The Gift of Time

This semester I have research leave in the form of teaching relief awarded by my department. Thank you Anglia Ruskin. Without weekly teaching schedule and only minimal student contact time [still supervising 6 x Level 6 major projects] I have time to plan for a conference workshop presentation, pitch to two more and prepare for my Upgrade to PhD [formerly know as Confirmation of Candidacy] which involves writing a report of what I have done so far and submitting an indicative thesis. The latter seems a little far off realisation but hopefully it will have taken shape by my December 20th [self imposed] deadline. Which will give me up to 25th January 2017 to edit and polish before I have to hand it over. I have nearly completed a second draft of my creative writing element – a YA novel -so all in all feeling like for the first time in a long time I am getting on top of things. Amazing what a little gift of time can bring. Long may this feeling last. More about the upcoming Cambridge Festival of Ideas events and NAWE writing workshop very soon.

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A Deadline?

So you might have noticed I’ve popped a novel rewrite coutdown metre on my side bar. Madness i hear you cry. I know. That’s why I’ve changed my header image…a mad hatters tea party is something I know something about. Ludicrous conversations about words and ideas, frustrations and a right old merry dance…a lot of which goes on in my head [on my own in a solitary room] as did arguably the whole of Alice’s adventures [not a room of course but a pleasant outdoor nap on a summer’s day]. But then even that sleep was born of a mind. Imagination knows no boundaries and goes where it will. But I am hoping a deadline will help it go where I will. This is my hope. Will be posting various ups and downs and reads along the way. Wish me luck. 🙂

Can Any Mother Help Me?

Social Mothers: Motherhood, Motherwork and Social Media

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UK mums only please!

What happens when the oldest job in the world meets the newest technology? Is social media transforming the way women adapt to motherhood? Are you constantly onilne posting photographs of your little ones? Exclaiming how litte sleep you’ve had? Asking advice on everything from how to sooth cracked nipples to where to buy calpol at 3am? Or do you just trust your instincts?

The purpose and value of this study is to find out what impact social media has on the experience of motherhood and how it effects women’s transition into motherhood as well as how it continues to positively or negatively impact on their lives. If you are a UK mother and use social media either a lot or a little I would like to hear about your views and experiences. All the information you share in the survey is anonymous.

It will take about 20 minutes and feedback from mothers who have already taken it was that they found it interesting and enjoyed filling it in. I appreciate your time and in sharing this with other UK mothers. If you have questions about the survey please do not hesitate to contact me through this blog.  If you want to be updated on the findings of this research and any related publications please follow this blog. I’ll be posting updates here.

Click on the link below to access the survey. AND THANKS!

Motherhood and Social Media Survey 2015

The challenges of living as a writer in the 21st century

I’ve only published 2 short stories in print and received nothing but a small cash prize for one of them. Not payment as such. Being a paid writer is something I aspire to. To be paid one day for the work I write would allow me to have the focussed writing life I’ve long desired, a chance to tell stories, explore ideas and develop my craft. But the market likelihood of this ever happening seems to lessen year by year by the corrosion of creative copyright laws and a digitally minded society with generations who increasingly resent paying for anything.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/02/bestseller-novel-to-bust-author-life

This somewhat disheartening but realistic survey of the state of things for writers wishing to write for a living summarizes the problems anyone considering writing as a profession, rather than writing for a hobby. Not that I’m disparaging the values of writing as a hobby – there are many – but rather a situation surrounding creative copyright that would have us all content providers but not a one getting paid. Technology disseminates, enables and living it with is inevitable but if the only people who make any money are the handful who run the digital distribution platforms,  the content providers – designers, filmmakers, musicians, writers must look elsewhere for an income. A situation that might well result in a era of bust for independent authorship, free voice or original thinking. It will certainly mean a lean time of belt tightening for anyone desiring an old fashioned life of letters. The challenge for writers is to find ways of reinventing this notion of a committed and serious life of words while staying true to its heart and purpose and the personal and creative integrity that that entails.

