Sunday, March 11, 2018

The bad and the good and the hopeful

What do you hope to read when you come to my blog?

1/ domestic stuff?

2/ progress on the new novel?

3/ opinions about news you weren't aware of?

4/ reading recommendations?

5/ lovely photographs of the Peak District, where I live?

6/ something to make you think?

7/ you don't care what it is as long as it makes you laugh?

The reason I ask is this: I just read the news on waking, and it depressed me so much I decided I'd blog about that. How during a housing crisis this bloody government left unspent a sum of £817,000,000 which had been allocated for affordable housing; how millions of families on the brink of poverty face yet more deep benefit cuts; how a man who emigrated here as a child 40 years ago and who has worked here all his life is being denied cancer treatment because he doesn't have the right citizenship documentation. Yesterday it was the new batch of arms sales to Saudi Arabia enabling them to inflict yet more suffering on countries like Yemen. 

I could write the news headlines myself - just imagine the worst that could happen in a particular area of national life and governance and write that story.


The good news is that we walked out in a soggy landscape yesterday afternoon and immediately encountered round the corner of our lane a starling murmuration. I tried and tried to get a picture and this is all I could manage. It's of only a small proportion of them and for some reason the photo quality has been reduced in transit:

Entranced, we watched them for a good twenty minutes - taking off and landing - before they flew off into the distance.

The other good news is that Cece has finally plucked up sufficient courage to ride on an animal that goes up and down on the Carousel of Happiness:

And so she's not left out, here's Lux, who has never had a problem:

Lux has entered a colouring competition run by the local toyshop and is hoping to win $20 dollars to spend in the store, and one of Cece's two front teeth is wobbly. I know this because they facetimed us yesterday. If those girls only knew the joy they bring me not only in telling us their news, but in the very fact that they ask to do it - 'Mom, can we facetime Sue and Dave?'

And the final burst of quiet happiness came in the form of an email yesterday afternoon from a friend who's been reading the third draft of my work in progress. She enjoyed it, and she said that once she had started it, she wanted to keep reading and reading. She had three criticisms - two I agreed with and can easily fix, and one I am still thinking about: she thought the circumstances that led to one scene were a little contrived. Hmmm. Now I am waiting for Chrissie to finish reading and give me feedback, and in the meantime I'm working on that one page synopsis for literary agents. 

The thing's not like a synopsis for an academic paper i.e. a simple summary. No. It has to be written in engaging prose, which also gives a flavour of the prose in the novel itself. And to make prose engaging, one of the things you need is vivid detail, and there is not much space for vivid detail on just one page, when you're trying to cover what happens in the 88,000 words of the novel.

Did I tell you the title? It's FRIENDS, LOVERS AND TREES.


marmee said...

Like that title Sue! As for what I expect from your blog ? Its a one word answer: YOU! Happy , sad, cross whatever. In my opinion it is the fact that one meets a person that makes a blog interesting ( ok , ok, the person needs to be interesting in a way that tickles my fancy and suits my thought processes) .

Sue Hepworth said...

You have no idea how cheered I am by your reply, Marmee.
Thank you.
Have a happy Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Intriguing title! Look forward to reading your book.

Marmee has got it right - we visit in hope of a little slice of you, made up of all the ingredients you mention.

I have read books because of your recommendations, signed petitions at your urging and learned more about the plight of Palestinians through realising my ignorance. The hope that you’ve posted something new - anything - keeps me returning. It must be your writer’s skill that even the smallest detail is interesting!

And the photo treats - amazing landscapes, granddaughters, starlings.

Thank you for sharing.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, anonymous. Your response is so encouraging.
Thanks for coming back, year after year.