Saturday, October 26, 2013

Work begins!

Morning Pages done.  Elma (apple) tea drunk.  The day ahead set aside for the work that I need to do on the TMA.  So now is the time to go for a swim.  Yesterday, my first swim for some time, I felt refreshed and I swam solidly and didn’t feel the usual strain which comes with missing out on daily effort.

Today is Saturday and I usually do not go to the pool during a weekend, but I need to make up for lost time and if this Sunday is not to buck the trend on the slow downward impetus of my weight, I cannot afford to reject any little effort on my part to get the grams off.

I have decided on the story that I am going to tell for the TMA and I have been single minded in my intention to play the OU game as far as I can and cynically apply all the detail that the instructions suggest might be an approach to the writing.  Some of my details will have to be applied after the fact by finding opportune places to add phrases rather than be working the other way round and allow my writing to develop from the details that I have captured and displayed in my notebooks.

For all my cynicism I have applied myself assiduously to the writing of my notebooks and “stuff” is building up but, like my faulty memory, the stuff has no real order to it.  It’s undeniably there in blue and white, but I am not sure about how to use it.  As time does on I think that our tutor’s suggestion of some sort of index may be the way forward, but I am not quite sure about how to organize that at the moment.  I can see myself spending more time on the organization of material than its use, and that way lies madness!

At the moment, only one of my phrases (in various forms) actually stays in my mind, “He had all of the words but none of the grammar”.  What it means in any precise way I am not entirely sure.  And its literary progenitor is fairly clear - than you Oscar!  In literal terms it is easy to understand, though a wide vocabulary and lack of organization might suggest some sort of autistic savant and little more; the metaphorical impact of the term is more interesting and suggests social ineptitude or isolation.  There is more work to be done with it and I am sure that I can use it in some character description and hope that the reader passes over it with little more than a bump of aphoristic pleasure rather than looking for too deep a meaning!

My other course on Brands has taken something of a background place at the moment, but the weekend should see it come back into some sort of prominence.  We are now well into the second week and I am falling behind.  It was interesting to be with Andrew for a few days and his thoughts, based as they are on clear and extended professional engagement with this very concept, were revealing.  Probably more in a cynical sense than anything else, but revealing nonetheless!

The first draft of my writing is complete and now the real work of making it fit in the OU pigeonholes begins!  In many ways this is the real struggle, because writing a structured piece about something which happened to me when I was seven or so, is really not the difficult part!  Although, you never know, it may be a revelation for me when I get the tutor’s comments!  “How are the mighty fallen” is a phrase redolent with echoes of past upsets and squeaks of future possibilities!

I have, following one of the “suggestions” of the OU, done a certain amount of research related to the incident that I am taking as the subject for my piece of writing.  I have found photographs of Pendine in the 1950s; looked again at pictures of Ford Prefects with running boards a la Chicago gangsters and windscreen wipers that went slower when you went up hills; read about Land Speed Records broken on the sands and found out the name (did I ever know it?) of the game which involved a rubber ball on an elastic band which you hit with a wooden paddle bat – Jokari in case you were trying to remember if you’re my age, or just interested in these things if you are not!

A certain amount of editing is necessary to cut down the piece to fit the word limit, but that is one of my strengths, god knows I have had to do it for myself and for others often enough!

Tomorrow is the arrival of The Family for the delayed celebration of United Nations Day and the first use of the FCB hors d’oeuvres dishes.  I must take a photograph.  It may be kitsch but at under €3 it is worth every centime!  Especially if I can get the response of a non-football fan, somebody like Suzanne for example; the reaction will be as the adverts say, ‘priceless’!

During some of the time during the last few days when I should have been writing the draft that I have just finished, I have been reading the detective novels of Alan Hunter with the police chief George Gently as his major character.  I thoroughly enjoyed these books (I bought a Kindle omnibus anthology, cheap and an obvious mistake because of my lack of resistance) even though some of the characterisation is a little plodding. 

George Gently himself is portly and he wears a worn Tweed jacket and a trilby.  He smokes a briar pipe, is fond of looking through people and events to a distant objective that only he can see and he constantly eats mint creams.  Oh yes, he is also a bachelor and has a superb landlady.

The settings for these novels have more in common with Agatha Christie than with the harder hitting more modern versions of the genre.  I would set them post World War II but not well into the permissive sixties.  They have more the feel of the lustrum after the end of The Age of Austerity, but they are certainly exemplifications of another age of policing and of society – and are worth reading for that alone!  I only paid about 25 cents for a volume, I am sure that they are available for nothing somewhere on the web; I recommend them.

Now back to the draft.  I want to send everything off on Monday.  Evening!  Latest!

Or we could go out for a quick drink, just to get us out of the house.  Or something!

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