My Reading Problem Solved

We had a run through of our readings in Wednesday evening’s class. I’m currently second on the bill so was one of the first to get up and read. I chose what I think will be the eventual opening of the book — the firing scene. This is a lively scene but difficult to read as it has three characters and some narration — to do it proper justice I need to read in four slightly different registers. I have a cunning plan to try and help me with this BUT I got some extra inspiration from one of the contestants on last night’s Britain’s Got Talent.

He’s Mark James from Barnoldswick and performed a duet from ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in the auditions — where he had a costume split down the middle — one female side and one male. He stood facing different directions when singing the appropriate part! Complete rubbish — and even worse when last night he did Elton John and Kiki Dee which was a much more interchangeable duet so he was forever spinning round. (I was a bit gutted the extraordinarily talented pole dancer went out tonight.)

But — maybe that’s my solution — perhaps I dress in some sort of split female (for Kate the HR woman) costume on one side and a male costume for James and his boss Will (Will is balding so maybe when I’m James I can put a wig on or something)? Then perhaps for the narration I take the mic and hide behind the lectern — very omniscient.

I’m sure all the literary agents would remember that sort of performance?

Emily was ill, which was bad luck for me as I had a tutorial scheduled with her to discuss chapter 5 and other stuff. However, Emma Sweeney was a very capable replacement — she teaches at various places like Cambridge University and New York University (London campus) — a bit more exotic a version of our curiously named Bedford University Buckinghamshire campus that does nursing teaching, presumably for Stoke Mandeville (see below). To digress even further when I Googled her name, I found a syllabus for a course that someone called Emma Sweeney teaches, or has taught, (could be a different person but it’s not so important as the following goes on to say I found a good idea) at a U.S. university that ├é┬áincludes a module on ‘sex and the body’ — a potentially awkward subject that I’d guess causes writers more anxiety than anything else and I’m really wondering whether I should make myself write something similar for my last workshop reading. It might be difficult but it would be a good learning experience.

Mind you I say that as someone’s whose writing always seems to veer towards the smutty — to the extent that other students like to insist I mention that one of my male characters is ‘sex mad’.

One Reply to “My Reading Problem Solved”

  1. Hi ther Mike1 I dont think James is sex mad – he is just who he is. I thought your refelctions on my blog entry about our characters being real people – in our heads – was intersting. I too was rather annoyed when some people giving feedback said – Almir wouldnt speak like that, it sounds too street talk(when the research interview I did with the Albanina profesor at SEES indicated that a young Albanian man with little englisg comming to London for the first time would not have difficulty with Enlgish pronounciation – and – especially if he lived in a place like E17 , would quickly pick up the language of the street. Also if felt many people giving feedback didnt apreciate/have knowledge of how gay men do it – crusing I mean – it IS could and matter affact – like a business transation almost and usually sex comes first then the romance(if that comes at all – so the coment that -” how can this be a love story when they cut to the chase so quickly dint ring true for me – ALSO I was surprised at the number of commentators who’d never heard of the term “batty man” – which is the perjorative term usied by homophobic black (men mostlty)people in reference to gay black men.

    Perhaps the answer to all of this is to modify for the “less informed” reader – elaborate by spelling out meaning which might be ambiguous or unknown in the popular mind;also to make it more literary – its fiction after all – so the it makes for an easier and better read – I mean eg the dialogue – like Rose Tremain has done in her book The Road Home wher she has her Romanaina protagonist speaking perfect english like all the other characters…

    I may – as a result of the last City workshop feedback on the bakery pick up – have Roland Avoid taking drugs and be anti quick pick ups/one night stands – he’s had a few and sees the “scene” as superficial – ok when he was in the closet for a quick occaisional anaymous foray – but now he’s comming out – he wants more – the attraction the Almir IS sexual at first but I do agree that Almir needs to be more coy/gurded to the come on – I will have them dnace with each other a little longer in the scen I workshoped and also a fewmore brief encounters before they get to this point. Almirs need s to have more curiouity about Rolands motivation – maybe he askes him if he wants to chuck hoop(basket ball) on a saturady..

    I think too that I will make his arousal less sexual over this scene – It will come afterwards – when they bve become passionate lovers. I think too I will make a short scene about the night out at Barcode – minus Roland on e – maybe he does still go back to the Highbury flat – then feels numbed by the experience …or just aknoweldes it as anyomymous sex, which doesnt fulfill his needs entiterly.
    I will show his week at work in the new job – maybe after he’s started the affair with AL – that would make him more distracted for sure – if theyve already had great sex – he wouldnt want to get out of bed to go to work and all he’d think about would be his next fix of the sexy, horny Al!

    a little more about Rolands back story I agree with too – though there some in the previous chapter which City hasnt heard but which I work shopped to excellent feedback in the Novelist’s Club – my other work shoping outlet at the moment. I read through all the City feedback and Novelists club feedback again – late last night before I went to bed -I sleeped like a log – so I must have made peace with it all. Often thats the best approach I am finding – to “heavy” or conflicting feedback /comments/crituques – read it again after the distance of a few days- then sleep on it.


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