Looking forward to hypothermia: another Irish winter

October 8, 2022 at 6:02 am | Posted in Eleanor Dark Foundation, Perseverance in writing, rural Ireland, writers' habits | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Eight winters

I am about to fly into my eighth winter in a row, in less than three years. I’m a summer person. I’m a water baby, someone who loves swimming in rivers and the sea, in council pools and country dams, someone who loves walking warmed by the sunshine and cycling under balmy blue skies. How has it come to this, staring apprehensively into a near-future of an eighth-in-a-row cold, rainy, grey winter?

While not a technically accurate fact, every cell of my body feels as if I have endured seven winters in a row. Not even counting the 2019 Australian summer, because wrecked as it was by the thick wall of smoke that engulfed eastern Australia and beyond, closing the swimming pools and preventing walking or cycling, it was of course extremely hot.

I went from that to an Irish winter for my writing residency in County Kerry’s Cill Rialaig https://irishwriterscentre.ie/opportunities/cill-rialaig in February and March 2020.

[My cottage, left, on a rare sunny day] It was a particularly freezing winter, everyone said, with winds from Siberia blowing in from the sea. I sat in my famine cottage, typing my now finished novel manuscript (A Late Flowering) listening to that wind whipping up the Atlantic Ocean outside and downhill a bit from my little wooden door. At night in my tiny loft bed I listened to the wind’s howl, an eerie grieving sound like the moans of the starving famine victims who formerly lived in my cottage. (Like the ghosts of my ancestors who came from that area – probably my novelist’s imagination in overdrive. But Continue Reading Looking forward to hypothermia: another Irish winter…

After She Left – Penelope’s adventure with the idea of patience

May 9, 2019 at 1:18 am | Posted in Impact Press, Perseverance in writing, Publishing industry, Ventura Press | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At a quarter of a century between novels, and not for want of trying, I now have the authority to write about the value of patience and persistence.

I wrote the first draft of my new novel After She Left over ten years ago. It was the creative component of a PhD. The theory component involved getting my head around a lot of French Postmodern theory and that took up most of the time, along with writing a commissioned non-fiction book on the side, which my employer said was six months’ worth, but which took about two and a half years.

A long time before that I’d been reviewing for The Canberra Times and the literary editor gave me a biography of French sculptor Camille Claudel. I always wanted to write a happy ending to her ghastly story. In between getting a less ambitious first novel published (Full House, Simon & Schuster, 1993) I’d written two other novels and couldn’t get them accepted.

Putting the accountants in charge

Publishing was changing. Previously a publisher would take on a new writer whose manuscript showed potential but who needed editorial guidance to lift it to the next level. But as neoliberal dogma took over more and more of our world, huge corporations started taking over smaller presses. The new managers were not the “gentleman publishers” of before. They were only focused on profits and no longer interested in literary novels being subsidised by the higher sales of bird books and cookery books. Now everything had to result in high sales.

Continue Reading After She Left – Penelope’s adventure with the idea of patience…

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.