Finally, the first draft of my book is finished. I won’t rehash the effort it took to get this far, but the work now weighs in at just over 79,000 words – mostly not very good words. Still, the outline is there even if the quality isn’t.

I had a conversation with author Mary Morrissy recently – do check out her novels – and am persuaded that the book might work best as a memoir. I hadn’t given this much thought as I felt a memoir would fall well short in length, but now that I have etched those many thousands of words on the screen (no longhand or typewriter for me) I am certain it will be easier for me to mould it into a memoir.

I just finished Joyce Carol Oates’s memoir ‘A Widow’s Story’, which I picked up in a cafe/bookshop in Knights Town on Valentia Island last weekend. Oates is a such a brilliant writer, and her reflections on her own widowhood and how she struggled to come to terms with it, are painful but oh so beautifully written. I came across Oates’s books through the library’s digital service this year – her short stories are really good – so finding this volume in hardback, plus another by her called ‘Foxfire’, was a pleasant surprise.

Also on my reading list are Mary Morrissy’s ‘Prosperity Drive’ and a volume of short stories by Maeve Brennan which I bought during the week.

Incidentally, I was rather deflated to read Oates and her husband Ray first met on October 23, 1960,  got engaged on November 23 and were married on January 23, 1961. Ray died 47 years later. That beats my record of meeting Trish on June 12, 1984, becoming engaged on July 17, and marrying on March 22, 1985.

For now I intend to read a little, watch some more episodes of ‘Lou Grant to remind me of what newspapers used to be like, before beginning the hard graft of a second draft on the book. I have no proper title yet – I call it very unoriginally ‘My Book’ – so any suggestions are very welcome.

i would like to thank everyone who prodded me to write, and who threatened fire and brimstone if I didn’t. There is much work ahead, much coffee to be drunk before I finish that second draft, and probably a lot more before I have something that resembles a book worth reading, but at least we’re finally on the right road.