The happier my life’s become, the less inclined I feel to take a holiday. Why go to the trouble of packing a suitcase – or worse, boarding a plane – when you’ve got (almost) all you want at home? Five nights’ in Cumbria seeing friends and family, and researching my possibly third novel, back in April, have furnished a perfectly adequate change of scene for this year, along with a three-day non-residential music course next week.
Hot on the heels of two novels about the messy aftermath Zimbabwean independence, come a couple more set in erstwhile outposts of the British Empire as the colonisers depart. Both focus on the experience of minorities favoured by the British who find themselves relegated in the new regimes: Indians in Kenya in Dance of the Jakaranda; the Karen in Burma in Miss Burma. Along with the politics, both explore the impact on identity of religion and race.
I've recently bought a new laptop. Presumably the updated technology will make my writing life easier in the long term but, in the short term, I find the whole thing a pain. Even with my husband taking on most of the donkey work, time spent weighing up the virtues of different models followed by
learning the quirks of a new operating system is time away from writing, as far as I'm concerned, and that's before I get started on the guilt at what the rich world's lust for progress does to the impoverished south.
I wonder if creative writing would be so popular these days if we didn't have
such easy access to word processing technology. I doubt I could've managed several drafts of a 100,000 word novel on my mother's old Olivetti portable where, if I got overexcited and typed too fast, the keys clumped together in the middle. I suppose if you were to develop RSI in those days, you'd either have to hire a secretary or fall by the wayside. One way of weeding out the competition.
Due to RSI, which crept up on me in the middle of an MA course (not a writing MA) over ten years ago, I'm dependent upon voice recognition software for all my writing.
SHORT STORY COLLECTION COMING NOVEMBER 23rd
Annecdotal is where real life brushes up against the fictional.
Annecdotist is the blogging persona of Anne Goodwin:
slug-slayer, tramper of moors,
author of two novels.
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