Update n°3

I spent last week in Listowel, Co. Kerry, at the Listowel Writer’s Week festival. This is why I didn’t post anything on my blog but it is also why I have this post and two short stories ready to put online over the next two weeks.

There are so many things that went on during the past days that I had to read the notes I scribbled on my notebook to write this post! And just consider that, with the exception of the walking tour, I haven’t been to any of the events simply because I’m too ignorant to know all the writers reading their books. But I don’t mind, simply because I found out that there is always time to learn more and there is always a way to improve yourself. I met extraordinary people who go here and there, without stopping doing things, learning or living even if they’re not so young anymore. Take Mary for example she’s a wonderful X (no good saying a lady’s age, but let’s say greatly more than 50) years old who was at the workshop wanting to try to do something different, living her second youth with her new partner, running an activity in a foreign country. Believe me, I’ve always thought that at that age the only adventurous thing you were able to do was travel around the world and that’s it for my personal experience. And she isn’t the only one I met there who lives this wonderful life. I hope I’ll be like that at her age!

Anyway what I want to concentrate on in this piece are the wonderful, mixed and confused feelings I experienced  in the past seven days! Marvellous thing!

The first class is always something new, you meet your teacher and the people who we’ll stay with you for the days/weeks the course lasts. The one I attended was a 3 days short fiction workshop run by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne who, through the analysis of short stories, taught us how to write them correctly. Or at least my don’ts list is a bit longer now!!! At the very beginning I felt overwhelmed by the atmosphere, fifteen new people to know, some of them already published authors (I would like to underline that this teaches everybody that you never finish to learn. Which is amazing!). Of course all of them were English native speakers (something I was the only one to be worried about, really!) and some of them veterans of the Writers Week. I remember that I looked around me and I thought “What the hell are you doing here, Fran!?”. But I have to admit this uncomfortable sensation didn’t last long! They were one nicer than the other and I spent a wonderful time with them. I met some of them outside the course as well and got some new contacts. I’m really happy for this. I have also to admit that I had the courage to talk and ask the contact information of people that I admire and I thought immediately were nice instead of staying in a corner and think how it would be nice making their acquaintance! It is also true that here in Ireland it’s really easier to make new friends or at least knowing new people. Maybe what I’m learning is to be braver in social relationships and that when I want something, I should go and do it instead of staying in one corner wishing!

I found the method of “learning through the reading” really interesting. That is probably something we all should do when we read. Well, I wouldn’t want to sound obvious but maybe that’s why we’re told to read more than write! I think I have to improve this skill anyway. I’m usually so absorbed by what I’m reading that after a while it’s pretty hard to keep the concentration on the technical point of view.

The first day we were given homework as well and I wrote a short story staying up till 1 that night. But it was worth it, because it received a nice feedback. You’ll see it on this blog in a couple of weeks. I’m so glad of this and most of all it could mean that I should start thinking that I’m not that bad. What it needs for sure is some correction. Actually I think I said this before, and this experience didn’t change the matter, the toughest part of the workshop is reading every time after you produced something without the time to revise and correct it properly. I feel just a bit better knowing that I’m not the only one to feel like this, so maybe it’s not really connected with the fact that I’m an Italian native speaker, or at least not only, but also with the character itself. If only I felt more self-confident after all these workshops it would be great.

I was sad when the workshop was finished. It was a good experience and it was so funny and enjoyable that I wanted it to last longer. It taught me a lot but also that I have to learn even more.

On Friday my partner came over and we spent the weekend together but what I think with nostalgia about are the two days I spent by myself, simply because I passed all day long doing what I love the most, writing and reading. It was an incredibly fulfilling and satisfying sensation I was doing something for me and something I’m proud of. I hope that sooner or later I’ll be able to be a full time writer and spend my days like the old writers did. I’m a bit romantic, I know, but I feel like whishing  this to myself.

Talk to you later!

Update n°2

Hi all,

Here I am again! The original post for this week wasn’t this one, but then a couple of things happened and I wanted to share them with you!

First of all I started my children’s fiction workshop at the Writers Centre here in Dublin. It’s a seven weeks course run by a writer and illustrator of children/teens books, Oisín McGann.

We’re just 6 people and, apart from me and a Swedish lady, the rest of us are Irish. But all ladies! Good for him! The course is amazing, and the teacher is very good. He actually destroyed the idea I’ve always had of the writer. I mean, when you think about a writer, the immediate thought that comes to your mind is a solitary, grumpy hunchback person sitting at his/her desk. Nothing could be more wrong than this or further from the truth. This guy is a performer honestly! If you just happen to pass behind the door I think you’d be sure that on the other side they’re holding a theatre class not a writing one!

But it is actually one of the things he told us immediately: you can forget to just stay at your desk and write, after that you have to go around, read your book and face the public. Wow that was exactly the explanation I had given to my colleagues at work: “I have problems with the microphone because I’m panicking….but I’m not worried, I’m a writer so I don’t need it!”…well it seems I was wrong and that I’ll have to face this problem eventually! That’s why I have to learn to sell myself and my writing! What is sure is that I have to work on it!

What I can tell you for sure is that now, considering the reason why I have to defeat my panic at the mike, my determination in doing it will strengthen!

