Friday, September 29, 2006

Interesting...

GOTTA LOVE SCIENCE

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features.

However, if she is menstruating, or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with a spear lodged in his chest and tape over his mouth while he is on fire.

No further studies are expected.


The above from the wonderful Madalyn Aslan. I don't usually give much credence to horoscopes, but I've been reading this woman for a couple of years and she's quite scarily accurate. Plus she tells jokes. I mean, what more can you ask for in a seer?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who's in charge round here?

(Whispering quietly so as not to scare it away.) I think I found a plot. It's the same one as I had last week, but it's tweaked and licked a little here and there and it might just shape up. I'm scared, because it's fairly simple. I prefer to hide behind lots of twists, in the hope the reader will be so dazzled by the plot they won't notice the writing. But this time, it's going to have to be good. I'll have to write it well, no choice when it's just a man and a woman and a very limited scene.

I've pinned up Hemingway's quote: Never confuse movement with action above my desk, and I'm solemnly sticking to it. It means rather than running away scared I'm delving deep into my character's thoughts and feelings and wants and fears.

Without giving too much away, it's going to be first person, present tense (Note to self - Oh Jesus, must you? Really?), and pretty intense too. I need to find out everything about BDSM! Immediately!

Heh heh heh, rubbing hands. Shopping list:

Rubber
Whips
Feathers (Okay, that's just me.)

I'm excited about this now. While some readers may have sought out this blog hoping for kinky tales (sorry!) and may not appreciate it, this is what really gets me going. Catching the drift. Hitting the point where it looks like the crazy idea might just woik....

Meanwhile, can anyone point me in the direction of some good sources for BDSM research? I know there's a club here in Glasgow but I'm absolutely terrified at the thought of going and being exposed as an undercover author-spy, and having my clothes rip-ped from my body...

Enough. Now back to it, workbitch!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ooh, look!

Here's a link to the interview I did recently with the lovely Mathilde Madden for the Erotic Author's Association, discussing her upcoming book Equal Opportunities.

Kinkalicious is my new favourite word...

This week's lesson is ...

For god's sake,

back up. Just got word back from the computer doctor, and my laptop is a dead duck. Three years of odd notes, half written stories, letters, everything. Gone gone gone. No hope of recovery. Shortly I shall bounce back and think of it as a clean slate, fresh start, turning point. But for now, let me wag my finger at you and encourage everyone to get out the discs. It's a dull job, but you don't want to be where I'm sitting right now, really.

I'd just like to rant and rave briefly about the manufacturers - Acer - for producing The Computer That Ate My Damn Life. So there you are. Buy Dell, and don't bother with the warranty cos it's not worth a damn.

In other news, I made a plot so 'minimalist' yesterday I'm awestruck. Gone are the evil blackmailers, clever twists and cliffhangers. In fact, I think I wrote a black hole that swallowed the plot.

I think I'd better give it ONE more shot...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Last night's picture



A body is a story.

The plot thickens.

I woke up this morning thinking - I know the plot is in there somewhere already. I can smell the damn story, just not see it clearly yet.

And then, while doing some serious writing avoidance, I stumbled on a post by Morgan Hawke that lays it all out so beautifully, I am about to go and nail the monster.

I think what I meant by 'organic' plotting was that once one has created a character, their story is nascent within them. I don't like to just throw the heroine into conflicts for the sake of it - I want her actions to grow from her character. I'm probably agonising too much and taking it far too seriously, but this is how I work. It has to be meaningful to me. Starting a novel feels like preparing for a long sea voyage, and I want to be well prepared.

It's a little scary, like when the clouds draw back and the sun is very bright. I know that I have to be very honest about the story, if I'm to enjoy writing it. There's been a little talk lately among writer friends about writing what you love, and I thoroughly agree with the idea. Otherwise I might as well go and get a job in the drycleaners.

So here goes. Off to dissect and analyse my poor character, and then throw her headlong into her worst and best fears and desires...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fashion/Roadkill

I got the boots, after a marathon day in Glasgow's shops. Knee-high, with buckles. In those shoes, I feel like I can stomp round the world. I go shopping about once every 6 months, and have developed a kind of military approach. I know what I want and hunt and hunt until I find it. Nothing else, and no substitutes. Apparently I'm hell to go shopping with, because I take it Seriously.

After six hours, with bloodshot eyes from the strip lighting and panting from heat exhaustion, trenchfoot from marching up and down Argyle Street and hair all wild with static, I got my quarry and dragged it home.

BF is trained, after a shopping trip, to compliment me approximately every half hour. 'Why, what beautiful boots!' 'That's such a good colour on you' etc etc. Rounds the day off nicely.

And for dinner we feasted on roadkill. Yes, to continue the horror theme that seems to be rife this week, I got in and started plucking and gutting a beautiful hen pheasant that my mother found on the road. I like feeling like a proper capable country girl, but to be honest, when one has one's hand in the erse of an animal... I turn a little pale.

Well, that will have frightened off the vegetarians. Honestly, I'm not doing this blog thing right, am I? I promise soon I will get back to the subject of erotica, somehow. Or sex, at least.

