When I first came to Stoke as a newly qualified and newly married teacher, we had no money to spare. What we did have went on the deposit for a flat and since there was very little left over for furniture, and e-bay had not yet been thought of, I sourced much of what we needed at the local auctions.
There was real excitement to be had, first in the viewing, then in the competition to secure whichever piece I’d got my eye on. Among other items, I bought a lovely mahogany chest of drawers, a trolley and two small bedroom chairs. It didn’t matter to me that their cane seats needed repair. At seven and sixpence, less than fifty p new money, they were a real bargain and I could easily learn how to re-cane a chair. Couldn’t I? Decades later there is still no answer to that question, because I’ve never even tried. Mending those chairs was a project that I’ve finally had to admit would never be completed.
Coming to that conclusion was a relief and I promptly put one of the two on Marketplace where it sold very quickly. The couple who bought it sent me a picture of their completed project at it looks amazing. Chair number two is now on offer and hopefully will soon be off to a good home.
Exactly why I never managed to do it myself, I don’t know. I was full of good intentions, I even looked for an evening class in furniture repair, but it was simply not to be. A little like some writing projects that start off full of promise but somehow dwindle away into a few thousand words in a notebook at the back of a drawer or a file mouldering away on the hard drive.
Sometimes the book or short story simply doesn’t have enough about it to warrant more work. Sometimes the story needs more development, or as in the case of my latest WIP, the basic narrative is there but I don’t know what the story is about. For me, finding the underlying theme is key. Without it the story lacks depth, the characters have no convincing motivation. Once I know what drives them, then the whole thing takes off. It becomes so real that it is constantly in the forefront of my thoughts. I go for a walk and hurry home with more dialogue or a scene that has to be added, or sometimes even scrapped. Starting work is a pleasure rather than a pain. Ideas stack up in my head and on my notice board, and pen and paper have to be constantly at hand to note down a key point before it is forgotten.
When that happens it’s exhilarating, it’s fun, it’s pure magic. New nameless novel is at that stage. In the meantime “Freecycling for Beginners” is nearing publication readiness. More news on that as it breaks.