. . . while looking back

It’s Report Card time!

I guess this is a companion kind of piece to fit with my previous post. Janus was the god who looked both backwards and forwards, wasn’t he? End-of-year sort of reflections are probably good for the soul, and for many of us, the end of the academic year and the start of the summer holidays are the point at which it’s time to consider our progress, or lack thereof, and to ponder ‘how we can do better’ in future. In my youth, it was the Report Card season.

Our writing group wrapped up its year this week, but since we’re informal these days, we don’t have a county-monitored Progress Report to conscientiously fill in. Anyway, I’ve been rather discouraged lately: the competitions I entered have not been productive; my beloved novels, my hatchlings, are not attracting much interest; my latest effort in writing group was universally panned. Man! Feel I ought to go and eat worms.

But instead of that (not so tasty really, those worms), I embarked on a serious effort to see what my writing year has actually been like. By the time I’d compiled the list of titles together, my spirits were beginning to lift. They rose even more when I had the bright idea of packaging all the pieces from the writing group exercises that couldn’t be used in the novels into a volume of ‘Stories, Fragments, Memories.’ I’ve called it ‘Travels to a Different Place’ and it’s a volume for the family only. A body of work with intrinsic merit, all by itself and of itself. No marketable value at all.

Our tutor had some interesting things to say about competitions; if you do enter or submit your work somewhere, she suggested, always have a new submission up your sleeve as a hope bulwark against the onslaught of despair if your current submission founders. So I’ve got a list of five submissions, one of which seems to have been lost on a moribund site (TheWitToWoo.com), but four of which are alive. Of those, I reckon two submissions might have a chance of reaching the vaunted heights of the short list. The others, not a hope in hell.

Come September, I may well want to be generating another couple of well-honed efforts just to keep my hopes going. But meanwhile, I’m enjoying looking at my own little bookshelf of eBook titles and thinking, I did that! Those musings are mine, they tell me more about myself than I realised. Maybe that’s what intrinsic value is all about. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t re-double my efforts on Sequel, to write a compelling page-turner that fills out the trilogy, that fills up the empty pages inside my prototype cover. But, you know, that’s for the new academic year.

My growing bookshelf; some titles have an intrinsic merit just for me.

By Larry Winger

Retired scientist, devoted diarist (AllendaleDiary.org), community-minded aspirant novelist, I've lived on a smallholding in the East Allen Valley for the past 30 years, delighting in watching our family grow up, in experiencing the development of our grandsons, and in taking care of our small flock of chickens and garden.

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