I thought I had got everything out about the completion of my biography of George Calderon in my post of 18 June, but no: there is something I forgot to say and have been meaning to put on record for days…
In that extended blurt, I placed the blame for not having written the last two, very short chapters, on ‘chronotopia’, the task (which I find very difficult) of juggling two different times in my brain — the ‘real time’ of this blog-biography of George’s war-year, and the ‘extended time’ of a full-length biography. Particularly absorbed by the blog-biography in May and June, I concluded that I should not start writing the last two chapters of the biography proper (for which all the research is done) until the blog finishes on 30 July 1915/2015, and I denied that I had ever suffered from writer’s block.
In fact, I see now, it is partly the need to decide the style of these last two chapters, which cover thirty-five years of Kittie’s life after George’s death, that is making me baulk at starting to write them. As I have mentioned before, everyone from publishers to reviewers (but possibly not readers) will tell me I was wrong to enclose George’s biography chronologically in Kittie’s, but I’m sure I am right…
However, there’s no doubt that to tell in about ten printed pages the last thirty-five years of her life after 4 June 1915 requires a different, and, er, highly engaging, style of writing, otherwise people will think I should have taken the advice of my successful biographer friend and finished the book with George ‘vanishing in the smoke of battle’. It requires a complete change of gear.
Just to recap, the reason the biography of George Calderon starts with Archie Ripley, George’s friendship with him, Kittie’s marriage to him, and her relationship with Nina Corbet, and ends with Kittie vanishing in the smoke of a crematorium (the location of her ashes is unknown), is that I believe George’s life makes sense best when he is seen in the ‘set’ of his and Kittie’s Edwardian friends.
I have to admit, then, that pondering for weeks how I am going to write these last two chapters, i.e. how to cast them and choose my words, probably is a form of writer’s block. This is my last blurt on the process of completing this book, however: to discover how it is going, please log on after 30 July to the permanent post entitled ‘Watch this Space’.
Next entry: A friend’s published tribute