Friday, October 28, 2005

Made it

I was in the car at 6:15 this morning, when the road was just a tunnel of hedgebanks, picked out and made ghostly by the headlights.

My eyes were still a little watery from sleep, and I was wondering how I was going to put my hair up when I'd left my hair clip behind while dressing in the dark. I was thinking, "must remember to pass on that information to that group." I was thinking, "must remember to do that, and that, and that task at work." Then I was thinking:

"Made it."

You see, we go on holiday tomorrow. Nowhere special, except to us, not for long, just a week. A week of brooding coastlines and winter castles, a week of rain and wind and whatever the beginning of November throws at us. A week of Husband and I, together. Books, food, and TIME.

And, as ever, it's been a bit of a slog to get to the point where we can go on holiday, what with a busy time at work, the MA, and the building work.

But no matter how much I need to get done this morning, and how much packing there is still to do (ie, all of it, which is a great departure for someone who's usually thoroughly listed five days in advance and largely packed by now), it's Friday and tomorrow is Saturday and however hard Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were, I survived them, and conquered them and I have Made It.

It's all downhill from here.


(See you in a week!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I come to you...

... from the University Library computers! I'm online! I'm networked!

I am not a free woman, I am a student number!!!

Sorry, got carried away a little there.

I have been well and truly absorbed into the University body. I don't feel so much like a cog in a vast, crunching machine, as a small piece of grit being mercilessly ground between its metallic, toothed wheels.

I just had my picture taken for my campus card. This occurred after an hour and a half of trying to find parking spaces, trying to find different buildings (all about ten minutes walk from each other) and being rained on. It's not the *best* likeness I've ever had taken..... In fact, I look like I'm fed up, tired, irritated and rained on. *shudder*

Dear Heaven it's 11 o'clock. How did that happen? I have work to do....

Monday, October 24, 2005

We'll meet again...

... Don't know where, don't know wheeeeeeeen...

Oh, wait. On Wednesday.

Well, maybe Wednesday.

We're having building work done in almost every room of the house next week, and a new bathroom suite and downstairs toilet installed next week (while we're on holiday) and tonight I'm staying away to do some MA studying.

I haven't forgotten the blog posts I owe you, so bear with me!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

They really like me...

A day that starts with a headache is not usually a good one. But I'm sitting here smiling because of some of the little things that have followed.

I've only been at work five minutes, but:-

** One person has delved into her files to find information that could be useful to me, when I'd told her not to worry herself, and it was not her job to do so. It wasn't even work - it was something useful to me personally. She didn't have to, but she did.

** Another person has taken the time to thank me for help I gave her colleague. (I didn't have to, but I did. Is there maybe a pattern here?) I didn't do it for thanks, but it's nice to be given it.

** A complete (but nonetheless attractive) stranger stopped to ask for directions and started flirting with me. Dang.

It always amazes me, the way little things can turn your whole day around.

Of course, being a writer*, I immediately start to think about how this capacity of the Small Thing to make a Big Difference might be used in the current WIP. Writing romantic suspense, there's a tendency to have lots of Big Things happening in the story. Maybe some of those Small Things, and the effect they have on the characters, will add realism to otherwise fantastical stories?

*Given how long it's been since I wrote something useful, whenever I say "I'm a writer," I half expect a thunderclap, the darkening of the skies, and the Devil arising in a ball of sulphurous flame from the depths of hell to pin me with his trident, stamp his cloven foot and scream, "YOU LIE!!" in the shrill and terrible voice of a thousand eternally suffering souls. Ahem.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Time is relative

If you're looking for a coherent entry, just keep on walkin'.... *g*

A gentle nudge from Beth and Olga reminded me I've been invisible a *smidge* too long (although an editor once told me "very soon" when she meant "six months" so I think my own "soon" still retains some narrative truth).

I've been away for the weekend, meeting up with my very good friends Julie and Biddy in order to eat too much chinese food, drink too much wine, and drool too much over Keith Urban live in concert.

We had a wonderful time. Talking food, chocolate (yes, chocolate is a thing in itself, not just a food group), sex and writing. And for me, just being with my friends, and being in London, is a very renewing and empowering experience. Something about London frees me - I'm way more adventurous there than I am in real life. It should be the other way round, but it's not.

