Pruning

I recently had to edit something I’d written down from 12,000 words to less than 9,000.  It amazed me that with a snip here, and a wrench there, it was possible to cut out many of the words I’d carefully put together without – I hope – losing the sense.

Did the editing improve it?  I’m not sure yet – it’s too soon for me to be able to tell.  But I also spent a happy ten minutes in the greenhouse today snipping leaves off my tomato plants to give the remaining green tomatoes light and air in which to ripen.  I hope the same thing works for words.

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The illness

A soft hand on a smooth, hot forehead.  That’s how it begins.  There are no familiar comforts in this overheated hotel room, except the much-loved monkey brought from home, without whom sleep is normally impossible.  But now, sleep is all there is: sleep, and darkness, and sickness, and noise from the corridor in the night, and Mummy’s hands and voice in the dark.

I said I’d try and write about the ordinary magic.  But that’s as far as I got.  I don’t want to revisit those few days any more, even to write the joy at the end.

Instead, I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks savouring summer, because autumn isn’t far away.  So I won’t be dreaming verbally until September.  I’ll be outside, collecting new words to share.

Quotes you never knew were quotes

Serendipity is a great word and I’ll take this excuse to use it.

I just wrote a post on my other blog about fish fingers (bear with me here), and, in passing, used the phrase “tomorrow is another day”.

I turned to this blog and, thoughts of tomorrow fresh in my head, went to look up the quote I remembered from that great philosopher, Scarlett O’Hara: I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

What do you know, Scarlett also said, After all… tomorrow is another day.

I wonder if any of us ever get through a day without unintentionally using someone else’s words?

When you have nothing to say

When you have nothing to say, do you write anyway?

I once said to a colleague, “I think through my mouth”.  In other words, I don’t always know what I think about something until I talk it through.  I still remember her look of horror.  Her way was to analyse, consider, look at all the options and information, think and carefully weigh up her words before deciding on and communicating her thoughts and opinions.  I can’t imagine how we ever got on so well!

It’s the same with writing for me.  I start, and then the direction reveals itself.  Sometimes that means going back and revising the beginning, but the important thing is to have begun.  What the beginning is, almost doesn’t matter.

Having nothing to say – or write – is no excuse for saying – or writing – nothing.  Begin with one word, then another and slowly but surely they will arrange themselves into something.  You may not have written a masterpiece (though you might!) but you will have written something.  And writing begets writing.

When you have nothing to say, write anyway.  And share it with someone.  I’d love to read what you wrote when you thought you had nothing to say!

What’s your Thing?

Words have always been my thing.  What’s yours?

I read books to get lost in the words and the worlds they create.

I remember thousands of song lyrics and am well known for having a song for every occasion.  Even after 18 years the husband claims he hasn’t heard some of the ones I suddenly bring forth.

I used to love to act on stage – not for the glory or the applause, but for the words.

All the ‘proper jobs’ I’ve ever had have involved either speaking or writing.  (As a major part of the job, I mean; I know most people speak and many write at work!)

I watch films and forget who was in them – I even forget I’ve seen them, but you can bet I remember the great line that made me laugh, or think, or cry.

Apparently I learned to speak, and to sit looking at books, earlier than I learned to walk.  Which makes me either a fast developer, or a slow one, depending on your point of view.

I knew from the age of eight that I would write.

It took me until age cough39cough to take that eight year old seriously.  She sat, patiently waiting, and grabbing every opportunity to write when I let her.

Finally, I’m listening to the words.  They’ve always been there.

Words are definitely my thing.  What’s yours?