I recently talked to somebody about my musical experiences and then, presented as a completely different aspect of my life, discussed my relationship with Creative Writing. I realised something: I rarely write about music.
I am near the end of an Open University degree: ‘Humanities with Music and Creative Writing’. My two favourite subjects are sitting side by side, and yet even there they are separate.
It seems strange that music, which is a huge part of my life, should rarely make it into my writing. I love conducting, teaching music, playing trombone, music theory, singing, playing in band… I hear so many stories, witness so many hilarious events, and know that many of them would make a thrilling read! I just don’t often write them down, apart from in my journal, and occasionally in a Facebook status. Continue reading
What people call you makes a huge difference. And what you call yourself is just as significant, if not more so. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the phrase ‘aspiring writer’ – people use the phrase about other people and about themselves, and the more I think about it, the more I’m confused about why we say it, and what it means. Surely you can only be an ‘aspiring writer’ if you would like to write, but haven’t begun to do so. I would argue that someone who loves writing and gravitates towards it should stop putting themselves down with the phrase.
You can aspire to be a better writer, a published writer, a popular writer, a critically-acclaimed writer, or a bestselling writer. But that is not the first step. Surely being a writer is fundamentally ‘someone who writes’ and ideally does it on a regular basis, let’s say, slightly more than is strictly necessary, and because they enjoy it. Continue reading
Stage 1: Lying in bed under the duvet, in PJs, with laptop and coffee on bedside table.
Stage 2: Propped up in bed on top of duvet, wearing ‘house clothes’, with laptop and coffee mug resting on stomach.
Stage 3: Sitting up in bed, fully dressed, with laptop in front, a textbook or two beside, and gentle music playing. Continue reading
I sometimes have an irrational feeling of anxiety when I walk into a café, not knowing how busy it will be or how I’ll be received. I went to my local café a few days ago, having not been for months, and never regularly.
I had barely stepped inside today when the lady behind the counter smiled and said, ‘Latte?’
‘Oh, umm…Yes, thank you!’
The café was empty, apart from three older people, and I took the sofa seat by the window. The sun had returned.
The café lady caught my eye and said, ‘Scrambled egg?’ Continue reading
There seems to be a pattern to essay-writing. My subconscious predicts the expected time of completion, rather like a computer update. As with computer updates, the prospects sometimes change quickly and can result in weird mood swings.
The essays are about 2000 words, but it is a struggle to even get the main points identified. My fingers can’t seem to work, my brain stops processing properly, and I try to hold back tears. It’s looking bad:
‘Essay: 2% complete – 18hrs 10mins remaining.’ Continue reading
I have discovered that the best way to get myself to do something scary is to decide to do it far in advance. I booked my surfing course months ago, noticing with satisfaction that it was non-refundable. And it has been a few weeks since I booked tickets to London for Mum and me. A research trip for a novel. Tickets paid for – no way out!
It’s as if I have a casual disregard for the feelings of Future Hannah – I don’t seem to care for her comfort. Or maybe I think Future Hannah is braver than me, or has more stamina. And as the time draws closer I have a sinking feeling and become disillusioned. But by then, of course, it’s too late, and I’m forced to go through with whatever mad plan Past Hannah has concocted. Continue reading
It’s my English Language O-Level exam. As always, I spend a few moments looking around at my fellow candidates while the papers are being handed out. There’s the girl with a ghostly-white face, sitting so far forward that she looks like she might slip off her seat. There’s the boy who is so relaxed that he ought to be on a recliner, and doesn’t seem remotely concerned – he either knows he can pass easily, or has already accepted a fail. There’s the blank-faced gazer. There’s the personification of calm readiness. There’s the shaker, hanging on to her bottle of water. Dry mouth, no doubt.
I could go on, but I now have my paper and am focused on spelling my own name, not quite trusting myself to be automatic today. I take extra care with my neat handwriting, which is different every time I write. Perhaps one day I’ll find my style. Continue reading