June has been fairly chaotic, primarily because I’m in the middle of selling my home and buying to a new one. This has been a decision with a lot of mixed feelings. I currently live in a lovely Victorian redbrick terrace, full of character and charm, that I’ve been in for the last 8 years and was the first house I bought. At the time I thought it would be my forever home but things change, as the invariably do, and now it’s time to move on. While I’m not geographically moving that fair, only around 3 kilometres in fact and still on Dublin’s northside, I am moving into a new build which will be a totally different experience for me. In fact, I’ll be skipping nearly 150 years of housing in doing so, and moving from a 1874 build to a 2019 build! There are pros and cons to all of it, which I’ll not labour here, but overall I feel it’s the right thing to do, at least for now. With all that going on, and my parents staying for a few nights too in order to say goodbye to the old house, I’ve haven’t been able to get as much writing done as I’d have liked. That said, overall I’m still making progress.
I’m more or less finished redrafting the chapters of Attrition that are set in the 1940s. At present this part of the story is in one section but I plan on breaking it up rather than keeping it strictly chronological. My work this month involved a complete overhaul of the story line, toning done (or lighting up) much of the darker elements. There was also some basic rewriting and editing as I went along, such as correcting inaccuracies and ironing out a few wrinkles. I still have a bit of tinkering to do and I’ve outlined a few new chapters to include (I’m developing a bit more of the story based in Dublin in the mid-1930s) but I’m getting closer to the end of the second daft with every bit that I do.
One issue with the story taking so long for me to write (besides me constantly asking why on earth am I doing this to myself?) is that there are definitely some problems with consistency at times, both in tone of writing and within the context of the story itself. Thankfully that’s the point of redrafting and it’s good to pick up on them now rather than later. I envision a third full draft and then hopefully after that most of the work will be basic edits and minor changes.
I’ve some very exciting and happy news to share. I have been chosen as one of the recipients of the La Napoule Art Foundation residency taking place this autumn. The La Napoule Art Foundation was founded by Marie Clews in 1951 in memory of her husband, the prolific sculptor Henry Clews. “La Napoule Art Foundation offers time and space for creative minds to engage in cultural interchange and meaningful work that impacts the world of the common good, by providing three distinct residency opportunities for accomplished and emerging artists from around the world”.
It’s a wonderful boost for me and I’m delighted to develop my writing while meeting other artists from around the world. I’ll be spending 4 weeks in Mandelieu-La Napoule on the Côte d’Azur where I will work on the final draft (hopefully) of Attrition. In a story that is ultimately about escape, this seems like a fitting end to my writing process. I absolutely cannot wait for it.
As we enter the second half of 2019 I realise that I have a lot going on. I’m going to pace myself as much as possible, plan what needs to be done and take action, but also try not to get too stressed out if those plans go awry. Fingers crossed for a speedy sale of my house and starting the third draft of Attrition. I just need to remember to breathe and focus on the good stuff amongst the chaos.