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”
Yesterday I signed up for the Edinburgh half-marathon. I often tell people that I do well with deadlines, and I really do. I need the pressure to get me going in all areas of life, from writing to exercise to… well, spending time with people even. Otherwise I just lie around stagnant, like water in a pipe waiting for the tap to be turned on, probably growing mould and smelling a bit funny.
The pressure works really well. I get motivated and creative and I DO stuff. And then I get carried away and sometimes I accidentally put a bit too much pressure on myself and water-me sort of blurts out everywhere in panic, and lands up as a useless puddle on the sideboard, waiting to be wiped up.
Day three of relentless sunshine, and I have taken to hiding indoors. I’m a cold-weather person. I like blue skies and light, but I also like the temperature to be cold. And dry. I’m actually (it turns out) ever so slightly allergic to sunlight. I wear a lot of suncream but will still get little ‘aaaaargh UV LIGHT!’ welts on my forearms after a day doing stuff outside. Continue reading “For the birds”
Over the past two weeks I’ve developed a crush on the entire Costa coffee staff at my local train station. In the way that a really good musician, or someone really good with words (or, combine the two, a bloody good lyricist – oh WHAT I’m a cliché and a pushover, I know it) can get my heart thumping, apparently so can anyone who hands me coffee with a smile in the morning – at the moment, anyway. And it doesn’t even need to be with a smile. It can be the nervous shrug of the girl who’s still learning the ropes; the slight scowl of the dude in the beanie who is clearly a rock star when he’s not working; the super efficiency of the fellow with the beard who reminds me a bit of one of my uncles; or the jitteriness of the skinny raver who calls me petal. Continue reading “Love and impatience”
Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a series of interviews on this blog…
Meet: Emily J Macaulay
When I thought of/shared the idea of doing interviews, Emily is the first person that sprang to mind. We’re twitter associates, and haven’t yet met in real life. In Emily’s words, we ‘connected through a mutual friend talking about triathlon training and then discovered we both love Stella Duffy too’. Which is, frankly, a solid basis for a twittery friendship if ever there was one.
Over the course of our acquaintance, it’s become clear she is one of those rare people who puts her money (and body, and mind) where her mouth is. I’ve just realised that that sentence conjures up an odd picture, but the point is, she gets things done. And by things, I mean she has received an MBE for her services to equality and diversity, and she’s raised over £20,000 (actually, I think at least over £23,000 as of today) for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal by doing a properly challenging challenge almost every year. The Jane Tomlinson Appeal raises funds for childrens and cancer charities – Emily has cancer. She also works in a management position at Exeter Library, a job she moved to after nine years working in the criminal justice system, making use of a postgrad level degree in Criminology and Sociology. Continue reading “Interview: Emily is not playing”
Yesterday morning the sky looked like something holy wanted us to look up for a few minutes, and it felt too too ordinary to be seeing it as I walked to the train station weighed down with parcels. And then I saw two people punching the sh*t out of each other, expletives echoing, and wrestle each other into a waiting taxi – and the magic leached away slightly. Continue reading “2016 is all about you and them”
This went up a while back, but December is still going and it’s really important that this doesn’t fade out at the end of the year so please, read and then READ.
The simple answer is that BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) writers are largely ignored. Underrepresented on agents’ books, publishers’ lists, review pages, prizes lists and recommended reads.
The catalyst for this particular initiative was the revealing of the UK’s World Book Night list last week. In case you’re not aware of WBN, the idea is that members of the public sign up to be a giver. They choose a book from the list they’d like to distribute to non-readers and, if their application’s successful, are sent 20 copies of their chosen book. It’s a great initiative and I’ve been a giver myself. However, this year there isn’t a single book by a BAME writer on the list.
Responding to this, writer Nikesh Shukla wrote a piece for the Bookseller titled ‘Where Are World Book Night 2016’s BAME Writers?’ In it, he says:
…having BAME writers will encourage…
View original post 1,464 more words
Have to be honest, I haven’t missed writing blog entries. My domain ownership actually ran out a couple of weeks ago, and it took me longer than it should have to renew it. I was half-heartedly considering shutting this place down – maybe starting a new site, a more professional one with my name in the address and whatnot. Bookworms is a hodge-podge after all, with a misleading title and not enough control over the layout to keep me happy. But I’m giving it another year (if you keep reading).
Finally I can come on to this blog and say, with a certain amount of pride, that the Literary Salmon team’s first project, The Casual Electrocution of Strangers, is available to download and read. By which I mean, for free.
I haven’t slept properly for the past four nights and, since I can’t pin the blame on caffeine, stress or much else, I’ve decided that part of the problem might be lack of decent exercise.
The Thursday after the Great North Run, I took myself off up to Scotland for four days alone. I stayed at an incredibly romantic and quite fancy shepherd’s hut (and completely recommend the place). No electricity, so when night started to fall, that was bedtime. After the first day, if I wanted a fire I needed to chop wood; if I wanted water, I had to fetch it from the next field over and slightly up a hill. Point being that even making a cup of tea involved some measure of effort. And I decided, in between reading a lot and writing a bit, to go walking. I bought a map of the area with trails marked on it, and went for a short explore on Thursday evening, and for longer walks on my own (six miles and ten miles each on Friday and Saturday. Sunday was a lazy day involving cake and a dog-sitting for the lovely people I met there).