Busy times

November has been really eventful for me. What with NaNoWriMo and working on the proofreading, I’ve also been training as much as I can and reading a lot.

NaNoWriMo has not been as uniform for me this year as the two previous. My stats graph isn’t as tidy as before, and that’s because I’ve been less worried about it being straight. I know I can catch up. I didn’t write yesterday because I had to get to London early, to give in some work, and then went training, which took up the rest of the day. I didn’t get back until shortly after midnight. So I’ve done more writing today than I would have otherwise, but this is a good thing as my plot has taken a nice turn and I’ve been able to waffle on for some several hundred words about what my character is dreaming about, knowing what she has to do next, but being surprised by her dreams, which appear to have less to do with it than she expected when she feel into that deep sleep. Hmm. So I’ve been writing like a mad thing, typing it up so I can get as much as I can updated before midnight, while my arms have been aching like buggery from last night’s training.

We were working on a certain application and using our arms a lot. Not to go into detail, the application is something most of us have done hundreds if not thousands of times before, in San Zhan, or first pattern. There was something I still wasn’t doing right, though, and Dave came over to me as we were formed up and showed me why it’s done that way – I didn’t forget again, because had I not had my arm where it was, I’d have got an elbow right in the ribs. That’s why we do it that way, and that’s why I shan’t forget twice. You live and you learn, and kung fu is all about learning. In the next class, I got much needed feedback about my pattern. I was hoping to grade, but was not sure I was ready, so I asked. Dave said it still needs work, which was what I suspected anyway, and explained to me what I need to do to improve. At the end of the class, he said he wants Dennis’s jaw to drop open when I do grade (I’m now aiming for January). Dennis knows about my change of diet, of course, but Dave said it’s best if I build my strength first, which won’t happen overnight. So the idea is to dazzle Dennis at the next grading. No pressure, then…

And now we’re on the home stretch of NaNoWriMo, the final few days of writing frantically, hopefully with the result (I say this every year) of getting into the habit of writing every day without fail and without excuses. Yesterday for me was the exception, and I felt the loss. As I write in the bedroom now, Laz is on his computer in the living room, bashing the words out while still being relatively happy with what ends up on the page. Even though half the point of NaNo is not to edit, to just write no matter how bad it is, neither of us can do that. We’re both working on our WIPs, so it matters, and writing crap just isn’t an option we’ve left open for ourselves. So we both let each other write in peace and tonight, we barely stopped to eat and talk for a bit before thinking we should get back to it before midnight crept round. And creep round it did, of course.

As for the reading, I’m still working my way through Jasper Fforde ’s Thursday Next series. I’m currently reading number three of six, The Well of Lost Plots. This time, I got a literary reference I would have missed when I first read it. “Arrest anyone who tries to sell you Soma tablets…” says a character. Last time I read this book, I hadn’t read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. This time, I got the reference. Fleeting they may be, and some of them are about fictional books, but when I get them, I do a little mental whoop. Same as when I was reading about a plot device trader in the well – he wrote back-stories for Edward Rochester and Bertha Mason but Charlotte Brontë didn’t use all of them so he sold it “lock, stock and barrel to The Wide Sargasso Sea”. I didn’t remember – it was years ago I read it – but I knew what was coming anyway, so it made me smile. The books are riddled with literary references and I don’t get all of them, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s just nice when I do, partly because it reinforces for me just how well read Jasper Fforde is and how clever a writer he is, too. And on the subject of the books being made into films, as has been suggested many times to Jasper himself, please don’t. Just DON’T! It wouldn’t be right, in my most humble opinion, because the whole point is that the books are set in an alternative world where everyone is obsessed with books to a level which would be unheard of here. Rather on a par with football fans during the World Cup, people in Thursday’s world live for, commit crimes for and indeed die for books. The in-jokes would be lost on a film audience that didn’t read – and you can guarantee that a good proportion of the people who went to see it wouldn’t have read the books. (As an example, a fictional character coming into the real world to find the real Thursday [too complicated to explain here, believe me] sees a dog turd on the pavement – when she asks her guide what it is, she says, “So that’s what they look like.” I may be being a little presumptive here, but the joke is obvious to me, as someone who reads a lot. Someone who didn’t wouldn’t necessarily get it, and the humour would be lost, which would be a shame, because it’s genius. (In case you don’t get it, the joke is that dog turds are never described in fiction, so the fictional character didn’t know what they looked like. See? Geeky-bookish joke…)

I’ll just shuffle off discreetly and get back to the BookWorld, shall I… *ahem*

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