Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Inspiration Strikes

As well as my ever towering to be read pile of books and endless notes on what I want to write next, over the Christmas period I also amassed quite a few recordings on the TV.  Well it was a bit of a cultural highlight - Jane Austen and Charles Dickens all in one season. So during these dark winter nights I have been very much entertained.

The other night I watched the TV biography of JK Rowling.  Now I don't know how close to the reality it was, but considering it  was unauthorised and was made to entertain, I suspect that a fair proportion of poetic licence may have been involved in the making.  The further I got into the programme, though, the more I enjoyed it.

For me it wasn't really about the facts; it was about one woman's determination to achieve her goal, no matter how long it took or how many rejections she received along the way.

I especially loved the bits where she had a few spare moments and she would slip out her notebook and start writing.

Perhaps it's a lesson to all us writers out there - make the most of whatever writing opportunity we have, even if it's just for a few minutes.

I'm a bit of a scatty writer myself, I'm usually working on several projects at a time and have notebooks and folders on my pc all over the place.

At the moment I'm trying to edit several short stories written in first draft and am going through my back list to see if I can breathe life into some of my ancient relics. I'm also trying to edit a novel, so I often find it difficult to have the right piece of writing with me at the right time.

But for my next project, I have decided to use a dedicated notebook, which I can carry with me whenever I go, then when I do get a few spare moments, I don't have to log on to anywhere to see where I left off at my last writing session.

Technology is a wonderful thing and I'm so glad I don't have to type on a typewriter any more but this programme has inspired me to go back to basics - the good old pen and paper. And its also made me want to concentrate on one project at a time.  I think it's time to declutter my writing life.  A bit late I know but that can't be a bad resolution can it?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

It's Snowing, So It Must Be Panto Season

Last weekend I went to see my sister-in-law perform at a school production.  The school is where my niece goes to, where I and both my brothers also went, and was to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary.

My sister-in-law has never acted before and had decided to give it a go because it is something she has always fancied trying, and she seemed to be really enjoying herself.

We all had tickets for last Saturday night but to be honest, I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it because of the weather.   I live about 30 miles away from my old home, and normally the journey is a doddle, but I don’t like driving at night and I particularly don’t like driving in bad weather. But it was important to my sister-in-law and I wanted to support her, so I decided to go anyway.

It was raining heavily when I left, even though it was -1oC, and the spray on the motorway made driving difficult.  Before I had left, my Dad had said it was snowing where they were but I didn’t think it would settle because it was so wet everywhere else.

When I turned off the motorway, it was like driving into a different world. The hedgerows were completely white and the roads full of dirty slush.  The further I got to my parent’s house, the whiter it became and the slippier the roads. It was at that point I was glad I had packed an overnight bag for me and the boys, just in case.  I thought I may have to use it.

We walked round to the school in a snow storm, the pavements and roads were thick with it and the boys had snowball fights all the way. They thought it was brilliant but by the time we arrived we were all looking pretty much like snow monsters ourselves.

The panto, Dorothy and the Wizard who’s Odd, was brilliant.  Full of local humorous references, lots of laugh-out-loud moments, and some singing and dancing.  And as for my sister-in-law’s performance, well I was absolutely blown over.  I thought she might be a bit nervous, but it looked as though she had been acting all her life.   She is one of the nicest people I have ever known, but her part as the wicked witch was utterly convincing and I don’t think I’ll ever view in her in quite the same light again.

Despite the snow I was pleased that I had made it because it was one of those moments in life which I will never forget.  I was so proud of her for getting out there and doing something she has always wanted to do, and for being so good at it too.

The snow was still thick when we left but didn’t seem to be freezing.   Desperate to spend the night in my own bed, I decided to brave the weather and drove home.  It took me a while to get back onto the motorway, but once there the snow simply vanished.  I said to the boys that I felt as though I had come from Narnia back to the wardrobe.  My eldest commented, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, can I be the Lion?’ I replied, ‘And I suppose I’ll have to be the witch.’  There was a silence until my youngest said in a small voice, ‘Why do I have to be the wardrobe?’ And our laughter eased the journey home.

It was certainly a night to remember in more ways than one.