Meanderthal

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).

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The floor is lava

Three weeks of silence, so here’s a story. It was written very quickly over lunchtime last Friday, as is fitting for the Faber Academy weekly #quickfic challenge. The winner gets a batch of Faber books; second place story goes up on the Faber Academy site with the winning story. Third place isn’t really a place but does, it turns out, get you a nice email from one of the Faber Academy folks letting you know that you very nearly almost scraped in, and that next time you might nudge it. Good enough for me. Below is a screenshot of the picture prompt from the Faber Academy site, and my words. It’s worth heading to the site and reading back through all the winners. A pleasant way to spend some time.
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Say hello, wave goodbye**

I keep thinking of subjects for these increasingly sparse blog entries and then deciding that no, that’s too big a subject – I’ll save it and write something longer and more in depth. Maybe I’ll try an essay. Which is not to say I don’t put effort into these posts. I do, but normally all that effort happens over the course of a couple of hours at most. I splurge words on whatever springs to mind, and edit and post soon afterwards. There’s a minimal amount of research involved, but I have, usually, had something to say.

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But my comfort zone is so comfortable…

Oh, the bliss of a weekend at home! Which isn’t to say the past two weekends, out and about seeing friends, at weddings, having fun, haven’t been brilliant. They have, and now that I’ve run out of solid dates to be travelling across the country I’m missing everyone badly. But all the travelling and visiting and socialising is exhausting and I’ve been badly in need of a couple of days at home.

(Side note – I know there are people waiting for me to do some things for them, and I swear I will get on to those things this week. I just need one weekend!)

Three things this week that have involved stepping out of my comfort zone. First off: after a very kind offer of feedback on some of my poems a few weeks ago, I finally built up the courage to send three poems to my old uni tutor. I’m discovering that there’s varying levels of fear when it comes to putting things out into the world:

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Oh Mickey you’re so fine

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.

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On the flipside

Three weeks and an election later. Sorry. I forget, sometimes, that this blog is how my family keep track of me when I’m being the worst daughter in the world and failing to call them. (You can tell when that happens because I swear more in the entries.)

When I finally did speak to my mum she berated me, mildly, for not doing some sort of update here on the past couple of weeks, which did include a weekend trip to London and catching up with old friends and this fantastically chilled dog called Buzz that lives with one of them and the game-changing workshop with AL Kennedy that means I’ll never be quite so inept at talking in front of an audience again, and the always-emotional London marathon (nothing better than giving jelly babies to people staggering through their 5th hour of running and watching them perk up). And there was another weekend that involved walks and a slightly crap picnic. Continue reading “On the flipside”

… basically a Nike advert

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.

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Words into pictures

Well, the eclipse in all its cloudy, non-glory has been and gone. The world is still standing. The moon did not (as I sort of briefly fantasised) get comfy in that spot right in front of the sun, so there’s no kind of UK-based, winter-forever, the-shadow-has-fallen apocalypse going on. (Yes, I know there’s a load of scientific reasons why that wouldn’t happen, but for a little while it was more exciting in my head than the reality of an entirely grey sky and twitter making jokes.) So I guess I’ve got no excuse but to sit and write a slightly overdue blog entry. Continue reading “Words into pictures”

The writer next door

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”