Today was calmer sort of day. I enjoyed catching up with Twitter and Facebook friends and comments. It's wonderful to see so many people involved and enjoying this year's festival. Sometimes when you are the one organising, as well as meeting and greeting, it is difficult to relax and just listen. However, today I didn't have that problem. Antonia Honeywell kindly came to Finchley to talk about her new book The Ship.
Earlier in the morning Allen Ashley ran a poetry workshop with an astromony theme 'Sun, Moon and Planets'. Allen said, "Everyone worked really hard to produce some great poems."
In the British Museum she saw a bemoaning teenager with her parents; she knew 'that child' would be her protagonist sixteen-year-old Lalla. The financial crisis in 2008 further drove the idea forward, for in every crisis there were people who would take advantage of the situation. Against her wish Lalla boarded on the ship her father had built, along with five hundred others people he'd chosen. Everybody was willing but her. Everybody asked no question but her. Where were they going?
The road to her being published is hardly a fairy tale. And yet her wish to be an author is so strong that she wouldn't let it go.
I may not have an English degree like her and English is my second language, but just as her I write. And I'll write until it's finished. One day, I hope I'll hold firmly a book in my hand with my name on the bottom."
I also found myself inspired and moved by some of Antonia's observations. I so enjoyed listening to her intellectual and creative ideas. She came up with some gems for writers: "Be absolutely sure you've come to the end of your commercial journey before getting self published." Writers find it really hard to remove bits of their writing. You don't have to kill your darlings, was Antonia's tip, just 'cut' bits of your writing and put in a temporary file. She said she could count on one hand scenes that went back in, which was hardly any.
When I got home late in the afternoon, I began to feel a little frustrated thinking myself a crap writer because I haven't been writing for some time. Rather than take the path of self-flagellation, I decided to give myself a little treat, as a way to force myself to sit and write. I've signed up for Murder in the Library at North Finchley Library on Saturday at 2.00pm. Like Murni, I'm an Agatha Christie fan and I've been wanting to write a crime drama for some time.
See also Lindsay's account