Upping the ante, et al., revisiting the past…

After a slow start, I am upping the ante, (whatever that means…) I am writing fairly regularly; I am reading a phenomenal amount. I am procrastinating marginally less. I have loathed and wrestled with a short story, soon to be submitted to a contest. How did that happen? I think I touched on it in my last post, so won’t reiterate, except to say that I am way out of my comfort zone. Even the names of the protagonist and antagonist have changed.

I received the feedback from my first assignment. Yay! There was a lot of positive ‘stuff’ there. Double yay! Very few red pen marks. Time to dance on the ceiling? Not quite yet.  A snippet from it:

The faint distinctive smell of smoke from invisible charcoal fires, drifts in with the cool morning air. The sun in her ascendancy, radiates amber, peach and pink hues across the pale blue sky. Exotic trees dominate the periphery in a semblance of solidarity; delicate lavender jacarandas, rosy pink tebebuia, and hibiscus abundant with clusters of poppy red blooms, all vie for my attention.
Lake Victoria is rippling, sparkling like a sapphire with white topped waves that crash onto the invisible shore. The horizon is barely discernible, endless. Spider island, sparse but for a few young acacia, and rocky ridges, breaks the perspective. A low, rhythmic humming announces the departure of a fishing boat, which is almost drowned out by the urgent, buzzing of lake flies. The decibel level is in crescendo; the invasion nigh. The living cloud, dances lightly across the lake, pushed and pulled by the breeze. There is still time to savour the view, ahead of battening down doors and windows in a futile attempt to stop the flies penetrating the house. That, or pray they come ashore elsewhere.

I see and hear too many exotic birds, trees, and animal species, living in East Africa, (not that I’m complaining) and naturally want be able to write it all down. So while may know what a fish eagle sounds like, or what a vervet monkey is, my audience may not. The forum with my fellow writers is my sanctuary; only there will I be given such advice as

“…if it’s an unfamiliar or exotic bird then describing its call in an onomatopoeic way may be the way to go.”

I adore language, words and relish the opportunity to go look a word I think I know the meaning of up, in the Oxford English.  Credit to Jamie Godsafe, (http://godsafe.net/) for my dose of relish this week.

Onwards and upwards to assignment 2…letters and fillers.

My second draft of a letter to my deceased father, has been an emotional journey into the past.

Funny how when you really focus your mind, and give it permission to go back, reluctantly even, that you can recall particular impressionable moments from childhood days, that define part of the fabric of who you later become.

I wrote that sentence a few years ago when I began gathering my thoughts and ideas for a family memoir, that I have yet to finish. It is one of my better sentences, and I challenged myself as to why. It captures my emotion; me, myself, I, on the page.

Yet when I initially sat here to compose this letter, I felt very detached. It took a couple of attempts, and reading through those old notes, to prepare myself mentally and to allow myself to go back, and relive the day he died. It was forty years ago, and I remember so much detail about that day. Maybe I’ll share the letter in the weeks to come, once I have perfected, or I should say, polished it…

What have I learnt from my journey (hint — this blog is called ‘Journey of a Writer’)?

  • The journey has deviations
  • The journey can be agonising
  • The journey is dependent on memory
  • The journey offers rewards
  • The journey is still in its infancy
  • I prefer the true story

I am eager to continue this odyssey, sitting in my Mastermind Chair…come along for the ride.


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