Shock Horror (not a new genre)

Yes, I’ve been talking about writing a novel for yonks. I’ve plotted, procrastinated and petered out so many times, I was beginning to think I was actually allergic to writing.

It’s a common thing, I think. Worrying, endlessly, that what we write will be too terrible and that, I don’t know, the house will fall down or we’ll be sent to the gallows for putting out into the world words that aren’t utterly perfect.

I’ve written things before. Even had bits published but still that voice says ‘no, get a grip, who’s interested your turgid tragic tales?’ Ok, maybe no one does but it does it’s better than doing housework.

So. I’m a thousand words in. I know what structure I’m going to use and there’s a sniff of plot. God, I hope it’s plot I can smell and that the dog hasn’t disgraced himself again. Actually, I wonder what my plot would smell like if it had an odour? These are the sort of things writerly types need to ponder, I’m sure.

Words. Characters. A sort-of plot. I’m devouring other people’s writing and making use of the seven hundred and twenty million books about writing I have on my heaving shelves. If you need inspiration, I highly recommend A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves; it’s an oldie but a goodie.

I’m filling the creative well, and not with wine before you ask! Theatre and music and podcasts; my brain is bursting! This week I saw The Ballad of Maria Marten – it’s on tour, see it if you can. And then see it again, it’s that good.

I’m not convinced writing a novel that’s as yet untitled is a good thing. It seems a little half-baked. Hmmm. The last novel I started writing was actually titled Half Baked. But that’s another story. Literally.

The Writer’s Book of Days says I must go out, look at things, sniff them and lick them. Or something. The dog’s enjoying this part. He did tell me today that he could easily write a much better novel than me if only he could type. Bloody sod. I’ll show him… he does look handsome having his writerly thoughts though, doesn’t he?

Epiphanies and Exasperation

Crumbs. A new decade. It’s the law that we look back and reflect, right?

I’ve started 2020 in my 50s. Well, just 50 to be precise. No need to overegg the whole age thing. It occurred to me that the next ten years will be gone in a flash. They do as you get older, why is that? Anyway. I’ve never thought anything much before about the starting of a new decade. But by the time the next one comes and bites us on the bum, I’ll be 60. 60!

This has to be the decade, surely, when I get my act together. Become a world famous writer and all that. These past six months, I’ve made a lot of changes. To me, they were pretty major: I gave up covering my greys then had all my hair chopped off. From shoulder-length brunette to grey pixie overnight. What will people think, I wondered? Funnily enough, no one even noticed.

I signed up to Lookiero and bought a load of new clothes to go with my new image. Clothes that hadn’t even had other people in them. Come on, I’m a skinflint. I’m happy to buy an amazing coat on eBay for £15 if it’s no good to the current owner. I haven’t worn any of the new clothes yet. Um…

I spent approx. eleventy billion quid on new make-up and life-changing skincare from Glossier. Are people stopping me in the street to comment on how bloody fab I’m looking? Nah, of course they’re not. I mean, it could be said that I was already pretty fabulous before I started all this nonsense. I’ve reached peak awesomeness. Or maybe not.

My epiphany as I start the new decade? I’ll do as I am. My life won’t change a jot if I lose weight, shave my head or start wearing rock chick clothes. It might if I actually crack on with the thing I’ve stopped and started (or vice versa, more accurately) and actually do something about my dream. Is 50 too old to start being fabulous? Obviously when I’m a famous writer, I’ll have to stop being so spiffing or else Richard Curtis and all those other super Suffolk types will be too intimidated to be my friend. Maybe I’ll just stick to hiding under the kitchen table every time someone knocks on the door. Best not to change too many things at once, eh? I’ll be writing under there, though, oh yes.

Greenwich Mean Time

I’m beginning to think all time is mean time.  Whatever happened to me-time?  Life’s a tricky business, isn’t it?

‘Ooh, it’s been a rollercoaster’, that’s what they say on telly.   Sounds about right; we’re strapped in – usually against our will – then hurtled manically about, unable to get off no matter how much we scream.  If we get to the end without crying or wetting our pants in public, it’s deemed a great success.  And let’s face it, if you’ve had children, you don’t escape those indignities anyway.  Crumbs.  What a ride, eh?

So here I am; my last blog post was about new year resolutions and now the Christmas lights are lit in town.  On that note, permit me a teeny rant: what has happened to ‘proper’ Christmas?  You know what I mean: chestnuts roasting, the Salvation Army banging out some carols and Santa arriving by sleigh?

