Thursday, 6 March 2014

World Book Day 2014

We've had a tough few weeks, hence the lack of posting lately! I have a list of themes and things to write about but it can be hard sometimes to write about things when you are in the midst of dealing with them and so haven't had the chance to enjoy the time and space to process what you think and what you can take away from your experiences. Events and emotions can just come at you bang, bang, bang when you are living in the hospital and it's a vacuum in here where every little thing adds to the chaos in your mind. That's kind of how the last couple of weeks have been, with lack of sleep due to William waking up uncomfortable after surgery thrown in for good measure. Last night I managed to get away from the ward at last and am refreshed after an evening relaxing at the ever wonderful Ronald MacDonald House and a good nights sleep. What a difference that makes!

I will revisit the things we've been through as I've experienced and the new things I've learned about life and myself over the coming days and weeks but today is World Book Day and, as a writer and one who devours books, I can't ignore that on here. Wills woke disappointed not to be at school enjoying the fancy dress parades and activities but I've left him now writing his 'Top 5 Best Thomas the Tank Engine Character Guide' with the school teacher so he's feeling a little better. Wills is Thomas obsessed but has also been enjoying reading books from the Horrid Henry and Mr Majeika series. It can be hard work getting him to putt down YouTube and read a book in here but the minute he has a book in his hand, after being told he has to read one chapter, he rarely puts it down again until it's finished. He has also been writing some new Thomas stories too as well as an adventure story about him and his best friends.

I am currently writing a novel that is set in the hospital and, although my brain hasn't been up to writing the kind of prose I'd be happy sending to an agent or publisher over the last few weeks, I have scribbled down endless lists of themes to address, situations to include and characters notes. It was the biggest silver lining to the cloud we've been living under when I decided to look at it as a golden opportunity for 'research.' I know once I get back into the writing it will flow gloriously with all the wonderful groundwork I've been able to do. The book was half written but another thing I've been doing a lot of over the last couple of weeks is reading and some of the books I've read have influenced me, and the way I think I should write the book, hugely. So much that a I'm going to completely restart it.

I was kept going through first 48 hours after an operation William had last Wednesday by reading the absolutely amazing "The Shock of the Fall" by Nathan Filer. I heard about this book at the start of the year when it was nominated for, and later won, The Costa Book of the year. It's a first novel written and is a very clever story about family, loss, guilt, mourning and mental health. Nathan is a psychiatric nurse and his observation of life on the psychiatric ward and community care through the eyes of Matthew, his 19 year old protagonist.

I don't want to say anymore because it would spoil it and I couldn't recommend this book any more strongly. It is a total page turner and made me happy I was up all night with Wills to read it. This book was the one that made me rethink how I was writing my own book and, although I don't want to use the same format Nathan has used in mine, there is lots I took away about how to address some of the situations in my own story.

While The Shock of the Fall became the friend that kept me going over the last few week, previous weeks have been accompanied by the girls finding out that 'Orange is the New Black.' This is a fantastic series on Netflix about a middle class woman, Piper Chapman,  who ends up in prison in the US for a crime she committed 10 years ago. It is hugely entertaining, as well as exciting and poignant at times and I could really identify with being 'imprisoned' with people who you wouldn't normally spend so much time with out in the real world. I loved it and was gutted to reach the end of the season. I really missed these women in my life when it was over and can't want for Season 2 coming in June.

When I was googling to find out more about the series, I discovered it was based on a book, an autobiography by the real life Piper (Kerman rather than the fictional Chapman). The series is very heavily fictionalised but almost every character and situation has its routes in the real life experiences Piper Kerman writes about.

I found it fascinating to see how the series pushed these facts and the path of  'what ifs' that could have led to the fictional stories in the TV series. Once again, I found this hugely influential in helping me to think beyond the things I experience, the things I've been listing and noting over the past few weeks and how I could push the reality and come up with scenarios that will make exciting and interesting fiction that is underpinned by the facts of the world I am trying to recreate and inform people about.
I can't wait to get writing now and can't think of a better day than World Book Day to get stuck back into my book. 

No comments:

Post a Comment