Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What is a better excuse for not blogging than marking student work? Writing, of course! The break was all too short, as usual, but after a week of meandering (and the video course) my creative brain kicked into gear and I began madly writing. 10,000 words in one week on three different projects.
One was the short chapter book that literally popped into my head one night when I was having trouble sleeping. I was so pleased to have that happen, which is not a regular thing. I have since workshopped and reworked it, and sent it off. Fingers crossed.
I also started a longer novel for kids that has been kicking around in my head for a while and in the end I decided I had to at least put some of it on paper so I could see what I had and whether it worked. Needless to say, it stalled around 6000 words. Not a gift at all! It still sits there, waiting for me to decide what to do, where to take it, how to make what I have fire up into something worthwhile.
I have also written a number of poems, and this week, a short personal essay (my class is studying and writing them at the moment so I had a go at one). And a variety of other things have had words added.
Went to my first spec fiction (SF, fantasy, etc) convention last weekend, principally to listen to the guests from OS - Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb and Poppy Z. Brite. During the week before I had read Hobb's new book "Shaman's Crossing" and was a little disappointed with it. A million tons of description, and much of it felt like an extended flashback, a bit distant from the reader. That old thing of "let me tell you how I got to this point" and then the character goes back in time and does exactly that - tell. It took me until about Page 300 to start engaging with the character, which is unusual for me with her books.
At the convention, I think she was a bit shy. People kept complaining that they'd tried to talk to her and got brushed off. Hmmm. Her GOH talk was "The Writer in the Parent and the Parent in the Writer" - all about writing with kids and how often other writers look down on you (if you have kids and they get equal or more time than your writing, simply because that's the way it is, then you are not a serious writer). She also said "You will never have more time to write than you do right now." Meaning that life will always fill your time with stuff (family, job, other commitments) and you have to make time for writing or it will never happen. A good talk, inspiring in a solid, clear way.
Neil Gaiman was very witty, very dynamic and everyone loved him. I bought a copy of "The Wolves in the Walls", which is just as good as I hoped it would be (having seen a small extract) and he signed it for me.
I went to a number of sessions - probably the best were the ones on medieval arms and armour. Great swordfighting demos, plenty of weapons to look at and hold, lots of good information and further references.
Reading? Apart from the Hobb book, I've also read a French crime novel "Blood Red Rivers" (not a great translation, by the way), "Millions" by Frank Cottrell Boyce (funny but I think it's been a little over-rated by those who have been raving about it), and tried to read "The Da Vinci Code" because a friend has lent me the illustrated version. Didn't get very far but the pictures are interesting. Might go back to it later, if only to see what the fuss is about.
Have I read the new HP? No. No time at the moment. Writing is more important, especially now I have started teaching again. But I will. I do like HP, and I know I was reading them before the hype started. A student lent me a copy she got in the UK, probably before the first one hit Australia. Yes, the adverbs do annoy me at first, and then I stop noticing them.
And I wish people would stop going on and on about how rich JK Rowling is. So what? Lucky her. Or not so lucky. She never goes out any more, never does public appearance stuff. Probably can't even go to the supermarket. Is that a great life? I think not.

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