‘THANK YOU IPSWICH’, yelled the singer onstage in Ipswich last night, punching the air as a few mums watched on with their wailing children, waiting for the Crimbo tree switch-on.  The square, in the meantime, was ablaze with colour as toddlers waved their fluorescent plastic purchases.  To be fair, nothing screams festive more to me than a strobing neon sword.

Grumpy old woman?  Moi?  Nah.  But I do think I might have a new career planning proper Christmas markets.  I’ll add that to next year’s to-do list, along with all the things I didn’t do on the last list.  Anyway, there are still 39 days, 11 hours and 24 minutes left of this decade.  Plenty of time.  No one wants to peak too soon, right?

Rust, Ruts and Resolutions

Don’t you just love this time of year?  All those perky new plans popping up and shouting ‘yoo hoo, here I am!’ while we’re writhing on the bed, trying to do our zips up and wondering when – WHEN? – elasticated waists will become acceptable.

I spotted something on Instagram a little while ago that I liked the idea of: my month as a flatlay.  I’ll do that, I thought.  I didn’t do it though.  I never get round to doing anything.  I’m terrible.  So.  2019 is the year I will Achieve Things.  No procrastination.  No excuses.  I mean, apart from the new full-time job, associated study and the street food wotsit to run.  I will write my novel.  Or maybe a screenplay.  I will do whatever it takes to look no older than 40 by the beginning of May (when I’ll be 50).  Exercise, healthy living, that sort of thing; the glass of red I’m drinking as I type this doesn’t count but I can’t remember why.

I’ve made a three-pronged start already and I think you’ll be proud.

Declutter:  an essential.  I know this because I read it on the internet.  I gathered up all the things I haven’t used or worn for a while.  I spent hours researching how much I should list them for on eBay, had a lovely daydream about what I’d spend all the money on before deciding I couldn’t really be arsed.  Sent some stuff to charity.  Decided to keep the rest.  I’ve not beaten procrastination but I’ve been provident.  Those old clothes will come in handy when I’m young and thin again, won’t they?

Sort out desk/study to enable efficient studying/writing: um, well I ordered a guitar stand so that the guitar I haven’t played for six months doesn’t just rest on a pair of jeans that I haven’t squeezed into for six years.  Yeah, let’s gloss over that one.

Creativity: Fiddled about with some photos demonstrating ‘my month as a flatlay’.  Well, a flatlay of things I didn’t do at all last year but were all top of my teetering pile of resolutions.  It’s not even a flatlay, to be fair.  A pile-up, perhaps?

A pile-up of procrastination.  Yes, I think that just about sums my life up.  2019 will be better though, right?  Whatevs.  Even though I’ve decided to be 40 instead of 50 this year, I’m still looking forward to the time when ‘lie down more, eat more cake and just have a nice time’ becomes ok.  It’s all about achievable goals, right?

Anyway, The Voice starts tonight and I’ve got a risotto to make.  I’ll write the novel tomorrow.  Probably.

 

 

 

Sticks and Stones…

Man, I feel old.  I hurt everywhere – the kitchen, the dining room, the garden…

Last month, we were walking ten miles a day in howling icy gales, making our foodie  five-year plan and laughing that we were more driven and oomphy than most 30-year-olds.  Then, on yet another windswept yomp, the beastly dog twizzled me round at high speed and I fell on my twisted knee.  I’m too old for unexpected twizzling; I need a little advance notice.  So.  Torn cartilage.  Knee bigger than my head.  Bruises forming as I lay on the Felixstowe footpath, crying, with gravel in my hair.

“No need to fuss,” I told the Greek God as he hauled me up.  “Let’s go to the pub.”

Never let it be said I’m not a brave soldier.  But two weeks on and it’s fair to say I’m a bit down in the dumps.  My career options as a downhill skier or knee model have hit the skids.  There are no treats to eat and I can’t even drive to the shop because the clutch is too ouchy.

I could sleep for a million years.  But there are books to read.  Lovely, lovely words that always perk me up.  In the absence of being able to shop for/cook food, I’m reading about it instead.  Far less fattening.  I’m loving Ruby Tandoh’s ‘Eat Up’ – not quite what I expected but I’d go so far as saying her writing has a touch of the Nigel Slater about it.  She seems a good egg; I’d invite her round for a natter.  So long as eating up doesn’t involve standing up.  Did I mention I’ve got a sore knee?  No?  Oh…