Monday, 2 May 2016

When I said my stories can be quite moving...

Having finally moved house, unpacked and set up my writing room, I am glad to say I’m back in the land of regular writing again. It’s taken a while to get back into the swing, and I am certainly not producing as many words as I should, but I’m getting there.

Moving is a time-consuming and stressful experience. From ‘What if it all falls through?’ to ‘Will the cats settle ok?’ to ‘Which room does this box go in?’ to ‘Where did I put the torch?’ it’s great to know it’s all behind us now and things can start getting back to normal.

But one of the oddest things is realising just how much the subject of moving house seems to have crept, quite subconsciously, into my stories in recent months, even when they are supposed to be about something else – bereavement, childhood, friendship, romance. So, when I tell you my stories can sometimes be quite moving, moving house wasn’t exactly what I meant - although it looks like that’s what you’re going to get!

First there was ‘Pictures of Yesterday’, written just as we were putting our own place on the market back in November, and which appeared in The People’s Friend on 26 March. Janet is staying at her gran’s house for the weekend, getting it ready for sale after the old lady’s death. Of course, she is curious to know who will buy it and what changes they will make, although she knows she doesn’t want to witness any of it, preferring to remember things just as they always were. Enter a young and dishy estate agent (mine didn’t quite fit the bill, but this is fiction!) who has come to photograph the rooms. He loves the original features of the old house almost as much as she does and, because this story is more about moving on and accepting change than it is about the sadness of moving out… cue romance!

The next issue of Woman’s Weekly, dated 10 May, will include another of my stories, ‘Fitting’, this time about a woman remembering a childhood friend as she clears out clothes and photos before handing over the keys to her mother’s home to the estate agent. Not so much about the moving process itself this time - but all that packing up, sorting things for keeping/throwing away/charity shops, and coming across keepsakes you haven’t seen for years (and the memories they evoke) certainly rings true.

Coming very soon, in the next People’s Friend Special, number 123, will be another story of mine, at the moment called ‘The Right Move’, but the editor may well change the title before it’s published, as she often does. This one is about a married but childless couple searching for a more suitable home now they are living with two very large dogs. All my own worries about whether to start looking for a new house before or after your own home is sold, and whether you could lose your new ‘dream’ home because nobody wants to buy the old one, come rushing to the surface here, but luckily all ends well, just as it did for us – and our pets!

And, lastly, a story called ‘A Chessboard Garden’ that I wrote right in the middle of the unpacking process and submitted just three weeks after moving in. Once the boxes have been dealt with, and a screwdriver and bit of paint have been put to good use inside, there is often a tangled mess of neglected garden and unmown grass waiting for attention, and some new neighbours to get to know too. The two come together in this story, a particular favourite of mine, which hasn’t even been accepted (yet!)… but I do have high hopes for it!

Last night I re-read and re-wrote an old but as-yet-unpublished story, ready to send it off to a magazine. Although largely a romance, it does involve re-marriage, a teenaged daughter and a house not quite large enough to accommodate them all, so when I tell you its title is ‘Room For Three’ you might just get an idea what theme has managed to creep in, yet again!!


Wendy's Writing said...

Must make a note... Don't write any house moving stories as Vivien has written them all!

Viv said...

Ha, ha! There is always a new angle to be found for any theme, even moving house, as you well know. No new themes under the sun!