The toughest part in attending this course was writing and reading on the spot, by the way. I’ve already put something online and I gave some of my stuff to some friends of mine to read, but in those cases I wrote the piece, I thought about it and eventually those people corrected the errors I made! Only after that I was able to put my stuff on the web or show it to a bigger audience! But here it’s different! You have ten minutes to create something and bang, you have to read it. I tell you, it’s scary and I’d prefer to sink into the ground and be swallowed by the floor!

But on the other hand I guess it’s a good exercise for me, and I hope that my self confidence will improve a bit after this.

The second thing I mentioned was that it was held at the Writer Centre again last Saturday. I’m talking about the publishing day. It was basically a one day conference. Five people connected with the publishing and writing world spoke one by one and answered to a lot of questions.

I arrived there and I felt a bit lost: people seemed to know each other, at least the majority of them. I looked around to see if at least I could find someone from my course but I didn’t spot anybody or at least I think so! The bad thing in doing the job I do is meeting too many people, and personally I cannot fix people’s faces in my mind so quickly!

Even if I felt lost anyway I didn’t feel the kind of oppression I’ve always felt going to a new place. At the Centre people are nice and welcoming and know perfectly well that a kind smile doesn’t cost a fortune. And it is amazing because this is one of the last things you’d expect from the writing world! Maybe it’s not always and everywhere like this but I guess it is a good start.

I found all the speeches very interesting, full of useful information. There were so many things I didn’t know and for sure there will still be many things I have to learn. But I have to calm down now and proceed one step after another.

The speech that maybe affected me the most was Dermot Bolger’s. He’s a very nice man, the typical mad writer (mad of course in a good way! This is a compliment!) who said that it doesn’t matter if you’ve already published a book or not, if you wrote one you are a writer. It’s weird because I’ve always said to people that I’m an aspiring writer, maybe because I’ve always had the idea that you’re a writer if you get published or when you have arrived! But arrived where exactly!? What I found out the other day was exactly this; you never finish learning, improving and evolving! I daresay I’m just at the very beginning!!! I have lots more to do, BUT I’m a writer!

And I’ll leave you here with this new consciousness!

Talk to you later!

Update n°1

I’ll write “update” as tag and title to all my post concerning writing! In these kinds of posts I’ll tell you what I’m doing or simply what I feel writing something. Of course I’ll use the first one as introduction!

If I decided to open this blog and one in Italian, well actually two because I wasn’t able to delete the old one and have a website as well is because I need to show you my works, my thoughts.

I love writing and I put in a little bit of myself every single time I place words in row.

Once I was told that reading my short story is just like speaking with me! For me it was a huge compliment! Although I’m not completely aware of it, it means that every single time I’m putting a bit of myself in my works.

Or that could mean I’m writing in a too much colloquial way and I need to improve my technique! Well I’ll bet that! I’ve just started to write anyway!

This is my first post about writing and me as a writer so I’ll tell you more about that.

I’ve always loved reading. I started with fairy tales of course, like everybody. Soon I found out Emilio Salgari’s books that brought me in to the Malaysian world full of pirates, gentlemen, villains and princesses.

I really loved those books and I’m seriously thinking about reading them once again as soon as I have the chance.

After that I kept reading and I always read as many book as I can even if it is a single line every time I open them.

As I mentioned before, when I was 8 I started to write a story about an archaeologist. It was about a pyramid impossible to open, if I’m not mistaken. The only thing I remember well of those 10/15 pages is the vivid sweating face of him drinking ice tea sat at his desk and trying to solve a riddle. I stopped trying to invent one and after that I had the bad idea to ask for feedback and as you know I didn’t receive much encouragement from my family, even if they didn’t read it at all.

I’ve already mentioned what happened next so I won’t repeat it here for it wasn’t really important as a period.

It was just pretty dark with some ideas swirling round my mind but with no strength or no time or no knowledge of how to put them in practice.

But, as you know, when I started to work where I’m working now I met my guru, who is also my best friend and brother, to whom I really owe a lot! He taught me how to embrace my dreams and love my ideas and what I’m doing. He keeps teaching me after two and half years and I guess he’ll do that for more years to come because you’ll never finish learning, really.

I’ll be never grateful enough to him for that!

The really nice and exciting thing is that I cannot stop writing anymore. Every day I have to put something on paper. Could be even a sketch but if I don’t write at least a little my hands start shaking and I feel really uncomfortable.

What I’ve written so far are some short stories and a book in Italian, which I’ll translate for you as soon as I can.

After that I decided to write in English but whatever language I’ll use I decided I’ll translate into the other. I know that this will drain my energy, in particular during the summer (that is the busiest period in work) but I’ll try to update the blog regularly.

Of course there’ll be some slight differences between the posts because I’ll edit them separately, so if you speak both languages you can check them anyway.

To be honest, I would like to translate it in Spanish and Japanese too, but it’s maybe asking too much from myself right now. I’ll stick with these two languages for the moment!

The reason why I write in English, because I know you want to ask me this question (everybody does), is not only my personal need to complicate my life every time I can, but also a challenge.

Well, at least first of all, a challenge to prove to myself I can do this.

Secondly, but not less important, I want to be published but only if I deserve it. Considering that Italy at the moment is a place where rarely you get something if you deserve it, but it’s just a ‘I pay more SO I deserve it’ place, I prefer to write in English and have more chances to understand if I’m worth it or not.

Maybe I’m not but I won’t stop writing just for this because as I told you, I love doing it and I cannot stop!

I think that’s it for the moment.

Talk to you later!