Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's All About The Build Up

I have been known to fall asleep during the ten minutes where something actually 'happens' in a film; or get bored during the battle but thoroughly enjoy the events that have led up to that battle or event. It happens a lot in in Statham films and to be fair, most action films because that fifteen minute car chase or ten minute shoot out is the least significant point for me. It's the build up that matters; the relationships along the way; the way the characters interact; guessing the plot before it happens and the eventual outcome that may or may not involve love or two characters eventually getting together; or the baddies getting their comeuppance or the goodies prevailing.

I feel this way sometimes in books. The first 300 pages can completely grip me, but those last fifty where the battle happens or the outcome is reached, somehow lose me. I crave the build up. I crave that eternal struggle, where anything is still possible; where the characters are still pushing towards something, against something, where the ending can still be re-written; a never ending crescendo of poignant events, cliff hangers, injustice and more often than not, pain. 

I find this can also relate to times of the year and significant events and festivals. Quite often it's the preparation more than the actual day that prove the most enjoyable. For instance, Christmas - unless you are between the ages of 3 and 12 - is all about build up. It's about that Christmas shopping; stressing out over who to buy what for; taking in a mulled wine whilst exploring a Christmas market and wrapping things up. It's about baking and the smells of cinnamon and ginger. It's about decorating the house and seeing as many people as you possibly can before the big day and it's about opening that window on your advent calendar every morning. (Yes I am thirty and have an advent calendar. What's your problem?)

But the day itself is just presents, food and drink and television. It's not a life changing, earth shattering day. It's just a day that is hyped up more than others and I find new year just the same. Yes it's fun to think about the new year and what it will bring but the night itself is always a let down. Does anyone really do what they want to do? Are you ever with all the right people? Is it ever this miraculous night where elephants dance on clouds and hyenas speak in deep voices whilst kangaroos eat lemon cake? No. It's just a night where everyone stays up longer than usual; no one can send a text message and people decide to try and better themselves in odd ways usually relating to diet and fitness.

I sometimes wish that feeling of excitement for something to happen, that preparation and build up could continue; that you never quite reach the slightly disappointing goal but exist in that perpetual notion of working towards something.

It's the same with writing. Writing creatively is tough but so much fun. Creating things; inventing things and basically letting your imagination out of its shackles can be so liberating and rewarding. And as you write and re-write and evolve your characters and plot you really begin to feel that something substantial has happened; that you have something tangible from these bizarre thoughts and notions that have plagued you for months.

But its the next stage, when you have to send it to someone else in order to progress. It's all good and well to write something and only have your friend or colleague or partner read it but when you reach out of your cosy little bubble of support and love, to someone else, a stranger.......that's when things get a little tricky. That's when your mind decides to conjure up countless other ideas to delay what you feel will be an inevitable rejection. That's when you decide to find any excuse to not send a submission; and it's why after a whole year I haven't, because I've been editing and editing over and over again; interrupting the flow, stagnating the time and putting off that disappointment of the event.

Preparing a submission is like eating far too much and then feeling so uncomfortable for the rest of the day that all you can do is watch shit television and groan. And that's what I have to look forward to in the next couple of weeks. Because it is that time again. There are no more windows to open on the calendar; no more cocktail opportunities with friends (though actually that's not entirely true) no more presents to buy, no more build up left. This is the end of the crescendo, the fortissimo section with all the instruments playing at the same time. It's loud and chaotic and a little scary but maybe this time it won't be the disappointment I think it will. Maybe this time the big day will be just as thrilling as the preparation. And maybe just maybe it will also smell of cinnamon and ginger.


N. B Don't get me wrong, I love being with my family and friends at Christmas. I love roast dinner and Christmas pudding. I love the idea of Christmas Day being this magical day but I just don't feel it anymore. Adult hood knocks a lot out of you. Not only those things you were so sure of as kids, such as the existence of Father Christmas and the knowledge that it would snow at Christmas, but things like your relatives that would always be there and just aren't. The people that are no longer with us; the dwindling numbers around the table; wondering if that time is the last time you'll see someone. It's actually a hugely depressing time when more often than not you think about what you don't have or who you no longer have, rather than who you have left.

And New Year just means an extra number tacked on to your age, again not so fun. So whilst I may have lost sight of my original point and I may have bummed you all out; what I'm trying to say is: Just give me the build up any day.

Happy New Year


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Spiders In The Sports Bra And Other Festive Tales

Hello and welcome to a rather festive Christmas Eve edition of Rants of a Bitter Northerner. It's been a few weeks in the making and long overdue. Expect eight legged freaks, world domination and novel despair.

So let's get crackin', after all it is Christmas Eve and you all have plenty of important things to do as well as reading this blog; whether it be wrapping, last minute shopping, visiting, food preparation or getting wankered in the pub. They are all viable ways of spending your last day before Christmas.

And so to our first tale: When looking after kids finally pays off......

My last teaching day was last Thursday. I had a family of two in the morning; a private music lesson in the afternoon and a last minute babysitting in the evening. So if you look past all the crap and the changing times and changing days and cancelling sessions and bed time negotiations and tantrums, then you find the good bits.......It's a shame you have to wait all year for them but it's worth it......
  1. For all the cuddles. 
  2. For sentences such as: "Helen, I'm going to miss you."
  3. For the handmade cards with all the words written independently inside.
  4. For beautiful homemade biscuits. 
  5. For the wave from the window and how much it makes you smile. 
  6. For the torrential downpour that still doesn't stop you delivering Christmas treats even though it's a twenty minute walk.
  7. For feeling appreciated and to know that you help. 
  8. For seeing the development and achievements they make. 
  9. For the nights when babysitting involves wine, the movie Tangled and two of the most amazing little ladies ever. 
That's when it's all worth it. 

Now you're probably thinking Rants has gone soft on us during this festive time, so it's definitely time for tale two: The Trials and tribulations of Chapter 21. 

Okay, so the third edit, this year, of my long awaited - though mainly by me - novel has hit a snag and not a slight one, a freakin' huge one. It's name: The Twenties. I am really quite happy with Chapters 1-19 and 30+ but 20-29 are proving to be the biggest ball ache. I change something and then I change it back and then I question that and then I throw a strop and then......Blah blah blah it continues on and on. It's the curse of the pissin' twenties and I need help.

I think the pursuit of perfection has taken an OCD turn in that no matter what I do or what tweaks I make, I know I'm then gonna tweak them. It's a never ending tweaking freaking machine (not at all to be confused with a twerking jerking machine, dear lord no!) and I can't switch it off.

So I have made the decision to fuck Chapters 20-29 right in the ear and prepare to send off submissions in the new year. Let's face it, they are only gonna ask to read more than three chapters if they're interested and the likelihood of them being interested is slim to none, so therefore why should I be stressing the fuck out of myself in mythical chapters that no one is ever likely to read.

By the way agents, I really hope you do ask for more and in the bizarre turn of events that you do, please only ask for the next 16 chapters and we'll be fine. If you could then sign me up then you would have to accept  the 20's warts and all. Muhahahahahahaha. And then you would have to help me edit it and basically make it good for me. Yippee. Can't wait.

And so to tale three and one of terrifying proportions: Spiders in the Sports Bra. No this is not the latest book by Claire Freedman (Author of Aliens Love Underpants) it is in fact a festive trauma that makes me never want to don my sports bra again. Prepare yourselves for absolute terror. You have been warned.

So A and I are not only vowels but partners in crime. Ha ha. Made myself laugh. Anyhoo, back to the tale. A and I were packing for our trip to Italy (first year not in my home village of Standish with my parents and brother) to see his family. We decided to pack running gear to enable us to stave off the Italian feasts that were bound to make us podgy.

I should probably note here that I haven't run in about three months as I'm a lazy bitch!

So I go into my bottom drawer and pull out my stretchy pants, stretchy skirt, sports bra, fleece top and a bandana. (I always run in a bandana and a skirt, this is not the terror.) I take them to my already overflowing suitcase and start to pack them when I spot a tiny crawling creature. Thinking it is the only one, I squish it.
Yeah, yeah, whatever, gods creatures and all that bullshit but I can assure you, I am much more scared than it could ever be.

Then I spot another one, so I squish it. Then thinking it was quite weird as we never get spiders up in our lofty fifth floor flat, I opened my sports bra to find loads of them crawling around on the bloody booby holding bit. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
I threw it on the floor and called for A who shoved it straight in the washing machine. Then I started to investigate the rest of my running stuff and anything with a spider on it went in the washing machine to be exterminated.

Can you imagine how grossed out I was at this point. I mean one day I may have to wear that again and all I can think is, I don't wear a bra with that, what if a spider touches my boobs? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
So A then decides we have to check the whole drawer and finds a few more. He then says in a tone he thinks is reassuring: "Oh I think a spider made a nest in here and had lots of babies." AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Needless to say, that didn't help.

I did however manage to find my old sports bra devoid of crawly things and another stretchy skirt so I still was able to take a full running kit to Italy.

So, that'll teach me for not going running for so long. And if that is the punishment, I won't let it happen again. Spiders breeding in your sports bra....it's enough to make you go running every day........well not quite.

Now for my fourth and final tale: A Slow Domination of the World.

I have recently taken on a second school for music classes with under fives. The response has been huge and I almost have two full classes already. I also have a third school lined up for February time. Muhahahahahahaha. It's a slow domination but one day you will all bow to me. Or at least your kids will during a half hour of musical fun. Whoop!

I also have two picture books written and two more on the way, so expect domination of a picture book front too.

And so, whatever you're up to tonight, whether it be with friends, family, or just watching the Santa tracker - which incidentally crashed when A looked at it - enjoy yourself and make sure you're in bed before he comes otherwise he'll take those presents elsewhere. You have been warned. Oh and ladies, air out those sports bras every so often, you don't want a colony of creepy crawlies using it as a breeding ground.

Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Snotisms and Hungry Bottoms

So, you know when I quit my job as a Pre School Teacher - glorified bum and nose wiper, though never with the same tissue - and I thought, hooray! no more snot and nappies and being sneezed all over and being a human tissue and climbing frame. Well........

Okay, so I didn't have to look after kids anymore - technically - but then money for unpublished, freelance writers who are not at all paid for their work, really doesn't grow on trees or bushes or hedgerows or anywhere really. And when you're good at something that can make you a few bob, then you do it, regardless of the extra fluids.

Today I took two kids to the play centre where they have three floors of soft cushioned climbing stuff and two slides and ball pools, etc. I get paid for essentially being a big kid, I know, not all that bad. Both the kids had bad coughs and runny noses, as all kids do at this time of year and I was constantly wiping one then the other and back and forth.

Then they both started snurching, which not only bugs me as a sound but defeats the whole object.
I said: "Don't snurch it up, you don't want to keep it in, you want to get it out."
The four year old replied: "I won't keep it in, it will come out in my poo poo."

Cue laughter. Now it's a nice idea but it doesn't quite work that way. I like her line of thinking though.

Then a little girl was crying and I helped her down to her mum, who had no intention of climbing up to help her child and as she came past her nose was running. Cue tissue. Damn it. I'm not even getting paid for wiping this one.

Oh and the other day when we were at the rhyme time at Kentish Town Library, one of the mum's couldn't take her eyes off her kid but seemed oblivious to the fact her baby's snot was in his mouth. Come on, give it a wipe. 

So far I've been unaffected by this surge in green nose slime but I have a feeling my time will come.....soon.

Now to hungry bottoms. We all have them and we all know just what they're hungry for.......
According to my four year old charge, "My bottom is eating my knickers." Genius!

I have now started saying that instead of my knickers are up my bum. It's much better. "Oh, my bum's hungry today. It can't seem to stop eating my knickers. Greedy bugger." Love it.

Oh to think like a four year old, that your boggies if snurched up will come out in your poo. Now that would be a disgusting thought. Urgh my poo's all radioactive green. Oh it's okay I was just snurching all last night. And that our bottoms are hungry enough to eat our underwear.

Makes me laugh anyway.

Enjoy a hopefully snot free Tuesday. No snurching please.And I hope your bottom is full, or those knickers are gonna get it.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I've Got My Ticket, But I'm Not Exactly Happy.

So Tori Amos tour tickets on Pre-sale today. (By the way, not a great time. Just before Christmas when the Barclaycard is already taking a beating. But okay, I'll allow it because I love her and I have to see her every time she is in London and I always make exceptions for her.)

So I try to get a stalls ticket. Usually they are around £48.00, but this time they are £52.50 face value but you actually pay £60.00. Where the fuck did the other £7.50 come from? So already I'm not happy but at least I'll be on the floor and I'll get a good view. But when I look on the Royal Albert Hall Seating Plan the Arena is the floor and the stalls are around the sides. Hmmmmm. They didn't even have Arena tickets available and if they did they'd probably be £70.00. Fuck!

So I continue and try to buy my first one in Row G and by the time I've gone through forgetting my password twelve times and reverting to having to sign up AGAIN to gigsandbloodytours, then I've timed out. And I can't complete the transaction. Mother Fuckers!

So I go straight back on to do the whole rigmarole again and they give me H in the stalls. Boo! Though in the grand scheme of things only marginally further away. I'll get over it.

This time I race through it all and just before you buy the ticket they slap on another £2.31 because heavens knows I haven't paid enough already. So £62.31 and I have my ticket, but I'm not particularly happy about it. (I'm sure I will be closer to the time when I remember I'm seeing a Goddess, again, possibly for the 12th or 13th time.) Right now I'm wondering if I'll ever be able to pay off my credit card bill or if this will sit undigested like a piece of sweetcorn, in the bowel of my statement, forever and a day.

£50.00 was expensive enough to watch a solo artist in a nice venue and that was when I had an £18,000 a year (albeit shittily paid job) salary. When you are freelance and earn shit all, the £62.31 is literally three mornings looking after 2 kids and a music class. And I'm not sure if it's worth it. Not that Tori isn't, she totally is, but if this is the way live music is going, it will be middle classes only. How the hell is anyone else supposed to enjoy decent live music without fuckin' bankrupting themselves.

I know I could have not bought a ticket and made a stand or something, but then come May, I would have been really disappointed. Though I'm sure they could have put the tickets on sale in the New Year or something. I might have got some money for Christmas. Ha ha. And I'm taking on a new school for music classes and if that takes off I could be rolling in it. (When I say rolling in it, I mean still way below the tax threshold. I ain't gonna be paying any tax this year. No way.)

Oh, it just makes me angry. Why should it cost so much? And why is there £10 worth of fees lumped on top of an already expensive ticket?

I remember when I used to be ecstatic when I'd bought a gig ticket. Now I just feel guilty, as though I can't actually warrant that large cost. Food and travel and rent take up most of my earnings and the rest go on presents for other people. When I do treat myself it's a book on offer on Amazon, or a bar of chocolate. Not three days worth of work.

I should go, the grumpiness will only increase until I curb it with some food. Then I have an afternoon of constructive writing to attempt. Though I guess, technically this counts towards that.

Urgh! Annoyed and guilty and mildly giddy at the same time. Not a fun collection of feelings and definitely time for slippers, my toes are chilly.

Signing off

Friday, November 22, 2013

Evil Time Stealing Fairies; Clogged Up, Blogged Up and Writing.

Well hello there everyone. It's been a while hasn't it. Those pesky holidays do tend to get in the way of a good rant. Besides, unless things go terribly wrong on your holidays, with any luck there isn't anything to rant about.

But alas, I am back and ready to rant about anything and everything. I've missed it so much.

So we arrived back Monday morning after passing through three time zones on two separate flights. Those evil time fairies were at it again. On the way there they stole time, pinched a good eight hours from us. Buggers! And on the way back, even worse, they gave us time. They increased our day by eight hours, making it the longest day in the history of the world.

It wasn't helped by the fact that I had three classes to teach about 5 hours after we landed. And even though we landed early, (Thank you Turkish Airlines.) we still didn't make the earlier train due to the shuttle at Gatwick - from North to South Terminal - breaking down as we arrived. (Bastard shuttle train.)

Since then it has been a struggle to stay awake as the internal time fairies have been telling me it's time for bed at 4.30 in the afternoon, or making it perfectly clear that 8.00pm is the optimum time for bed. Argh! They have also been convincing me it's okay to wake up at 3.50am and not be able to go back to sleep. What the hell are you trying to do to me?

And even worse than all that is the fact that I hadn't moved a bowel in six days. I know what you're thinking.....Death by poo (Izzard sketch) but really I felt fine until the sixth day. Good old Senokot. But enough about my bowel movements or lack there of......

I have never been so relieved to be in London again, all that fresh air and calm roads where people give way and respect each other (mostly), without beeping incessantly and taking whatever chance they can get. You may be thinking that right now I'm talking out of my ass but believe me when I say, London is a sea of tranquility compared to where we've just been. And the air smells and tastes so fresh and it's fucking freezing but then it is Winter in Britain. It's supposed to be chilly.

My schedule of kids and classes has also increased, starting this week, which hasn't helped matters as today is the only day I didn't have to teach or look after kids. Thank god I get one day off. The little boy I had yesterday made me so grumpy. "Go away. I don't want you to play." Well fine, but I can't leave you on your own so you're stuck with me. To be fair though, he refused to have a chocolate biscuit as well, so I can't take too much offense. Still didn't leave me in the best of moods.

Today has been a writing day, working on Chapters 20, 21 and 22 of the edit and it was kind of fun to go back and read things after a good 20 days away from it. I did however, write the first half of a new picture book idea whilst on holiday and I painstakingly wrote a detailed journal of every day of the holiday, which will eventually become travel blogs and survival guides. So I didn't completely shut off, as that's impossible anyway. But it feels good to really get back into it and hear that clicking of keys as my fingers navigate around the keyboard. Hello my friend. I'm back.

Lunch is calling. It's been calling since 11.08am (that's what happens when you get up at 5.00am) but I've been ignoring the call, pressing the red button in an attempt to banish afternoon hunger.
Soup or left over enchilada? Hmmmmm, the choices.

Have a great weekend. I will be visiting the wonder of my home town, seeing the parentals, hopefully my brother and his girlfriend and my wonderful friend Ch who I haven't seen since her wedding in September. I feel a chin wag coming on!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

If Only I had A Hermione Bag....Packing Strategies and Sleepless Nights

Firstly I'd like to say thank DST for the clocks going back, it really has just made me wake up an hour earlier and therefore not benefit from it at all. I'm so pleased to see 5.45 most days, it's such a lovely time of day.
(By the way if you don't get sarcasm....this is it!) I do not want to see this time. I do not have to get up for work. I do not have to get up for kids and whilst I struggle to sleep past 7.00am anyway, I like 7.00am so much more than pre-6.00am.

It doesn't help that I've been waking up several times in the night - I know I'm worse than a frickin' new born -  and I've been having ridiculous dreams possibly due to the high volume of seriously messed up horror films we've been watching. I do love horror and gore and being scared but sometimes when you cram in a lot in a short period of time and always just before bed, it can play on the old subconscious. Plus some of them are really gross.

We have been conducting our very own in-house Halloween-style Film Fest over the past few days with such gems as:
  • V/H/S (Collection of slightly harrowing videos: A Fright Fest rolled into one film. Good stuff.)
  • The Collection (Sequel to The Collector....Nasty! With a much bigger budget than its predecessor.)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas (Genius!)
  • Warm Bodies (Cute. Not a concrete plot but I'd like to read the book.)
  • Livid (Weird and creepy French film.)

