Sunday, 8 September 2013

Whoops! by Keren David

So I was sitting at my computer and I idly checked the date to see when I am next due to post on the Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

ARGH! It's the eighth! It's today!

How did I not realise? Well, it's been a long summer. My kids aren't back at school yet. Last week Thursday and Friday were Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which kind of took me by surprise because the festival usually falls about a month later. Two days of prayer and contemplation and family and friends and honey cake.
Last night I went out for a curry with Canadian author Sean Cummings (visiting London to promote his excellent new YA paranormal book Student Bodies), last week I went to a dinner for women authors and a party thrown by my agent. She compared the authors she represents to sausages. We all love her, so we took it as a compliment.
I've been watching my son play his first football match of the season this morning (they lost 3-0) but he played really well. In my opinion.)  School starts tomorrow, and my daughter is going to a new college.
 It's a season of new beginnings.
Tomorrow I will start writing my next book. Next week I am going to Amsterdam to research it.
My head was a bit full up with all of this and I didn't know what the date was.

How has this long hot summer been for writing? Well, I have to admit, it wasn't great. We were having the loft converted from a dark cramped space full of junk to a bright, airy room, plus a shower room. The builders were great and did the job in less than a month, but the loft-clearing, the decision-making, the dust and noise were a little distracting.
Work in progress

But even if I wasn't actually writing, the whole process was inspiring. First there was the decision making -  to invest a huge lump of savings (gulp) in changing our house to benefit all the members of our family. In a few years time will be regret the loss of the cash? Most writers have to make a similar choice when they invest time in their books. Very few of us see much financial return for the time spent for several years -  if ever. 

New loft...nearly finished
Then there was the loft clearing, which was like reviewing the past twenty years. The toys! The clothes! The rubbish!  I realised that my mothering style was all about trying to spark creativity in my children. There were so many scrapbooks, collage kits, watercolour sets. Was I imposing my interests on them, or following my own desires? I discussed this with Jeremy, my sister's husband as I dropped my son off at their house. Jeremy tried and failed to interest his kids in the inner workings of computers -  but my son was desperate to learn all about them. In the meantime I was lending my niece YA books.  Writing, in some ways, is about that cultural exchange that goes on all the time in families and between friends. My books are there for the people who need them -  it's the mothering instinct going global.

Then the builders moved in and wove their magic and created space and light and order and beauty. And I remembered the dream that I have every now and again where I open a door in a familiar house and find a wing that I didn't know existed. Sometimes it's dilapidated and depressing, sometimes it's being decorated and improved, sometimes (not often)  it's palatial. I was surprised to learn that it's not just my dream, it's a common dream about unused potential (my mum has it too). Seeing it actually happen was extraordinary.

And this is all much like the process that we go through on Jewish New Year, when we review and repent the faults and mistakes of the past, resolve to change bad habits, especially those that affect other people, and pray for a sweet, healthy and peaceful new year. 
And it's like the process of writing a book, when we sort through the rubble of ideas and memories, create a hopeful plan, and set to work creating something new.

So, my humble apologies for nearly forgetting my date with ABBA. I resolve to be more organised in the year to come.


Carole Anne Carr said...

Well done for finding the time to blog at all. And good luck with the life changes, wishing you every success, Carole.

Joan Lennon said...

Is THAT what that dream is about! I've wondered. And happy new beginnings!

Penny Dolan said...

Yes, happy new loft space, happy new book, and many happy times to you and yours, Keren!

Kate said...

Keren - so glad you remembered and came by to explain that dream! I had a couple of those quite recently and the places I found were vast - whole wings, never mind rooms! High ceilings, beautiful furniture - we're talking properties the National Trust would love to get their hands on. My unused potential must be embarrassingly large. My subconscious is clearly giving me a nudge.
I'll look forward to the next book. I love the confidence with which you say you will 'start tomorrow'; maybe I'll follow your lead and explore that long gallery I found in my dream ...

Stroppy Author said...

And today I almost forgot to post, too! I've had that dream a lot over the years, and have always tried to see which direction I'm being nudged in, but it also actually happened to me in real life once. I was renting a graduate flat from my college and found the 'broom cupboard' was actually a hidden staircase to another floor with an octagonal turret and two other rooms!

tracy alexander said...

So glad I wasn't the only one to forget this month. Enjoyed your hectic summer.