Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Gone painting!

I was yesterday and I will be today too at some point - only I have to finish a script first. I'm very firm with myself. I will punish myself if I fail. Sit myself on the naughty chair until I learn to behave.

The script is 'just' to be five pages long, for a contest .

Now, someone please explain to me how it was that I could write ten pages in less than a day, yet I've been struggling on and off for a week and only have two and a half pages?

Partly it's because it's meant to be a comedy, she says, answering her own question. That is TOUGH.

So...I'm painting my room.

The ceiling is Soft Truffle. (That's the colour of the paint, not the consistency)

Well, it's Soft Truffle except for the bits I missed.

Peter points out the flaws in my handiwork
So, I'll be painting the ceiling some more...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

This is the window through which I see the world - well, one of the windows...

My kitchen window.

And this is the world that I see...

 The garden I just planted for Moose
And the vegetable garden

How lucky I am to live in this world!

The quote, by the way, is from George Bernard Shaw. Another bearded gentleman. Perhaps they say the best things?

Saturday, 28 May 2011

"Don't take it personally."

 I subscribe to a great blog - Seth Godin. 



The God in his name is about right. I can't recommend it highly enough for downright SENSE...


A few days ago, his blog started...

Don't take it personally!

How else are you supposed to take it?


This is tough advice. Am I supposed to take it like a chair? Sometimes it seems as though the only way to take it is personally. That customer who doesn't like your product (your best work) or that running buddy who doesn't want to run with you any longer...

Here's the thing: it's never personal. It's never about you. How could it be? That person doesn't truly know you, understand what you want or hear the voices in your head. All they know is themselves.

When someone moves on, when she walks away or even badmouths you or your work, it's not personal about you. It's personal about her. Her agenda, her decisions, her story.

Do your work, the best way you know how. Is there any other option?


This is SO perfect for me. I printed it out in LARGE FONT and have it stuck above my desk.

I read it a few times yesterday! It worked some of the time...

Then Peter arrived home and said 'Hello, failed authoress.' 
He said it was a joke to lighten my mood...

Friday, 27 May 2011

When you embark for strange places, don't leave any of yourself safely on shore.

Here's the whole quote, from Alan Alda.

"Laugh at yourself, but don't ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold.  When you embark for strange places, don't leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory."

I've always loved Alan Alda, dating back to my days of watching M*A*S*H in the seventies. I even called our first pair of cats Trapper and Hawkeye!

I think it's tremendous that such a great quote came from somebody I already admire.

AND - I was halfway through writing this when the postman arrived, bearing the parcel that I'd been dreading - the return of my novel from the literary agent...with a constructive letter outlining the positives and where it needed work...plus the request to see more of my writing for teens...SO...not a completely crushing blow.

Just a moderately crushing blow.

Onwards and upwards!

(I'm not sure why half of the text is in black. I can assure you it's not symbolic or anything)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.

 (That was from Edna St. Vincent Millay)

I don't want my blogs to be mawkish BUT...

It's very strange that emptiness can be tangible.

That an absence can so quickly become a presence.

But, somehow it has.

Moose lives on! He's everywhere...

Always the same big bear.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Bye-bye, my beautiful boy.

It was time. Up until yesterday, Moose's life had been peaceful and happy. Then, quite quickly, it became too much of a struggle for him.

He was very nearly fifteen years old. 

He's with Quink now.

I'm heart-broken.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Giving myself a present

In Viki King's 'How To Write A Movie In 21 Days' (yes, it's in the fantasy genre) one of her suggestions is to buy yourself something that 'will identify the feeling you want to evoke.'

This is the work of an artist called Karen Davis.
Her paintings transport me straight into the world I need to be in when I write screenplays and novels like 'Of Night And Light'

I've bought a set of cards from her. I'm not going to send them to anybody!

Not only do they inspire my work but I'm going to redecorate my room with these colours.

Oh how I'd love her to illustrate my work if ever it's published. (I don't know if authors get any say in this)

Anyway, Viki King isn't ENTIRELY crazy!

But I think I'd go crazy if I tried to write a screenplay in 21 days...though I did write ten pages in less than one day, so I suppose it's worth thinking about...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Into a Limbo large and broad, since called the paradise of fools, to few unknown.

Milton: Paradise Lost, book iii. 489-95

Just in case you wanted to know. 

(Am I insulting your intelligence? You knew the reference already?)

Anyway, here I am in limbo. Waiting...
I think I should be thankful to be in limbo. There's hope in limbo (in mine, anyway)
Anyone got a sail? Or an outboard motor? I seem to be becalmed.
I just hope the wind God is blowing in the right direction...
And that I don't get seasick.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Writing is like giving birth to a piano sideways. Anyone who perseveres is either talented or nuts.