And annoyingly our copy of Hocus Pocus wouldn't work. Damn. It's a Halloween classic.
I have also been reading the Russian Horror novels, Night Watch and Day Watch by Sergei Lukanenko. I had already seen and own both films which I was hoping to be able to re-watch though I think I will run out of time, but it was great to finally read the books. I'll have to save the films for a post holiday film night. 

So despite this being the first year I haven't dressed up (except for bat/spider web earrings) I have made a good effort carving pumpkins, decorating the house and baking yummy treats. I love Halloween. And now I have to pack for the holiday, which is in fact tomorrow and an Asian Adventure in China.

Now there seem to be two types of packers: The ones who spread it out over a week, collecting things as they go along, piling it in when they remember and the ones who leave it till the last minute and pack the night before.

I am definitely the latter. I just can't bring myself to pack the bag until the day before. I feel like I would convince myself everything was packed and then forget the most important things. Also, most of the time I'm waiting for other clothes to be washed and dried before I put them in. But a huge part of it is also that feeling of almost running out of time. That feeling of putting yourself under stress. It's sort of fun and it heightens the senses and you get these pings of, 'Oh I need that' and 'Oh, I mustn't forget that.'

Also, waiting till the night before eliminates possibilities. You can't spend a week pondering which shoes to wear and which tights go better with your dress....blah, blah, blah. You have to make snap decisions otherwise you won't be ready in time. And from someone who hates making decisions, believe me this is the best way.

Does anybody else have an imaginary wardrobe? No I don't mean a wardrobe that isn't really there but you imagine it to be. What I mean is, when you're packing for a trip do you realise that you don't have as many clothes as you thought, or that you don't have as many nice clothes as you thought? That's exactly what happens to me. I'm thinking, don't I have a nice blue top with this on and whatnot and the answer is, yes in my head, no in reality. Imaginary wardrobe. So as I'm packing I'm getting more and more disappointed at my rather shit collection of clothes. It's almost as bad as when you realise your reflection is so much worse than the image of yourself in your head. That's always a rude awakening. Damn mirrors.

Anyhoo, I have a system when packing. Over the years I've created the optimum way of cramming as much stuff in my suitcase as possible. It probably seems quite anal but it works for me: Knickers and socks rolled up as small as possible along the bottom as they have those three natural grooves made by the handle. (If you don't know what I mean you clearly haven't travelled with a wheels/pull up handle suitcase.) Then Jeans or trousers on top of that with t-shirts, vest tops and dresses piled on top or at the sides. Then cardigans and jumpers, then toiletries, books that you don't need in your hand luggage, additional shoes, hair straighteners (not that I can ever be bothered to use them) and battery chargers for computer, phone and camera. Ta-da!

That just leaves hand luggage which consists of a book to read, a notepad to write in, money, phone, camera and computer. Maybe a snack or two and if on a long haul, change of underwear and some small toiletries to freshen up. Done.

There is an organisation here that is definitely mirrored in my writing. You have a starting point. You expand on that and you layer and develop ideas, having very specific ways of making them fit together. (Imagine every item you pack as a different element of your narrative. Where it is placed is essential for the story arc and the reader's understanding and enjoyment.) Then you find a way to end the narrative perhaps leaving some questions unanswered. (Space for souvenirs.) Then it's time to edit. Yes even a suitcase can be edited. If I put the tops there instead of there then I have enough room for my trainers. (In writing speak, if I put a semi colon there instead of a comma then I've made one long sentence instead of two shorter sentences, giving fluidity and variation.) It's a shame really that editing writing isn't quite as straight forward as editing a suitcase. Take this blog for instance. I've re-read and edited it about six times already, though I blame part of that on exhaustion and indecision. 

I'm not sure that last paragraph made sense at all, though it did in my head.

Anyway, what I really want is a Hermione bag, you know the one from The Deathly Hallows, that lovely beaded bag that contains everything they need to go find the Horcruxes. All you need is an Engorgement Charm and a magic wand with which to perform said charm. 

That would be a major slap in the face for Ryan Air and other low cost airlines that are super annoying and almost downright cruel about hand luggage. You could walk on with cute little beaded bag, a smug look and then never need cabin baggage or a suitcase ever. Oh my god, I need one now!

Plus you could really take advantage of duty free. Oh yes I'll have three massive bottles of vodka, thanks. Because I can put it in my teeny bag and it would weigh next to nothing and I could make and drink a lot of cocktails back home. Whoop!

I wonder what else she used the engorgement charm on.........Hmmmmmm Ron?????????

So things are likely to go radio silent at Rants HQ as I may be unable to access certain social media for the next couple of weeks. But I promise I will return with a whole host of ranting issues and nonsense and possibly more knowledge of Mandarin than Nihao, though I can't guarantee anything.  

Until then keep smiling, check out my website in which the tag line actually says: I write stuff, I'm pretty.....
when viewed on my Ipod. The whole tag line is: I write stuff, I'm pretty random. I think I may have to change that, though it did make me giggle.

Well 10:4. This is Rants saying goodbye for now: Over and out!

*static noise*

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Unlimited Champagne, Partying With The Mayoress And The Uselessness Of The 214.

Well, what a fantastic couple of weeks writing. The blogs have been going down a storm; I had an article published online and the chapters that were eluding me have been well and truly kicked in the face and battered into submission.  

You will not defeat me you fookin' chapters from hell. Yes, I know I wrote them but it doesn't make them any less hellish. But I think now that chapter 12 has been reshaped and the chapters preceding and following it are amended in order to flow successfully, I think the rest of the edit will come much quicker.

My dream is to have it all edited again (for the 12th time) before we go on holiday next Friday. Pipe dream?
Maybe so. But I don't usually have deadlines, so maybe this will give me the push I need. *Giddy at the prospect*

And so to a week of actual bizarreness. After last week's shenanigans at Farmaggedon: (thanks to everyone who read the blog, making it one of my top 5 best viewed blogs. I was thrilled with this but also thrilled to acknowledge such a great, Northern attraction.) This week included an Unlimited Champagne Afternoon Tea; hanging out with the Mayoress of Camden; discovering an awesome band from Leigh, Lancashire and the uselessness of the 214 bus.

I will begin with the wonder of Afternoon Tea, especially when Unlimited Champagne is put in front of it. Another birthday gift from another amazing friend - I'm really drawing out this thirty melarchy - and what a great afternoon to do it.

A grey miserable day, interspersed with drizzle, then harder rain and unfortunately a mega traffic jam that almost made me late. But I arrived in my vans and nice dress, quickly changing into my Irregular Choice Panda/Polka dot heels as I entered the ridiculously posh: Intercontinental, Westminster. Can you say, oo-la-la.

Yes I was worried there would be instant lock out as soon as they heard my accent, but come on I'd poshed up for this. No jeans, but an actual dress and tights and heels. Now being a self-confessed weirdo and non caffeine drinker, I have never been for an Afternoon Tea for obvious reasons - I don't drink tea. But! L my remarkable friend found the joy of all joys which consisted of unlimited champagne.

Oh my. It's lovely. I had a whole couch to myself and they were true to their word on the constant refilling of the champagne. We were brought finger sandwiches with various rather luxuriant fillings; multitudes of tiny cakes and desserts; and of course plain and fruit scones with clotted cream (fuck yeah!) and jam.

We had a very attentive waiter who brought us additional sandwiches as well as more champagne. You gotta love the bubbles. And then I even tried an earl grey tea with lemon. Argh! Does that mean I'm a grown up now? No? Oh good. That would have been terrible.

Just to add to the incredibleness there was a harpist playing and singing in the lobby. Absolutely beautiful voice and a dark blue harp. *Jealous* And the toilets were hilarious. Every time I went in - which I realise makes me sound like I have bladder issues -  there were maids refilling the towels, yes individual towels to dry your hands on. And we met an equally giddy/champagne drunk who was also enjoying the afternoon tea extravaganza.

Honestly, you should do it. It's fun to see how the posh people live and the food is incredible and the champagne flows really well and I can't thank L enough. Truly fantastic day and highly recommended.

Moving on to Sunday night and partying with the Mayoress of Camden. Now with Camden being a super cool place, we of course have a super cool Mayor who in turn chose a freakin' awesome Mayoress: Marcella Puppini, who amongst her many talents is the founding member of The Puppini Sisters. (If you don't know who they are then check them out because they are incredible. We're talking shit hot harmonies, amazing costumes, wonderfully talented musicians and three beautiful ladies bringing the 30's and 40's to your ears.) https://www.facebook.com/puppinisisters

And so Proud Gallery at Camden Market is the venue for Marcella's latest endeavour: The Mayoress Presents. It's a showcase for up and coming talent in the music world, as well as DJ's and dancing troupes and the first one was Sunday. She also has a radio show (which incidentally A is being interviewed on as I blog) and a TV show on YouTube.

Weirdly A was already in contact with her through work things and so we were on the guest list. *Wearing small chufty badge* And the night didn't disappoint. Beginning with a fabulously fun, wonderfully melodious pop/Indie band from Leigh, Lancashire named: The Lottery Winners, the night held all sorts of unexpected randomness. https://www.facebook.com/thelotterywinners

The Lottery Winners with all their northern wit and strong Lancashire accents proved not only great musicians with fun songs and catchy hooks, but bloody hilarious to boot. Front man Thomas (singer and guitarist) seemed unable to stop talking but that just added to the whole act. And for me, a Lassie from Lancashire, it was beltin' to hear some familiar expressions.

Rob (guitar and backing vocals) and Katie (Bass guitar and backing vocals) proved there were three ridiculously competent singers in the group with beautiful harmonies adding greatly to their sound. Drummer Joe was tight and talented and lots of other thing beginning with T. I'm so sorry Joe, I don't know what to write about drummers but you were excellent! They enjoyed every moment of the gig, despite their rather lengthy trip down and you could tell they were thrilled to be playing in the capital. 

