Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Mousetrap, musings and promises

Morning folks – boy, are the weeks flying by. I’ve had a strange writing week with has led to a lot of self reflection regards my writing.

For starters, I was asked by a class of pupils why would anyone write a poem? I had twenty five faces awaiting an answer - I literally drew from my own personal experiences. For me the reason is the same reason I take a photograph – to capture a moment or a celebration, with the added bonus of thought and emotion. Hearing myself explain felt like a resounding synchronization of my own understanding and in some way justification of why I’ve spent time crafting poetry. I then asked them why anyone would want to spend hours chasing a pixilated image across a screen without an end product to show for the time dedicated? They couldn’t answer my question, whereas I had convinced them with mine.

Like many writers I juggle a full time career along side my writing so have to seek out opportunities and time slots in my busy week for my creative work. This has been a struggle for a number of years but I feel that as each year passes I’ve become quite an expert at spotting musing moments.

  • Daily dog walks
  • Lunch and coffee breaks at work
  • Playground break duty at work
  • Any queue that I have to join
  • Car/train/bus journey where I’m a passenger
  • Cooking/cleaning/ironing tasks

Without snatching such musing moments I literally wouldn’t produced what I do when I sit down to write. I ensure that I have the ideas laid out in full in my mind before my fingers touch the keyboards. The effects of musing are seen via my word count - I regularly produce a thousand words for each hour of typing. Try it, use your wasted time slots for musing and see your word count increase at the laptop.

I am studying a children’s literature course through university which focuses upon the aims of children’s writers. One spectrum that is examined is ‘instruction v delight’ – is the story written to instruct readers or to delight the readers? Several times the other students have passed opinion on what a specific author was thinking and aiming at – I can honestly say I disagree with them, I think the writers craft a story that they wish to tell, a story that bubbles under the surface for a surmountable amount of time until it is produced. As a writer I have never planned to instruct any reader, delight yes, but to consciously instruct - no, never. Though, yet again the course has brought to my attention another beautifully written children’s book ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry’ by Mildred Taylor. Taylor crafts a story about African American children living within the Mississippi of the 1930s – Puffin publication describe it as a modern classic - wow, a powerful tale. It almost reminds me of a younger person’s version of ‘Harper Lee’s ‘To kill a mocking bird’.

Today, I have to begin an essay for my university course, based on the books ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone’, ‘Tom’s midnight garden’ and ‘Roll of thunder, hear my cry’ – it may take a while as I have so much to say. Tomorrow my plan is simple – to write all day.

And finally - tonight, I am going to the theatre to see Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ which is celebrating 60 years of staging and performance. I’ve looked forward to it all week, regular followers know Christie is one of my guilty pleasures; I love nothing more than curling up with one of her crime novels.

A huge hello to my overseas followers, your visits out number my British followers three fold each week – so thank you for taking the time to read my humble postings. I’ve been a little quiet on Twitter recently but promise to step up my tweets at @odwyer_author – enjoy!

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