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!