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”

Next time, Gadget

The problem with failing to write anything for a while is that occasionally I do actually have things to write about. And I really, really do – a load of things including the Bare Fiction launch, Manx Lit Fest and the incredible talks and performances I saw, and the Furies launch.

But I’ve just tried writing that post and I’m too tired and distracted to do any of it justice. Also, putting it all in one post is like trying to pack too many marshmallows into a mouth – uncomfortable amounts of goodness exploding all over the place and not actually being much fun – so please bear with and I think I’ll have to try and get each section up in parts. Continue reading “Next time, Gadget”

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. Continue reading “Launches, pretty things and anti-romance”

On the tip of my tongue

A week or so ago a person who’s known me for a very, very long time – knows my background and my family and how filled with books the house I grew up in is and how I talk – but had not read anything I’ve written until I started blogging, told me that she was quite surprised by my writing style. She thought it would be more flowery. More long words, I guess, and poetic and perhaps more philosophical?

I was a bit surprised, anyway, because at the other end of the scale Coffee Monster finds it funny and frustrating that, when talking, I have the barest grasp of nouns and can spend five minutes searching for the correct adjective. Not out of artistic temperament – I just forget words easily when I’m on the spot. I used to have a speech impediment Continue reading “On the tip of my tongue”

Friday night with Frankie and Johnny

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”

Water, water everywhere

It’s lunchtime on a Wednesday, and as I write this I’m sat in the tiny bit of shade at the edge of the gloriously sunny courtyard of Somerset House. The fountains are splashing away and drowning out any conversations I might have been distracted by. It’s lovely. It feels like being on holiday.*

*When I post this, I will actually be doing it from home, mind. After work. Continue reading “Water, water everywhere”

In which I cry in front of Judy Blume

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”

Blog Hoppin’

So this entry is part of a #BlogHop. To steal the description: “How it works is: a blogger/writer blogs about their writing process, and then nominates three other blogger/writers to do the same… and so it goes. Oh the blogs you can hop through in this network!”

I was nominated by my favourite backpacking Canadian, Christine Estima, to take part. Actually I was supposed to put this entry up on 19 May, but that was my birthday, folks, and it’s been a busy week, so this is as soon as I’ve been able to fit it in.  The deal is I’ll be answering a few questions about writing. A small amount of this might be a slight repeat of things I said over on Women in Their Own Words, but most of it shouldn’t be because they are mostly different questions. Continue reading “Blog Hoppin’”

Sunshine and vaginas

It’s been a lovely, hot day. I spent a fair chunk of it sitting in my suntrap of a yard, doing a bit of writing and work. Then I made a cuppa and went back out with the latest Paris Review and a parasol that I bought at the music festival last year, so that I could be warm but not burn. It was far and away the most pretentious thing I’ve ever done, I think, and I can be really fecking pretentious. Continue reading “Sunshine and vaginas”

In which our heroine is late for a pub quiz

So, right as an interview in which I go on about updating this blog weekly goes live, I’m late with this week’s entry. Of course.

‘Interview?’ I hear you ask. Why yes, interview! In a moment of being absolutely too big for my britches, I got myself interviewed for the fantastic new site – which is a resource for women aiming to get into journalism or creative writing. There’s a lot of wonderful women on there with a lot to say about their work, so I strongly urge you go over and check it out. Or, if you want to read me waffling on with great enthusiasm (same old, then), please head to THIS PAGE in particular. Also, that’s what I look like. Yep. The brown hair rather than the red, these days. Continue reading “In which our heroine is late for a pub quiz”