Sunday, 1 November 2015

A-Z post for NaBloPoMo (1st half)

I only found out about NaBloPoMo yesterday through a post by poet Josephine Corcoran. I've never heard of this November challenge before, where you write a blog post every day for the month. Last year I took part in NaNoWriMon and that was pretty wild! I ended up with a 50,000 word draft of a novel (still unedited!).

Well, I'm always up for a challenge, so here goes. You will find a slightly different content here for November, more perhaps an overlap of what I write about on my other blog. I have no idea what's coming! Anyway, to start off I thought about an A-Z post, not only about writing but other aspects of my life. Here is the first half. Hope you enjoy it.

See M - for music

A – is for articles. I have only written one article that I’ve been paid for. The editor liked the idea but wanted me to interview people and supply photos. The article was about vegetarianism and faith. I’m a shy person and interviewing people I don’t know is terrifying for me. I nearly chickened out but asked a Priest at my church for advice and he gave me the names of two people to contact – So I did my interviews (one I did by phone) and got my photos. The third person I interviewed was a friend of mine (much easier). I remember I was paid £45 for it. A lot of hard work and stress.

B – is for books. As an avid reader I get through between 50-60 books a year on average. I read all genres but during the last eighteen months I’ve been drawn to crime novels. I particularly enjoy books by Andrea Camillia and Elly Griffiths.

C – is for cold. I hate the cold and since I was a child I have suffered from chilblains. When I get too cold my brain seems to stop functioning. The cold makes me miserable!

D – is for dawn. Considering I used to hate early rising I am quite an early bird now. Before I married I used to lay in bed until at least 8am (11am on a weekends). When I had children that all changed! Although my two sons went to a local primary school, when they attended secondary school I had to get up at 6.30am to make sure they were out of the house by 7.30am. Nowadays I still get up around 6am to 7am. No one else is up. It’s my time to read or write. Often I’m at the laptop between 7-7.30am and have 1,000 words written by breakfast time (if I’m lucky). I love watching the sky change colour, the sun come up, hearing the birds. These things often prompt a poem.

E – is for escape. I love my days out and I’m happy to go alone if no one is free or not interested in a particular exhibition I want to see. I adore London and I’m always amazed how many green spaces there are, hidden parks and hidden spaces. I love seeking them out. Occasionally I’ll take myself off on a retreat. I can be quite antisocial at times. Even at home I need my space. Unfortunately I don’t have a room of my own to escape to and it could be a long wait for one of the kids to leave home!

F – is for fun. My father was the joker in our house and I think I have inherited his humour. He could see the funny side of anything, even in dire situations. He made us all laugh. I also enjoy making others laugh and my humour comes out in my writing. Lately, I have been pushing the boundaries on that in a particular novel I am writing. It’s like the shackles have come off and I’m just going for it. I still love the comedy I grew up with – Monty Python, Dave Allen, Dad’s Army, Fawlty Towers and ‘allo ‘allo.

G – is for growth. Each day there is the capacity to learn something new and add it to experience. I am capable of much more now than I was a year ago, and last year more capable than the year before. I learn something and that leads me into new areas. Knowledge and experience grow and all that adds to my ‘life portfolio’ – such a help when I write.

H – is for holidays. I love getting away from everything. I am particularly drawn to places by water, whether that is a river or the sea. I have rather a passion for Italy since visiting Sorrento a few years ago. It has to be up there as one of the best holidays. Iceland was also pretty great. I have rather a long list of countries I want to visit but I still love the UK. There are many places I haven’t been to. So many places, so little time!

I – is for ideas. I have an ideas book. This is relatively a new idea (the book). I write odd things down. Names are one. If I come across a name I like or think of I write it down. This is because I’m not good at thinking of names when I think of characters. If I’m not careful I end up using the same names in what I write! Quite often I sit at the laptop trying to think of a name and stare at objects in the room – names on books, bits of paper, objects or I google names! One of my characters got his name from a packet of seeds my eyes made contact with! In this book also I write bits of dreams that might develop into some writing. Ideas come from everywhere – poetry often comes from something I see through the window or while walking, maybe read about or are personal memories. My fiction often comes through dreams or ‘night thinking’.

J - is for Justice. I grew up with ideas others had no time for. Justice for me is for everyone whatever race or religion they are. This also extends to justice for animals and the planet. I try my best to buy things that do not harm animals, the planet or people. I thank my maternal grandmother for this. She set me thinking when I was a child about the cruelty of circuses. There was no stopping me after that. Sometimes my views make me unpopular. There are things I will not do or take part in because I feel they are morally wrong.

K – is for Kids. I’m very proud of my kids. I may moan about them but I’d fight for them and I love them. Both are now in their twenties. They are very different. One is sporty and independent; happy to holiday alone, he also cooks…adventurously, and goes out underdressed in winter (at least I don’t say ‘are you wearing a vest?’ like my mum used to!). My other son is a computer geek; he’s my tech-mate and is caring and thoughtful (apart from when he doesn’t bring his plates and mugs back and puts all his washing out in one go!) We often have great conversations.

L – is for learning. As my regular readers will know I am always signing up for new courses, often online ones through Coursera or FutureLearn. They are free and so well put together. I’ve learnt so much over the years. I hated school and left at the age of fifteen with no qualifications. I have studied short courses and a certificate course with the Open University and it’s like I cannot stop now! I see something that interests me and I sign up. Most courses sit under the umbrella of ‘humanities’ but I also have a strange passion for early history and forensics! I’m sure there is more to come.

M – is for music which I am addicted to (I am listening to an ATB Chillout Mix from YouTube as I type this). I grew up with music. My parents (and aunt) sang in a choral society (my dad was a choir boy too), my grandfather played piano in a pub and worked as a piano tuner to some famous people including Tommy Steele. My mother wanted to be an opera singer and she went to the same school as Petula Clarke (some claims to fame!). I play guitar badly (self taught) and keyboards even more badly, don’t really read music, though I took some basic lessons last year (another thing to follow up sometime). I have two guitars – acoustic and electric, began writing songs before my teens and have an awful lot of cassettes full of my efforts! I also had dreams of working as a sound engineer. Still, I’ve been singing in a community choir for the last seven years and love it. I especially love performing, and as long as I know the tune of a song I can work out harmonies for myself. Too long without music and I start getting grumpy! I use playlists when I write, sometimes the same ones over and over again (Trance  mixes - I’m a huge Shane Collins fan).

♫ Best of Progressive House Sessions ♫ - Sounds from Above Vol 14 (Shane Collins)

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