Sunday, 21 September 2014

A few more theories on Authors, my tattoo could mean trouble, and an unrepeatable Fan Club title...

I watched Doctor Who last night, and it gave me a revelation - although that could, of course, have been the half a pound of fudge I was eating at the time. I am usually kept away from all foods with a high sugar, fat, colouring and e-number content, which means that I generally just eat organic grass and am occasionally allowed to suck a HobNob, if I promise not to swallow, but yesterday was Fudge Day.  I'd also eaten three fresh doughnuts and half a pack of cinder toffee, so that probably explains most of the content of this blog - and also why it's being typed from the ceiling, at four hundred miles an hour with ninety fingers I don't have.

I didn't eat quite this much, but only because I'd passed out somewhere round the fourteenth lump.

Oh, you want to hear about my revelation?  Well it comes with something of a background story. Are you sitting comfortably?  No, neither am I, I think it's all the fudge, but we'll be all right if we keep to the cushioned areas...

When I was small...I mean very small, before I'd learned to read much, my aunt gave me a doll.  She asked me what I was going to call her (by 'she' I mean my aunt of course, my family may be bordering on 'horror film' but they haven't indulged in talking dolls yet). I said 'Amelia'.  This puzzled both mother and aunt, and I remember my mother asking me where I'd heard that name, because as far as she was concerned I'd never known anyone called 'Amelia'.  And do you know what my explanation was? 'The inside of her head smells 'Amelia'.

Yep.  Well, you know, the Horror Film thing starts early with us.

Now of course I know that this was synaesthesia (which is where things get mixed up in the brain, colours appear as numbers, smells are sounds, that sort of thing). I largely grew out of it, but I was reminded of it during the Doctor Who episode, because of the augmented human character, who's name was Si. At least, as soon as people started calling him Si it was almost as if his name popped up in big letters whenever it was said.  Which may be because I have a friend called Si.

Imagine, then, my shock and horror when the titles rolled and the character's name was revealed to be spelled as Psi!

Augmented human. In case you were wondering.  And this made me wonder, briefly, in the dark, stilly watches of the night - is being a writer somehow linked to an ability, maybe even a lost one, to see images as words? Or images in words? Or to create words to fit sensory input?

Answers on a postcard...

And now I have another problem, of course, if, as I suspect, Psi becomes a companion to the Doctor.  On my left wrist I have a tattoo of the Greek letter Psi, and the letters psi underneath.
Okay, break it to me gently. I am going to look like the stalkiest stalker ever to walk the earth, aren't I?  It could only be worse if I'd had ADRIC tattooed across my forehead... (true horror, for all those Old Who fans out there...)

Talking of fan clubs, last night I was outside with my SO, gazing at the stars (not in a romantic way at all, you understand, more because we were watching the lasers from the fairground across the fields).  He decided (in his infinite wisdom, probably laser-invoked), that we should form a Brian Cox Fan Club, and came up with the title for it.  I absolutely refuse to have it printed on a t shirt, or indeed anything which might be worn in the vicinity of the 'Loveleh' Mr Cox.

The title?  Wait for it...

The Cox Massive.

I know.  I'm going now...
And, Brian, I'm very sorry.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Things NOT to say to a writer...

This week, just a few little pointers to help make life for writers a little easier, whether you have a writer in your life, or just visit them when they are out in public.

1. "Why is the house such a mess? You've been at home all day, sitting in front of that computer - you could at least have hoovered."

SAY INSTEAD: "How many words have you written today? Well, 250 is quite a lot, more than I could..oh. Never mind, I expect they weren't right anyway. How about a takeaway and then I'll hoover while you think of some better words."

2.  "I've got a great idea for a book." (followed by lengthy story that isn't even a story-idea or an anecdote, more of an implausible rant) . "Now, how about you write that up as a book and I'll give you 10%?"

SAY INSTEAD: "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

3.  "How much money do you make, then? I bet it's thousands, that J K Rowling is a multi-billionaire, isn't she? Bet you've got a posh house, haven't you?"

SAY INSTEAD:  Nothing, at first. Just gently pat writer's shoulder, while s/he sobs. Offer food. Then, when tears are dry, say, "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

4. (Whilst in bookshop, during signing, usually when writer is behind huge pile of own books and in front of large poster of own face) "Do you know where the ..................... (insert either books by latest celebrity or 'toilets') are? No? Well you're not much use, are you? Why are you here, then?"

SAY INSTEAD: "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

5. "Oh, you are lucky to be able to sit at home and scribble. I'd write a book, if I had the time." (often followed by (2) above).

SAY INSTEAD: "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

6. "I hear that (insert celebrity, usually known for either boobs/fake tan/stupidity/being all over media for no real reason) has just had their book turned into a film. Why don't you get your books made into a film?"

SAY INSTEAD: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just keep walking, quite quickly. Honestly. Writers can aim a shoe at the back of your head like nobody's business if you even begin to utter this sentence.

Writers are sensitive creatures, but if you love them and feed them well and leave them largely to their own devices, they will reward you with pages of notes about your bizarre behaviour and habits. And hardly ever bite you.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A few wintery things to look forward to...

Sigh.  It's nearly September already, and we all know that means it's practically Christmas, and that the next time we look up it's going to be dark, and probably 2015.  And, since winter is quite clearly the longest season EVER, and manages to last at least sixteen months of any twelve month period, I thought we should take this opportunity to look forward to some of the more pleasant things about winter.

No, me neither.

Oh, no, wait, I've got one.  Winter is the only time you can legitimately, and without being ill, retire to your bed at 5.15 pm with a well-angled lamp and a packet of cashew nuts, to read a book.

Try doing this at the height of summer and you will a) be constantly disturbed by the feral pack of local five year olds playing 'kick the can around the street and yell at the tops of our voices', b) spend at least half your time wondering whether you're missing something more exciting that may be going on downstairs - barbeques, ice cream runs, visits to local places of interest and c) boiled.

There is something about nights that start at 4pm, when you draw the curtains to block out the sight of the cats' faces pressed against the window as they try to claw their way back indoors, despite the fact that they have a perfectly comfortable bed in the garage which is, not to put too fine a point on it, several degrees warmer than the inside of the house.  Making a mug of hot chocolate - merely, we all understand, a vehicle for the whipped cream and marshmallows, but a mug of whipped cream and marshmallows alone does tend to attract stares and clicked tongues, and taking it upstairs.  Settling oneself under a snuggly duvet and on top of an electric blanket which has been switched on to maximum at least an hour earlier and is currently causing your valence to smoke.
Not dissimilar to this, but with more dust, fur, dropped clothing, paperwork and books

Getting yourself into the perfect position under the duvet, so that enough of you sticks out to make turning the pages possible without an arctic-level of draught getting in and to gain access to the hot chocolate.
And possibly listening to either the wind, snow or rain falling outside.
There. Now, are you all looking forward to the winter?

No, me neither.