As I've completely neglected my blog lately, this will be a brief scoot through everything that's happened/hasn’t happened over the last month or so.
I've finished the first 'writing' module of my MA, and have emerged the other side feeling simultaneously inspired and anxious. I can now see all the things that I may have been doing wrong with my writing, and I know what I need to change, but I'm not quite sure how to do it, just yet. I'm hoping that this 'impasse' is a temporary thing, and a positive thing, and while I am ruing my lack of output of late, I can see the improvement when I do manage to sit down and write.
This has meant, then, that I've also stopped bombarding literary journals with my work, and while I still have a few pieces that I would have previously dashed out, I know now that they're not ready, and now I don't want to attach my name to work that is rushed, or incomplete, whereas before the joy of just being published would have overridden such concerns. Now I just sit and stare at them instead. But this is GOOD, I tell myself, as it seems that somehow along the way, I have discovered PATIENCE, which will possibly be my greatest weapon as I carry on down the writerly road. I'm wielding it clumsily, and bearing it with little grace, but it's there, and while I'm currently Daniel-San moaning about his aching wrists and fence-painting and floor-sanding, there's a Miyagi whisper in my ear, telling me that this is PROGRESS.
After the official teaching ended, my group continued to meet up every week at the same time, and conduct similar peer-feedback sessions, and while this wasn't perhaps as helpful as before (I think there's only so far the critiquing can go while a writer's still at the same stage, and while the deadline does force you to write, I was personally submitting stuff that was rushed, so the feedback I received couldn't be used as effectively as it would have been had I submitted something decent), it was still wonderful to be amongst other people in the same boat, and to have that weekly motivator, and just to have people take the time to read your work and comment upon it.
We've disbanded now for the summer, and my plan is to work on plot, and outline, and as my novel-in-progress has gone from a 'literary' historical tome, to a YA fantasy-type thing, I'm also aiming to write enough of it to stop me from changing my mind and starting yet another project instead. Fingers crossed.
The lack of submissions has meant a lack of publication, but I've had a few flash pieces out:
The Thirteenth Step. A second person afterlife story. Yes, I know, forgive my lack of originality. In my defence, however, this story is comprised of bits and pieces that I took from a novel that I started about ten years ago, one that followed a young murdered girl around Birmingham as she travelled about on night buses, trying to piece together the facts surrounding her death. I can't read it now without cringing, but during a huge clear-up of my computer I skimmed through it to see if there was anything worth salvaging, and wanted to try a story with a different format, and this emerged. After slush reading and seeing the amount of similar stories, I'm almost embarrassed at my theme, and I was wary of moralising (as I work in a bar, and spend a lot of time on the other side of the bar) but I like to think that it avoids that, and that there's some originality in it, and it was great to get positive feedback from the readers on the site.
Four Seasons in One Day. Written from a prompt - 'Seasons'- on the Pure Slush site, and then understandably rejected by them (as I completely ignored their 'no wank' guidelines and sent them a load of 'wanky' indecipherable nonsense), this just came out of nowhere, and no, I don't really know what it's about, but I did enjoy writing it.
Bonnie and Clyde. Inspired by a friend ranting on Facebook about people who dress up their pets, a quick search led me to furries, and to this. No offence meant to any furries out there, each to their own, and all, it was more about how difficult it is to find somebody that you're really suited to, and about the masks that we wear. I am fond of this piece, partly because although it was rejected a few times before publication, those rejections came back with positive criticism attached to them, for the first time; and because, as I've said before, of my soft spot for anything considered 'freaky' or 'abnormal' or just plain odd.
Right then, I'm literally off to plot...
Recent google research history: bees, topaz, sharks, heart attack, wrestling moves, aubergine recipes, chalet clocks.