It's been a year since I began writing the second draft of Mosaic. I’m probably a little over halfway through (and hoping it doesn’t take me another year to finish!) but it’s been an incredible experience watching the story come alive under the revisions, rewrites, and reinventions. And given that I wrote the initial draft in seven months, beginning shortly after the UK went into its first lockdown, I honestly didn’t expect the second draft to take this long — but, looking at how much the story and characters have grown in the process, in hindsight it’s not surprising.
29th December 2021
I have two (maybe three) New Year’s resolutions. First, to get control over the clutter which has swamped my home over the last couple of years, and which is stifling my creativity. Second, to publish Mosaic before the end of 2022. Third, to eat better and exercise more — but I say that every year, and it wouldn’t be a set of New Year resolutions without it!!
14th November 2021
This is a poem I first encountered in 1982, when I was studying English at college. It was amongst a harrowing collection of First World War poetry, which was on my reading list. The entire collection had a profound effect on me, changing the course of my life.
I love how poetry can have the power to do that, how it can speak so strongly to us, even when it's a message we're not quite prepared to hear.
I've always had a love for poetry, but that module, and my wonderful English tutor, strengthened it.
World Mental Health Day
10th October 2021
Another poem this month and, as it's World Mental Health Day, I thought I'd share something I wrote in 1984. The year I had a breakdown days before my A levels. The year I began a two year battle with clinical depression and anorexia. The year everything changed.
© Rachel Harrison 1984
I'm not the person I was 36 years ago. I'm not even the person I was 14 years ago, when life events threatened to tip me over the edge once more. More recently, a friend described me as "the most comfortable-in-their-own-skin person I know", and I can honestly say I feel like the description fits.
Yes, I'm an introvert, maybe even a bit of a recluse, but I value my friends — all those who see past the weirdness of dyspraxia (it's Dyspraxia Awareness Week too), who've seen me through the good times and the bad, and still seek out my company .
2nd September 2021
There are magical moments, when a piece of writing just seems to create itself ... although it's slightly less enchanting when it's at 3am! (Did I mention I'm a night owl?)
I love poetry, especially when it's read aloud, but I don't write a great deal of it. So, for me, it was especially magical when this poem insisted on coming to life earlier this week.
My new school year begins next week, so back to teaching five days per week, and to wrestling with my night owl-ish tendencies!
Come, sit with me a while
And I will tell you of times long gone
Of gallant knights
And damsels fair
Of dragons fierce
And wild witches dancing in their midnight glades
Come, sit by me
And I will tell you a tale of distant lands
Of mountain spires
And seas untamed
Of azure lakes
And verdant forests
Stretching as far as the eye and imagination can see
Stay, bide a while
And you will learn of hidden things
Of secret doors
And trails scarce trodden
Of dangers faced
And fellowships forged in shared adventure
Rest, sleep a while and dream
Of loves unconfessed
And hopes unspoken
Of hidden fears
And unexpected courage
And all that lies untold before you
© Rachel Harrison 2021
Difficult to believe it’s the 20th of August ... five weeks of the school holidays gone already! I’m going to miss only teaching a couple of days per week when the new school year starts. They’ve been a busy five weeks, although not as productive as I would have liked, as they've included numerous visits to the vets. We’ve just got back from her check-up, and my ‘writing buddy’ is fine.
I tried an experiment this week, and I’m rather pleased with the result. I’d just finished the re-re-re-re-edit of the second draft of first ten chapters (that’s not to say I shan’t go back over it again!) and have at last been able to start writing the second draft of the next section.
Chapter eleven includes a visit to a mountain lake, but sadly it’s been about twenty years since my own last visit to one … so I watched a wonderful online video of a hike around Lake Oeschinensee, and wrote my description from that. The only downside? I’m now longing to revisit Switzerland!
25th July 2021
One week into the summer holidays and, now that I've (mostly) caught up with end-of-term admin and am only teaching one or two days per week, I'm really looking forward to loosing myself in my writing again. Particularly as I've finished the decking on my balcony and can sit out there; with some new plants (a gift from a pupil going off to university) it's becoming a little green oasis!
There's quite a variety in the writing planned for the coming weeks - not only shall I be working on the second draft of Mosaic, but I'll be rewriting and updating course notes for a music theory summer school I run each year. I'm excited about this project, as it gives me the opportunity to explore the possibilities of blended learning - and I'll probably look into publishing the course in book form too.
15th June 2021
I made the decision to launch my website this week as it's Indie Author Week UK. If you'd like to see how other indie authors are celebrating, click on the logo.
In other news ... the return to face-to-face teaching has gone really well, and it's been lovely to see all my pupils again! So, now I'm no longer buried under a mountain of emails, I can return to writing my second draft!
15th May 2021
It’s strange to think that, in just a few days, it will be a year since I returned to writing. I’ve just been re-reading this Facebook post from 6th June 2020:
How I spent my half-term ... I haven't mentioned this to many people, as I wasn't sure it wasn't just going to fizzle out, but (after nine weeks of just my own thoughts for company) I've started writing again, and in the last two weeks have written (and rewritten) about 13,000 words.
I picked up a sci-fi novel I started about 30 years ago - although there's not much of the original story left in what I'm writing now, and my writing style and reading tastes have obviously matured significantly in that time. I'm loving it, and finding the process absolutely fascinating.
Well, it didn’t fizzle out, it’s still fascinating, and Mosaic now stands at almost 80,000 words, with second draft well underway. And the sequel, Tapestry, is beginning to take shape too.
Having said all that, sadly there’s not a huge amount of writing going on at the moment, as I’m busy preparing for the return to face-to-face teaching over the coming weeks, but I'll get back to it soon!