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I've only today realised the magnitude of my current, new, writing project. The week's previous block had, I think, arisen because this hadn't been sufficiently acknowledged, sitting instead like a huge fur ball in the gullet. So - despite having had a weekend long headache - I spent a bit of time today listing the tasks that will hopefully illuminate the way forward. It is a bigger undertaking than the phd novel and critical paper. Some would say that's the natural order of things; why wouldn't I move onto something more challenging - although there is an old novella that I caught sight of in my files today that needs a dusting off. Perhaps.

In order to reveal one story of a shadow figure I need to research a 19th century Kensington house and artistic salon, as well as some of the famous of the day who frequented. There is the family of the house itself - a culturally complicated set up of dazzling sisters - a vast chronology of artworks to put into context - a social history, class relations, a visit to rural archives, census returns to rifle through... And then there's my now obligatory enquiry of writing - form, framing device, what is it of myself that I am seeking to discover/voice/project? How do I resist the novel's traditional conventions etc. Plot lines - opening... And so on. Why don't I just write it?

Abraham Lincoln said if he had eight hours to chop a tree he'd spend six hours sharpening his axe.

Maybe there'll be many more similar blogposts before I feel I've really begun.


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