Remember when you were young…

This must be the longest break from blogging I’ve had in years. I’ve been thinking about it the whole time, wishing I could just take that hour or so out and write, but it hasn’t happened. I have good reason for slacking off: we’ve renovated the whole house, painted every room bar one, most of the outside, replaced almost all the floor coverings, every door except one, and all the light fittings. I guess it probably doesn’t sound like a lot. We haven’t gutted the kitchen or anything, although we did replace the bathroom sink and both toilet cisterns. It hasn’t been a complete renovation but it surely has been a huge undertaking and the results are pretty good.  I’ll post some photos at some point.

Anyway, aside from that, which happened in the space of less than six weeks with a week in Thailand in the middle (we had it booked, we had to go!), I’ve also been working full time which has been a massive challenge. The work was relatively challenging although nothing  I couldn’t handle. It was dealing with the internal politics that took its toll. It’s the public service, typical really, but it’s been a while since I’ve worked full time and I’d forgotten just how carefully one has to play the game.

Part of a letter written in 1918 to my great great great grandmother. She seems to have been very kind to a woman whose son was killed during the war. Her own son was too. Nothing to do with this blog post, only that it captures a moment in time...
Part of a letter written in 1918 to my great great great grandmother. She seems to have been very kind to a woman whose son was killed during the war. Her own son was too. Nothing to do with this blog post, only that it captures a moment in time…

So it’s been full on, and I haven’t had a moment to even plan a blog post, let alone write one. I’ve had so many ideas jump into my head but I’ve been too busy to jot them down or draft something short to remind myself, so they’ve gone. I’d really wanted to do NaNoWriMo this year and try and beat my previous pathetic word counts or, shock horror, actually win, but no chance, just too much to do. The good news is that the renovation is done and the house is now on the market. I’ve also finished my contract at work, so in between job hunting and preparing the house for viewings, I’ve now got a bit of time to play with.

I got to thinking this week about the twists and turns life presents us with. Ever since I met Mr Chewbacca, my life has felt a little bit out of control. Not unmanageable or difficult, just a little bit beyond my grasp; kind of like chasing a horse but still holding its bridle. Life becomes complicated by relationships. But life would be nothing without them. The Dude has complicated my life immensely but I wouldn’t swap him for anything.

It’s bizarre to think about the hugely diverse situations I’ve ended up in so far in life. Once when I was 11 I stood around the back of my old primary school dressed as an Arthurian musician and kissed a boy.

When I was 18 I was fiddling with the car radio while driving after having had my license for only three months and didn’t give way at an intersection. The woman I collided with shouted at me and I cried in shock. My best friend’s mum happened to be there at that moment and took me to her place, which I was on my way to. My mum couldn’t afford to fix her 1979 Renault station wagon and we drove it around for months with the entire front panel dented in so far you could see the suspension.

When I was 21 I met a boy and had what can only be described as a religious experience, ending up randomly at his house somehow and not leaving until the early hours of the morning when I crept out past the open door of his parents’ bedroom as they slept. That relationship lasted six years.

When I was 28 I travelled through the Scottish highlands and was invited by an old man to become a weaver on the Isle of Harris. I reluctantly refused.

When I was 29 I met my mirror image, my soulmate, but I didn’t know it, and life has been surprise ever since.

When I was 32 I lay in a pool in the living room of a Vaucluse mansion and gave birth to a baby.

When I was 35 I tried to write and it just didn’t come out the way I wanted.

I am reading the autobiography of the father of an old friend at the moment. It’s not a masterpiece, just a detailed and interesting account of a varied life, a legacy of sorts, and it is quite inspiring. I find myself becoming so envious of other people’s ambition and drive to achieve. I wish I had that. It’s there but I can’t channel it outside of myself. I have my book idea, the main one, sitting right at the front of my mind, desperate to be written, and I know it is good, but it just won’t come out. Or perhaps I’m not making time for it. Yet again, my resolutions for 2014 will involve writing discipline. This time, I must succeed, as I feel I’m running out of time to write this book…

I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo… again…

Ah dear. I tried, I really did. But I got to nearly 7,000 words and that was it, I was done.  It didn’t help that my little Dude decided to get six teeth from 30 October all through November, which meant he was more restless than usual and therefore even more difficult to help sleep.  And there was some real tough shit going down in the Curiosikat house that needed some serious attention, heated discussions about moving house and just general adjustments to having a child… yes, still.  So I bombed out with NaNo again.

