Words from the Week

This week saw one cinema trip and one theatre visit:

I had my second viewing of The Imitation Game last Friday (its opening night in the UK), after a lovely pub tea with Cat, Lucy and Sue. It was even better the second time round and I’m wondering if I can fit in a third viewing before it leaves the cinemas. If you haven’t seen it yet, I really urge you to and my spoiler free – but nonetheless emotional – review is here if you need some further persuasion and didn’t read it when I original posted it.

My theatre visit happened yesterday, when I headed to the Birmingham Rep to see “A Farewell to Arms”, Imitating the Dog’s dramatization of Hemmingway’s well know WWI novel. My review, brief as it is, is here, if you’re interested.

In my own somewhat dramatic news, I made the decision last weekend that I was not, after all, going to submit anything to the WWI LGBT short story anthology I’d been pointed towards as something I should try. This may seem like a ridiculous decision for a person who wants to be a published author (never mind one who has spent two months attempting to draft two stories for said anthology) but I know that it is the right one for me.

I have been struggling to write a story to fit the brief of the anthology and, thanks to the sage advice last week from Narrelle, and some further discussions with a few other people (you know who you are) and having a good think about things, I realised that the stories I want to tell about WWI are not going to fit the brief for the anthology.

Which isn’t to say that the aim of the anthology isn’t a good one. It is. In fact it’s an excellent one and I’ll be buying a copy when it comes out. However, I can’t tell that sort of story, not right now, not in the required form. It dovetails too closely with some of the things I’m trying to do in the novel and so when I sat down as started writing “my” story, it quickly became apparent that I was drafting bits of future chapters, with some of my current characters under different names.

Whilst it means I have a much stronger sense of a few plotlines for Original Novel™ that I hadn’t finished fleshing out before, it isn’t helpful for the anthology because those stories need the background I’ve created and can’t be condensed into between 3k and 10k of words. I’m too close to the subject now, too close to Fred, Elsie and Charlie to be able to step out of that headspace.

If this had come up after Original Novel™ had been finished maybe it would be a different matter, but I hasn’t and I’m not willing to compromise on their story just to see my name in print. I could try and cobble something together out of the “not the story I want to tell” drafts but I’ll still have the same problem – it’ll be soulless and not up to the standard I’d consider acceptable to send to an editor. So I’m going to chalk this one up to experience and move on.

Work continues to be stupidly busy and full of projects and could-you-just’s and oh-my-god-we-need-this-NOW’s and all those joyful little extras that you’re somehow supposed to fit around your normal 9 to 5 work without so much as blinking. I’ve been doing stuff at home in the evenings as well as extra hours at work but I don’t grudge the time, because I’ve got a hell of a lot done and I’m feeling in a much better position that I was on Monday morning. Something I’m rather glad about that since this is the last week I’m actually working a full five day week from now until January 5th and I don’t want my days off to be filled with feelings of guilt and panic. I want them to be filled with happiness and Christmassy magic.

Yes, you guessed it, this year I’m going all out for Christmas. The last few Christmases I really haven’t been in the right frame of mind and although last year I created some Sherlocky Christmas cards and bought gifts, that was pretty much it – I couldn’t even summon up enough enthusiasm to decorate the house. If Mum & Dad hadn’t been coming I doubt I’d even have bothered with Christmas dinner. Christmas spirit was in short supply and I know it was down to the fact that I hadn’t really found a replacement set of traditions for what I used to do at home in Kent as a child or what I did as a married woman.

But no more! This year I’m making it all about me, Mum, Dad and Dog. The official start of Christmas in my house is 28th November, when I have a day off and we will all be going to Attingham for their yearly Frost Fair. After that, the decorations will go up in the house and there are other bits and bobs planned and I’m going to try and enjoy every single minute of it. I still have many presents to buy but last night’s visit to the German Market provided two gifts for the parents and I’m hoping this Saturday’s visit to the market on the South Bank in London might assist further.

I’m also tempted to get Dog a Christmas coat. Just because. If this happens I will post pictures but I suspect madam will be disinclined to acquiesce to my request to stand still while I measure her, and thus I will be thwarted. Given that she’d probably get it all over mud within three seconds of said coat being placed about her person, it is possibly that being thwarted might not be such a bad thing. However, I’m now imagining her in a Santa outfit and … *wanders off towards the internet*

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