Monday, 12 March 2007

A Little Light Reading for The Weekend, Madam?

The interested out there will note that my word count has not budged this week - but all is not lost. You see I've been working on an application for PhD funding which means I've had to condense around 6,000 words into the space of 500. And I'm tired. Really tired.

I started it a couple of weeks ago and by Friday evening was in tears, surrounded by over 30 books and the same number of Journal Articles. By Saturday I'd narrowed it down to the texts in the pic, plus half of the articles, and gone through half a forest scrawling the words, "My research project will..." followed by lots of gobbledegook and ending with expletives. So instead of taking the kids out (like I promised) and doing the shopping, housework etc., I sat in the office screaming at the walls and writing lots more rubbish until 2 am, and then started again at 8 am Sunday. I finally finished it by 4 pm. Hurrah! It's probably crap. Argh!

The good thing about this exercise is that it's made me have to think about my novel in a gargantuan amount of depth. I know what the novel is about, and I know how I'm going to put it together, but how do you explain it in a few lines? I've also had to think about how my novel is original, and how it fits in with the rest of the literary genre I'm writing in, not to mention show the research I've done so far. It was like trying to fit a giraffe into a tea-pot.

But it's done now, and I can finish my marking and get on with some writing again. Hopefully the kids will forgive me for working all weekend, again.

The Books

- I don't know why Morrison's Beloved is in there - must have got scraped up! It should be Erdrich's Love Medicine
- Dictionary and Thesaurus for double checking and word reduction.
- Derrida and Kristeva are heavy going but fascinating if you want to tie your brain in knots.
- Same for the Postmodernism.
- Allende is wonderful - I recommend her autobiography to anyone who is suffering from cultural plurality!
- Cuentos Andaluces is a recent acquisition and most enjoyable despite the fact I have to keep looking words up. Mind you, I have to look words up for Kristeva and Derrida too, and they're in English!
- Cixous is a must for anyone interested in writing processes and languages.
Feel free to ask about any of the others! I expect to be inundated... not!


Harriet said...

Good lord that pile of books takes me back, though I could never cope with the Derrida, Kristeva etc. Too many hard words and not my bag at all. You certainly have gone through the mill with all this, but as you say, it's made you think about the novel in more depth than before and the exercise in giraffe/tea-potting was probably useful in some strange way. Good luck with the funding!

hesitant scribe said...

Thanks Harriet - Kristeva and Derrida make me feel like I don't speak English beyond primary school level! I feel much better after reading your comments. There's hope for me yet!

As for the funding application - how can a miserly 500 words be so damned difficult!

p.s. I just couldn't get all the giraffe in! Bits kept poking out... let's hope they aren't crucially important bits!