Finally read the blurb at the OU Website this morning bout the following: Forums and netiquette; Assessments; how to the use the on-line library, (I read it but still don’t know how to very well and I couldn’t download the reader program so gave up.) How to attend on-line webinars – but again couldn’t find the software to download so gave up on that too.
Will get Bob to do it for me next time he’s here and has time. He was here this morning as he’s taking H golfing for his birthday pressie but then was not the time. H was back late from a sleepover which he cycled to and from but they’re off now for the day for a full round and dins. Hope they have a good time. Not much else to report except no more studying for me today. Got to do the ironing and its more a small planet’s worth than a mere mountain. Still now I’ve navigated round the ‘how to’ stuff on the MA site I can start the coursework which is to read the first 4 chapters of the course book for Course A215 and to start keeping a notebook. Beginning tomorrow therefore, I shall get religious with da notebook again. Haven’t used one properly since last year as when I’m not doing a course I do on-line jottings in a very higgledy-piggledy way, putting story ideas here and there in random folders and unfiled fragments that I can’t always find which is no good at all for OU courses where you need to be able to track ur progress through time, logging ur development.
An actual hard copy notebook is soooo much better when ur doing exercises because it gives you a timeline page by page to refer back to. My on-line ramblings jump from file to file and don’t refer to each other and are therefore very hard to recall.I will get a new mahoosive notebook tomorrow as I got through two for A215 and I want to keep it all together this time. I have also started a tiny notebook just for keywords then every time I come across a new word that I want to learn I put it in there for dredging out when I do my Commentaries. To explain – every assessed piece of creative writing you do at the OU has to be accompanied by a ‘commentary’ that details your creative process referencing stuff you’ve learned from reading and doing exercises, re character development, plot development, structure, forum/peer feedback, language and editing.) My fav word added to my notebook this week is Antiphrasis which means saying one thing whilst meaning something else. E.g. if its tipping down and you say ‘nice weather for a picnic’ or if you call your novel Brave New World when its about a dreadful dystopia (like Aldous Huxley did) that’s antiphrasis. I like this word because I do it all the time. My story ”The Time Travellers Daughter’ is full of it (sort of). Which reminds me its been put on-line by Chester University Press. Here’s a link in case you fancy a read – It’s a wee story for free! Right off to do th’ironing then.
Up and at ’em early this morning to get boys off to rugby then re-wrote the story that I didn’t enter into this week’s Ad Hoc fiction. Let me explain. I wrote said 150 word story for and writing it made me cry – about the kids growing up – but I pressed the wrong button and didn’t sent it correctly so it was never entered. Bit of a bugger really because I tweeted how it had made me cry and a couple of lovely tweeps replied saying good luck and they’d try to guess which one it was. (Ad Hoc is judged by public vote and each piece is published anonymously). Tweeted again after I’d re-written it so they don’t waste their time tying to suss out which was mine! Had to be re-written as the prompt changes each week but as luck would have it this week’s prompt worked better and the story improved in the re-writing so all was good in the end.
Also finished my flash for Retreat West and one I’m saving for Sunday best. Not sure where I’ll send it. Its in 300 or 500 words so many options. Its not right for Bath I don’t think – bit dark. Might be better at Bare Fiction. Might send diff versions off to both. Need to win Ad Hoc first though to get a free entry! So not counting my chickens.
Did my blog at OU too so had quite a busy morning. Boys will be back anon then must go back home.
Reading OU manuals not going very well – keep managing to not prioritise them – so typical of me! Having read ‘getting started’ in the recommended readings list I have had couple of ideas for the short stories I need to submit though. First is 2500 words short story fiction, second 2500 words Creative Non-fiction third is 4000 fiction. By a couple I mean three. One is v dark, one vv dark and the other seriously disturbing so I think my genre is horror/gothic scariness. No change there then.
So have done no writing or studying yet today due to: rows at home, having to drive, doing shopping/housework,doing more driving and going for a pot of tea with my friend Carol. I’m back at the wee house now so doing my blog before Harry and Murray get back.
Last night I enroled Harry at the gym in Wisbech which seemed to cheer him up muchly. He was in there for two hours so I sat in the caff in Tesco’s (the gym is in the same building as Tesco’s just opposite the caff) and read the intro to the course materials and intro to the forum on my iphone. Harry came out in a pretty good mood and by the time he did I knew a lot more about what is expected from me on the MA. Plan to read more tonight after the boys have had their teas.
