As of a few days ago, I have the first Draft of News From The Squares.110,943 words on 406 pages of A4. (Only in digital form, I haven't printed it out.)
I am now reading and recording each chapter, this is just for me, not the audio book. This allows me to focus on one chapter at a time and make the many revisions necessary. As I read out the manuscript there are numerous pauses as I stumble over a particular sentence. Sometimes these pauses are followed by a string of expletives as I notice a glaring error, a typo or a repeated phrase.
I've found that if I keep having to try and get my mouth around an awkward phrase or sentence, this may be a sign the writing is a bit duff. It's not always the case, there are no hard and fast rules.
I then listen back to the recording as I go through the manuscript, re-writing and changing, developing ideas and clarifying. I was half dreading this process but at the moment, it's very satisfying. I am really starting to focus on the underlying notion of women being not so much in power, but more in a position of responsibility for global society. The notion that the men have shrugged off this responsibility over several generations and happily retreated to the home, the kitchen, the children and the garden. I can see this is a personal fantasy and with the help of my terrifyingly insightful wife, many of the ideas I've been developing are tied into my relationship with my mother.
I can see that the complex and rich relationship between mothers and sons has been a life long interest of mine, my mother was a powerful, strong and often very frustrated and angry woman. She had grown up in a culture where the most that was expected of a woman was to be wife and mother. Guess what, she wasn't happy about that, quelle surprise.
There is no question that the experience of growing up in a household with a strong mother and a quiet and retiring father, yet in a culture where men dominated public life has given me a slightly different take on the world. It's not as simple as being a man who 'is a bit of a feminist' or who 'supports women\s lib' as a Tabloid might reduce it. I think it's given me a burning question, why does it need to be like this? Is it 'natural' that children should be raised by women and men should run the political and financial world. Is it healthy? Sensible? The only way it works?
All those questions are the fire that has boiled the pot of 'News from the Squares.'
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