Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Not quite Simon Hoggart's week (The Guardian)

If I run into someone today, or tomorrow, and they ask how my week's been, I'm going to have to warn them that they may not actually want me to respond. Because I won't be able to say, yeah not bad, or pretty good thanks. I won't even be able to stop at, you wouldn't believe how good my week's been. I'll have to give them this:

Booked 3 night trip to meet my 18 year old nephew (and godson) in Belgium. He's part of an organised tour of battlefields with a group of his peers from Adelaide. It's the longest consecutive time I'll have spent with him since 2009, and I will try not to hold his hand and hug him any more than I can sneak in without him or his friends noticing.

Went for a long lunchtime swim and came home to the best rejection letter I've ever had - Graham Connors (Number Eleven magazine) compared writing to a successful writer.
Watched the Swedish film, Play. It's 118 minutes of cinematography so beautiful you could cut and hang most shots as an exhibition. It's 118 minutes of creeping tension that reminded me of the 102 minutes of Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Don't remember dream details but they had an edge.

The text for this week's Reading To Write class was The Field Guide to Getting Lost, and the critique of my homework helped me to shape it into a story almost ready to submit.

Editing ideas meant I couldn't sleep properly.

Walked through Wandsworth Common to the Earlsfield Cemetery for Hauntings: Ghost Stories at The Chapel and sat on heated pews for candlelit readings by Tania Hershman, Alex Preston, Adam Marek and Stella Duffy.

Creativity, and maybe a post-event drink, meant I didn't sleep well.

Joined 24 other writers for the Start Small: Think Big masterclass - Alexa Radcliffe-Hart has posted a great write-up of the weekend here - and (not in anyway detracting from the other sessions), I was introduced to and mesmerised by David Vann. When he began I feared it was going to be far too academic for my brain to absorb, but very quickly he worked incredible intelligence, knowledge and passion into a talk I could have sat listening to for another few hours. Whoever it was that suggested he do a TED talk, here here. Came home and ordered Legend of a Suicide.

Couldn't stop thinking, wrote "important ideas" down during the night, didn't sleep much.

7am coffee in bed, 8am coffee in local cafe writing and watching Clapham wake up with blue sky. Joined the group at Birkbeck College for more incredible hours with inspiring talents, and thanks to Carrie Kania and Deborah Levy, came home in the dark with an ambitious but do-able plan for the focus of my writing to finish up 2013, the year I 'came out'.

Couldn't sleep, excited about the plan.

7am coffee with Evie Wyld. Well the last 70 pages of After The Fire, A Still Small Voice. Sat silent in my reading chair after finishing.

Wrote my list of targets for the week:
- 3 x short shorts to send to workshop partners for feedback
- 1 x short short to update following magazine editor's feedback
- 2 x longer short stories to do last couple of drafts and re-send to workshop partners for feedback
- Draft cover letter while I have the tips and notes from yesterday's session with Carrie Kania

Will I sleep? Don't really mind. Maybe I'll lie awake thinking about how lucky I am, thinking of how many people I've met and shared passion, laughs, coffee and beers with this week, and thanking the people who give their time to make all of these opportunities.

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