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It is Spring! Perhaps a tad (scarily) too early, but it’s nice to see some blue sky, Spring flowers are my favourite too, Irises and Snowdrops and Crocuses in particular… but to the subject in hand; writing.
So I received my author copy of In The Beginning today, not as swanky as Green and Unpleasant Land – and I’m not so fond of my piece in this one- it’s basically a lot older- I think I wrote it aged 18, so the 5 years perspective on it makes me cringe a little. However, it’s another officially published piece of writing which is good!
In further writing news I am receiving my first full performance of a piece- it’s only short – part of a small showcase of writers from the MPhil, managed by Watch This original theatre company, but cool nonetheless! It’s goes on at the Deb Hall, University of Birmingham Guild, Feb 22nd at 7.30pm… £4/5 entry.
After workshopping the Being Somewhere Else first draft I have a lot of work to do, but I am happy that I know what needs doing! Basically I need to now work on characters, consider power, how the new universe expresses itself through the characters, their relationships, and disguising a lot of the exposition… plus I think I may make the link between the online/real world and their avatars much clearer. Redrafting start today! The redraft will proabbly get sent off to the Court, and any other deadlines that fall soon, though I will leave the 3rd/4th draft for general submission (Bush, Soho, Traverse, West Yorkshire Playhouse, and various agents).
I have also thought of my next project- and for once it wont be set in a fantasy or science fiction context! Well sort of… it will be set in the
near future- say 10-15 years, it will look at the current changes in social care (direct payments etc) which are clearly designed to relieve the government (the Tories support it too) of the responsibility of caring for the Baby Boomer generation, and potentially will end in large scale abuse, many court and liability cases, and ultimately, could undo the NHS. It really is that big, it really could happen. I think the play would be probably centred either over a court case, or over a journalist and be billed as a (fake) verbatim piece… still mulling it over. But I think it’s a really important thing to talk about, this is both our parents and ultimately our own lives, happiness and health at stake.
In other news, I’m going around with a bit of a grin on my face because I sucessfully flashed an excellent new rom to my smartphone, managed to CID and APP unlock it, and didn’t brick it during the rom stuff! It’s running smoothly, with the free push mail set up, networks all working etc, and is very beautiful, thanks and muchos kudos go to this guy at the XDA developers forums.
I am also beginning to think/worry a little about the real world, which looms steadily over the horizon, growing closer every day… I have 3 basic options, all of which must involve getting a job as to fund the MPhil I had to get a Career Development Loan that needs paying starting in October. My basic options are
1.Stay in Birmingham
2.Move to Leicester/Loughborough
3. Move home to Lincolnshire
The first would happen if I made very important and promising contacts, got an offer from an agent, or the BBC were able to offer me something. I’m not so fond of Birmingham, it’s too big, to hard to get anywhere… but probably has the best chance of getting a decent job, arts related. I could start earning before the end of the course too.
The second, I think, is ideal for me, I really liked the Loughborough/Leicester area, it was friendly, not too big, and I have a lot of friends there, there’s a decent mainline to London, it’s not too far away from home etc. However this is the most difficult- as I’d have to find somewhere entirely new to live, find a job that wouldn’t destroy me, and there are less writing opportunities etc.
The final option would mean that I would pay off the loan much more quickly, which is a good idea, and would free me up to start writing full time much sooner. I know I would suffer from the lack of independance however, and have few friends that still live in the area, so would be very lonely. However if my brother goes home too it might be ok, we have a laugh, and he has an XBOX 360…
I’m not very good at not being able to plan ahead… if that makes sense… I’m getting quite ‘antsy’. However what will be, will be, and I shall just have to wait it out. And get used to financial and domestic insecurity, as I prepare to make a living as a playwright! I wont give up, and I will work hard. I’m also going to give myself until I’m 30, give it everything I’ve got, send off a million things each week, enter every competition going, if, in 7 years time, I’ve not broken in, I’ve got time to retrain, make a new career and know that I tried as hard as I could.
Douglas Maxwell spoke on the MPhil yesterday, he was brilliant, funny, kind, he handed out reams of his rejection letters, and had some of the best advice we’ve had so far. He said;
“Carry on, always carry on, never give up, because if worst comes to worse that’ll mean that eventually you’re the only one left! Hundreds of people have the unfinished screenplay under their bed, they’re not writers, the second you put it into one of those brown envelopes- then you’re in the same business as Shakespeare. Don’t give up, because one day you might write something that saves someone’s life. You will make it, just don’t give up.”
(paraphrasing Douglas Maxwell 12.02.08)