Great excitement in the Graham household, quite apart from the imminent arrival of grandchild No. 8.
First came a message from the Middle Daughter. ‘Mum,’ she said, ‘you’re the answer in a word puzzle!’
And there it was. Not in the same league as getting an airport named after you, but still. And little did I know it but there was more to come.
My friend Mike, who puts exam candidates through their paces with practice papers, called to tell me he’d just spent an hour helping a student to comprehend, (English not his first language, so heaven help the child), and analyse the opening paragraphs of my novel Mr Starlight. I had been promoted to Teaching Aid.
It was all very thrilling. Rather more sobering was the fact that I couldn’t begin to answer the questions.
How does the writer use language features to describe Selwyn and Cledwyn’s living conditions when they were growing up? How has the writer structured the text to interest you as a reader? How does the writer focus your attention at the beginning and how does she change the focus as the source develops?
Dunno, dunno, dunno. I didn’t even know what a language feature was until Mike told me: punctuation, syntax, metaphor, that kind of thing.
I suppose I should understand why I do what I do, but I don’t. I just do it. And I have a sneaky feeling that creative writing is a bit like a golf swing. The more you analyse it, the worse it gets.
Nevertheless, I am tickled pink (idiom) to have something of mine selected. Just when you think it’s all over. What next, I wonder?