Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Beautiful Bows

I'll be starting work on a major writing project on 1st June so I've decided to try and finish off various bits and pieces of writing before then. This approach has been validated by a message I found in a fortune cookie yesterday which said 'time to tie up those loose ends into beautiful bows.'

Actually, I'm tying those loose ends into short stories. I know, I know - there's no market for them, no-one reads them, publishers won't touch them. Blah blah. Never mind. It's remarkably satisfying writing them because they can be as short as you like, and you can make a list and put ticks by the titles as you finish them, and then print them out and stack them up and shuffle the pages in a virtuous and industrious way. Short stories are the porcelain shepherdesses of the publishing world - beloved of their owners and somewhat frowned upon by sophisticates. You have a collection of WHAT? Never mind. Never mind.

I watched Gardeners' World yesterday (what does Alan Titchmarsh think he looks like with those sideburns? Midge Ure? Because he doesn't and someone needs to tell him so) and a gardener in Jamaica showed how he starts growing dozens of orchids at a time in glass bottles - with some plants taking about twenty years to reach maturity - and I'm thinking of those short stories as a similarly safe environment to store my little bits and pieces of ideas so I can go back to them and maybe grow them into something bigger and beautiful in due course. Not that I like orchids much. But you know what I mean.

I'm really looking forward to starting this next piece of writing. I fall asleep thinking about it, anticipating it the way I would anticipate a holiday to Australia.

Last night I thought how wonderful it would be to do nothing but write for weeks - maybe confined to a hotel room wearing a paper gown, sitting on a commode, with a supply of ginger biscuits, fresh water and lemon juice to hand (the latter to combat scurvy). But at my age I need to keep my hips and other joints moving, and anyway one of the most wonderful things about being a writer is that you only have to do 1000 words a day, or five pages if it's a screenplay, or five hours if you don't like counting words or pages - and after you've done that, you have the rest of the day to do whatever the hell you choose. True, I think most writers spend it doing more writing. But I like the idea that I can go to the National Portrait Gallery or Tooting Bec Lido if I want.

That's it for now. Back to the beautiful bows.


Far Away said...

Ugh paper clothes!
And what happened to Brockwell Park Lido?

Helen Smith said...

Brockwell is still there. A bit edgy for me - I like Tooting Bec with the grass and the trees and the art deco fountain (and it's cheaper, too). They both open next week. Can't wait!

Katie M R Pitts said...

I like short story's!!

Helen Smith said...

That's because you are beautiful and perfect xxx