Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Work (that pays the bills)

Back to work. Some people don't know what I'm complaining about. "You had two weeks off? Golly, you teachers do well, don't you?"
Well, no. I get paid for just under 23 hours a week. I average 30 or more hours a week on preparation, planning, marking, and actual teaching, plus the admin I do in the office. I do it because it's a great job (where else do you get to write poems and stories with your students, talk to them about the stuff that matters in writing, read lots of different stories and poems and hopefully give useful, encouraging feedback, read writing books and come up with great new ideas to share, talk to fellow teachers about same new ideas, etc etc?). Yes, there are times when it sucks, but I'd much much much rather be teaching writing than working in an office any day.
A writer friend and I have just discovered that we both worked at Pizza Hut back in the 1980s, and we both had awful bosses (in different countries, I might add). There's a few stories in there somewhere...
Finished Garry Disher's Chain of Evidence last night (because I couldn't bear to go to sleep without finishing it - a very good sign). He has really excelled in this book, particularly with the setting and description stuff. I think every politician should read it to get some understanding of Australia's working and under-class society. Disher's descriptions of life on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne are stunning, as is the stuff about rural South Australia. The MP is seen, around Melbourne, as a place for rich people to buy coastal properties and swan around the local wineries, but there is a whole other population there that he brings to life with stunning detail, enough to make you despair. To me, this is what terrific crime fiction does. It reveals the reality of all the people in this world who live among affluence but have virtually nothing, and what that does to them.
Don't let me put you off! It's a great story, with strong, interesting characters.
Writing today? Rewriting. I do this weird thing where I write a draft without chapters. If I come to a place where there could be a chapter ending, I'll leave a space, otherwise I just keep going. (My friend, T, thinks this is very strange.) So now I am going back, finding the best place for chapter breaks, rewriting cliff hangers and chapter beginnings, and also adding and adjusting all that stuff that I realised I'd left unfinished or unclear.
This week, I've had two great reviews of my new book Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!). One reviewer actually said "A brilliant book." I think I'm about to fall over and die. What more could you want? Now I can go and put quotes on my website!
And the advance copies have arrived of my new Nibble (out in August), The Littlest Pirate in a Pickle. As this has already sold to Happy Cat Books in the UK, it's obviously time for more champagne!

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