‘Add title’

February – the longest month – is here. January was busier than I thought (or planned) it would be. I didn’t take much time off over Christmas and New Year, and I’m still waiting for that elusive break. I have, though, granted myself One Full Day Off per week, if at all possible. No guilt working allowed. Step away from the screen.

Wonderful things happened in January. I saw one particular friend for the first time in eight years, and was able to celebrate the publication of her new book in the UK (it having already been released in Canada (bestseller) and the US (nearly a bestseller)). Headed to London for the first time since pre-pandemic. I also saw other friends I hadn’t seen in about four years. Work rolled in; I ran a writing workshop which people apparently enjoyed? Another friend asked me to write a song for their book launch thank you gathering, based on their book, and I’m really pleased with the result and can’t wait to sing it.

That little success at actually writing a thing made me thirsty for … oh, what is it, that thing that’s been elusive for months, it feels like. Oh yeah, creativity. The past few months have also darker, also a touch more bereft feeling, despite the busyness, because I haven’t felt like me. I haven’t been making stuff, really, not with enjoyment. I turned down one kind request to run a workshop because I felt like a fraud leading people through writing when I was barely getting a word down myself.

Taxes are done now. I’m tired a lot of the time (February and also the general state of this godforsaken country), and I love supporting other people’s work, but was starting to think I’d imagined I’d ever made anything myself, really. Two stories I wrote last year that are waiting to be published haven’t yet seen the light of day, and I looked up the files just to check I hadn’t imagined them (and, if I had, to then write them because I think they’re good stories). It’s been cold and windy – reason enough for me to avoid going to open mics. Still though, I started bouldering again (more than the once-per-week-if-that that it dipped to mid last year). Not swimming though. So much shit in the river now (thanks Tories).

Trying a thing now, anyway. Started it yesterday, and it’s the sort of thing that I may well abandon in a few days (so skeptical I’ve titled the notepad I’m doing it in ‘attempt #1’). Apparently forgotten how to spell ‘sceptical’ but I like it with a k, so it stays. Anyway, I’m trying this hooey thing that goes against my fairly anti-self-help-book core, and I am hoping it works. Probably placebo but I submitted to Visual Verse for the first time in *checks* a year and a half. I’m writing here. Maybe something’s shaking loose.

Having said that, I am considering just closing this website. I have a ‘work’ site now, that no one ever visits, but I survive all the same. Thinking on it. Maybe I’ll transfer some of the entries there. Maybe not. So old now, these. A dusty archive, reflecting a life that … well, that’s been pretty stagnant for the past few years. Like a lot of people’s, I suppose. Time to change things, as much as can be changed in the current expensive and limiting circumstances of being a low-income earner in a country in crisis.


If I were a slightly more professional blogging type, I would come into this with a theme or a topic, instead of doing what actually happened which is: I gave myself a day off today (first time in a while), fell asleep on the sofa, and have just woken up wondering what to do with my evening.

Could paint or draw – but that would mean getting up to get the materials.

Could write a story – am gearing up to open the thing I started for Nanowrimo (doomed never to complete it because my partner’s birthday is early November, which always derails my time, and then I don’t get back on track). I’ve been flailing on the writing front for a while now. Turned down running a writing workshop recently because it seemed like rank hypocrisy to pretend to know what I’m talking about when I feel very much like I don’t, at the moment.

Could stare mindlessly at instagram, ostensibly to get ideas for things to draw (currently loving everything by @pulpbrother), but not really.

Could write mindlessly, instead. Lucky you!

I wrote a song recently, completed one, I guess, for the first time in what soundcloud (where I dump a lot of rough records and ideas) for about a year. Also rewrote some lyrics on the things from a year ago. I’ve gone back pretty folky and quiet, which I’m not sure I like. I think feeling a bit disconnected from other people as a musician does that to me, tbh. I stop writing things with other instruments and voices in mind. Get stuck in my own limitations. And in waltz-mode, apparently. So many waltzes.

