Monday, 11 March 2013

Books and being busy


Firstly a big thank you to blog friend Becky Povich. Becky kindly mailed me a copy of Not Your Mother's Book... On Dogs, after I won a giveaway contest on her blog. I have really enjoyed dipping into this book of dog stories. It was especially exciting to read Becky's own story and see the photo of her dog Rocky.
Other books I've enjoyed lately include The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. It's a retelling of an old Russian folk tale, which the author has set in Alaska. I loved the descriptions of the setting, and found the first half of the book quite magical. Sadly the magic seemed to wear off a little in the second half. I would be interested to hear the opinions of anyone else who has read this book.

I've also just finished Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. For only a pound, I bought a nice hardback edition of this from the charity shop. The plot is fairly thin, but the characters are as excellent as the title. I can see this becoming one of the comfort books that I return to every so often, along with the Miss Read novels and the earlier books of Maeve Binchy.

Life is busy, and I have neglected blogland again recently. I am doing a short writing course, on top of my regular writers' group. More on that next time. It's clearly beneficial, because I am feeling very upbeat and motivated about the writing, which isn't always the case.

I don't know whether it was down to the fact that we did 'stream of consciousness' in the writers' group this morning, but I came home and wrote the entire first draft of a new story. I am normally more of a plodder, and it's just wonderful to have that sudden burst of writing energy. At those times a story almost seems to write itself, with my pen struggling to keep up. Tomorrow I am at the day job, but I can't wait to be off again on Wednesday, when I can type up that story and begin editing.

I also have another story on Alfie Dog, by the way. It's called Spooky Strolls, and it was previously published in Writing Magazine, 2007, when it won the summer ghost story competition.

That's it from me for today. Hope all my blog readers are well and enjoying the signs of spring.

21 comments:

Wendy's Writing said...

Hi Joanne. Don't worry about neglecting the blog - the main thing is that you've been writing stories - and that's what it's all about!

joanne fox said...

Yes, I do agree, Wendy, although I still feel bad for not keeping up with everyone's news. Thanks for visiting. x

Old Kitty said...

Lovely Joanne! Blog, what blog!?! LOL!! But HUGE HUGE congratulations with your almighty burst of writerly energy!! Attending another writing course has been on my to do list for this year and I am so so inspired by your fab experience! I hope to get on one soon but I know I'd not be that inspired to write a full first draft - that is just SO YOU cos you are super duper talented!! Lovely! Take care
x

joanne fox said...

Kitty, I hope you find a course that suits you. A good one can be so stimulating to the old brain. (Yours being younger than mine, of course!) x

Hayley N. Jones said...

I liked The Snow Child :-) I found that the tone changed so that the magical became more realistic, more explainable, as the story progressed - which made the ending sting more than it would have otherwise. I would have loved an unambiguously happy ending, but realise that would have benn too "easy" and robbed the tale of its poetry and fairy tale/fable qualities. It also raises a lot of interesting questions, especially of the "loved and lost vs never loved at all" variety!

Joanna said...

Well done for your first draft and good luck with the story, Joanne.

Like you, I enjoy Maeve Binchy's earlier novels and I have read and re-read her short stories many times. In fact it's probably time for me to get them out again!
I love your Spring picture. All the little signs are definitely appearing now. Best of luck with your course. x

joanne fox said...

Hayley, thank you for your thoughts on The Snow Child. I did wonder if it was the author's intention that the later half should be more earthly. I did enjoy the book overall, just seemed to miss the magic a bit when it faded. I knew it had to be a sad ending, in keeping with the original tale, but I found it quite gentle compared with what I expected. I will look forward to seeing what Eowyn Ivey does next!

joanne fox said...

Joanna, there are some books that you just love to re-read, aren't there. Like old friends that you look in on every so often.

Frances Garrood said...

Good luck with the course, Joanne! Btw I LOVEDThe Snow Child!

Teresa Ashby said...

Wonderful feeling when a story almost writes itself, Joanne :-) Lovely to see you back in blogland :-)

Can't see any signs of spring at the mo - it's all hiding under the snow!! x

joanne fox said...

Frances, I am very pleased that you loved The Snow Child so much. It seems a popular book right now, and maybe I am being too critical. I would have to read it again to decide, I think.

Teresa, sorry you are under snow again! We have had some short but intense blizzards since yesterday afternoon. It hasn't settled for long, but the air is so cold it takes your breath away.

Patsy said...

There may well be signs of spring but there's also the feel of winter out there today!

joanne fox said...

Yes, Patsy. Thermal vests and hot water bottles are in use again here!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I've not been on blogs as much because of having no Internet connection of my own since Sunday! I really want to raed The Snow Child. Good luck with all your doing, Joanne.

joanne fox said...

Hope you get your internet back soon, Rosemary. We all depend on it such a lot nowadays.

Dream it, then do it said...

Best of luck with the course, Joanne.
Not much sign of Spring up here in Nottingham yet.

joanne fox said...

Thank you Keith. Wet and gloomy again here now.

BECKY said...

Hi Joanne! Thank you very much for the mention! I was pretty sure you'd enjoy the book about our wonderful four-legged family members! :)
And I feel the same about blogging. I don't get around to very many blogs anymore, either, and barely leave a comment when I do! And yes...writing is the first priority, and congrats on your publications!

joanne fox said...

Hi Becky. You're welcome. I can always read about dogs!

Hayley N. Jones said...

Hi Joanne, I've nominated you for the Reality Award. Feel free to ignore if you don't fancy it - I won't be insulted or anything! :-)

joanne fox said...

Oh, thank you, Hayley. That's very kind. I will try to get to it tomorrow when I am off. x