Peaks and valleys

I went to my cafe this morning to get some writing done before heading to work in the afternoon. The plan was to get there for 11am, but I waffled around at home and it was closer to noon before I got there. I got the nice corner seat facing the window, and I sat in the comfy chair with my cup of tea and no focus whatsoever.

The night before, I spent some time brainstorming about a character who existed as a feeling and a vague outline. The goal for this morning was to actually write some of the backstory between him and the other character in the story. I wanted to write it like a proper scene – it may never get used, but it’s a worthwhile exercise anyway. I just couldn’t settle down to it, though. I don’t think I put much more than 100 words down on the page in an hour and a half.

At 1:30 I gave myself permission to fail and headed home. The demons in my brain who believe I can’t write fiction had a field day with this.

This afternoon, though, I had some music on while I was doing some freelance proof reading. And Adele’s Someone Like You provided sudden inspiration. The story I was struggling with this morning flipped in my head, character motivations became clearer, and I have a good idea how to attack a new scene.

The next two days are, of course, jammed with life things, but when I next get to head to my cafe, I know where to start.

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Cut, cut cut. Snip, snip, snip.

The piece I’m working on at the moment is targeted for a specific publication. They have a call out for stories on a topic about which I feel I have a lot to say. I was poking around on their website yesterday, to check deadlines and such, when I realised that their word limit for creative non-fiction is 3,500. This became a problem, since my piece was sitting at 4,100 words and wasn’t finished yet. Continue reading

Laura Ingalls, here I come

Today is another day spent in the kitchen. Not mine, this time, though. My mother’s. And there’s something about helping my mother cook a huge holiday dinner, peeling potatoes with a dish cloth stuck into my waistband for an apron, that sets me daydreaming.

I read a lot of historical fiction as a child. All the Laura Ingalls books, all eight Anne of Green Gables books and just about all the rest of L. M. Montgomery’s young adult fiction, Janet Lunn’s The Root Cellar,┬áLouisa May Alcott’s Little Women and its various sequels, several books by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The list goes on and on. And girls helping out in the kitchen came up at one point or another in all of them. It’s part of a cultural tradition that stretches back centuries, and for all that my feminism has been on the rise this year, I feel very connected to my roots at times like these.

And very privileged that helping out in the kitchen is a choice, not a requirement of my gender. It’s what keeps the whole notion so romantic.