Days 101-102 (August 21-22)
Editing: Will spend a little time on editing yesterday’s highlighted areas of later chapters of Present tense, but don’t expect to get far as it’s becoming late. Also did some mental work on the way to the city in the bus this morning, and of course pen and notebook to hand so none of the gems get lost.
Reading: Brisbane City Library had a book on hold for me and it took all my attention on the way home – Crossing to safety by Wallace Stegner.The book came to notice through Jennifer Byrne’s First Tuesday Book Club a few weeks ago. I am hooked already by the first pages and the biographical note and introduction; a book about friendships. The notion appeals, partly because my own three novels are based around family and friendships. No doubt there will be many thoughts as more pages are devoured.
Last night I finished The chant of Jimmie Blacksmith – a sad but inevitable end. An important read for Australians and closely based on a true story.
Art Gallery: Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado was well worth a visit. As I’m not familiar with Spanish art it was an education to see the changes in style over the centuries. And a reminder of the prominence of religion and royalty in art. The exhibition was well attended with a number of guided groups being introduced to the main works in each of the galleries. The absolute stand-out for me was in the entrance area. Won’t spoil it by comment, but a must see for anyone interested in attending. Cameras were clicking at a major rate; the only place they were permitted.
Days 69-71 (July 21-23)
The weekend was cool with sunny days, and disappeared into a haze of minor editing and household matters.
Today, Monday: A most agreeable day wandering around the State Library and Art Gallery areas of Brisbane. There have been massive changes since my teens. Although I find modern Brisbane an attractive and friendly city there is a fair bit of nostalgia for the ‘old days’. Some of the newer buildings are appealing in themselves but I do find the mix of old and new unsightly – too many different styles without a unifying pattern.
I remember the old Treasury Building with much affection. One day after returning from a boat trip to Moreton Island, a group of us, tired and full of sun, sprawled on the footpath leaning against the warm stone as the evening temperature fell, comforted by the retained heat as we waited for transport home. That it is now a casino sits ill with me although I understand it is good for the city economy. But what about the impact of gambling addiction for so many? I’ve included a few photographs.
I didn’t have time to visit the Art Gallery but look forward to doing that soon to see the new exhibition.
- Excitement ahead
After that it was time to catch up with my two sisters. As always a great time for recent news and reminiscing about the past.
Back to serious editing tomorrow.
Treasury Building in foreground
Days 22-23 (March 14 – 15)
March 15: Started out as yesterday on Part One, and met the same concentration block around lunchtime. After food, a short walk, and spending an hour trying to develop outlines for two new short stories, I moved forward to work on Chapter 20. Here, Freya is just home after an exhausting shift at the Royal Infirmary, and exasperated at still being in Scotland when she aches to be in Australia with Alexander. Her mother and sister are visiting. A visit to the Art Gallery which has an important place in the family history is on the cards.
Made lots of changes. Was a bit taken aback at how many changes because I’ve reworked that section more than a few times already. Just confirms the value of being distanced and therefore more objective.
March 14: Continued with changes to Part One early chapters, noting areas for change without working on them. To retrieve concentration I changed tack and worked on critiqueing three chapters for a Writer’s Group member. Excited about how well my colleague’s work has developed. Always surprised how a change of focus energises.
Made for home early, and did a big cook to stock the freezer with meals. Watched The Good Wife on TV, one of the few programs I follow. Am disgusted with what’s on offer in our State election campaign.
Comment: Hoping very much to get past the early chapters of Part One and to move a bit more quickly through later chapters. Very keen to start working on Part Two. The initial goal date has been moved many times. Reworking existing material seems to take much longer than the initial writing which I hadn’t anticipated, and probably should have, as I’ve experienced the phenomenon many times before, when working with large work-based documents (some more than novella length). Don’t know why, but I had this idea that changes to fiction would be easier to manage (no annoying unchangeable facts or legislative clauses to account for). Not so. The implications of change are the same because of the length and complexity of this family saga. Am better prepared now for the rest of the task. Hopefully there will be fewer massive structural changes ahead.
Features in novel several times