As some of you know I finished the novel part of my PhD the other day. For some reason I feel I ought to mark this with a blog. However I am still reeling from hearing that my sub-conscious rules me like a programme downloaded from a computer and that there is barely a thing I can do about it. Apparently up until age 7 we download these programmes by watching how our parents interact with each other and with society. Then after age 7 we learn by rote and habituation. The conscious mind although it is creative can’t do a darned thing about these hardwired bits of learning. Sigh.
This is how my parents interacted. My father worshipped my mother and would hear no ill of her while my mother (in my lifetime) stormed through life making sure that we all acted as her adoring satellites. I probably don’t mean satellites but it’s been a long week. I probably married my mother, certainly I married someone who had a lot of admirers and who did what he wanted to do. So that means I was programmed by my father? Oh it’s all too much.
Back to the novel then. At the last minute and I really mean, the last minute, I cut 14000 words from the whole, bringing it down to the required 70,000. This means that when I send it out to publishers I will have to put back the 14000 words and create more words to bring it up to 100000 which is the required length for commercial women’s fiction. Honestly it’s the bulimic version of literature. Binge, vomit, binge even more. No offence intended to people who have the very nasty condition of bulimia which I know is very hard to cope with.
The trouble with creating something in two parts (I have to write a 30000 word critical component) is that now I have finished the first part (the novel) I feel like letting it all hang out and lolling. Which I MUST NOT DO because I have to finesse my critical component and cut it by 6000 words. You would think there was an ink shortage at university or something. And when I’ve done that it could be months before two examiners are free to give me my viva by which time, being a middle-aged woman with moderate memory and butterfly mind, (oops that’s my subconscious programming rearing it’s ugly head again) (hang on though, what about the unconscious? Have I just learnt something all wrong? My mother frequently said “Get it right!) I will have forgotten all about what I wrote in my PhD. Amazing, frankly that I remembered the end of the sentence what with all the parentheses.
I told my hairdresser about the event where people join each other in a pub for an hour of hush when they read books silently. “That would be my idea of Hell,” he said. Reading a Patrick Ness story about a boy who thinks he has arrived in Hell. But I digress.
Without a novel to hold me together I shatter into little pieces that make no. sense. at. all.