Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The ick factor: panties

Is it wrong to decide against perservering with a book when you come across the term 'panties', used without irony?

As in: 'As he seized me by the waist, and whispered in my ear how much he loved me, I creamed the lacy panties I had bought for the occasion.'

When it's the author speaking - about herself - on page 11, it kind of makes me think that I can't keep going in her company.

Grown women don't buy 'panties' for themselves. They buy underwear. Or knickers. If they buy panties AT ALL, they buy them for their pre-teen daughters.

And don't get me started on the anti-eroticism of grown-ups talking about creaming their pants ...

Am I a prude, or is this entirely reasonable?

Friday, March 27, 2009

On writing fiction

I have been a Bad Blogger. For so many reasons, which I won't bother to go into. But right now, it's because I'm trying my hand at writing fiction. It's something I used to do all the time as a child - from the ages of four to about 19. When I turned 20, and got a job with a publisher, it all dried up.

I know there's a connection there, but not sure exactly what it is. Seeing other people's good work and feeling inadequate? Seeing other people's bad work that they think is good and feeling worried I could be one of them? Distracted by being in a job I was passionate about, which took up all my headspace? Seeing more clearly what was not good about my own work, and being disillusioned? A bit of all these things, I think.

I can't say I'm a big fan of the 'you're only a writer if you feel you must write, if it all pours out of you' school. (Charles Bukowksi, I'm talking to you.) That concept is one thing that has put me off, I think. The subconscious (and quite ridiculous, I think) notion that if it's hard, you're not doing it right.

I still don't know if this is something I can do, or just something I've always thought I could do if I tried. But I figure that I can only find that out by giving it a proper go. So, I've been forcing myself to sit down with a notebook, or on the laptop, and just have a go. 'Write through the crap,' is my mantra. I'm not naturally good at that, because I do't like to produce bad work.

I'm really pleased so far, not because I'm producing great work, but because I've produced some work that I don't hate. That seems like a good start.

And I've decided, after much prevarication, to (probably) enrol in a creative writing course. Just for the discipline of it. And the workshopping. And because even while I do write professionally (and some have said I'm crazy, that I know how to write so why pay to be taught), I haven't written fiction for a really long time and I like the idea of regular feedback, of having someone to steer me as I go. I know how to write, but do I know creative writing? I'm not so sure.

Anyway, I do hope to get back to the blog too, because I miss the conversations with other bloggers. And blog-writing does 'pour out'. It is pure fun. And it's good practice: putting words down in print, playing with their sequence, and trying to make meaning out of them.