Thursday, 29 September 2011

Lines Thought beneath an Elm at Lunchtime on the way back to the Office of Harrow

Spot of my thirties! whose wistful ambition sighs
Swept by the breeze that fans thy cloudless sky
Where now alone I muse, who oft have trod
The path of these thoughts before, as I plod
Like those who, scatter'd far, perchance deplore,
The time they spent in full-time jobs before:
Oh! That glorious day! An author I'll be
Mine eyes admire books, my heart adores thee
Thou glorious words! Within you I lay
And frequent scribble'd procrastination away;
Where, as it once were wont, to the sock drawer I'd stumble
And tidy and pair and sort and grumble
How do thy stories, alive underneath my fingers
Invite me to remember and smile and linger
And seem to whisper, gently and sincere
"Your time will come, keep going, persevere!"

Author: Jayne and Lord Byron
Real poem can be found here

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

As the world falls down

Caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I worry too much, baby

It’s agonising when decisions feel too hard to make. The result is paralysis – you neither move forward nor back. Everything feels so heavy – giant boulders that only I can balance and all my attention is on them so I miss seeing the flowers around the edges. Sometimes I look away and the world sparkles but dem boulders are just so big, they demand dominance.

Depression is an awful thing. The problem is it doesn’t allow for any perspective – thoughts fracture and scurry around in tiny circles. There are no solutions in that darkness; it’s very claustrophobic. There's a feeling of separation from others, like living in a bubble - the partition is there but no one else can see it.

I can only write about it when it’s not with me (although if you are prone to depression it never exactly goes away – it circles your perimeter fence and waits for an unwary sentry). But I still can’t make any decisions – and I really need to, soon, at any rate. I’ve sequestered myself away for too long and need to start living a life again.

I had some time out recently – I had the house to myself and booked time off the day job to enjoy the peace and quiet in the hope that it would be productive. It took a little while to change the swing of my thoughts from day job to writing, but once I was in the zone, so to speak, it was fantastic. I was up at 6am each day and tapping furiously on the keyboard. The rewrite didn’t know what hit it. I forged ahead and fell in love with words again – that magic moment when the writing wheels seem to turn on their own. At the end of each day I looked back and thought gosh! I did that! I wrote that! It was a feeling that had been a long time missing.

I’m back at work now and still have that time-off energy – I can feel it as I make lists of work things to do, hum a tune on the way to the office kitchen, catch up with colleagues. It is prompting me to chip little bits off those boulders, to tackle small decisions that are easier to digest. It calls my attention to everything I love about autumn and tells me that the world is wonderful and good things are ahead for me. Maybe all I needed was a little break, after all.

Image from the film poster for Labyrinth; title also from the film

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

If I could be anyone I'd be...

Belle loves books and lives in a little town where everyone sings in tune. She is independent and confident enough to rebuff the charms of the local lothario. She takes control of the situations she finds herself in and actively seeks a solution. Belle is kind and thinks always of others, with a smile for everyone. She sees beyond superficial appearances and is calm in the face of tragedy. She falls in love with a person's mind, and it just happens to be a bonus that he is really a handsome Prince with a castle and a fantastic library.

Belle is definitely the person I'd like to be!

Today's post is in honour of it being the actual launch day of the lovely Talli Roland's new book, Watching Willow Watts.

In the novel, Willow becomes Marilyn Monroe, and Talli invited everyone to share who they would be if they could be anyone! Hence Belle. :)

I have had the privilege of reading a preview copy of Watching Willow Watts and it is very funny, very readable, and a lovely story. As you can guess from the title, Talli has a great eye for playful language and rhythm, and there are some cracking names throughout the book. Willow is a very likeable character - you are rooting for her from the start - and I won't spoil what happens but really enjoyed the story.

Want to read it yourself? Excellent! You can go to Amazon UK and to get a copy for your kindle or e-reader. The paperback launch is coming up in November.

Fancy joining in the fun? Fab! Write a blog post titled 'If I could be anyone, I'd be...' and let Talli know so she can add you to this list. Then pop about and visit some new people - and hopefully they'll pay you a visit back again!