Do shoes count?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Your future, nectar bird

The phrase means nothing, it was just a strangely poetic spam message I got yesterday. Further on it promised to solve my 'erectoin problems'. Then I got another one that said: 'Your cash, ovate-oblong'.

I've never been called Ovate-oblong before. Is that some kind of strange translation of a term of endearment? I quite like it.

Today I shall be taken out to buy boots. Big tall leather boots with a bit of a heel. First of my birthday presents, as I am now on the slippery slope that leads to thirty. I shall be wearing a black armband for the next month to mourn the passing of my youth.

But I can't be too morose - life is good and at least I will be celebrating/commiserating with friends and am not stuck in an obscure African country while the government 'processes' my passport...(I feel for you, step-bro. We'll celebrate when you get back. And some.)

To brighten your day, here's a picture of Best Gay Erotica 07. For all those girls and boys who like a little m/m, enjoy. The lovely and vastly talented Alana Noel has a story in it that I can't wait to read.



And I just worked out how to do links within text and I'm very proud of myself...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Plot? What plot?

Anyone got a spare one they can lend me? I've been buggering about with characters and sudden twists and evil ex-wives all day and come up with naaaaada.

I hate plots anyway. Maybe it's time I went all post-post-modern and dispensed with the whole idea. This woman keeps bumping into this guy (Oh! My clothes have fallen off!) and shivering with unbearable longing (Ohhhh! My hardening nubs!) and then they have sex. It's erotica, right?

Sigh. I have this hunch that the story has to rise organically from the characters. Quite what that means, I'm not sure. But I'm sticking with it. So the girl has to have a point, and the story has to have an Arc, apparently, and Conflict and a Resolution. I'll keep niggling away and something has to turn up. Because I can't just spend the rest of my life making up ridiculous stories and then deleting them and making up other ones, can I? The sitting room is covered in post its with question marks and starting to look like Will Self's office. But less tidy.

Monkeys, typewriters, etc. Here's hoping.
Baby Panda

I just realised what I did. Monday morning and I put up a picture of a horrible ugly little creepy crawly. Yuk.

Sorry.

To make amends, here's a baby panda.
(Thanks to Miss Syl for pointing me in the direction of this clip.)

Country life



Street noise, traffic, indicators, motorway, horns, engine, miles and miles of engine. Drive for about forty minutes from Glasgow's neon and smoke filled centre, and the roads start to get rougher. The greenery gets slowly wilder, the grass longer, the trees more ragged. The houses peter out. Mountains. Kestrel.

Stop the car, get out and close the door and

Bang the silence hits you deep and velvet and sweet. Stretching out across moors and water and sky. Endless silence. A clean air universe. Mist rolling over the hilltops, the loch as still as a mirror.

Dive into the undergrowth, tangled branches of birch and oak and rowan, brambles catching at your clothes, uneven ground, marsh. Mushrooms. Trek for two hours, circle till the green has soaked right into you.

Drive home.

In the house, strip and check each other's soft, warm places. Find black dots, the bodies of ticks with their heads buried in your flesh. Use tweezers - 180 degree anticlockwise rotation and pull. Burn the bodies. Disinfect.

I hate midgies and ticks and clegs (horseflies) and spiders and thorns. But perhaps it helps keep the silent places as they are, empty of people and crowded with life.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Morning pages

If I was really clever, I'd have a little tune starting up now, so that as you read this the strains of

'..Yellow is the color of my true love's hair
In the morning, when we rise
In the morning, when we rise
That's the time
(That's the time)
That's the time
(That's the time)
I love the best...'

- because I woke at half six with the dawn and had a whole hour and a half of just me and the milkmen. Somehow it feels like at that hour everything is much clearer.

Last night we went to an auction, deep in the Southside of Glasgow. Such a strange world. Boxes of junk, chandeliers, dealers, wardrobes, china, dust and the smell of smoke and booze from the crowd. The rising anticipation, the fast patter. It's almost a sport. There were people there (old ladies, mostly) who weren't buying anything. Just going for the thrill.

I loved the back and forth volleys, the competition of bidding. The strip lighting, the shed full of people all brightly lit and various.

But part of me felt like a traitor, and it's something I feel often these days. Like a spy. I'm out in the world, not participating, just watching. Storing images for later use. Gleaning information. The back and forth of books - I walked across the muddy parking lot and think: 'this is just like Peter Carey's first novel, the one with the angel'. Every experience is framed by the books I've read. Did I say read? I mean, devoured, swallowed, swam in, injected.

And I saw the pink/orange sky behind the red tin roof, and tried to work out how I'd write it. How I'd describe the people in the shed. Sometimes I think books are an affliction. Once trapped inside them, you see the whole world through a prism of words.

Until the morning, when you wake up warm and slow. The words have turned to dreams overnight, and are renewed.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

To do list

If you're a Libra, you will never be able to make a decision. I once burst into tears holding a menu in a restaurant because I just couldn't make up my mind. (And yes, this was as a grown adult.)

