In an effort to stop feeling homesick and get on with the whole writing thing, I have turned to a little book about the creative process called 'Writing Fiction'. My aim is to precis (no matter how thinly) ten pages a day until it's read and understood. This is to build my confidence in the 'literary' part of the course which I am less prepared for. The introduction makes an interesting point: the creative process is usually balanced by some critical reading, editing and reworking of the text. (Especially, in my case, in poetry, in which I can say that most words are replaced/moved/deleted/reinstated several times. I think you can edit poetry for ever). Amanda Boulter argues that we can use imagination and creativity in the editing process, as well as our critical voices in the creative process.
Anyway, I've done my first block and then I fell into the black hole of time and energy we call Facebook. The boys are jittery and emotional because their courses start on Tuesday, and I have to register on line tomorrow. We're all feeling like new kids at school. I'm using that to write poetry, partly about feeling vulnerable in a new place, and then a few lines about the difficulties of loving and parenting step-children came up. I look into the faces of my biological children and I know what they are thinking or can make an intelligent guess. No matter how cross we get with each other (such a soft word, cross! OK, furious), I know they love me and I will keep on loving them. You have no such reassurance with step-children. They accept you because their father loves you, but beyond that is much harder. You have no idea what's going on inside their heads. They don't let you help. They don't want to help. They keep secrets, not just private stuff but important stuff. I didn't get that let out, I love them because they hit my parenting nerve, and they are lovely people. So parenting them is a long line of rejections for me. I wish I didn't care so much. So I wrote about 'Alien Children', because they can do things or say things that I just don't recognise. At least they gave me something to write about!