Sunday, July 16, 2006

Writing in this household has been, temporarily, put on hold in favour of the dreaded paint brush and paint roller. Kitchen and bathroom renovations are nearly complete, and we are down to the nitty-gritty of it - painting the ceilings and walls. I've been trying to put it off as long as possible, until finally it got too much and I've been attacking it all week. My greatest joy was to finish the kitchen ceiling after 3 weeks of scraping, sanding, sealing and 3 coats. It knackers the neck and shoulders far more than laptop computers ever do! But we now have everything undercoated - and if you think that's slow going, well, yes ... but top coats are smooth sailing in comparison. Kind of like writing that first draft, just keeping at it and at it, ignoring the obvious bits where the paint got a bit streaky (or the language got a bit pompous or a plot hole opened), until finally there it is. Done. Awful, especially if you look it too closely and critically, but now you have something to work with. Fill a few holes, sand back smooth, choose the colour and keep working.
I was talking to a friend the other day who writes wonderful stories, especially historical description and atmosphere, and we were discussing romance writing. As a career that pays a lot of money, once you get published and can produce good romances 3-4 times a year. If only. It's true what the editors say - you can spot a cynic a mile away.
Another friend flew off last month to the UK and was planning on attending a conference on erotic writing while he was there. We are all waiting eagerly to hear what it was like, what he learned. Another field in which there is nice money to be made (not just a rumour - this comes from a writer who does it) but is it the right writing for us? Can we be genuine and "real"? Or is all fiction writing just made up and it's all about how well you can fake it. That sounded very cynical!
Maybe I'm dreaming about lots of money from writing right now because I'd love to pay someone to come in and paint my house.
Classes start tomorrow, and I have done quite a bit of prep, but still feel like it's not enough. Mainly it's the photocopying. I hate using so much paper, but how else do I get the information to the students? I can't make them all buy ten or twenty books, and many books only have certain bits I like to use. This is the point at which e-books start to look good, for texts and classroom use at least. You could pay for single use by a student, on a computer or book reader, then delete at the end of the year. If the student loved the book, they could buy their own copy. In Australia we have CAL, which monitors photocopies made of texts and pays authors an amount in compensation, but do other countries have this? It would be good to use technology to advance this kind of usage on-screen and save the trees.

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