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D’oh or dough?

Last week I went out to dinner with some friends who had read my blog (hi Fi, Marcia and Dave!) and so knew what I was working on but not what I was working on.

Huh?

That is to say while I’ve blathered on about finding a premise and character development I actually have said what all that was working toward. i had assumed that people knew that – I guess by osmosis? I’m not sure. In my mind I’ve told so many people I though the world knew!

I’m working on a play called Rewena. The conceit of the play is that the audience is a class who is coming to learn how to make rewena (which is a sour dough bread). It is a one woman show which is played in real time (eek!) in a working kitchen (yes it will be the bane of set designers and stage managers alike).

The guts of the story is Aggie (the woman teaching the class) had once taught this recipe to a young boy who is now a finalist on a cooking show – the final is airing at the same time she is teaching this class…

I think that’s all I can say without giving it all away.

Yesterday I finished the first “draft” (it doesn’t really feel complete at the moment ). Usually when I finish a first draft I’m on a high…but yesterday? Decidedly not so. It was like the planning/outlining had taken the “heat” out of the writing – the rollercoaster of “how the hell am I going to end this?” was just a ride on a miniture train around a park…whee.

I think it felt a little deflated because I was obsessed with time – which to be fair will be pretty important when it being played in real time – but has fettered the tangents that usually pop up in a first draft. And sometimes those tangents blow the story wide open.

Which has led me to ask myself – why do I write? If it is for thrills (as the previous paragraphs would suggest) then there are easier ways to get that. It is not for fame as it is always a surprise to me that people actually read my work at all or are in anyway interested in what I have to say. Actually talking to “the Public” – EEEKK! – I will have a terrible day when I have to speak at the Devonport library (it’s not until that night so I have a whole day to imagine how I have no idea what I am doing). And again – there are faster and easier ways to get that (though perhaps not with dignity intact).

So the plan is now to let the script lie for a few days (I’m reading a gigantic text book “The Seven Basic Plots Why We tell Stories” by Christopher Booker), then I’ll print it off, read/record it, time it and perhaps play it as I make rewena. Then I’ll be reading/listening for obvious rewrites and maybe doing this all again.

Perhaps I’ll revisit the outline and the character work I have done to dig a bit deeper.

In other news a Devonport kitten has adopted me. She (she is a she as she’s a tortie) hangs out in front of my writing shed or jumps in the window to sleep on my armchair or sofa. I think she’s someone’s kitten (she looks well cared for and smells of flea powder) so she’s just visiting. Absolutely no kittens will be checked with my luggage on my way home. She’s just visiting. Like me.

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It’s alive….ALIVE!

Let’s not dwell on how long it has been since my last post (3 – ahem- years). So the readers that I once had will have probably moved on to a blogger who is not as neglectful; the only form of decay this blog has experienced in my absence (unless, by some trick of subscription I have popped up in their RSS feed – hello!). To tell the truth I had thought that when I tried to log on it would not be here. Not so just reset my password and here I am.

Which I guess begs the question (does it?) why am I blogging again? I’ll answer that with where I’m blogging – in the writer’s studio at the Michael King Writers Centre. For the next eight weeks I’m going to be a full-time writer instead of a writer/administrator which is very exciting and also a  little daunting.

Today is my second full day here and I’m still trying to find how to work. Actually I’m trying to get used to the space and feel like it’s mine.When I’m at home I usually cram writing around everything else and look forward to Wednesdays when I have the whole day to write. So what do I do with a whole eight weeks?

I’m working on a play called Rewena while I’m here so I’ve decided to do a bit of research before I leap into writing. This includes baking. So on my residency I have brought my rewena bug with me. Well, part of it; in a little plastic container wrapped in electrical tape and double bagged for the flight. When I arrived on Monday the plastic container was bulging and the rewena bug bubbling so I set it that night to make bread in the morning. This is what I woke to on Tuesday:

Lovely, bubbly and alive. It seems to thrive up here in Auckland. I hope I will too.

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Really, no excuse.

I know.  It’s got to the point where I’m not really continuing to blog, but starting a new one; don’t you think so?

At the moment I feel like I want to keep my work close to my chest and I’m not sure why. Maybe that’s why when I think about blogging I say meh…

So this is a super short post to apologise and to say I’m not sure when I’ll be back…perhaps when my new projects have solidified in my head.

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Nice work if you can get it

I read this article and what fascinated me was not what the authors said (because I know that writing can be like any other job at times, that it can be exhausting and seem pointless…and then there are the times when it is an absolute joy), but the comments that follow.

