Sunday, November 21, 2010

Power cuts, rugby losses and a good book

Now that the Tanzanian elections are over, there is no need to keep the population happy by supplying regular power.  The last ten days have been awful with daily power cuts, the longest one lasting 30 hours.  Of course, this does put a dampener on your writing, when you are desparately trying to write 50 000 words in the month of November.  My laptop, although less than a year old, has a battery life of 7 minutes.  Caused, they say, from our frequent power surges.  I now have a special adapter to control it, but it's too late, the damage has already been done to my battery.  Despite the power problems, I have managed to get in a couple of hundred words here and there, and am now sitting on 30 000 words for Defective, my new book.  This of course leaves me with having to do 2000 words a day to reach the magical 50 000 words on the 30th November.  I know what you are thinking.  Stop writing this blog and get back to writing while the power is on.
Siobhan and I have been playing a lot of Scrabble by candlelight.  (If I invested in a generator I wouldn't have this problem at all!)  The best thing to come out of a power cut, is that I missed the rugby game when Scotland beat my beloved Springboks.  I was only angry about missing it up until the time I found out we'd lost.  Now I am ecstatically happy that I didn't watch our boys stumble and falter and probably knock the ball on.
A friend at school gave me a book to read a while ago, and with our power cuts this week, and being unable to write, I finally picked the book up to read.  I didn't really care about the content, it was the writing that moved me.  Beautifully written prose, great streams of consciousness.  I decided that when I grow up, I want to write like that.  But then, as I sit in front of my fully-charged laptop, I realise that I can never write beautiful prose like that because it is not me, and I don't want to lose me to try and be like someone else.  Pretty profound for a Sunday morning, eh?
Made custard slices yesterday, so am dying to try them today and see what they taste like, but will have to dress myself and drive down to the supermarket down the road as I need icing sugar to complete my masterpiece.  At the moment, I need to write at least two thousand words before I go anywhere, make good use of the power while it lasts.

The Sisters AntipodesThe Sisters Antipodes by Jane Alison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has got to be one of the most beautifully-written books I've read in a long time. I'm not usually one for memoirs, but the story about two couples starting out as friends and then swapping partners could be the story of my childhood as that's what happened in my family. The resultant jealousy, feelings, rivalry still occur in our family 37 years later so it is definitely something I could identify with. For me this book was more the creation of an artist than a writer, as the descriptions felt like I was in a painting, and I was pulled in. All I can say is, wow magical writing. The actual story was sad, tragic even, and I feel for the author who obviously has deep issues and hasn't managed to move on. Reading the book, I was aware of so many good things, happy parts of life, that she missed out on as she was so caught up in her own misery; she was only able to see the negative in every situation and that is the true tragedy in my book. Even though her stepsister was portrayed as the 'dark and troubled' twin, I truly believe that she experienced happiness. She lived, she loved, she had fun. The author on the other hand existed, always wanting what wasn't there or what she couldn't have, she never allowed herself to appreciate or enjoy what she did have. There is a big difference between existing and living. Jenny lived, Jane existed.

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