May 1, 2010

Bearing Fruit

Oh, the internet!

Now I have joined up for A Story A Day for May. Finish a short story every day (well, I have decided on six days a week, with a movable day off to accommodate the rest of my life.) Any length. As much or as little chat and/or support as one wants to take part in at the website. I might post the occasional story here. This will be my May version of 250-words-a-day. The point remains to keep myself writing new stuff, pushing myself into different points of view (hah!) and experimenting with tenses and generally playing around with the actual writing.

The Novel continues. Have completed the first extra chapter enough to insert it into the manuscript and am working on the second one (I think there will be three extra chapters in all, each expanding one of the secondary chapters.) Not as dissatisfied with the overall project as I was. Thank you Prue for encouragement.

On the reading front, I finished 2666. Worth the effort, I think, quite memorable, but not to everyone’s taste. When the Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong came in my birthday pile. I really enjoyed it, some good insights into turn of the 19th/20th centuries Wellington and the Chinese community. It’s a story of tragic love of more than one kind and does that tricky thing of giving background history without undermining the story-telling. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffers & Annie Barrows, also a birthday book, is a good book but not a great one. Told in letters from a variety of writers, who all actually write the same, its biggest flaw. I enjoyed reading it and learnt a lot about the German occupation of Guernsey in WWII, about which I was pretty ignorant.

I was moved to re-read Tillie Olsen’s Silences by its inclusion in a list of the 10 books a writer should read. (I didn’t recognise most of the other entries, was intrigued by this one being on the list.) It’s a collection of fragments and a wide range of quotes from other writers, plus transcripts of a couple of lectures she gave from notes. It’s an excellently argued treatise about women writers being diminished and ignored as well as full of ideas about what writers need in order to write. It was first published in 1980 and I remember reading it then. Here’s one of my very favourite quotes. Tillie Olsen is quoting William Blake:

“Blight never does good to a tree … but if it still bear fruit, let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.”

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