Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Notes on an awfully big adventure

A little boy lives in the house behind ours. His name is Julian.  I think he’s three. 

I hear him prattling away in the mornings on the weekend, often while I am still lying in bed. Our bedroom, at the back of our house, faces their back garden. He is up early because of the light.  And he and his parents often do things in their garden, like sweep up leaves, or weed, not at 5am, but pretty early.

What strikes me about his conversations is his enthusiasm for life. His wonder at nature. His awe of everything. 

“Daddy, Daddy, let’s fill the bucket.”

I’ve found a stone. Do you want a stone, Mummy? Do you, Mummy?”

“Here’s some grass, Daddy. Here’s some grass.”

I love the way he repeats his parents’ names, as if to reaffirm their existence.  To reassure himself he is not alone. 

He makes me think about life and nature, and about how, madly rushing about with our busy lives, we often forget to enjoy the small moments, to appreciate the simple beauty in front of our noses. New shoots on a tree, tender and bright green. Vibrant. The smell of newly mown grass. The dank darkness of a pile of autumn leaves. 

So many of us seem to have lost our enthusiasm for life.  

We’re busy whinging about this, that and the other. We seem to have forgotten how to live. 

It’s a good way to start the day...Listening to him.




Thursday, 11 October 2012


I’ve reached two milestones this week.

One is that I’ve been blogging for a year.

The other is that a couple of days ago I finished the first draft of my gothic novel. 

The two are connected. The first blog I wrote was about imaginary friends, and this is the subject matter of my novel.  This also means, of course, that it’s taken me a year to get down a first draft. And, yes, I would have liked to have progressed a bit quicker – who wouldn’t? – but I did have some major interruptions, including a trip overseas.   In addition, at one point, I felt like throwing it all away (see blog of 4th May) because I couldn’t work out how to proceed.  I was in pain.  But I persevered. 

The narrative is in two parts and I wrote most of the second part before I completed the first part.  I was very fortunate to be able to do that.  It was like having two best friends; when one was giving me the irrits I spent time with the other.

I had a few tears when I finished, not because I finished but because the characters I have come to know so very well have been going through some tough times.  I’m hoping this is going to come across to the reader.  I love a good cry in a novel. 

I’ve reached the re bit now or, in pirate language, Arghhh. The part where I reread, redraft, rewrite, reconsider, reflect, re-establish, relapse (possibly) and regurgitate (not really but it sounds good). 

The writer has temporarily left the study. (And, yes, this is the mess I work in, including the dear friend at my feet. Why pretend to be someone I'm not?)