Monday, 27 August 2012

Something Else

I'm bored of these weekly updates on how my writing is progressing (or not progressing) and I'm sure my very few readers are tired of it too.  I must have written about something else in these blogs before - something other than how many chapters I've completed or whatever - before I became so obsessed with the idea of progress.  I must have done something constructive... I must have move forward...

I feel like I'm at risk of losing the fun in the whole process.  I love writing, and I don't want to stop loving it.

So this week, instead of stressing about chapters and agent letters and that damn synopsis, I'm going to talk about something else.  Anything else.  Because being stressed is not why I want to be a writer.  I've got a job for that and it can provide plenty enough stress by itself, thank you very much.

Alright then.  What else have I done this week?  Well, there's Mottisfont.  I volunteered as usual on Wednesday cataloguing the archives, but during August I've also been working on Tuesdays as well, cleaning statues in the grounds.  I think we're terming it 'statue conservation' because it sounds more professional and would look better on a CV, but I essentially spent several hours scraping moss off concrete.  It's probably seventeenth-century concrete, but concrete nonetheless.

There's something quite therapeutic about it though - doing a physical task and seeing the results afterwards.  Plus my poor little OCD-riddled brain gets rather a lot of satisfaction from making something all neat and tidy again.  In previous weeks we'd worked on a statue of Apollo, made of a much more glamorous marble, with one of the other ladies frequently asking passing visitors whether they agreed that he had very nice legs.  He did, but I still found it amusing.

Working in the archives has more potential for tedium, what with it essentially being me and a spreadsheet for hours on end.  But there's plenty of stuff to spark my interest, particularly the photos.  Looking at photographs (many over a hundred years old) of these magnificent places is really as close as I'm going to get to travelling back in time and it doesn't take much for my imagination to conjure something more.  A personal would have walked here.  A conversation could have taken place there.  Plus the odd little gems of Victorian photo-bombing are always great to find.

I'm working on Hinton Ampner House in the archives at the moment, and there's a great little ghost story which is connected with the old (now demolished) house which stood a metres from the present site.  I don't get spooked by stuff that easily but that one chilled me.  It's funny how stories about the dead can make a place, like a house torn down centuries ago, really come to life.

And there we go - no matter what I do, I'm dragged back to the stories...

But I need to remember to focus on other parts of my life because apparently they matter as well - in terms of being an author, I mean.  Look at the agents' letter that I was growling over this week - they need to know about me, and unless I make myself into more than just my writing, they're not going to want anything to do with me.  I am a product almost as much as my book is, which is quite frankly frightening.

Wow, that seems like a depressing thought to end on.  Or maybe it's a positive one?  Live life and all that bollocks.

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