Wednesday, October 11, 2006

44,624 Words

Hello again,
I wonder if anyone will read this? I was thinking last night about how History, as taught in schools, is of course usually the geopolitical story of developed nations, as recounted by the winners - not a new idea I grant you- and that it has always been difficult to locate a complementary 'people's history' with which to balance out the picture. I think this is changing, especially with the recent 'history boom' in popular publishing, but I think about how in school we were encouraged to make 'time capsules' and bury them in the garden, or save the newspapers from important dates or events, or letters written to you by a loved one. People saved calendars and diaries - all for posterity. What a difference there will be, for people looking back on the 21st century, to be able to trawl through the thoughts and feelings and photographs of millions of people worldwide. All this is getting recorded, and yet it is all so ethereal - all stored in boxes of components thousands of miles away, transmitted over phone lines, reliant upon electricity.

I read about how authors, aware that annotated early drafts of manuscripts sometimes become valuable, are painstakingly printing out each stage of their book as they wordprocess it and filing the copies away. I couldn't do that. Besides the fact that I haven't the time, with each new version of the first half of my book, the previous draft seems to me embarrassingly bad in comparison. Of course the problem is that I am able to keep snipping and polishing at it indefinitely, so were the old drafts really so bad? Is the current version just as bad? Will I ever manage to finish the bloody thing if I keep re-writing what I've already done? Will someone read this blog one day, saying to themselves "Wow, isn't it funny to read how she agonised over every word? You wouldn't think it to read the book would you? It seems to flow so effortlessly off the page." Yeah - in my best dreams.

Speak soon,
Love A


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