These are a few of my favourite things

25 05 2014

No. Not “The Sound of Music” film or soundtrack.

In my recent time away from t’interweb (see WordPress blog of 16/09/13) I thought about my reliance on technology, on things, possessions, services and asked the oft-mooted question. Are we really only three meals away from anarchy?

Setting that thought aside for another day I settled my thinking on what things I like. Not “needed”, not “essential”. Just things I like.

My computer? No, just a tool.

But my pen? I do like my pen. It isn’t valuable in a monetary sense but I’ve had it a long time. I won it in a writing competition aged 16. I wasn’t first, not even second but I still got something in exchange for a piece of my mind jotted down and appreciated by someone else. Even now I think about that every time I pick it up – carefully – because the lid no longer clicks shut fully and the ink does occasionally ooze. As I said, not monetarily valuable!

My chair is also a winner in the liking contest. A Captain’s Chair on a swivel. Slightly frayed and the odd hole now in the leather – it just suits me!

As blogs go, this won’t hold much interest for many of you but if you have persevered to the end and before you move on please ask yourself the same question…

What do you actually LIKE in your life?

Competitive writing

28 07 2013

I was musing about ending stories in a previous blog.  I re-read it recently and thought it sounded like writing was a competition – one ending is ‘better’ than another.  Is it?  Should it be?  Some say all life is a competition and I do see this in the fight for sales, the difficulty new authors find in selling yourself to agents, publishers, readers and even Richard & Judy.  We authors also see it in our daily world – the festival competitions, 500-word article, panel judging.  But should we write to win or write just because we love it?

I don’t see these are mutually exclusive.  Being able craft a story on a specific theme set by a judge is still an exercise in writing a story I like.  That it has to be subjectively better than someone else’s is, in a way, not my problem if I am happy with what I have done.  I can write in the style of … but the voice is still mine.

Give me a first line and I’ll give you a story which satisfies the competition rules.  Give me a prize for it, a page in a magazine, and I might write more of the same.  Life is a competition but you can still play by your own rules.