Monday, November 19, 2007

Still Playing Catch-Up

Okay, here it is - this week's TO DO list:
  • Prepare books etc. for the reading/book selling gig I'm doing this Wednesday evening at Warwick Library - roughly 7pm, if you're in the area.
  • Revise 'on screen' the large sheaf of poems I've been editing by hand in cafes and in bed since the start of last week. I find it hard to actually edit on screen, but still like to see the work as it might appear printed, so prefer to work by hand on hard copies of my poems and then type up the revisions to study the finished product. Sometimes the revisions work and sometimes they don't, which is when the whole process begins again.
  • Keep working at my latest poem - now roughly two pages long, scribbled in pencil in my favourite black moleskin notebook, with much feverish crossing-out and many alternate versions circled or pointed to with arrows.
  • Continue 'translating' the various extracts from Homer's Iliad in my Greek anthology - with the help of copious notes for the weak linguist, of course. Having spent the better part of the last two years studying Classical Greek, it would be a shame not to keep working at my Greek now the course has finished - even if only for a few desultory hours a week.
  • Update my Warwick Laureate blog: it's been several weeks since my last confession and I don't want people to think I've died!
  • Make a definite date in my iCal to touch base with my fantasy novel again, now about a third of the way through. It seems to be a recurring pattern that I work on it for about three months of the year - one month in the summer, and two months in the winter, usually around the Christmas holidays. I'm not sure why that is, except possibly that a novel always feels like it needs a longer 'run' than writing poetry, and those times of the year are more conducive to being set aside for long-term projects like that. If I had an agent begging for the book, of course, I would throw everything else aside and finish it. Instead my immediate priority has to be poetry, even though it doesn't pay as well as a novel, because I know I can place my poetry and it won't just get sent from publisher to publisher for the next few years. I've written three unpublished novels over the past ten years, and there are few things more depressing for a writer than having lovingly written and polished something that never sees a book shelf.
  • Write up some notes I've made on a friend's poems and send them to him, before he also thinks I've died!
  • Prepare a blog entry on my trip to the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. It's been several weeks since I came back from the east coast, weighed down with new books of poetry and criticism, and I still haven't blogged about my adventures there. Bad Jane.
  • Finish the chocolate truffles left over from my birthday on Saturday. That has to be my favourite job on the list - definitely one to do today!


Muvva said...

Bloody hell, Jane. If you manage all that I take my hat off to you. My To Do list consists of such gems as return the Xmas raffle tickets to the school and buy a present for my daughter's friend's birthday party. Methinks I am a little lacking on the ambition front....

Jane Holland said...

Lol, hi Muvva. How are you? Long time no Comment!

Yes, the pace of my life does feel over-relentless at times. And I didn't even mention the Anglo-Saxon I've just started restudying after a break of ten years. Or my weekly advanced Latin classes (though they're just a bit of fun, really - an escape from my kids for a few hours of adult company).

But at least you can see from this that I am woefully behind with my novel-writing schedule. So there isn't always any great purpose or achievement behind my rushing about.

Hope you're well and looking forward to Christmas!


Muvva said...

Am fine thanks, apart from chronic dyspepsia. Probably due to onset of Xmas, ninth month of building work, haemorrhaging money etc.

I am at an utter loss how you manage to squeeze in so much into your life. I too am woefully behind on the novel writing front - especially after a ferocious block set in for nine weeks - but still seem to achieve little more than loading and unloading the dishwaster and driving the kids to school.

Hope you have a good Xmas. Your kids look gorgeous!

E x