Sunday, 24 July 2011


I escaped for the weekend with my friend Vanessa... onto the Leeds-Liverpool canal to stay on my dad's narrow-boat. We didn't chug/drive/sail it anywhere... but stayed at the mooring, which is very peaceful (apart from scary swans, lots of hissing and a few deviations in our plans to avoid them).

We watched DVDs, went for drinks in a barn with other boaters, lay in the sun reading, did some towpath gardening for my mum, cooked lovely food, went into Skipton and trawled round every charity shop in town and the market, drove up to Bolton Abbey and walked by the river, and finished it all off with a gorgeous Lamb dinner in a lovely pub.

I've come home with a burnt nose and two carrier bags of charity shop clothes. I wanted a new dress, and have come home with three dresses (one for work, two for play), a red and white swirly skirt, a vest top, a comfy jumper, a gorgeous leather handbag, and a beautiful silk top from Monsoon, all for the less than £40. It was fun trawling the shops and finding amazing bargains. I probably would have spent more than that on one dress if I'd bought brand new, and now I have a new wardrobe... (Vanessa really is the charity shop queen).

And I had such a lovely time. It was perfect. Almost.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The old, the new and the unknown...

I've not been writing much.

I'm revisiting a story from a long time ago. It's called Door, and centres on a character called Lars, who works the doors in Manchester. It's a story about denial or repression, how childhood relationships shape our adult ones, and is a story where the reader realises things the character hasn't realised yet. I wrote it when I was doing my MA course in 2005 and it never quite worked. There was something in there somewhere, and some moments I liked. But I never felt the character or the situation were fully formed or quite finished.

I suddenly found myself thinking about this story the other day. I realised perhaps what the story is really about, from recent experiences that have given me more insight. Some events in real life have very uncanny echoes of this story and I feel as if I actually understand now what I was trying to achieve with the story. I think I misunderstood what the story is most concerned with. Maybe I wasn't ready to tell it six years ago. I feel as if I can do a better job now. So, seeing as the rain prevents me getting down to the allotment, I might revisit the story and see what happens.

Other writing things...
Litmus is now available on most book sites, but is cheapest on the Comma Press site I think. I've been reading my copy are there are some amazing short stories, all inspired by eureka moments in science. I've loved reading the afterwords by scientists who specialize in fields of science explored in each story. It's what makes the book special, not just fiction based on scientific discovery, but scientific commentary too. All very accessible (believe me, I am the most unscientific person I know... if anyone reading this went to school with me and ended up being my lab partner in chemistry or physics, then you will know! More doodles, graffiti and gossip in my science books than lab notes). Anyway, my short story veers towards neuroscience/ psychology. It would be interesting to hear what anyone thinks of the book, if you've read it...

My latest book review is up on The Short Review. Another collection of short fiction that I very much recommend.
It's a brilliant first collection. I loved the way the stories were all based in a fictional Australian town, with interconnections betweens stories and characters. There's an interesting interview with the writer too. I love the way The Short Review interviews as many of the reviewed writers as possible. It gives insight into the writers, the background to their collections and how they write. I always like to nosy about other writers lives, experiences and approaches to writing...

Oh, and lastly, if anyone hears of any paid writing opportunities, please please let me know. I will starting my part time job in August, so will have space, time and energy to develop my writing... and am open to any opportunities that might arise. The world will soon be my lobster, as a good friend of mine says...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Life Wishlist

Some changes in life evolve slowly, others crash into us and we don't see them coming. I'm in the process of the first one and then the second one hits me like a train.

My wishlist:

Sunny days on the allotment. To grow plenty of lovely healthy fruit and veg. Lots of laughs. Cups of tea. A whole decent nights sleep. For my health to stay settled. An easy transition to my new job. Easy goodbyes. Some bloody good nights out. Some dancing. To feel as if I'm in the middle or the edge of things, but not on the outside. Time with my favourite people. Gorgeous food and a good appetite. A peaceful holiday. Decent books. Inspiration to write. Courage. Belief in myself. To be a good daughter and make my parents proud.

That will do. Did I miss anything out? If I was a little wilder in my wishes, I would say...

A place in the country with chickens and a goat and some ducks. Lots of space and time to grow my own everything. And making things. Writing a novel. A campervan to drive and stay here, there and everywhere. Lasting love, and waking up with that person everyday. A family of my own.

I can aim for both lists maybe. But, the ones on the first list seem more in reach... Hope the Universe is listening.