Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bleeping and Clicking, Not Being Able to Write and a Nice Prize

I've had a break from writing because I've been off colour.  I want to write stuff. I spent whole bleeping, clicking nights in hospital (bleeping and clicking are not coy swear-word replacements; hospital nights do come furnished with a bleeping and clicking sound track).

I spent whole bleeping, clicking nights in hospital mentally composing a piece on how I feel about an arrangement that often seems to strive, 'officiously to keep alive'*.

Time and again I have witnessed ordinarily aging people who have had their chassis-life extended with replacement body parts and chemical tinkering.  They live on, but often they live on to become broken, muddled old shells of human beings who survive into a shitty and undignified great age.

The piece I was mentally composing had a testing extra facet because I have recently and unwittingly become part of that arrangement.  Last Autumn I developed a ridiculous, sore limp and it turned out that, if I wanted to walk painlessly and (sort of) normally again, a surgeon would need to strive and replace my knackered hip with a new version.

Whatever gruesome things happened to me in hospital they were not conducive to getting mentally composed-words down on paper in an engaging order.  The piece I was composing is too difficult for me to write (I keep editing the last three paragraphs but they continue to sound like muddled old crap).

All I want to do at the moment is read.  Mostly, what I do do is stare into space and drop asleep with my glasses skewed across my face and my neck in a cricked position.

I was quite subdued and sad when I was admitted into hospital.  I was plagued with grave doubts about my writing abilites - see previous post.  Actually, see most of my previous posts.  And, although I pretend to be fearless I was witless with terror about what was going to be done to me in the name of officious striving.

During the bleeping, clicking second post-operative day I received an email from the Writer with the Writerly Name telling me that my short story, The Musical Mobile, has won the 2010 Helen Clark Award for prose. 

The news could not have come at a better time and it made me very, very glad. 

The Musical Mobile is an extract from my MA dissertation and is a redrafted version of the piece I read so badly at my first open mic.

That's all.  That's a start.

from The Last Decalogue by Arthur Hugh Clough


Max Henry said...

Welcome back Kim. You are so brave and how nice to get a reward. Big congrats on the short story prize. Max

kim mcgowan said...

Thank you, Max The prize made me very happy (I'm not at all brave but bless you for saying so).
kim x

Nik Perring said...

How wonderful! Huge congrats! That's fab!

And hope you're well on the mend.

Nik X

kim mcgowan said...

Thanks, Nik
And am well on the mend, definitely (just still a bit... disconnected)x

Susan Gee said...

Well done Kim, great news about your short story. Keep your pecker up as they say.

kim mcgowan said...

Pecker pointing, as it were, Susan x

Jenn Ashworth said...

Congratulations on the prize! Having been there for the reading that you write about in your last post, I think I'm allowed to say that you can be your own worst critic sometimes.

I've been having a bad writing week too, full of doubts and no confidence. I thought I was past it, but it can sneak up and catch you unawares when you least expect it. Reading sometimes cures it for me, and other times nothing but a day in bed thrashing and wailing will do the trick.

Thanks so much for your feedback on my novel today - I was feeling quite raw when I turned up, but there's nothing like sitting with someone who has taken the time to read your words and think about them and offer some constructive criticism to shift the black mood. Let me know if I can ever return the favour. My red pen is at your disposal!


sandcastle said...

Oh, I do hope you feel better soon. Congratulations on your prize.

kim mcgowan said...

Thank you for the preview! All I did was read a really super second novel and point out a couple of typing errors.

I absolutely love Cold Light, Jenn, and enjoyed reading it enormously. It is quite different from A Kind of Intimacy but I'm sure it'll prove to be every bit as acclaimed.

Thank you. I'm feeling better but I am just a bit of a wuss!


kim mcgowan said...

every bit as acclaimed? What kind of grammar is that?