But when I'm really busy at work, and when I want to take Thursday afternoon and Friday off to Run Away To The Big City, it feels rather like running up a mountain in order to jump off the top. Lots of hours, lots of intense working, and rushing, rushing, rushing, to get to the stage where I can abandon work for a few days and not come back to find people sticking pins into little wax models of me.

This is, of course, an exageration. The people I work with are exceptionally able and lovely people. The people I work for are incredibly good humoured and forgiving. But shovelling work from my desk to someone else's just so I can go and kick up my heels in London is Just Not Done. I'd rather stick pins in me.

(If anyone comes across the original thread of this entry, do please let me know. I seem to have wandered off the point very slightly.)

Anyway. I have returned. I put in four hours at the office today and then ran round like a headless chicken grocery shopping, buying jeans (I now own a pair of jeans! I have been jeanless for about four years!!!), looking for cheap cars for Husband and buying presents. Left the house at 8.30, got back at 7.30, cooked dinner, watched The Professionals (Lewis Collins with his hand down Pamela Stephenson's bra. Excellent) and went upstairs to do some more work (but decided I'd had enough for today.) I'm damn tired, if you'll excuse me.

And I'm a little nervous. I have a confession to make.

I've signed up to do my Masters degree. And, in fact, I have my first lecture tomorrow.

All around the world, people who know me, and know how I struggle to find writing time, are slapping their foreheads and groaning.

Yes, yes, I KNOW. But the desire to do my masters predates my desire to write for publication, believe it or not. And this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Funding has become available that will have disappeared even next year. So I'm going to go for it. This is one of those, "I owe myself this," moments.

I'm not giving up writing. But as I said to Julie, "even if I only wrote on Saturday mornings, if I did it with focus, I'd be writing more than I am right now." In some masochistic way I wouldn't be surprised if I wrote more, actually. Perhaps writing romance will become my displacement activity for writing essays?

What I also owe myself is a good night's sleep - so you'll have to excuse me! I haven't forgotten your question, Olga, or yours, Dee, and I will come back and talk about the workshop.


At least, sooner than six months.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Eeek! I haven't blogged in over a week! I'm so sorry!

I'm okay, just a little snowed under and doing the sensible thing - that is, NOT adding internet time to a list of stressors.

Michelle and I had the workshop we'd been planning all year on Saturday and it went really well. Thanks to our wonderful speakers and helpers!

I'll be back soon.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Verbal constipation

I recently ahd a revelation about Taken, my current WIP-in-Waiting. Like many such moments of elucidation it struck while I was on the loo - Oh Throne of Inspiration! - because I was thinking about writing instead of reading someone else's.

I swear, it's got to the stage the act of reading actually stimulates my digestive system.

I digress.

Or rather, I digest.

This breakthrough concerned the opening of the story, which I was already bothered by. It's poor.

It's poor because when I wrote it I was going through a Fear of Rejection stage and was determined to write a techincally-perfect-opening-for-category. You know - meeting in the first few pages, establishing action, Goal, Motivation and Conflict, identifying the location as outside the US....

What I ended up with was something that was not so much techinically perfect as inexorably mundane. It is stilted, forced, and banal, and gives my beautifully self-sacrificing and gloriously damaged hero no opportunity to shine. It doesn't flow, is heavy and painful, and the real story backs up behind it in distress. In short, it's constipated.

Waaack, Waaack, Ooops.

So what was this senna-sational revelation? It concerned the similarity between thoughts in the POV of a person experiencing obsessive love, and a person experiencing excessive hate.

He ran one slow finger over the photograph, feeling the cracks in the glossy coating, and soft burrs of the dog-eared corners. He traced the fluid line of the girl's hair, where the wind had blown it against her cheek, along her jaw, it's dark lustre highlighting the pallour of her skin. Those fearful eyes - stubborn and proud, yes, but still fearful - stared back at him, and he knew what had put that fear there.

It was him.

Hero or villain? Hmmmm?

So now I know how I can establish the creepy, suspenseful mood of the story, introduce a theme of highlighting those love/hate similarities and set up a retroactive revelation for the hero.

Dang, I'm good.

Now there's just the rest of the book to sort out.

Excuse me, I think I need the loo....