Monday, August 17, 2009

Nice idea

I've had my mum to stay for a week, which is why I've been 'off-blog.' We had a lovely time - in spite of the drizzle - and managed to squeeze loads in.

While she was here it was her birthday and I almost gave her this lovely journal I came across in a local gift shop.

Each page has a heading ...

and things like, "who were your best friends when you were at school?" "What was I like as a baby?" "What was my first word?" and so on.

I say almost. Because on second thoughts I realised my mum would be horrified with a present like this.

She's from a generation of Northern women who aren't comfortable being touchy-feely and open about their emotions. If there'd been questions like "do you remember throwing your slipper at us when you were cross?" or "why did we always have corned beef for dinner on Wednesdays?" she might have co-operated - laughed even. "Describe the wallpaper over the fireplace in the house where we grew up," would have had her rolling her eyes and reaching for her pen, but "describe how you felt the first time you saw me," would have had her dry-heaving into her handbag. I know my mum.

Also, her and my dad divorced a long time ago so THOSE questions might have made her upset or cross. All in all, a pretty rubbish present.

Instead I've decided to keep it and write in it myself. I don't mind emoting, and I can't resist a blank page. I know my daughter would love to read it one day too.

I also thought it might be fun to copy out the headings and answer them as the characters in my novel for more insight, because yes - it's time.

Time to get the manuscript out of the drawer (well, up on the screen) and start to think about editing it.


I'm tempted to stick with the journal for now.


Queenie said...

No need to rush. When your impatience to get started is stronger than your fear, that's the time to fish out the MS. It is scary, but there's lots of helpful support and advice available, and once you get going it won't feel so bad. I find that making a 'to do' list helps me to feel in control - of my fear, at least!

Teresa Ashby said...

What a lovely book! I've never seen one like that before.

Good luck with the editing!

Gonna be a writer said...

Sounds like a great book.

Lily Sheehan said...

Nice thought that, could do with one of those myself for a bit of a character building exercise.

Good luck with the editing!

JJ Beattie said...

Your questions (corned beef) made me laugh out loud. It's a gorgeous book and a lovely idea to fill it with your memories.

Debs said...

I think it's a lovely book, but I know what you mean. I could never ask my father to write in one of those, although my mother would be fine.

Best of luck with the editing. I'm doing that at the moment - again - and one day may even think this book is good enough to send out.

Pat Posner said...

Hey, I like that book and fully approve of your idea of using the headings as questions for you - as your characters - to answer.

Happy Editing


Edward said...

I'm with you totally - my late mother (not Northern) would have been horrified to be asked such questions. However, it does sound like a great present to self.

Anna said...

Maybe an idea for a novel in itself, not only how characters might respond.

I'm in the middle of editing, and yeah, ugg... Good luck!!

Amanda said...

Oh, where have I gone? I posted a comment a few days ago and it's vanished! :?

It was just to say what a lovely book and a great idea to use the headings for your characters!

Oh, and GOOD LUCK with the editing!


I'm rather liking this novel idea - very quirky methinks. I trust you're busy editing Ms Clarkey! Tommox

Lorna F said...

I think using this as an idea for a story would be brilliant. I also laughed at the alternative questions - expecially the corned beef one! As a northern Scot, I too am a bit leery of any threat of schmaltz. I suppose one of the questions I would ask - and I'm betting I'm not alone - might be 'Why, when I was crying, did you say "Stop that crying or I'll give you something to cry about"?' Duh?

womagwriter said...

You had corned beef every Wednesday? You were lucky. We 'ad shepherds pie. Every Wednesday, cos Mum worked. And every week she left a note for Dad telling him how long he needed to put it in the oven for. Every week, for about 10 years. A new note written every week, saying exactly the same thing.

Oh God you've got me going now.

SpiralSkies said...

I love the idea of filling it in and giving as a gift to your daughter... that's really rather an amazing thing.

I also think filling it in on behalf of your characters is a brilliant idea. I went through a dodgy phase of checking my characters' horoscopes to see whether they would 'combine' the way they should! It's all mad but great fun :)

Tam said...

You mean you haven't started editing yet??

Love the journal idea x

Suzanne Jones said...

Oh, what a gorgeous journal.

Hope the editing's going well.


Karen said...

queenie - That's good advice, and it's not too scary once you get going :o)

teresa ashby - I'd never seen one before. They had them for dads and grandmas too :o)

gonna be a writer - It's really lovely. I haven't soiled it with my writing yet!

lily sheehan - It's a fun idea, but leads to prevaricating unfortunately!!

jj beatie - I don't think I've eaten corned beef since I left home! It is a gorgeous book though :o)

debs - It must be a generational thing - I think she'd have put it in a drawer and changed the subject :o)

Hope your editing is going well!

pat posner - I thought I'd do it for each of my characters, then realised I was looking for excuses to put off the editing!

edward - I remember my mum saying once "why do people have to talk about things all the time?" which should have been a clue really!

anna - That's a really good idea actually :o) Hope the editing's going well!

amanda - I can't quite bear to write on the lovely clean pages yet though! I'll save it for a rainy day I think :o)

tommo - Of COURSE I'm editing - I'm not really typing this at all ;o)

lorna f - That made me laugh! That's exactly the sort of thing my gran used to say, and I'm pleased to report it's one of the daft things I've never said to my own children (though I've said plenty of other things I always said I wouldn't!)

womagwriter - That's so funny! Definitely creatures of habit. We always had the same meals on the same days every week - fish on a Friday if I remember rightly, but at least it was nicely cooked :o)

spiralskies - Checking characters' horoscopes is completely insane - I love it. One of my characters is into that sort of thing, so there are various references to Taurus rising etc (haven't a clue what it means) :o)

tam - I have! Honest! It's not going too badly either :o)

suzanne jones - It's lovely isn't it? The editing's not too bad either :o)

countrymummy said...

I'm a little late commenting on this but have only just found you...I've been given a similar book by my children and although a little younger, perhaps, than your mum, I'm finding it really difficult to write in it! I am northern though, so perhaps that's the reason?

Karen said...

Lol! It could be a northern thing, but do you know when I sat down to have a little write in mine I found it MUCH harder than I thought I would, and it's back in the drawer for now :o))

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