Friday, 28 January 2011

So you want to write a novel...

I'm up to my neck in research for the thing beginning with 'n' that I don't want to talk about in case gazillions of hours of reading and writing come to nothing. In between nail-biting, self-doubt and the slow clicks of the keyboard, the movie below made me laugh.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Word Soup: The Baby Aisle

Last night I read a slightly surreal story called 'The baby Aisle' at Word Soup. The story got lots of laughs (I was expecting wry smiles since it was more sinister than funny) and it was nice to read something lighthearted and irreverent.

I had a lovely time and it was fabulous to see some friendly, writerly faces in the audience: Avril Scott, Claire MasseyCarol Fenlon and Amanda Richardson.

Now I have absolutely no excuse not to get stuck into the thing that I'm trying to research at the moment which begins with 'n'. The thing that I don't want to talk about for fear of jinxing it: my n..... 

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sesame Article

The Open University student and alumni magazine Sesame has an article about me in the Winter 2010 issue. I loved my time with the Open University, it really did change my life for the better and one day, if they'll have me, I'd like to be an Open University tutor.

Here's a copy of the article (although it's probably more readable if you follow the link above):

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Things to smile about

Although I've learned to appreciate the joy of a timely frown, I'm finding lots of things to smile about at the moment. 

On Sunday morning I had a sudden impulse to decorate my daughter's room. By 6 o'clock her magnolia walls were red and ivory, three pairs of my trousers were in the washing machine and I couldn't lift my right hand above shoulder level but I did every last bit of it myself. Smile.

The week before Christmas I got my Edge Hill staff parking permit. I'm going to be an intern, working on the 2011 Edge Hill Prize. The internship will involve some work in both the corporate marketing and English departments. I'm not being paid, but did I mention that I have a staff parking permit? Smile.

I found this miniature, framed, cross-stitch sampler which belonged to my grandmother. It's smaller than my little finger and I thought that it was lost, but it isn't. Smile.

My other grandmother bought this lovely chair, ostensibly for the whole family for Christmas, but largely because she was fed up of watching me hobble into her house each morning having spent the previous evening at the computer, sitting on a wooden dining room chair. Now I can sit comfortably. I can also swivel. Smile.

A little Christmas present from my sister. Smile.

Christmas slippers. With red reindeer on. Smile.

Monday, 10 January 2011

No-one likes a frowny face

When I was a little girl we used to sing a song. It went like this: 

If you chance to meet a frown, do not let it stay, 
quickly turn it upside down and smile the frown away. 
No-one likes a frowny face, change it for a smile. 
Make the world a better place by smiling all the while.

About five years ago someone told me that I smile too much. I was surprised - I didn't think there was such a thing as smiling too much, after all, no-one likes a frowny face. Since that time I've watched smiles carefully - other people's and my own.

I've learned that smiling is not necessarily an indication of happiness. I've also learned that 'frowny' faces are absolutely likeable and infinitely preferable to the disguise of an 'all the while' smile.

Two of my favourite 'frowny' faces: 

Friday, 7 January 2011

Word Soup: Resolutions

I'm reading at Word Soup on 20th January as part of my New Year Resolution to do more things that scare me - like reading my stories in front of strangers and making conversation with people I don't know. 

There's more information about the event here.