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Showing posts from January, 2008

Wot the Dickens? (groan)

Well, I've -

Had a birthday (21 again)

Painted the bedroom (twice - the first shade of yellow I'd picked made my eyes hurt. A classic case of a colour not doing what it said on the tin!)

Worked overtime at the library (people are still dropping like flies with The Bug).

And now it's back to my Favourite Thing...fannying about on the computer. I accidentally came across an article about Charles Dickens. I was meant to be looking up how to convert American cups into English ounces for a nice cake recipe, but got lost on the way. Anyway, it made me wonder. How in hell's fiery furnace would I have managed to do any writing at all in that era? There am I, messing abart wiv me "chapters in progress" - cutting and pasting, deleting and inserting, editing and elaborating, finding and replacing at leisure - and there he was, bless him - desperately working from 8.30 am to 1pm, to make the most of what natural light there was...using a quill. A quill, for god's sake!! …

More about ME

As if you haven't had enough, I've been tagged by Leigh and Cally, thank you (I think), for the following...I do apologise if your eyes start to bleed.

The small print:Link to the person that tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. Tag random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

1. I’ve only been abroad once, when I was 23. I wasn’t keen. Not so much the place, I just don’t enjoy travelling. I wish someone would invent a time machine.

2. Aged 14, I was barred from all the amusement arcades on Scarborough sea-front, because a friend and I worked out a horse-racing game and kept winning. (Note: the most you could win was £1, but they got sick of re-filling them with pennies).

3. I’ve never, ever been drunk. I worked as a pub manager for two years, as well.

4. I once bluffed my way into a Top Job, by claiming I knew how to use their computer system. I learned very quickly.
5. I’ve lost my Northern accent…

But what's my motivation, dahling?

After hitting a bit of a brick wall, writing-wise, I decided to sit my main character down and ask her some questions. Like a therapist, or an interviewer from The Times, or The Independent. Not one from Heat magazine. They'd probably ask her who she'd grope if she was invisible for a day, or whether she'd ever had a threesome - although I suppose the answers could have been equally revealing!

No, I wanted a proper, in-depth Q&A session, along the lines of:

"So, Harriet. How did it all start?
"What did you do?"
"How did you feel, when you found out?"
"Why did you react that way, instead of simply confronting them?"
"Then what happened?"

And you know what. It actually worked, really well. I typed about 20 sheets altogether - there's literally no end to my procrastination tactics - and as Harriet's answers unfurled I began to see meaning where I hadn't before, and also to understand properly what everybody else's moti…

Another fine mess...

Look at my new recipe for coconut flapjacks. I know what you're thinking. You've made me hungry - I must have one.

Okay, so they went wrong. You probably can't tell. I chucked the ingredients into the pan earlier, after shooing the Teens off to school and feeding the dog, then I sat down at the computer and didn't come round until a - what can only be described as life-threatening - smell of burning brought me to my senses and sent me hurtling into the kitchen. Poor Molly-dog was slithering around on her tummy with a damp tea-towel wrapped round her face, telephone in paw as she tried to get through to emergency services. Alright, she wasn't, but you get the picture. (She did give me a disapproving look though.) The smell was so bad it seeped, inexplicably, into my sock drawer upstairs.

Anyway, I charged about, eyes watering, swearing a lot and threw the pan in the sink and stared into it, dismally, realising I didn't have enough ingredients for another batch. I …

It's all about ME

Been tagged to do a MeMe by lovely Leigh and must say, it's rather enjoyable. Not to mention a good way to avoid mopping the floors...

What's the last thing you wrote?
A recipe for low-carb Rich Chocolate Brownies. This writing lark requires energy donchyaknow?

Was it any good?
It was accurate. They're bloody good.

What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
A poem about unrequited love. The only sort I knew in those days.

Write poetry?
See above. Not much, since then though.

Angsty poetry?
See above. The first line was "An artist is painting a picture of you in my mind..." Need I say more??

Favourite genre of writing?
Romantic comedy. (I will not call it Chick-Lit...stamps foot.) I have a psychological thriller inside me, as well, which I may well release one day.

Most fun character you ever created?
The main character's mother-in-law, Pearl, in my first-ever novel. She was, frankly, bonkers and had all the best lines.

Most annoying character you ever cr…

Back in the day

Whilst rummaging around in my cupboards (sounds like a euphemism, but it isn't - I wasn't looking for chocolate either...honest), I found an old tin full of early scribblings that I'd forgotten about. It reminded me that even then, aged 14, (spurred on by the dubious honour of having had a poem published in Judy comic aged 11) I used to write stuff...silly plays mostly with my dear friend, Cheryl. We'd record them onto enormous cassettes and bother the BBC or local radio to put them on. At least I'm assuming that's what the following two missives were about...