The fridge where I used to live in London

I’m disappointed, but there have been some positives:

1. I realised that my ‘idea’ is very different in theory to what it is in practice. That is, when I wrote, I found myself just telling a long-winded story about myself and what happened and never really even got to the stuff that the actual main bit of the story was about! I kept rabbiting on… ‘and then I did this and that was pretty awesome, but then I did this other thing and that was also awesome…’ bla bla bla bla bla… So all it really became was a glorified hindsight diary entry.  It wasn’t good writing at all.  There were some good memories there, but that wasn’t why I decided to write about this idea.  I had grand plans, to come up with a really unique yet marketable real life story of… well, I don’t want to talk about it too much.  But suffice it to say, it’s a pretty awesome idea.  Or at least if I could write it, it would be.  I found myself absolutely hating what I was writing, as it was just ‘and then…’ over and over.  There was no real story there.  Frustrating, yes, but eye-opening.

2. I actually did manage 7,000 words, which for me, with a baby, is pretty good.  And some of those words were written 2,000 at a time, which means I’m more than capable of making that 50,000 in the month.  It was refreshing to just let myself blurt out words, even if they weren’t that wonderful, and I’m glad I did actually manage something.

3. I now know my idea a lot better. I know that there’s heaps of memoir type stuff floating about in my brain in amongst the ideas, and I think I got a lot of those out, which leaves more room for good ideas.  I also know that what I was planning on writing wasn’t just another boring self-indulgent diary entry; it was actually a good story, worth writing and worth reading.  So I will attempt it again, one of these days.

4. I can give some other ideas the go ahead, now I’ve done a bit of work on that one.

All in all, yes it was a failure, but not a dismal one.  And I will be back with a vengeance and some new ideas next year!

NaNo: the idea

So November is here and despite only having written 535 words, I’ve actually begun NaNoWriMo for the fourth year running. And for the first time with a very full on baby taking up all my time!

But I’m pretty pleased with myself because, unlike the other years, I’ve got myself a very clear novel idea! I actually know what I’m writing for once!

Wanna know what it is? I feel a bit odd divulging my plan on such a public forum, but who am I kidding, no one reads my blog anyway so I may as well indulge in some crapping on about my idea.

This one has been in the pipeline for a couple of years now. It’s nothing that spectacular when I describe it but I think it could be freaking awesome. The story is about London and the rite of passage for most antipodeans that is going there to work and live and get perspective. Or whatever reason seems feasible. There’s more to it, but that’s the gist.  I think I’ve actually written about some stuff on this blog, stuff that actually happened, but my NaNo novel is a fictionalised account.  I’ve got ideas for about half a dozen key characters and some storylines, but I’m not sure how they all fit together yet.  Because it’s NaNo, I’m just going to write whatever and see what emerges – no time for editing!

My NaNoWriMo challenge

So it’s NaNo next month.  And I’ve decided to do it again.  After a few failed attempts in the last few years, I still think I can do it!  I always remind myself of the time I wrote 12,000 words in a night and think, yes I can!  Not that those words were actually any good.  I read back through some of that story a while ago and… well… wow.  It’s shite.  I mean really, really shite.  There are some bits that are salvageable but overall the story is total crap.  Anyway, I digress…

I have no idea what I’m going to write about, but I don’t remember what I wrote about the other times I did NaNo so I’m just going to go with the flow.  Gotta do some thinking over the next couple of weeks, start forming some ideas in my head.  I am totally sticking by the rules though, no starting writing until 1 November.  And this is the first year I am attempting NaNo with a child in tow, Lord help me!

I’ve got a book review due on 2o October, so stay tuned for that, and once that’s out of the way I can begin to really think about my NaNo ideas.  I’ve got three novels in  my head (well, let’s not exaggerate, three novel ideas in my head) but for some reason I’m hesitating about using any of those ideas for NaNo.  I think I need to rethink that.  Hmm… Ooh, baby crying, I’ll be back with more later!