Tomorrow night there is a fundraiser for what last year was a new and exciting venue called Pealie’s Barn. A friend held a small music festival there in May (which I piggy-backed on for my birthday party). It’s an amazing, largely sustainable place, run by fantastic people – and last month was hit with the news that actually they’d been misinformed about their status as a venue, so they cannot hold shows at the moment. The paper work to get the permits is extensive and expensive, so they’re raising the money to, basically, save one of the few places that stands half a chance of surviving the energy crisis. More on that at this link. I’m going along to support – also maybe to play (there’s a little open mic-ish aspect to it). It’s been a really really really long time since I played in front of people as myself and not a witch character. So we’ll see.

Winter, hey. Finally here; still kind of warm. Still pretty fricking bad for the old mental health, despite all the walks and vitamin D and whatnot. I keep seeing infographics about how we’re all animals and should be hibernating in winter and being gentle with ourselves, and that’s great info, but also something you really have to plan for in summer. Also I don’t know how you all afford the scented candles and cosies and whatnot. I’m here spending my money on anti-mold paint.

/end meandering post

Still there?

Two years, actually.
Is anyone still out there?

A silent, cobwebbed site, this, and here I come, a voice from beyond the… whatever. Oooohhh.

Thinking of reviving this blog. Thinking of – perhaps – doing more book reviews? More updates. Or slightly more themed posts. Useful ones, or not, like:

  • how to cope when your 13-and-a-half-year-old dog goes blind and the other one is going deaf (you just do, and make them happy as possible)
  • surviving a cost-of-living crisis as a freelancer (I have no tips, just stress)
  • taking up running again a decade later, and why it is less fun than I remember it being (knees mostly. And preferring bouldering now)
  • being 40, faulty and flailing (shout-out Poise magazine for the catchy title. Shout-out Reynauds’, low confidence and interesting times for the actual subject)
  • how to bury your head and ignore the furore around a new head of state and a new prime minister in one week (return to blog writing, obvs)

Have you missed me? Probably not. But if you did and you want to read some stuff I made up (but forgot to add to the writing credits page until just now) check out my long short story ‘Guest’ published by Nightjar Press. Or get issue 80/81 of Black Static for a sad haunting (‘Traps’).

Want to hear my annoying voice? I interview authors for a podcast for NARC Magazine now – you can check that out here: https://open.spotify.com/show/1fCyg9wfTYiiLzDRA8cHnx

What else? I’m on an art rap album. That’s still available. I’m officially featured on one song, and in the background of a bunch more.

Anyone alive out there? Can anybody hear me? Comment a little comment and let me know…


Awards Eligibility Post – 2020

I’ve never done an awards eligibility post before, because I didn’t know they were a thing until late last month. But for regular(ish) readers, youse can look away. This is just a quick list of links to writing I’ve had published this year that’s eligible for the upcoming SFF awards season. As I understand it, nominators (who number in the squillions or more, probably) find these helpful to discover magazines/stories/issues they might not otherwise have come across.

Continue reading “Awards Eligibility Post – 2020”

Quarterly Review

Today I took Dog 1 for a walk, and very deliberately didn’t take my phone with me. Usually I wander along behind the Mud Beast with an eye out for things that make a good photo. Often, sentimentally, it is the dog who is the photo. At nearly 12 years old, and having been worryingly ill this past week (entirely due to her garbage-eating bad habit) – and me with a memory like leaky wellies – I know I’m trying to capture exactly the light and exactly the expression and the movement of her exploring the fields. Today I decided I wanted to just enjoy the walk and disconnect. It’s also been a day of Social Media, since HARK! Online takes place tomorrow* and I just wanted to step away from those increasingly fraught spaces.

Continue reading “Quarterly Review”

Where are you going? Where have you been?

I’ve actively avoided writing any kind of blog post for the past four months. I had intended to go back to writing monthly updates – or at least an update about my changed circumstances – but roughly a week after my last day at my old job, COVID-19 reached the UK and everything went… well, you know. So late, as ever, but with the benefit of some hindsight, here it is.

Continue reading “Where are you going? Where have you been?”