Monthly Archives: July 2014

Found poetry, procrastination and top tweeting.

I met the omni-talented Uschi Gatward when we both wrote prize-winning short stories for the Writeidea Festival in 2012. Judged by Jill Dawson, no less.

And this post has just peaked for me. Uschi won second place to my third and has gone on to shortlist after shortlist, adorned with well-earned praise, with a prize in the bag yet to be announced. I on the other hand am still working on it.

Uschi’s written some highly entertaining blog posts for wonderful women’s writing magazine Mslexia on her contest submissions over the past three months: you can see the first of these  linked to her name above. One of her submissions was to the very entertaining Verbatim Poetry: publishing poems written by adding spacing and punctuation to found text.

This can be from adverts, online comments, manuals: you name it. So I spent a few happy hours yesterday distracted by the idea and putting together a poem for submission. I’ll let you know. This, however, is when I was meant to be editing the Work in Progress.

As I’ve said on here before, I am a martyr to procrastination. Scrap that: I am its patron saint. If it can be put off, left until another day, overlooked for a few hours or generally hidden for a bit: I’ll do it.

WIP apart, recent procrastination means I’ve failed to get tickets for a brilliant weekend ahead of amazing authors and other fascinating folk at the UK’s first Young Adult Literature Conference at London Film and Comic Con. Though, thanks to the magic of Twitter, I have now got my grubby mitts on a short day pass for Sunday via sainted agent Gemma Cooper *we are not worthy etc*

I have one very disappointed daughter. As a kind and caring parent, I am passing on this lesson in procrastination for her edification (but she is NOT having my lovely ticket.)

I meant to write my weekly blog post last night as I had an evening comparatively free. Instead, I got caught up in a Twitter chat on Middle Grade – age 9 to 12 – fiction. A couple of hard-working women writers put this together: @miriamhcraig and @authorontheedge The next is 8-9pm on Wednesday 23 July. Look out for #ukmgchat

No, it is not procrastination to spend time discussing the definition of fantasy in kids’ books with the likes of SF Said, awesome author of Varjak Paw and epic space tale Phoenix. It is time supremely and enjoyably well-spent.

And just look at the result: pictured above. Obviously Twitter can pack up and go home, as I have won it. But where would I procrastinate then?

 

 

 

 

Ten things I’ve never done before

Sainte_Baume_France

Beaten up the mountain:
Sainte Baume

Thursday morning. I started wondering as usual what to write about for Weekly Blog Club. I’ve been dashing around over the last two weeks and thought I’d try to pick something out of that. I don’t keep a diary and am shocked at how hard I’m finding it to remember everything I’ve done – or even several things.

I spent about five minutes when I woke on Wednesday  trying to remember what day it was – not an exaggeration. So I’m giving my brain a shake-up and challenging myself to find new experiences from the last fortnight. Thinking it over, I’m shocked (again) to see how many are to do with aging; one way or another. So the first is  to push myself:

1. Write a blog post in 15 minutes. Possibly allowing five more for links and finding a photo. Haven’t done it yet: I’ll let you know by No 10.

2. Gone to Bristol. This one is down to, yes, failing memory. I am fairly sure that I have been there before: on one of the many whistle-stop tours around the country I used to do as a Home Office press officer. Several towns in a day, visit CCTV cameras when they were a New Thing, lunch for provincial journos etc. But as my memory of it is people throwing eggs, and the Home Secretary was Michael Howard, that doesn’t narrow it down enough to check.

3. Take my daughter for a University visit. Which is why we were in Bristol, the Friday before last. Gosh that made me feel old. I didn’t make any university visits myself as I didn’t expect to be able to go to university. Now I feel I missed out but it’s a delight to see her excited and so motivated.

4. Sneaked into a first class train carriage. This is because the trains back from Bristol to London were all cancelled and rubbish. After several hours and changes of train, we joined some drunk Welsh women at Reading in taking up residence in the posh seats. To be fair, we did get free bottles of water and some peanuts. I would have preferred to have been home by midnight as we had an early flight to France the next day. And yet …

5. Not had to RUSH for a flight. Up early, two trains to Stansted ahead of time, leisurely breakfast and gasps of horror at the price of Toblerone, usual beeping noises as mysterious setting off of all security systems by luggage and self … all with no swearing, falling over, dropping stuff and crying. A great first.

6. Beaten up a mountain by an octogenarian. The noticeboard at Sainte Baume said to allow about 40 minutes to walk up and up and up steep paths and steps to the church in a cave . My father, 81, snorted. ‘We will do this in 15 minutes.’ Not me. Time for all the falling over and wailing I missed out on at the airport. He went off and played golf afterwards while I wondered if my Achilles tendons would ever forgive me.

7. Walked around a golf course. Part of the reason the 81-year-old is so fit is down to a couple of hours of golf at 5.30 every morning. He gets there before the Provencal  sun is too strong and all the ‘bloody slow idiots’ come out: i.e. the people who do not actually RUN around the course as he does. I wandered along behind him for six holes, getting in the way, looking at interesting mountainside ruins and taking photos of trees. I don’t get golf.

8. Waved my daughter goodbye for ever. She went off to St Tropez on the back of my father’s motorbike. As every other road user is a ‘bloody idiot’ too, who must be overtaken at all costs, I assumed that was the last I’d see of her. Huge surprise that she came back in one piece.

9. Watched a spectacular theft. There are jays everywhere in that part of Provence. I was swimming in the pool of my father (note French construction of sentence) when a jay flew low overhead, stolen fig from the tree in the garden in its beak. Brilliant.

10. Watched baby swallows leave their nest. Another wonderful bird-related first. It feels symbolic too.

Look: 15 minutes.