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…