Thursday, January 31, 2008

Heavy Weather Making

I really am making kerfuffle out of this article.

I’ve been trying to adapt it in the ways suggested by the editor.

I loathe jigsaw puzzles but find writing an article a bit like a puzzle. I sit typing away not really sure what my story or angle is, and then a little while in I suddenly realise what the shape is, what my argument is, or whatever and a few shuffles of the paragraphs into a different order and I’m getting there.

But I’ve finally come to the conclusion that here, with this article I’m trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

Today, after my committee meeting and a revolting lunch (I made it myself), I finally accepted this. I’d got a good idea what the shape/angle/story is but no amount of wedging or ramming the old version into the new hole was going to work. It doesn’t fit. There is nothing else for it: I’ve got to ditch the old one and start anew.

So I started rewriting.

I’ve been writing on and off for hours, and I’ve wrung out only 324 words so far. I think I might stop now and restart when I’m fresh in the morning.

Instead I could start my index cards with the scenes I’m planning. Ooohooo, that feels like a good decision.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Today I've been on 'loyal friend escorts friend to hospital for moral support' duty.

It was nice to have the day to natter and drink tea (shame about the occasional hospital procedure!)

I walked for twenty minutes to the end of her soi (street) to meet her at 7.10am this morning and while I walked I worked lots of plot stuff out ... now that I understood after my 'clearing of the fog' moment. This, accompanied by my JFDI moment, means that I am itching to get going on my novel. Hurrah.

But, I've got to finish the article *sigh* and I've got a committee meeting tomorrow.

So to give you all a good laugh at my expense cheer us all up I'm posting a couple of pictures of my teabags which are waiting to be sewn into a patchwork quilt. Of course.

Have I made any sense at all today?

(Please don't stop coming to my blog - this is only a small part of my personality.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I am obsessing about how to do this writing a novel thing and not doing it.


I am s t i l l rewriting my article.

SueG, a new visitor stopped by my blog and gave me the benefit of her experience ‘Just do it’. This is much nicer than Husband who uses an acronym to demand that I: JFDI.

I read an interview with AL Kennedy which echoes all other writers who are e v e r asked ‘what advice would you give to aspiring writers.’ The answer is always the same ‘WRITE.’

So that’s what I have to do.

Monday, January 28, 2008

It is just me.

Is everyone out there intuitive about writing novels? Do you know how to do it without being told or reading up on it - just because you’re readers (or natural writers)? Do you have an innate understanding of structure?

Am I the only one struggling to understand how and what to do?

I’ve had another moment of realisation. In our house we call it an ‘Ohhhh, it’s a scythe…’ moment. (I think this is something to do with Monty Python, but I’m not sure. I don’t really appreciate MP humour I just know that the moment something dawns on you, you say ‘Ohhh, it’s a scythe.’)

Usually I call them epiphanies but I think I’m leading us all astray. I don’t think it’s true; these aren’t Archimedes type eureka moments. I can’t call them epiphanies when actually what I’m having are plain and simple moments of clarity through the fog of my stupid brain. As the lovely Hugh Laurie says as George in Blackadder: 'I'm thick. I'm as thick as the big print version of the Complete Works of Charles Dickens.' Exactly.

When I read I see what writers do to make me feel something. I did English A Level, I wrote essays on what techniques the writer employed to achieve something… I thought I understood enough but I don’t.

So my ‘clearing of the fog’ moment was while reading ‘Story’ (Robert McKee) which I first heard about in the days when I lurked at Kate Harrison’s blog, imagining myself one day being brave enough to actually do it.

Do you know what? I thought the hard part was saying out loud ‘I want to write.’ I thought the writing bit was going to be a doddle. Ha. Serves me right.

And just as I thought I was done here, Doctor Dictionary landed his email in my inbox, telling me the word for the day is neophyte.

Hmmm, I think he means me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Me, The Badge and Bangkok

This is a shy me on our balcony in Bangkok. To think I used to overlook hills in Buckinghamshire...

For anyone that doesn't know (where have you been?) Caroline Smailes' book In Search of Adam comes out in paperback on 1 February 2008. You can see Caroline's blog here, and my brief review of the Hardback here. You can find other reviews, more articulate than mine on Caroline's blog.