Talli's blog:

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


1.    Hooray! Time to write.
2.    I’ll just make a coffee
3.    I’ll just check Twitter
4.    And Blogger
5.    Ooo that looks interesting – I’ll read that link
6.    I’ll comment. Best sign in
7.    Now I’m in I’ll visit some other blogs and comment
8.    I’ll update my own blog while I’m here
9.    Best update Twitter
10.    Have I checked my email?
11.    Ah. Just got to reply to that one. And that other one.
12.    Best check my work email just in case
13.    Hooray! Now I can start writing
14.    I’ll just go and make another coffee
15.    I really fancy listening to some music
16.    Love that video. Oh, I remember that song
17.    What are the lyrics to that song?
18.    I really need to sing along to this
19.    Found them! Let’s play and sing.
20.    I can sing a different song SO much better
21.    Found other song. Sing that instead
22.    Where are the cats?
23.    I’m hungry
24.    I really need to eat something sweet
25.    Biscuits are marvellous
26.    Where is my notebook?
27.    My notebook was under that really interesting book
28.    Might just read that page
29.    Will google that author and see what else they have written
30.    Will buy that on Amazon
31.    Where is my credit card?
32.    Marvellous. Oh, I might buy that DVD as well.
33.    Must back away from Amazon.
34.    I really need to write something
35.    I’m cold – need to find a jumper
36.    Hooray! I’m at my desk
37.    Where are my glasses?
38.    Wonder if I’ve had an interesting email yet?
39.    Wonder if the postman has been?
40.    Seriously, where are the cats?
41.    I’ll just go and make a cup of tea
42.    Wonder if anyone has commented on my blog?
43.    What can I see outside the window?
44.    I need to water that plant
45.    Who eats the pens in this house?
46.    Oh – the tumble dryer is beeping
47.    Might just cuddle the cats for a bit
48.    A snooze might help my creativity
49.    Is it time for lunch?
50.    I love days at home writing

Friday, 9 September 2011


Sometimes I get confused and think happiness is all about the big chunks – the large events, the all-singing and all-dancing milestones. A conversation with a friend last night made me think again. 

Happiness is also found in the quiet hours – contemplating the flowers in the garden, watching the cats at play, hearing the raindrops patter on the roof and knowing you are cosy inside. I get so focused on the big picture that I forget all the little pictures that are part of me. So here are some little things recently that have made me happy…

  • The two girls I sit with at work also have creative ambitions outside of the day job – one is an actress and the other a singer – so we share each-other’s triumphs and root for each-other to succeed, which is rather lovely. And chocolate mini rolls were given out at tea-time in honour of my upcoming birthday (sh!).
  • Throwing myself into weird shapes at Zumba aerobics class and being pleasantly surprised at my fitness level. I still have one! I thought we'd have to send in Time Team to excavate it.
  • Last week at Jitterbugs (lindy hop dance club) I had a great time dancing and remembered my lindy turn, swing out and circle. We styled out our own moves and had tons of fun. It was also nice that so many people came up to say hello to me, considering I hadn't been for ages.
  • The line ‘touched down in the land of the delta blues in the middle of the pouring rain’ in the song 'Walking in Memphis'. Also the sax in Gerry Rafferty’s 'Baker Street'.
  • Far-flung friends remembering my upcoming birthday (sh!) and looking forward to celebrating next week by combining a love for hidden history, London, cupcakes, cycling, walking, fab food, and possibly a glass of wine (or two).
  • Having time off the day job to hopefully do tons of writing!
  • Wearing my ‘Knights of Good’ T-shirt. Do you watch The Guild? If so you will know what I mean. 
  • Watching Hi-de-Hi. This was a BBC sitcom that ran in the 1980s and was filmed in a real holiday camp during the off-season. My family used to go there on holiday so I love watching the show (which is very funny) and recognising the situations and surroundings.
  • Meeting up with a good friend for dinner - we laughed and swapped thoughts over white chocolate and raspberry ripple swirl cheesecake. Yes, I did savour typing that sentence! (As well as the eating. Mmm.)
  • The instagram photography app. Beautiful filters that just make every single photograph stunning. As used on this post!
  • Being able to jump in my car and drive... (drive, drive, drive... *sings Rihanna*)
  • A cuddle with my cats. Cuddling Ginger is like holding a purring warm furry sunbeam. Cuddling Abigail is like holding a curious little fur-baby.  You can probably guess which one is which!

