Thursday, 15 September 2016

How was summer for you? by Miriam Halahmy

1. Weather..... plenty of that. I'm writing this on Tuesday September 13th and the temperature outside in my London garden is 32C. Since May we have had wet June, windy July, the hottest August on record and now another heatwave in September. I have not been short of weather this summer.

Writing at Selsey Bill in windy July
2. Health : without divulging much, this was a tricky summer with family health going up and down like a yoyo. The interface with the NHS was frankly scary - which the consultant finally admitted when presented with my timeline of ghastliness. The news on this front is not hopeful. Note to self - get even more canny.

3. The book festival : I was invited for the very first time to the Edinburgh Book Festival and nearly didn't make it ( see 2). In the end whizzed up for two nights, had a great event with 150 kids on The Emergency Zoo and the weather was boiling hot.

4, Amnesty International : I volunteered to read the work of an executed writer at the Book Festival. There were four readers and each one more poignant than the next. My writer, Delara Derabi, was only 22 when she was executed in Iran. Her poem began, 'Prison/ I want to give you a different name/ Who called you this the first time...There was hardly a dry eye - but most amazing was the audience were 40 or more people and these readings go on for every single night of the festival. A lot of people reached - wonderful initiative.

5. Writing : the summer is not a great time to write a book but I was in the middle of the WIP all summer as life veered to and fro like a storm-tossed boat. So whatever, I had to finish the book. I started on my beloved Hayling Island in windy July and at times it felt like I was walking through mud. Also, despite the wind, the sea and the beach kept beckoning me outside and away from my desk. Note to self - do not have a new novel on the go in summer time.

6. Writing - after Hayling all work ground to a complete halt c/o NHS. That was fun.

7. Then the book festival - still no writing.

8. Finally the last minute flight to a writing retreat in Greece! Yes, it was a bit far to go but I was on Methana in a centre on the side of the cliff and there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. Except write. I finished the WIP.

9. So to summarise - summer is not the best time for me to be writing a book. I like to be out of the city, travelling or by the sea or in the countryside. Beware the NHS - boy can it bite. And if you go to a book festival, be prepared to sing...???...I taught the kids a WW2 song. ( shrugs and grins). But now I'm ready to go back to school, settle down at my computer for the autumn writing projects, enjoy the world of writing and writers - well, anyway, when it cools down a bit.

Hope you had a good summer!



Lynne Benton said...

Congratulations on finishing your WIP in spite of summer, NHS and everything else!

Emma Barnes said...

Wishing you a great Autumn on all fronts, Miriam, and congratulations on knocking the WIP on the head despite all obstacles!