A Year of Writing: Days 241-250

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Day 241 of #ayearofwriting and I have been running on adrenaline since my Dad was taken into hospital and his death five days later. Now I have crashed and my back is racing towards a bloody spasm which I am fighting off with drugs, exercise and a mix of hot and cold baths (the latter reminding me of my teenage years). In between all this I am reading the creative writing book, Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer. It’s sumptuous and the advice is great, I have not been this excited by a craft text since Zen & The Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.

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Day 242 of #ayearofwriting and part of the downside of being a writer is joint problems. I have a partial missing disc in my lower back and this does lead to some awful pain. This means I only sit at a screen for part of the day and after that I am an active scribbler. People with back pain will tell you that the pain becomes so great you have to laugh when you’re flailing around like a turtle on its back but out of this comes an awareness that in pain there is beauty.

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Day 243 of #ayearofwriting and in my story I have to consider the nature of lovers when one is something she shouldn’t be.

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Day 244 of #ayearofwriting and dialogue is like the wearing of multiple hats but from the mirror’s point of view. Then you get in the argument of:



And,

After Freud and cognitive therapy there is an argument for the latter.

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Day 245 of #ayearofreading and today someone asked me why I thought reading was important. ‘Because it is sexy,’ I replied without thinking. You know, it is. Someone who reads for pleasure takes pleasure in words, is often able to think for themselves and state why they read. Reading is so damn sexy.

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Day 246 of #ayearofwriting and I am piecing this strange story of an old woman in a young woman’s body, of a house that is old within an overgrown garden, of limbs that die when they receive emotional trauma and the strangeness of the square dancing that brings together two worlds. I am interested in the strange in the everyday, the unexpected finds.

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Day 247 of #ayearofwriting and after the passing of my Dad, a back spasm and a summer ending in a way that no one in my family expected. I am still writing through it all, it may come slowly on some days, but I am trying to make it constant. I find the vignette style of writing easier, small moments, small objects, small talk that comes to hand and can be crafted. Sometimes these moments lead to nothing but building the world of the story, sometimes they build the character and sometimes they reveal something shocking. They are something between the world of dreams and waking up, they are the pensee. They are the broken down house of the moor, not a house, not landscape, caught in between.

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Day 248 of #ayearofwriting and something strikes me as an idea for the end of the story I am working on. I have people who under emotional stress or loss – seems odd that I was writing this story when my Dad died – lose limbs, that parts of them become fossilized. I wonder whether in a sudden moment of pain whether the entire body would turn to stone and that the individual becomes almost a shrine figure. This is how I build stories and worlds, these odd, what if? moments.

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Day 249 of #ayearofwriting and the act of writing is the act of building worlds. For characters to work the world they are in must work. For those people who say, ‘It’s easy to do, just write them in the world the writer exists in’. This is still world building because you can perceive the world differently from everyone else. You will often say, ‘I saw something today, you couldn’t write it because no one would believe it’. That is often the problem with realist fiction because it is not the real world but the real world seen through the prism of a writer. You then have the problem with the protagonist, who may be contrary to how the writer is, so there is a need to tweak the world they are in to make ying and yang stick. Or, in this case, make the fictional world seem more real than the real world. Michael Ende’s Neverending Story plays with concepts of world building and for many a nerdy, fat, boy, the protagonist struck a chord of freedom. Ende introduces a world and destroys it, then rebuilds it and in this act questions how we see worlds, how we build them, how the world is always a product of our imagination. If we live in a shit world it is because we are not brave enough to imagine a better world and then act on it. The act of world building is not confined to the page, the fiction of it is playing out around us. However, the twentieth century gave us the gritty, kitchen sink novel, and though they are wonderful books they are often a dead end. They mire the reader in a mirror world they already know, exacerbate problems they already have and offer no possible solution; you circle the plug hole and down you go. Then you have Herbert and his world building of Dune, all to highlight concerns with fossil fuels, decades before it was in the mainstream agenda. Herbert doesn’t say this is all about oil, but the spice is an analogy of it. It shows were industrialisation leads and it thinks big, realist fiction can’t do that, it is in the moment, of the moment.
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Day 250 of #ayearofwriting and there is Sora nothing more than a shrine figurine in a gallery, sold to pay of his debts. It becomes an analogy of Hiroshima, how the bomb becomes greater than the dead to the west and in Japan, how the names are still remembered and spoken. Sometimes in the west we see only the event and not the people, not the stories behind them all.

 

 

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