Tuesday 18 January 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

My blog post is a little different today, on account of being able to announce that I am now the proud owner of a Stylish Blogger Award.  Yes! Really! I know!  I’m very grateful to BookAngel, it was a truly lovely surprise.  I’m just happy anybody reads my blog at all - if it makes them chortle, sympathise or empathise, well, that puts a good dollop of icing on the cake.  Well done to Faye (BookAngel) for winning her own Stylish Blogger Award as she had to win one herself before she could pass it on to me.  Faye reads and reads and reads so if you want to know what’s out there, visit her blog:  http://faybaysbooks.blogspot.com

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell us 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know they have won!

So now I have to tell you seven things about myself.  I know, I know, but those are the rules.  And I’m a Virgo and we have to follow rules or we spontaneously combust.  Trust me, I annoy myself with it, let alone anyone else.

I suppose I could tell you about putting my arm in a spin drier which hadn’t switched off. That caused quite a stir, not to mention great inconvenience to me and my family with my children then only three and two years old.  My three year old was cross with me for being so stupid – hmmm, out of the mouths of babes...Let’s just say the arm in question flew out and I dread to think what would have happened if, after dislocating at the elbow, I hadn’t caught the spinning forearm with my other hand.

I woke up during an anaesthetic.  Or rather, I like to say I did.  My anaesthetist friend has since told me that I would simply have come out of recovery a little earlier than they might have expected – which doesn’t sound quite as impressive. It was pretty horrific though, I have to say.  I’ve used some of the images from it in my book, Glass Houses, when my main character, Tori Williams, is having dreams and hallucinating whilst in a coma. 

The anaesthetist at the operation (with whom I had fallen madly in love, it always happens to me after a general anaesthetic and is very embarrassing), eventually managed to convince me that I was no longer being pushed in an enormous wheel chair by Michelin Men type staff with huge monocles the size of ships’ port holes around the spiral stair cases of the hospital and hadn’t, actually, moved from the operating theatre for the duration.  I will never forget him saying, ‘Nicht weinen, Maedel, nicht weinen...’ in the softest Swiss-German accent (I was on holiday at the time).  Who says German can’t be romantic?

I am five foot one and three-quarters (you think that’s small, my mum’s four foot eleven and has size three feet!) and have found out just today, that I weigh the same as a new born hippopotamus – or half a baby elephant – which, I would like to add, is not as much as you might think.  I wouldn’t want to birth either of them, however.

I also found out today that I am 38% right and 62% left brained which in layman’s terms means that I’m just under two thirds dull and over a third scatty nightmare.

And my most embarrassing experience?  There are a few to choose from but a clear winner has to be... well, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will know about the fire exit for extremely strong visiting pets.

That isn’t quite seven.  But I shall stop there before I start talking about running...

I also get to award 15 of my favourite bloggers with their own Stylish Blogger Award.  I know I will have missed someone so ask your forgiveness in advance.  Please blame it on ever decreasing brain cells as opposed to any malice.  Please also overlook the fact that the list currently stands at 14.  I’ve left myself a space to sneak in the most excruciating miss. It’s a Virgo thing, we like to cover our selves...

www.talkaboutwasted.blogspot.com/  (Nicola has a few blogs so I didn’t really know which one to pick but the way she writes just makes me chortle, whatever she’s talking about.)

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Confessions of a Christmas writer

Not everybody likes Christmas starting in November.  I respect such frustration, understand the logic but don’t count myself among these protestors.  The anticipation, the decoration, the spendification just can’t start early enough for me.  I’m the dreadful mother who allows her children to play the Christmas CD in the car in September, actively encourages letter writing to Father Christmas and Mother Wrapalot in October and remembers she should have made the Christmas cake in November.  (I write Christmas cards two days before Christmas but that’s another story.)

It’s best when the children break up from school a week early so we can wrap presents together in front of Wife Swap USA, make another batch of mince pies as soon as the next pack of pre-rolled pastry has defrosted and play Winter Wonderland on the piano pretending not to notice the unintentional rhythmical alterations. 

I tend to have a tear at the school’s Nativity, even when I can only hear every second word and my own children have long since graduated.  There’s something just so appealing about a three foot Mary.  And I even like the slightly over zealous Vicar pleading with us to stop and think.

I like snowy walks with my family, meeting friends in the pub en route.  I like my presents, scant in number certainly, perhaps not of the highest quality but chosen so very much with me in mind.  I’m wearing those pink USB heated slippers now, for example, reluctant as I am to put on the heating when it’s only me in the house.

I even ‘get’ turkey; fifth day turkey, curried turkey. I read that 86% of people eat turkey only because they feel they ought. I read a tweet about eating duck instead.  I eat duck but I’m not so keen on it curried.  I like, no I love, people coming to stay, leaving late morning after two jugs of coffee and more chat after the chat and wine and food and chocolates of the night before, the children all playing dutifully on the Wii, still in their pyjamas.

Then it’s back to normality.  They all go back – back to work, back to school and I go back to my desk, to writing again from 11pm, to going to bed late and waking four hours later with a sense of foggy satisfaction about the volume of words written when the house was quiet.

I miss them all on their first day back: hubbie with his cold, eldest with her hormones, youngest with her scruffy old pinafore when I can’t coax her into one of the skirts which hangs pristine in her wardrobe. 
But I have to admit to a small smile as I wave goodbye to the last to leave at 8.45. 

And so I run.  I stuff the remaining breakfast items in the dishwasher, yank some sopping clothes from the washer and toss them over the drier, flick on the kettle, write a cheque for the milk, trip over the forgotten PE kit and make my way upstairs to my desk.  I switch on the computer - an unusual phenomenon caught as it is in a perpetual energy loop over the holidays.  I remove plastic heart shaped key rings, miniature playing cards, screwdrivers and whoopee cushions from my desk and replace them with 344 pages of A4 manuscript. 

Then I start.  Without interruption.  And slowly but surely, I input all the amendments I’d made on the hard copy of my novel.   I’m changing it around you see.  An agent made some fantastic suggestions after reading the full manuscript and I get the chance to see what I can do with it and send it back to her.  It’s a terrific opportunity and one I mustn’t squander. 

After an hour or two I make tea.  I take a few pages of the manuscript with me to read through as the kettle boils and luxuriate in the lack of a call to find the recycled batteries, the guinea pigs’ spare water bottle, the Christmas cake.  After forgetting to eat lunch I set the alarm on my desk to 3.20 to remind me to return to this world before my children get home.

When they’re all back, I smother them with ridiculously large bear hugs.  I’ve missed them, you see, I really have – almost as much as I’d missed my writing over the past couple of weeks. 

Happy 2011 everyone!  May it be packed with happy times and chunks of everything you like!