Category Archives: Writing

Excuses, excuses

 

ExcusesI always know it’s time to start writing a new post when I find myself scribbling random notes on whatever piece of paper happens to be at hand, making lists of potential topics, or jotting down thoughts and observations which might spark a blog post. Time to bite the bullet and get busy typing. I have not had a productive year I know. The dust devils have been blowing forlornly across my blog for some time now and the few followers I have, must surely have despaired of reading  any more of my wit and wisdom. But, here I am, older, wiser, rested and ready to dump my brain onto the page once more. I have a list of subject matter ideas as long as a gibbon’s arm but I thought I would return with a light-hearted look at the excuses I have employed for NOT writing. Actually I suspect that these very same excuses have been used by many people for NOT doing many other things but I didn’t say I would be original 😉

  1. Too many quality box sets / TV series. I mean seriously – have you not seen Breaking Bad? Game of Thrones? Sherlock? Line of Duty?? Horizon??? Even Springwatch???? Superb stuff. I get quite cross with intellectually snooty “Oh I don’t watch TV” people in the same way that I don’t trust “non-readers”. Good TV makes me think just as much as reading a good book does and is no more anti-social. I have enjoyed many a stimulating conversation with friends and family comparing opinions on a character’s motives, or guessing what will happen next…
  2. Too much time spent playing Candy Crush. What started out as a “this is a fun way to spend 5 minutes while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil” has led me to level 347 where I have been stuck for some time. It is an addiction that I cannot bring myself to give up. I know I should go cold turkey and just uninstall it but it’s so damned compulsive and oh the pretty colours…
  3. Too much time spent on Facebook. I’m not as fixated as some people I know (I am mFB logoore of a reader than a commentator) but I do like to see what everyone else is up to and to check out the articles from the pages/people I follow. It’s another one of those things that begins as a “I’ll just have a quick look” and then before you know it, a whole hour has disappeared.
  4. Emotional overload. Regular readers will know that I had a pretty grim time last winter when my manager very sadly took his own life. I have written about this before so won’t re-hash it here but the emotional aftermath has taken many months to recover from. Eventually I made the decision to leave not only the project I had been working on with him, but the company itself and I made a clean break two months ago to take up a new job elsewhere. Which in turn led to…
  5. …intellectual overload. I always forget how exhausting it is starting a new job. The effort to concentrate and learn new processes, methodologies, cultural norms, people’s names and who to call when your PC doesn’t work, is physically and mentally tiring. For 8 weeks my brain has been on full alert and it is only just beginning to relax and allow me headspace for other things.
  6. Uncharacteristically long periods of decent weather. I live in the north west of England and most of you will know what that means… it rains – a lot. If you are not British and are unaware that the north west is any wetter than the rest of England then let me tell you that in 1982 when I first came to Manchester as an undergraduate, it rained every single day for 48 days on the trot. I genuinely contemplated building an ark. Happily,  this year our spring and summer have been fair and warm. The rain we have had may have been torrential but it has lasted for only a relatively short time (less than a week goddammit!) and consequently I have been spending a lot of my spare time pottering in the garden or relaxing outside with a cold beer rather than glued to the sofa with my laptop.
  7. Domestic demands. You know the sort of tedious stuff that you have to do to maintain a steady supply of clean knickers, your plate replenished with fresh food, the rats out of the kitchen, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. There is a school of thought that a tidy house is the sign of a wasted life, but I cannot relax for long in a dirty, messy home. I am a martyr to my anally retentive personality and have to spend time cleaning and organising my home environment otherwise I develop a nervous tic and a bad temper. I’m not completely OCD about it and my home is far from pristine but I have an acceptable level of tidiness and order which causes me distress if not sustained.
  8. Family demands. Aside from actually having to talk to the immediate loved ones in the same house, maintaining happy relationships with an extended family means investing time too. There is always someone, somewhere feeling neglected and left out or passed over in favour of someone else. It’s a fine art trying to keep everyone happy, not unlike twizzling flat, round ceramic objects on long poles. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all dearly and don’t begrudge time spent with any of them, but inevitably it means that I have less time to myself.
  9. Social demands and maintaining enduring friendships. See the previous point. If my family think I don’t spend enough time with them they should talk to some of my friends…years can go by without so much as a phone call. Happily, my true friendships survive anyway and it is always a delight to catch up with people I may not have seen for eons and find that we slip immediately into easy banter and chatter as if a mere week had elapsed.
  10. Personal health and fitness. I am not naturally sporty so keeping fit and healthy is a bit of an effort but I do think it is time well spent, even if it means I have less of it to write in.
  11. Not a trait I like to admit to but if I am being brutally honest with myself then there are plenty of times when I just can’t be bothered to think that hard and I just want to put my feet up in front of The Big Bang Theory.
  12. Sometimes it’s not the lack of will but the lack of energy caused by points 4,5,7 8 and 9!
  13. Provide me with two equally tempting (or equally dreadful) choices and I’m liable to dither a very long time. Provide me with more than two and you could be waiting for hell to freeze over. When I said that I had a list of writing ideas as long as gibbon’s arm, the downside of that is that I have to make decisions – not one of my key strengths.
  14. This is slipping further down the list of excuses as I am less sensitive to criticism in my old age but I do still feel anxious writing a new piece. What if I make a complete arse of myself? What if it’s just self-indulgent waffle? I am getting better at saying “what the hell, just go for it anyway it’s worth the risk”, but long gaps between articles doesn’t increase confidence!candy crush

