Monday, 15 March 2010

65,000 words and new life in the story

I'm onto the third chapter of 'backstory' and can clearly see how it will fit within the book, as reflection on the past anchored by the objects in the house and landscape. Emma lives within this frame full of the past, in one sense her real task is to break free from the hold it has over her and to find her own life. I've left Charlotte's voice as an internal dialogue that may - or may not - also be a creepy, ghostly voice. I just think Emma has absorbed Charlotte, and what becomes clear to Emma during the story is that she has grown up, while Charlotte remains seventeen. I've realised that during the last 6 weeks, I have written 65k of this book, 11k of the second novel, about three thousand of activities from the BRB and about 3k for the lifewriting assignment. That's the difference between this year and say, last year. I've got a writing habit back and am approaching it like work, again. Like a writer.

The lifewriting is so hard, even now, looking at the short piece I wrote for TMA04, I'm uncomfortable with it. I don't like talking about myself but as the BRB said, when you write about other people you do reveal yourself as well. My son,. who is my main critic, also doesn't like the piece, even though it's mostly well written (we think) but he doesn't entirely recognise either me nor his grandmother from the writing. I think that's largely because I haven't shared my feelings entirely with him (don't want to bad mouth Grandma!) but also because I don't recognise that she is always always angry at me. I feel stressed, I react as if she is, but I don't see it, I look for a failing in me. (I don't like her, she's always bossing me around...) when really, she just endlessly snaps at me, puts me down, makes up silly things to make me feel small. My favourite this week was that I 'had to have' a TV in my room when I was in hospital in case I missed 'Blue Peter'. ? The occasion was the six weeks I spent alone, on bed rest, with pre-eclampsia, knowing my baby would almost certainly die whatever I did but fighting for him anyway. We didn't own a TV, but out of pity, my father in law lent me their portable black and white TV from his study. That and a box of old books from a junk shop were all I had to entertain me over the six long weeks I was in. I'm fairly sure, at 21, that 'Blue Peter' was not a priority, but she threw it at me this week as if I was as demanding, difficult and childish - as she is. My baby died. He would be 28 this year. I'm starting to see that her anger (and mine) are the core of our relationship, and so the lifewriting can reflect that.

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