I knew I had so many things to get done this week, but I still plunged myself into a fantastical world which could do nothing for me but drain my time, and I think to an extent, my energy. It is so easy for me when I read for pleasure to dismiss everything else as unimportant, no matter how pressing. I will put it off until it is urgent. I guess that’s really what escapism is all about. Before now I have known what it takes from me, but before it didn’t seem to matter. This evening though, as I dragged myself free of Robin Hobb’s world of dragons and magic, I felt the loss chillingly. I had consumed two novels in four days (epic novels, in case you know nothing of the Farseer Trilogy). I only had nine days, and I wasted four days indulging in something that, in all honesty, gave me nothing. I did not read to learn, not even about the art of writing, nor to enjoy, but simply to forget, and that’s what I did. Sometimes I tried to concentrate on the words used, the sentence stuctures, but it was too easy to slip beneath the words and forget the world. Who needs drugs when there are fantasy books? Now all I am left with guilt, and a dissatisfied aftertaste as I consider things I would have done differently were it my world; although I also know my characters would not have been so believable nor my story so engaging.
Anyway, I had a lot to get done in my week off. And now I still have an extensive list of things to do. All things others depend on me to do. So now to catch up, or at least in the morning cos I am tired. Editing to do, projects to finish, friends to spend time with…
But not quite all was wasted. I did pull myself out last night to do something that needed doing, something that I haven’t mentioned here yet. Ages ago I joined some random free writing course: F2K. The first lesson had to be completed last night, so I did it, and to be honest, I did it bloody well. The task: have one of your character talk about you in a way no one else has ever seen you. I chose Jen, the spurned lover and then murderer of Simon. In short, she blames me for everything, and despises me. I managed to have all her resentment and anger balled up in 400 words, and it carried across to the readers. I was very happy with the feedback. For me there is nothing worse than having my writing misunderstood; if it is then I have failed as a writer.
I remember when I was in sixth form, doing good old sixth form certificate (no NCEA crap in my day). One of our creative writing assignments was to develop a character in a (very) short story. I had a girl describe her friend who was blind (I had never known a blind person, and the idea was a novel one). I got 13/13 for that piece of writing, and when a friend read it she declared: “that deserves a higher mark.” My teacher simply replied, “that was the highest mark I could give it.” I got cocky, and my next piece about a journey only got a 10/13. Perhaps I am not so good at journeys as I am at character development, or perhaps I should be wary of my cockyness.
Whatever the case, now I need sleep.