Monday, 30 September 2013

The new girl 'first day' experience

So, this is it.  The safety is Off.

No more trekking into the office.  No more 'working for someone', no more 'wage slave'.

Nope, I haven't won the lottery that I don't play, married a millionaire or taken over a dark, lurid and lucrative drugs cartel.

This is in fact my first day as a freelance writer.  I am a pen for hire.

The glamour of it kills me.  I slept till I woke this morning (not something I intend to do every morning but it felt necessary to mark this Monday with a treat).  I had coffee brought to me in bed.  After listening to the woes of the world via the Today programme I read a few pages of a novel.

It's not all glamour though.  I've been sat at my desk for over an hour trying to fulfil a promise to myself to start each day writing 'something' - be that blog, journal, article or short story - only to face down constant interruptions from the boyfriend:

"do you want a coffee babs?"
"are we going to have a sit down and a chat before I head off?"
"oh, you're working now aren't you?" (snigger)

Followed by 7 separate occasions in which he has 'presented' himself desk-side to inform me that he is now going to work.  SEVEN.  The front door has finally banged shut.

Where on earth was I?

Oh yes.  The Plan.  In a moment I'll pop the kettle on and settle down to write two copywriting/content marketing proposals to two potential clients.  I've a list of financial 'stuff' type jobs to do, some prep work for my Journalism MA and a catch-up-cuppa with a mate of mine who's disappearing off to Thailand again the day after tomorrow.

That's the immediate plan. My broader vision is to earn a living telling stories.

They'll range from corporate stories, helping people to tell their tales to the wider world on the web and via emarketing campaigns through to news worthy local stories, investigative pieces, lifestyle columns and reviews on plays and books I've seen and read.  I will also be writing and publishing short stories, plays and a sprinkling of poetry.

It probably doesn't sound very focused.

I've been warned if you want to be 'successful' you have to be really focused. You have to have a really clear niche market all figured out already.  You probably need to start day one with a website already up and running and a couple of clients lined up.  You should have your finances worked out really carefully and know exactly how it's all going to add up, how the ends, as such, are going to meet.

As it happens I haven't done any of those things.  The intention was there but, well, that really never seems to be the way things happen for me, neatly planned and all in a row. Does it work that way for anybody?  I'm not sure.

What I do know is I'm here now and I plan to turn up at the page each morning and see what unfolds.  Any which way, I'll keep you posted.....

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Persistence of Memory - by Alison Farina (and Salvadore Dali....)

There are two reasons why you should go see Alison Farina’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’.

The first is to see Mneme (played by Meghan Leslie), the muse of memory, sent to aid and ease professor Dante DeLucca’s descent into dementia.

She is quite literally divine.  She is everything a deity (albeit minor) should be. Elevated above mere mortals as the audience enter and settle, Mneme sits graceful and statuesque on top of the bookcase ladder for what must feel like an eternity.  Yet once the show begins she is personable and playful in her connection with both the audience and Dante. Nibbling chocolate whilst observing the mortals, joking with the audience and sensitively portraying scenes from Dante’s life with his wife – she is effortlessly engaged and engaging.

The second reason to see it is the emotional truth at the centre of the piece: that we are the sum total of our memories and without them our bodies are mere empty shells. 

Dante’s recognition and response to that realisation and his daughter Iphee’s devotion to her father despite her own life being less than perfect are believably painful portrayals of a situation no one wants to be faced with.  The story is told with gentle humour and sensitivity.

Playing at the Alma Tavern, Bristol, Saturday 14th September and the Rondo Theatre Bath, frin 29th September.