Wednesday, September 14, 2005

There were many moments when I thought - must do my blog now - and then something else came up and I never got to it. I've just been away for a writers' retreat weekend with my writing group, to Mansfield in Victoria. The house we stayed in was on the edge of Lake Eildon, or should I say, what used to be the edge. We've had a fair bit of rain over the past year, probably exceeding the average, but when you see the lake, with its "normal" water line etched across the hills and the water itself way way below that, it reminds you how low our water reserves are. Lake Eildon is artificial, dammed to provide water back in the 50s (I think) and when I look at the old waterline, I wonder if it will ever get back to where it was.
Anyway, I did manage some writing while I was away, as well as vast amounts of eating. I did a final edit and polish on a short novel, and finished the first draft of a short story. The story has been sitting there for about 4-5 months. I wrote one bit, was happy with it but then couldn't see where else to go with it. It has turned out shorter than I expected, but that's not a bad thing probably. This week maybe I'll get time to look it over again and think about it.
I've also had my brother staying for 6 days, which was lovely - more eating, but also lots of walking.
And being the end of term (mid-semester) I've had lots of student assignments to mark. Mostly a pleasure as many of them were very good.
Right now, I also need to print out the poems from my new verse novel for children. I have written 32, which amazes me. They seem to come out in bunches, and I type them up and put them away again for a while, then more come. But now it's time to lay them all out and see what I have, and where I can go. The story is the thing, and how to write poems to fill the gaps yet make them meaningful in themselves. It's always the way - you do it once and it works, but it doesn't really make the next time all that easier.
On Friday I am off to Tucson, Arizona, for a 2 week teacher exchange. I will be teaching classes and a weekend workshop at Pima College, working with Meg Files. Then I go on to San Antonio to stay with a friend. She is a writer so I am looking forward to a special writing/talking time.
This blog will become what it started as - a travel diary for friends and family to read if they're interested. It may well have more readers than it's ever had! I'll have to mind my Ps and Qs.
Notes from the Writers' Festival? Well, I had good intentions... Now I just remember Carrie Tiffany and Kate Grenville, and the session where publishers and editors and agents and marketing people talked about the realities of publishing - will this sell? And how many? then no, sorry, we won't publish it.
I have since read Tiffany's book and was a little let down by it. She read some great stuff from it and it has some wonderful moments, but overall it felt a bit like it didn't really go anywhere. I attended a session with Alexander McCall Smith, who has the greatest giggle ever, and he was very entertaining but didn't talk about writing much at all.
I did feel sorry for the brand new writers (first novels) who were struggling with being on stage at the festival and expected to "perform". A hard task, to sound intelligent, entertaining, worthy and likeable, all at once!

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