Driving Lesson

So I was driving back from a quick visit to the seaside in my little Ford Ka with the soft top down, enjoying a suddenly warm and sunny afternoon when I pulled up at the traffic lights. Behind me, in a posher Peugeot, but also with top down was a blonde woman, tapping her hand on her wheel to the throbbing bass beat banging from her speakers.
‘Hmmph,’ I muttered, ‘at least I have the courtesy to turn down my radio when I stop at the lights.’ A few minutes later, we drove on. Through my mirror I could see that we looked similar, both with blonde curly hair and big sunglasses, but the real differences between us slowly seeped through my self-deceit and demanded to be recognised.
The real reason I turn my radio down at the lights is that I’m usually listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4, or the Archers, or the latest Stephen Fry on audiobook. I don’t listen to music that has a deep, pulsating bass drum much. Don’t like it anymore.
We might have looked similar, me and the lady in the car behind, but I bet there were at least twenty years separating us. There were lessons that had to be learned this afternoon.
So, dammit, I’m middle-aged, I like the Archers, and I’m out and proud. No more turning down the volume for me, beatboxers!

Displacement Activity

Today is a writing day. It has been planned and I have nothing else to do, no jobs, no e mails, no events. I am a quarter of the way through re-writing and editing my first novel (Thanks Debi and Emma at Writers’ Workshop for the brilliant Self-editing course- at least I know how to do it now!
Got up early, had porridge for slow release carbs, stroked the cat, and did four hours straight. So why am I having a whinge? Well, looks like that was it. Concentration’s gone.
Since lunch I have put through two loads of washing, pulled a load of ivy off the back fence, weeded the front garden, picked red and yellow tomatoes (it’s so exciting when things actually grow) and now here I am at 3.30, blogging to you good people.
What is it that makes it so hard for us to look critically at our own work? I vacillate between disgust at the clichés and over-use of adverbs, (lazy, sloppy writing, tut) and pride at the bits which even I can see do work (captured that character in four lines). I do want to write the best book I can.
The one thing that I definitely see clearly is how much better the second and third drafts are compared to the raw stuff that spewed out in the first flush of creativity. It is hard slogging away at the editing but rewarding when you can recognise that out of such hard work may come something worth reading, and something that other people might like to read.
I have a date in my head (1st October) when I want to have this MS ready to send out to publishers or agents, and believe me, I shall be back on the Cloud asking for guidance when that time comes.
Feel better now. Might manage a couple more hours before dinner….