Saturday, April 25, 2009

If you sometimes feel ever so slightly sorry for yourself

- and obviously it's a bit of a speciality of mine - you might like to check out Rosie's blog.

To be or not to be PC

It seems like everyone's falling over themselves these days to take offence at some minor infrigement of the PC rules, so when I realised that one of the assessments I was planning to give my Pakistani students had a pet dog in it I wondered what I should do. Would they really, as Muslims, be offended by just a picture of a dog? Certainly the staff who observed my last year's training classes would regard it as 'culturally insensitive' but they tend to be over the top and I'm not sure we should kowtow to nutters.
In the end, I did the only sensible thing and copped out. I didn't change the questions but I haven't used them either. Not till there's some definitive answer, or preferably precedent, that doesn't involve people being given warnings or losing newly acquired jobs.

Entered this competition this week. Don't know anything about it, but sometimes that random element makes it all the more fun.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Writing mags

It was when I realised that the Writing Magazine I'd just picked off my 'unread' pile dated back to 2007 that I decided it was probably time to unsubscribe. But what's frustrating is that this means also giving up Writers' News - which I do read - because, of course, the two of them come as a package. Why??
This seems so perverse to me. Sainsbury's don't make me buy bread before they'll sell me butter. The local chippie's happy for me to have just a fishcake or a small carton of curry sauce - I'm not obliged to take unrequired mushy peas as well.
Weird. Anyway, I've taken the plunge. I'm going it alone. Which should leave me a bit more time for actually writing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Singing trees and sadness

Well, the week off did the trick, thanks, and we've had a couple of days out locally this weekend. Yesterday we went to see a panopticon - its more descriptive name is the Singing Ringing Tree - very Enid Blyton. It only sings in the wind, so was very subdued yesterday. Silent even.

Time to get back to work...

I decided I'd change my play idea into a story, and to offer it to WW as a serial. Seeing as I've only ever sold them one story that's probably - almost certainly - pushing my luck. But still, it's good to have an aim. Further to Pat's recent post - I think it was Pat - about getting to know characters, I dutifully wrote a half page on each of the characters and - as if by magic! - more plotline elements presented themselves. Brilliant! I must do more of this getting to know the characters. Sadly, now a story which was going to be light-hearted with odd touches of pathos is in danger of becoming 98% heartbreak. Must rein that in. I'm not sure how other people manage this because it seems to me that the further you find out about anyone, real or imaginery, the more sadness you unveil. Most people have regrets or tragedies or events that make them feel at best winsome and at worst suicidal, in their history. And that's what seems to attract me. Wow, miserable or what? and this is me when I've got a grip!

So, can you write light-hearted stuff and still have fully-formed characters? I'm not sure that the characters in all the TV sitcoms are fully-rounded, are they?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The embarrassment...

A week ago I had a day off. A day's sick leave. And nowadays when you return to work you have to have a Return To Work Interview. This is dressed up as a benign, can-we-help-you-in-any-way thing but really it's designed to stop you from having the day off in the first place. Or to think twice next time. Obviously it'll be most effective with those people who feel gulty ringing in sick even when they've got raging appendicitis, while the ones who take a day off to go shopping with their bezzy mate will carry off their fibs with aplomb as usual. That's life, I suppose. But I digress...

Anyway, I had this day off sick, and on Thursday I had my return to work interview. Well, things have been pretty stressful for...well, ever since I started work there, and what happened, I got into the interview, and cried. I actually cried in the bloody return to work interview!

So, now my line manager thinks I'm an over-emotional nutcase. I could see her shrinking backwards from the table and gazing at me with wide eyes full of horror. I think she was very glad indeed that I have a week's holiday scheduled for next week. Me too. I need time to live it down.

Hope you all have a lovely, chocolatey Easter.