Thursday, March 30, 2006


We had a wonderful week in Spain last week. The warm temperatures were a welcome relief after the freezing wind that we left Coventry in; and the colours of the wild flowers and the street markets were riches indeed. In Alicante, Mum and I sat by the marina in the sunshine and did some sketching. As you can see, I attempted to sketch the whole of Alicante. When I'd finished, I turned to show my Mum and found two men had been standing watching me. As they gave me a friendly thumbs up - "Bueno!" - I didn't feel too foolish.

Today I have been battling with inertia. I was going to go out on my bike to get some sorely needed exercise - but it was 'too windy'. I was going to catch up with writing, but the exercises didn't stimulate me.

In the end, I re-read some of my previous exercises and found that they weren't as hideously bad as I thought they were. I've typed them up here - partly because I may find some useful gems in there later, and partly to practise editing and firming things up. I feel better for the illusion of having created something, even a few fragmented scraps of writing. This helped to stimulate me to try some of the Chapter seven exercises - writing with different characters' voices. I've found them incredibly hard to do, but who knows? I may read them later and find something of use in them.

To anyone else who may be struggling - try revisiting some of your past writing. It may read better than you remember, and give you heart to carry on.

Fiction? Bah.

I am struggling with the Fiction Section of the A215 creative writing course. The chapters describe the different ways in which you can 'write good fiction' including character development, point of view, setting and so on. The difficulty I think I am having with it is that we have gone from writing from our experience (based on freewriting) to having exercises to do which are very much directed towards using a particular device. This 'device' removes it from my experience somehow so that I find myself 'inventing' something rather plastic. I wonder how to get back to using my concrete experience whilst also doing the exercises? I would say I haven't got enough time to do the amount of writing required, but frankly as I have spent this morning avoiding writing, I don't think time is the problem.

Maybe I'm just not cut out to do fiction writing.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Coln St Aldwyns

I am struggling to get writing today. Even a blog entry seems beyond me. Still, here goes.

We spent last weekend in Coln St Aldwyns to celebrate Rick's birthday. We were in the heart of the Cotswolds. Every person that we met had a ruddy complexion, spoke with a cut-glass accent and was very friendly. We went for a long walk on Saturday, via Bibury The highlight for Rick was when we passed by a cottage into a field, and a sheepdog (the Welsh variety) came flashing past us, grabbed a stick and sank down with it on the path in front of us. "Play with me!" Rick grabbed the stick and threw it. The dog returned the stick to the path in front of us. This went on ... and on ... and on. We were both distressed at the point at which we had to say "Go home!" and the dog obediently trotted off, tail and head down. As it headed straight for a barn, we guessed it belonged on the farm and wasn't really about to abscond with us.

On Sunday, we witnessed a delightful scene. After a walk around the village, we stopped at the post office. The lady in front of Rick, who had been jogging, demanded her copy of the Sunday Times and the Tatler, and could they put it on the Andrews account please? The Post Office was filling up fast, with similar requests being made. When we went back outside, the roads all around were full of four-wheel drives - all of which had pulled up to collect their Sunday paper.

What was lovely about the place was the lack of traffic noise. Although we love our village, it suffers from the constant roar of the M40. It was a delight to hear the call of the pheasant echoing into the distance, rather than competing with the roar of traffic.

Friday, March 10, 2006

EDM Challenge #57 - Picture Frame

I am just in love with my new felt tips.

Busy week

As the title says. Last weekend we had friends for dinner on Saturday, followed by a walk early Sunday morning. We had to get our walk done early because we were due up in Nottingham for 2.30 for a friend's birthday party. Our friend, by the way, is 3 years old. Some readers may remember Scarlett? Here she is.

Work as usual Monday and Tuesday, and art class on Wednesday. This week I was used as an example of how not to do something. I had painted three very pink paintings. Please don't ask me why. I was just in the mood for raspberry. Actually, I was experimenting with process colours (magenta, cyan, yellow) and not getting on with them at all well. But they are the colours the college recommends. Wednesday evening I had a work meeting all evening.

Yesterday after much drafting and redrafting, and help from Beth, I finally submitted my TMA. Hurrah! I celebrated with two gin-and-tonics last night. Which I regretted this morning. I just can't hold my drink these days.

We are away this weekend as it is Rick's (*whisper*) 40th Birthday.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

EDM Challenge #56 - Self Portrait

Well, what can I say? (I don't look like this, by the way)

Progress today, I think ...

In art class yesterday, as I painted an abstract image based on one of my photo collages, my tutor said I was a natural painter (yay!) and had a good eye for colour. It's nice to get some positive reinforcement of my college work. He also introduced me to Pia Fries. These aren't great reproductions of her work, but she does thick, textural oilpaintings with a strong design element to them (I think). Luscious.

Today I've finally bitten the bullet, pulled all my TMA preparation notes together, and created a draft poem. I feel better for doing that. It was starting to feel like an impossible task, lots of freewriting seeming to go nowhere.

I've done some drawing today - although I'm being a bit hard on myself about the outcome. Here is one that I did from a postcard from the Pitt Rivers Museum

EDM Challenge #39 Toothbrush

This was another 'I'm determined to do a drawing today' sketch. I just plonked myself on the bed and drew my toothbrush.