Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Lovelife of Pi

Until last week, I hadn't written a poem since school. It's not that I've felt a mortal terror of poetry, more of a complete inability to know where to start. I enjoy reading poetry, I'm always overwhelmingly impressed when a member of my writing group brings a poem to share, but the thought of putting pen to paper and coming up with something that looks and sounds like a poem .... It just seemed completely impossible. 

But then, last month, one of the members of aforementioned writing group set us a challenge (a challenge that she herself had been set by a colleague at the school where she teaches).

Write a poem of forty words.

Easy! I hear you cry. Well, hold your horses. That's not even the half of it ... The number of letters in each word must correspond to the first forty digits of pi. Remember pi? The circumference of a circle = 2πr and all that? Pi starts 3.141... So your poem starts with a three-letter word, and then a one-letter word, and then a four-letter word. And so on and so forth until the fortieth digit.

Rather than striking fear into my heart, as this might with any sane person, I actually quite liked the sound of it. This was my somewhere to start. A structure that I could work with to try and expell my poetic demons.

So many hours, a glass of wine, and lots of letter-counting later, here's what I came up with:
I look, a glance, desperate.
He stands still, face drawn
Immobile, heartsick, broken.

Ridiculed are we.
The taunting fates denied us -
Denied love.

But now marriage.
And my husband loitering close by: deceived, trusting.
A dreadful mistake.
I'm the first to admit it's not a work of artistic genius, and that it doesn't make as much sense as I'd like. But I love it. I'm finally off the starting blocks, and next time I'm wondering where to start with poetry, perhaps I'll look back at this and remember it wasn't as scary as I'd thought.

Fancy having a go yourself? The first forty digits of pi are: 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197
Please share your efforts below!


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Foodie update, and lots of other things

Hello friends!

I have spent the past few weeks and months with my head well and truly buried in my WIP. But now it's away with my wonderful critique partner, I finally have a little time to blog, remind my family what I look like, tidy the house, catch up on the laundry ... Oh the glamour.

So Food Glorious Food - it still doesn't have a proper title - is finished, sort of. It's already been through a couple of drafts, and, thanks to the brilliant feedback of my local writers' group, is hopefully in pretty okay shape. Though I'm sure that my CP is finding lots of stuff for me to work on as I speak!

In other news, remember my Old Friends? Well, just like when the whole story got started, they're hanging around in my head again a lot, refusing to leave me alone. A second draft of their story is definitely on the cards, and soon, but some of their friends seem to be hassling me as well, wanting a book of their own. I'm not sure I'm ready to embark on another historical adventure just yet - especially when I'm still researching and making plans for the first - but like with lots of my writing, I'm not entirely sure I'm the one calling the shots here.

So that's where my writing life is at the moment - a bit all over the place. One manuscript out for review, another awaiting a second draft and more research and a couple of ideas that seem determined to drag my attention away. Oh, and then there's the small matter of writing a POEM (but perhaps I should save that for another time).

I'd really love to hear how everyone else balances different projects at different stages. How do you decide what to work on next? Should I chase down that new idea or stick with research and revisions for the one I've already written?