Hello everyone - how's tricks? It's the usual juggling act here - I'm attempting to do a Blue Peter and stick leaves on a shoebox to make the three year old's box of goodies for tomorrow's Harvest Festival, while editing the first 'bare bones' draft of the memoir. For any of you also writing memoirs at the moment, I've just read a great book - Natalie Goldberg's 'Old Friend From Far Away'. Just like 'Writing Down the Bones' Goldberg is very good at making you come at your writing, and memories, sideways. There are some excellent prompts in there and I really recommend the book (it's also a lot more fun than most of the memoir text books).
I'm about 30,000 words in to the new book 'Backalong at Dimpsy'. Recalling the events of over thirty years ago is curious - a bit like dancing with yourself just as in today's clip. It's funny that when the book opens I'm younger than my daughter, and I'm finding it refreshing writing through a child's eyes. Everything is a first - the wild, beautiful place I found myself in felt like a fairytale. I don't think it's being sentimental or nostalgic to say it was a more innocent time. We had a freedom I can't imagine being able to give my children - off freewheeling along the lanes all day, swimming in rivers, riding across the moors on muddy little ponies. What do you think? Have things changed all that much in thirty years?
They had the first heat of the People's Author the other day - here's a link to the story samples. ('Billy Brown I'll tell your Mum' won the first round). The competition is pretty stiff - they all were good writers, and very confident and composed on the show (I keep having nightmares about tripping up and falling at Alan Titchmarsh's feet:) The next show is on ITV Monday at 3pm.
Meanwhile, Evie - the character from the new novel, won't be quiet. Maybe you find when you finish a book that your characters go quiet (no more of the chattering/snatches of scenes coming to you)? Not this one. I've just outlined the next novel ... but she's going to have to wait a month or two.
TODAY'S PROMPT: Goldberg's book has some terrific ideas - she writes about how memoir is really a desire to understand living. It's making sense of love, pain, who you were and who you are. Some of the simple but effective prompts you could try today are ten minute sprints. Why not try writing about:
- 'I remember ...'
- 'I am thinking of ...'
- 'I am looking at ...'
I also loved her idea about recalling ten smells from your childhood. Me: wood shavings, Mum's 'Paris' perfume, roast dinner, geraniums, tomatoes on the vine in the greenhouse, wood smoke, wet earth on the forest floor, saddle soap and leather, rosewater, rice pudding and cinnamon. How about you?