Now, to be fair, I'm not quite sure what the letter is referring to, but I think it involved a play about Susie who, as I recall, was a rather mischeivous little girl who got up to all sorts of...well, mischief I suppose. I'd write the script and Cheryl would play Susie, using what can only be described as a 'baby-voice.' What can I say? We were young and deluded. High on custard cream…

Comfort zone

After having a good old nosey around some 'proper' writers' rooms in the Guardian online, I thought I'd post a picture of mine - just in case you haven't got anything better to do. It made rather fascinating reading, and I was struck by how important it seems to be to have a separate 'writing space' and whether it isn't that we simply become attached to the place where we first started to write seriously. Which for me was a table with a typewriter, or later, a computer on it. It didn't much matter back then, only that there was a table and something to write or type on. Nowadays, particularly since we moved house, I must confess I've become addicted to my little writing comfort zone. (Note how I resisted the urge to tidy up. Also, how bored Molly looks. She's fed-up with the camera these days). Looking back, though, a consistent feature for me was to be facing a wall. I don't know why, but I still prefer it that way, though if I …

Running amok

The editor of "Yours" magazine called me yesterday, to say she wanted to publish a short story I submitted, ages ago, in their year-book, which was a real thrill I can tell thee. I mean, it doesn't come out until October, but still - woo-hoo!! Funny how a bit of unexpected news like that can give you such a boost. It was like the writerly beast within me had been unleashed - sorry for the visual there, hope you weren't eating - and within minutes I found myself rooting out some short stories that had been languishing on the shelf, like little spinsters, for months and giving them a bit of a tweaking. I've already sent one off to "Best" magazine, and the others will soon be sent out into the world to seek their perfect partners. No doubt they'll return in due course, having been bitterly rejected, and I'll have to let them move back in again and start doing their washing and...oh sod it, I can't keep up the analogy. You get my drift. It was e…

Salon fresh

I visited a hairdressing salon today, as a special treat to myself. It's not something I do very often - I'm still not over the humiliation of accidentally asking for a cut and blow-job when I was younger - but the barnet was out of control, and there are only so many times you can trim your own fringe and 'mend' your split ends before you start to resemble Edward Scissorhands on an off day. (Having scissors for hands, you'd have thought his hair would have been a bit tidier, but hey-ho). Anyway, it was all very pleasant, although the stylist did have a habit of using the royal "we." "What do we want?" she asked, when I walked in, fingering my locks as if they were oily rags. I felt like saying, "Well I don't know about you, love, but I want a lottery win, a published novel in Waterstones...and world peace." Anyway, it was all very pleasant, and one of the assistants made me a nice cup of tea, which would have been nicer with…

Unrealistic expectations

Okay, so I haven't written a thousand words a day for the past couple of days. I haven't even written a hundred. Mainly because we delivered my mum back home to Scarborough (town of my childhood) on Saturday, and decided to stay over, but mostly because I decided, on the long journey back, that I must have had my New Year goggles on when I made that resolution (like beer goggles but more brutal, because you haven't even got the excuse that you were drunk at the time), so it's now been discarded as being utterly unreasonable and I've made a new one - one that I think I can stick to. It came about after discussing writerly things with Lovely Husband on the way back, and realising that one of the things I struggle with the most when I'm writing is my inner cynic. I call her Auntie Barbara, because she's like one of those sensible women who wear sturdy shoes and have a hanky up their sleeve and a sewing kit in their handbag for emergencies, and says things like…

How Time Flies

I've already broken my New Year's Resolution, which was to not make any New Year's Resolutions, by making a New Year's Resolution (if you get my drift). Which is to write a 1000 words a day. I know it's a tad ambitious, but I love that 'clean slate' feeling of a new year, when anything (even writing a 1000 words a day) seems possible. To that end, my laptop and I - still in the first flush - have been doing our best to oblige. At 7.30 this morning, after Husband had slipped off to work, I opened him up (Laptop, not Husband - do keep up) and started typing. Mum was asleep in the guest room, the Teens were nowhere to be heard and the dog was happy enough on the landing. Perfect. I looked at the clock about four minutes later and thought, OH MY GOD!!! It was 11am. What the...? How...? Of course there'd been distractions during that time. Teen son 1 wanted to know if I could give him a lift somewhere this afternoon, and Teen son 2 made several demands to be…