Wednesday, 26 July 2017

My Muse is Malevolent

This morning I was composing poetry while brushing my teeth. It was the most beautiful, pertinent, moving poetry but I had a toothbrush in my hand so I couldn’t write it down. Consequently the best poetry I have ever made dribbled down the sink with my fluoridey spit.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Journey’s Ending

There are moments one hopes to always remember. Sometimes we snapshot but never quite accurately. For me I muddle second times for first ones. I have just written the last lines of my novel. I may have done this before and anticipate I will have to mould them again but these ones feel right.

I’ve been battling second drafting, fighting myself over past versus present tense, and multiple viewpoints. I’d started a pragmatic/commercial rewrite into the more cohesive past third person, but rereading my changes it felt like I was ripping the soul out of my story. So…so… stick to my guns. Realistically this book may just be for me; forty agents is the limit I’m setting. And I’m redeciding to write for myself. Blow the reader (present company excepted!), this is pre-editor, pre-agent, pre-other people’s eyes. This is honest. This is indulgence. And the worms of early drafts writhe around, especially the ending and my usual happy ambiguity. Tonight, when my brain has been caught completely in other places an ending has come out the end of my pen. Yes, pen. Long hand, not my novel normality. Is it any good? I don’t know, really not sure, but you know what, I really enjoyed writing it. 

It has been written with my friends. The eccentrics in the pub, working on a laptop-laden table, with drinks between us. Mostly silent, asking each other occasionally for forgotten words. Sometimes typing in time to the music, sometimes staring out the window, sometimes flowing, often frustrated. We joke with the bar staff they’ll get blue-plaqued for one of us one day. The Novelists Club. At nine we stop and more wine is bought. The quiet is replaced by lively chatter and we are joined by friends from the concurrent creative writing class where we forged our writerly relations. A proper unpretentious pub with a tartan carpet. Sitting in the bay window. Here I wrote the last lines of my novel. For the time being.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Satisfied Commuter

I know its eccentric but it’s a hobby of mine. It’s normal in Ecuador to ride on top of a train and James Bond does it, so I thought I’d give it a go. Now, I’m not one of those adrenaline junkies and I must confess part of the reason was the overcrowding of the 7.42 to Waterloo and the impossibility of getting a seat. The first few times I’d scramble up clumsily but now I have a rope with a little anchor, like the kind rock climbers use. I can even wear a skirt to work, such have I perfected my ascent.
   The guards at Winchester kindly turn a blind eye but I’ve had a few run-ins with South West Rail’s ticket inspectors. I always produce my season ticket and point to the fact it says nowhere on it that I can’t ride on instead of in the train. I think they just resent having to climb up to check my ticket, but I say the exercise is good for them.
   Tunnels were a bit hairy at first, a strange claustrophobic experience. I know now what that tunnel looks like when you die, but in the meantime, I’ve honed my “carriage hug” stance. Of course, my usual posture is more "upright horse rider". I do almost get decapitated from time to time, if I have a good novel on the go, or nod off.
   So, that’s my journey to work. The views are amazing and I always get a seat. You should try it.