Friday, April 10, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

All though I have three calenders in the kitchen time still seems to run away with me. I've only to look at the date of my last blog to prove that to myself. I haven't been idle though.

After 25-30,000 words I seem to have driven the plot of my thriller into a cul de sac and at the moment I can't seem to back it out, so I'm going to have to let it sit there until I can start the engine again - or I'll have to call the breakdown vehicle and get it towed away to the scrap yard. Fellow writers will know what I mean!

To relieve the tension I started to to jot down some humorous recollections of my adolescence... a teenager in the late fifties and early sixties. I had been listening to Emma Kennedy's new book, 'The Tent, The Bucket and Me'. on Radio 4's Book of the Week. It was hilariously funny, and for once, very popular with the listeners....just lately some of the choices have been panned on the R4 message board and not without justification.

Ms. Kennedy's book had a very simple premise which could be a bit of a turn-off for readers, including me.Family holidays!

'Oh, another self-indulgent ramble', I thought. We'd had a few of those in the past few months as BOTW....usually upper class somebodies who could take six months off and wander around Europe, India, Outer Mongolia with 6 kids, a backpack, and a desire to 'find themselves'. Oh, and sell the resulting book to a publisher who happens to be a friend/ close relative, when they get back. ( I'm just jealous really)

But it was the way in which 'The Tent' was written that made it stand out from the rest. It was just so funny, and self deprecating. I do like people who 'self-deprecate' rather than write some precious book about how wonderful it all was, and how enlightened all their children had become from the whole life-changing experience. When we all know the kids had spent most of the time plugged into their MP3 players, bemoaning the fact that they couldn't keep in touch with their friends on Facebook, and why isn't there a Macdonalds in the Hindu Kush? Well I'm sure that's what most of them are kids after all.

Some of Ms. Kennedy's mishaps had happened to me....her parents were avid campers ( that scenario's got plenty of mileage in it for a writer )...mine were of the caravanning variety but we shared similar toilet incidents.

And this set me off on a journey of my own. When I started, I thought it would be hopeless as I grew up in probably the most boring town in Britain, and I seemed, on the face of it, to have a fairly averagely boring childhood, but the further I've got into it the more I've discovered that, written as a comedy, it actually works.
Far from being stuck for what to write next, the incidents just keep coming.

The fact that I had a mother who was to cooking as Les Dawson was to piano playing, gives me quite a lot of material to work on. She was also one of those delightful working class snobs who considered herself to be 'upper working class' to lower middle. Oh, it's all wonderful grist to the mill.

I've no time for the current thirst for 'misery memoirs' Ms. Kennedy could be starting a trend for 'merry memoirs' so I'm going to join the crowd. And it's pretty good therapy as well as going back fifty years and recalling incidents one had thought forgotten is a great exercise for the brain. So even if it all comes to nought(as it probably will) at least it can be filed under 'Self Improvement' so all is not lost.


The Weaver of Grass said...

You can always try out bits on your blog. Where was this boring town - do I remember somewhere like Spalding? I think maybe we always think of our neck of the woods as boring when we are a teenager.

Jo said...

Now that would be telling! Yes, everywhere in the world is more interesting than your home town when you're fourteen.