Saturday, 9 June 2012

Happy holiday, RNA prep and lost voices

Morning folks, how the devil are you? I’ve been on school holiday all week and, am proud to say, I have made the most of every minute. I have written everyday, for hours on end - and the result, is one happy woman. Honestly, I haven’t done day trips, visiting, coffees or lunches. Nope, from ten o’clock, sometimes nine, I have simply written at my desk until clocking off at six o’clock. It might sound a tad selfish, but I haven’t cared that it hasn’t stopped raining for the entire time. I have today and tomorrow remaining of the holiday, as we return on Monday, so I shall make the most of it. See, I promised with Plan B out of the way I’d dedicate the time to my writing.

Talking about Plan B, which was rubber stamped last Friday, 1st June – I still can’t believe that I’ve managed to secure a paying career which can accommodate my writing. I can now circle each school holiday for writing, which given that the six weeks holiday is fast approaching, is great news.

The postman delivered some sunshine yesterday with the arrival of my Romantics Associations Novelists’ Conference pack – woo hoo, my very first RNA conference. Anyway, the package contained all the nitty-gritty details regarding the various talks and presentations from which I’ve had to choose which I’d like to attend – easy, all of them! Sadly, that isn’t possible, so I’ve had to select and then email my choice. I have to say, I am very impressed with their efficiency and organization. All the newbie bods, like me, are contacted prior to the weekend to ensure we know the basic details and what to expect. And… I loved this bit, they issued a networking email enabling us each to write a little about ourselves and swap Twitter details, so before blogging, I was busy ‘following’ lots of new writing ‘friends’ on Twitter. Do you remember what one of my six New Year Resolutions was? Yep, more networking with novelists – yay, I can’t wait!

Have I ever mentioned my previous experience of a writers’ conference?  The one I attended about five years ago? No, woo. To cut a long story short, it was the one where conference virgins are given a coloured sticker to highlight that they are newbies. Anyway, after a day and a half of being rudely spoken too, shoved out the way in the afternoon tea queues and general unpleasantness all round - I’d had enough. Anyway, whilst walking back to my room I spotted a pile of blank ‘veteran’ name badges (different coloured spot) left lying on a reception desk – I took one. I then changed my badge for the remainder of the conference and received very different treatment – I wonder why? One conference, I won’t be returning too.

Last weekend, the United Kingdom celebrated Lizzy’s 60 years as Queen, and I have to say, I was impressed with the organised events and concerts. I was quite touched at certain points – and was delighted that I was able to capture some thoughts in a poem. Being of mixed nationalities, I haven’t always felt particularly ‘British’ even though I’ve never lived anywhere else. Hubby goes spare when I can’t get wound up - sorry, excited by the England football team, or have a burning desire to hang a large Union Jack from the bedroom windows like normal folk do. I just don’t feel it, I usually end up supporting one of my other nationalities or a wildcard team, much to hubby’s disgust. But, last weekend, at the ripe old age of 41, I did have ‘flutterings’ of proud to be British. I thought, it best I write it down given that the Euro football started yesterday, I made need a reference point in a week or so. One final thought, if the Diamond Jubilee looks like that, I really can’t wait for the Olympics come July. Have I mentioned that I have tickets for the football final at Wembley? No, that’s surprising, I think I’ve mentioned it everywhere else.

I didn’t have any writing meetings this week, which sometimes happens due to the fall of calendar. A ‘fortnightly’ group along side a ‘week two and four of each month’ group can sometimes appear in the same week or in different and occasionally, not at all. So, this coming week I have both, Mad Hatters on Wednesday and Thursday night,
Grace Dieu Writers Circle
. I haven’t a clue what I’ll read but I must make an effort to take something to both meetings.

I had a ‘film session’ during the week, as I had school marking to do, and I marveled at how simple some of the plot lines are; Full Monty, Pretty Woman and Mama Mia – I’m starting to think that authors could possibly take a visual lesson from the plot breakdown and transfer it into their writing. I noticed that something similar was proposed at the RNA conference in relation to Pixar films – which I haven’t watched many. I might do a little more private research on this topic and share my findings at a later date.

Other research, my own musings really, is the reason why some people become writers and others faint at the very idea of spending so much time alone. I’m starting to think that writers, and to some extent poets, are those who have lost their voices within their own lives. Growing up I always felt over shadowed by a sibling, they were classed as funnier, louder, sportier, cleverer – everything basically, and my voice/personality was lost in their shadow. I suppose, I went into my own head, which helped as a teenager when my father was diagnosed with an illness to give me a place to retreat. I’ve started to recognize this trait in other writers – I’m starting to listen to their stories and so far, I’ve heard their ‘lost voice’ come through in numerous ways, but it is there. Try it, see if you agree.

I’ve begun reading ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ by Steinbeck – I think, I’ve fallen in love all over again. Steinbeck literally paints a picture in my mind before the scene begins and characters interact. I’ve read ‘Of Mice and Men’ but many people have mentioned that this book is his prize work. So far, I agree.

Today, the plan Stan is to repeat the writing pattern of the last week. I might even polish a short story ready for Wednesday and Thursday groups or I might arrange and print a few poems.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout the week. Enjoy!

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