Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The most dangerous place on earth for women

This documentary was screened in Britain on BBC 3 tonight. It was excellent, thought provoking, if upsetting, more so because the women interviewed were not hysterical and crying, but matter of fact and simple in their ungarnished truth. If you want to know what is happening, this documentary is recommended.

If you missed it, or you live outside Britain, you can see the programme online, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc3 and then click on the programme title. It will be there for the next seven days.

Thursday, on BBC 3, Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan goes to India to investigate child trafficking.

Please watch these programmes if you can. It is only by exposing the wrongs in the world that we can hope to begin to fight them. If we don't watch, TV companies will cease to make the programmes, and then evil will be able to slide back into the shadows, doing its deeds away from our gaze.

Don't let that happen.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Another day bites the dust!

It started off well enough. And then I got out of bed!

Seriously, it hasn't been a bad day. I did a lot of things. I...

received a chatty letter from an old friend and spent the morning answering it, managing about half the letter I plan to write. (It's a long letter.)

planned the next chapter of my romance in detail and it's now ready to write, although I haven't actually written any of the body of it yet.

accepted an invitation to go and see Bridget Christie, who is, apparently, very funny. Should be a good night out, not least because it's a chance to catch up with a friend I haven't seen in ages.

found some pictures of my trip to Kenya last year and wallowed in good memories.

did a little bit of spring cleaning. At the rate I am going, it'll be finished in time for Spring 2012, but it's a bit nearer.

So why do I feel as if I haven't achieved anything?

Probably because none of the above are finished. There's a lot to be said for one thing at a time. Finish it and move on to the next. Trouble is, the yucky jobs (like Spring cleaning) will always be two things away from the top of the pile and won't get done. And besides, they seem much less daunting if you can do them in increments.

But then it takes longer to reach the point of finishing on anything.

Ho hum. I suppose no-one promised me life would have a perfect answer.

And I did get a letter half written and a chapter completely planned.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

A competition to enter

Thanks to Lori, whom I know from online writing site, Critique Circle, I am now going to enter a one act play writing competition. Thank you, Lori. It's much appreciated. However, I'd best be quick as the closing date is 2nd April.

Luckily, I have a couple of one act plays waiting their turn to be polished. They've just moved up the queue. Why is it that I always have more work to do than time to do it in? Still, I suppose things could be worse. I could be twiddling my thumbs with more time than work to fill it.

And since the clocks go forward tonight, I've just lost another hour. It's a conspiracy.

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me.

Looks like the next few days will be busy indeed.

Oh, what a night!

I managed to get my thousand words done for yesterday. Each one was wrung out of me - it was that kind of day. At just before midnight, I got to the end of the chapter and thought, wahey! I can do this.

I plan to get up early in the morning, do another thousand before breakfast and get a good start to the day.

For now, my head aches and I'm still getting over the chest infection, I've had a busy day, so I head off to bed. A good night's sleep is just what I need before I come back and start the next adventure for my star crossed lovers.

The light goes out, head hit the pillow, and...

The phone rings.

Now, when the phone rings in the day, you can ignore it, if you're strong willed enough. If it rings at midnight, you KNOW you can't. Nobody rings at midnight unless it's urgent. So I race downstairs and answer it.

My son in law is having chest pains, an ambulance has been called, can I come and sit with the kids in case he has to go to A and E?

So by 12.30am, I am sitting on their sofa, watching the paramedics decide that he needs to go to have tests to make sure it's not anything serious. They take him, daughter follows in her car, I stay and babysit. All is quiet, I get a duvet out of the cupboard, curl up on the sofa and doze off.

1am. The dog wants to go outside. I get up, let her out. She starts playing out there, pulling at things, making noise the neighbours will love. I call her back in. Several times before she comes. She takes a while to settle, but by 1.20am, I am back on the sofa, snuggled up and ready to sleep...

2am, one grandson cries out. I go upstairs to find him in the bathroom, totally disorientated. I help him, give him a cuddle and put him back to bed. I doubt he even knows I was there. He settles back to sleep. He looks so wonderful there, peaceful, perfect. I stand for a moment in awe of how wonderful.

Then I come back down to sleep.

2.30am, the dog is crying. She wants to go out AGAIN???? She's been ill, she's on medication. Maybe it affects her bladder. I let her out again.

3am, another grandson cries out. I go up to him. I don't know if he's a deep sleeper, or if he picked up on the anxiety vibes in the house, but he's had an accident. He needs a complete change of pjs and bedding. Of course, I don't know where daughter keeps clean clothes, why should I? And in the dark, at 3am, I'm not going to find them.

So I strip him off, clean him up, bring him down and put him on the sofa with me. He cuddles into me and we settle down.

