Sunday 28 July 2013

Alice in Kessingland

Sorry for being a day late, but I'm here Celebrating The Small Things that have happened over the last week.

Firstly, my week started off on the wrong foot, pretty much literally.  I was walking along the beach and it was quite a misty, foggy day.  Suddenly I found myself falling.  I'd got my foot caught in a rabbit hole and managed to collapse on the ground and twist my ankle.  I laid on my back for a minute or so and then got up and walked home.  Everything was fine and then my foot/ankle started to ache after dinner.  So we strapped it up and I went to bed.  But I couldn't sleep as the pain was so severe.  I couldn't put my foot flat on the floor or put any weight on it.  So my mum took me to A&E and I sat in the waiting room for a couple of hours, in pain, wanting to go home and cry.  I then got my ankle x-rayed, and waited a little bit longer.  Finally I found out that I'd damaged the tissue around my ankle, so thankfully it wasn't broken.  I was given some crutches and I managed to hobble about, although I spent more time hitting myself in the foot with the crutch than actually walking anywhere!  But it's all better now.  So I'm celebrating being able to walk.  You don't realise how important something is until you don't have it.

I'm also celebrating the wonderful weather we're having.  The sun is out.  I'm in a good mood.  I have a bit of sunburn on my back, but it's not too painful.

I've also had a nice week with 'the boy'.  It's the end of the month so we don't have much money, but we've been on some lovely walks along the beach, through parks, and we got lost in a wood (resulting in us nearly being chased by some angry guard dogs!!), and had picnics.  And we went to see The World's End at the cinema.  It's a Simon Pegg and Nick Frost film, so if you like Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Paul, you will really like The World's End.

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday 22 July 2013

Write and Wrong

This week's prompt from Dani and Jackie's Express Yourself blog hop is ...

What is the most frustrating/satisfying thing about being a writer?

Hmm, this is a tricky one.  I have a love/hate relationship with writing.  I do it for two main reasons; I enjoy it, and I'm not much good at anything else.  I guess that's why people do most things, right?  But it doesn't come without its struggles.

Writing enables you to invent worlds for yourself that you'd never be able to live in real life.  You can create people and places and events that extend far outside the realms of reality.  And by doing this, it helps you to escape your own life for a short while.

I also get very excited when I have an idea and I can't wait to get it down on paper (well, computer screen).  And then the story takes on a life of its own and goes off in unexpected directions.  At that point, I get really excited.  I always have an idea of where I want a story to go, but most of the time it flips and turns and twists and I just let it flow.

And then when I've completed something, I love love love getting hold of my red pen and editing everything.  I think editing is the best part of writing.  You get to mould and shape everything until it's perfect, and then you work on it some more to make it even more perfect.  It's a bit like raising a child, but you get second and third chances if anything goes wrong.

On the negative side, I think my main frustration is people.  And by people, I mean people who aren't writers or readers.  

People:  So what do you do?
Me:  I'm a writer.
People:  Yeah, but what's your real job?


Yes I have a day job, and thankfully it's one that I really enjoy.  But I do that to pay the bills.  My job is a writer.  I don't make money from it, but it's my raison d'ĂȘtre, it's my focus and my aim and my drive.  People who aren't writers (or artists of any description) don't seem to understand why people want to be writers.  They seem to question the point in it all.  I am confident-ish, but criticism from a non-writer is always difficult to deal with, and I feel like I have to apologise for what I do, and justify it somehow.  I know I should ignore them, but sometimes it's not that easy.

So that's why I'm so grateful for any support I get, and I always try to support writers whenever they feel a bit defeated.  Writing isn't easy, but things are often made more difficult by critical non-thinkers.

Friday 19 July 2013

Literary Festivals Galore

Wow, what a busy week it's been.  But now I can sit back and Celebrate The Small Things.

Firstly I am celebrating the sun.  Oh my goodness, we have some summer!!  The sun really does put me in a good mood.  And of course my job is still brilliant.  I still can't believe that I love my job!

