Tuesday, 7 February 2012

More Research

I've spent an interesting morning doing some research for my novel. I've been reading transcripts from emergency calls (you can find some here) to see what people sound like when they call 999, something I've done a couple of times in my life, although on each occasion I can't remember what was said because I failed to utilise the 'splinter of ice' in my heart:
'There is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer. I watched and listened. There was something which one day I might need: the woman speaking, uttering the banalities she must have remembered from some woman's magazine, a genuine grief that could communicate only in cliches.' Graham Greene
I've just started writing the second section of my novel; this is the sad section, part of it has already been published - I blogged about it here. At the moment, I'm marking out the sections of the novel by naming them after hymns.

I miss hymns. I spent my formative years steeped in religion and learned hymns like nursery rhymes. This morning I've been playing the Sabre Rattlers' gospel/blues/folk arrangements of Mormon hymns as I write. I'm practically drowning in nostalgia; sometimes I wish I'd had the determination to do what Joanna Brooks has done and wedge my agnostic, skeptical self back into the faith community I grew up in; other times I think I'm a better fit for Alain de Botton's category of people that 'can't believe, but love Christmas carols.. and old churches.'

On days like today, I wonder if this novel is too close to home, the writerly equivalent of picking at a scab... time will tell - I'm not sure that I'll know until it's all down on paper and I can get some perspective on it as a whole. Until then, I'm going to keep writing and, for the moment, I'll be tapping my laptop keys along to the song below.

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