Senses peeled

‘Look around, look around you,’ Eliza Hamilton’s song to her husband Alexander Hamilton is one of my current earworms — along with many others from Hamilton, the energetic, intelligent, amazing musical. Look around. Some of us are emerging from corona virus lockdown, our senses newly raw to the wider world. So you might think today’s tweeted haiku is current, what with so many cafes still sadly closed.

closed café
emerald grass grows
in the awning gutter

But, honest guv, I wrote it in 2008. I don’t know how others do it, but when I scrawl a possible haiku, I write the date. And when I get to typing it, I make a brief note of the circumstance when the haiku occurred. In this case: 6/9/08, Kew Road en route to Richmond.

After one rejection (though actually in haiku-world it’s not really rejection; more like non-acceptance), I got round to sending it out again four years later. The British Haiku Society journal Blithe Spirit published it in summer 2012, bless! And I chose to put it in my 2020 retrospective haiku book The Walk Home

So, a bit raw, newly tuned to the strangeness of things, use this time. Look around.

The photo was taken along Chiswick Mall in October 2016. This turns out to be a time travel blogpost.

Writing patterns

Golden November. And it’s NANOWRIMO too. If you’ve never done it and you want a breakthrough in your writing, DO IT; guess I’d better put the link in here. Talk about patterns of writing, this go for broke method led me to the novel I completed in late spring. I am now submitting A Body of Knowledge to agents, a whole ‘nother adventure.

Of course once I had the breakthrough — after two agonising days of facing the blank page and writing rubbish, and only then finding a voice I didn’t know — I had to keep writing for the whole month. The flow was fantastic, and the freeeedom to write any old how. Besides that, there is no such thing as a novel in a month (but it’s fun to say). Once you get to the end of November you’ve got 10-20-30-50??000 words. Rest, recover, keep writing. And then edit-revise-rethink… a very different kind of pattern.

Patterns, seasons… time to add an autumn to my haiku page. Click here for a peek.

Writing in the dark

slkerr-chis-lanterns-shipStill bashing away at the Discovery Draft and I’d written myself into a fab cliff hanger. Next day, Nooooo. I’ve run into a wall of resistance. I need a scene with a drama between T and her father. He’s the wicked baddie… has driven her to lies. So it is a backstory set-up, tense drama but short.

BUT I am writing in bits. Scenes, short chapters, and I’m not even sure of the order and timings. I want to stay loose so as to feel free and invent. Yet I want to stitch it all together to see if the order works. Without nailing myself down. Argh — stuck every way I turn.

This is writing in the dark, bashing on. Meanwhile here’s my photo of a magical lantern show in the gardens of Chiswick House — ships that pass in the night?

Writing Once Upon a Time

birdboy-susan-lee-kerrFascinating. I asked in Facebook if I dare re-tell a fairy/folk tale in my new novel, and a whole bevy of friends from widely varied walks of life urged me:  Yes!  They are witness to the eternal appeal of fairytales (or more correctly folktales) and it was great encouragement to embarking on the writing journey. I’m delighted to discover #folklorethursday on Twitter, yet more witness.

Thing is, the novel is also a crime story, but with no gore, so really it’s more of a mystery… with some police procedure and the main character sucked in to being an amateur detective. She’s a story-telling therapist. This brings in archetypes, so I get to treat myself to my shelves of Jung, Joseph Campbell, hero’s journey… as well as Grimm, Jane Yolen, Marina Warner and more.

A Body of Knowledge is set in Chiswick. Great fun to see the place where I live through my character’s eyes and sensibilities. So now you are on the writing journey with me as I blog on about the everyday struggles of writing a novel. The fellow pictured here is Birdren Boy, one of my sculptural papiermache pieces. He’s on a quest. So am I. Are you?