On Saturday I went down to London with an author friend, to a children's literary festival in Trafalgar Square called 'Get Reading'.  It was set up to raise awareness that 1 in 4 school leavers still don't know how to read properly.  That's quite a shocking statistic.  It was such a hot day, I think I drank twice my body weight in water, but it was worth it.  The festival wasn't as busy as I thought it would be, but I think that made it better as there was room to stand without getting crushed.  We weren't there for the whole festival, so we didn't see all the authors, but we did manage to see Anthony Horowitz, Dick and Dom (bogies!), Horrible Histories, Warwick Davis, Samuel West, and Hugh Grant.  

On Sunday I went out on my first date in a helluva long time.  And then on Wednesday I went out on my second date in a helluva long time!  We went to see Monsters University.  It was very funny, and young Mike Wazowski is so cute with his little braces!

On Thursday I had my committee meeting for the Lowestoft Library Literary Festival.  We just have to make a few amendments to the poster and programme and then we'll be ready to start properly advertising and selling tickets.  I'm getting so excited!!

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday 15 July 2013

Don't Look At Me

This weeks question from Dani and Jackie's Express Yourself blog-hop is ...

What is the biggest challenge you face socially?

I have quite a few social anxieties.  My main one is having people look at me.  I've always been tall.  I'm 5'11", which I know isn't abnormally tall, but when you're 7 years old and you're at least 6" taller than the rest of your friends, it can feel like you're a bit of a freak.  

It wasn't until I was at high school when the boys started getting their growth spurts, and finally I wasn't the tallest person in my school year.  However, I've still not felt comfortable with my height, and I tend to stoop quite a bit.  My Pilates teacher doesn't approve of the stoop, and I do manage to stand up straight in her classes, but when I get back into the real world, by spine starts to bend so that I can hide away from staring eyes.

I'm slowly coming to terms with it.  It's not something I can change so I just have to get used to.  I just get a bit paranoid that people are looking at me.  I'm quite happy to hide in the background but my height hasn't allowed me to do that.  Perhaps I should just embrace my height and stop hiding!

Friday 12 July 2013

Some Shine Sun Shine

It's the end of the week and it's time to Celebrate The Small Things.

This week I have to celebrate the sun above everything else.  It has been beautiful - not that rain and snow and wind and hail and mist and fog aren't beautiful.  In fact I really like all weather types, but I like them all at the appropriate time of year.  And the weather that we should have at this time of year is sunniness, and that's just what we've been having.  Lily and I have spent some lovely hours down the beach, playing with stones and staring out to sea.  And because it's not summer holidays yet, the beach has been very quiet.

This week I had my teen writing group and my 'adult' writing group (when I say 'adult', I'm just making a distinction between that and my teens - we write everything, not just 'adult' themed pieces!!).  They both went really well; I always feel inspired after writing group, and I think it's so important for writers to meet up with other writers, as writing can be a lonely pursuit.  We're putting together a display of our best work to go up in the library, to run alongside the Literary Festival.

I'm also celebrating that I'm going to London tomorrow to an open air children's book festival in Trafalgar Square.  I've never been to anything like that before so it should be interesting.  I'll let you know how it went next Friday.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday 10 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a nifty little blog-hop over at Jaime's blog.

What I'm Reading

I finished off Wolflore by Annaliese Matheron, and boy was it a struggle!  I really don't like criticising authors as I know how difficult it is to write a book, but I really do have to question her editing team.  I have no idea how so many punctuation and grammar mistakes were allowed to slip through the net.  One or two throughout the entire book are forgivable, but not one or two on every page!  It's a shame because it could be a really exciting story, but it's ruined by the errors.

So now I've moved on to A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.  It's this month's book for Lowestoft Library Book Group.  I don't think I'll finish this one by the time we have our next meeting.  It's quite a large book with very small writing, and those books scare me!  It doesn't matter how great the book is, if it has loads of pages with small writing, I have a bit of a psychological block.  I'll read as much as I can so I'll at least have something to talk about at group!