They describe themselves as 'smiley pop music, ' which is true but also in that it makes you smile too. The banter and crowd pleasing sing-alongs really bring the audience in and who can resist that Lancashire charm?

When I screamed at the announcement they were from Salford - the only one in the audience of course - I got some strange looks, but when I screamed again at them being from Leigh, I felt I had to explain myself.

"I'm from Wigan." I yelled. Luckily they knew where it was because no one else in the room did.

I strongly urge you to check them out. Great, great fun. A really tight band and really shit hot musicians. Those voices, especially in their song, Emerald City, were mesmerising. And if they come to your local area, go and support them, it would be impossible not to enjoy yourself. https://twitter.com/TheLotWins

We were also treated to a 60's dance troupe called The Actionettes. http://www.actionettes.com/ They were really fun, all in colourful shift dresses with matching tights. Each had a different colour on giving a rainbow effect and they were having such a lovely time, as were we, watching them. A great bunch and mix of ladies of all ages, shapes and sizes just really enjoying themselves. Fabulous to watch and I imagine fabulous to partake. I could definitely get on board with that. And check out their website to see what else they've been up to.

The final act was not my cup of tea musically but was fantastic in so many ways: Viktoria Modesta. Not only was Adamski DJing for her but she was a model, a bionic woman, had a great singing voice and a cool rapper friend who joined her for one track. Check out her facebook site especially if you're into 3 step and pretty ladies.  https://www.facebook.com/ViktoriaModesta

It was a bizarre mix of acts but in a way that just sums Camden up in one foul swoop. Anything goes. No limitations. No judgement. No prejudice. And it was great to be a part of it. The Mayoress Presents nights at Proud are a monthly event, the next one on Sunday November 17th. Check out the website, get a ticket and come and schmooze with the coolest Mayoress ever! Oh and beware of the hideously drunk girl in the pink jumper who wouldn't leave us alone. I'm not sure if she'll be there but watch out for her anyway. Harmless and quite fun but rat arsed and not always able to remain standing. https://www.facebook.com/mayoresspresents

Okay this is becoming a waffle not a rant. Sorry. I've used all my brevity cells on the edits and my article that was published yesterday. Singing your way to Speech and Confidence is based on my Early Years Music Classes. Just had to mention it. *Slightly giddy*  Might as well link it here too, why not? http://www.educationforeverybody.co.uk/singing-your-way-to-speech-and-confidence/
It's for a great online magazine called Education for Everyone, mainly focusing on SEN matters and inclusion within schools and things but if you have kids or know any children, you may be interested.

So the final thing really is a rant! 214 bus. Fuck You!

I was on you for an hour and 5 minutes today for a journey that TFL says lasts for 36 minutes. Now there's accounting for delays and then there's just doubling the fucking journey time. Honestly, I'm that wound up I'm close to using an acronym. No I won't do it. No. I'll just keep f'in' and Geoffin' instead.

I wouldn't mind if I was just late for a friend or a meeting or something. Well I would because I hate being late but that is acceptable and I would text to say I'm late and it would all be fine. But when you're picking up a child from school and you realise you're likely to be 15 minutes late, this is now taking the ultimate piss.

Luckily A was at home and he found me the number of the school. (I know I should have already had it saved in my phone but we're ranting about the bus here, not my lack of preparation.) So I called and they said it was fine, but then the bus was diverted and I don't have a smart phone and I also didn't have my AtoZ, so I had no idea where I was. Fucking brilliant.

Anyhoo, I knew at some point we would have to emerge at Old Street and when we did I pegged it, with bags falling off my shoulders and my legs saying, "Erm what is this fast movement you expect me to do? I'm tired. I've been sat on a bus for 65 minutes."

65 minutes. Well I can tell you one thing. Next time I'll be taking the tube and I'll be arriving 20 minutes early and going into Oliver Bonas and drooling over all the things I can't afford. I will not be running through the streets in my Bat t-shirt wheezing on people.

214 fuck you! Rant over now and so is the blog.

Thank you for reading and seriously, check out the band and the Mayor Presents thing and drink champagne if you can, preferably unlimited, with a good friend.


Monday, October 14, 2013

If You Go Down To The Farm Tonight............BEWARE!

If you go down to the farm tonight, you'd better expect a fright.
If you go down to the farm tonight, you'd better go in a pack.
If you're not careful, you won't make it back,
You might experience a panic attack.
If you go down to the farm tonight....Beware.

(To the tune of The Teddy Bears' Picnic...New Lyrics by Helen Richards of Rants)

Today's blog is brought to you from The No1 scare attraction in the UK. It's Farmaggedon. (Well not quite from there as I went Saturday night, but you know what I mean.) And do you know what's even more fabulous about it? It's up north in Lancashire - best county ever.....slightly biased.

So a few months back when I turned the dreaded 30, my delightful friend and her husband (J+T) bought me tickets for this wondrous attraction in Ormskirk and tickets to travel back home to the land of Lancashire. I'd heard great things about it, but when I say great things I mean people throwing up because they were so scared and people walking out and not completing it. Basically people being shit scared. Of course, this only made me more excited! What a present.

I was with a self-confessed 'Super Wuss'. I was tempted to make her a cape. And two boys who of course weren't bothered because they are boys and when are they scared of anything. Hmmmmm. I was merrily somewhere in between with occasional pangs of, "Oh it's gonna be really scary." Coupled with pangs of, "He he. I'm well giddy. Bring it on."

We did stop in the nice pub around a half mile from it, called The Scarisbrick Arms. It was well posh though. And in kept walking pre and post Farmaggedon-ites. You could tell by things like wellies and big coats and that slight hint of trauma in the eyes. Still, after a couple of glasses of wine, I was feeling a bit more relaxed. N.B Please make sure you're not drunk before you go, as they won't let you in. Besides drunk and in a barn with some crazy zombies......not the best idea.

The fantastic thing about Farmaggedon, is that by day it is Farmer Teds petting farm. So nice and friendly for the kids. But by night, in the pitch of the countryside, with nothing but fields surrounding you, the ghoulies come out to play. And out here, no one will hear you scream......

Your ticket gives you a time of admission. Stick to that or they won't let you in. Anyone with kids under 15, or anyone going who is under 18 needs ID and preferably an adult present. They are quite strict about it.

Don't worry I won't be revealing any spoilers, as much as I can avoid it. I want people to get the full experience from it, but there are videos on YouTube, if anyone really wants to know what they're in for.

The way you have to queue before you go in feels like a festival. But in the background all you can hear is a range of pitched screams and those blasted chainsaws. Honestly, when a tree needs trimming, it needs trimming. I half expected there to be zombies in the car park as you were getting out your car, but maybe that wouldn't have been the best from a health and safety point of view. Good old Britain...no fun allowed.

Expect it to be cold when you go. After all it's October and the North but you also have to account for the fear sweats. I had a woolly cardigan, a smaller cardigan and a dress over my jeans and I was dying of heat before we even went in the first barn. Then I had to carry it round all night. So you want to be warm but not too warm as once that adrenaline gets pumping and the fear takes over, you'll be wishing you had less on.

There are three barns and when you enter you get a wristband with three tokens on it. They rip off a token after each barn so they know how many you've been in and you are only allowed to enter each one once, not that most people would want to go back in anyway. I couldn't figure out how to put the band on, like a mong, so the bouncer/security guy did it for me.
"I don't get it."
"You're not the only one."

On the way we tried to devise ways of keeping control of our fear. And one of those ideas was singing. We thought if something jumps out at us, we could just start singing Ghostbusters, or Wuthering Heights or Favourite Things (From the Sound of Music). We also thought we'd try a simple, "Hello." If you talk to them maybe they become less scary?

And so to the first barn. We entered Insanity first. There's a queue system at each barn but even this time is quite fun, for watching other people shit themselves, as some of the zombies/monsters etc wander around in the crowds. So if you don't happen to notice them, it can make for good viewing for the rest of us. Also people banging on doors/doors opening is enough to set off the scream Mexican wave. As we were queuing I noticed one thing that I knew I would never be able to adhere to: No swearing. And I'm sure it was right next to the No drugs sign. No drugs is fine but you want to scare the bejeezers out of me and I'm not allowed to swear. What? Needless to say everyone broke that rule at one point or another.

And so we survived the first barn (I told you, no spoilers) and my 'Super Wuss' friend says, "It's emotionally draining." But I have to say she has lost all 'Super Wuss' status as she has already survived one barn. Well done J. Lots of screaming and giggling and chainsaws and sniffers. These zombies are all about the smell. Sniff sniff. She also says, "That's not the way to treat mental patients." Ha ha. She knows from experience.

You can tell you're getting old when you think things like, oh that floor is uneven and they didn't even warn us about that ramp, whilst walking briskly to get away from the sniffing zombies. Terror and sensibility.

So to barn two and everyone is a little hyper. The screams and laughter are people reliving the first barn, as well as preparing themselves for this next one: Psychosis. Now this for me was definitely the scariest and as I rightly announced, "No. Not clowns. Why does there always have to be pissin' clowns." I freakin' hate clowns but then so do a vast majority of people, thus why they stick 'em in these scary things for us. Thanks.

We queued for a while for this one and a few zombies joined us in the queue. I tried the 'Hello' approach. Worked quite well. I also decided to keep J in high spirits by pretending we were at a cattle market and doing my best auctioneers voice. Yeah, me and brother used to watch them on the TV as kids and pretend to do an auction. "Anyone wanna buy a cow?"

Psychosis bombards you from the moment you step in. If it's not people jumping out, it's people waiting to jump out which is almost worse. I admitted quite readily that, 'I don't like it,' though it didn't stop me scream-giggling my way through. There were tunnels and illusions and it was definitely a mind fuck this one. At one point we sang Ghostbusters and went the wrong way. A helpful zombie had to show us the way out.