3.30am, the dog wants to go out. Again. I am fast changing my mind about being an animal lover.

Grandson is in a deep sleep. He fidgets. He pushes me. I am forced further and further over, until I am perched on the very edge of the sofa. How can such a small body need so much room?

The next hour is a fight between myself and Small Fidget, as I try to stay on the sofa and he tries to push me off. He is fitful, having bad dreams. Once he murmurs that he wants his Mummy. Then he settles, happy that he has a space to sleep in roughly six times his size, and I have a space roughly one sixth of my size.

4.40am, everything seems to be calming down. Small Fidget has made himself comfortable and I have found a position where I can sleep without worrying about falling off. Dog is asleep, her bladder seemingly empty. Other children are fast asleep upstairs.

If I didn't have Small Fidget in my arms, I'd go get a drink of water. My mouth is dry as chip and there's a horrid taste in there. But as things are, I'll put up with it. Under Small Fidget, my arm is asleep. Shame the rest of me isn't.

5am. Last time I look at my watch. Small Fidget feels me try to take an extra inch of space. He objects. I move back to the edge. I begin to drift...

5.30am, daughter and son in law arrive home. He's had a barrage of tests, he's to take it easy and if anything happens, go straight back. Daughter takes Small Fidget up to sort him out. As he is being carried upstairs, he realises he is naked. "Mummy," he says, "my pyjamas fell off."

I get home at 6am. I fall into bed and woe betide anyone who disturbs me before I've had some sleep.

That writing I had planned for first thing in the morning? Um....

Friday, 26 March 2010

Another new day, another chance to write my novel.

Well, that's the theory.

The alarm goes off, the day begins, and my plans are all before me. I'm going to do a minimum of one thousand words today. It's going to be great.

Only, the house needs cleaning. Not spring cleaning, like THAT's gonna happen! Just ordinary, tidy and hygienic cleaning. Just "I-know-I-put-that-somewhere-and-if-I-could-find-the-floor-under-this-junk-I'd-probably-be-able-to-see-it" clean. The kind of cleaning I wish I could put off, but if I do someone important will call and I'll be embarrassed.

So I spend an hour or more cleaning.

Right, that's done. Now, to writing.

I make the mistake of checking my emails. Things need attending to. Answers are required. Research needed. Yes, I'll meet this person and deliver that to so-and-so.

Another hour goes by.

I did promise to write on the World In Need blog today to make up for being sick on Tuesday and not doing it then. (http://worldinneedwinners.blogspot.com/) The subject, HIV/AIDS and its effect on women in Africa requires research and care. But I do it. All together, two hours have flown by in pursuit of this.

Next on my list: Writing my novel.

The dog looks at me with her big, brown eyes and wags her tail, helping sweep the floor. It's stopped raining and she'd like to go for a walk please. *Sigh*

An hour and a half later, dog walked, pressing problems dealt with, lunch (not altogether healthy) eaten, I sit at the computer. I pull up the story of Rafe and Ellie and start to immerse myself in their events, happenings and feelings. I'm feeling good. I can visualise what I want to happen to them. If the words come easy, I may write more than a thousand today.

I write the first two words: Chapter Ten.

The phone goes. AAAARRGGGHHH!

I should know better than to answer it. I DO know better than to answer it. I'm working. I'm not available.

What is it about a ringing phone that we can't ignore?

My daughter needs me to pick up my grandchildren from school and look after them while she takes her sick dog to the vet. How can I refuse?

It's fun being with the children. We laugh, we play, we sing silly songs. I am exhausted.

I come home. It's dinner time. The day ends.

There's always tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

I WILL finish this novel!

I'm working on this novel, a romance. It's going down well with my trusty victims - er - guinea pigs. These include a workshop that's part of the Tunbridge Wells and District Writers Circle, a group of people on an online writing critique site, and some non writing readers. I've had good feedback from all three groups, constructive comments, encouraging noises.

I've never written a romance before, and it's not as easy as some people think. It's slow going, getting it exactly right so you engage the readers and make them love your characters without making them sick. And it's even slower going when you have to keep stopping.

Why do I have to keep stopping?

Well, for reasons that are good, to be honest, and reasons I shouldn't complain about. Such as, "Will you write a play for us, please?" and "We're going to need a pantomime for next Christmas, could you write us one?" And "I need three short sketches".

Great, great reasons.

Butu I'm perverse. I WANT to write the plays and the pantomime and the sketches. I WANT people asking me to do it, and I relish the deadlines.

But I also want to finish the novel. I've never completely finished a final draft of one before and I want that sense of achievement that I know will come from doing it.

So, anyone know - how can I either increase the number of hours in a day, or learn how to do without sleep for a few years?