So there you have it. A whole litany of sad excuses for not writing. I am sure I could think of a few more if I thought a bit harder or longer but I want to get this thing out there so I can crack level 347 – oops sorry – crack on with the next post…

 

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The Return of the Wandering Wordsmith

An editor's work is never done...

An editor’s work is never done…

If it were not for the seedy and sinister connotations that now come to mind when reminded of Gary Glitter, I would open this blog with a hearty rendition of “Hello! Hello! It’s good to be back, it’s good to be back!”. It has been far too long since I last wrote anything more exciting than a ‘Configuration Management Plan’. Don’t bother asking what one of those is because you will have yawned and lost the will to live before you get to the end of the first explanatory sentence. The point is… I AM back, writing stuff that interests me (if no-one else).  The enthusiasm and excitement I felt when I first plucked up the courage and confidence to articulate my random musings publicly (see “Baby Steps”) has returned with full gusto – huzzah!

In all honesty it never really went away but I have been somewhat distracted by a miscellany of real world stuff. Like starting a new job last February which, although was no more demanding of my time than my previous job, was a lot more demanding of my brain. For the first time in ages I was (and indeed I still am) enjoying the chance to think, use my initiative and interact with intelligent and committed people. Great news, but this leaves me pretty much exhausted and less than keen to spend any more time in front of a computer screen after the 8 or 9 hours in the office each day. However, I have not been entirely idle on the literary front, having spent the summer proof-reading and editing my friend Mike’s[i] second novel (coming soon to a large online bookshop near you). My editing speed is almost but not quite, as slow as my writing, so I am now going to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to the lovely Mr Holley…sorry mate. Hopefully I have made up for my tardiness by handing your baby back in a sleeker, sharper and  shinier condition.

Editing is fun if you are a slightly sad, anally retentive wordsmith like me. I do like WORDS and working out ways of stringing them together in a way that best suits the message being conveyed. That’s why I enjoy writing, even (heaven help me) rather boring technical documents for the day job. I find it deeply satisfying to re-shape a sentence to make it snappier, wittier or more accurate. Bizarrely,  I actually enjoying dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s and I like to tie up loose ends. So if you need someone to spot the plot holes, character discrepancies and timeline errors then I’m your gal. Just don’t ask me to do it quickly…

But now I am back to writing and I repeat, I am a slow writer. I mean really slow. Glaciers have carved fjords in the time it takes me to produce 500 words and I am in awe of those who knock out 3000 words a day as if it were the easiest thing in the world. The problem is not that I am uninspired or that I have writer’s block, on the contrary, I have a plethora of ideas and my inner voice never shuts up. I just spend too long trying out different ways of saying the same thing, agonizing over every word in an effort to articulate accurately what I am thinking and feeling. Sadly the inner voice which sounds so erudite, charming and witty in my head rarely survives the transfer to the written page, but hey-ho, I still enjoy trying 🙂 .

And whadyaknow? I’ve managed to churn out this brain dump (604 words and counting) in less than 3 hours, which is a Usain Bolt like performance for me. Something must be wrong and I’ll almost certainly re-read it again later and dismiss it as utter rubbish which needs completely re-writing… quick Trowers – publish and be damned!

