My thanks to the Lassington Oak Mummers for a fine Christmas experience.

‘Here be I, the writer, a-scribbling and a-dribbling my thoughts on the page in style derived from ancient sage, of what time I observed the mumblings of some fine fellows, who did deliver amusements to a select gathering at the cost of some small refreshments, in a rustic hall, this Wednesday night last.

mummers-2-wi-2016‘Twas a seasonal tale of light and dark, delivered, in humorous garb and tone, by a band of merry wanderers.  To such extent that there was much splitting of the sides amongst their audience by virtue of the bantery and larking, jollily performed.  That matter, which included some stomping, and posturing with swords, and multitudinous winks and nudges, were a right good story, stoutly told.  How be, I do thoroughly recommend, should the chance occur, that you do partake of this brief and riotous entertainment.’

So as my seasonal greetings to you, I submit this tantalising glimpse of the Lassington Oak Mummers*, who delivered to us a skilled buffoonery: actors portraying amateurs, performing an economically artful script.

I wish you all the best festivities over the coming days, and as I’m taking a week off blogging for Christmas, I hope we’ll catch up again in the New Year.  Season’s Greetings, fellow bloggers, writers and readers.  See you on the second of January, 2017 to compare resolutions.


*If you want to know more about the history of mummers and the particular short play that I saw, you won’t do much better than click on this link for Lassington Oak, where there’s a fine, concise account of both, and a heads-up on where they will be performing in the near future. 

The deadline of Dead Lines is not always what it seems.

I wrote three-hundred and forty-two words on Wednesday, in a hurry to meet my self-imposed dead-line.  I know, that was one hundred and fifty-eight short of my stated target, but hey, who’s counting?  I set words on the page this week, that’s what matters.

facesThey were not good words, but they weren’t bad.  Taken individually, I used some lovely ones.  Yes, I have favourites…’seriously’, ‘draped’, ‘however’, ‘softly’, are some of my current ones.

Thursday morning, I took out all those favourites plus a few more, to see if I had the beginnings of a story.  My word count shrank to two hundred and ninety eight.

I’d love to tell you that I discovered something worthwhile, but my phrases lacked an essential for successful storytelling, plot. I had a static character drifting around a landscape.  Where was the tension?  Nowhere.  What was at stake? Nothing.

Pah, I thought, spinning the page onto my personal slush-heap, so much for deadlines.  It was time I returned to Middlemarch.  People to see, actions to judge, ideas to question: to hypothesize.  This writer sculpted layers with her words.

Time passes.  Time….passes. (Do you see that?  Do you get it?)  Words, love ’em.

Later, in the crow black, slow black night, I dreamt.  (Sorry, told you I have favourites.)

Dawn, rosy fingered warning of storms ahead (okay, a little bit of poetic exaggeration here) and inspiration, because I wake with a thought.  A fragment of story was lodged within those words from Wednesday, and now I know what is at stake.

Good old subconscious, world within worlds within us.  Keep throwing in the material, and who knows what will come out.

Leading Question: Why write a blog?

dscf5154There are, of course, any number of sociable benefits to having world-wide links.  The strands of the web have certainly re-drawn my idea of the globe.  So the quick answer to my question, ‘why do it?’, is another question: why not?

Perhaps that’s a bit glib, so here’s a more writerly reason for blogging: structure.  You don’t think I’m talking about shaping my writing…do you?  I could be.  Blogging has certainly taught me a lot about making my point, but no, it’s not top of my list of benefits.

The structuring that I’m talking about here is time-management.

Like so many other people intending to write, the main thing that hinders my creativity is settling to a writing schedule.  I have the best intentions, but there are so many calls on my time.  They belong on a sliding scale of importance, and in theory, writing is pretty close to the top.  Yet, I find that my own stories are the most flexible activity on my list – regularly getting shifted downwards.

Apart from a blip a year or two ago, when I fell by the wayside for a few months, the one piece of writing that bucks this trend, is my blog.  I’ve set myself a weekly deadline of Monday mornings, and mostly, I achieve that.

You’ll notice that I’ve been kind to myself, that there’s no precise time limit, though I aim for 09.20?  Some weeks I slip down that deadline and post late in the day, I can live with that. I can live with that?

I can learn from it, surely.  If I can put off tasks from that flexible list to make room for my blog, then it’s time I started doing the same for other writing.  So this week, as my teaching schedule eases off for Christmas, I’m looking at my diary and setting myself another deadline.  Five hundred words, rough as they come, by Wednesday teatime.

We should talk about this next week.