Sunday, August 07, 2005

Guinea pigs and books

Oh my gosh, I got a comment! I got a comment on my blog! That's so exciting - thank you Lorraine.

I've started writing a new book - decided in my (cough cough) wisdom to attempt two pages a day - this to defeat the I'm-not-writing blues and become a nicer person to live with and also to make a substantial start on the project so it can go to a publishing meeting in September. (Here that, September!) Otherwise I'll be broke all the way through Christmas and January, when my teaching stops.

So that made me think about where the book started and it started with three things, really.

First of all my step-daughter, Belinda, wrote in the dust on my car, 'Guinea Pigs Rule the World!' which I thought was very funny. Belinda has two guinea pigs, Millie and Lily, and she is always hassling us to get a third, a MALE of course, so she can have lots of guinea pigs. We resist the idea strongly.

Days after the writing-in-the-dust, Belinda was wailing about the two older girls maybe getting some kind of cubby in the backyard. They told her she already has a cubby, which is true. But that cubby currently houses Millie and Lily. More wailing from Belinda, 'I don't have a cubby, Millie and Lily have that cubby. You can't say I have a cubby when I don't....' Etc. etc.
So I said brightly from some corner of the house, 'Well, let's kill the guinea pigs! Then you'd have a cubby.' At which point Belinda burst into tears and it took her dad about five minutes to get her to calm down.

Both those incidents made me wonder about a girl who suddenly had a potential step-mother foisted upon her - a woman with little knowledge or experience of children, who tried hard but somehow got it wrong most of the time.

I started writing the story as a verse novel but I've given that up. I thought I wanted to write a verse novel for that age group because it would be handy for work as a writer-in-schools as I enjoy working with primary school students. I've decided, however, you can't get the same range of poetic things happening with a verse novel for this age group. To my mind, the poems were lacking depth and subtlety. I wasn't sure that a girl like Belinda would be bothered to read the book if it was all poems.

So I started again in prose.

I took my Box Hill TAFE students on an excursion this week - we went to the City Library and the Ian Potter Gallery and in the latter I bought a new blank book in which to make the guinea pig story notes as I write. I have yet to find a title for this book, obviously! I hate having an untitled book on the go, so I shall brainstorm work-in-progress titles next weekend.

I've mapped out most of the story - not written it down in the notebook yet, but I have it mapped out in my head, which is a start. Of course, things always change as you write. It's fun to be writing again - I haven't done much at all this year because of the teaching and I'm finding that I've become an over-anxious, snarly and generally worse person for it.

On the knitting front - I've got back into the Folly from and am half through one of the fronts. I'm still not sure about making and finishing a lacey cardigan for my wedding in October. It seems overly-ambitious, although I do love the idea of wearing something I have made.


Gregory Brett Hardy said...

Catherine, you're such a nice person in class that I could noy imagine you sating anything like "Well, lets kill the ginuea pigs..."

I'm shocked at you, Catty, shocked.

Anonymous said...

I like it a lot! Very nicely done. :-)..!
- p
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