Of snaps and snails and puppy dog tails, not.

ItIMG_3015’s been complicated, busy and exhilerating since last time.

First, a terrific weekend workshop with Julian Gough at the WUK, in Vienna, organised by Write Now. Have a look at how one of the participants saw the experience.

Then there was my flash fiction workshop, organised by Vienna Skill Smiths, held at Mag Das Hotel and serviced by asylum seekers. (Mag das is not a forename but “I like that” in Viennese dialect.) A grand experience that through contacts made has led to another small cross-pollinating project and was able to ignite a small passion for writing in some of the participants. Then there was Poets night where I read the five flashes published at Jotters United Magazine #18.

By this time, the great self-editing course run by Debi Alper and Emma Darwin wound up leaving us all with a wonderful toolbox and me with at last having found the narrator of my novel. In my excitement, I sent the first three chapters to my agent, and she found them “tantalising”.

With that sort of encouragement and the wonderful input from the course, I set out to see if I could get myself blocks of time to work on the opus. Residency applications bombed, so I have realised that I just need to get on with things and not think that some swish place is the answer. I shall set up my room without a view and cut if off from telephone and Internet. I shall stock up with food, lock the door and hide the key. Luckily I have a loo nearby.

Then followed a super workshop with Peter Rosei and a fun and deep class presentation with my talented workshop partners. Peter reminded us that a writer needs to be alone, that she needs to go dark places where she may find out uncomfortable things about herself, that she needs to think, step outside of what she may think is expected.

In the middle of all this, Paris happened. Thinking about the rise of the right, not just in Europe, and parallels with the last century, informed my reading of the Skorzeny Diaries, necessary background for the opus. Heaven help us if there is ever a TrumpLe Pen axis with a smattering of young Swedish “elites”. Stieg Larsson certainly knew a thing or two.

I’ve also been thinking about the purpose and value of social media, conflicts of interest, self-publishing, and the pros and cons of belonging to a group: an ongoing exercise.

Life, it seems is just another four-letter word. It just depends on the letters you use, oh, and how things are not always as they seem. You’ll forgive me, I trust, if I hardly engage in the Christmas spirit. But on that note, I wish you, as ever, onwards!



8 thoughts on “Of snaps and snails and puppy dog tails, not.

  1. Strange Christmas this year for us…but we try and celebrate every day something good. Helps us not to go nuts with all the bad around us and maybe leave enough strength to correct a nano particle of it. Or maybe a nano nano nano nano particle.

  2. I read something a long time ago and it stuck with me. “Try to make other people’s dreams come true.” I think that’s the essence of the holiday spirit, no? I’ve tried to remind myself that Christmas isn’t a time for celebrations of joy and happiness or that it be for myself. It’s a time to look for other people’s dreams, a time to forget about myself and my wants and needs. And there are a lot of crushed people in the world.

    Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if that was our default setting, but I have to admit, I get cold and tired and fearful, and I do forget from time to time.

    And faith isn’t a religious dogma, a cudgel for striking others, but an active decision to keep going forward answering those pleas for help even when the outcome is uncertain or doomed. Especially when it’s doomed.

    At least that’s what sustains me *chuckle*.

    Anyway, Puerto Rico has some wonderfully quiet and extremely cheap places to concentrate and work outside of your normal environment. There are monasteries and convents aplenty, as well as lots of empty houses (real estate crash and all). Would host if you’re interested.

    1. Yes, make dreams come true. Help young people on their way. Funny you say that. Just a few minutes ago I received a cry for help from a young IT man whose work I reviewed several years ago. Timely reminder, Jim. And thank you for the hosting offer. A visit would be great, but not possible for a couple of years yet. We were in PR on our honeymoon, so have fond memories.

      1. Wow! I had no idea you were here for your honeymoon. So cool. Of all the places to visit.. what a coincidence!

        Well, then let’s set a hopeful future trip whereby you both come back for a visit in the next 5 years. 🙂

        1. Well, it was the first leg of what was to become the honeymoon. It would be great to come back. I remember not being allowed in the hotel pool after dark, but it was so hot, so just fell in 😉 Yes, would be great to see you again.

  3. I can understand why it feels all wrong to get into the Christmas spirit, when the whole world seems to be going downhill very fast… But when I read this post and followed some of your links, I was overcome by how many interesting, varied and inspiring writers you’ve been working with, and what sterling work you’ve been doing! Wishing you luck with your novel and your ‘home-based residency’.

    1. Many thanks for your kind words, Marina Sofia. And thanks for proving me wrong on my tweep thoughts. Backatchya 😉

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