Saturday, February 10, 2007

Long Gap between Entries

Can it really be more than a month since I wrote something in this blog? I've been quite active on the writing front with small projects, mainly writing flash fiction and film reviews, and revising short stories. One of these I read out in my new creative writing class, Wednesday nights at Goldsmiths. I felt awkward joining in January, two thirds of the way through the course, and of course most people are much younger than me, but the standard seems high and the teacher's exercises generate at least one idea for a short story each week.

On my bigger projects, the China book and revising novel I have made almost no progress but I've manage half a day's research in the BL most weeks for a story to be set in China, about one of the last Emperor's sisters.

I suppose I've been tied up quite a lot with my language studies - Chinese in particular, but I've made a more determined effort recently. It's a challenge now I'm at a level where half the class are Chinese speakers, but since Canadian Barbara arrived to join us I'm more than ever aware of my shortcomings. It's no good me saying to myself she has two or three hours a day to devote and two other small classes to attend. In fact, my listening and speaking skills are better than hers as she is tone dead, but she definitely has better reading ability because of all the literary translations she does.

I had lunch with former classmate Pam in Chinatown on Thursday after the Frith Street class and she tells me she'll come to daytime classes next year because she'll retire in September. Well, she'll reduce her duties as doctor's receptionist to two days a week so she can come to classes twice a week. We meet near the tiny pagoda-topped pedestal that looks like a miniature bandstand and joke about being mistaken for one of the Chinese prostitutes who loiter there by the shops. They are not glamorous at all, but wear anoraks and trainers.

Carmen the Spanish teacher sets lots of homework, too, which I can see the necessity for with the GCSE exam looming in May - it seems quite soon, especially as we'll get a whole month of holiday before the exam. In fact, it's half term this week - excuse for an extra sheet or two of homework and a chance to celebrate son David's birthday as I'll have an evening free when the rest of the family are available too.

So most days before I even start writing I have an hour or two of language study and fifteen minutes of computer Bridge bidding practice to fit in. In a way I envy these single-minded writers who stay home all day and get on with it. I'd become too bored.
*The picture was added later, recording a heavy snowfall late in the month, when the greyness of my road was transformed.