Doin’ the blog hippity hop…

I have been tagged in a blog hop  by my dear friend, Emily Paull.  Em is a member of my writing group and I’m very privileged; I’ve had the honour of reading her work-in-progess, Between the Sleepers. I think it will be in good bookstores in 2-5 years.

Here goes:

1) What am I working on now?

I’ve put my novel on ice until next year, and I’m just aiming to write a couple of short stories in 2014.

So, right now, I’m writing a speculative fiction piece about Zephyr McBride, a young man who bands together with a group of survivors who were neglected and abused by their parents in the nineties and noughties. Together, they launch a class action suit against the government. They believe that they should have been removed from their dysfunctional families and provided with loving homes.

I guess I’m interested in this topical quandary, one that is so much informed by anxieties about the Stolen Generation. It’s such a grey area, but sometimes I look at friends with fertility issues who would do anything to adopt a child,  a child of any description- even one who is disabled or utterly broken as a result of their maltreatment. In my line of work, I meet kids like this all too often, and when I do, I think of these friends in want of a child, and I’m reminded of Plato’s Symposium. I imagine his four-legged being as an amalgamation of parent and soul-child, rather than as amatory soul mates, and I wonder if certain adults and children should be brought together…

I’m not saying that kids should be yanked away from their kin- children should always stay with their families where possible- but I’m very interested in exploring the complexities of the matter in fiction.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Dunno. I suppose I do a lot of genre-jumping, so maybe it’s different in that sense. As with all fiction, my particular voice and life experience makes it different.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Again, I don’t really know. Ideas come from the ether; usually as a result of thoughts that have been percolating for some time. I’ve noticed that I tend to write stories that explore things that I’m confused or ambivalent about.

4) What is my writing process?

My writing process has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. I used to write for 2-3 hours per day, Mon-Friday, while my youngest son slept. That was back when I was a stay-at-home mum. Now that I’ve returned to the paid workforce, I generally write on Saturday and Sunday mornings when the kids are still asleep. Sometimes I get up as early as 4am.

Obviously, my output has much diminished; I wrote the first draft of my novel in the year that I wasn’t working and this year, I’ve written a couple of short stories. Short fiction comes more naturally to me though; I find that I can belt out the bulk of the story in a two hour session, then spend the next couple of weeks/months polishing.

When I’m busy teaching and mothering, I type new ideas or sentences/phrases into the notepad in my iPhone and then email the notes to myself. This way, I’m never in want of a new idea for a story.

Here’s where the ‘magic’ happens…

room

I have been asked to tag people at the end of this post, and I have selected:

Annabel Smith

Dawn Barker

Claire Madeleine

Ladies, if you have the time, I’d love to read your responses!

 

Also, if you feel like smiling, say ‘blog hop’ out loud. It’s wonderful on the tongue and strengthens the funny bone…

 

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My entre to literary land is going to be a slow burn: I think I established this in my recent (ish) post, ‘Silly Seasoned’, where I outlined my Mission Statement for 2014. I call it my post of ‘wise martyrdom’. Because you’ve got to lower your writing expectations when you’re raising small kids and working in a demanding job. Clearly, I have lowered my expectations…I haven’t blogged in more than a month. But I‘ve been dutifully researching; examining the human condition day in and out. There’s a lot to be learnt from interactions in the microcosm that is a school.

I’m lucky though, I’ve found a beautiful community of diligent, passionate writer birds, and I’m cruising on their wings. I met Emily , Louise  and Glen last year when we started a Writing Crit group. Without them, I’d probably be in free fall, hurtling towards a prose-less land. We are a cheer squad, and I have no doubt that I’ll be cheering these friends at their book launches soon enough. I’ve read enough of their work to know that they are the real deal. I feel very blessed.

The Gang of Four are heading off on a road trip in May. We’re going to the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival for a heavenly weekend of books and wine.  And we’re staying in a converted train carriage. What an adventure!

 

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