How We Become – Update

How We Become Who We Are is the working title of my doctorate novel. Today I had a bit of breakthrough with voice and character perspective – always a major challenge when beginning a novel and the answer to the most important question of all at this stage. What kind of novel am I writing? So far I’ve tried third person past tense, first person present tense – fortunately i’ve been able to exclude other options for this particular novel – sometimes the mind edits subconsciously – for this I am thankful.  Neither on their own has felt right. So today after 4 hours of dissatisfactory reworking of the first 10 pages I come up with the mind shatteringly brilliant solution [please hear the sarcasm] of trying both. And I like it. I spent way too long on my previous novel writing in the wrong perspective – third person past tense – when what works best for it – and how it is now – is first person present. Somehow everything I wanted to say about the main character, her predicament and the themes/ideas suddenly sounded true when I’d found the right POV in which to present them. Spending so much time on finding the voice or perspective of your novel can feel like you going nowhere slowly. You might gaze longingly as your word count objectives for this week/month as they pass by ludicrously out of reach. But in fact the work you are doing is in many ways the most important work of all. Words on a page is what you can do. You are a writer. Putting the RIGHT words on the page – well that takes a better writer and that’s what you want to be isn’t it? With each novel you want to become a better writer. Better answer that question of what kind of novel am I writing then. Because when you have the voice everything else follows – form, structure, language not to mention your background research to do list. Then you can really start putting words on the page.

Automatic-Writing-Ron-Athey-©-Roshana-Rubin-Mayhew_108_595

Writing in a Digital Age –

Brilliant summing up of last weekend’s conference by writer and journalist Molly Flatt

http://www.bookbrunch.co.uk/pid/article_free/the_literary_consultancy_writing_in_a_digital_age

who herself made an impassioned call for words not gimmicks as writers and technologists etch out mutual ground. An inspiring and thought provoking two days. Set up by Rebecca Swift and Jon Slack of The Literacy Consultancy  the conference covered both business and creative ends of the digital discussion.http://www.literaryconsultancy.co.uk/events/literary-conference-2013/2013-programme/

more anon no doubt

Week 9: The End of Books…

This week we will be looking at Writing About You Work in preparation for your critical commentary essay assessment element and Multi-Modal Story telling, Digital and E-Literature. With regard to the former you are required to submit a 1000 word essay critically reflecting on your creative writing practice [your responses to 4 out of the 5 experimental modals of creative writing presented on the course]. You should identify the key strategies presented with each model and how you have adapted and interpreted these for your own work. You should reflect on and assess your work according to the works’ achievements in adhering to and/or developing the original author’s strategy, using references and demonstrating the depth of your understanding of the methods and context of the work through close textual analysis, self reflection and critical comment [don’t forget to reference the Everyday Life Theory we covered too].

Multi-Modal Story telling, Digital and E-Literature

Digital literature is a term is used in a number of ways. It can mean anything that finds itself presented in computational form; it is the preferred term for any new writing that is generated and designed to be read digitally – in North America the term E-literature is favoured for this type of work. Basically both terms refer – in their purest sense – to work that is ‘digital born’ representing both a strategy and form of new writing that sets out to make use of the non-linear narrative capabilities of digital language. Veering away from the constraints of singular, linear cause and effects narrative relationships to more complex, network neonarratives. The latter can be said to represent the a paradigm shift in the way we understand the world and seek to make sense of it through stories. [An amusing and interesting aside – http://youtu.be/nJmGrNdJ5Gw]

Here’s an article from the NEW YORK TIMES  that provides a good introduction to e-literature. It is published in 1992 – so practically ancient history – but very interesting both for its description of what this ‘new’ art form is and could be – but also as a historical object.

http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/09/27/specials/coover-end.html

The form began with hypertext

“”Hypertext” is not a system but a generic term, coined a quarter of a century ago by a computer populist named Ted Nelson to describe the writing done in the nonlinear or nonsequential space made possible by the computer. Moreover, unlike print text, hypertext provides multiple paths between text segments, now often called “lexias” in a borrowing from the pre-hypertextual but prescient Roland Barthes. With its webs of linked lexias, its networks of alternate routes (as opposed to print’s fixed unidirectional page-turning) hypertext presents a radically divergent technology, interactive and polyvocal, favoring a plurality of discourses over definitive utterance and freeing the reader from domination by the author. Hypertext reader and writer are said to become co-learners or co-writers, as it were, fellow-travelers in the mapping and remapping of textual (and visual, kinetic and aural) components, not all of which are provided by what used to be called the author.” Extract from above article in NY Times.

Early Hypertext fiction used a writing environment called Storyspace – which you can have a look at here

http://www.eastgate.com/storyspace/index.html

A significant trend in more recent work in this field explore the narrative possibilities that exists in the convergence between new multimedia and writing. Exploring exciting new storying possibilities as sound, image and text combine to make new story worlds that reflect our own increasingly complex, multi-connected lives.

See

http://pinepoint.nfb.ca/

and

http://www.inanimatealice.com/about.html

and

http://www.chrisjoseph.org/

On Chris Joseph’s site I recommend tube lines [first left on grid] and i wake at eight [near the bottom far left] – lots of other great work on their too.

It is clear to see how the experimental and new writing writing strategies we have studied on the course lead us here…