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Something Had to Give

It has been over a month since my last blog, and almost as long since I wrote anything at all (unless Facebook ‘Happy Birthday’ messages count?). Nor can I claim to have done much reading. I have been working for money, quite a lot. I’m not moaning, not only do I get to work at a charity, WORLDwrite, that is doing some real good with people I like immensely but I have my ideal teaching job too. I have always wanted to work with the under threes, which is a wonderful age, and part-time too, so I am very happy. But I don’t have time to ponder or read, let alone write in term-time at the moment.

I am not one of those super-women who can teach in the morning, coordinate volunteers in the afternoon, cook healthy suppers, discuss secondary education and mend zips in the evening and ponder my next novel at the same time. And I have had to make some adjustments recently.

I have managed to find some time for reading and pondering during term-time by going on strike from all domestic management or labour. I no longer think about or do shopping, cooking, cleaning or washing at home. Something had to give. I wish I could say that the three large men with whom I live had fallen into a dirty and hungry despair, weeping into empty cupboards and plaintively begging for a shirt, but we are now in week three and they do not appear to have noticed. And at least one of them is enjoying the absence of any vegetable except frozen peas.

Since one of the hulks involved is technically still a growing dependent, and man cannot live on sausages, mash and peas (in total filth) alone, I have spent a morning scabbing against myself by restocking the freezer and dragging a cloth round this half term. But then it was back to the picket line, which is what I am now calling the sofa.

And now I have found time to write something; this. I won’t be ready for rewriting Hausa Blue until the summer, by which time, if I haven’t contracted some sort of horrible skin disease that is transmitted by drifts of dust, fluff and hair or men’s stubble and soap scum, I will be able to write something new.

So, what to write in a blog about writing when I haven’t done any? Me, of course. I was tempted to write some funnied-up paragraphs about what I have been up to but this blog is the diary of a self-publisher, not a general a funny thing happened on the way through Storm Dennis type blog.

So, I will write about writing, something I have not done before. Nor have I thought about it much; I write stories, I like sitting down – end of. But that is not even a one minute read so here goes…

Just because I have not typed or scribbled any thoughts down does not mean I have not been editing Hausa Blue. I’m a ‘mulcher’ by style, in that I absorb experiences personally or through various media and then I have a ponder. I realised this when I had to ask someone who emailed me to do a talk to give me a few days before we spoke. I will of course turn the results of my talk, which I will try and make the wordy equivalent of a little black dress that you can wear anywhere, into a blog.

Part of this pondering is my age, the days of quick thinking are over and it takes me a little time to think things through nowadays. This is not all bad; I’ve talked some quick-thinking bollocks in my time, sometimes with consequences. Until we can set-up the keys on our phones and laptops to measure the level of alcohol and or adrenaline in our blood and give us a ‘Wait Til You’re Sober or Calmer’ pop-up, I would recommend pondering time to everyone. There might be a lot less to see on the internet, but the ether might not be quite so stinky as a result of a bit general pondering.

Part of ‘mulching’ is my writing style. I was born into the days when Cut & Paste involved scissors and glue and rewrites required the strength of a manual labourer on a typewriter. So I have always thought, sometimes for quite a long time, before I typed (when not under the influence).

Thus far in my writing life I have had a good old ponder, made the odd note and then got typing, and then pondered some more. And the good thing about pondering is that, unlike scribbling in a notebook, and like pelvic floor exercises, you can do it on the bus and no-one thinks you’re weird.

Meanwhile, I had better cut this short. My thoughts on other writers ‘process’s, what is writers block? and Nowadays writing will make at least one more blog. If I get going and write now, I can post it in a week or so.

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