P.S. Oops one week later and I’ve finally finished. Not a solid week working on it you understand, but a snatched 30 minutes here and there. Tinkering, polishing and looking for suitable images to use. Still, productivity is up on the last six months so I will publish my next post before I acquire too many more grey hairs I promise.


 

[i] Michael J Holley. His first novel “The Great Corporate Escape” is both funny and charming. And it was also edited by me.

And the Award goes to…

Good lord the pressure! Having been nominated for two blog awards over the last couple of months, I am now stressing about how to respond. Firstly, just before Christmas, came the Versatile Blogger award from the lovely Tracy on FecThis. I was thrilled that she thought me worthy of an award and deeply flattered because she is such a brilliant, articulate and moving writer herself. My sincere thanks go out to her.

Then in January an ex-colleague from the corporate world, now full time writer and coach, and my friend and inspiration, Michael J Holley, nominated me for a Liebster.  I’m blown away to receive another endorsement in such a short space of time and again from someone whose work I greatly admire.

So why the pressure and the stress I hear you ask? Well let me tell you it’s NOT like winning a BAFTA or an Oscar – there are “Rules” to follow:

The Versatile Blogger:The Versatile Blogger

  1. Display the award certificate on your website. Tick!
  2. Announce your win with a post and include a link to whoever presented your award. Tick!
  3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers. Fifteen? OKaaayy – I’ll certainly have a think and another read…
  4. Create a post linking to them and drop them a comment to tip them off. Will do…
  5. Post 7 interesting facts about yourself. Easy enough…

The Liebster Award:

  1. Post the award image on your blog. There are several varieties. Google them and find the one liebster-blog-awardyou like the most. Tick!
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself. Can I just add 4 to the 7 from earlier – is that cheating?
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/people who nominated you. Can do.
  4. Make up 11 questions for those to be nominated. No problem!
  5. Nominate 11 people to receive the award. They should have fewer than 200 followers on their blog. Errrr – less than 200? And do these have to be different from the 15 earlier? Really?

I cannot, hand on heart, drum up 26 or 15 (or even 11!) names out of the blogosphere, with less than 200 followers each, that I either regularly follow or know well enough to pass on the awards with sincerity and genuine affection. So what should I do? I could just cheat and pluck names at random to keep the chain mail going, but this would feel disingenuous and dishonest. I have about 10 blogs that I follow regularly and 2 of those are from the people who nominated me. Others have either more than 200 followers already or are of the magazine style, produced by a number of writers. So my list of recipients that fit the rules is pretty slim. I have been researching new blogs recently but it is very time-consuming and I still find that the ones I really like are already huge and unlikely to be interested in an award from a very small and minor newcomer like me.

It doesn’t feel right to pluck random names for the sake of it  but as an amateur blogger with a full time day job and a family I’m struggling to fit in the research to look for 2 dozen new bloggers…and now I sound like I’m whining and whinging. Oh dear. See? I’m stressing about this rather than enjoying the recognition and compliments which I know were genuinely intended.

If I just nominate those few writers that I know and love, I suppose I could give them the choice of award. But  then I won’t be strictly complying with the rules and I’m naturally a law-abiding citizen. Will I be black-listed for breaking the rules?!

Hamlet quotePerhaps I should honourably withdraw and decline to take part in the award season love-in altogether…Does this mean that I will never be “recognised” again? Am I taking it too seriously and being a spoilsport by refusing to take part? Should I just cheat and nominate others for the sake of “networking”? My moral dilemma may not be quite up there with Hamlet’s but I understand his procrastination. To participate or not to participate, that is the question…

Please let me know what you think. Who knows…if I like your response you may find yourself on my regular reading list and nominated for an award yourself!

Reflections on Writing “The Story of Henry the Third…etc”

critical reviewHaving received some very lovely feedback from friends for my second short story, I thought that, once again, I would share some of my thoughts and observations on the writing process I undertook. If you have not read “The Story of Henry the Third and the Midwinter Miracle in Manchester”  then click the link or scroll down to the previous post to read it first and avoid any spoilers.

