Posts filed under Random

Read 100 Books in 2017 - FEBRUARY

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Look, February is a short month, okay? And I got ahead of myself in January, so it balances up. My total this month is a slightly underwhelming 5, but that's 14 in total which is aaaaalmost on target. Here's what I read:

  • We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (alright, it's not technically a 'book' - more of an essay, but it's still worth reading)
  • Shakespeare and the Arts of Language by Russ McDonald
  • The Underground Railroad by Coleson Whitehead
  • Station Eleven by Emily St James Mandel
  • The Anti-Inauguration by Naomi Klein, Jeremy Scahill, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Anand Gopal, and Owen Jones

FavouriteShakespeare and the Arts of Language because SHAKESPEARE and LINGUISTICS and a whole chapter on PUNS!

Least favouriteStation Eleven because I like my dystopia less focused on Hollywood lifestyles and more on gritty realism.

Next upThe Power by Naomi Alderman, awwww yisssss.

Oh, and we also did another video update, check it:

Join the #Read100Booksin2017 Facebook group here, check out our Writers' HQ video updates here, and stalk me on Goodreads here

Posted on February 28, 2017 and filed under Projects, Random, Writers' HQ.

Writing VS Babies

Sometimes, parenting feels like this:

Sometimes, it's more like this:

Aaaaand sometimes it's a lot like this:

Whichever kind of day it is, it's always exhausting. And always, probably, slightly amusing if viewed from the outside, and not the centre of the never-ending tornado of demands for attention and time and creativity and negotiation and love and nurturing and every ounce of patience I own.

A  bit like writing. My other baby. My quiet baby.

Still. They all keep me up at night.

Posted on January 29, 2013 and filed under Life, Random, Writing.

The 7 Stages of Literary Submission

Stage 1: Nausea. Clamp your lips tight as you click the 'send' button or drop that envelope in the postbox, while your stomach tries to escape through your throat and your guts play Cat's Cradle. It's gone. There's no reclaiming it. You've submitted to at least six weeks of morning sickness while your literary baby floats in the amniotic waters of perusal...

Stage 2: Optimism.

You know what? It wasn't that bad. You worked hard on it and it's a decent piece of writing. They'd be fools not to love it. And you've been doing this for so long now, you won't feel crushed if it's a rejection - it's part of the deal, it's par for the course, it's a rite of passage, it's some other trite cliché that makes you feel better. Come on now, it's going to be fine. This time it's all going to work out.

Stage 3. Panic.

What were you thinking, you total moron?! You sent them that? That piece of crap that's been crapped on by a crapmonster made of crap? You idiot. How do you unsend something? Can you tell them it's a mistake? A joke? The pacing is too slow, the dialogue is flat, the description is dull, the premise is unoriginal... Why did you even try in the first place?

Stage 4. Faith.

It's going to be fine. It's going to be fine. THIS IS YOUR TIME. It's gonna happen. It's a strong piece, it's what they wanted, it's new, it's full of voice and intrigue. Come on, you can feeeeeel it. You're going to get that email or that phone call, you're going to try not to hyperventilate, you're going to squee or something, you're going to pour yourself a big 'ol glass of Jim Beam and order a takeaway. This is it. Any day now. You're going to hear from them...

Stage 5. Despair.

Just kill yourself.

Stage 6. Nausea. Again.

You should have heard by now. Any day now. Any day now. What if they call? What if they say yes? Will you be able to splutter out "thank you" while you're chundering? Try not to puke on the keyboard if it's an email. And if it's a "no", well, there's always the Jim Beam.

Stage 7.  Acceptance/Rejection

Woop woop!/Meh...

Posted on December 12, 2012 and filed under Projects, Random, Send help.

Need Fish Oil - STAT

I'm at that point in pregnancy where strangers eye me up to gauge whether I'm just fat or actually up the duff. Either way they look disapproving - even if they realise that I am growing a womb fruit, they probably assume I'm only about seventeen as ol' Babyface Monkey here still gets asked for ID at the age of twenty-seven. I'm kind of looking forward to the beached whale stage, if only because I can silence most people with a pregnant glare, groan or sigh, I get to eat like it's always Saturday on the Butterfield Diet and I can properly freak out my friend Jack by showing him Alien-esque protrusions when baby sticks an elbow out of my belly. Right now, I'm meant to blooming, but I am developing a waddle and my son insists on flashing my stomach to any and every passer by to tell them about his soon-to-be little brother or sister. Except sometimes he gets confused and tries to show them a boob instead. And once he said it was an egg. We're working on teaching him the logistics.

Oh... and 'baby brain' has hit with a vengeance. I spent a solid five minutes trying to unlock the front door to collect a package from the postman the other day, shouting apologies through the letterbox and desperately explaining that something was stuck, feeling like a douche. I was just about to go around the back, cursing the price of locksmiths when I noticed that I had actually been trying to repeatedly LOCK an already locked door. I put the cereal in the fridge yesterday morning. I've been convinced it is Tuesday for about five days - except for Tuesday, when I thought it was Monday.

A friend told me that if you don't have enough Omega-3 in your diet then the baby basically steals it from your brain. No shit. You eventually regain your original levels but it takes a long time - which probably explains the fuzzy-headed-doofusness of my brain since I had baby #1. I admit, I haven't been eating enough oily fish - or much fish at all for that matter, or walnuts or flaxseeds and whatever else has Omega-3 in it - and not to panic-buy shares in Omega-3 supplements or anything, but I thought it might be a good idea to get some in my fucking face as soon as humanly possible before this parasite destroys my brain. I really have been struggling to write and/or edit lately. My weekly short stories and flashes have dwindled to once-a-month. My editing has ground to a halt. I find writing a lot like exercise - the less you do, the less energy and stamina you have to kickstart yourself again, but as soon as you make an effort you can't get enough of the endorphins and crazy-writer-hormones (technical term) that make you want to do it all day and all night.

Let's leave that exercise analogy at the doorstep, however, because I certainly haven't been doing too much of that either... But today I DID do some editing. Four whole chapters in fact. Only about 8000 words and I still managed to get lost in my manuscript. And I don't mean lost as in 'swept away by the mesmeric prose', but more 'where the fuck was that red highlighted section telling me to do something important? Oh, look, that character swears a lot in this chapter. Hmm, maybe I should change her name to Hannah. La la la, that bartender has a really shitty expression on his face every time he looks at me - maybe it's because I only ordered a 65p lime soda instead of an expensive organic beer. Can't he see I'm pregnant? Oh, no, I've got a massive t-shirt on. He probably thinks I'm fat and is judging me because I just ordered chips. At least I didn't ask for extra cheese. Fuck him, I can drink lime sodas if I want to drink lime sodas. What? Oh, editing, right. Chapter four...'

Need. Fish. Oil. STAT.

Posted on June 8, 2011 and filed under Editing, Novel, Random, Send help.