Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Anti-fact of the day:

Arrived home this afternoon to find that long-suffering boyfriend had thoughtfully sieved through the takeaway fliers and useless local-electioneering gubbins that daily come through the door, and put aside the BNP's election flier for me to enjoy when I came home from work. He knows I like this sort of thing. Well done, boyfriend.

Like most right-thinking people, I am against the BNP, and everything they stand for. Readers, I know you do not need me to ennumerate the many reasons why it is wrong to support or vote for the BNP. However, from time to time, when the steam has finished pouring out of my ears, I enjoy reading their policy leaflets, for their tangled morass of bollock-thought, and outpourings of gibberish.

On the one which came through the door today, the BNP are leading with the policy: "Let's look after our own instead of giving China and India 18bn a year to combat the effects of non-existent 'Climate Change'." Leaving aside the (fictional, by the way) figures, it's nice to see that the BNP have expanded their horizons from hating Africans, Muslims, Jews, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, asylum seekers from any nation or continent, and British-born and British-identified ethnic minorities, to include scientists and all of their work. Because after all, who knows better about the effects of man's activities on the environment? Scientists, with their silly white coats, and their fancy ideas, and their peer-reviewed journals, or a bunch of racists with Combat 18 tattoos?!

In the bottom right hand of this flier, there is a picture of Nick Griffin, superimposed by one of Winston Churchill. Whoever painstakingly designed this flier on Microsoft Paint (Windows 92 version) has made attempts to find pictures of both men wearing similar expressions, and sitting in similar poses, in order to alert the idle browser to the similarities between them. As we know (pay attention, history fans), Winston Churchill was a hugely popular statesman who led the country in a troubled time of war, during a time when Hitler's regime threatened to colonise all of Europe. Churchill led Britain to triumph against the threat of fascism, liberating other occupied nations in Europe, and putting an end to Hitler's death camps, in which over six million Jews were systematically gassed and murdered during the second world war. Nick Griffin, on the other hand, is a former member of Combat 18 who has never led anything more sophisticated than a riot at a football match, and a big fat holocaust denier.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

w00t w00t

The lovely InkyGirl quoted me! That's what you get for spouting your opinions on writing, rewriting and planning to anyone who'll listen.


Monday, 19 April 2010

Too many hours spent at the day job...

I dream of the day when, somewhere amongst the cabbages and turnips, a man by the name of Mr Pan-Macmillan, or Mr. Harper-Collins, approaches me in the supermarket, and whispers: "Psst! Hey lady!".

I, not being the kind of person who uses the supermarket as a pick-up joint, would ignore him at first. But the "hey, lady!"'s, and the insistent hissing grow ever louder, to the point where I have no option but to pay attention. And so I say, "What?!" testily, because I am always testy in the supermarket. If the fact I could be at home writing isn't enough to set me off, the people bovinely wandering across the aisles as though they've never used a shop before will.

And Mr Pan-Macmillan, (let's use just that name for the sake of brevity in this wishful anecdote), says, "I've got this advance burning a hole in my pocket, and I'm desperate for some writer to take it."

I say, "How do you know I'm a writer?" and he says, "because your basket is full of notebooks and pens".

In my dream, Mr Pan-Macmillan writes me a cheque there and then, and waves me off home to get on with writing my novel, unencumbered by the travails of having to hold down a day job. [Pedants, I know that no publisher operates in this ridiculous manner. Stay with me here]. He is such a thoughtful man, he even provides me with a long-suffering assistant, whose sole job is to do things that I hate, so that I'm free to write. Poor assistant. Fancy spending your whole day doing somebody else's housework and errands. Sorry, imaginary assistant, for making your life suck.

It's long days at work, and weekends full of commitment that bring me to this sweet day-dream again and again....

Monday, 5 April 2010


Friends, what is the author's best friend? The dictionary? No, friends, not the dictionary. The notebook? No, friends, not the notebook. The long-suffering other half who respectfully stays away while we stare furiously at the empty Word document in front of us, patiently paying the rent while we wait for our writing career to generate those millions of dollars we foolishly hoped for? No, friends, it isn't the long suffering other half. (Sorry, boyfriend.) No, friends, the author's best friend is the calculator, whether it be real, virtual, or internal. Why the calculator? I'll tell you why the calculator.

In days of slow progress, when developments can be measured in millimetres rather than miles, our internal calculator can be the agent of movement. See, today, I got started on the extremely complicated and lengthy Big Project that I have now been procrastinating over for several weeks. In my head, this morning, I heard the once-feared voice of my old University tutor, intoning: "That dissertation won't write itself, you know," and "Believe me, you just need to get started. After that, everything is simple".

I sat down and got to work. Keeping at bay the dark thoughts about the long and arduous task that lies ahead, I got writing. What do you know? Ol' Dr. Fox was right! Once I'd got started, the narrative came pouring out like a lovely, tinkling little stream, only where I say "lovely tinkling little stream", substitute "dark, harrowing, over-emotionally involved narrative that is mediated only by substantial gallows humour".

This is only the beginning, and there's a long way to go. I'm under no illusions whatsoever about how difficult the rest of the project is going to be to write. But I was encouraged by my word count: almost 2,000 words, when I expect the finished book to land at around 100,000. I did myself a small bit of mental arithmetic and worked out, "2,000 words a day? Writing every day? I can get this thing written in 50 days, EASY." (Heh.) It's not true. I most certainly won't get the first draft finished in 50 days. Maybe a hundred... but being able to make a start, and to see the word count creeping steadily up in front of me: that was a big booster, when as recently as only yesterday all I had was fear and paralysing inadequacy. Let this be a lesson to you all, or something.

PS. I have got a "book" coming out soon. (and when I say "book", I mean "short story").