Survived number two and J is slowly being handed a bravery award. Two down, one to go. On the way to the third barn, we found a photo-op place where some of the zombies were available for photographs. It's a great souvenir. You can even get in a cage with a clown. Er, no thanks.

And so, follow the tremendously loud metal music and you'll find: Terror on the Farm. It felt like I was in a rock club. Man they needed a dance floor, though they did have some sexy zombies, strutting their stuff. A bit 'a' blue. The music was awesome and after Psychosis we were pretty sure we could cope with anything.

Before we entered, we resumed the position of  T then J then Me then A. Our little snake or conga of safety. I think we all really enjoyed this one, I know I did. In fact I was throwing out witty comments, between scares and making conversation with the sniffers.

One of our favourite moments was when a girl zombie, in her incredible scouse accent said: "You're never leavin'. Ever." The giggle factor was never so high.

What a great night. J has decided she can deal with peril as long as her peril buddies are there. I've decided that I still really hate clowns but that the odd sarcastic comment can make it all better. And all that is left to be said, is GO. Go now! Get a ticket! Experience the craziness of Farmaggedon and one of the top 25 scare attractions in the World, which considering how many must be in America, is pretty fookin' impressive.

Thank you Farmer Ted, you psycho, for an amazing night out.
I leave you with another song, the lyrics specially written by me, for the occasion, for the tune of Old Macdonald, but you won't want to sing this with your kids..........

Farmer Ted he had a farm,
Rife with some psychotic clowns
With a scream giggle here and a scream giggle there
Here a scream, there a giggle
Everywhere a scream giggle
Farmer Ted he had a farm
Filled with all your worst nightmares
With a sniff snarl here and a sniff snarl there
Here a sniff, there a snarl
Everywhere a sniff snarl
Farmer Ted he had a farm
Infested with zombie crowds
with a dribble growl here and a dribble growl there
Here a dribble, there a growl
Everywhere a dribble growl
Farmer Ted he had a farm
Farmaggedon was it's name!

Go there if you dare!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Disappearing Bins

So we've been without recycling bins in our block of flats for the best part of two months, which of course sucks, as we were given no warning. One day the bins were there; another day they had moved them out of the bin store and put them by the front door; then there were back inside and then they did their little disappearing act. *sarcastic applause*

So we've been hoarding bags of recycling up on our balcony until it gets unbearable and then dumping them inside the bin store, with a pile of bags that everyone else has left. Not ideal but at least they are still separate from the normal rubbish and not left outside the building.

Then yesterday we get a call from our housing company who basically tell us we're going to be fined for fly tipping because they found something with our name on.

Er.....what? Are you fuckin' kidding me? They take our bins away; don't replace them for months and then we get penalised for trying to continue to do the right thing and recycle........I don't think so.

A shouted at them on the phone, of course, although I think even me with my hatred of the confrontation, might have thrown a whopper of a hissy fit. It's ridiculous! And their excuse is that they're waiting for Camden to deliver us new ones. Well, Hello, you're the fuckin' housing agency, if you can't sort us out temporary ones in the meantime, then you aren't doing a very good job. Those bins are in use by a large amount of people and a lot of families. Don't blame Camden, blame yourself for not getting off your ass and reminding them.

Anyhoo, they then say that we can't leave bags there and have to put the recycling in the normal bins otherwise we are just fly tipping criminals. Well screw you!

And it's not like we have the space to store the recycling - in our wonderful yet tiny flats - until they get their finger out their ass and do something about it. So instead we have to put it all to landfill. Come on there is something seriously wrong here. Or we have a lengthy walk to the nearest recycling point and not everyone has a car.

I hate the idea of all those milk bottles that could be made into something else; or the cardboard that could be made into more paper. And to try and charge people for wanting to recycle their waste and look after the planet is such a slap in the face.

Seriously, sort it out. There are some unhappy residents.

End of Rant.....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Good Day For Reading....... And Literary Fluids

A good day for reading? I hear you shout. Isn't every day a good day for reading? Well yes, as a matter of fact it is. Every day is a fantastic day for reading, though some days it comes more easily or is more pleasurable than others. And that is because we're human and all these other things get in the way, like jobs and stress and kids and house work and time. Ah....that elusive time fairy is a slippery little bugger. It never quite sticks around long enough.

Anyhoo, I'm getting off topic. Yesterday was a fantastic day for reading. I finished one book (Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones), started and finished a new book (Geek Girl by Holly Smale) and started another new book (Out for Blood - House of Comarre Book 4 by Kristen Painter). My word it was a good day. And in between all that I managed to edit and polish 4 chapters of my book and do some actual paid work (school pick up). I almost defied that evil time fairy......muhahahahaha.

So today I devoured another few chapters of Out for Blood, took Enchanted Glass back to the library and chose another book from the library (Wildwood by Colin Meloy).

Do you get overwhelmed sometimes at the library, with all those pages and covers and colours and names and plastic covered excitement? Man, I do. Part of me wants to walk out with fifty books (even though you're only allowed 16) just to have a pile that big. Because let's face it, you can never afford to go to a bookshop and purchase fifty books or 16 for that matter. There's just something so tantalising about a pile of books waiting to be read but sometimes I do wish I could absorb more than one at a time.......

"So, what are you hooked up to today?"
"Well, I've got Wuthering Heights in my left arm and Blood Red Road in my right. Then in my legs I've got Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and The Humans."
"Cool. I've got Captain Underpants in my arse!"

I've been thinking about the idea of books as a fluid, administered intravenously. Is that weird? I just thought it would be immense if you could be absorbing four books at the same time whilst also holding one in your hands. Sometimes I just want more. I crave more.

But then I am a traditionalist and don't really like electronic books, so would I really enjoy a liquid book?

Ooo, I just had another thought. Maybe if you could make them liquid you could bathe in them and drink them and swim in a sea of words.

I often think of books as an addiction, like a drug, just the good kind with no particular side effects other than wanting more, insane giddiness or heart ache or laughter or tears. And of course they are legal. But imagine if you could snort one or smoke one. At least you'd be learning something as well as killing your body. (Not a fan of smoking or drugs, I'm just thinking out loud. Literally. I only came up with this about 3 minutes ago.)

Anyway. That's something to think about on this lovely Wednesday evening. After the Library, the day got even better as I went to the local book shop in Kentish Town: Owl Books and I actually bought some full price books. This felt so naughty and exciting and I spent about 50 minutes in there choosing not only a birthday present for my friends little boy but two books for me. (Breathe by Sarah Crossan and Crown of Acorns by Catherine Fisher. Very excited for both of them.) Well you just have to sometimes, even if you have no space to put them and a back log of four or five to read anyway.

I needed a treat and that was it. A local book store. Some new books. Surrounded by all those words and the September sun shining.

Well, I'm off to create a fictional world where books are snorted in some sort of illegal dodgy drug dealing scam and where hospitals treat patients with IV books. Also marathons are won and lost on account of how much isotonic literature they've ingested and trees grow with a story intertwined within their bark and branches.

More Out for Blood then pizza and a disaster film tonight. Yes!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Interesting Tuesday Night

For those of you that don't know, my partner, the elusive A, works in music. I'll keep it that vague because, well because that's his line of work not mine. Anyhoo. Sometimes he gets invited to gigs to report on them and occasionally he receives two tickets and I have to go too. I make that sound like a bad thing. It's not. I've seen some incredible performers but last night was going to be something completely different.

I was already tired (8pm when we left...I know I'm 30 now it's ridiculous) and reluctant to go. I was told hip hop/rap. So of course I'm thinking what the hell am I going to wear? Someone suggested some $ bling and I did actually contemplate making some bling out of cardboard and tin foil but then I thought......nah.

Because we were on the guest list we had to go to some shady back entrance (the stage door, though it looked creepy as hell with it's one white light) and we were allowed in at front stage left. We arrived about ten minutes before they were due to go on so I skipped of to the toilet. Never have I seen a gig toilet so empty. Sadly they were all wet on the floor and with no hooks on the door for bags and coats it was an interesting one handed attempt to undo my button, which I had to give in to and in the end shove the handle of the bag in my mouth, gripping it with my teeth to avoid coat or bag wetness. There was also the desperation not to let my jeans wallow in the wet. All in all a rather stressful toilet outing despite no queue.

I guess the first thing you noticed out there was a weird demographic. There were a couple of older people near us that were clearly also on the guest list/with the label etc. A couple of mums that were accompanying younger children. But the rest of the audience were mainly 16-20 year olds. The gigs I go to are normally people my age and above so this at times felt like being in a room full of 4 year olds that had eaten all the blue smarties, snorted icing sugar and overdosed on calpol. Dear lord they were loud and giddy and....did I mention loud? Jeez.

Continuing with the kiddie theme there were streamers ejected over the crowd; ticker tape flashed out a couple of times and balloons. It was only missing the jelly and ice cream and that would have been one pre-school party. Whoop!

I was told the artists only had one album so it was likely to be a short show but they were also cunningly deceptive to their sugar induced fans. In between each song there would be at least a five minute chat or interlude of some description, or some story he wanted to tell you. And that is how you make one album last for 80 minutes. But I did find myself thinking, I don't want your life story just rap for fucks sake. We were given his political stance, stories about rehab and more but it almost didn't matter what he said, the throng of giddy kids would have screamed at anything. Honestly, he could have said, "I fucked my mother whist my sister watched." And they would have only screamed harder. It was irrelevant what he said, just that he was saying something and to them.

Man they can really make a racket. They certainly weren't using their indoor voices.

What often gets me about rap music is that the hook of the song, that melodic wonderbite and usually the song's selling point has nothing to do with the rapper. We were treated to a couple of guest vocalists and their vocal bits were the song. I almost didn't notice the rapping. I guess I'd just find that a bit weird if my supposed 'guest vocalist' actually became the star of the song. Surely these people have big egos? Or maybe they don't mind sharing the limelight? Eh. Who knows.