When I decided to write a Christmas story, I knew that I wanted to include some of the traditional seasonal themes such as kindness, charity, the importance of family and love, renewed hope and a touch of magic. How to do this in an original and engaging way was more of a challenge…

The Inspiration

This was the easy bit. The setting was very much inspired by my own recent experience, working in the centre of Manchester again after 13 years in various out of town campuses. I was shocked to realise that there are still so many homeless people on the streets because my infrequent trips into town, during the period I worked elsewhere, were to the main shopping areas or busy bars, restaurants and theatres etc and not through the side streets and back alleys that I had used regularly as a daily commuter. As the weather became colder at the back end of November and early December, I pondered every morning on how the huddled bodies I saw in doorways coped in such cold conditions and who they were; what was their own story and history? I wanted to prompt the reader to think a little more about the human being behind the Big Issue.

The Characters

Debbie’s lifestyle, curiosity about people and her empathy are mine, so she was very easy to write. I hasten to add that my own family circumstances are quite different  (my Mum is alive and well thank you very much and I am a mother myself) but she basically speaks with my voice. In fact I’m wondering now if I should have written her in the first person…hmmm – that’s a future consideration.

I always imagined Henry the Third as looking and behaving like Eddie the whiskery Jack Russell in Frasier. eddieI wanted him to be friendly but not overly excitable, small so that he could be carried, loyal, protective and intelligent. Although he is of course crucial to the plot, he has no self awareness and is simply doing what dogs do, so there was no need to give him much depth of character. I’m still rather fond of him though.

 

Pam the dog lady was a little trickier to create. I wanted a homeless woman rather than a man, as I thought it would be easier to believe that Debbie would converse with a mysterious woman than a strange man. The resemblance to her Mum was included to make her even more approachable and attractive. Her letter at the end was deliberately written in a style to show that despite her lifestyle, she was intelligent, articulate and kind.

The peripheral male characters, Dad, Mark and Jon are, I admit, sparsely drawn but hopefully realistic enough to serve their purpose of moving the story along and/or the exposition of relevant past events.

The Plot

In my early musings about the plot I contemplated making Pam the long lost mother, returned to help the daughter she had abandoned.  But this seemed too bleak and emotionally complicated – forgiveness and redemption would be more difficult to dispense for someone who left  a young family, to live on the streets.  I also considered turning her into the mother’s ghost, but it would not have made sense to have had three life-saving events as both Dad and Mark would have recognised their wife/mother at the time of their own salvation.  This was also why Pam herself did not openly act as Guardian Angel and why I employed a succession of dogs to help save the Moffats. It seemed more believable that they would not have made a big deal of it at the time if individually they had thought that a dog had somehow stopped helped them.   And I liked the sound of “Henry the Third” as a name!

I hesitated for a long time as to whether to include Debbie’s childlessness in the story at all, but I wanted something else to make the dog lady mysterious and magical and to add a final little twist to the tail. It seemed like a good way to round off the story; Pam dies, somehow knowing that Henry the Third saved not only Debbie but her longed for  unborn child. It is almost like her parting Christmas gift.

I thoroughly enjoyed engineering this story and have been delighted with the emotional impact it has had on some of my readers. It’s the greatest compliment I could wish for. Not entirely sure what I’m going to write next but will endeavour to entertain you again.

Happy New Year!

P.S. If you are feeling generous or inspired then I recommend you make a donation to either of these two UK homeless charities.

http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/support-us.html

or

http://england.shelter.org.uk/

 

My Personal Booker Awards

This award is passed around from author to author/other bloggers so that they too, can share their top five books. The idea is the old desert island thing; which five books would you take with you (assuming they’re in a water tight box).

Having been set this challenge by my friend, the lovely Mr Mike Holley (check him out http://michaeljholley.com/about/ ) I have been in a terrible quandary all week. Five. I ask you – how on earth do I narrow down my long list of favourites to FIVE? Whatever I leave off will feel like a betrayal. It feels utterly wrong to NOT include something by Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens,  the Brontës, John Irving, Ian Banks, Stuart Maconie, Bill Bryson, Margaret Atwood, Kate Atkinson, Rose Tremain, John Steinbeck, Lynley Dodd or Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Ok so Lynley Dodd and the Ahlbergs may not have written “novels” but they’ve produced some of my all-time favourite books OF ALL TIME. And probably the ones that I’ve read and re-read more than any others. If you have children you will understand. If you don’t, I urge you in all earnestness to read the entire “Hairy McClary from Donaldson’s Dairy” back catalogue and anything, no, make that EVERYTHING by the Ahlbergs.

