At the beginning of the year I signed up to the Goodreads reading challenge – basically aiming to read a certain number of books throughout 2015. I signed up less for the challenge and more to get an idea of how many books I actually do get through each year now. I figured ‘at least one a week, easy’, and I was sort of right, but only when the freelancing isn’t kicked into high gear, and when I’m between writings. At the moment the freelancing is in high gear and I’m not between writings and I’m actually feeling guilty for writing this instead of working on something else. When I do settle down to relax of an evening, I gawp at the TV. Goodreads tells me that I’m behind on my challenge and I really don’t like it.
On the upside, though, this sort of not-really-enforced reading break means that I’ve had plenty of time to let the last book I finished percolate for a while, instead of me rushing headlong into the next tale. And that’s been nice, because Mickey – the young protagonist in Paul McVeigh’s fantastic first novel The Good Son – is the kind of character you want to keep around for a while.
Continue reading “Oh Mickey you’re so fine”
There’s this quote that I see repeated, often, on Twitter and Pinterest, which is taken from Amy Poehler’s excellent book Yes Please.
“I believe great people do things before they are ready.”
And this one:
“You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.”
I could actually happily post most of the text here. Yes Please is that sort of book that makes you want to try harder and do more. It also sort of makes you want to throw yourself at Amy Poehler’s feet and do the full Wayne’s World ‘We’re not worthy’ thing.
Continue reading “… basically a Nike advert”
Last week, browsing the bookstands at Southbank (yes, again. I have an addiction), I picked up two books by Lillian Beckwith. There are a few names that leap out at me when I’m running my eye over a shelf, and hers is one of them.
Growing up, Lillian Beckwith was our next-door neighbour. We didn’t know her as Lillian Beckwith. We knew her as Mrs Comber. When we first moved in, my dad mentioned that she was an author, and as a kid who liked to write, that caught my imagination. I honestly can’t remember, looking back, if I wanted to be a writer before we met the Combers, or if knowing them is what made me want to work with words. Continue reading “The writer next door”
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. Continue reading “Launches, pretty things and anti-romance”
Friday night and I’m at home alone watching Frankie and Johnny – a film, appropriately, mostly about a couple of lonely people who have no one to spend the evenings with. It might be my new favourite film. Also I’m being unnecessarily dramatic about being at home alone – I was invited for cocktails, but didn’t notice the message until I was already home and settled, and the Coffee Monster is out watching Black Sabbath. We would have been seeing Neil Gaiman at the Barbican this evening, but did some ticket juggling and are going tomorrow instead. Continue reading “Friday night with Frankie and Johnny”
Sometimes I can’t think of anything to write for this. Normally I come up with something, eventually. Other times too much has happened and I can’t seem to pick any one thing to focus on. Normally, I get past that as well. But for the past week I’ve been fuzzy-headed and somewhat easily overwhelmed by things, so when faced with an overwhelming choice of things to write about, I shut down and didn’t write anything at all. Continue reading “In which I cry in front of Judy Blume”
Pity me. I’ve been struck down in the prime of the bank holiday with some sort of head-achey cold hybrid monster.
I had planned to be up early this morning and run over to Brockwell Lido for a swim. Instead I’ve been lolling around feeling sorry for myself. My throat feels as though it’s got a shard of glass stuck in it, very specifically on the right hand side, at the top. My head has been banging so badly that last night I didn’t sleep at all. Instead I wasted Sunday’s daylight hours asleep on the sofa after painkillers finally kicked in. My nose is running on and off, and my skin feels super-sensitive and sore. It’s a bit of a let-down as bank holiday weekends go. Continue reading “The whiniest woman in the west”
A night of weird dreams. I know, I know – boring. No one likes hearing about other people’s dreams. But it was a night of weird dreams to round off a week that’s felt very out-of-time. I know by the dull ache of my jaw that I probably ground my teeth a lot. I suspect Ragnarok happened in my head, even if not out in the world. Continue reading “The children of an idle brain”
Yesterday evening I attended my first Word Factory Short Story Salon event. I almost didn’t go – the usual warm house v. wailing wind and rain v. spending two hours in a room full of strangers – but I’m glad I did. If you like reading stories, listening to storytellers, or writing stories, this is really an evening for you. Wine, enthusiasm and books abound.
Continue reading ““You have to bloody love it”: The Word Factory”
If, like me, your mind goes everywhere all at once, you’ll like this entry. All the things, in roughly this order: feet, chairs, books, tv, tea, films, film writing. Add running to the end of that, and you’ve basically got my daily thoughts on a loop. Continue reading “On no longer being part troll. Physically, I mean. And other stuff.”