Go and buy the paperback. The story is harrowing, but beautifully told. What are you waiting for?

Oh yes, the 1st February. Don't forget now.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

LSHTM and Reuters

I was brought kicking and screaming into the computer age by Husband.

My first flirt with a computer was in 1985 at secretarial college between A’Levels and University. We learned to type on electric typewriters, but then we were taken off to a simulated office and shown how to use the computer. Nobody explained to me what it was for … and I didn’t like to ask.

My next proper relationship with a computer (some might argue about applying the word computer here) was with an Amstrad in my final year at University. I purchased it on some kind of interest free credit student scheme in order to type my dissertation. My subject was ‘Jason and Medea: love or expediency?’ Jason is he of the Argonauts and Golden Fleece. Every time I ran the spell check it asked me if I wanted to change Argonauts to Arsonists and every single time it made me chuckle out loud. My Amstrad and custard creams got me through that dissertation.

Now that I’m here in the IT world I do rather love it. I could get obsessed. I am obsessed.

I’ve kind of learned enough to be doing a webmaster job with a charity here (let’s be honest, it’s a good job it’s a voluntary position, they wouldn’t want to pay me for it) but I still get upset at the thought that I can’t work out Facebook. I wonder if I’m going to turn into my mother, who’s just about worked out fax machines.

Anyway, my latest obsession is with the statistics and after KevinK requested info about a couple of his regular readers (one of which was me) I thought I’d do the same. I hope it doesn’t get lost in the Saturday post. There are visitors from two places that I’m intrigued by. One is from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (where my sister used to work) and the other is from Reuters.

If either of you are reading this? Would you think about delurking? Introduce yourselves? Do I know you or is it coincidence?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tagged by Liz

Liz has tagged me. Phew, I'm less bad tempered today, but feeling a bit dry of inspiration, so thank you Liz.

Link to the person that tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Liz said: ‘These tags are tough because it is to find things I haven't said before so I repeat myself forgive me.’ She’s right; I can’t think of a thing I haven’t already shared on my blog … so hmmm, let’s see, without mentioning my love affair with tea...

1. I’m obsessed with the colour orange. This started when I was at Art College and did a piece of work on me, myself and I and I realised that I was orange. Because my ‘office’ is actually our dressing area I write facing a mirror, which is quite horrific, so I’ve decorated it with the bits of orange stuff that I, family and close friends have bought for me. You can see it somewhere on my blog but I can’t remember where.

2. I thought it was normal to want to make a patchwork quilt out of old teabags? No? Well, it was a relief then to get to Art College and realise that there were other people in this world who wanted to bathe in paint, print with teabags and make sculptures that look like bodily functions. Phew, I thought I was on my own there.

3. I LOVE potatoes. When I worked in York there was a little church that had been turned into a café and resource centre. It had a yummy wholefoody café that I frequented with another potatophile, and we always ate Homity Pie (this is potato pie) and potato salad.

4. I’m a repressed vegetarian. I love veggie foods: particularly lentils and chickpeas and mostly I’m not bothered by meat. But I like roast lamb, (English) sausages, and the odd steak when out, so you see I wouldn’t be a very good veggie. I also blame my family who are all dreadful, confirmed meateaters (apart from daughter who’s tried to give up meat because ‘it’s wrong’ but mostly gone back to it because she loves it.)

5 I sing all the time – it’s a very irritating habit because mostly I sing (badly) only two lines of the same song over and over, or a deeply embarrassing song (Fireman Sam was a big favourite and my children used to sing this to me deliberately so it get stuck in my head and I’d sing it ALL DAY). Or worse: both of those things. I’m not very good at looking cool but still I sometimes try and it often goes horribly wrong because of the singing. In the first few days of Art College, I was sharing an easel with a woman called Sally and as I started to relax, I must’ve started singing because Sally peered round from her side of the easel, and said ‘Are you actually singing Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake, Baker’s Man?’ Then in Koh Chang for Skyros this Christmas, after my group had gone home, Husband, Yogi David, Julia Bell, and I went off scuba/snorkelling for the day. For lunch we got put down on this perfect desert island, and after lunch it was so hot that some of us went into the water. So as I start to relax, floating about in the warm shallow water yup, you guessed right, I start to sing… until eventually, Julia swims towards me saying: ‘Are you really singing ‘Jingle Bells?’ (It could’ve another tacky Christmas carol, but anyway, you get the picture. And look, it was Julia Bell, and really, I didn’t want to look a total twit. Still, I think it may’ve been a bit late by then.)