Anyway, I can only apologise to all of my literary heroes who didn’t make the cut today and will excuse myself by saying that it was too difficult to choose a particular favourite novel from their portfolio of masterpieces. I’m also assuming that I will be given the “Complete Works of William Shakespeare” as a “free pass”. I know they are plays and poems rather than “books” but I would throw my dummy out of the pram and not play at all if I couldn’t  take that. And just like my nominator, if I were to think about this on another day I would almost certainly come up with a different list. But here goes … for the moment at least.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

“How predictable” I hear you yawn. The reason this heads my list and no doubt that of a very large percentage of the reading world is because the characters are beautifully, effortlessly realised and the story told simply and without artifice. Scout’s innocence and naivety perfectly counter the ignorance and prejudice. Poetic, amusing, even scary at times, it is ultimately deeply moving. Atticus Finch is a contender for my favourite ever fictional hero, for his nobility, integrity and strength of character. What a role model. And in my opinion, Gregory Peck was perfectly cast in the marvellous film adaptation. If ever a book deserved the title “classic” this is it. I love it dearly.

The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

I was profoundly affected by this book when I first read it at the age of 17. I know it tends to divide people. There are many who dislike it because the main theme is depression and because nothing much happens.  But I am deeply fond of this book because of the emotional punch it packs and the empathy I felt for troubled teenager Holden Caulfield when I was a similar age. He’s fucked up but I understood him and knew that I would be too if I had to go through the same things that he did. I think that Salinger does a brilliant job of getting inside the head of a sad and lonely young man.

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

This actual Booker Prize winner is another that leaves me utterly stunned, with the lyrical beauty of the prose and the heartbreaking tragedy of the story. I love the sing-song language and the wonderful evocative descriptions of India in 1969. There are sections that are more like poetry than prose and I want to read them aloud to better appreciate the words. One of those novels that makes you despair of writing even a single sentence as beautiful. Read it and weep.

Skellig – David Almond

I bought this book, without knowing anything about it, from Waterstones, in a temporary promotional section called “Life-changing Books”. I can’t say that it actually did change my life but it definitely stayed with me for a very long time after reading it (and much, much more that the two others I bought at the same time). A more contemporary setting than my other choices but with a brilliant, magical twist. I was riveted and devoured it in a single sitting. I was convinced that it was all going to end in tears and it did – but with less of the sad kind this time. Bloody brilliant.

His Dark Materials Trilogy – Philip Pullman

Ok so I’m cheating a teeny-weeny bit here but you do need to read all three books to appreciate the full splendour of the story.  This was recommended to me by the young daughter of some friends of ours and I will be eternally grateful to her (thanks Ashleigh!). It may be aimed at children / young adults but the subject matter is anything but childish. Thrilling, philosophical, magical and emotionally strong stuff. I cried at numerous points, (have you noticed a pattern here?) even on a second reading a few years later. Whatever you do, do not be tempted by the film version (“The Golden Compass”) of the first book (“Northern Lights”). It looks beautiful but has little of the heart and (ironically given one of the main themes) none of the soul of the book.

So that’s my list, this week at least. In reading back through my choices just now I have spotted another (genuinely unintended) recurring theme. Aside from the fact that every single one made me cry, each describes the world from childhood memories or actual point of view of a young adult or child. Well that’s given me something to ponder…

Apparently I’m now supposed to nominate 5 fellow authors/bloggers but I’m fairly new to this and still making writing friends (!) but these guys might like to be nominated:

Rick Mallery – http://rickmallery.wordpress.com/

Dennis McHale – http://insightsandobservations.wordpress.com/about/

Roger Kirkham – http://rogers-rants.blogspot.co.uk/

Looking forward to your desert island books guys…

Party Animal: Reflections (or post mortem?)

Having finally posted my first short story last week I  thought I might offer up my a few thoughts and observations about the actual process of writing it. If you haven’t read “Party Animal” yet,  scroll down to the previous post and do so first to avoid spoilers!

