Sunday, January 31, 2016


Came across this in the acknowledgements of a book I read this weekend (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson in case you were wondering, a lovely book that I enjoyed quite a lot).

"Thank you to my Brooklyn writing community, including write Katherine Mosby, who first taught me to appreciate the beauty of the sentence."

"The beauty of the sentence" - I like that. I think it struck me because I had a conversation with someone last week about writing and he was asking me if I'd go to a writing group with him. When we first met a few months ago he did mention to me that he had written a novel when he was a student (never published and he now claims that it's rubbish) and I, in turn and laughingly told him about my attempt at doing the 3-day-novel contest a few years ago. I had forgotten that conversation. Having been thinking over the last few months about perhaps trying my hand at writing a romance novel or two as a way to generate a bit of passive income, it seemed somehow apt that I happened to bump into him again and that he had obviously remember our previous chat about writing.

All I need is an idea or two. Since he chickened out of sending me the first chapter of his novel (I'd offered to read it for him but in the sober light of Monday morning he decided he couldn't bear the thought of it), I thought perhaps seeing my attempts might encourage him. So, without thinking too much about it I found the file of my 3-day-novel attempt and read through it quickly. And then sent it to him before I could chicken out.

I actually started two different novels that weekend. Got about two chapters done of each of them but since I had no plan at all and no idea of where I really wanted the stories to go, that was about as far as I got. And I haven't looked at them since. But I haven't deleted them either, which tells me a lot. It was interesting to read back over them. And actually, the first one wasn't too bad. Slightly whacky but really not too bad, I don't think. The other was okay as well but is a bit more on the trite side. Perhaps one day I'll go back to them.

What I found most surprising is that really, what little I did manage to come up with was quite creative really. And creativity is always the thing that I feel I'm most lacking in. The seminar on stress that I did over the last while was interesting in that it touched on the effects of long-term stress on cortisol levels and the brain. I think life in general and then, maybe, life living with depression and high levels of stress can really have an impact on creativity. I don't remember ever being particularly creative as a child but I think now that perhaps I had a tendency to conflate "creative" and "artistic" and, just because I wasn't any good at drawing or painting, it meant I wasn't creative. Need to get past that. I found myself reacting quite strongly to Jane's creativity bootcamp (see That Curious Love of Green for details) idea in lots of ways when I first read about it. Perhaps it's slowly becoming time for me to really pay attention to that part of myself. I'm not sure what that will look like but a number of things seems to be coming together to suggest that writing will definitely play a part. I'm (sort of!) looking forward to the ride.

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