6. (Ho hum … What else?) Uhm, I often run out of energy for finishing things?

Tag six people... Pacha, Helen, Yvonne, Cally, Leigh and Angie. Or not if you don't want. I shan't be offended.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bollocks... sorry.

Anyone got any tips on shoving a (metaphorical) rocket up a 13 year boy's backside re schoolwork?

Had all sorts of cheerful things to write about today 'til I went to parents' evening. Of course, in my case it was parent's evening. I know, I know, he can't help it. He works hard - I'm just not feeling very charitable tonight.

I am sooooo bored of having my ears chewed because Son won't do any work.

I cut up my article this morning; I cut up some quotes. I've reassembled them. It's not exactly writing, but preparation for it.


Sorry not to be more cheerful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Write, Wrong?

I’ve finished The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (three out of five) and started The Door by Magda Szabo.

And, I’ve done some writing.

I’ve written my Book Club report which wasn’t due until 5 February. That’s a first.

I’ve thought of a subject that was evading me for an upcoming article.

I started the second Andaman Discoveries article, but there’s a third of these due too. And quite rightly, they are keen to get the Bangkok Post article that I wrote last term that needs work, back to submit – having been reworked. I looked at it on Monday and decided that it needed to be rewritten. Sometimes it’s easier starting from scratch rather than rejigging.

But I haven’t done any more novel. This is somewhat depressing because it’s nearly February. I have to develop the sitting-on-your-bum-more-regularly habit if I want to keep up with the writing I’ve promised and the writing I want to do.

And still, every time, pretty much, that I do engage bum glue and sit on my ever expanding, writerly arse, I wonder if I can do it (write a novel). In fact, it’s worse than that: what I really I think is ‘I don’t think I can do this…’


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Write, right?

I’ve been blaming the fashion show for not being able to write. Then it was the day after the fashion show, and I was tired (pathetic excuse). On Monday I got lured away from the desk by an invitation to lunch. Today’s excuse was a Year 9 Options meeting for parents at Son’s school.

Writers write. I know this.

They write – they sit down to write even when they don’t feel like it.

So stop making excuses, stop reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, go and write.

I just needed to tell myself that.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Tea post

I know it’s meant to be about writing, but I think it’s kind of crucial that there has to be the occasional tea monologue (or is that monoblog?)

I was getting a bit anxious last week because I refilled the pot in which I keep my PG Tips and I noticed that the box was nearly empty … My palms got a bit clammy and whenever I took a teabag out of the pot I hyperventilated.

Over recent weeks a couple of people here have huffed and puffed at me, thrown their arms up in irritation at my OCTD (Obsessive Compulsive Teabag Disorder) and say ‘you can buy PG Tips here; I’ve seen them.’ Every time I’m in a shop, I have a look and I don’t see any… So last week I went off to Central Foodhall – Bangkok’s version of Harrods, maybe?

And, guess what I found? PG Tips. A box of 4o teabags: 398 Thai Baht.

That, for any of you who don’t instantly know the Thailand Baht to pounds Sterling exchange rate, is £6.53 for a box of teabags! 40 teabags; that’s 16p per teabag. On (no, they don’t deliver to Bangkok) the same box is 79p – just under 2p per teabag. I could only cope with this trauma by sitting down with a cup of tea (brewed for a minimum of 4 minutes, just enough skimmed milk).

I’m slightly mystified as to how this price is justified.

Anyway, Husband was in the UK on business, so I sent off a swift email, requesting some PG Tips, and began the task of eking out my remaining supplies.

Yesterday, after a week in the UK, Husband returned to Bangkok and it was so lovely to see the teabags him.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tagged by Leigh

Thanks Leigh for the tag.

