Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cinderella sex

I just finished a first draft. I'm proud, not because it's beautiful writing. Not yet. It's rough and clunky. But because I managed to ignore the voices. You know, the chattering critics in your head that sneer and titter and shake their heads. I got the bones down, the actual storyline that hovers around the words.

I've been struggling with the fine points of sex writing. It is hard to write about actual fucking, because you want to keep present, very visceral, very sexy, very real. But a litany of physical action doesn't work, and I tend to lose track of punctuation when it gets to - this is the thing: how do you describe an orgasm? It's such a wordless experience. Mindless, almost. I don't like swerving into metaphor, and unless you're writing first person it's hard to describe what a person feels when they're coming. Something like -


Might be the most accurate description. But then, I don't think I'd get away with it...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Summer in midwinter - the tea ceremony

Writing: I sit with these words in my head and try not to think about them, but only of them:

Meat, shoes, fat girl, rum, chopped limes, summer, sex, cigar, money, hair-grease, teeth.

Now I'm going to try and weave it all together. God, this is a strange way to spend your days. Things are finally easing off on the other-work front, so I should be getting back into some solid writing. Only, the more time stretches ahead, the more I tend to fidget. Enough, I'm being strict today. And kind.

In other news - now I've got a little breathing space I'm taking time to rediscover the very small things that I take pleasure in. For one thing - a good cup of tea. My tea making ritual changes, but I've always loved the elements. There's something about making oneself a cup of tea that seems like the ultimate pleasure. I just found Darjeeling is my new favourite, light and sweet and good. I have a favourite cup - (bone china, natch). A carved wooden Indian tray. Sugar bowl, the nice spoon with the thin neck that I um, borrowed from a cafe because I loved it so much. Freshly drawn water, a slowly steeped bag.
A cup that warms the hands. Steam rising. Sip.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

oh oh fashion

... have a look see at some pretty pictures.

'never the same twice' were given a houseful of vintage fabric to play with. They came up with some beautiful clothes, found models and borrowed a castle for the shoot. I took photos.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jeg går en Tur - A self portrait by Lasse Gjertsen

Ok, not getting any work done today. Instead, I've developed a crush on an inappropriate young man. This film of his is lovely, but there's other brilliant ones. Have a look...and if I ever meet him I happen to know a dirty phrase in Norwegian that might come in handy...

Writer wanted

Job description:

To write an amount of words in some kind of order. Sometime.

Essential qualities:

Olympic-standard laziness.

The ability to berate oneself constantly about said laziness.

Nailbiting or other oral fixation.

Intravenous broad-band connection

Please answer the following questions imaginatively. If you can't manage imaginatively, please try 'desperately':

1. What do you consider your most effective procrastination strategy?
2. What is your favourite excuse when the postman/gasman/burglar discovers you still in your nightwear at three in the afternoon?
3. What do you plan to have for lunch next Wednesday, now that the tuna in the fridge has turned a strange shade of grey?
3. Describe in no less than three thousand words your latest paranoid fantasy, including but not limited to:
a) Suspected Terminal Illness of the Day.
b) Likely Neurosis or Mental Health Problem of the Week
c) The plot of your next novel. *


Please return this form just after the deadline to ensure you are in no danger of courting success. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

...on the other hand

I just got word from HQ, and my story 'A Whole New City' will be appearing in the Black Lace anthology 'Sex with a Stranger'. Due out some time next summer, I think.

(A feeble whoop emanates from under the bedclothes...)

Bad dreams

Blog currently in quarantine. I've got what would be called 'man-flu' if I wasn't a girl. And I make a terrible patient.

Meanwhile, all I want to do is sit at my desk with the fire on next to me and get back into the new book. Only a stream of visitors (since when did I get visitors?) has appeared out of nowhere. I've been fashion-shooting and receiving chairs for decoration and dragging my sorry flu-ridden ass out of bed to go for dinner with seldom-seen friends.

In between I've had the weirdest dreams, and wake up like a wild boar with a running nose, snuffling and snorting and moaning.

This is when I start to get peevish and vile, and will eventually start to ignore phone calls, doorbells and singing telegrams. It's that time of year when everyone starts to get in the spirit of the season already, and I'm too occupied.

Bah humbug.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nice feeling

You ever wake up and open your eyes to a sunny day that just feels ... right?


Oh yes, and I was writing a post in my head that was about why Shanna Germain deserves to win the Rauxa Prize. It's got nothing to do with the fact that I have the pleasure of knowing her from my crit group. It was something about how her writing is expansive, moving, beautiful, warm, inventive, imaginative and meaningful. And that she is totally dedicated, but still human. We need writers like this. In fact, if I was an editor I'd be beating down her door to publish a collection of her short stories, and promising her a good fat advance to do it.

Gets my vote...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It's gone quiet in here lately, I know.

For once I am actually working my big fat arse off. Starting (finally! At last!) My Next Novel. The plot's not fully worked out, but I think if I hum and haw anymore I'll go crazy. And hopefully it will fix itself as I write.

And waiting, waiting, waiting, for responses to half a dozen pieces I've sent out into the ether. This is the point I get all superstitious, and think: If I repeat affirmations and cross my fingers and am good, they will be accepted.

Meanwhile, been exercising my new camera and being a hungover, partially useless fashion photographer for a friend. We discussed the pics today, and I actually heard myself say 'she's got hips that just don't work in that outfit'. At which point my BF snorted his tea all over the table and I realised how far I am from being the kind of person that can pass comment on anybody's appearance. Didn't stop me from labelling the next outfit 'a bit reader's wives'.

For your viewing pleasure, my good friend being styled. (Head removed so she doesn't kill me.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shiny brand new books

I'm having a hiatus. I love hiatusii - it means wafting around and visiting the library and having conversations with myself about what I'm doing and why.

This morning I got a lovely surprise - my shiny new copy of Saskia Walker's Double Dare. So far I've done nothing more than flirt with it - eye up the beautiful cover and read the snippets on the back. I'll settle in a big armchair later, curl up with a glass of wine and indulge...

But it got me thinking just what beautiful objects books are. Brand new they have that fresh-ink smell, the glossy perfection of the cover, maybe an embossed title. They feel good in the hand. A good, solid, comforting weight, like a thick slice of cake or a well-wrapped gift. Flitting around on the net, words drift in and out of my vision. When writing you're lost in that glowing white screen, and the words are still writhing like live creatures, half real, half imagined.

People are murmuring now about PODs and ebooks and the future of reading. Fact is, though, that there's nothing like the weight of a book - the solid, undeniable, fat-with-accomplishment look of printed words on a page. They're so real. Books are for holding onto.