  1. Writing fiction is much harder than writing memoirs and general brain dumps … Coming up with an idea and a narrative arc with a beginning, middle and end is tough. I know that the plot of “Party Animal” was not particularly original but I wanted the experience of writing a short story and was inspired by all of the unavoidable  pre-Halloween hype. Hopefully the variation on an old plot was told well enough to be worth reading still.
  2. He said, she said… I struggled with the dialogue. My hubby thought that it was quite good and “naturalistic” but it didn’t feel that way writing it. For a start I had to remind myself of the basic grammatical rules for writing speech and more than once had to grab the nearest novel to see how it was done. I suspect that dialogue is one of those writing muscles that I need to exercise and that the reason I found it so hard is because it doesn’t generally come up much in the writing I do for my day job. Reports, presentations, instructions and business comms messages have to be factual, objective and unambiguous so I’m  bit rusty on the whole written conversation thing  :-/
  3. Exposition and loose ends… Another thing that I wrestled with was how much I should spoon-feed the reader and how much I ought to leave them to ponder. Being an anally retentive sort of person I have a pet hate for loose threads and (continuing the metaphor if I may) I tied myself in knots several times trying to ensure that I didn’t leave the reader saying “hang on a minute, you mentioned this earlier and now there’s no explanation”. For example, I felt that I had to conclude the problem of  the lost report at the beginning which sets the scene for her bad day, and to mention what happens to her clothing during the metamorphosis etc.  Tiny and seemingly irrelevant details but these are the sort of things that wind me up whether I’m reading, or watching a film…anyone else really bugged by the lack of explanation as to how the hell James Bond survived being shot and then falling a hundred feet off a bridge in “Skyfall”???  I can still spot a half dozen little things in “Party Animal” that I failed to explain properly. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I should trust the reader to plug the gaps. I’d be interested to know what you think – is it just my obsessive compulsive tidiness or do loose ends bug you too? Which of mine did you spot?
  4. It all takes much longer than I thought… My story was only around 2500 words long but it took me an age and I missed my target publication date by 4 days.  I had wanted to post it just before Halloween but working full time and trying to write in between maintaining a family life and managing domestic admin in the evenings and at weekends is not easy. Excuses, excuses. Next time I will set myself a more realistic deadline.

Having said all of that, it was still fun to write and a great learning experience. If I can come up with any more ideas for a good yarn I will definitely have another go. In the interim I have a backlog of other stuff to write about first and lots of research to do so I’d better get a wriggle on.

Baby Steps

So this is me; here, now, actually putting pen to paper and writing. In a cafe in the centre of Manchester with my tuna melt panini and chai latte. Feeling vaguely self-conscious in my geek-chic but secretly super-glued, off the shelf reading glasses from Waitrose. Here, with my A5 notebook and randomly selected corporate biro acquired from God knows which event, sometime in the foggy past of the “proper job”. Writing… me! Now, after thirty odd years of listening to the inner voice telling me “…you can’t do that, it’s too risky / too frivolous / too self-indulgent and you will FAIL”, I have finally found the courage to say “sod it” and to over-rule my personal Jiminy Cricket.

Ever since that “sod it” moment, I have been quietly fizzing with excitement, the sensation building inside the pit of my stomach and up through my chest. I have been thinking and planning and listing ideas. Jiminy hasn’t entirely gone away, I still keep asking myself time and again “what if you’re rubbish? what if no-one reads what you write, or worse still, hates it?”. But I know that I must have made the right decision because I keep coming back to the same answer…”I don’t care”.  Or at least “I don’t care enough to NOT try”. The overwhelming urge to vent my creativity is, somehow, finally stronger than my fear of failure. I need to do this, to see the words on the page, to share my thoughts and hopefully stir some sort of response from the people who choose to read it.

So this IS me; here, now, living the dream. Well not quite…the chai latte isn’t hot enough (as ever in this particular establishment), and the tuna melt has a peculiar and distinctly floral aroma, but hey…I’m writing! I may have to pinch myself. My initial excitement has not dissipated at all and I’m alive with ideas, pulsing, wired. If someone were to reach out and touch me at this precise moment I swear they would jolt with a static shock.

It’s wonderful, cathartic and yes, very, very self-indulgent. But the ideas keep coming and I’m scribbling furiously and I want to keep pouring the words onto the page, sorting through them and joining them together like an intricate jigsaw, creating an image that will reflect my state of mind. Or perhaps a thatched cottage in an English country garden.

So this is ME; here, now, rapidly developing RSI from scrawling by hand after a lifetime in front of a keyboard. Listing the ideas I want to share, to enthuse over, to rant about, to ponder and muse. This is me, finally, re-kindling the ambitions of 6 year old Lian, writing.

If you’re interested, I’ll keep you posted…