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This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News

Well, summer is well and truly over and it’s time to get down to some serious writing! I’m hoping the cold weather will wake up my brain. And here's what's happening this week:

  • Mary has provided some fabulous prompts for the Monday muse. I’ve got my eye on the mirror into a different universe one – I always wanted one of those!
  • Jany has done the blog this week and given us a fascinating insight into her own personal form of procrastination.
  • The magazine has had 41 PDF downloads and 660 views and 7 feedback forms to date.
  • The bragging stool has been a little quiet lately – let’s hope that changes soon. But there is some members’ news this week. Twisted Tales releases 11 October with a story from Angela – keep an eye out for launch party details. Paula has entered Joyriding in Dhaka to the Mslexia competition and Christine has entered a story in Historic Houses. Glyn is looking forward to rock-star treatment at his reading in November. And finally, I’ve had two of my books licensed to Amazon Audible.
  • October challenges will be up soon, and in the meantime, those of us partaking can get working on our nano outlines (I'm starting a new sci-fi series so lots of plotting to do!) And Jo has posted new feedback groups, so go check it out on the forum.
Reader`s Block
Category: Writing
Tags: Reading magazines

It`s autumn - that`s when I do my spring-cleaning. Or what`s known here in Germany as the "Weihnachtsputz", the big clean-up before Christmas. This orgy of sorting paperwork and hauling furniture away from the walls has been aggravated in the last fortnight or so by a house move within my own four walls. My den is no longer cluttered with craft supplies but is now solely a "study." (Oh bliss....). In my bedroom I now sleep in close proximity to my sewing machine and paintbrushes. I can live with that. 

Not having had much time to read my junk mail, newspapers or magazines, I`ve been throwing everything into a very large laundry basket. But now I`m able to see the floor and other flat surfaces again, the time has come to sort through its contents. Himself says "Why don`t you just throw it all away?" Well, he would, wouldn`t he, but I can`t. Never could. If there is print anywhere on anything, I have to read it, digest it and then decide what to do with it.

Take the magazines: I could cut the articles out and file them (recipes etc), cut them out and send them to my pen pals (a habit acquired long before the Internet), or cut them out and show them to someone who might be interested in them. I could pass the magazines on to interested parties or keep them for future reference or bin them. Decisions, decisions... 

Some of the magazines are from the pre-house-move era, and already have dog-eared pages. Theoretically that means I don`t have to look through the whole thing again, as I`ve already decided what`s important. But that`s just the theory. Maybe I`ve missed something...

I`d really like to know if this is some sort of phobia, or just the product of a waste-not-want-not 1950s upbringing? Does this happen to anyone else? Is this a symptom of Writer`s Brain?

If so, maybe I should wish for Reader`s Block...

Childhood memories
Category: Writing

I’m always amazed when I read other people’s childhood memoirs. How do they remember all that stuff! My childhood is a vague fuzzy distant thing with few details. I recently read two fabulous childhood memoirs by Amelie Nothomb. She writes a whole book, The Character of Rain, from before the age of five; her life in Japan, her family relationships – loving her sister and detesting her brother, almost drowning - all sorts of little and big details. Fabulous writing, but what amazes me most is that she can remember so much – or at least make it sound believable. She says somewhere in the book that although her parents tell her she can’t possibly remember some of these things, she really does. My mother, like so many others, has written a book about her childhood. She spent time with her sister and old friends to help stir up memories.  I also know her well enough to know that she does a lot of embroidering on the basic memories, but still… she is 30 years older than me and remembers enough to fill a book. I have to scratch around to get enough for a poem!  In fact the details of things that happened 10 days ago are often decidedly rusty.

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott encourages writing about childhood as a way to get started on writing or to break through writers block. She suggests there is enough material in anyone’s childhood to write several books. Maybe… but I wonder if there are vast differences in how much people can remember from their early years? How much of what we think we remember is based on family stories and pictures and those legends – more or less true – which become part of every family’s history.  How much can we stir up if we get started; stirring up old memories, looking at old pictures, visiting the old places? Something I hope to explore over the coming years… if just I can remember to get started!


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Monday, October 20, 2014
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