Reasons why Fran has been absent without leave
Apologies for a long absence. I suspect this blog post will attract between three and five readers as blogs are like tender plants which, untended, droop and wither. I should know, as I have murdered plenty of plants in my time. I am hoping I haven't similarly asphyxiated my blog.
|All Fran did was look at it.|
If you are here and reading this and are neither droopy nor withered, I thank you, and you are most welcome. Do come again and bring a friend.
Honest, m'lud, I have been slaving over a hot keyboard, writing a novel, and today I wrote the last chapter. I didn't know at the time that it was the last chapter until I looked back on it and realised that the story was finished. Sometimes stories don't ask proper permission; they just do their own thing, like recalcitrant toddlers, wonky shopping trolleys and viruses.
If you write yourself, you'll know that having finished a first draft is just one step on a long journey of edits, rewrites, plunges into pits of despair, more edits, cuts, rearrangements, plunges into pits of despair, rinse and repeat until the egg whites stand up in soft peaks.
Writing novels is like housework. You feel as though you're achieving something, and for a little while you have, and are triumphant, but then reality butts in. For instance, this morning I swept the kitchen floor but all that meant was that, when my gardener husband arrived home, shedding bits of hedge, soil and probably himself (he's 65 this year), I minded a lot more than I would have done had I not bothered sweeping.
|A gardener without bits so, not Fran's husband|
Also, I scrubbed the kitchen sink until it smiled at me, but all that means is that, the first time one of us recklessly brushes crumbs off the breadboard into the sink without rinsing them away, I will wish I'd left it as it was.
Similarly, although I've written a draft novel and that should seem like a big deal, all it's left me with is a hundred notes in the margin that say things like, 'Is the asthma important to the plot?' and 'Didn't I say she had red hair in Chapter 1?' and 'If the aunt in New Zealand surfaces, will she need a subplot to herself - please, no!?' and 'I've got far too many people grinning and shrugging. THESAURUS!'
If I'd minded my own business, forgotten the novelist aspirations and just read a book or made scones, I could save myself so much trouble.
Writing the novel has coincided with a lifting of some restrictions, something they used to call taking off your corset, but which now means you can see family and friends indoors as long as you keep a window open and only hug them like you would an electric fence.
This has meant that grandchildren have come back into our lives, having been kept at a distance, waving from across roads and fields. We gathered together at lunch time on Sunday at our daughter's house and, when my grandson (8) arrived, I asked him what he'd been doing all morning. He sighed. 'Waiting,' he said.
I think it's safe to say he was looking forward to the reunions.
So, despite my whinging about how much work I've made for myself by writing a draft manuscript, sweeping my kitchen floor and scrubbing my sink clean, there is much for which to be thankful, and I am.
Or, I will be, once I've worked out what to do with the aunt in New Zealand.