Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Prompted into Action

Just over a week until the kids go back to school and I have to say I'm looking forward to it. I've just started Wendy Pratt's The Wild Within course and that on top of the University of Iowa's is hard with the kids about. Neither are labour-intensive, but I need small pockets of time to focus on reading texts and to work on my own writing, but that's difficult with my 4 year old. 

We've taken today off after a hot day walking around an island yesterday, but I'm having to tell the little one, 'I just want to finish this reading' before I bake cupcakes or see whatever toy she has this morning. 

Wendy's course started today and it looks like it's going to be a good one for me. She's sending a weekly email, poems to read, ideas to think about and will also be sending out a daily writing prompt to get us started. There's no expectation to produce a poem every day, thank goodness, but just getting into the habit of doing a writing exercise daily will hopefully get me out of my poetry slump. 

I've scribbled four pages of notes on today's prompt, but I'm not focussed enough for a poem, I don't think, but it's nice to start the process again. I like the directions it is taking me, but I'm struggling because part of what I want to write about it in the past and my memory is so bad that I can't sort out details without my old journals, half of which are in a loft in Scotland. So I need to focus on the more recent details. 

I'm getting some work on my most recent novel done as well, connected with the Moving Margins course. I've been working on a section that's been eluding me for a while - the funeral scene of one of my favourite characters. It's been difficult to find a balance of how to describe it, but to also put some weight in it beyond just telling what's happened. I think I know which way to take it now.

To be honest, this week's course selection seems thrown together. The texts and questions and are about setting, but the video lectures are about character. The discussion questions are badly copied and pasted as two are the same and another a section repeated. Disappointing, but if I get this chapter written, I'll forgive them. 

It may seem a strange way to work I'm sure, two screens open - poetry and fiction - and my notebook. Reading stories and emails, watching video lectures while cupcakes go in the oven and Bolognese bubbles on the stove. Things get done, in drips and drabs. My technique won't change once the kids go to school, but there will be more time to focus rather than fitting around their needs

And tomorrow they'll need to get out of the house, so I'm trying to get as much done here as possible today. Of course as soon as I basically finished up for the day, my littlest was happy to play in the bath for an hour and then colour for an hour with little demands for me (except to see and comment on every picture she drew). That's the way things go some days. 

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