Wednesday, September 20, 2006

work in progress

I'm getting to the stage where the work I've done is almost all there in content but it's a question of editing, polishing and testing it out. So I let it sit and settle overnight/for half a day or whatever and then I pounce back on it to see how it flows, what irritates or doesn't satisfy, what trips me up or needs further tweaking. I've kept a notebook for my ideas from the start of the project and it's interesting to look back at the starting point and consider where I've ended up - and how the route has varied from my initial imagining. There are some fragments that I've not used but still intrigue me so I guess they'll go in the writers ragbag for the future. Nowt ever wasted.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Burgess Project


(Auto)Biography

I don't very often read biography, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Andrew Biswell's book 'The Real Life of Anthony Burgess'. It's a highly readable - at times gripping - story. Fascinating also to read it alongside 'Little Wilson and Big God', the first part of the autobiography. I think what makes this so interesting is that Burgess was a master of re-invention - whatever the experience, he never seems to give the same account of it twice. The boundary between fact and fiction is of course never a clear one... but for Burgess it seems to have been exceptionally blurred.

On the other hand, there is something unusually open and frank about his writing in the autobiography. Deeply uncomfortable things -things other people might want to skate over, things which could show him (or others!) in a poor light - he exposes with a kind of fearlessness, or courage.

All this ambiguity gives us writers a lot to play with!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Burgess Project

The Burgess Project
Well, a week in and still spinning. Finished the book (Clockwork Orange) - and most of the movie. My DVD R cut the end off but I think I know what happened - although Burgess had two different endings, I think in the movie Alex is reformed. The script seemed very close to the novel and we laughed a lot, too. The violence is shocking - as it should be - but the dark humour is wonderful. I enjoyed the movie much more than I expected to. I knew I'd like the book. I think the most difficult thing for me in it, is the conflation of sex and violence. There's no depiction of sex as a healthy, positive and pleasurable thing - sex equals rape full stop and women are the victims. (I guess that comes from Catholic teachings on the sinfulness of sex but also from puritanism. When Alex is re-programmed lust as well as anger are repressed.

I've been scribbling and thinking and each day when I go walking I find myself trying out different rhymes and rhythms and come home with new possibilities - I'm one of those people you see wandering about mouthing audibly to themselves. I'm spending lots of time with the thesaurus and my dictionary of slang. Am also having a crash course on text message language from my daughter, gr8. The reason for all this will becomes clear at the event in October. I'm enjoying the intensity of working on something pretty exculsively for a short period of time. Much of my work as a writer (novels and tv scripts) takes months or years to complete so this is a novelty. Now there's a nice word.
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