Friday, June 16, 2006

Retail therapy

My novel is driving me nuts. Everytime I think the end of my first draft is in sight I find another loose end. It is making me think of book worms entirely differently. Rather than those friendly creatures, pictures of which librarians used to like me to colour in when I was a child I now see them as a kind of tape worm gobbling up ideas and energy and never ever dieing. Plus, the hours spent on the laptop are starting to take their toll on my eyes which makes me tired. So after a day of inching closer to the completed combined documents of all my chapters I decided some retail therapy was required.
So I went and found my Dad the picnic chair he wanted for Father's day as pictured above. Which took me to Ormskirk. In Ormskirk there is a Clark's shoes shop. Now how better to kill a tape/book worm than to stamp on it with new shoes? Plus I am about to visit a friend who lives in a field and she has warned me that I need 'walking shoes'. OK, she doesn't live in a field as such, but she lives in a beautiful house very close to one which leads down to a loch side and she was entirely unimpressed with my attempts on my last visit to pick my way across the shoreline rocks in strappy mules. So shoe shopping it was.
And these ones were right in the front of the store saying buy me, buy me, I will look great with the sun glinting off the loch onto my glittery bits.....
But I was sensible and got trainers .... but look strappy trainers :)

Oh and the novel - one and half chapters to go.... and one or too loose ends.... arrgh I feel more shopping coming on!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Missing photos

Here are the missing photos from yesterday's post: Bride with Groom and new stepson Adam., then Bride and Groom with Bride's family and some clematis from my garden which are really pretty at the moment. They are either round my feet when I sit on my bench reading or - as now, sadly - in my eyeline when I look up from my laptop at my study desk. Great colours for a quilt don't you think?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Countdown to first draft

Lest those of you who know me through my writing feared that quilting had subsumed everything in my life let me reassure you - the countdown to first draft is now seriously on. I am now in the last month of my little mini-writing-sabbatical and I go back to work the first week in July. ( Of course when I say go back that now means 4 days not the anticpated 5 so its not really such a big thing but still it provides a watershed date). So the race is on to be able to send all my long suffering volunteer readers a complete ( if rough at the edges) novel by the end of the month. There are 8 workday writing days to go. (I.e i am cheating and not counting weekends or a trip to Ullapool in that!)

I have been writing all the chapters as separate word documents and fiddling as I've gone along so its not really first draft as such but I have now started to combine them. I'm up to Ch 25 - well over half way.

Its been interesting to read it in big chunks myself as a reader would. Many of the alterations I am doing as I collate are minor - tenses have slipped, pronouns are wrong and of course there is my irritating ( to at least one friend anyway) habit of not contracting pronouns and verbs in speech. A couple of scenes seemed stilted and have been rewritten. Then there are the bits where continuity has slipped - the bathroom in Anna's house moved from upstairs to a downstairs extension and back again!

One bigger dilemma at the moment is keeping the novel up to date. I'd like to think that the details about the court building add to authenticity and atmosphere. The problem is that its taken so long for me to write it that the family courts in Liverpool have now moved to an entirely different building. I would just change the description but several scenes are in the cafeteria - venue for much drama and soul searchng in family cases generally. Which is a problem because the new building has no cafeteria. ( A problem as both a novelist and a lawyer I might add! Now where am I going to send my distressed clients/ characters to calm down?) Plus there is a new procedure for children's cases being introduced next week... .I think the solution is just to date the novel and remind people it's fiction and I am allowed to make things up!

To an extent anyway. I've got to Chapter 25 and realised that I have a whole account of a Police interview even though no one has actually made a complaint to the Police. Ah. Oh well, at least I know where I am going to start work tomorrow!

I wanted to share some photos with you today but for some reason Blogger is refusing to take them so they will have to wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Two into One quilt

With less than 18 hours before the wedding the quilt is finally finished. Its not perfect and if you look at the lines of quilting on the back you can tell very clearly those which were done on the old machine and those done on the new. Still, I learned a lot and I see no reason why if you can have a 'humility block' you can't have a few humilty sticthes too. I've called it Two into One.

And now I can start a new project. My problem at the moment is that I have too many ideas for fancy art quilts (on the plane home for Copenhagen I had a vision of one based on the Union Jack with various gradients of colour and embellishements representing the multi-cultural nature of the UK and another based on a scene from the film U Carmen in Khyaleitsha - which incidentally is a fantastic film: Carmen sung in Xhosa and set in a Cape Town townsip. Unlikley but it works). The trouble is that my ideas are beyond my capacities at present so I am just having fun learning basic techniques as a foundation before starting the City and Guilds in September when hopefully my fingers can develop as fast as my minds has been since I have been looking at so many quilting publications

Once you start looking for inspiration there seem to be ideas all over the place too - like this pattern on a very wet pavement in Copenahgen that caught my eye. Now, how do you get a sheen on fabric like that?

Race for Life - Heaton park

Just to prove I really did do it! We had gorgeous weather and with 8000 people taking part there was a real buzz although it was extremely sad to read the names of so many people who had been affected by cancer on people's back labels. One woman had written the names of four people she knew then underneath had added 'and just in case' which I am sure was the sentiment of many.

For anyone thinking of doing it next year - go for it. There is no pressure to do it at any speed at all and a lot of people were simply treating it as a stroll in the park and an opportunity to support the charity. I did have a time target in mind though although I was coy about it before hand- those who prised it out of me knew that I was aiming for under 45 mins, but secretly I hoped to manage 42 mins. I was delighted therfore to clock 37.50! Of course, being me, I now wonder if I could have done it just little quicker if I'd tried even harder! But as I say it's only about that if you want to do a time for your own achievement, otherwise it is a fantastic show of solidarity, support and remeberance.