All posts filed under: the second project

Bad Days At Work

As much as you want ideas to turn into good then great prose, some days and weeks it just doesn’t happen. Last week was particularly bad. All that turgid writing. I was working on a new section, my characters going down paths so completely wrong in tone and emotion that I felt I’d lost them, that I no longer had control. I’d had bad periods of writing before but this was something else. The things I told myself: this was proof that I was a weak writer, that I really don’t have anything whatsoever to contribute to the world of literature. I told myself to walk away now while the going was good. No one need to know about this failed novel, you imposter. Maybe allow a more talented writer to find the seed of this novel and turn it into gold. I realised after a few days that the problem was that I wasn’t connecting with anything that was happening on the page. And if I wasn’t connecting, what hope would the next draft …

Music for Looping, Music for Recovery

I don’t like to overthink my writing habits too much but music is very important to me both during a writing session and after.  For See What I Have Done I listened to the same songs (adding very few to the playlist) for eleven years. It’s time again to live in an aural loop until a book is complete. Here is a small sample of music for Blue Mountain that I will be listening to until it becomes a skin, the tip of a pen: Below is a very small selection of songs I like listening to after a day of writing. They change all the time (unlike the loop). This week I listened to:

A Little Something to Hold Us Over: Photos

I often forget I should regularly post to this blog. I’m working on a new post about Lizzie Borden and writing history ( I figured rather than my usual  ramblings, I should, you know, plan a post ) but felt like adding some photos here today. I’m in my composting and early writing phase of my new novel and that has led me to be drawn to particular images as I walk around and explore. All of these are foundations for theme and aesthetic but may not necessarily turn up in the novel in quite the way you imagine. WARNING: Some of these photos are of dead animals I came across while walking and may not be your thing. 

Never Lets Me Go

I don’t think I’ve ever truly known when to walk away from the work, think of it as done. This may explain why it takes me too long to finish a novel or a short story: this created planet, spinning on its axis, keeps falling into rhythms of day and night that I then eventually accept that’s the way things are, that I have to continue living in the world long after I have to so that the story I’ve told feels authentic, alive. Even today I thought of new ways I could make Lizzie grow into that house on Second Street, make it small like a pocket: there she is hiding dirty clothes in the walls; there rubbing her back against a door knob; there singing at the top of her lungs; there holding clandestine dinner parties while Andrew and Abby are at the Swansea property; there at night going up to the attic to watch Bridget sleep.

The Return of a Memory: Sarah Island, 2010

I remembered: the cold on my hands, wrinkle skin and dry. I aim the camera. There was something in the air, something in the quiet water. Something that felt like decimation. After taking this photo ideas began to form. Ideas belonging to the dream I had had a few months prior about the woman in a car and her child. Then this. I wrote them down. Who knows where that notebook is now (I suspect somewhere at the bottom of a box in the garage) but I have remembered this photo and now I have a visualisation. The photo has reappeared at the right time for the second project. Now I am thinking about those lost feelings again, the way they will tie back to the characters that are forming, the way they will tie to the projects different forms of decimation, different forms of trauma. The new project is slowly worming its way out from abstract ideas into something that will boom my blood. I should stop calling it the second project and begin to …

Captain S

1926: ‘At luncheon Dr. Jones said that the Mont Park institution could accommodate 1,400 patients.’ 1924: ‘In Their Own Interests. Emphatic assurances that returned soldier mental patients at Mont Park, who have been transferred from the control of the Repatriation department to the State authorities will benefit by the change, were given by the Chief Secretary (Dr. Argyle) yesterday. Dr. Argyle said that the patients would be cared for by the same medical men and attendants who had looked after them previously, and there would be no question of keeping the military cases in the same quarters as the civil cases. He was a re-turned soldier himself, and as long as headministered the Chief Secretary’s department they would be kept apart. Until the military mental cases were provided for, patients could not be removed from the Yarra Bend Asylum. The position was that nearly the whole of the Mont ParkAsylum was empty, because one wing and the kitchens were occupied by the repatriation officials. Until the State authorities obtained the use of the accommodation they could not accept any more patients for treatment at Mont Park.’ 1920: ‘Soldier claims damages. Doctors and Constable Sued.   …

These Recent Memories: 1917

Lately I have been thinking about place and time and the proximity to memory (whether personal or public). When I moved to a new area a few years ago I found a history half way between restoration and abandonment. It called to me and now I’m searching. I have found small memories left behind by someone and they are beginning to stitch themselves into the skins of  my new characters, evolving into something new, something that reminds you that they have never gone away. These memories are a link to a link to a link, forming the patterns of images, ideas and words until eventually (I assume) I have completed the second project. Take this memory: these women. this place. Take this memory: Take this memory: these women return Something links to a link to a link to a link…