What I'm Writing

This week I'm writing e-mails with regards to Lowestoft Library Literary Festival.  I'm also writing the agenda for the festival meeting next week.  I also need to catch up on my blogging.  I've let myself slip with posting about my Teen Writers writing group, and Lowestoft Library Writers' Group.  I usually blog the day after, letting everyone know what we've done and what we've got to do before the next meeting.  But I've been a bit naughty and haven't finished my writing prompt pieces.  So once they're done, I can get to it and write my blog posts.  Plus I've been writing a lot of Postcrossing postcards.  And finally, a work colleague has written a screen play and has asked me to have a look over it for him.  I'm always excited to read work written by someone I know, so I will be writing some constructive criticism notes for him.

What Inspires Me Right Now

The weather!  The absolutely beautiful summer weather that we've been lucky to experience this week.  We've waited a very long while for the sun to come out so I'm going to enjoy it while it's here.  Lily (my dog) and I have been spending a lot of time sitting down by the sea's edge - well, I've been doing the sitting and Lily has been running after stones and playing in the sand.  And we've enjoyed every second of it.

What Else I've Been Up To

On Friday I had a fun night out with work peeps, followed by a nice, relaxing weekend.  And this week I've been to the gym for swimming and Pilates.  I even bought myself one of those Pilates resistance bands so that I can stretch myself at home.  My leg muscles are always so tight and sometimes I find it really difficult to straighten them, so hopefully these extra exercises will help my flexibility.  This morning was quite grim and grey, so I thought I'd cheer myself up by watching a great (ha!) British zombie film, 'Gangsters, Guns & Zombies'.  It's rubbish, but in a funny way.  The acting is dreadful, but it was well worth a watch on a cold and wet Wednesday morning.

What's up with you?

Monday 8 July 2013

Who's Hungry?

This week's question for Dani and Jackie's Express Yourself blog hop is ...

Whether watching a movie at the theatre or at home, what's your go-to snack?

I love snacking, regardless of whether or not I'm watching a film!

When I'm at the cinema, it has to be pick 'n' mix.  I know cinema pick 'n' mix is stupidly expensive, but it's a must-have treat!  My favourites are giant strawberries, white chocolate jazzies, and strawberry milkshake bottles, but I shovel in a scoop of pretty much everything (apart from jelly beans - bleurgh) so that I get a surprise.  But they are so moreish that I always end up eating all the sweets through the previews and don't have anything to eat during the film.
When I'm at home, I eat pretty much anything that's in the house!  My go-to snack at home is always a packet of crisps.  I'd never eat them in the cinema as it really irritates me when people eat loud food when I'm trying to listen to a film.  At home, if you miss something because you're crunching too loudly on a crisp you can at least rewind the film.  And then I have some ice-cream, some chocolate, some biscuits, some more chocolate, and then I pass out in a sugar coma.

Friday 5 July 2013

It's Summer - finally!

What a lovely Friday to sit back and Celebrate The Small Things that happened over the last week.

This week I'm celebrating the summer.  Yesterday was such a beautiful, sunny day, and today has followed in yesterday's footsteps.  I've got my legs out, and am wearing a pair of shorts for the first time this year.  Yes, I look like Casper, but I don't care!  I'm going to enjoy this sun as I don't know when it'll be back!

Lily and I have just come back from a lovely walk down the beach.  There were a few people out today, but we found a quiet spot down by the sea, where we sat and watched the birds playing on the water, and Lily had fun chasing stones and burying her face in the sand.  I wish I'd taken  my camera.

I'm also celebrating a loss of weight.  I won't say how much I weigh or how much I lost, but I'm pleased with it.  And I can still touch my toes!!  So yay for the gym and for healthy eating!

My job is still great.  I feel like I've really learnt a lot there, and I'm settling in quite nicely.  I can't believe I've been there for two months.  Only four more months to go before I complete my probation and I find out whether or not it's a permanent job.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday 3 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a nifty little blog hop, over at Jaime's blog.

