In what seems a lifetime ago, I remember sitting in my local airport at around six thirty in the morning waiting for my flight to Newcastle. It being a tiny airport, and me having turned up three hours early like it was an international flight from Heathrow, I had time to kill. So I went to find the one café tucked away in the corner and find myself a nice cup of tea and a warm bowl of porridge.
Whilst in this café, sipping at my tea, I noticed the lady sitting on the other table, drinking in rather quick fashion what looked like to be a rather large glass of wine. Now, I myself am partial to wine, but at six thirty am, I was a little confused. Until I realised, of course, airports are one giant liminal space. Time doesn’t exist. Concepts of time don’t exist. So not only is it perfectly acceptable to drink wine for breakfast, you can also have porridge for dinner (something I have done on multiple occasions whilst travelling, much to the confusion of the café staff).
I thought about this memory, because this is what lockdown feels like to me. Not a place of destination, but a pause on that journey. Waiting for things, planning new trips, watching time slowly tick by on the clock at an excruciatingly slow speed. A giant, liminal space experience that we all get to collectively enjoy (or not).
But one thing I like to remember, just like airports, service stations, or random pit stops on the edge of the A40, liminal spaces are not forever. It seems, at times, that this experience will never end. It feels, at times, like you will never survive it.
But like all liminal spaces, it is just a stop on your journey. Life continues, and will continue. Eventually. Somehow. Maybe it looks different, maybe it’s a “new normal”, but at some point you will realise the liminal space has ended and you’ve reached the other side.
Many posts have sprouted the need to be productive in lockdown. And yes, there is an element of staying busy that helps some people (myself included). This month, I’ve completely smashed my Assassins 1 word targets (more on that later), connected with new writers and readers on Instagram, and written some more flash fictions.
But I’ve also had to take time to be un-productive. Work, for me, still goes on, so my day job is slowly leaking into my thoughts in the evening without my commute to help me leave it in the office. I’ve taken to playing more games – Stardew Valley is the latest – to try and switch off. One thing this lockdown is teaching me is that writing and creating, no matter how much I love it, does not solve all problems. I need to do other activities, force myself to turn off Scrivener, and do something else.
It’s interesting, really, how an increase in creative time does not mean every hour of that day needs to be spent writing. In fact, adding some other activities into my day makes the time I do spend writing far more efficient.
Assassins 1 is trundling along, I’m almost 1/3 of the way through draft two. At the moment, the focus is on laying the seeds for the murder/mystery sub-plot, which is proving harder than I first thought! Multiple diagrams have been drawn to try and work out myself what the mystery is (the joys of being a Gardener Writer), as well as multiple drafts to try and stop my characters over-exposing the plot threads. It’s going to need a lot of work to add in the layers of character development and pacing the story still needs, but it’s a step in the right direction!
My favourite scene so far has been delving into Violetta’s memories, leaning about her backstory and how she became an Assassin. She’s my sassy, motherly, character, whose life ended rather dramatically (and her plotline is all about investigating who and the why). It’s the murder element of my murder/mystery.
Next month’s goals are to try and complete this section of the book, to get to my pivotal scene I have named “Alley Attack”. It’s a really dramatic, punchy, fight sequence that sets my characters up for their journeys in the second arc of the story, and launches my main character, Mae, into a new world of intrigue and assassins.
What else have I been up to?
I’ve been involved in the #aprilfantasyloop over on IG, meeting some lovely new fantasy writer and reader friends! It’s been so lovely to find new fans of fantasy, especially high fantasy, as for all of its popularity it’s still not a common genre to read. I love seeing everyone’s synopsis and books – there is such variety and a wealth of talent out there. Can’t wait to read it all!
I’ve also been working on my story Gateway of Arieum. Those of you who read my Spring Newsletter would have already had a sneaky peek at the story. For everyone else, it’ll be released as a free download when you sign up to my newsletter – I hope in time for my next Summer Newsletter in June!
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I’ve found myself watching a lot more TV recently. Here are some of a few my husband and I give a stamp of approval – namely that I watched it the entire way through!
Treadstone (Yes, the ending was not great, but the fight scenes are great)
Photo Credit: Erik Odiin on Unsplash
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