(Email vs postal subs.) The writers in my head are better than me at this.

I steeled myself and sent off another few bits and pieces to various literary magazines. My printer is broken (my printers always become fucksy real fast, it’s a thing) so I only sent to places that accept online subs. Thinking about it though, I rarely post my stories. I entered a couple of big competitions early this year, but the printing and finding the right envelope and the age old question, to staple or paperclip, then the post office queue – I’m probably a bit too crap to do it very often.

I imagine other writers who are super organised, and have printers that work smoothly, whose ink never blobs on an essential page, whose paperclips are shiny and new, whose paper is just thick enough, but not off puttingly fancy. When they print the words on the page look just as they want them to, not suddenly skew whiff or with no margin or sudden jumbo spacing. These writers post their words. I envy them a little.

Bit o’ nothing really

I haven’t updated here recently. I think I am in a bit of a funk. I only just thought of that word “funk” but it seems to fit perfectly with my mood.

Random then:

I miss Matt, and I try not to notice just how much because it rips me to pieces. So I think a Matt thought, and I try to move away from it quickly.

I wrote a flash for a weekly thingy at the Fiction Workhouse. I am quite keen on it, but nobody else is.

I have had a sort of viral something since Christmas. It doesn’t ever quite evolve, but I am constantly tired, and ears pop in and out with swallowing. I have no energy.

I am re-reading Kate Pullinger’s guide on how to write fiction (given away with the Guardian last year) and it is so superb. I feel as if I have turned the key in my car, and I am gently revving the engine. I am going to finish the novel this year.

I just read Kate Atkinson’s “When will there be good news?” and enjoyed it. I was disappointed with her last novel, but this was a page turner that I loved reading. The character’s of Reggie and Dr Hunter are lovely, and I was rooting for them all the way. Occasionally I was surprised by how clunky a sentence was, but mainly I was in that gorgeous fictive dream. She makes it seem easy to plot juggle and switch perspective. I know it is not.

I wish I was full of energy. I have a permanent health problem anyway, so always operate from a below average start point, when a virus comes along it really does for me. I hope to be back at it soon.

This is not a best of the year with salt

I usually like to post an end of year round up, I usually enjoy pondering on what were my years highlights, it’s a fun thing to do. This year I couldn’t think of any “best” at all. Matt’s death has cast a shadow over everything. In a what the fuck truth telling mood I don’t mind sharing the fact that just beneath my surface, for the last year, there have been tears and loss and sadness. There has been Matt; his illness, his death.

Matt and I were friends for over twenty years. He wasn’t perfect, neither am I. In fact I believe neither of us would want me to be overly sentimental just because he is dead. He drove me nuts at times, and in the 20 plus years we shared, we rowed, and bitched, and pissed each other off loads of times. We also created a shared history, layers between us, short hand. We watched each other grow, learn, evolve from kids to adults, and in the last years of his life (and if only I had known, god, how much more of an effort would I have made) he became my best male friend. It takes years to build the friendship we had. It was rare, unique, unlikely, wonderful. He was different from anyone else I have ever met. He was a stubborn genius, a musical giant, and an amazing, non-judgmental, supportive chum.

So, I was thinking about all of that, whilst I sat in a big bubbly bath, sipping champagne that my husband poured for me. Then I came and checked my emails. My twins had been on the pc, and their msn pages were still open. They are 10 years old and their pals have status’s that read like “Chelsea till I die” “Zac Efron is well fit” “2 weeks till diznee land”. Ted’s update reads “Love u mum, ur the best” and Dylan’s reads “I love my mum 2000000000 times to the moon and back.” Gulp.

Downstairs Simon is preparing New Years Eve dinner for us. He bought all my favourite things to eat, plus delicious champagne. Matt once said that he thought Si loved me so much he’d move planets to please me. If I sound like I’m showing off, well I am. It’s important that this year isn’t just about loss. It’s also about how my beautiful boys (Hubby and sons) have supported me and surrounded me with love. It’s about the friendship I had with Matt, the memories that I can dip into, and cherish. It’s about the friends I am blessed with, and the new friends I made this year too.

Thanks to the writers at the Fiction Workhouse and Zoetrope for sharing and caring. Thanks to my facebook pals (to all who slag off facebook, I am delighted that it enables me to chat with writing pals in India, America, France, U.S, and even Brighton!) Thanks to all who read this blog and comment and stop me feeling alone. Thanks to Tania for being lovely. Thanks to Jo for getting me up on a stage this year! Thanks to Lane for LitCamp and encouragement. Thanks to Rachel for Cella’s. Thanks to Sean for being my coolest commenter! Thanks to Kellie for being ace. Thanks to Lisa for everything always. Thanks to Mima for all the listening. Thanks to Si for my whole life. Thanks to you all for reading. I’m allowed to be soppy, it’s New Years Eve!