Today read a v. weird short story by Clarice Lispector who’s a Brazilian author translated into English. Not sure if the weirdness is from the translation or the writer but I like it. Its weird in a good way.
I’m reading her stories because this October I’m having a story of mine published in a thang called No Bindings. It a sort of folded poster full of poems and flash fictions that you can read like a book or put on your wall and it’s accompanied by a podcast about the creative process. The editor Lily is coming to record me for the podcast bit in October and we’re going to explore the importance of memory in story writing whilst sorting through old photos (This was inspired by Lily not being sure if my story was about real events or not.) I should stress Lily and I have never met and do not know each other beyond the fact that I submitted a flash story to her project) but this suggestion really struck a chord with me. My story is very sad – about loss – a fictional loss but everything I write, I realised, when pushed to consider it, is hovering in a hinterland close to autobiography but not quite – I use names of real people in an imagined setting, a real voice talking about a fictional happening. Lily thought my writing to be in the same continuum as Clarice Lispector (what a great name by the way) and now I’ve read one of her stories I kinda see what she means. Am going to read some more tonight when I’ve ploughed through the ‘how to use the on-line library’ bit of the website.
Lily is going to get all the contributors together too so we can chat about our work. I love the idea of this sort of ‘flash’ community that will meet once, share stories then dissolve – reminds me of the OU. You get so close to you tutor group digitally speaking for a year then you all break up come June never to meet again. You share such personal, intimate stuff, bearing souls and creativity then poof it all dissolves.
Right off to do some learning now. Oh yes – if you’re wondering why there’s a pug at the start of the page, it’s because when I started writing I thought I wouldn’t have much to say and thought it might fill the page up a bit. The pug in question is Hogarth who loves nothing better that to snooze on my chair, as you can see.
Back on the blog again after the dash of going back to school/college. George not entirely back to college but has done his induction for the new i-journalism course at CRC, starts properly on Monday. Not entirely sure what i-journalism is – think its a mixture of blogging, instagramming, digital photography, snap-chatting, tweeting and u-tubing with a sprinkling of app development chucked in. Doesn’t give details on website. My nephew Billy who works in PR and came to stay last week on a job in Peterborough says the Sun has an Instagram editor these days so shows what I know.
Harry went back to school last week and has been playing rugby practically every day. We had to drive to school three times even before term started for pre season training. He’s on the first fifteen this year but he’s having a tough time readjusting to being back – early mornings, long drives and newly extended school day not helping the usual reaclimatisation problems. Still I’m sure all will sort itself out in the fulness of time – anhyoo that’s not why I’m blogging – that would be because the OU website for the MA has gone live. Have decided that the focus of this blog will be to plot my progress as I try to become a better writer.
Have had a wee play on the website and it feels very daunting – the desktop is unfamiliar and seems to be a portal to room after room of stuff I need to know just to learn how to use it and the course materials! -never mind learning about Creative Writing I need to read the following first: Module guide, Forum Guide, How-to-use-the-on-line-library Guide, Assessment guide and that’s just for starters and everything’s digital so I’ll have to print them all out and read them with anotations like they used to do in the dark ages when there were only paper books (My default setting I’m afraid. I’m fine reading fiction digitally but manuals and instructions just don’t go into my brain unless I scribble on them, read them twice, re-read them then then re-re-read them.And I have no printer here so I’m going to have to buy one and a wee table to put it on. So much to do prep-wise before I can even start learning about creative writing! But it must be done.
Tomorrow I will blog about my progress – might help secure what I’ve learned. I will also do my first OU MA site blog (we have a collective blog space where people have already started introducing themselves.) I will do the same in the morning.
Harry turned 16 on Tuesday which also didn’t help with the going back to school thing. He has such a rubbishly timed b/day – always the first week back after the longs hols – very depressing for him. I feel his pain as it was the same for me when I was a girl, only my birthday was always back to school in January after the Chrimbo holibobs – even worse if anything becuase it was back to school, freezing cold, everyone was skint, everyone was on a diet, everyone was sick of celebrating and just wanted to stay in eating gruel by themselves. On my 16th birthday I got a hairwash cos Mum and Dad were cash strapped – and that was wrapped up in old Xmas paper! So I really felt for poor old Harry and am taking him to join the gymn tonight now he’s sixteen by way of compensation. He’ll be back from school in a mo. Hoping the gymn thing will cheer him up.