I have to admit something here...

When I saw the name Flannery O'Connor, who said the above, I thought it was a man.

But I guess if I'd thought about it long enough, I'd have worked out that men aren't experts on giving birth - not even to babies, never mind pianos.

Here she is, anyway:

Now, in order to salve my conscience for being so ignorant, I'll have to find some of her work and read it.

The quote seemed right for today, because today I'm trying to write a comedy script.

That's the trouble...TRYING.

I think I can MAKE myself write a drama because in order to do that all you need is a story and an ability to string sentences together. (That's everso slightly underplaying the work entailed...)

But comedy? You have to be FUNNY as well...

Hence...giving birth to a piano sideways.

Actually, one of my favourite films EVER is The Piano.

I wonder if Jane Campion suffered much pain giving birth to it?

And it wasn't even a comedy...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

I'm waiting for the serpent's bite. And the serpent's name shall be Peter...

I'd love our hedge to look like this:

Unfortunately, it looks more like this:

Only taller...

And longer...

We have different techniques for cutting hedges, me and Peter. I'm not saying mine is RIGHT and his is WRONG.

MY way - I cut enough to fill a wheelbarrow then sweep it all up and take it  the compost heap. Then I cut some more.

HIS way - he cuts the whole hedge and while he's doing that, I clear it up and run up and down the garden with the wheelbarrow.

I prefer my way. Less daunting. Certainly more time-consuming.

But at least I get to use the power tool!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Let your plans be dark and as impenetratable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt

I was looking for some words of wisdom about planning...

The thing is, I'm actually DOING SOME. Planning that is.

I'm planning out my latest Screenplay That Must Be Nameless (because it's in Round Two of a contest where the submissions should be anonymous)

This is a new departure for me. I usually write and write and write until I've finished. Perhaps this is why none of my feature length screenplays have ever been made into films?

Anyway, most of the Words of Wisdom were nausea-inducing...

 ...but I rather liked the thoughts of Sun Tzu, Chinese General and Author, 500 BC.

My plans ARE dark and impenetratable...even to me. And impenetratable isn't even a word! It should be impenetrable...Sun Tzu didn't make such good use of Google Translate, did he?

Watch out for thunderbolts.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A fat stomach never breeds fine thoughts

 St. Jerome said this. I think he meant it.
He doesn't look as though he's eaten many Cadbury's Creme Eggs in his time.

 I particularly liked his biography.

Profession: Saint
Born: 347
Died: 420

Last night was the first keep fit class. Keep fit is a misnomer. Get fit would be better. I think you're meant to suffer a lot. I didn't actually pass out but my legs turned to jelly.

This morning, Alfie said to me 'Why do you insist on starving me? Look, you can see my ribs!'

Those aren't ribs, Alfie. They're creases in your fat.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Mens sana in corpore sano

 No, I'm not planning to become a Royal Marines PT instructor...for that is their motto, which can be translated as 'healthy mind in healthy body.'

It has been occurring to me lately that when my mind isn't feeling too fit the very first thing that happens is that I stop reading - reading for pleasure, I mean. But how , in all honesty, can I write successful novels unless I read them?

Although I've read other things in between, I started The Passage by Justin Cronin sometime last summer and The Girl has been staring at me from my bedside table pretty much ever since.

( This stunning cover is the reason I wanted the book in the first place. Publishers take note.)

As one of the reviews says "You don't have to be a fan of vampire fiction to be enthralled by The Passage."

I had reached page 435 out of 765 (yes it's a FAT book) and was enjoying it greatly when my mind got into a distracted state that prevented me from concentrating - and the book was too large and heavy to take on holiday (Publishers take note)
So last night, after at least three months break, I picked it up again.

I could remember every detail of what had gone before.

To me, that's an indication of a great piece of writing.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Very early days of a budding writer

This is for when I'm famous. (Insert hollow laughter)

Here is the earliest surviving piece of my writing, produced when I was three years old.

See how I carefully drew the straight lines for myself! My aunt (Joan, but we always called her Aunty Bone) even managed to read some of it.

And here is me at about the same time...I'm the one with my fingers up my nose, clutching the dolly.  So little changes...

Also featured, my parents, my older sister Jane and my younger brother David.

Don't you DARE say 'Oooh, doesn't Caroline look like her mother!'

(Actually, I'm not sure why I always considered that such an insult...)

Happy days, long ago.

Monday, 16 May 2011

People who don't know how to keep themselves healthy ought to have the decency to get themselves buried, and not waste time about it.

My hirsute man of the day is...

Henrik Ibsen!

I was looking for quotes about being fit and healthy because this is my Obsession Of The Week...

