I’ve been really constructing my story lately. In other words I have made a lot of notes and did loads of research, but not so many words on paper to be honest. That’s okay, no need to worry. I don’t know if I’m talking to myself with this or with you, but it’s going to be fine! Having said that, I’m going to take this blogging opportunity to inform you about the concept of my novel.
Pause the writing mate!
Since my last blogpost about the Novel, I’ve entered some kind of difficulties with writing to be honest. It’s not that I haven’t got the motivation or the means to do it, but I had a really big eye opener. I had just written a chapter about attending a football match and if you know me a bit by now. I’m kind of a football addict – my bio on the site even states: Marc. 24. Arts & Culture student with an unhealthy love for football – and know a lot about it, so it wasn’t a problem to write that. Mate, I just sat down and wrote the chapter in one go!
Okay fair enough Marc, but what seem to be the difficulties then? Hold your horses allright? As I’m stuffing another donut in my pie-hole I realise that writing to this point had been very straightforward. I wrote and still write about things I’m really familiar with. The proces of adulting, football, friendship. All things that are not strangers to me. And if I didn’t understand something, I would just look it up in a jiffy. No sweat. But I now came to the moment in the story that I want to talk about something called education.
Writing about education is really hard. No really people. I live in the Netherlands and if look at the German education and Belgian education and British for example. It’s so different! This book is written in English and I want to be able to reach a lot of people with my book. SO, I need to make it very clear and understandable for everyone. Evidently I have to have a very good sense of how the British schoolsystem works and perhaps the differences between Welsh and English education as well.
Why is this is so important to me? I think my story is quite alright and I think the genre of coming of age – novel is a good one too. I’m really confident about it and that is so not me haha. But I think I’m going places with this one to be honest. But the story aside, if you fail to explain something plainly or state false statements about something everyone in Wales and England for example know, well little wake up call if you don’t know it, BUT YOU WILL LOSE READERS. That’s why it’s so important to me. That’s why I hit the pause button on the writing and fully concentrate myself at researching it. Talking to people about it. Having contact with different schools all over Wales. Yes I do hear you thinking. The answer is; I’m taking this very serious and it has to be perfection when I publish it. Well at least my form of perfection.
Since I got a little stuck and I had to think about where I wanted to go with my book, I took my original notes to the ‘drawingbord’. I wanted to share with you the things about the structure I had originally written down.
When I started to develop the idea of writing a novel, I didn’t know anything about a novel really. Blank page here mate. To be honest I only read a few of Sara’s post from her blog. They are very inspiring and did help me with the process. You can give her blog some love here.
I’m getting caried away again, I swear this happens ALL the time. BUT yeah, where were we? Oh here we are. Okay the concept. I had a few things very clear when beginning the novel or the idea of a novel.
- I want it to be a ‘Bildungsroman’ or a ‘coming of age’ story. I don’t exactly know why, but I feel these have really helped me shape my world at this point and I can really identify with this genre. I have seen numerous films and read many books about them, but these are a few which did inspire me for the novel: Trainspotting (the book as also the film), Submarine (the book), This is England (the films) and Awaydays (the film).
- I want the novel to have three parts. Parts of coming of age. Part I is about the confrontation, Part II is about the changing and Part III is about the acceptation. The reason why I did this, is because it gives me structure, it gives me more room to describe the phases and it gives the reader the opportunity to grow with the character.
- This is a tricky one I suppose. I want to have two perspectives in the book. I don’t know if this is conventional or something like that but here it goes. The first perspective is that of the protagonist. It’s told as he lived it. And I say lived it, because he’s reflecting on his first year of coming to swansea.
The second perspective is that of the narrator. He gives an introduction to each ‘Part’ and he does summarize it at the end of it. The reason why? I have absolutely no idea, but in my opinion it kind of works.
- I want to include the struggle of anxieties in the story. It’s a reflection of my own and how this manifests in a football supporter world. Which is hard and is something I struggle with. There will be an implementation of homosexuality in this supporters world, but I haven’t figured it out yet.
- Love and Friendship has to be in the story. I want to give the people a message too. It’s okay to have friendships with both female and male. It’s not often understood, but it’s very important.
I don’t remember to much from yesterday. We just had a calm day without all the fuss of work, school and such things. My parents are going away in a few moments, doing a bit of foodshopping and other stuff I guess. I don’t know and to be honest, I couldn’t be arsed. One of my main concerns was, how am I going to cope this day. My parents were away and my brothers are on some sort of tour with my aunt and uncle. I didn’t feel like joining, so here I am, sitting outside the house. Just me, some Arctic Monkeys and my skateboard. This skateboard is not even suitable for the welsh roads actually, real bummer. The roads aren’t that even and the wheels will get more bad if I ride them at this bloody road.
It was quite warm today and it was still 10 o’clock in the morning. So that is nice. I put my hat over my head, so it covered my eyes and I intended to do a little nap. About 2 minutes into my pre-nap status I hear someone in the distance calling. ‘Oi!’ ‘Oi!’. It’s a bloke around my age I guess. He walks into my direction and I reply: ‘Hey man’. As soon as those word have left my mouth, I think what a stupid response that was from myself. Great move Marc, that’s how you start a proper conversation.
