Saturday, August 25, 2012

Farlin ... Fabulous!

This week I am off to Shetland, officially the farthest north I have ever been* - we're talking 60 degrees of latitude here - we're talking level with Hudson Bay, the Kamchatka Peninsula, Greenland ... I am the extremely grateful and more than a little over-excited guest of the Farlin Project** and will be reading at the Bonhoga Gallery on Friday at 7:30.  So if you're anywhere near, drop by and say hello.  For the rest of you, you'll have to wait till I'm back south again to find out how it went.

Cheers, Joan.

*Okay, the farthest north I've ever been while in actual contact with the ground.  Airplanes don't count.

** The joint brainchild of Shetland Arts and Fife Contemporary Art and Craft, pairing poets and makers, and  then waiting to see what happens!  I hope to have photos of the interim work on display at the Bonhoga Gallery as part of the Wordplay Book Festival.  The project will end at StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival in St Andrews in March 2013.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Courage to Make a Mess

I went to my photo files to find a picture of a mess - something amusingly artistic, that showed the nature of my own housekeeping, for example, but in a way that suggested more of the in-the-embrace-of-the-muse and less of the slattern.  I couldn't find one.  (I tend to not document the evidence of such things.)

So I'm going to blog without images.

This week (and I am reluctant to say how many weeks previously) I have been wrestling with the mound of wordage that is Part 2 of the work-in-progress, Silver Skin.  And I had a sort of breakthrough.  I realised that the reason it wasn't working was - it was in the wrong order.  I needed to re-jig.  Change the chapters round.  Make a mess.  That's what I needed to do, scary as it seemed.

And I did it.

And it is.  A mess.

It's better - it's so much closer to being right - but it's also untidy with a capital UN.  Does this mean I will not be meeting my self-imposed deadline of a finished first draft by the 28th of August?

Well, that will depend on how you define "finished."  Or "first draft."  Or, indeed, "a mess" ...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

That Was A Week, That Was!

Last week I was at Moniack Mhor, co-tutoring the Arvon course Writing for Young People - Getting it Flowing with Paul Magrs (guest reader Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson).  Yesterday I came home.  When I started an email to a friend with the words "Hi!  I'm black!" it was a hint I may still not have entirely returned to normal, however.  I've made no attempt to unpack, ferret out dirty laundry, organise my notes.  Yesterday I had an afternoon nap and can't exactly tell you what I did with the evening.*  Today I had a morning nap AND an afternoon nap and seem unable to correctly remember the names of my children.

I think I'm a bit tired.

I think I may also be overdrawn at the word bank.  An Arvon course is a time bulging with words - the search for the right ones, the way you do in any working week, but then thrown into a blender and put on high spin - talking, writing, reading, analysing, commenting, responding - eliciting! - a dance with constantly-changing partners - mix that metaphor! tote that bail ...

It was a blast!  One of the directors said she'd never heard quite so much laughter from a course before.  It's true.  We rocked.

So, here's to the August 6-11 crowd - now that you're home again, get unpacked (go on - set me a good example) and then get down to it - remember ...

Today we write!

Cheers, Joan.

* It was a long drive home - lovely, but long, and with rather more roadworks than you might have wished.  And when you're tired, tailbacks in beautiful countryside carry with them the hidden danger that, as you exchange soulful glances with the cow in the field opposite, you may also be drifting gently into the back of the car in front ...

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Choosing Your Battles

Find me today on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure where I am dispensing good advice.  See if you agree!

Then it's off to Moniack Mhor on Monday, reporting back here next weekend.  Till then - cheers, Joan.