The Free-Range Writer furiously hammers out the last third of her 103,000-word first novel draft, hands it in half an hour before the final deadline, necks a pint at the Old Government House faculty bar, collapses into exhausted sleep on beanbag on her own back deck. School holidays. The FRW takes a much-needed break from writing, survives Christmas, enjoys a fabulous summer free from deadline pressure, realises her children are actually really quite lovely, even manages to write a short story or two. Hapless, fed up with the poky Auckland job market, leaves for London. The FRW reluctantly re-enters her battery cage and spends three months working at capacity, an experience not enhanced by solo parenting, and remembering why she gave the whole lousy gig up in the first place. Late at night she shops on the internet for London flats and schools; during the weekends she packs up the household box by back-aching nail-breaking box. Four months after his departure, Hapless is reunited in an emotional scene at Heathrow with his family, rendered temporarily more adorable by distance.
So The Free-Range Writer went cold turkey. Five months which I’ve spent extruding novel, a strange, lumpy substance of highly variable quality and texture. Continue reading “One month to go”
It’s a seriously long slog. Early on I set myself a goal of a thousand words a day, at least four days a week. Some days that comes easy; some days it’s like pulling a thousand teeth, each with the root pulp still attached. Continue reading “The fifty thousand mark”
Sorrreee, I’ve been busy.
“Not for profit work,” I say, when people ask what I’m doing ‘these days’. Which sounds better than, “Something that takes all my time and mental energy and will never earn me a cent and probably won’t ever even see the light of day.” Continue reading “Dolphin wrestling and alien abduction”
A whole new year, minus a week. Now that it’s here I find myself impatient to begin, to move through this pleasant, lazy, between-the-years hiatus and on to the next stage of relocating, resettling, reacclimatising, and absorbing the reverse culture shock of the big, bad, beautiful city. Continue reading “Cows vs tigers”
Awww, don’t be sad, people… I’m not sad! It’s been an amazing year, and I wouldn’t have traded a minute of it, but like I said earlier, a year has been exactly the right length of time. And now that we’re getting ready to head back, my thoughts are turning daily to the things I’ll love about being home. Continue reading “Tempus fugit”
Back to university next year. Aaaaarrrrggghhh! I’m old enough to be those fresh-faced acne-pocked hormone-raddled infants’ mother! My student ID number begins with 90! Campus is all fancy, with no foul $1 Lower Caff polystyrene coffee and squeezy-cheese nachos! Continue reading “University daze”