Thursday, 28 January 2010

Day 59 of #100days: Spelling it out

So today's the last day of love week. And I have loved every minute of slicing these pages. Oh yes. It's nice having a theme. I wonder if Josie's got anything up her sleeve for day 60?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Day 58 of #100days: The dinosaur with beautiful ankles

On the withdrawn-for-sale shelf at work is a big book of dinosaurs. I walk past it about eight times a day. I think it wants me to make it into a 3-D pop-up extravaganza of a book. But as Jenn has reminded me, this cutting-up of books is a bit naughty. So I am going to stick with Mills & Boons for now.

As a compromise, I have cut out some dinosaurs who are in love. They are even having a kiss. Who said romance was dead?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Monday, 25 January 2010

Day 56 of #100days: A house made of paper

This is my third attempt at making a house, and now I really am cutting this book to shreds. It's surprisingly therapeutic. Bad librarian! I definitely need a sharper knife, though.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Day 55 of #100days: Words slam into jumbled proximity

Josie Long's not-so-secret, seven-day mission from Day 53 was to do love-themed things. I only got the instructions yesterday, but well, I think that err...doing "creative" things with Mills & Boon books counts. The books are about love. The fact that I'm essentially destroying them...well, we can keep quiet about that, right? After all, it is more "embellishing" than out and out destroying. Just look at the pretty words.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Day 54 of #100days: Voice-thundering-heart-breaking-bird

While I've been looking at cut-up books and book sculptures, I've become aware of the craft knife nestling in the pot of pens on my desk, and over the last day or two, my fingers have been itching to grab the knife and give book-cutting a try. So tonight I Had A Go. (See above.) Initially, I tried doing a tree, but I do not have the patience for intricate things. (And this is also not helped by the knife's blade being so dull that butter could cut it.) And so instead of a graceful tree, I have a voice-thundering-heart-breaking bird. But hooray!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Day 53 of #100days: Fumbling as you glimpse a minute

You shiver blink dance frozen numb.
Fumbling as you glimpse a minute.
It rains and it rains here, just down.

Tonight I read something that took my breath away. Here's a glimpse, click to read it in full...

Like, as if there are all kinds of weather inside him and a city library with a domed roof and the biggest flock of starlings forming all the words and shapes in the sky you can imagine.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Day 51 of #100days: In the blinking of an eye

In the blinking of an eye life scorched her.

A split-second suspended.

The laughter sudden, darkening.

Days 32 to 50 of #100days: Catching up and altering books

I’ve mostly been keeping myself away from the internet. I spent too much time last year just clicking ‘refresh’ a hundred times a day, losing hours of real time. So I’ve cut back, and it’s been good. I’ve got a lot of writing done. I spent a day making a board with timelines and multi-coloured Post-it notes and did lots of “Narrative Arc” playing and planning, and everything with the novel feels more solid now. Yay.

Instead of learning a word a day, I've been working on my Icelandic course a couple of times a week, getting to grips with pronunciation and short conversations. It's harder than reading, but essential if I'm going to learn properly.

Another thing I’ve been doing over the past few days is ‘altering’ pages from books. Not in the way that the crazy borrower does with the Jeffrey Archer books, ‘correcting’ the grammar/Jeff’s word choices/etc, which is highly amusing, but mostly because it’s Jeffrey Archer and not because Library Property is being defaced. Although it is a bit in the same ball park. It does essentially mean destroying a book, which I am dead against normally, but in the case of ‘altered’ books, it can create something that is more than it was. (See above, by the amazing Su Blackwell, for example.)

I am choosy about what I will alter. Old poetry books from charity shops are good. But the books I feel least guilty about using are old deaccessioned Mills & Boons. Not that I have anything against them, but I also have no qualms about painting over things like “lush breasts” and “hot-pink t-shirt” and “impressively muscled thighs” and “skin the colour of cappuccino”. It makes it kind of easy to get my paintbrush out.

I don’t know where I first read about it, but there are lots of artists doing amazing things, (Brian Dettmer does great things with old encyclopaedias. Read an interview with him at Orange Alert) far better than the things I do, which is basically paint gesso primer over most of the words, leaving the ones I like or that feel right. (Similar to this.) Most times a small story appears, or a poem, or a killer line that I’d never have thought of in a hundred years. Sometimes I momentarily get sucked into what “Eduardo” said next, until the paint whitewashes him away. Mostly though, it helps me shut off my left brain, so that when I write straight afterwards, it always seems to flow.

So for the last fifty of the 100 Days, I’m going to do a page a day. Some I think will be the starting point for stories, others might be stories in themselves, and maybe if I put a few together a pattern will emerge. We'll see.

* the photo at the top is from Su Blackwell's blog. She rocks!