What's the last thing you wrote?
I started my novel again (again) yesterday. 750 words of the first chapter.

Was it any good?
Oh gawd; who knows?

What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
A poem when I was nine that my teacher, Mr Place, would indiscriminately quote aloud during maths lessons. But it’s got lost in the detritus of life that is my parents’ home.

Write poetry?
Yup, once upon a time, but no longer.

Angsty poetry?
Yup, once upon a time, but no longer.

Favourite genre of writing?
Don’t really know. I’ve never managed to write enough of anything to quite decide. Women’s fiction? Commercial? I honestly haven’t got far enough to contextualise.

Most fun character you ever created?
I’m quite enjoying the baddie in the book I’m planning. She’s a cow.

Most annoying character you ever created?
I don’t think I have.

Best plot you ever created?
How about the only plot?

Coolest plot twist you ever created?
How about the only plot?

How often do you get writer's block?
Beginning of last year, ALL the time, but by the end of last year it was something I learned to control … a bit … I hope…

Write fan fiction?
What is fan fiction?

Do you type or write by hand?
I’m happiest typing, but I’m wondering if I should experiment with writing by hand because it seemed to come a bit easier on my writing course when I used pen and paper.

Do you save everything you write?
Yes. It’s probably a load of old bollocks, but it might be wonderful… and I’m just a bit ignorant.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
I always go back to an old idea long after I’ve abandoned it. That’s how come I’m still trying to write this friggin’ novel.

What's your favourite thing that you've written?
I don’t really like reading articles after they’ve gone off to be published.

What's everyone else's favourite story that you've written?
I’m too new to fiction to answer that.

Do you ever show people your work?
Only very recently. I think it’s like opening up your knicker drawer and inviting strangers in to rummage about.

Did you ever write a novel?
I am bloody trying to…

Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?

What's your favourite setting for your characters?

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Lots of articles and the same bloody novel.

Do you want to write for a living?
I want to write.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Only if you count Mr Place quoting my poetry in maths lessons.

Ever written something in script or play format?
Yes, for Drama A’ level years ago.

What are your five favourite words?
Bollocks, vituperative, elderly, (I can’t think of any more but I reserve the right to come and edit them in when I think of them.)

Do you ever write based on yourself?
‘fraid so.

What character have you created that most resembles yourself?
The one in the ‘bloody novel’ is quite like me. She’s a bit irritating too, which is a bit of a worry.

Where do you get ideas for your other characters?

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
Realistic endings.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you've seen?

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Ever write something entirely in chatspeak? (How r u?)
I’d rather poke my eyes out with cocktail sticks.

Entirely in L337?
Excuse me?

Was that question completely appalling and un-writer like?
I didn’t understand it.

Does music help you write?
Only when it’s turned off. I cannot write with music on.

Quote something you've written. The first thing to pop into your mind.
No. I’m not showing you into my knicker drawer. We’ve only just met.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Stolen from ...

... KeVinK.

52 words

Touch Typing online

This is actually somewhat pitiful because I learned to type properly between school and university (the first time) and during my many stints temping I've hit 70 words a minute. Mind you that was usually gibberish, but if I slowed down a bit I could do 60 fairly accurate words. Never mind, copy typing is harder. If I was doing my own it may be a bit faster.

So how fast do you type?

Oh, Cally (see comments) so did I and I can't bear to be so slow: so, I've retested. That's a bit more like it. (Not that I'm competitive or anything.)

66 words

Touch Typing

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fashion Show

The British Women’s Group (I do so hate that name and all it implies – but here I am nonetheless, a fully paid up member, when I’m not really a membery, joiny type of person.) Anyway, the BWG is organising a fashion show. We’ve been working on it since about September last year and it’s had its moments … I’ve had my only (since being in Bangkok) public strop at one of the committee meetings, anyway, I won’t dwell on that.