What little things have made you happy recently?

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Do you remember vocabulary books? These were slim exercise books given out at school in which we would write new words. I only recall them for a brief period of time; perhaps they were superseded by changes in curriculum and chaotic lessons. But I rather liked them, so I have decided to resurrect the idea.

Every time I discover a new word it gets recorded in my notebook. I have a guess what I think the words means and then look it up later when I get a chance. Here are a selection for your amusement!

Word: Lexical
I think: Correct terminology
Actual meaning: A dictionary term or definition
How close was I? Not bad

Word: Inchoate
I think: Incoherent
Actual meaning: Just begun, not fully formed, rudimentary
How close was I? Not even vaguely! Although I can see my thought pattern – same word family, right? (Wrong!)

Word: Coterie
I think: Group
Actual meaning: Small group with shared interests, exclusive to others
How close was I? Spot on

Word: Amanuensis
I think: Some sort of teacher
Actual meaning: Performing a function by hand, i.e. writing down the words of another. In Latin a  manual labourer / secretary
How close was I? Way out

Word: Simony
I think: Traitor or treachery
Actual meaning: Paying for a position within church, trafficking for money within spiritual things
How close was I? Close but no biscuit

I love discovering new words and am always rather thrilled when I am reading and a word leaps out that I've never seen before. I like reading around it, trying to guess, seeing if there are any clues. Sometimes these guesses can put an interesting slant on sentences, one the author had not foreseen. Hence the notebook!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Flurry of Things

That sounds like a title that should be used by speech therapists. However, a thlurry of fings have been happening on the writing-front, despite August hitting me with a slumber stick. Here is a mini round-up:

1. I attended a brilliant short story workshop in Northampton run by the writer Helen Hunt. It was called Insight to the Women’s Magazine Fiction Market – and she delivered a cracking workshop, packed full of information, as well as lunch! Met some lovely people and chatted about writing all day. Sadly I have no time at present to get going on ideas for that field but at least now I know more for when I do!
Find out about Helen's next workshop on her blog:

2. I submitted some blog posts to the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook website and three have gone online all at once! This is amazingly exciting for me – if you have time, please do pop over and leave me a comment – it would be wonderful to hear from you. Swing by and find out about:
- My thoughts on Page Fright – be gone,Writer's Block!
- What it felt like to do to work experience later in life - Gaining Writing Experience
- What I think about the big R – Rejection (it may be an evil blighter, but there are lessons to learn.)
Hope you like them!

3. I am rewriting my novel. This is both hugely exciting and deadly, excruciatingly, terrifying. I’m feeling quite energised about it at the moment though, so am back to writing as much as I can around the full-time job, and utilising lunch-times and saved holiday allowance.
I have a whole six days off soon to write - whoop!

4. I bought Nicola Morgan’s book 'Write to be Published' and highly recommend it. If you have Nicola's book, Stephen King’s 'On Writing', and literary agent Carole Blake's 'From Pitch to Publication' on your bookshelf then I don't think you can go too far wrong. I also went to Nicola's book launch at Foyle’s in Charing Cross, met up with fab friends made via this blog, and even won a Crabbit bag. I am chuffed.
Find out more about Nicola Morgan, and her books, via her blog:

5. I have started the OCD social media checking regarding any news on certain short story competitions. I can’t say which competitions as I fear a giant Jinx will smash down from on-high with its hairy foot. Both competitions do not even announce their shortlist until October. I am, ooo, about thirty days way too early.
Perhaps I have OCOD (obsessive compulsive online disorder).

6. I am going to mention Nicola Morgan again and I hope she doesn’t think I am being too gushing, but as well as being a busy fab author lady, she runs a writing consultancy called Pen2Publication. If you are at the stage where you need guidance or direction with your novel / writing, and are ready to accept criticism in order to find out how to be a better writer, then do check out what the consultancy can offer you. I did, and it is probably one of the best things I have ever done for my writing career to date.
Find out more about Pen2Publication here:

So that’s me in a Technicolor writing nutshell. And now it's time to welcome September with cosy knitted jumpers, warm scarves, glorious colours and crisp fresh air. As well as hiding my birthday, I always feel this is a magical month, full of promise. Good wishes for your own writing!