If music be the food of love, make jam

I wrote some really, truly terrible stories when I was younger. I’ve been going through the Folder of Old Stuff, which contains things written from age 19 or so upwards. I was looking for something in particular, but got bogged down reading, as you do. The folder is full of stories mostly written for creative writing classes at university (a very useful, career-oriented degree). I feel very, very sorry for my tutors.  Nicholas Sparks ain’t got nothing on me at my most maudlin and over-sentimental. Sledgehammer sentences abound.

I kept most of the stories with the intention of ‘reworking’ the better ideas, but now that I’ve actually bothered to reread them a decade+ later, I’m toying with throwing the lot out. Except that horrible sentimentality that shows up in the writing also makes me go all, ‘Oh, my youth!’ Also, maybe I’ll really like my Sparksian rubbish again when I’m an old lady and hankering for a good read about dead babies and whatnot. (Yes, really.)

I’ve been trying to get on with writing more stuff that’s not this blog, partly because, er , that’s what I do sometimes. But also because I had nice evening with one of the more inspirational and driven people I know about a week ago, and having a drink with her always makes me want to do more and try more and just get on with things.

On Monday evening, I’m also heading to a Spark London reading event with Christine Estima, which will hopefully have a similar effect.  (Er, no, that name has nothing to do with Nicholas Sparks. That’s a coincidence.) In the meantime, though, the Folder of Old Stuff squashed any fiction writing mojo I had this evening. It’d be nice to think I’ve improved since those stories, but … huh. And blogging is easier. I think I’ll avoid coming back and re-reading this in ten years, though.

Happily, there’s other things to do this weekend. Because I’m not easily influenced by the world at all, since going to the Danny Elfman/Tim Burton concert I have been on a ‘play all the musics!’ streak, and something of a nostalgic one at that. But going on a successful Magical Musical Memory tour meant this week I had to do two things:

1. Accept that my crappy, bright orange, student violin was going to cost more to fix than to replace. Which I did, and after a suitable mourning period, I scoured Gumtree and bought another violin, this one second-hand, but basically new and unused. It’s brown, which means it must be good. After a very gangster-style exchange of money for goods in the middle of Victoria station, I waltzed home and serenaded my family and probably the neighbours. It has been literally years since I played so this could have gone a lot worse than it did. I mean, it was still pretty bad, but not too bad. Although I was never too good, so there’s that to take into consideration. Enthusiastic, but not, er, skilled. (There is clearly an innuendo-ridden joke hovering in the wings there, but I’m not making it.)

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) my orange violin never inspired the same passion and loyalty in me as The Red Violin did in just about everyone. (PS if you've never seen the film The Red Violin, you really, really should watch it.)
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) my orange violin never inspired the same passion and loyalty in me as the red violin did in just about everyone. (PS if you’ve never seen the film The Red Violin, you really, really should watch it.)

2. Accept that the piano music that was left in Wales five years ago is unlikely to ever make it to London, and replace it. Quite a lot of this was my favourite sheet music, which is why it was in Wales – I would carry it down to Bangor from London, to play on the piano at CM’s house. I left a stack there, in the end, because it gets heavy. Then CM moved to London and forgot to put it in the car when he left. And then it got locked away out of harm’s way by the Bangor house’s landlord, and since then we have never managed to co-ordinate a visit there with a visit from the keyholder. I don’t even know which part of Wales that music is in anymore, actually. It may well be in Cardiff at this point. It might have been sold. It’s a bit crappy that I ended up buying new copies of the bits I most love, because sentimentality, but on the other hand the point of this is not where the notes are written but being able to play the damn pieces. I will say that the internet is a wondrous thing, because you can still find grade music from over ten years ago.

Also I made plum jam.

Also I’m dead broke for the rest of the month.

If this was at all more of a lifestyle blog, I might try to wax lyrical about letting go of the past and so forth, and focussing on getting what you need for the present. But it’s not a lifestyle blog (no, I don’t know what kind it actually is), and if I believed that stuff, I’d be working on a submission for Mslexia right now instead of groaning over the bad stories of my youth.

I am going to be doing an entry about the outcome of the 48-Hour Film Project London – the story so far (with links to films). Had planned to do it this evening,  actually, but I think this entry has rambled on for quite long enough.  Instead, I humbly offer you the opportunity to notice and admire (or spit on) this blog’s brand-new flavicon that I made because I was putting off doing everything else.

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