Sunday, September 24, 2017

Candle in the Wind: Fortnight 17 of The Burns

Spring on campus
I set myself the goal of writing 15,000 all-purpose words this fortnight.

I failed. (If only I could have stung this blogpost out a little longer)

Total wordcount: 14,543 (52% on the novel, 34% on essays, 13% on this blog and 1% on short stories [editing one I wrote in Feb])
  • 1st week: 6,109 words (4 writing days)
  • 2nd week: 8,434 words (6 writing days)


I lost a writing day on the first week because I was doing parenting things one morning, then met with the Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature Collaboration Group in the afternoon. I was invited to tell them about what I’d been up to as the Burns Fellow, for which these fortnightly posts proved VERY useful. I’ve parlayed my notes into some text for the University’s website, which should show up here in the next week or so.


Has anyone else’s September been especially slippery? Like: it’s almost gone?!


The novel? Well. It’s a bit like my life story – it gets longer every time I tell it.

And while the climbing pagecount of the first draft is good – I need something to which I can apply my scalpel to create drafts two through twenty-six – right now it feels like dangerous territory. Like this is the part of the novel where readers will feel I lost the initial thread, where it was written too quickly and no matter how hard I try to unify the whole and fulfill the promises of the back cover, the first quarter, first half, I won’t be able to unwrite the wrong turns I’m writing now.

But ask me again next fortnight and I’ll feel different. Hopefully better different.


My wife went up to Auckland on Friday and was due to arrive home around 8pm tonight, but her plane couldn’t land in Dunedin because it was too windy (!) and they had to land in Christchurch. The earliest flight from CHC to DND isn’t till 4pm tomorrow, so they all flew back to Auckland and she should land in DND 9:30am tomorrow.

Fuel crisis? What fuel crisis?

The upshot of this is that I have another evening to my own devices.

(I’m secretly glad I’m due another one of these update posts as three-nights/two-days of solo-parenting 2 kids (4 and 2) means I’m not really up to writing fiction (especially when I feel like what I’m writing in the best possible physical and mental situation isn’t cutting the mustard). So, lucky you.)


I'm one of two judges for this year's Robbie Burns Poetry Comp. Entries open now. Winners get cash money; judges get, um, interviewed by the ODT about judging.


At least one of my offspring shares my interest in container shipping.
(The kids have been great, by the way, and I've had a blast. I just didn't leave a lot in the tank for tonight/tomorrow morning.)


I took the kids to Doctors Point on Blueskin Bay yesterday. It only took 30 minutes to get there, but it made me think how many places there are around Dunedin that are kinda like Halfmoon Bay on Stewart Island, except for the BEING A HELLISH FERRY RIDE AWAY FROM THE MAINLAND. 

I'll admit, while on Rakiura I had the odd romantic thought about moving there. Simpler, more rugged life, etc.

But you can have that in Blueskin Bay or Long Beach or Bull Creek or Kaka Point.

People who move to Stewart Island are basically elite hipsters, like the ones who eschew fixie bikes for penny farthings, or write their cafe poetry ON A TYPEWRITER.

Doctors Point (my kids enjoy my company, honest)


Let’s not talk about the election.

Next week, after one or two beers, then we can talk.

It's just a little weird that I've been a public servant since 2004 (starting in Queensland, with a 2 year gap while in Edinburgh) and have never gone through a change of Government. Maybe 2020? Or maybe Winston does Winston-things?

Sorry. Not talking about the election from: NOW. 

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