I wasn’t going to get involved in it at all, however, I was inveigled to work on the creative side and … I’m not too good at saying no (although I did manage to say no to something yesterday: Hurrah, clever JJ). While I’m creative I’ve never been much of a graphic artist, so the lovely Carol-a Crayon was enticed to come on board with creative stuff too. She produced this fabulous slutty classy shoe image. And I’ve got to say every single time I see the image, despite months of working on it (tickets, poster, programmes etc) I’m so proud of her. I never fail to feel pleased with what she produced and what we’ve done with it. It’s being blown up to 7ft tall for the stage, being sculpted in ice and I’m still not sick of it.

After the creative bit, I was put in charge back stage (I didn’t know about this until the Christmas lunch last month, by which time I’d had a couple of glasses of champagne and flattered, I agreed). My Assistant Stage Manager is so wonderful and organised I’m not entirely sure what it is I’m actually doing … Oh yes, I have to liaise with front of house to get the fashion show started, and get this: I have to wear a headset! And I think I might even get away with a clipboard. How exciting is that? (I don’t get out much.)

Anyway (focus, focus) uhm: the way the fashion show was organised was that each of the six groups of models went off to work on their own and until last Sunday I’d never seen any group at all, but they’d never seen themselves all six groups together. Then last night, we had a rehearsal on the catwalk at the hotel ballroom. And I think it’s going to be rather good, she says in that understated English way. Ahem: I think it’s going to be bloody marvellous.

(Tickets are still available: 3,000 baht includes lots of alcohol, food, spiffing fashion show, great raffle prizes, dancing ‘til late. All money raised to charity)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I've just remembered something I've been meaning to say for ages.

I’m a Facebook F’wit!

It’s no good. I just don’t understand it. I don’t know what to do when someone throws a snowball at me. Or how Superwalls differ from Funwalls. How is it even different from email? Or a blog? Or a combination of the two? And, when I get a mail saying that someone has sent me a message and ‘click here’ if I want to see it, why can’t I see it? Why do I have to go searching for it? How do I know where to go to look? I’m permanently perplexed.

And I’m sounding worryingly like my mother.

So to all you ‘Facebook Friends’ out there, I’m sorry, I’m not ignoring you, I just don’t quite know how to operate Facebook.

PS Have you seen this? Yum Yum.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Not very interesting, really...

... but I don't like not blogging, so here's what's in my head.

I’m struggling a bit …

My tonsilitus keeps recurring.

I’m very busy and in between busyness (ha, never noticed business like that) I am reading lots … can’t seem to stop unless to sleep.

Julia Bell’s Massive
Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone
Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach

This week I have to finish my articles or I’ll never get cracking on the race...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why I heart Thailand

Last night the Skyros group after mine transferred back to Bangkok from Koh Chang. Now obviously I didn’t know any of these folk, but Julia and I had arranged to meet the night she was back in Bangkok so she could buy some presents in the night market before flying home to the UK.

We shopped; we gossiped and we had supper and yummy juices. Then Husband turned up as we were going to meet some of the Skyros group. They had arranged to meet in DJ Station, Silom soi 2 where there was a ladyboy show. Silom 2 was an alleyway rather than a proper little street and it filtered us through ‘leave your bags here’ section, then a metal detector and finally after getting the all clear, you could pay to go in. But I was stopped at the metal detector stage. A sign was pushed under my nose, informing me that no-one wearing slippers would be allowed in because broken glass may be a hazard. The sign showed a picture of flip flops … sigh.

If I was a proper expat wife I would always be wearing smart, probably sparkly sandals, my toes would always be beautifully pedicured and painted – and my big toe on my right foot wouldn’t have had something dropped on it so the top half had fallen off, making it look like it’s been enthusiastically bitten.

But I’m a struggling expat wife, I’m not very smart and my nails get done only rarely when I remember to have some standards …

So I tell Husband and Julia to wait for me there, and I go back out onto Silom to see if I can find a solution. Just a few yards up the road is a man with a plastic sheet stretched out on the pavement, selling shoes for 99 baht. Result. So I select about the only pair that fit me that I was prepared to be seen dead in – they are quite horrible, but for £1.50 what do I expect? I put my lovely purple Havaianas in the plastic bag and don my revolting, plastic pointy shoes and return to the club entrance for some serious fun.

And that’s why I love Thailand.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008



I think I might have finally worked it out.

What’s going to happen, I mean.