There were a few times when I closed my eyes and hoped when I opened them I would see Vanilla Ice and find myself in the 90's. Didn't happen.

The whole call and response with the audience. "Can I get a Hell Yeah?"  "Hell Yeah!" It's old now. So stop it. Please. Again I'm thinking....children's party.

There was a big screen at the back of the stage showing a random variety of visuals which were both interesting and distracting from what was happening on stage. The artists herald from Seattle so when they put up pictures from the Olympic Peninsula I was like, "I've been there." Ruby Beach. First Beach. (La Push to the Twilighters out there.) Lots of snowy tree shots and it was like some of the sweeping forest shots in the first Twilight movie. Made me giggle anyway. Some great holiday flashback moments as well though. Love Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.

Well I thought I wouldn't know any of the songs as I mainly live in the past, musically, but it turns out I knew 3 or 4 of them but again mainly by their guest vocaled melodic lines, not the actual rapper/DJ artists. Ah well. At least I didn't feel completely ancient.

There were of course the three 'attitude' dancers which you would not mess with if you know what's good for you. But all those kids in such high spirits can make for quite a sweaty room. Eww.

On the tube back I found some interesting adverts:

'What if everyone on this escalator was single?'

Fuck off! If everyone were single it would be like some fuckin' meat market, with everyone trying to get a look at you. What a stupid advert. And what was even more funny was that practically everyone on our escalator was in a couple. Ha.

'Looking for donor sperm?'

Why in this, looking for sperm ad is there a baby with a floppy hat on chewing it's finger? The baby isn't looking for sperm or at least I hope not. There's starting young and then there's starting young. Jeez. They should have had a woman looking out, surveying with one hand shielding her eyes (the classic, where are you, searching stance) looking for sperm. That would have been more appropriate.

And the advert next to it said something about 'park bum clenchers'. Bums and sperm right next to each other. Intentional?

Anyhoo. It did make for an interesting Tuesday night. I hope you had one too.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Body Malfunction

Being ill at a wedding is not fun. Feeling sick from the sight, smell and thought of food is not fun. The idea of a sip of wine or beer making you heave is just down right cruel. Being stone cold sober and uncomfortable the whole day......super!

Yes this weekend was wedding number 3 of the year and my second wedding abroad, this time in Denmark. The parentals were also present with the first time my mum had her own passport and only her second time of leaving the UK. So it was all very momentous. All I wanted to do was enjoy their special day, be a part of it and eat and drink and be merry. My body had other ideas............

Really conveniently, about 6 hours before the wedding I felt and I quote, 'A bit dodgy.' Then after that I became, weak, achy, developed an inability to eat, became shaky, tired and needed to be sick but knew I wouldn't be. Sometimes it really isn't fun having an iron stomach. Sometimes you think just be sick for fucks sake and then I'll feel better. But instead my body says, 'I can keep it in. Aren't you proud?' Not exactly. I feel like shit and I have to wear a tight dress and pretend I feel fine for the next 12 hours.

Anyhoo, the church service was tricky because yes I could sit down (a good thing) but inside was super hot (not a good thing) and at first I was pressed against a wall, the furthest from any possible exit (disastrous). Before the service started I just had enough time to shimmy past and make everyone shuffle down so I could be on the aisle seat ready to make a quick get away if vomit called.

Relieved and thrilled to be outside again - after a lovely service I might add - in the fresh air, I then had to battle with standing because when your body is shaking and you feel like you may collapse at any moment, upholding a delicate air and grace is chuffing difficult. Like I've ever upheld a delicate air and/or grace. But there were only 8 Brits there and I didn't want to let the side down.

Maintaining an upright position, I even managed to chat to a few people, feign some smiles and be on the group pictures. It's surprising what you can do when you ignore the voices in your head. Crumble. Sit. Fall down. Throw up. ........And faint. No. No. No!

So off to the Champagne reception we went and it was in the bride's uncle's restaurant. Very cute but the fishy smell was playing havoc with my ability to keep things in, if you know what I mean. Sadly no champagne for me - I can feel the shocked faces glaring, the noise of a thousand collective gasps - I was on lemonade at this point and I couldn't eat my cupcake either. Boo! Stupid body of mine.

We then had a short time to kill before the evening reception and a long night of speeches and songs and entertainment and eventually dancing and merriment. But all I could think was: pyjamas, couch, blanket, sleep. So the four of us (A, my parentals and me) went back to the holiday flat we were staying in - literally a stone's throw away - and had fifteen minutes. Shoes off, an A foot rub, eyes closed, glass of water and some ibuprofen. Man that fifteen minutes went quickly.

So the village hall beckoned and it was beautifully set out, every little detail accounted for. The Brits had translations of the Danish menu, everything colour co-ordinated and once again I had to turn down a glass of wine. (CT would be sad). I was doing alright, despite prolonged standing, but I had A to lean on and keep me upright, and then they started putting out the starters. Uh-oh.

I knew I wouldn't be able to eat any of it as soon as I saw it, which is such a pain in the ass because normally I'd have lapped it up. Plus I also had this fear of coming across as a fussy Brit. I'm not fussy, I just feel like poo. Anyway, chatting to others successfully took my mind off how crap I felt and seemed to distract everyone to the fact I hadn't eaten, so much so that I passed mine to A and J and chomped on a bit of bread roll.

Glass of water after glass of water went in but other than my half a bread roll, nothing foody went in. Like I said though, nice people and pleasant conversation can really distract you and because I was sat down a lot except for the toasts and cheers, I was coping well with balance and stability. The speeches went on from around 6.30-11.30 and pretty much anyone was allowed to speak, sing, perform, play a prank, involve you in a sing-a-long or make a game. Really interesting and lovely way of involving loved ones. Actually quite liked the fact that the bride, bride's mother, bride's grandmother and lots of other women spoke. You don't get that traditionally in Britain. But the Danes really know speech equality.

Around the time of the main meal I was starting to feel better but not wanting to push my luck, so still no alcohol (wah!) and nothing too exciting food wise. I settled for some meat, (no sauces which was a shame because apparently the 'gravy was amazing!' - not that it was called gravy but us northerners do have a love of the stuff and this was pretty similar.) and potatoes, which went down and stayed down. After that A said I looked better which obviously meant I looked shit before but at least he had the love and respect not to tell me about it.

That was about the time the dress started to become a little uncomfortable and the amount of water I'd ingested was ballooning the old stomach, so much so that I probably looked about 4 months pregnant. Shit.
Ah, at least I was sat down for most of it. (Water bump hidden under table.) I tried a bit of dessert but then the body started rejecting the food and deterioration was on the horizon.

Sadly we had to leave around 12.30 and the party was hardly even starting. There were hot dogs to come later (supper at 1am) and a cocktail bar but I was just about ready to collapse and had a super long day and early morning planned. The Danes really know how to party though and I'm sure there were probably still going when we got up at 6am.

I'd like to thank my body for it's complete malfunction. It really made my weekend special. Though if it does it again at wedding number 4 on Saturday I'm giving up and trading in for a new one. The weirdness continued up until mid afternoon on Sunday (yesterday) and then I gradually felt much better. Bizarre.

I might have been slightly quieter than usual and sober but I had a fantastic time and I didn't throw up at all, though it might have made me feel better if I had. What a great wedding and some really cool traditions. My favourite being banging you plates with cutlery and that means the bride and groom have to stand on a chair and kiss. If you stamp your feet on the floor they have to kiss under the table. And also if the bride leaves the room all the girls in the room kiss the groom. And vice versa. Bizarrely wonderful. Might try some of these out at CT's wedding on Saturday. Ha ha. Not sure they'll go down well.

Anyhoo, enough whinging about being ill. Now I'm just exhausted and have only 2 hours till first music class of the term. Be gentle with me kids!

A pleasant Monday to you all.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Looking Forward.......To More Rants

A week of being thirty

This has been a week of far too much food, cake, alcohol and not enough sleep.

It's been a week of family and friends; of travelling up and down the country; meeting new people; celebrating other people's birthdays and having to defend my age. (No one believes it, but it's true.)

It's been a week of amazing presents, love and trying to work out if we do cuddles.

It's been a week of mixing alcohol; champagne, rose, white wine, fuzzy sharks, cider, beer, cocktails and vodka.

It's been a week that has literally drained all the life from me, so much so that I can barely stay awake after 4pm.

It has also been the week in which I finally took in a whole day at London's Film Four Fright Fest, with 5 horror/fantasy/gore/hilarious films.(Which was incerdible!)

And most embarrassingly it's been a week with very little productive writing. Ooops.

It's the curse of the thirties and I sure as hell hope it doesn't continue.

But now it's September I feel cleansed of all possible birthday related shenanigans and it's time for the old back to school/work/music class nonsense and hopefully back to some semblance of thoughts and ideas, some control of the mind, which I have been sadly lacking for quite some time.

September is also a month where A will be travelling like a crazy person, leaving me alone at least 2 nights a week for the next three weeks. This could be the best thing ever or the worst depending on what my brain happens to be doing at the time.

It is a month where I have two weddings to attend, one of which is out of the country and one of which I am bridesmaid at (my third time this year, sixth in total). I have a joint 30th to attend up in Newcastle and about 15 birthdays on the calendar.

It is also the month where my actual paid work is increasing three fold, leaving me way less time to write which means I'll have to be ridiculously structured and disciplined. (I won't be using the past few weeks as an example of this.)

It might mean that I have a particular blog day, to force myself into a decent routine. Though as I have often said, you can't always produce a rant on request. They have a habit of railroading you when your head is already bursting with thoughts and ideas and somehow that particular thing that has ticked you off can squirm and traverse in between everything else to find itself at the forefront of your mind, desperate to be written.