Keeping fit is quite boring as subjects go, for other people to read about so, Pah! I'm going to treat it with a healthy disregard.

I have to inform you that Alfie is too fat. Where he finds enough grass to become fat is anyone's guess because the field looks like an arid desert.

Alfie is on a keep-fit regime. I make him trot up long hills and he has to wear a grazing mask which is like a flowerpot made of webbing.

It has made him very mournful, like Eeyore. He gazes balefully at all passers-by until someone takes pity on him and removes the mask so he can then gorge himself on non-existent blades of grass.

I won't be using one on myself. I'm not fat. Not all over, anyway.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

If you want to be happy, be.

 Men with extraordinary facial hair seem to be occupying my blog this week. Hmmmm...

Today, it's the turn of Tolstoy

 See, he can write brief things as well as War and Peace...which was for your information 460,000 words long. I know this because I counted them personally. (Trust me, I'm a liar! I have, however, READ War and Peace in my pretentious teenage years)

Anyway, Tolstoy wrote the quote in my title. And that's how I was thinking today. I've been very much down lately, but WHY? I have so little to be unhappy about.

So today, I'm going to choose to be happy.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Blog separation anxiety...

I really must get out more. You know, get a life...

Yesterday, Blogger.com was out of action ALL DAY, so I couldn't write my blog.

It's the first thing I do every day when I sit down at my desk. It concentrates my mind, gets me into writing mode, gets my fingers flexed for all that exercise on the keyboard.

Now, you'd think that there must be some other way to get started. Wouldn't you? I mean, really.

Apparently not, in my case.

I spent most of the day checking Blogger.com to see if it really WAS out of action, rather like picking up the phone when you're expecting a call that doesn't come, so you convince yourself that the phone must be out of order.

Yup, it's official. I'm a saddo.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.

Yesterday was a bad day.

I was rubbish at everything.

I was scared riding Alfie and that made him cranky.

I couldn't manage to string a coherent sentence together in my feeble attempts to write an article

 But wait a minute...

Today is already a good day!

I took Alfie into the field (which usually gives me palpitations) and cantered all around it and jumped BIG fences and I wasn't anxious and Alfie's behaviour was angelic. Then I rode Poppy who was beautifully collected and also did a tremendous buck which made me laugh...LAUGH, I tell you.

The difference? God knows. I wish He would tell me.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day

Nietzsche wrote that and I can reliably inform you that his influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism, nihilism, postmodernism and Wikipedia.

He also sported a damn fine moustache (or is that some kind of rodent?)

Sleeping IS no mean art for me. I seem to manage to do it well every other night, at the moment.

I'm awfully good at power naps though.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

“When you realise how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky”

Perhaps I could try to do that BEFORE I realise how perfect everything is? It might work. Who knows?

Yesterday, I wrote the prologue and first chapter of my new novel Falling Awake. Actually, I don't think that it's very good, but IT WILL BE. The important thing is that I WROTE IT.

Today, I feel like a different person.

(Believe me, that's GOOD!)

So, if I could manage to use a keyboard AND tilt my head back and laugh at the sky, I would. In the meantime, I'll just hunch over my desk and laugh at the dust bunnies.

Monday, 9 May 2011

"I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. "

 "It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges or scrub the floor..."

Not only is D.H.Lawrence one of my favourite authors (The Rainbow, Women In Love, Sons and Lovers, Lady Chatterley's Lover..  How I lapped all these books up at university!) but he wrote the above quotation.

The slight problem is that I don't like marmalade.

Figuratively speaking, though, I made marmalade this morning by exercising Alfie to within an inch of his life - he's suddenly become very rotund now the grass is coming in - and will be watering the garden and finishing the tidying up after our lunch party yesterday.

That and working which doesn't count as making marmalade but does involve quite a lot of shredding; at least the way I work it does!

I've always thought a hamster-powered shredder was an idea of PURE GENIUS!

Want one!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

By entertaining of strange persons, men sometimes entertain angels unawares


Lots of people arriving for lunch...

People I've never met before...Peter's friends....

Sure it will be fine...

I might meet an angel. Who knows?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly
you tread on my dreams.                                                                              

By W.B.Yeats

 This is the poem that I love above all others. You'll notice that the title of my novel 'Of Night and Light' comes from it. If ever I'm feeling distressed in any way, this is what I turn to.

I wanted to share it with you.

Friday, 6 May 2011

They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth.

It's not so much Truth I need to keep abreast of (or, of which I need to keep abreast, if you must) It's...

Please somebody...help!

But not necessarily like that.

Actually, don't bother. I feel better already. The picture below made me smile and that's all I needed!

I'm away! Onwards and upwards!

Isn't the mind a SILLY thing? Mine is, anyway.