"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

my book is now a blog?

these things happen – you have an idea – you are inspired, you have dreams of having "the book" published and living the life of an all new south african jilly cooper / kathy lette writealike.  you dream of telling your story, you create a new name for yourself and your amazing characters.
i tried it – i had the notes, i spent many (probably not enough) hours writing and re-writing.  i revealed the first couple of chapters to my encouraging, similar-thinking, middle son who came up with some very wise and insightful ideas for me.   those ideas put me on another track.
and then what happened?
the computer crashed, the notes no longer seemed the same and it became a bit of a test for me.  worst part was that i had told friends and family that i had started "the book" and whenever there is a lull in conversation someone pipes up “so jen, how’s "the book" coming along?”.   why do i always open my big mouth?
in my wakeful hours (of these there are many) my mind keeps spinning, I have so many ideas and write so many perfect sentences.  i am so clever and witty in the middle of the night – a bit like i think i am when i have too much wine -  then when the sun comes up those ideas have all merged into one big mush it suddenly does not seem so clever anymore - like waking up after too much wine and thinking "did i really say that?"
so action is needed and to get the blanks in my head into print i am starting to put all these thoughts down on a daily basis.   at my desk, on my work computer i will test the waters with you. (you will also soon note that am not busy enough at work and basically abusing the power i have because i sleep with the boss!!! but, why not??). 
the internet has opened a whole new world to us and i so often find myself mindlessly surfing the net,  as i click on links i have found myself thoroughly absorbed in other people’s lives.   not quite the same as stalking on facebook but reading about everyday people and how they go about their lives – lives that are totally different to mine but actually not that different.   i recently helped with a family wedding and was amazed at what help and information is out there (this is another blog entry and story of it's own).  another favourite is where you can see where and what suzie is eating in cape town – suzie who?  you may well ask.  then there is this woman who now lives in germany, she is missing south africa, she is trying to write a book, has a young family and her life has become a part of mine.  why am i interested in reading about what she is cooking for dinner or the problems she has in communicating her needs in a new county?   there is a voyeur in all of us, i think (maybe not you?).

i can blame my mother for this.  she had a diary and boyfriends and went out a lot. i was a 14 years old and knew where the diary was kept - she however has always been one-up on me and wrote the interesting parts in shorthand.
i admit, i am a nosey and inquisitive person - have always been (hey mom?).  i love asking questions and trying to work out how people tick.  i think that is why i enjoy reading about other people’s lives because it is REAL.   real people leading really ordinary lives.  just like you and me.
i have the most amazing collection of emails from my friend cheryl in new zealand.  she left south africa nearly 10 years ago.  these emails between the two of us saw me going through a divorce and bringing up 3 teenage sons on my own and her, in a new country with her somewhat younger family, learning to cope with being far away from her support.  the emails are classics - you will not be disappointed. 
this was the basis of my novel, the power of friendships that we have with our girlfriends, how we are able to have different relationships and share different things with each friend.  how we can be so close to two different friends and why those two friends cannot also be friends?  how the tragic loss of a friend can change your life and upset your equilibrium forever but how, out of that loss, new and very special friendships are formed.   
so, what do you think?  will you be interested in reading my ramblings?  my thinking is that once i get the blog going the book will start taking shape – i will use the feedback i get from my "followers" to help develop the characters in "the book".  i will share funny email correspondences i have had with my children and my friends and hopefully not upset any friends in the process.  but hells bells, i am a big girl now so time to take it on the chin as well.
the blog and ultimately the novel will be joint effort –  a melange of different characters but when eventually put together will form part of what makes me (and ultimately us) so lucky to be a daughter, a sister, a mother, a friend but mostly just a woman.
so help me on this journey - your input and feedback is what i need. 

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