Thursday, 28 August 2008

Learning to Play Guitar and Other Stories

Beyond the shop glass was your birthday present, an acoustic guitar with only three strings. But the shop wasn’t open for me to go in there, run my fingers along the fret board and buy it for you. I could not wait for opening time. I had to get to work.

Sitting at my desk and that guitar haunted my thoughts all day. The way it could be a project for you to fix and mend into a ‘beauty’ and then play for recordings. But getting off the train and walking across the car park, two kids with wide-eyed, drunk with shopping grins, walked past with a battered, three-stringed guitar. Your guitar. The shop window was empty.

Now your only present is the serious one that I bought weeks ago. But now I am going to write you a story. It may not be ready for your birthday but it will be for you.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Mitfords - Letters Between Six Sisters

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Mitfords.’ Usually I can read a book within a week but this mammoth one took nearly two months – without any other book on the sidelines to distract me. I loved reading about each of the sisters. Every sentence is worthy as a mantra or quote. But this one seems to fit the writing life:

“Books. The thing is not to do it, writing I mean. ANYTHING to put off beginning: telephone, take the dogs out, read yet another ridiculous mag, and then when one has begun it’s lovely and v. difficult to stop. Do you find that? I can’t do anything unless I’ve got all the things to do it with just right, paper and soft B pencils sharpened which they soon aren’t because of the softth. I wish I could type, one could see what it looks like instead of waiting on someone else to do it a little bit wrong…. There have been so many distractions lately that I’ve done 0, well nearly 0. Hopeless.”

Deborah, 6th September 1987.

I feel like I have been using my dissertation (writing project) as an excuse for not doing writing. Even though I am writing two chapters (plus interludes) for the project and an essay, I just can’t seem to sit down and write anything else. There’s a wall and on that wall is graffiti telling me that I must do my project first and then normal service can resume. Less than two weeks away and then I can write the novel at my own pace, dab in the short stories again and also explore flash fiction. They have been my holiday from the project over the summer. – I’m restraint because at the end of writing the chapters there is a huge ugly essay to be written about the writing process. It makes my skin crawl.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

A Room of One's Own

I don’t have a writing room but I do have my own writing desk. I never used too but then I went to university and found the joys of having a desk. I had dedicated space where I could leave sticky notes, pens and notebooks sprawled across the surface and not worry about tidying up again. When I came back last year to stay with my parents to do masters degree, I had nothing, just my lap to balance my notebook or the dining table. Then I came across this beautiful table in a charity shop and I knew it had to go in my bedroom. It became step one in the road to taking my writing seriously.
Sitting in the corner of my bedroom, during the winter it has the corner near my shelves and the summer it goes near the window for the sun light and for people watching. Just having this round desk and given me the space to leave my laptop resting and my notebook open, so I can rush from any place in the house and jot down a jumbled sentence, not yet edited.
On the perfectly circular pine table, is my brown faux-suede notebook for my novel (I’m using the first two chapters as my writing project for my Masters), my George Orwell Pen pot (used to be a mug but on the other side is a huge chip from an incident that involved it taking a suicidal jump from the cupboard) and any magazines (writing, and ones from inspiration – okay the STYLE one was just for the free bag) and books.