I didn’t know what he was doing, so I couldn’t work out the events … but now I know.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Book Group

I had book group this morning. Last January's meeting was discussing Irene Nemirovky's Suite Francaise but when it came to the meeting only around three people had read it, one or two were half way through, and the rest hadn't got onto it at all. So this year we changed tack. Because it's such a difficult time of year to really commit to a book (such a lot to do, either travelling back home or having visitors here) we decided we'd meet as normal, but we'd present whatever we did read at Christmas. So everyone had a free choice and if they were willing to lend it out they'd bring it to the meeting.

So over Christmas I read Daydream Girl by Bella Pollen; Massive by Julia Bell; Saturday by Ian McEwan. Daydream Girl was okay - I picked it up in one of the secondhand places. Massive I really enjoyed, but as a young adult book I had already passed to Son to see if he wanted to read it so I couldn't take that. Which left Saturday: I did a bit of a Suite Francaise on this - I didn't really give it the attention it deserved, but still I very much enjoyed it and it was fascinating to see how he covers just one day in the entire book. Anyway someone wanted it and I borrowed On Chesil Beach from someone else, so all in all, it was a bit of a bookcrossing session too. Next month's book is The Door by Magda Szabo.

Book Group is such a nice group, people I see around and about, but don't necessarily do anything except stop and have a quick natter. I do love talking books. It only occurred to me today that when (if) I'm ever at the stage of needing readers, there they are in front of me!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Here we go again?

I am so sorry about my whining post yesterday but thank you to all of you who commented and emailed supportively.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m not willing to put the effort in; I am and I’m enjoying it. I don’t believe for a second that I should get handed something without putting in some hard work. I think I am working hard at it.

And I certainly don’t mean to have given the impression that I haven’t liked the criticism – well alright, liking the criticism isn’t exactly true – but after the ‘Oh my god, I’m so crap’ feeling wears off, I’ve realised how useful the feedback is: it’s exactly what I asked for and what I need.

The epiphany I’ve had is how much help getting feedback gives me. If I keep trying to write on my own I might be 85 before I realise what it is I’m doing wrong. The growth of someone as a writer working it all out on their own is going to be slower than someone who’s getting advice, that’s all I mean.

But if I join a writer’s group where everyone is like me; well, that’s gonna be the blind leading the blind, isn’t it?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Whinging, whining and Moaning

The article that I was working on that had me in such a flap before Christmas was rejected for ‘reading like a PR piece.’ I was instantly pissed off and upset, but being on my Skyros course I decided that I didn’t much care (I did) and my novel was more important, (it is, however…)

… I also care enormously about the articles I’m trying to write for the not for profits that have asked for my help. It’s all words, choosing them, making them work for you, shaping them, conveying something. I want to get it right.

Huh, but I’m some writer if I can’t get them published, eh?

Then I had all the stuff about the novel: wrong POV, started in the wrong place, etc. First reaction: a bit upset; second reaction: yup, I knew that bit, didn’t know that one, suspected that crit, etc, etc.

I get back from Skyros and think again about the article: Oh bollocks, yes, she’s right (the editor that rejected it) it does sound rather self congratulatory and I start to think about rewriting it with the further advice she’s sent. (I realise how lucky I am to get an editor to do this and say if it reads right they’ll still publish it.)

In the taxi coming back from the airport Daughter said, ‘You say you had a good time on Skyros? And yet, this writing teacher told you to start again? How can that be a result?’ (She said ‘this writing teacher’ in a rather disparaging manner for an 11 year old – I was a bit scared.)

It feels a bit like batter, batter, batter … it’s all wrong; I’m doing everything wrong. I so hate doing things wrong. I'm a giver upper of things because I don't like doing things wrong.

Because of these criticisms and my practise, practise, practice over the last year, my writing has improved a bit, I think. And I’m still determined, but doing it alone is so slow – I want to get there quicker.

I know that I could spend the years writing and slowly getting better, but I want it NOW. I really I think I need something else: more feedback. I’m not hinting here for anyone to volunteer, I guess I’m thinking of some kind of online course. God, I do hope Husband doesn’t read this: after Skyros, I think he’d go apoplectic (Husband, if you are reading this apoplectic means, calmly, generously and in your usual laid back style.)

