Saturday, April 27, 2013

Week/Weak of Memory

This week I've been thinking about memory.  I blogged about it over on Girls Heart Books - going back to my earliest memory and making a probably pretty tenuous connection between individual remembered scenes and the discrete snippets that I write at the beginning of work on a new book.

Basically, I'm very fuzzy about - and at - memory.  It's so susceptible to fiction.  Here I am, for example, looking puffy-eyed, scruffy-haired, sturdy in the leg department and about to fall over with excitement about ... something.  I don't remember what, or the fence, or having the photo taken.  Do I recognize all those things in me now?  Yes.  Do I remember those matching dresses my mum made?  No.  Do I think you could write a story about the characters in the scene?  Oh yes.

I watched a programme about memory a while back and though I don't in fact remember that much about it (sigh) there was a point made which stuck in my mind.  They were saying that most people don't remember anything before about age 3, and that this had to do with the acquisition of language.  But not just single words - specifically, the ability to speak in sentences.  And it seems to me the main reason for sentences is for making stories.  So we start to be able to have memories at the point where we can begin to make stories.  (Okay, I don't think they said that on the programme, but maybe they did and then I just forgot.)

And, just because it's a pleasant image, here is the dog who lived across the street when I was small, named, I think, Patches.  I'm sure I loved Patches.  But do I remember him (or, possibly, her) or do I just remember looking at the photo, and loving things with fur generally?  I don't know.

But what a nice dog.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Serious Business of Naming Characters

Today I'm over at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, being silly with names.  You have been warned.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April is the poetry-est month


That's something I'm up to this month.  National Poetry Writing Month is the brain child of US poet Maureen Thorson, and it's been going since 2003.  (So it's taken 10 years for me to notice.  I never claimed to be quick off the mark ... )  If we refer to the site's FAQ:

How do I participate in NaPoWriMo?
Easy! Just write a poem a day for the month of April. You can post them on the internet. You can hide them in a notebook. You can make up a special book just for yourself out of them. Really, all you need to do is write a poem a day for the month of April.
And, so far, I am.  I'm finding it particularly satisfying that, even on days when my other life pretty much scoffs the lot, I can still salvage enough time to write a poem.  Or at very least, the first draft of one.  
I'm trying not to revise any poem beyond the day it's written.  (Okay, I did go back and change an "into" to a "through", but it was really bugging me, and it was just the once.)  Normally I'm rubbish at that thing of putting a piece of work onto a metaphorical back burner to simmer quietly for a while before re-considering it.  But the set-up of NaPoWriMo makes it easier.  Write the things, bung them away, look at them in May.  What will I make of my 30-poem group then?  I will have to wait and see.

Fancy giving it a go?  Don't wait for 2014 - just jump in now.  You won't regret it!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Two Places I'm At

One:  The 2013 StAnza Poetry Festival is over now, but you can still get a look at the Farlin Exhibition, right up until 27th April.  It's in the lobby of the St Andrews Town Hall - just come in the door and turn left and there you'll be.  And for those of you who are not in striking distance, here are some photos by Chris Park of Sarah Riley's and my bit, including the cunning CD-player-tacked-to-the-wall that plays my voice reading my poems in English, and her voice reading them in Burra, one of the Shetlandic dialects.  Really adds to it, I think.  Our theme was Hands.

Two:  Hanging about with another photographer - Alfred Stieglitz this time - over at The History Girls.

This thing with photographs and photographers you may have noticed, over the last however many blogs?  Really not a problem.  I can stop any time I like.