What I'm Reading

I am currently reading a book which was lent to me by a work colleague (who also happens to be the wife of my primary school headmaster).  It's called Wolflore by Annaliese Matheron.  I don't like criticising authors as I know how difficult it is to write and publish a book, but I am really struggling with this book.  The story isn't my kind of thing (vampires, werewolves, etc.) so I'm not going to comment on that, but I am having to fight through so many apostrophe catastrophes, comma dramas, full-stop mishaps, and capitalisation violations, plus other grammar errors and plot flaws.  Call me old fashioned, but the rules of language are extremely important generally, but more so when it comes to the written word.  

A couple of things have really niggled me ...

Page 26 - 
As Mr Blackburn said this, a large trolley of onions pushed out from the wall with a second empty trolley next to it. ...  All the members of pod four went over to the trolleys.  In the empty one they found a bucket each, containing a knife and a small chopping board.

Page 107 - 
'Well, so was the ham in this Carbonara, but your alright with eating it,' Finn said. 

Page 134 - 
Adam looked at his clock.  It was almost eleven - a bit too late to ring, so he sent a text message.
Harry, I'm sorry.  I should have told you.  Ring me.
Too serious.  He deleted that and started again.

Also, the book indicates that the story is set in England, yet the characters and narrator use Americanisms, such as parking lot (instead of car park) and teachers lounge (instead of staff room).  It is possible that the author wants to reach out to an American market, but if something is set in England, and the characters are English, surely they should use English phrases.

I will finish reading the book as I would like to find out what happens in the end, but I can't say that I'm enjoying it.  Thankfully I've only got a few more chapters to go.

What I'm Writing

My novel is always hanging around in the background, and I will get it finished eventually.  But more specifically, this week I am writing my homework for my Teen Writing Group, which is to write a review of a book/film/song.  I know what I'm going to write about; I just need to write it.

I'm also planning activities and homework for the Lowestoft Library Writers' Group and Lowestoft Library Teen Writers.  Our intrepid leader for the Writers' Group is on holiday so I'm stepping into her chair for one session.  I quite like running the group, as I get to inflict my odd sense of creativity on the members!

What Inspires Me Right Now

Work is still high up on my list of inspiration.  I love walking around the library, putting books back on the shelves, and seeing the wonderful variety of literature out there.  One day I will be a part of that.

The lead up to Lowestoft Library Literary Festival is also inspiring.  I'm so excited to be a part of an event which celebrates authors and the array of words that float around inside their brains (and eventually make their mark on paper).

What Else I've Been Up To

I have spent the last week or so trawling through boxes upon boxes that had been living in my parent's loft for the past 30 years!  My parents kept hold of EVERYTHING, from scraps of paper that I scribbled on as soon as I knew how to hold a pen, up to all of my university paperwork.  We've always been hoarders, but now it's time to get rid of all the unnecessary things cluttering up our lives.  It's been quite cathartic, throwing away all the things I don't need.  I've still got a way to go, but I'm getting there.  And I've had a lovely trip down memory lane, reading a lot of books from my childhood.

How has your week been?

Monday 1 July 2013


This week's question for Dani and Jackie's Express Yourself blog hop is ...

What are your plans for the 4th, if you celebrate, if not, what do you have planned this week?

Being English, we don't take part in 4th of July celebrations.  So this week I will mainly be working (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday).  I like this week, as I work the first half of the week, and then I'm not back at work until Thursday of next week.  I get a nice seven days off every four weeks.  Lovely jubbly!

I will also be going to the gym.  My Pilates teacher is off in the Pyrenees this week, so no Pilates for me this week.  I do enjoy my Pilates classes, so that will be missed this week.  I will be going swimming and working out in the gym though, and if the weather stays like it was this weekend, a nice swim will be very much appreciated.

On Thursday I will be meeting up with a friend and fellow writer to have a brain-storming session about how we can better promote ourselves as authors, and get our books sold.  We have some ideas; we just need to think about how to get them off the ground.

A group of us from work are going out on Friday evening for a couple of bevvies.  This is my first 'work' outing so it'll be nice to get to know them on a more social level.

And of course I will be reading, writing, watching television, and spending time with my pooch (but not all at the same time!)