Friday, January 04, 2008

The eagles have landed

Son and daughter returned from the UK yesterday: Hurrah. They’ve had lovely time everywhere they went and have come back with lots of funny tales, including the one where they were sellotaped into a crate at my parents. Their cousins were told a big box had arrived for them; it was too heavy to move and too large to leave in the hall until Christmas so they should open it now. Apparently one of the cousins spotted Son’s furry head and was momentarily appalled at the prospect of what was in there!

Of course there have also been stories emailed to me by the surrogate Mummies, including this one about British Airways’ unaccompanied children’s scheme, Skyflyers Solo:

“[Your children have] sung the praises of BA and the Skyflyers people … Son made me laugh when he told me that he and Daughter had slept through the first meal on the journey out and, waking up hungry, had gone to the cabin and asked for some food, claiming “It’s one of the perks of being a member of Skyflier’s Solo.” Apparently they missed their second meal too, because the oven broke down, at which point Son contemplated “making a fuss” in an attempt “to be upgraded”. They’re such cosmopolitans!”

Or spoilt brats, maybe? I do hope not.

I’m feeling a little wobbly about my lack of writing: the lurgy really knocked me off my pins, and after a full day yesterday I’m feeling a bit lightheaded again today. I have two articles to get done by … very soon… and I want to get on with the novel to see if I can… feeling a little bit unsure if I’m up to it!

Now, I’m off to my bed to see if I feel better after some zzzzzz.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Daddy? Or Chips?

I’ve got a problem.

It’s been apparent for some time but I’ve made excuses for it.

I’m married to a laid back man; No, no, that’s not the problem, though sometimes being so laid back you’re horizontal IS a pain in the backside. I’m sure I’m not easy to live with for a multitude of reasons, but last night I really irritated him. We were in a Mexican restaurant and I just couldn’t decide what to order.

It occurred to me that I have huge problems making decisions. I’m having problems making decisions in my plot and I have problems every meal deciding what to eat. Even when I can work out what to eat I nearly always get neighbour food envy, so I’m clearly making lots of wrong decisions. Today, I tried to work out what I could’ve done differently, so as not to have irritated Husband.

When I googled ‘how to make decisions’ I got 23,700,000 hits in .13 seconds: there must be lots of other people just like me unable to decide anything in their lives. One of the websites told me ‘Making decisions can be intimidating and time-consuming.’ That’s right, I wanted to yell. It’s difficult to choose between the enchilada and the burritos… what’s the difference?

That brought me to the first point on the ‘how to make decisions’ website. Assess what choices you have? Well, I wanted a floppy tortilla, which ruled out the chimichanga, the tacos and the quesadilla, but what about the fajitas? Do I need to worry about them? No, you have to assemble them yourself don’t you? I wanted all my food ready to eat.

Another piece of advice on the website was to collect as much information about the choices as possible. The list of ingredients was pretty much the same: both were served with refried beans and rice. One was two small enchiladas, and the other one was a single burrito; both had guacamole and sour cream on top. What could the difference be apart from the size?

Then the advice suggests that you get the experience that will help you to come to a decision, so I asked Husband: what’s the difference? “I dunno”, he said, “that one’s two small ones and that one’s one big one.” So I went onto the next piece of guidance: make a list of pros and cons for each decision. Well, actually, I think Husband would’ve been quite rightly pissed off at this stage, had I asked him for a pen and a piece of paper.

In the end after a bit of huffing and puffing he chose for me. I felt a bit sick about this, and wondered if I’d lost my appetite by then. The point is, I’ve always been able to make decisions in the past; as a mum I must’ve made thousands … is it like eggs? Do they get old and crappy after a while? Maybe only get a finite number of decisions in your life and then after that you loose your decision making ability?

What ever it is, I really have got to learn to do it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Making magical wishes for 2008 with giant Chiang Mai sky lanterns. This was Christmas Eve at Skyros on Koh Chang. For New Year's Eve this year I was in bed at 10pm with a lurgy, so I'm going to pretend that Christmas Eve was New Year's Eve.