Launches, pretty things and anti-romance

I’ve been endlessly playing catch-up with my home and work life, never quite catching the will-o-the-wisp that is a completed To Do list and a clear mind. There have been brief respites (swimming at Brockwell Lido, no wetsuit, determined to develop into one of those double-hard winter swimmers (even as the sun continues to shine). Meeting up with friends. Meeting Sophie the sheep in Herne Hill – a woolly cutie who’s in training to be a movie star and wears a tiara) – but mostly it’s all been do do do, not sleeping, not writing, just about getting through the day. There’s been the odd purple day (that’s a day when the blues and the mean reds get together and throw a party just outside the blanket that I hide under when they come visiting). It’s been wearing.

It all comes to a head this week, anyway, at work and at home – and thus I’m so twitchy and antsy that I’m sharing it here in the hope that in about 8 days I’ll come back triumphant.


Tomorrow night is the London launch of Bare Fiction. I’ve been rehearsing my reading in the kitchen. There’s a limited time to read, so I’ve opted to read the opening of my story, stop at a natural stopping point, and hope people read the rest. I’m shaky nervous. It was okay, just, in the kitchen, reading at Coffee Monster. I’m just hoping I can get through my minutes on the stage at the Dogstar before my shaking legs actually collapse completely. ANYWAY – all the info is here (click). You’re welcome to come. If, unlikelily, you read this and do come along, please introduce come and say hi!


Other news – the For Book’s Sake anthology Furies arrived in the post this week. It’s a thing of beauty, and as a snarky, picky, publishing production manager, I don’t say that lightly. I’m incredibly proud to have my work in there. Been carrying the book around and showing it to the few people in my life who might be interested.

I say again, it is a thing of beauty
I say again, it is a thing of beauty

I’ve been dipping in and out of the poems – so many of which are incisive and sharp and angry and glorious – and looking forward to having time to just sit and read them (helllooo, tomorrow’s flight time!). I bought a copy for my parents and as I haven’t outgrown wanting their approval, I’m looking forward to handing it to them. The launch for THAT (free and also open to you as long as you email and let them know you plan to come – click here for more info) is taking place on October 1st up by King’s Cross. I’m not reading at this one, thank goodness, because there are many more established poets to do that – and will be there pretty much by myself. So again, if you read this and you’re there, please say hi. The book is still available for order and again, I say, it’s for a good cause as well as being a good read – treat yourselves.

On this Thursday morning I’m flying over to the island to see my family and take part in Manx Lit Fest. This means I am missing the weekend’s season launch of Word Factory, which feels weird because it’s my monthly THING. And also is bad timing because they’re announcing the winners of the apprenticeship that, actually, I applied for. I’m trying not to think about that. Looking forward to the weekend, anyway, but also really looking forward to next Thursday when, if life doesn’t take an unexpected turn, life quietens down for a little while and I’ll find myself with more time and less anxiety.

What else to say? Last weekend I was told that I’ve had another poem accepted for another anthology – this time one of poetry and flash fiction. It’s the first in a series of Slim Volumes, by Pankhearst. Called No Love Lost, the theme is anti-romance. For it, I had to write a one-line bio about romance, either pro or con. It took longer than it really should have for me to think of something.

The poem itself is a bitter little tirade. Angry. I think it would have been remiss to then add a bio that is gushingly pro. Thing is, much as I like the idea of romance and true love, my natural attitude towards most things of that ilk is realistic, somewhat cynical, very very aware that maintaining love involves work. I do not trust romance, however fun it is. I’m the person that rolls her eyes when magazines feature romance tips from someone who’s been in a relationship for 6 months. At school I could not take my peers’ relationships seriously because, whatever crushes I had (never actual boyfriends myself.  I was highly unattractive), a louder part of me was saying ‘For heaven’s sake, you’re 14, you think this is the person you’ll be with forever?’ Which isn’t to say I’m not given to the odd romantic gesture – but  it bothers me that love has been oh so tied up with the trappings of romance that these days it’s almost inseparable. You can imagine, I’m a pleasure to be in a relationship with.

The weather is turning, autumn is here, and I have bought, in the past month, more books than I can reasonably expect to read before Christmas (but I’ll give it a go). So now I’m going to go and read one. Or watch West Wing. Or try to sleep.

One thought on “Launches, pretty things and anti-romance

  1. I’m so pleased to read about your sudden rush of publications! (Not sure what I can get my hands on in the US, but I’ll try, and that Furies book IS a thing of beauty.) I can quite see that you’d be feeling a bit overwhelmed this week, though. But honestly: when DO you ever have a completed To Do list and a clear mind? Because if you know that trick, I need you to share it.


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