided I’ll do it, I just do it. This has had disastrous results at times – marriage and divorce springs to mind – but something good generally comes of it all – in that case a couple of kids who are pretty good company at times and a bit of wisdom, not to mention some great ideas for poems and stories.

So, at the beginning of the year I applied for a job as Creative Practitioner at a local comp – the remit being to encourage and enthuse year 8s about reading for pleasure. My interview was by a panel of six students, the teacher who heads up literacy at the school and the regional manager of the project as a whole – he’s called the Creative Agent – what a great title.

I was thrilled to be appointed and rushed headlong towards the project as is my wont. However, after our first planning meeting I had to meet with HR – they needed all my details for the enhanced CRB check – now you see where I’m going with this… weeks have passed… 6 in fact. Then I discover that the local council sat on the paper work for 4 weeks before passing it on. CRB reckon to clear applications within 4 weeks of receipt – at this rate the summer term will be over!

I was really impressed with the group I am supposed to be working with, maybe there is hope for the future after all – and I’m not talking about a carefully selected group of high achievers either, the group are made up from a cross-section of pupils, some ‘reluctant readers’ or dyslexic, some may have ADHD etc – although to me they just seemed like regular human beings – which I think is the great thing about outsiders going in to schools to work with pupils.

Given the constraints of the curriculum at the moment teachers seem hard pushed, targets get in the way, meeting guidelines, statementing children in order to gain extra funding bla bla bla.

The thing about what I can do is that I flit in and flit out none the wiser, so if some kid is known as having  some kind of ‘statement’ I’ve no need to know, I just get on with the task in hand.

I have great plans about what to do and how to approach the project. The head of dept wants a reading cafe in the school, I want to get them blogging and writing and to feel free to read whatever they want to read rather than what they feel they should be reading. I LOVE to read, whether it’s the Metro for a good shout or something deep and meaningful.

If only that one piece of paper would come through and allow me to get stuck in there!

Stranger than fiction

Typical of me to see a film long after it showed at the cinema. I used to see two or three films a week, but since parenthood hit I generally have to catch films on the telly or DVD.

Middle Sis just brought down ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ a quiet film, funny in places, about a man who hears the narration of his own life as he walks around – it transpires he is a character in a novelist’s book and she intends to kill him off. Death again – a theme which rears its head frequently  –  the man is going to die, whether the novelist writes it or not, but if she writes it he will know it’s coming soon. The point is we all know it’s coming, but when and how is a different matter. If we are told ‘how and when’ we have to deal with it in a different way. A lovely film, which gave a jolt near the end, even though I knew the jolt was coming.

Death has had me thinking in the last week or so – my school reunion will be a pupil short – Fiona W died in our 5th year and a couple of teachers are no longer with us. Meanwhile down the road a good friend is watching her mother decide whether it is time to go or not (she changes her plan from day to day). Friend Al had some old slides transfered to CD – the photos show her mother in the last few months before she died way back in the 1970s, when Al was only eleven years old. It seems to help us all to talk about it, quietly, secretly, to each other, orphan to orphan. It’s not such a dirty topic after all.

Does a novelist have a resonsibility to her characters? Is death less painful when the characters are fictional? Perhaps when I think of my mother’s death I fictionalise it. Max Khandola (photographer) recorded his father’s dying moments and said he found that by viewing it through a lens he could come to terms with it. Maybe we all have to find our own way – writing or crying, painting or photographing or just laying wreaths at the roadside.