Happy 2009 to all.


Update with no cohesion

1) I am saying “fecking Christmas” way too often.

2) Saturday (aka the busiest retail day of the year) the computer system at work was down. This meant that all enquiries had to be answered by the whirring of my own brain. It was rather amazing to see how much I did know, my mind must be utterly cluttered with titles and authors of books I haven’t read and have no clue about.

3) A customer poohed himself. He obviously was a man with some special needs, for which I have sympathy. The stench of his shit however was foul, and remained long after he left the shop. It set the tone for the day.

4) I was interview number 5 on Chris Killen’s blog.

5) I am reading DeLillo’s “White Noise” and getting on with it much better than the dreaded “Underworld.”

6) I am loving PathWords on facebook.

I’m kinda glad that I’m this book…

You’re Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don’t make any sense, but compared
to what else you could say, what you’re saying now makes tons of sense. What people do
understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once
brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in
the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you
additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

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The genius of subconscious creativity!

I had a dream that Helen Simpson read my novel. I was nervous waiting to hear what she thought of it, I knew that it wasn’t right. She said that she wondered if I would consider changing something. I said yes, I would. She then told me something that I knew was the answer to any problems I have been having with the novel. It was the key to everything, it was simple, it would be utterly effective. I was excited, grateful and delighted.

When I woke up I knew that my subconscious had been chewing over my novel, I scrambled to locate the answer. I had held on to it throughout the dream, scared to forget it. Aha! I remembered.

In my dream, Helen Simpson advised me to make each character show their grief by wearing thin, tall, pastel coloured hats.

Super – that should sort it!

Love/hate rebel

This is my gorgeous Tarina Tarantino Love/Hate flip bracelet. I adore it so much that I have just bought this one too:

I am amused by flipping the disc so that it shows “I hate you” to everyone. I guess I didn’t quite grow out of my teenage rebellious phase. It’s my birthday next week, but it would appear that no matter how old I get, I still haven’t mastered the art of keeping my mouth shut even when I know it’s for the best. I am trying to though, and I get to say how I feel with this jewelery!

Random stuff

1 – The Burroughs book that my colleague was holding when he said “Look, it’s Matt…”? Turns out it’s subtitled “A book of the dead”.

2 – I am desperately struggling to edit a story I love. I love it but know that it doesn’t work as it is. Now I have a new end visual in mind and I am working towards getting there, but it’s a bit grr. 
3 – I am getting a bit fucked off with reviewing. Instead of choosing what to read I am constantly having to read. It makes such a huge difference. Obviously there are books I am delighted to review but then there are the others. The ones I read for the bookshop, 3 or 4 a month, and they are usually not what I would choose at all. I thought it’d be a good way of opening up my reading, but no, it has just confirmed that I am right to be so picky. Plus, gah, it’s taking up so much time.
4 – Possibly hurrah news to share by the end of the month on a new publication.
5 – Summer. Hate it. Sun. Ugh. Heat. Ugh. And no, I’m not one of those who complain whatever the weather. The sun honestly makes me ill. 
6 – I have been listening to Linkin Park and Jay-Z Collision Course and LOVING it so much. I figure I should be embarrassed about it, but wow, so good. I can’t work out though if it’s just a magic mash, or if I’d like them individually. 


Matt loved William Burroughs. Matt loved cut ups. I don’t really understand either. Matt was hugely enthusiastic about Burroughs, and frequently referenced him. Rubbishly I have never read him myself so pretty much all I know is what Matt has shared with me. Matt also used cut ups throughout his life, musically (literally splicing tape), creatively…I’m not sure exactly.

Anyhow, I haven’t told anyone at work about Matt, I’m too wobbly, too likely to dissolve, so I just go in and get on. Yesterday my colleague shoved a book in front of my face and said “It’s Burroughs, it’s cut ups,” or some such, and then he said “It’s Matt isn’t it, look, it’s Matt” which was really the most bizarre thing. I think I must have looked a bit stupid, he then elaborated “The cover was all shiny, now it’s matte.” 

Rice and words.

This is a curious new site, which claims to donate grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger when you correctly identify words. One’s vocab level rises when the words become more difficult, and apparently the revenue to pay for the rice is generated by the sponsors adverts at the bottom of the screen. It is perfectly time wastey, and you can feel good about doing it too!


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