Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In a mirror, darkly...

I just got back from life drawing. I'm so tired I feel hysterical, and half drunk, and happy. It's so nice to turn your head off and see only with your eyes and hands for two hours. Line, shadow, temperature, tone, negative space, points and angles. Except not in those words, not in any words. Because the whole point is reflecting what is before you, without thinking getting in the way.

And now I'm starting to think how one's head gets saturated with words, till they're spilling out of your ears and mouth and hands. There's a whole lot too many words out there - from politicians spinning newspeak to newspapers churning out vapid opinion in the guise of news, to (dare I say it) half drunk bloggers pontificating about their drawing class.

So I'll shut the fuck up, and leave you with one of the pictures what I drew...
Your Kissing Technique Is: Perfect

Your kissing technique is amazing - and you know it.
You have the confidence to make the first move.
And you always seem to know what kissing style is going to work best.
Sometimes you're passionate, sometimes you're a tease. And you're always amazing!

This is all very nice. But unfortunately -

You May Be a Bit Schizotypal...

A bit odd and socially isolated.
You couldn't care less of what others think.
And some of your beliefs are a little weird.
Like that time you thought you were Jesus.

Just as I expected. I think I'm jesus and a perfect kisser. The rest of the world thinks otherwise. Damn.

Blog guilt

I haven't blogged anything for days. To be honest, spending all day in your pyjamas, writing lists, editing and re-editing and smoking cigarettes just doesn't seem interesting enough to share with the world.

I'm working on a story that refuses to die quietly or get better. I've subbed it to the crit group and hope they'll tear it to pieces and give me ideas of how it might be made into something approaching readable. Next up - ach damn. I should should and ought to be starting a novel. But I'm scared to get given a deadline and the responsibility. What if I ran out of breath before I reached the requisite word count? What if the ideas are all just turkeys?

I'll do it tomorrow. Today, time-wasting and cooking, and later two hours life drawing. A nice way to spend time word-free. The class is across the road - literally, I can see in the window right now. And the model is very bendy. When I did the life-model thing I would sit dazed for an hour - this girl twists and holds the most demanding poses without any limb shake or apparent discomfort. Kudos.

Apart from that, it's autumn, and therefore time to gather berries and make jam. The rowans and brambles are out, and me and SO had a lovely afternoon fighting prickly hedges and getting rained on while we collected enough berries to stain our hands purple.

This weekend we'll be going to a new, small festival in a park in Glasgow, called Indian Summer. The yeah yeah yeahs are playing, and The Fall and some other cool bands. And best of all, my little (read six foot two and built like the proverbial) brother is back from Africa. We shall celebrate till we fall over.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mission accomplished

Well, partly. I sat down and wrote with a big frown yesterday. Cancelled lunch, stamped on the floor till the neighbour turned down his rampant house music, refused to be distracted by thoughts, and wrote.

Result? One story 1000 words longer, most of which are pish. By eight o clock I was about typing 'All work and no play makes Nikki a dull girl'. My back's gone into a spasm. I'm cream-crackered. And I hate the story. I want to inflict unnecessary pain on the characters.

So, is this what they mean when they say you have to learn to write even when you don't feel like it? Today the building site next door is at full throttle. The school yard is full of the noise of kids who sound like they're killing each other, punctuated by loud bells. My dear SO is demolishing a wall in the bedroom. I dream of living in a house at the top of a hill, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but the sound of spring rain drumming on the roof.

Meanwhile, back to this turgid story. By the time I'm done the bastard will be well-written, if I have to rewrite every word.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My glittering career

This is how I work. Spend weeks gathering projects, making lists, looking at deadlines with a kind of detached, curious horror. Make another list, with a timescale and stars for the super-urgent projects. Ignore them. Write down about fifty 'cool titles' for stories I won't ever write. Perhaps some first lines, random ideas that bubble up from the murk.

Look at the list again. Pick the least urgent item and waste days researching some very small detail that is not essential to the plot. Look at calendar, feel panic rising. Decide to redecorate flat. Deadlines still approaching, but now can't reach the desk to do anything about it. Pile more assignments on top.

At last, when there's not a single alternative left, I'll write.

I think I just arrived there...

(In other news, got the cover proofs for 'Sex in Public' this week - a verry cool cover, don't you think?)

Friday, August 11, 2006


deeeeeep tissue massage. tendons in a state of bliss. stumbled home strung out on lavender oil, dribbling slightly. They should hand out massages instead of methadone, to everyone free once a month.

you haul your crooked and bruised body up to lie on the couch, gingerly, and the woman does STUFF to your spine that makes it come over all epiphany, and then she plays a little light percussion on your hamstrings and feels like god is rubbing your belly, I think that's the phrase.

yes, massage is the solution to all the world's problems, I do believe. They should teach it in schools.

Oh boy. Going to lie down and watch the clouds drift by...(doped up smile)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

If music be the food of love...

Sex and Music, the new Black Lace anthology, is out today! I'm very excited - my first Wicked Words story 'All I have to do' is in there. It's one of my favourites, about lost love and mix tapes and the way musicians have a certain special something.

Plus, there's plenty of other lovely stories in there - a whole spectrum of musical sex! Amazon's only got one left at the last look, so you'd better be quick...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Walnut and brass

For years I wrote in a cupboard, squeezed in behind the ironing board and boxes of assorted crap. Then I moved to a ramshackle house and built my own desk out of bits I'd found in the street. It rocked, and not in a good way.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present - my grandfather's desk. It's a beautiful thing, no? I remember sitting at it with him, the room full of must and pipe smoke and stacks of papers cascading onto the floor. He was probably trying to explain racing form to my 5 year old bewildered self. Now it's ensconced in my living room, waiting for attention.

It's walnut, with brass handles and brass feet. A leather top that is covered in coffee stains and perished to soft rag. The kind of desk you feel you have to live up to. I'm about to go and start laying out paper on it - ideas for stories, drafts, notes. I feel like the smell of ancient history will seep into the work - and I feel like I'm at one of those growing-up stages again. I shall make coffee, for tradition's sake, and smoke a lot of tobacco. Listen to the echoes in my head. Wish me luck...

Update: That was then. These days it has more um ... character* ...

*crap piled on top of it. And a daylight bulb so I don't get scurvy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Kitty & Rooster, Weird Friendship.

You can tell I've had a productive afternoon, can't you?

Bjork - Triumph of A Heart

Oh this so reminds me of nights out in Glasgow, tumbling home at the small hours to find pumpkin waiting up for me....ah, I miss my cat.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sex in Public

Hooray!!! Joyous news - my story 'Housebound' will be appearing in the 'Sex and Public' anthology by Black Lace, due out next year sometime. Very happy. Dancing.

Would be dancing, if it weren't for the spasms. Time to get the glad rags on and go celebrate...

Spinal crap

Smothered in Ralgex. Letting out loud yelps every so often. Cursing computers, bicycles and large breasts, all of which might be the reason my spine is twisted up in knots. Wanting to write, but it's like having a punch in the kidneys every ten minutes.

As is clear, I make a terrible patient. For a compulsive hypochondriac, this is bad news.

I am drumming my fingers on my brain, waiting for word on stories subbed and novels tentatively suggested. Looking at the deep blue sky outside suspiciously, as all Glasgowites tend to do. Sunshine? What, are you trying to make us look stupit or something? The first hot day of the year, everyone heads to the park with a bottle of Buckfast tonic wine under one arm and a bottle of baby oil under the other. Sizzle.