‘Hi, I’m Rhod. I live across the street. You new here?’ I didn’t know what to say. ‘Errm yeah, just moved here yesterday.’ I said. ‘Oh you are the Jones family! I was quite surprised with his swift and quick reactions, let alone that knew my surname. ‘Yes, we are. Well I’m alone now, but my parents and my brothers are not in right now. My name is Dafydd by the way, nice to meet you.’ I thought by myself, this is really a textbook posh english conversation. What in the world was he going to think of me after this nonsense I spoke. My face was giving signs that I was still a bit startled by his abrupt approach. ‘No worries mate, we live next to your uncle. He told you fancy a bit of football, now is that true?’ ‘Hellyeah!’ I said in a rather embarrasing Samuel L. Jackson impersonation. We both laughed at the terrible sight of me impersonating a great black actor. ‘Well’ Rhod continued. ‘your uncle said it would be a good idea to take you to the Swans game tonight. Are you up for it?’ ‘Yes! I’d love to mate.’ I replied very enthusiastic. ‘Okay, meet me here at 7. I’ll bring some mates with me.’ Wow, this chap is nice and is going to take to a Swans game. I had absolutely no idea what that seemed to mean and his mates were coming too.. My anxieties kicked in big timie and started to worry for the next few hours.
16.49 the alarmclock said. My parents just came in. ‘Hey boy! What you been up to?’ My dad asked me. My parents had appearantly bought the whole foodstore. They had loads of food. I mean an excessive amount of supplies. On the look of it, you would say they were preparing for some kind of war or armageddon. But I decided today, was no day of complaining and responded: ‘I’ve been sitting outside on my skateboard, soaking up a bit of rare sunlight. Then this bloke Rhod came to me and he introduced himself. He also invited me to the Swans game tonight, though I have no idea what the Swans are?’ I thought my dad would be pretty excited by the idea I had made friends already here in Swansea, given the fact I don’t make friends easily. His reaction was slightly different of what I had expected or hoped for. He put his mug of tea down on a manner the logo on it was displayed to me. He sighed:’ Son, listen. The Swans is the nickname for Swansea City FC, my club. How can you not know this? You are suposedly all-in to football?’ He smiled. I didn’t like were this was going to be honest. ‘I hope you didn’t tell Rhod that you didn’t know that.’ I shook my head. ‘Good! I don’t want Gary thinking anything less of me already.’ My father continued. ‘Gary?’ I asked. ‘Yes, Gaz, Gary was and is my good friend and he lives next to uncle Daniel.’ Well that figured. All the things were connected and my ignorance towards Swansea City didn’t make my anxieties go away. In fact they made them worse.
It was 18.51 as I left the house. I was really nervous about what was going to happen next. I only met Rhod and I was going with a bunch of his friends, that made me nervous. But what could go wrong, I tried to convince myself. It’s sodding football, let’s get on with it! With this last positive thought I crossed the street and went to the house next to my uncle’s. Well here goes nothing. I rang the bell. Nothing happened for a minute. I started to think they had left early, without me. That it was all a joke and they would be laughing very hard at thinking of this sight, me feeling miserable and almost crying. Just before te actual tears came, the door opened: “Hey mate! Glad you could make it! Come in, I will introduce you to the rest!” I had a look across the room. There were 3 other guys, looking all around my age to be honest. This wasn’t to bad! I coughed and scraped my voice. Hi I’m Dafydd, I just got here yesterday after living in the Netherlands for 15 years. My parents are English and Welsh. Oh and my father calls me Gazza.” I said. “Well welcome Gaz. I hope you are more Welsh than english scumbag.” I was a bit in shock. “ I’m Giovanni by the way.” All 4 lads started laughing. “No worries mate!” said Rhod as he hit my back. “This is Giovanni – He’s an italian -, Kyle and David. Don’t worry about your mixed background dude, we all are somehow multi. Kyle and David are from Northern Ireland, you will understand as they open their mouth haha!” My heartbeat was still racing, but in the meanwhile it was smiling as well. It all turned out to be pretty relaxed. We drank two glassed of Buckfast. Yeah Buckfast, the outrageous bad drink from Scotland. It’s a kind of mix between wine and red bull.
Just before we would go the Liberty Stadium, the home of Swansea City Football Club, Rhod gave me my ticket. It cost ₤30,- and I said “Wow! That is quite expensive.” “Yeah I know” said Rhod. “The modern game is not anymore what it’s supposed to be.” It was the introduction to this ticket, that made me member of the Against Modern Football movement.
It was a 20 minute walk or so tot he stadium, which was perfect. I had no idea what the game was for or about really. When we had to wait to cross the street to the Liberty I glanced at my ticket.
“Friendly game. Swansea City – Wrexham FC.”
Okay, I had heard of Swansea, obviously, But what Wrexham was or what division they were playing, I had no idea to be fair. If there was one thing I knew about games in GB, it was that they had always programs. So I bought one in the stadium to know more about this game. I was so intrigued by it that I started reading it right away, barely watching where I was walking. It was quite obvious I bumped into a few persons, but nobody seemed to make it a big deal out of it. That surprised me quite a bit, except for one person. He didn’t surprise me, he reacted like I had experienced in the Netherlands a lot. He was angry and started talking in Welsh and I couldn’t follow what he was saying to me.
When I walked into the stand I had this very strange feeling. Sure, I walked into a lot of different stadium already, but this felt so incredibly weird, yet so euphoric. I walked into an oasis of noise, beautiful noise. I saw a sea of white. People with kits, scarves, flags and banners. They even upped the volume when the players came on to the pitch, I literally had the goosebumps on my arm, centimeters high. WOW! It was tearing me up a bit and Rhod saw it. He came round, put his around me and shouted: ‘Beautiful innit Gaz! This is what we are made of man, the Swans will never die!’ I couldn’t believe my eyes and years. The team were lining up, just like they do at international games. Everyone was standing up and there was a typical kind of calmth at the stadium all of a sudden. ‘Please rise for the national anthem of Wales’ the speaker said. I listened to the words, but I had absolutely no idea what they were singing. I just looked, looked and looked around. It was the most intense anthem I heard and I could see the people singing so proud. Full of passion. Excitement. Emotion. The anthem ended I shed a tear. It was so beautiful, it had really touched me. This was the moment I had my first encounter with the true Wales.