So here I sit in front of the computer, supposedly working on my last Linguistics assignment for this semester, in reality writing this blog. I got a fabulous mark for my first Linguistics assignment – 86%, a high distinction. It should spur me on to writing another wonderful essay but I would rather be doing almost anything else.
On the bright side my topic is about blogging, so perhaps I can count it towards my assignment. But no, to be honest that won’t cut it. I’m writing on Gender and online participation, particularly on how many men comment on female blogs, using my blog as an example. The answer is not many - not on my blogs anyway. Luckily I only have to write an essay and not do the actual research. I haven’t been able to find much research in this area. There is a bit on blogging itself but not much on commenting.
Apart from the challenge of finishing this assignment by tomorrow night, not to mention just trying to start it, I’ve set myself another challenge. I’ve decided it’s well past time for me to walk the walk as well as talking the talk and write a novel with a view to publish, perhaps an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel. In order to do that, I felt I should really read the novels out there that have won the big prizes, the ones considered to be worth reading, good literature.
So, I’m going to read through at least the last ten Miles Franklin Award winners and the last ten Man Booker prize winners. I’m not reading for pleasure, I’m reading with a view to working out why they won. I’ve started on Peter Temple’s “Truth”, winner of the 2010 Miles Franklin Award.
To be honest the first sentence of “Truth” threw me. If I wasn’t reading for a purpose I probably would never have continued to read. I’m halfway through the book now and I can say the language confuses me, the characters confuse me, the plot (or plots) confuse me and I feel as if I’m lost in some sort of maze which is blanketed by fog, however I can’t put the book down. I mustn’t be the only reader confused by the characters as some previous reader has scribbled the names of the main characters in the blank pages at the back of the book with a description of who they are next to their names. I find myself regularly flicking to that page.
There is a lot of dialogue in “Truth”. I’m not comfortable with writing dialogue. I prefer descriptive writing but perhaps I should practise more with dialogue. Temple’s dialogue is just baffling. I often can’t make out who is talking or indeed what they are saying. He uses plenty of slang and innuendo, most of which is incomprehensible to me. But it does make me stop and think. This is a book I can’t just dart through. I actually have to read every word, or I find myself having to go back and re read passages.
I guess “Truth” is not the type of book I envisaged being chosen to win a literary prize. I’m now very interested in reading the other winners to see if there is a pattern in choosing winners. Will keep you updated!