Sunday, August 26, 2012

Life As She Lives It

The old shed, on the left, is gone and a new garage is in the process of being built. My job for the weekend was to water the new concrete slab daily, to help it cure.

My second outdoor job is to shift my fishponds.  They are too near the build. I'm halfway emptying the second bath - I use old baths. Cane toads tend not to be able to jump into them.

Standing around now are six buckets, two crates and a watering can all containing various bits of water plants and a few fish.

While I bale the contents of the second bath into the first, every time I need a bit of action. It's good to have an outdoor thing to do to get me moving.

Because I am also doing a final draft on Part II of the Lodestar Series, part of a submission to an editor. Eighty thousand words by the end of the week as well as the whole series' plot outlines. I've decided to publish the first two parts soon.

And added to which was the Adult and Community Education course on e-marketing I signed up for a couple of months ago and completely forgot. That was the Saturday before yesterday and the Saturday before that. Very very useful but a steep learning curve.

Landcare does not stop either. Three dates coming up for that, this week.

Not much new writing going on. Just a sentence here and there, correcting misspelled words, a better way of saying something that reads awkwardly, a comma to put in here and taking another out there, and getting rid of the irritating little green underlinings with which MS Word lets us know of grammar problems and double spaces.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Memories may be other than visual imagery. Gerdientje by W G van de Hulst (date unknown. My copy is the 11th edition) is one of the stories that gave me several imaginary kinaesthetic, or physical, memories. Caused, I guess, by my ability at the time to imagine myself in Gerdientje’s skin.

I have a very clear feeling-memory of being in one of those old Dutch kast-beds, lying in the comfortable dark cave-like interior. Warm under the blankets. Seeing out past the half-open cupboard door to the glowing wood heater in the living room. I’m quite certain I never had that experience in real life.  

Another is me-as-Gerdientje knee-deep in the cold water of a lake, pulling at a rowboat and her father at the point of drowning. When I think of that incident, I feel the water cold around my knees, the stiff cold workingman’s clothes her father is wearing. The tremendous pull against my puny strength of the sodden clothes. It is as if I am there in the dark wind, being her.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Words: Rive

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1964) one of my very favourite books, RIVE means to Rend, cleave, wrench away or off or from, strike asunder. Split. Make by splitting.

Surprisingly, it is the root of the word RIVER.

Gives you a whole different idea of what a river once was thought to be. As if the bed of the river, and the difficulties of movement through a landscape made up of RIVEN-apart mountains, were more important than the streams forming those landforms.

Adding RIVER to various words we get river-horse, riverside, riverless, riverboat.

RIVULET and RIVERAIN or RIVERINE are derived from RIVER. Second generation words as it were. Though RIVULET, a small river, may derive more directly from the Latin RIVUS.

REAVE and REIVE (committing ravages, carrying off by force, forcibly depriving etc etc) are in some dictionaries held to derive from RIVE. Making a delicious irony of the REAVERS in the film Serenity slaughtered by the female fighting machine, RIVER.

Alas, it is not to be. Or rather, it is incorrectly so. According to Oxford, anyway. Oxford holds that REAVE and REIVE are the children of a different parentage entirely.

Note, too, the word DERIVE (obtain from a source) that I used to describe the various ancestries. Its progenitor is the same as RIVULET, the Latin word RIVUS for stream.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Story is the Journey

Last night on The Book Designer I read about ten blogs and the reasons that they are successful, and promptly tripped into the hole yawning always before me.

I'm sure everybody has a pit of despair about their shortcomings. This morning I climbed up out of mine and I did a reality check. It became an audit of what this blog is about.

The title, up there on the flank of that angry star, could just as well have read "Story is the journey."

The journey along the staging posts of the craft of writing. Whatever is necessary to get the story on the page, be it virtual or be it hard copy. A never ending learning curve.

And this blog is a journey through my fellow writers' stories. My gleanings, through book reviews, of their solutions to writing problems I meet, and therefore you might meet.

The stories I have met and made and am still making part of me is another journey. This one without an end other than the obvious one featuring the dark scythe-wielding antagonist.

Most recently George Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. Far in the past the books of my youth, Remi by Hector Malot, Gerdientje by W G van de Hulst and Tom Godwin's Space Prison to name but a few.

In between, I squirrel around getting more words. Wikipedia is fabulous on colours, I discovered recently. Take a look at Red and you will be amazed.