First in the World Somewhere

By Penny Pepper

A unique memoir of creative purpose, sexual discovery, activism - driven by defiance

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

News from the garret

Hello friends and supporters

The sun is shining again as I write this, it actually looks and feels like spring. Hurrah for that.
Life continues in waves of intense writing, frustrating illness, and sudden peaks of activity in which I manage to get outside and meet people. Gasp in shock!
I’ve been in the garret working on First in the World Somewhere, and have completed the first draft. Yippee! It’s meant three months of solid commitment to a schedule, ably supported by my admin worker Beth. Most days we managed 4000 words, and this is possibly why I feel like I’ve had brain melt. Not a single regret though and my publisher Unbound seem very happy. Not firm news of a publication date, but most likely early 2017.
Through this process I’ve cracked the toughest of nuts – writing to dictation. At heart I’m a natural touch typist. I did a year in secretarial studies, way, way back when dinosaurs grazed by the grassy meadows of my Amersham college. My mind was hard-wired early to blitz words to my fingers, to a keyboard, to the page. I took to computers like a robotic duck to cyberspace water.
But my creaky shoulders are not so keen anymore, and since breaking my humerus late last summer, typing has to be kept to a minimum. Voice dictation does not suit creative writing – at least for me. Dictating words like divine fracas – words used a lot in my early journals – involves a long disruptive process of phonetic spelling and too much interruption in the flow of creative juice. Working with a typist is the most productive way forward.  
I resisted to begin with because it feels unnatural. Don’t ask me why, I haven’t worked that out. But I got over it, and… have written 65,000 words.
The book is still available as a pre-buy at Unbound, where you can still choose from various extras like a memoir playlist. Everything from The Smiths to Bob Marley, Debussy, Kate Bush, Ian Dury to John Lee Hooker. Every book and extra now goes towards keeping my gluten-free bread on the table and, naturally, is very, very appreciated.
Having completed this first draft of First in the World Somewhere, I already miss the intense satisfaction of watching a work grow, of the line-by-line process.  I’m poised with loads of new projects – a poetry pamphlet, a novel and a short story collection. I love a short story, and have won a place in a couple of new anthologies. Watch this wordy space!


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