03 September, 2005

Happy Spring

Current reading:

The Colour, by Rose Tremain.
Also, Traumascapes still. I had to have a pause after Beslan.

I've got about 120 pages of novel rewrite done (although I widened the margins, so I'm kind of cheating) - I'd say I'm about a third of the way through. Its relationship to the previous draft is: flying above it in the same direction, occasionally touching down and running a few steps with it before taking off again. It's the weirdest process, watching it come together, hearing the warning bells and then realising, 'No, two pages back at that paragraph was where I went off track. Go back and delete from there and head off this way instead.' To only lose myself for 2 pages instead of chapters and chapters - that's progress.

Having the writing room makes a big difference. It seems to keep some space reserved in my head, as well as in the outside world, so that the book stays downloaded and ready to be worked on even when I'm not in the room. I'm carrying my big notebook full of rewrite notes around with me, which is a huge list of things to do and think about, and pages of scribble where I work out exactly how 'souls' are going to work, and exactly what the bird-hallucinations are going to mean, and having that nearby and taking it out and reading a few pages here and there also keeps the thing bubbling away.

My back has behaved nicely this week, although I haven't set it much in the way of challenges. I'm about to head off to a Pilates class at 8 this morning, which I'm very nervous about, but if I don't do some stretching soon, all sorts of other aches and pains will turn up. More bike riding is needed too - oxygenate that brain, girl!


Blogger sdn said...

hey, i'm thinking of taking a pilates class. what do you think it has done for you?

(the quotes you posted the other day really stayed with me, for a number of reasons -- i actually think that every editor has a metaphor for what s/he does.)

03 September, 2005 11:34  
Blogger Among Amid While said...

Hi Sharyn!

I've been doing Pilates on and off for nearly 3 years now. Definitely I've lost flexibility in that time, but I like to think I've slowed the rate of decline. Certainly at the end of the class I feel all warm and bendy and well-oiled! It also does good things for my sense of balance (I feel a lot less clumsy when I do it than when I don't), and for the abdominal strength that stops me putting my back out as often as I used to.

I do a one-hour class once a week. When I was doing 2 classes a week I felt really strong and good; it would be ideal to go back to that, but it takes more money and organisation than I can mostly commit.

The place I go to runs yoga classes too. Pilates is like yoga-without-the-bits-that-make-me-roll-my-eyes, although a certain percentage of instructors still go for the special soft voice and oil-burners approach. Apart from that I can highly recommend it. I think I'd have seriously siezed up by now if I hadn't started it.

The sand/object metaphor feels very apt right now. I'm definitely brushing away a lot of sand with this rewrite, and trying to see the shape of the object as it surfaces. And I particularly like the fact that it's not a domestic metaphor. Because most editors in Australia are women, often editing gets described in either housework or handcraft terms. Bleck.

03 September, 2005 12:07  
Blogger Jonathan said...

margo - my partner, marianne, does tai chi, your comment that pilates it ike yoga-without-the-bits-that-make-me-roll-my-eyes resonated. she loves it, and i'm sure it's wonderful, but i keep expect a little asian guy in the background to be going 'ah, wax on, wax off'.

04 September, 2005 00:34  
Blogger sdn said...

Because most editors in Australia are women, often editing gets described in either housework or handcraft terms. Bleck.

bleck indeed. so it means the editing is a chore? or that you have to keep re-editing the same book every time it gets all unedited again?

david fickling has a wonderful metaphor -- being an editor is like being the scaffolding around a building.

pilates sounds like woo-woo-less yoga, which works for me.

04 September, 2005 09:58  
Blogger Among Amid While said...

Jonathan: We actually get the Yoga people chanting in the next room, so we can roll our eyes while we do Pilates!

Sharyn: The housekeeping metaphors are all about vacuuming right to the corners and paying attention to detail, that kind of thing - all the things that us gals, to a woman, are so good at. Clearly, they've never seen the dust-bunnies at my place.

Some of the books I've edited were so bad the best metaphor was the scaffolding, plus some hessian, then a sentence-by-sentence demolition, then a rebuild from the ground up. I was rarely a fiction editor, but it was editing that made me decide I could be a publishable writer.

06 September, 2005 21:28  

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