With a stunning lack of foresight, last spring, when I was arranging my autumn term, I set myself up with four classes that would each be discussing different novels in the same weeks. Consequently, I’ve recently been on a readathon, and my writing time has been squashed into snatched fragments.
At least most of my brain space has been taken up with some excellent literature. How could I have forgotten how brilliant Tolstoy was? Meanwhile, I’ve been discovering new joys – particularly Dorothy L. Sayers. Re-reading her carefully, as I prepare class notes, opens up all sorts of literary trails. I shall definitely be looking at some of her other novels again.
I’m about half-way through Arnold Bennett’s Old Wives Tales with one group, and reminding myself that he is not so dusty as he’s sometimes painted; while nearing the end of Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at The Museum with another. It’s been a fascinating autumn, but hectic.
So given only an occasional five minutes writing time, I decided the best use I could make of that space was to take my own often offered advice, and free-write. The result is a satisfyingly expanding notebook.
These jottings are intended as rough drafts: a collection of words I might ‘mine’ for ideas at a later date. No sense intended, only a fancy to free myself from the restrictions of preparing reading groups. I set the clock for five minutes then let my pen lead the way.
Describing the process is always challenging, so I’ve decided this week to share one of my quicker fragments.
She would always want the things that he told her were unobtainable belonging to worlds that had not yet visited the western leaning curves and when the dog left home without her nothing would stay where it was but electricity sang when the moon rose and bloomed in delightful sequences of song that lifted lifetimes from their shoulders the past disappeared and gravity took years from their faces because the long winded clock gave up they were free, see the sea, shallowing and delightful, played with her ankles drawing her deeper towards a world she had never imagined.
If you’re wondering what I might do with this, I’m not sure yet.
On a previous post, Random ramblings that work I’ve gathered some thoughts on the benefits of using time in this way.
If you’ve never tried free-writing, and would like to have a go, I’ve put a recipe on Writing Blocks – strategy 2.