Monday, 10 September 2012

The morning after...

The morning after started early. Three am to be precise. I was woken by my youngest having a bad dream. Years of broken nights have taught me that the only way to get back to sleep quickly is if you can minister to the little darlings without waking up properly yourself. I was nearly there, till I realised that he was wheezy, and by the time I'd toddled downstairs to get his puffer, I was wide awake and my mind buzzing. Usually this is an extremely bad thing for me. It's the time of night when work anxieties crowd in and there is bugger all I can do about any of it. Sometimes, though, I strike lucky and the wee small hours prove fruitful as I churn out ideas, work out character's motives, come up with the perfect sentence. (The only downside is I don't always have pen and paper to hand, so sometimes fall asleep like Carrie in Homeland desperate to remember the vital breakthrough I've just made).  Fortunately, this morning, my mind was full of my 1:1's. Two out of three had commented I could strengthen the opening chapter by rewriting the first few paragraphs. I resisted it initially, I've worked so hard on that passage, and I liked what I'd done with it. But on the train I began to realise they were right, and lying in the darkness this morning, I began to see how to go about it.

At four am the writing was crystal clear and I was certain  I'd cracked it. But at seven when I managed to crawl out of bed, the details were a bit fuzzy. As I threw myself back into the rhythm of life before school, uniform, breakfast, packed lunch, the words came back. I'm still not sure whether I should use the word "supposed" or not, but my critics were right, it certainly feels a stronger beginning. Even better, on the way to work, I realised that a couple more throwaway lines would prove a perfect link to the central section of the novel. And for once, I got all the way to the office without work thoughts crowding in. Of course, I've had precious little time since then...Supervision, budget building and lots of stuff not for public consumption, was followed by rushing to meet number 2 to show her the way to her new drama group;  returning home to feed the others; back on the bus to collect her and have tea, whilst Chris is at a work meeting. I know from the lovely people I met at the conference, I am not alone in having such a whirlwind life, and so it's good to keep remembering JoJo Moyes' advice to write what you can, whenever you can to keep your projects moving.

This is going to me last post for a while, I have a novel to write after all. I wanted to end, however, by saying that a spectacular and unexpected pleasure at York was meeting so many people who know my lovely twin Julia Williams. I am sorry if I startled some of you by my more than passing resemblance to her, but as I said at the time, it happens rather a lot. So here's the poem, as promised.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Shall I forgive you? It happens quite a lot –

a stranger greets me in the street, or on a bus –

it causes confusion more often than not.

Did you suffer from such a delusion? What

were you thinking - that I wouldn’t make a fuss?

Should I forgive you, since it happens a lot?

Perhaps you understood at first, but then forgot

alike was not the same, that there are two of us.

I know it’s confusing, more often than not.

Maybe, I should try again, give you another shot.

Perhaps, after all, I’ve been making too much fuss.

Could I forgive you, since it happens such a lot?

It’s not surprising, really, that you’ve lost the plot,

you’re not the first to be bemused by two of us,

It can be confusing, more often than not.

Maybe, after all, I’ve been making too much fuss.

For, if I can forgive the person on the bus,

surely, I can pardon you? It happens such a lot -

causing confusion more often than not.

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