Basically, if I can make it to the end of this month with my sanity in tact it will be an achievement. But it's definitely touch and go.

At least the sun is still shining. I have to say I've gotten used to the warmth and not needing a coat and all that. Long may it continue, though I do love autumn. It's my favourite season.

I hope not everyone is going to have a stressful September and that the two lovely couples getting married have not only great weather but a fantastic day. I also hope all the kids and teachers going back to school have forgotten how to write like we used to after summer holidays. I'm sure they probably have as they are all joined to Ipads and computers now, with no use for the archaic pen and paper.

Anyhoo, whatever you're up to, salutations for September and I'll keep updating the sanity meter to keep you posted.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Triumphs of My Twenties

In honour of my final hours as a twenty something I have compiled some of the best bits from the last decade of my life, attempting some sort of chronology but you know the old mind's not what it used to be.  (2003-2013)

  • Moving to Salford. (July 2004) My first home after the parental home and wonderful it was, despite the storage heaters and lack of central heating. But the bright yellow kitchen, purple bathroom and huge storage cupboard (nicknamed the Naughty Cupboard) more than made up for it.
  • Graduating with a BA (hons) 1st Class in Popular Music and Recording from Salford University. (July 2004) And what is even cooler is that my dissertation was on the use of narrative within Kate Bush's Hounds of Love album. And I'll always remember my dissertation teacher saying, "You're a born writer." Let's hope she's right. 
  • Accidentally bagging myself a hot Italian. Ooops. I'm not letting him go, he cooks. (November 2004) He he. Thus why I ballooned to whale status after a few months of his amazing Italian cooking and happiness.
  • Holding down two part time jobs whilst studying for an MA in Music Performance, also at Salford. (Playmates Children's Playcentre and Costa Coffee)
  • Getting a passport (February 2005) and taking my first plane journey to Italy.
  •  Landing my first full time job and realising that despite all the attempts not to, I was slowly turning into my mother. (Kids Allowed Didsbury April 2006 - Nursery Assistant.) My mum has been childminding since I was about 2 and then I continued the child looking after tendencies which obviously run in the genes.
  • Completing and passing an MA in music performance and not going to my graduation as a form of quiet protest. I also stood up for my right to perform in a decent and more appropriate venue for my final performance. And boy did they hate me for it. (July 2006)
  • Stubbornly proving that a long distance relationship works, after A moved to London. I stayed up in Manchester for another 18 months. I'm an independent woman, click, click, click. 
  • Loosing about two stone in weight and finally getting rid of that bastard fringe. Woo hoo. I do miss being that thin, though I'm sure I actually exercise more now and eat healthier too. Ah well. I'll put it down to youthfulness. 
  • Making the decision, on my own terms, in my own time (I will not be rushed) to move to London. (June 2008) And starting a new job at a nursery in central London.
  • Realising I could bake. (Again just more evidence to prove I'm becoming my mum.)
  • Buying a flat, getting a mortgage, you know, grown up things. Though I pretty much turned up and signed stuff. A sorted everything out. (January 2009)
  •  Deciding to pursue my novel writing dream. March 2009 Started novel. November 2009 finished 1st draft of novel. (And still currently working on about edit 7 of this novel. I'm in for the long haul.)
  • Starting to run. Taking part in 5km and 10km events in London. And buying stretchy pants in which to run. Scary stuff. 
  •  1st Intercontinental flight to the states. San Fransisco, New York and Washington. (September 2009) And we've never looked back since. 
  • Getting in the London Marathon through the ballot. Almost an impossible feat. 
  •  Running the Silverstone Half Marathon as part of the Marathon training. My first 13.1 mile run. (March 2010) 1 hour 17 minutes 13 seconds. 
  • Running and living through the London Marathon (April 2010) raising almost £650 for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity. This was something I'd wanted to do since I was about 14. Completed in 5 hours 6 minutes 17 seconds. Slow and steady....
  • Being promoted to Room Leader position in charge of three staff and around 40 kids. 
  • 1st rejections from book agents. Now you might think this is not a particular triumph but I guess the triumph was sending it off in the first place and rejections whilst upsetting you for a moment or two actually just make me want to power on and edit and submit again. 
  • Starting my own music classes with a self made syllabus. (January 2011) Actually using my degree and combining it with the teaching of early years. 
  • Starting a little blog known as Rants of a Bitter Northerner. (May 2011)
  • Being a bridesmaid for J and T and singing at the wedding. 1st time singing in public for a long time. (July 2011)
  • 1st trip to Asia. Evil time stealing fairies and bullet trains and all things Japanese. 
  •  Actually getting tickets for the Olympics. (In the second chance tickets.) Seeing the Olympics in the City I live in and soaking up the amazing few weeks of sport in the Capital. Amazeballs. (July-August 2012)
  • Royal Parks Half Marathon raising £450 for Nordorff Robbins Music Therapy Charity and beating my personal best: 1 hour 15 minutes 55 seconds. (October 2012)
  • Having Halloween in the states, attending a Halloween ball in Salem MA. My dream for many years. (October 2012)
  •  Working on and seeing completed my first published work, an art addition with the fabulous Luca Leonelli entitled The Horizon. There were tears when I saw my name. Only 25 in existence.
  •  Quitting my job to concentrate on my writing. One of the best decisions I've ever made, ever! (December 2012)
  • Self Employed. (2013)
  • Kotrijk Blog logging over 1700 views prompting me to create a second blog for travel: The Sarky Traveller. 
  •  Twice more bridesmaid for NH and LA. 
  • Working on my first picture book.  
  • Still getting asked for I.D at 29.
Wow, there were more than I thought. Some of them smaller than others but all of them having contributed to the last decade of my life and I wouldn't change a thing. Maybe these 30's won't be too bad. But I guess I'll soon find out.

Happy Saturday. Happy last day of my twenties and thanks for reading.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Things I Wouldn't Do For A Million Quid; The Quote Book; Novel Hatred And Cold Toes.

Today I hate my novel. I hate the millions of edits I've made in the last few weeks, the tweaks, the changes, the amendments. Call them what you will, I hate them all. And I hate myself for hating them and for whinging about it but sometimes all we can do is whinge and whine and throw a virtual hissy fit.

So when I say novel hatred, I don't mean some new exciting way of hating I simply mean hatred of my novel and its many forms. It's like this beast that I keep hacking away at but no matter how much I hack, or thwack or slice, it still comes back to attack and torment me. It's relentless, immortal and pissing me right off.
It's like those lizards that can regrow a tail. Bizarre. Incredible. And frickin' terrifying.

Maybe if I find the right hacking implement I can get rid of it once and for all. Wait a minute......Would that mean I had thrown the computer out of the window? Deleted the whole thing? Burned the hard copy? Or actually completed an edit that I liked? Hmmmmm.

I thought I was doing well. I edited three chapters before lunch but then made the mistake of reading back through them from the beginning. I really liked chapter 1 but then after that it started to kick and spit, then bite and snarl. And with my cold toes and rumbling tummy it was time for lunch and socks. I closed down the beast before he could do any more mental damage.

It's so freakin' exhausting when you have already poured so much of yourself into a project and you know there is no foreseeable end to this. It constantly takes from you and currently gives nothing back. No ounce of support or a heads up as to which of the 27 edits are actually useful. 

I may have got rid of the donkey of doubt but the beast of burden has happily taken his place. He scratches and claws at the seams of each chapter picking them loose, letting the stuffing leak out. Any attempt to stuff it back in results in a topsy turvy remake of what was probably a great chapter but you convinced yourself needed an extra tweak or two. And when this happens to all forty of them.....it's time for a melt down!

I know it's pathetic. I chose this. I decided this was what I wanted. Annoyingly the characters I created are so much stronger than I am. Saying that though, they wouldn't exist without me. So ha! In your face. I created you so....please help me! Get off your imaginary asses and help steer me to the light. I think this beast of burden is a water dweller. He's trying to drown me, dragging me down into depths of a blackened pool. He knows my phobias because he lives inside me, waiting for the optimum moment to strike, waiting for an opportunity to take me down, somewhere I may never resurface from.

And speaking of phobias leads me beautifully into Things I wouldn't Do for A million Quid.

Last week I woke up in terror - and also needing the toilet - from the fact that in my dream my mum had just made me touch a tarantula. This is how my bladder decides to wake me up. Surely I could just dream about needing the toilet, or hear a rushing waterfall and realise I needed the toilet. I fail to see how scaring the bejeezers out of me is a valid tool in this, other then the fact that it obviously worked, but then I couldn't sleep for around 3 hours afterwards due to tarantula thoughts.

Apologies. I realise girl scared of spider is such a huge stereotype but I am actually terrified. They have way too many legs, they move and they can be really big and hairy and they can bite and kill you and urgh! We were at the cinema the other day, saw the trailer for the new Jennifer Anniston film and there's a massive tarantula that bites a kid and then falls out of his trousers. I scream and jump out of my seat whilst everyone else laughs. Immediate terror. I couldn't look and then I thought about it for the rest of the night. Then my bladder obviously cottoned on to this and ......the rest is....the previous paragraph.

Then as I lay awake for the wee small hours of the morning, exhausted and unable to sleep, I thought about all the things I wouldn't do, even for a million quid, because money can do a lot of things but it can't erase fear!

I would not:
  • Touch a tarantula
  • Hold a tarantula
  • Let a tarantula crawl on me
  • Be in a room full of spiders
You get it. No spider things! And no, not even for a million pounds.

I also would not:
  •  Swim with sharks, whether in a cage or not. They're big bastards and they might eat me. (Come on, that one's not even irrational. That's just common sense.)
  • Be dropped in the middle of the ocean. I would actually have a panic attack and drown. I had a panic attack in the swimming pool at Kentish Town once I knew my feet could no longer touch the bottom. (Pathetic I know. I used to be a great swimmer too. But it's fine. There would probably be sharks in there anyway so I covered that above.)
  • Go in a submarine. Again these are all linked. Deep water. Terrifying. Never getting out. Drowning. It all makes sense if you think about it. 
Now when I brought this up at the hen do I was at, at the weekend I got some very interesting comments. 

