Dirty Bit

I know it might seem a bit odd, titling a post ‘Dirty Bit’ and then following it with a picture of rolling mountains and a lake (it’s Buttermere in the Lake District if you’re interested). but it was either this or a picture of Peter Rabbit eating a carrot, which was taken during a recent trip to Beatrix Potter world in Bowness, and that would have been just wrong.

Confused? Don’t be. Here’s what happened. So I’ve been away again, this time to The Lake  District. It was only for a few days and there was no internet access to be had but I did have to take my work and my writing with me because I had deadlines to meet. I did try and explain the issue lack of interent access would cause me to the Husband, but as usual it fell on deaf ears – it’s not easy being married to a man who won’t sit still for longer than a week. Anyway, enough of my martial woes. So having been for a walk around the beautiful lake at Buttermere, we spent the afternoon driving around the winding roads of north Lakes. The two year old was asleep in her car seat and the Husband, who was driving, was muttering on about the potential impact of BNFL shutting down it’s operations in the Lakes on the resident population. Obviously my mind started to wander and  suddenly I was struck by an idea for a sex scene for my novel, The Part Time Wife. Random – I know. I haven’t worked on The Part Time Wife since February because I need to re-write it in a different tense before I do any more work on it and the thought of doing that at this point in time, frankly makes me want throw myself down a well. But anyway.

The fact that a scene for a key chapter in the book, came to me fully formed in my head was odd. And the fact that it was the sex scene was even odder because I have put off writing this scene for well over a year now due to the fact that I knew I was going to have to write rude words. Did I mention that I come from a family of Irish catholics on one side and Jesuits on the other?

And yet.

The words flowed out of me. Literally flowed. A whole scene, rude words and everything, whilst careering around very bendy A roads and a sleeping babe next to me. And when I’d finished an odd sense of euphoria and the thought that maybe I could do it again – write another sex scene I mean. Which I guess is a bit like how can sex can sometimes feel – it you do it with the right person, you’re above the age of consent, you use protection and you’re married of course (Hi Mum!)

So there it is, last week I crossed a literary line. At the age of 33, it was probably about time.

Since returning home, I’ve finished another chapter of Stella Forsaken (still not wild about that title but it will do for now) and submitted it to my course peers for evaluation / annhilation, harboured vauge obsessions with Beatrix Potter and Kate Bush’s music and been unable to converse with anyone due to my nose being stuck in Kate Morton’s second book, The Forgotten Garden.

Note to readers: This post might read better if you listen to the song, The Time (Dirty Bit), by the Black Eyes Peas, at the same time. You can listen to it here

Site Works

I’ve been giving my blog a bit of a makeover. The pink theme I was using wasn’t really me and things have moved on a bit since I started blogging in 2009. Thought it was time for an update.

So say hello to ‘Elegant Grunge’ by Michael Tyson. Much more my thing.

And I’d like to make a polite request to the people who read this blog to please bear with me whilst I fatham the wordpress widget function and try and make everything look pretty.

The Old Routine

I’ve been living a more routeless existence than usual these past six weeks. It started with a week in Norwich in April during which time, I read three books, wrote a synopsis and walked my arse off – not literally unfortunately. Have you ever been to Norwich in April? You should – it’s very pretty. And there are some amazing bookshops there, not that I got to spend any real time in them because of a certain two year old with a preference for toy shops and free face painting at Jarrolds. Also,  there seemed to be a lot of doc martin wearing, mohican sporting punks which I have a bit of a soft spot for since my husband used to be one. These days, he’s replaced his docs for suede boots and he prefers to don a tweed blazer than a parka from the Army and Navy but sometimes he still behaves like one, and I tell him so, especially when he’s really annoying me. To me, there’s no better insult than ‘Shut up you punk!’ Anyway I digress, during one of my bookshops dashes, (this involved me, the two year old, a shopping basket and a five minute get, in, get book, get out routine) I was very excited to see that there was a whole stand devoted to Jenn Ashworth’s debut, A Kind of Intimacy. No doubt they’d jumped on the bandwaggon as the result of Jenn getting on the Granta 12 Best List and the fact she’s got a new book in the offing. All the same I was very proud and stood and pointed at it for a bit to no-one in particular. Then I went back to our apartment and read more books, and did some paid work but not much actual writing which was frustrating. Ooh and I bought a new net book which is teeny weeny and black and shiney and my new favourite thing. I mean you can literally fit it in your bag – how good is that?!

Then there was a week of shifting furniture and the admiring of a new floor. Then my husband went away again.  Then the two year old and I had three days to ourselves before the Mother-In-Law came to stay for a week or so. All I will say about this is that my Mother-in-Law is Northern Irish and that we spent the week viewing houses for her to buy. Anyway during the short space of time I had to myself, I worked on my next tutorial submission and managed to enter the first of two writing competitions – and my first competition entry ever. I have tried to enter one in the past for a well known literary publication who shall remain nameless, because they took my money, but never actually provided me with the critque I paid for. I’m not totally convinced they even received my entry. But that was at least two years ago, so I’m not counting it. The deadline was earlier this week so I’ll wait and see how that goes.  

When she left, I had a few days to myself before my husband came home and when time spent writing would become even harder to find. I literally threw myself into writing. I finished my tutorial, entered another competition, did a shed load of background research for the new book, immersed myself in Michelene Wandor’s, The Author is Not Dead, Merely Somewhere Else, Creative Writing Reconceived and generally felt better about the world. But nothing could top the fact that I also successfully potty trained the two year old. If you don’t have kids this will mean nothing to you and will probably seem like too much information, which of course it is, but the level of proudness I feel about it far outweighs the overshare.

Then my husband came back and I did some more paid work, handed in my tutorial and worked on chapter three of my new thing.  And suddenly it was Friday 13th, which was yesterday – and I was attending the launch of Jenn Ashworth’s new book, Cold Light at An Outlet in Manchester, which had the added bonus of being able to listen to a selection of other writers from the Northern Lines Fiction Writing Workshop reading from their own upcoming and previously published works.

We heard from Andrew Hurley, Zoe Lambert, Emma Jane Unsworth and Tom Fletcher who was also launching his second book, Thing On The Shore, at the event. So talented – every one of them. It was a great night and I saw so many people I recognised from ‘following’, and being ‘followed’ by them, on Twitter, but was too shy to go over and say hello to in the flesh  – I must work on my rubbishness. Then the husband and I topped it off with a spontaneous late night meal at a Thai place near Piccadilly – green chicken curry and coconut rice (what’s not to like?) and wound our way home before we turned into pumpkins.

Anyway must get on, there’s writing to be done. Busy, busy…