I’ve just realised this is my 100th post:
One hundred posts in just under eighteen months—that’s an average of 1.28 posts per week (rounded to two decimal places—see, the maths nerd is never far away), which is pleasing as I set out to post once per week. I’m becoming more and more comfortable in my tiny part of cyberspace …
Next on the agenda
Now that I’ve finished the series about my relationship with my mother, I can move on to other topics—not that I won’t return to it, but I feel as if I’ve got it out of the way.
I’m glad I’ve told the story—as I’ve said before, that abused child now has a voice, and it helps me, personally, to gain perspective. Not just that, but it’s nice to be able to tell people about what has been going on in the background as I’ve tried to live and act normally, raise a family and write …
It’s easier to have perspective on things that happened decades ago—they’ve had years to settle into place. The patterns have emerged, you can see cause and effect, and you can make sense of it. It’s more difficult with recent events, and I find perspective almost impossible while things are still going on—when I’m putting one foot in front of the other trying to get through it, all I can think about is the ground in front of me and making sure I don’t trip. I forget to look up and notice the wood or the trees. It’s only when I’m well out of it, that I can look back and see the forest, and the path I took, and begin to understand why I chose that pathway.
For that reason, some of the more recent events about which I wrote were told more as a chronology than an essay—some things are too recent to try to make sense of them yet. They haven’t had time to settle in my mind, to find the shelf on which they’ll sit. They need time to ‘compost’, as Barbara Turner-Vasselago says in Freefall Writing. Writing them down in an almost linear fashion has helped me see them more clearly and understand more, although I’m reluctant to write much about them just yet—they still need time to ‘compost’. One of the advantages of growing older, though, is that there’s lots of years that are already ‘composted’, and I’m looking forward to writing about them.
Creative Non-Fiction Course
I’ve started another couple of essays for a course I’m doing on essay writing through Creative Non-Fiction, an American literary journal. I’m really enjoying the reading material, and I’ve already learnt so much. The essays for the first week are worth reading, if you can get your hands on them: ‘Patient’ by Rachel Riederer, about her recovery after having her legs crushed by a bus, and ‘Feet in Smoke’ by John Jeremiah Sullivan (from the collection ‘Pulphead’) about his brother’s recovery from brain injury after electrocution. Both are beautiful examples of how detail puts the reader in the scene, and both, despite the dark situations, have plenty of humour.
I’m re-reading my novel for the (I’ve lost count)th time—I’m up to draft #9 or #10 or somewhere around there. I tried to follow Natasha Lester’s advice when revising, and do it sans pencil. But it was too hard—I felt as if something was missing. I had to hold my pencil as I read, and as soon as I picked it up, I felt better.
It doesn’t matter if I sometimes use it, does it? Just to cross out a word. Or two. Or change one here and there. Or fix some punctuation …
After this revision, that will be it—I’ll start sending it out. (Yes, that was a big ‘Eeeek!’ you heard from me.) So, if anyone has a secret—or not-so-secret—connection to an agent or a publisher, please whisper my name in their ear …
In other news
Last Friday, I attended Annabel Smith’s book launch for ‘The Ark’. You can read my review here if you missed it. Annabel also wrote an encouraging note in my copy of her book:
On Thursday, I’m hoping to meet Favel Parrett at the Bookcaffé’s Bi-Monthly Bookclub Meeting. I’ve just read Favel’s second novel, ‘When the Night Comes’, which I’ll review shortly. I loved her first book, ‘Past the Shallows’ and you can read my review here. Both of Favel’s books are set in Tasmania, so the territory is nostalgically familiar.
That’s my news for this week, so I’ll return to reading my novel, avec pencil.
Happy reading and writing everyone.