This cheeky chappy was my other companion on my @retreatsforyou week of toil and bliss last month. Wrestling a finished draft into something better. ‘Slay that dragon,’ said my brother. ‘It’s a carp,’ said I. ‘Slay that carp doesn’t have the same ring to it,’ came the reply. Sounds like our editor-father speaking. Back in residence at my desk, the struggle continues. Looking for crevices and loopholes in the draft whereby to layer and develop characters and incidents = plot = a better story.
Meanwhile, nice boost, extra orders of Creative Writing: the Matrix, 95 exercises, 21 mini-lectures for creative writing teachers. Back to school in full swing. More here.
Pardon me, I didn’t identify the mystic owl lady of the last post. The painter is Remedios Varo, title Creation of the Birds (Creacion de las aves), in the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City. 1957.
In this post, Utagawa Kuniyoshi in a colour woodblock: Sakata Kaido-maru wrestles with a giant carp. From the British Museum. 1837.
What helps you through? This was one of two companions I brought to Retreats for You to help me through a week of re-writing. Thank you Leonora Carrington. And resident tutor-editor Jayne Watson, and RfY hostess Debbie Flint. And fellow writers — even if you did go off to yoga or running through the lovely countryside as well as writing. More power to your elbow!
Teaching creative writing — it’s fun, it’s nurturing others, it’s encouraging and supporting voices. So many ways to spark and fan the writing urge, and right about now you are planning your first day of teaching… your first term. Here’s support for you: 95 exercises and mini-lectures based on experience of teaching over 29,000 student hours of creative writing.
Also click here to see more at teachingcreativewriting blog
Catch a vision on BBC4 TV this Tuesday 9pm Utopia: In Search of the Dream. Amazingly it features haiku and a bit of me and other British Haiku Society poets. Over 3 programmes: Utopia for a fairer world, does utopian vision work, is it an inner state? Guess which is the haiku one. For me utopia could be a week’s writing retreat — already booked for it in Devon, Retreats for You. Meanwhile click here for BBC TV listing. And here for my most recent haiku.
Which way to go? This really IS a discovery draft. SO wanting to go back and make the scenes meet, connect the narrative flow. So many things to juggle, can’t hold them all in my head at once. But must-must-must go forward. The three glued sheets of timelines are helping but… then I get into one voice or the other. Or one storyline and get so into it that the rest doesn’t matter. But when I pull back the rest does matter. I have just finished a crucial scene: things are getting difficult between J and M. Interesting! So much unknown ahead, coroner etc…
The photo’s from a recent trip to Polperro, Cornwall. Wonderful country, as Poldark fans know.
Cat O’ 9 Teats
When in writing doubt, do something else creative! Try sticky-fingered papiermache. My group of makers, The PapierMachistas, are inspired by the Mexican Linares family. Our work on show this Sunday 2 July, noon, at the Cambrian Community Centre, Richmond, London — YOU are invited. It’s part of ArtHouse artists’ open studios. This is my Cat o’Nine Teats. This kind of creativity lets me speak without words.
Wonderful blue hydrangeas safely potted and surviving heatwave — thank you She Voices of Richmond for your thank you! May your writing flourish.