So yesterday I went for my walk around Canovelles, the village I live in. It’s separated from the small city of Granollers only by a piddly little river. Granollers, in turn, is practically a suburb of Barcelona. It takes about half an hour to go from one to the other by train.
I planned to be gone about an hour, but ended up getting lost and taking two hours to get back. Never mind. I know where the police station is now!
Raquel’s house is pretty much on the edge of where the village changes from urban to semi-rural. Down the hill is the centre, filled with apartments, playgrounds, bars and people people people. Up the hill are fields of poppies and thistles, and large houses with gardens – real gardens with vegetables growing and chicken coops and wheelbarrows, and I even saw an old wooden cart wheel and a swimming pool on one property! The two areas melt into one another, with semi-detached houses in between. There, fathers throw, kick and catch balls with their sons on the street. They were very polite when I passed. I also saw a beautiful cat with blue eyes. I took photos, just for Ngaio.
After all those hours (25+) on aeroplanes (and that’s not counting transit time), it was good to get out and go for a walk. I felt like I was getting a sense of the place, too.
I went out again for a couple of hours today – only this time less lost, and with a purpose. Every Sunday the road along the river turns into a big market, with fresh fruit and veges, clothing, flowers, and a hundred other things. It was so different to yesterday! The bank holiday (ooh, how British I sound) yesterday meant that hardly anyone was out and about, and all the shops were closed. Today there were people EVERYWHERE. It was quite wonderful to start with, seeing everyone so relaxed, outside enjoying the shopping, hearing vendors yell (“Un euro! Un euro!”), watching all the different coloured people examining all the different coloured clothes and foods. I wasn’t even the only blue-eyed blonde! (After Korea, it’s quite nice not to be stared at all the time.) However, it soon became overwhelming and I walked and walked and walked in search of the fruit, often ducking out of the crowded street to walk behind the tents and stalls for a bit of space. By the time I found the fruit and veges, I was too exhausted to buy much. My mouth watered at the sight of the rich red strawberries, but there was no price on them and my brain was too overstimulated to remember any Spanish, so I stuck with just mandarins and bananas, then walked back to the supermarket, bought a bunch of things in a daze, and carried it all home again.
Tomorrow school starts. I’m quite excited about it. I haven’t studied since 2007 (apart from Saturday morning Korean classes). I’ll have far less time to write (which I’ve been doing a bit of today) and research my writing (which I’ve been doing a lot of lately), but hopefully it will get me back into a normal sleeping pattern. Conking out at 9pm and springing awake at 3am is not very Spanish. Plus, I don’t know how long I can survive on six hours sleep a night. In any case, I’m really looking forward to meeting my instructors and class mates, and taking notes and planning assignments. Yes, I’m a nerd. And proud of it.
Anyway, the whole point of this blog: Writing. What have I been writing? Well, in a fit of procrastination, I discovered two online writing events that started yesterday. Story A Day runs for the whole month of May and requires that you write a story – as long or short as you like, as long as it has a beginning, a middle and an end – every day. The website offers an optional starting point each day to help you if you’re stuck for ideas. I’m combining it with NaPiBoWriWee ([Inter]National Picture Book Writing Week). Based on NaNoWriMo, which I participated in last November (but didn’t win), it was set up to encourage people to get writing every day. The focus is on picture books for children, which I would really love to write, but don’t know enough about to be serious at it, with the requirement that you write a complete picture book (sans pictures) each day from the 1st to the 7th of May. For the first week of this month I’ll be writing picture books, but after that I’ll branch out. I’ve heard the course I’m starting tomorrow is intense, so I don’t expect to get a story every single day, but at least I’m inspired to try!
I’m really glad I found the NaPiBoWriWee website. Run by Paula Yoo, a published author of picture books and a YA novel, it has a host of information and tips on writing for kids. When I have a spare moment, I plan to browse through it, but for now, I’m inspired to write rather than read.
I wrote my first story when I woke up at 3am this morning. It’s called I am Izzy and is about a girl who flies at night time. It took me ages because I made a bunch of silly pictures with Microsoft Paint to illustrate it. I was gonna use ArtWeaver, which would have given better results, but sometimes I just find Paint easier to use. Especially at 3 in the morning. Well, it was 6 by the time I finished. It’s all of 21 sentences, but I’m proud of it. Here are three pages of my book, con crappy drawings:
Today’s prompt on Story A Day May is to use a detail from an obituary as a starting point from which to craft a story.
So, day two, almost 6pm, and I’m still feeling chuffed about finishing my first story. Starting to feel weary, but will go and cook some dinner; hopefully that will give me the power to write another story today. Yay!