"What? Not even for a million pounds? I'd let one bite me for a million pounds." A classic quote from the mouth of the bride, on all things spidery.

We also had the classic: "I'm not sure I could touch a snake." From the mother of the bride, which sounded like steak. I said, "Steak?" Then the rest of the weekend consisted of pointing out steak houses and asking if she would touch one.

Auntie of the Bride said she wouldn't do 'anything' for a million quid, it would depend what they asked her to do. Sensible.

But all this nonsense led to a quote book of the weekend, which will be out of context for some of you but hopefully still rather funny:

  • "I'd rather be sociable than alive." NH on non-use of seat belt on the coach. (tut tut)
  • "Even when I'm fat my feet are nice." Observations on the bride, by the bride.
  • "I love lettuce me!" Mother of the bride enjoying her mostly cos lettuce chicken salad.
  • "When the riot shields come up I can't handle it." Mother of the bride on Billy Elliot musical.
  • "My legs are so skinny I'm like a spider." Bride enjoying a photo of herself.
  • Bride "Can I write in your book?" Me. "No. Absolutely not!"
  • "Head Shoulders Hips and Knees." NH sporting the new song for Wrightington Hospital, Hip and Knee specialists. 
  • "I had a perm once and it was horrific." Bride reliving past glories.
  • "I'm not being funny but what is the vegetarian option?" Stressing the bride out with four weeks to go.
  • "I don't even know how to use a pen." Bride after a few large glasses of wine. 
  • "I love a tomato." Bride during her hang over breakfast. 
  • "Do you know what I think is really underrated? Kit Kats. A four finger is underrated." Bride on her love of Kit Kats
And just a couple from the after hours party in my hotel room:
  •  Bridesmaid's mum. "He's your brother." Bridesmaid. "Yeah but he's an arrogant little turd." 
  • "It's okay. ? doesn't know he's a dickhead." Slightly censored quote from the bride. She probably won't remember this one.
  • "You tramp." Bride to bridesmaid.
There was also my classic, "I'm not drinking before 12." Then they are all drinking at the service station and I cave like a cardboard tunnel soaked through with rain. 9.20 and a small bottle of rose. Dear lord I'm easily led.

Well that was fun anyway and it at least distracted me from the sorry state of my - loosely termed - novel. Now it's back to the grind stone or back to wallowing in self pity or possibly some ritualistic burning....though we do have quite sensitive smoke alarms. Hmmmmm. Maybe not then. But I probably shouldn't look at it again today, at least not until later when my rage has dissipated.

I want chocolate. That will help. Surely. Though I don't want to be fat and thirty and I only have till Sunday to fend off the fat. Hmmmmm.

It's lovely and sunny outside so why are my feet so cold that I had to put socks on?

Anyone with tips on defeating the beast of burden please enlighten me. He's a big bugger and he's dragging me to a place I don't want to go, despite my protestations. HELP!

Have a great Tuesday


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Observations During Therapy

Yesterday I took a trip into town for some last minute Birthday things for A and a general wander and peruse. Here are some observations I made along the way. (By the way, the 'Therapy' of the title is retail. I'm not quite up to real therapy yet. Give it a couple of years.)

And so here are some observations during therapy:

  • A few people actually have lighter skin than me. Does that mean I actually have colour?! Whoop!
  • When you need pink accessories for your friends Hen Do where the theme is Pink and Posh (hmmmm two things that really apply to me. Thanks CT ;-) you cannot find any, not even in Primark. London you failed me. 
  •  There are no decent cards for Boyfriend Birthdays. You are either married or your other half gets a 'humour' or 'generic man' card. A ain't generic, it's one of the many reasons I love him. Come on card shops, sort it out!
  • Women in stretchy pencil skirts with horizontal stripes, looking good, is down right unfair. Though I guess they are made for someone to wear.
  • The kid with the whitest blonde hair who threw a strop outside Primark and stomped off from his mum. Don't worry love, shopping and Primark make me grumpy too. 
  •  There are lots of lovely petite people out there. Thanks for that.
  • Some people are really tall. I felt dwarfish when stood next to the uber tall guy. I mean, I only came up to his waist. 
  •  Swarms of tourists scare me. So many people, so little sense of direction, so little space. Argh!
  • Greetings cards are ridiculously expensive. But I love to give them for all occasions and seem to have fallen out of the practise of making my own. Though time does play a factor there. But as there are no discount/cheap card shops in central London then you bear the brunt. But really £2.75 a card. Jeeez. 
  • 24 degrees Celsius is much more pleasant to be out shopping/taking a bus/generally existing. 
  • Not wearing a watch makes time go faster. I swear I hadn't been there long but when all is said and done, I didn't get home till after 7pm.
  • If I venture into Yumi Covent Garden, I will buy a dress. Oooops. But they are so quirky and different and half price in the sale, so that's okay. 
  • I am actually a dress person, it just has to be the right dress. And yesterday there were two. Yay!
  • The 134 bus is as infrequent as the 46 bus. Is there some issue with going to Kentish Town? Really, it's very nice!
  •  Scrap that. The 134 is fine, it's just the electronic screens that lie.  Lies, all lies!
  • The woman crossing on a red light with 2 children, shouting at them to hurry up when they almost get run over by a bike. You dick! You're the freakin' parent. Teach them the green cross code you moron. 
  •  Realising I must have burnt off quite a few calories as I walked up and down Oxford Street, down to Covent Garden and back up to Tottenham Court Road. I'll bet there's an app for working that out but guess what? I still don't have a smart phone. Ha ha. So instead I'll guess. (300 calories burnt?)
  • Some people have really weird shaped calves. Not being horrible but I saw this woman who had really skinny ankles and then her calves just ballooned out and then back in again. I was genuinely intrigued as to how they got that shape.  
  • Finding a bargain is still an awesome feeling! Half price dresses. Two of them. Makes all the babysitting worthwhile. 
  • But not quite as good a feeling as getting everything on your list and more. Yes! (Although I only managed one pink thing for the Hen Do. Ah well.)
  • And finally. Shopping is fine if you make a plan first, know which shops you're going to, have your own music to listen to and take a drink and snack with you. Otherwise it's horrible and stressful and full of people and disappointment.
And my bus journey back comprised of jotting all these things down. Working as I'm travelling. I have to say public transport can be such a ball ache but I do tend to get lots done. I don't know if it's the motion or the fact that you can just sit/stand and reflect, unless of course you're pressed against the door/window and can't move. I've had plenty of those journeys too.

Anyhoo, when you're next out and about by yourself, immerse yourself in some observation. It's surprising what you notice when you give your mind the chance.

Happy Wednesday every one.
I'm off to bake a cake for a special person whose birthday just happens to be tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Word Play: Inside My Writing Mind

You know when you've written the same word several times and then you just look at it and think, is that the right way to spell it? It looks wrong. It makes you question yourself.

That's been happening to me all morning and I realised that principal of seeing something repeatedly and the meaning suddenly changing or the way you see it suddenly changing, can be applied to the a whole host of things: Writing novels for instance.

How many times do we edit, change, tinker and tweak? Especially those opening chapters. Now I look at them and the difference from where I started and where I am now is so astronomically vast that I often wonder if I tried to jump back there if I'd disappear down a black hole or chasm with no floor.

Change is inevitable and the way you hone and shape a craft like writing, it is essential. But along the way I often wonder if this constant tinkering isn't some how losing the original essence of what I was trying to create. Am I editing for the sake of editing? Are these changes necessary or is it that age old quest for perfection (akin to chasing rainbows) that keeps the tweaks coming?It's like a disease. You are happy with it one moment and the next you can't believe how you could have written such tosh.

As much as you'd like your characters to be separate entities that are unaffected by your mood swings and outside stimulus, this is impossible. (Or at least it is for me.) They are a part of you and I don't just mean they take particular traits from you, which they may not. But you created them and so they live in and through you, until the blessed day when they can live in the published pages of the book and jump off into the hearts and minds of others. That blessed day when the tinkering is over and you can set them free to concentrate on another idea.

But I often find that if I'm in a particularly emotional mood then that can be reflected in my writing. If I go back in a more forceful, girls-should-be-strong-and-not-sappy mood, (my self inflicted rule, not forced upon me by parents or family or anything) then what I've written previously will probably make me want to throw up or at least throw something.

Distancing myself from the characters that have lived in me and with me for so long is like shunning part of my brain. They take up such a huge portion, or so it feels like, that without them it would be kind of quiet and lonely.

So I guess what I'm trying to say in a very obtuse and waffly way is to not doubt yourself. Yes you've re-written that twenty times and now it says something different but there's a reason you did that. Maybe on reflection it says more about your mental state at the time but it is still a valid idea and maybe it will illuminate another aspect that needs work or make a link to something three chapters in the future, or give you the stimulus for a second book. Who knows? Presumably the mind isn't out there to sabotage, although that voice of doubt can often leave you wanting to burn the entire manuscript or at least chuck the computer out the window.

Crack on. Keep going. And eventually (or so I'm told) things will fall into place. With your continued hard work and mental sacrifice, of course. It's not a short term solution, it's a long term investment of the mind. It's like being on a roller coaster for five years (and counting). Surely one day those swoops and drops will plateau and you will disembark with as complete a novel as you can make it.

That's when the Agents, Editors and Publishers get to work and it starts all over again. Something to look forward to!

Happy Writing to anyone in the same boat and thanks for reading. If this made any sense I'll be surprised. Still the mind is a jumble and words help it make sense.

Enjoy your Tuesday. May it be full and productive, whatever you have in mind.