Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The rot sets in

Community garden, Highgate Hill, London

Lately I’ve been thinking about bodies. And compost. But mainly bodies.

I haven’t been thinking about body deposable techniques. Rather I’ve been dredging my brain for everything I learnt in uni about anatomy and musculoskeletal conditions*. My neurones are synapsing over time. I’m left dull witted and entirely at risk of falling asleep on the train after work. Once home I’m house hunting, training for a half marathon**, reacquainting myself with friends and family (so they don’t wonder who the strange redhead is sleeping in their daughter’s bed) and starting two separate yearlong diplomas.

After a nine months of having little worries and no responsibilities other then occasionally wearing clean clothes and eating vegetables - I’ve somehow piled a whole lot of responsibilities onto my plate so that I can’t even see the plate anymore.

Needless to say I haven’t been writing much, other a couple of letters and what you see on this blog. Whilst I’m happy with the blog, it’s been sliding into mainly book reviews. I’ve only vaguely mentioned writing my travelogue but not to any real extent. I love doing book reviews, but the original intent of the blog was to focus on developing my writing and have a manuscript written, edited and good to go by the year’s end.

So this last month I’ve been ‘composting’. According to Patti Miller author of ‘The Memoir Book’ -

“often, experience feels monolithic and can take time to break down into usable elements…tackle events which are too recent, and not only are they (writing students) overwhelmed by the events emotionally, they also find their writing ‘lumpy’ and raw, much like the original materials of a compost heap.”

Because I like plans and lists, I’m taking on Miller’s advice to do some ‘pre-writing’, which is not posing with your pen poised as if you are just about to write something. Rather

“You are not writing the memoir, you are writing about it. This pre-writing is a ramble, a kind of scaffolding, from which you explore the general territory.”

This week I’m going to figure out my approach to my travelogue – I’m half thinking of creating a chapter/personal essay for each country I travelled to***. But I want to figure out themes, intent, tone and style. Hopefully I develop a strong base so my compost heap sprouts a small seedling which grows into a heaving tree

'Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven', Secret Garden, Islington, London

I realise I’ve taken Miller’s metaphor and completely changed it’s meaning, but I think the idea of trees more appealing then rotting banana skins..

* I’m a physiotherapist

**I once read a study that if you visual yourself exercising this has a positive physiological affect on your cardiovascular health, minor at best, but at the minute I’m risking crow’s feet as I concentrate super hard on imagining myself running. I’ll hopefully squeeze in a spot of actual running this week .

*** England, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium + Hungry + Bulgaria + Romania + Prague + Austria (in one essay as I spent I fleeting time in each), Turkey, Iran, India, Tibet + China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia

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