So – why have I called this one ‘the seesaw edition’? Well, basically because I’m going to start on a bit of grim (reading) note, but end firmly on a high (writing) note.
There’s an old adage in writing for media – if you want to tell a story of thousands of people, tell the story of one person.
In other words, make it personal.
I have read about the ‘Ice’ epidemic, but it wasn’t until I read an extract from the memoir of comedian Greg Fleet (These Things Happen, Pan Macmillan) that the actual impact of this awful drug really hit home.
For six months, Fleet and his girlfriend, Catherine, took Ice – an at times euphoric, and other times violent and desperate experience that he describes with unflinching honesty.
With most long-term drug use, what the user is doing is trying to get back to the beginning. Back to the early days when the drug made you feel so good. But you can never get back there. Back there does not exist anymore. Not on this timeline. It’s a false economy. But you will keep trying. Eventually it becomes like a snake swallowing its own tail. Sad and destructive and doomed to nothingness.
I’m classing this is a short read, for I’m not sure I have the stomach to read the whole book.
This extract alone is like a punch in the guts.
‘People keep recommending sad books to me,’ moaned a friend of mine on Saturday. ‘I need something funny!’
Oh, did I have the book for her.
The Bit in Between is the funniest thing I’ve read all year. It’s a rom-com with substance – the story of two gen y-ers who fall in love at first sight, move to the Solomon Islands, and really start to grow up.
Hard to believe that this is Claire Varley’s debut – and even harder to believe this book nearly ended up languishing on a slush pile.
I’ve now moved onto Whispers Through A Megaphone, which is also funny, but in a very dark way.
Last week was a bit of a battle in which everything I wrote seemed like rubbish.
Then, a couple of lovely things happened.
Firstly, the kind folk at Margaret River Press (who’ve published two of my short stories) published an interview with me, which you can read here, and prompted some lovely feedback from friends, family and fellow writers.
Then, I got an email to say that a short story of mine has been short-listed for a competition.
It was exactly the little spark I needed to get going again.
This week, WA author, Natasha Lester wrote a great piece that debated whether self-belief was more important than self-discipline.
Personally, I struggle far more with self-belief. But, as I wrote in response to Natasha’s blog – I keep going in the insane belief that the next great sentence/idea/story – only I never quite get there.
But I keep trying.
It’s called hope.