Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Before the storm...

This week is all about the next six or seven: specifically, the month-and-a-half long marathon that is the southern hemisphere school summer holidays.  To prepare, I'm going surfing as much as I can.  That first draft is done and stewing away somewhere within the bowels of my computer.  Research for another project is currently taking the form of pleasant evenings background reading in advance of anything harder, and playing around with a few paragraphs here and there trying to find a voice for the project.

Today, I ventured out onto the Otago peninsula.  The surf was weak, small and messy - but the sun was out and I'd driven far enough not to be denied water time by as small an obstacle as that.   I picked my way across a white beach littered with the footprints of penguins and sea-lions - the only other visitors at that time, and with a nice fat small-wave blade beneath me, I paddled out.

And jeez, even when it's small the place has got power.  The sun ducked behind clouds, the onshore came up, and shadows played in the water.  I caught a few, found a place to sit, but I wasn't comfortable.  Sometimes, you can smell teeth.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A change is as good, etc.

Almost as soon as I put the book on the shelf I felt lost.  Not lost in the sense of doubting what I'm doing with the story - no, that needs time to ferment, time for the scars of its writing to heal; but lost, as in my day-to-day life immediately and suddenly lacked any kind of purpose.

So, inevitably, I picked up another project.  In the interests of keeping everything new, I thought I'd try something I hadn't before - non-fiction.  As yet, I haven't penned a word - I've sketched out ideas for chapters, trawled the catalogues of the city library, and immersed myself in the first of many books to be read.

I'm making this project as unstructured as I can - it's very deliberately for me.  Without wishing to give too much away - which will, if past experience proves to be true, be a much almost completely unrelated to any finished article - it seems serendipitous that my degree certificate arrived today (sixteen years and four months after graduating), and I now officially have a degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography.  Although it really shouldn't have mattered - it's only a piece of paper, very late, commemorating a very definitely underwhelming academic performance - I can't help but feel a tiny bit of pride, and that reconnecting in this way seems a very right thing to do.