The mocking of some of the authors’ work, the accusations of whining. I can understand why people think that those authors ought to be grateful to be writing for a living (a lot of comments were from people who wrote around a day job and children and life) indeed it is a privilege to be able to make a living out of your work; but that doesn’t make it any less of a job.

The most interesting comment for me was one where the commenter said that the authors should not whine about their jobs because no one asked them to become writers; further that unlike doctors etc society doesn’t need writers (I would hazard a guess that that would include all of the arts.)

So OK, in a medical emergancy I doubt anyone would yell “20ccs of a sonnet, stat!” but I do think that the arts save lives.

(Well of course I’d think that you say, it is in my own self interest and it is, but does that negate my argument?)

At the very least the arts help us to look at the world from others’ perspectives, they challenge our beliefs. Isn’t that necessary for a healthy society?

Last night I had an argument with my father (arguing with my father is a rather pointless exercise because he is always right even though it is patently clear that I am always right 🙂 ) about the Beatles, or rather that the 60’s were the pinnacle of music/rock ‘n roll. I said that after the Beatles that “rock n roll” kind of splintered off into new genres so while the 60’s did indeed produce classic rock n roll good music did not stop being produced. That part of the arts function (rock n roll included) is to push the boundaries. He said “no it’s not”.

Oh I could have argued that the Beatles themselves stretched rock n roll, that their later music is completely different from their early covers of Little Richard; that the music of his beloved Eagles would not have existed if someone hadn’t pushed the boundaries at some stage.

But he said “Britney Spears is shit” and I agreed so that was the end of the argument.

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Weekend work

Just a quick note to say that apart from a spell check I’ve finally finished my draft!

Yay!

I couple of drinks tonight at the opening of Who’s Poppin I think!

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18 – done and dusted

Now all I have to deal with is the tricky new Chapter 19 – which is a quarter of 18 with some new stuff (not yet imagined, but a vague outline in process) in front.

Amusing myself with set up for this chapter and other things (like January is a heavy sleeper which is why she is always late for work. Which feels a little autobiographical at the moment.)

I think I’m going to try to do some writing over the weekend, it feels so close to being finished that I just want it done. Plus it has been harder to get up in the mornings lately – I’ve been pushing snooze two or three times. I’m wondering if my writing time is in flux.

I used to write at nights after uni/work and back then my husband worked at a bar so I had the nights to myself. Then I discovered that I could haul myself out of bed at dawn to go to the gym so I thought I could write the too.

And I have been. Just now it seems to be getting harder and harder. I think I’m naturally a night owl, but I do like to get my work done in the morning.

Maybe I should just win lotto and get it over with! Then I could set my own schedule.

Will it be all right when daylight savings start again? Or will I be getting up earlier? My memory is hazy but I swear I don’t gain an hour at either end.

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Chapter 18

I was going to write the dreaded chapter 18, but I thought that would put too much pressure on it. It is not its fault that it is malformed. I suspect that it is at the very least a conjoined twin – one chapter tacked to the other because at the time it didn’t seem like a chapter in itself…

Not only do I suspect that it is two chapters but I think there maybe a chapter needed in between them; so when I do separate them (necessary so that each can grow)there will be a definite rift.

I just don’t have time to do it this morning. But I do have time to write a wee post. Priorities huh?

Wednesday is my writing day so I’m hoping if I do a little work re-reading and planning today then I can make a good crack at “knocking the bastard off” as Sir Ed the most eloquent of Kiwis would have said.

And that’s what it feels like at the moment – Everest (not that I would find myself in that position to start with. I don’t really like the cold, or sleeping on the frozen ground. And walking up a big frikkin mountain doesn’t look like a whole heap of yuk yuks to me.)

I was putting off writing this chapter but I have got to the point where I have to look at it to fix other problems down the line.

Usually I would have tackled the chapter first to get it out of the way. It is a hangover from my childhood. I would eat the things (usually vegetables, that is if I even ate my vegies) I hated first then I could enjoy the rest. At Intermediate when our classroom experimented with self directed learning I did all of my maths at once so that I could enjoy art and reading (and surprisingly given my dislike of maths, science.)

I don’t know why I delayed this. It is so against my nature. Maybe it is because I’ve been in holiday mode and the other writing was just plugging small holes not ripping things out and restructuring.

It was still like I was on holiday because it wasn’t hard work.

Back to the mines eh? Where did I leave that canary?

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