The end is near, and now the experiment is over, I can continue under the hashtag #writing
Day 97 of #100daysofwriting and my spelling has gone down the pan as I tread a fine line between being understood and my character being Cornish. Carol chuckles at the idea of the old man hoping his douter is in hell or Bristol. It’s the kind of thing she’s heard. We talk about Gramfer, Granfer and Grandfer, all variations for Grandad but we opt on the fore. As the refugees pour into the story, escaping the disease that follows flooding, she is shocked by the racism, but we discuss how this mirrors the racism that came before Brexit and post-Brexit, and how it is a concern when countries say, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore’ but really mean, only if you do what we say and act like we do. All immigration is framed by racism, alienation, ghettos and the demand for integration. It is like a bizarre ignorance that all immigrants integrate in the end and what it means to be British shifts ever so slightly. The idea of the definitive English man or woman is at odds with what we really are, a melting pot, we have never been the stiff upper lip brigade, most of the Victorians that drove innovation in the colonies were Scottish, most of the soldiers came from poor backgrounds and were far from solid individuals, most of them integrated quickly or face loneliness. Some though clung to imperialism and took, destroyed and drove base ideas into our cultural mind. There is a need to adapt and move on, or die, in my story, and I hope whatever happens after Brexit we embrace change and drop this imperial nonsense.
Day 98 of #100daysofwriting and the editing of the Bodmin Moor story is slow, it takes another few hours to work through a few pages, getting the dialect straight and not confusing the reader. Again, I am drawn to Russell Hoban, even the future speak of Anthony Burgess, and I consider how dialect would become even thicker in the advent of a society of has and has nots. We live in a golden age of freedom on the internet, something I worked with and on with arts and educational organisations from the early to mid nineties. Holding true Berners-Lee belief that the world wide web should be free and free of governments. Sadly, certain acts created to curtail the spread of ideology that corrupts will and is being turned on the freedom the world wide web has given us, and by the time my protagonist rocks up, not everyone can afford wifi or legitimise using it when they are starving.
Day 99 of #100daysofwriting and I am only 5 pages into the edit and finding this story both a wondrous and painful thing to bring my 100 days to an end. I have decided to carry on here and on twitter, find me @bongosherbert with the hashtag #writing and wondered about using #stillwriting but there is something very desperate about that, as if I am crying from an open window to passersby. Except in this story, Tor Marsh is the nearest population centre you’d want to enter. Even that has become a bone of contention, whether I should have it as Tor or Taw.
Day 100 of #100daysofwriting and in a twist of strange fate, it’s my birthday too. I welcome in the New Year with Cornish dialect as I have mashes of stories that I have completed or are near to completing thanks to this strange journey. I started with stories I knew I had squirreled away in notebooks and ended up following the blue willow pattern plate through them all to tales I didn’t know that just seemed to appear from the plates themselves. So, what have I achieved in #100daysofwriting? FIVE stories, The Bear and The Unconfessed Magician (gone to a publisher), Shiggles (gone to a publisher), Mausu (being read again by my reader), the two flood stories that bring in the idea of the mosaic narrative – being completed as I type – which will go towards any research for a PhD – funding permitting. On average before editing, each story is rattling around 15,000-20,000 words before cuts to get them around 8,000 words. So, in the top numbers that’s 100,000 words over 100 days, that’s roughly 1000 words a day. I suspect on many of the stories, I rattled around 25,000 with all the drafts and edits. That’s not bad going for someone who is snatching an hour here, an hour there. I have felt better, mental health wise, just to be typing away or scribbling in a notebook, or even considering ideas that would or couldn’t work. It has made me feel like I was achieving something. I purposefully shied away from novel writing because I wanted to achieve work I could send out for publishing, before tackling any novels. I have enjoyed the short story form, revisited craft texts I haven’t read in years, from King to Cox. Now, all I have to say is ‘That’s all folks!’ for #100daysofwriting and welcome to the daily hashtag #writing.