Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What Else I Do

Ah, the holidays. Time to dust off the pile of books waiting to be read, put up my feet and read, read, read.
If only. In fact, I have been writing, but it's a letter to a planning officer about an application, and it's one of those things you have to psyche yourself up to, because it has to be diplomatic, direct yet polite, clear and concise - and all the while I just want to have a screaming hissy fit about it. But I guess that's one of the things that's good about being a writer - I can usually use words as my swords - the death of a thousand paper cuts. That's probably a cliche (two cliches, but who's counting?), but it fits.
I've also been finalising my tax (always a joy), and then having a little splurge at the wine supermarket to celebrate when all the icky, boring, stressful things are finished.
Writing? Yes. An adult novel. Just for a complete change. I have no expectations of it, I just like the main character, I have a good plot idea as a starting point (with a novel it's always just a starting point) and I am seeing where it might go. No pressure, just words when I feel like it. If I get stuck, I leave it alone for a while until a new idea emerges or the next scene develops in my head.
Unlike a certain other middle-grade novel of mine that a very kind, very experienced writer has just read for me and confirmed what I knew in my guts - start again.
But I have been reading - a book I have been meaning to get to for ages, ever since I heard its author, Kate Grenville, read it at last year's Melbourne Writers' Festival. Only took me a year. It is as good as I thought when I heard her read an excerpt - "The Secret River". Of course, it's already won tons of prizes but that's not something that makes me want to read something urgently. It was the words I heard last August. Fabulous language, strong voice, great description. A historical novel that totally captures the time and the people.
I am also still thinking about the Elizabeth George novel I read last week - "What Came Before He Shot Her". It is not an Inspector Lynley novel, so at first I thought, Huh? But once I got into it, it was amazing. Such an eye-opener about life in London in North Kensington - if I ever get to London again, I'll make sure that's one place I avoid. When a book and its characters stay with you for weeks afterward ... what more can I say?

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