Today I have a long list of things I should do. Mostly stories. It goes:

Cuba
Fake lesbian
Punk
Housebound novel/Housebound novella (Oh great, a choice within a choice.)
Dr Sex
Tax return (I know that one won't get picked til I feel the chill breath of HM Customs on the back of my neck)
Small loves
The poker club


I should just pick one and start it, but I'm feeling like I've got a menu in front of me and the waiter is hovering over my shoulder and the rest of the table is looking at me expectantly.

Ah fuck it. I'm going with Punk, even if it doesn't have the most pressing deadline.

But maybe Cuba...

Monday, September 11, 2006

watching paint dry.


I can feel the season changing. There's a bit of fog in the air, the sting of autumn. Blank skies. Today I'm spending painting the bedroom walls. White on white. Filling the cracks with fine white paste, sanding down with aluminium paper. Running my hand over the surface to check how smooth it is. Seeing how the light bounces, where it catches on a snag that must be rubbed down.

Prep work.

While I do it thoughts rise up and I rub them down. In the white wall I can see the lurid, vivid dreams of last night fade to nothing.

Yesterday I and the rest of the city visited the church of B&Q, which has no minister. There you can buy just exactly the colours you want. They have a thousand colours, more, shining or flat, each named something poetic, something stupid. We walked past aqua blues and candy dreams and asparagus green. Took the big plain pot of white so heavy you can hardly carry it, brought it home, and now I'm turning the whole house into a blank sheet where the light will settle.

After that, I'm going to start on something else. Probably a book. There's 200 white pages waiting to be filled. Watch this space...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Don't pogo in an underwired bra


The best and the worst part of the weekend's festival was jumping up and down for a full hour while The Fall played. The Fall are the same age as me, and I think I'm just an inch too old for such boisterous exuberance. I'm trying to cultivate a more sophisticated and elegant attitude for my thirtieth year. But the drums went bang-bang and the keyboards clanged and the little sliver of me that is not grown up yet couldn't help it. The stiller Mark E Smith stood, the more I bounced, and the kids all around bounced back and we smiled at each other before giving another little shove.
So civilised.
But now I have aching calf muscles, stomach muscles and bottom muscles. There's a big red friction burn across my ribs from my bra. I hate to think what I've done to my uplift. And my masseuse will be most displeased, as the recovery process for the back did not include Bouncing.

Ah, but for one hour, I felt like Tigger in grown up punk heaven.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Free books!

...in your local library. But are they worth reading? I pay a good whack of overdue fines every month, and I've always, always taken refuge in the library. I remember as a kid thinking - this is too good to be true. All these books, and you can just take them??

But yesterday, I felt just how stale and hopeless the library situation is. I went in to be met by a wall of sub-tropical heat. It's always around 30 degrees in there, so the books are wilting and melting in their plastic sleeves, not to mention the people. The staff hunch over fans, sweating and labouring and trying not to pass out, while they search their faulty computers for books that don't exist.

Half empty shelves. They did a survey recently in Glasgow libraries, asking what people wanted to improve their book-borrowing experience. I looked down the list, and about every single comment was simply: 'More books'.

Yesterday I needed two things - books on dressmaking, and something about the history of Glasgow.
'Oh, no. We don't have much of that.' What, books on the city we live in? 'No. The kids are always in asking, for their school projects, so the two books we have are usually on loan.' Okay, so a subject that is requested constantly and is highly relevant to all of the people that visit is not stocked. Fine.
Dressmaking? She practically laughed in my face. They've got Trinny and Susannah punting three different books on how to make your ass look smaller. Zilch on anything that might encourage you to actually take the intiative, learn a skill and do something creative.

So what do they have in our lovely local library? You can take your pick from twenty one different books on naming babies, babies names, popular names for new babies...TWENTY ONE books. I counted. Has one of the staff got a crazily large family? Or are they just particularly indecisive? Alan Titchmarsh musing on his TV career. Celebrity chefs explaining how they got to be celebs. I'll concede the fiction department is fairly good, with new books coming in sporadically and quite a broad variety from lit to trash. Still, I scrabble to find anything that I actually want to read in there. People seem to come in mostly for the newspapers. But reference? Actual informative, useful books?

It's like a ghost-library in there. The kids come in to use the internet, run around and shout conversations on their mobile phones. I hear they're trying to encourage conversation in libraries, to get away from the old-fashioned Sssssh! image.
Why? What on earth is wrong with silence? About the only haven left in the city used to be the quiet spaces inbetween the shelves. Now the books are just an inconvenient pile of irrelevant junk gathering dust in the corner, while the computers buzz and hum and the staff apologise, again, for not being able to help, and I sigh (quietly) while I wish for a library that stocked classics as well as celebrity biographies, and reference books that weren't all about house makeovers.

Have books had their day? Once google has copied and posted every book they can lay their hands on, and the last librarian has finally hung up her half-moon spectacles, and the last author finally slid into ghost writing Z list 'memoirs' for people that no longer read fiction, what will happen then? Were novels nothing but a fad that lasted a couple of hundred years? Should we abandon literature and turn to speculative chit-chat, gossip rags and virtual reality? Is it still worth even trying to write a book?

I guess the fact that I'm the only one of my friends who actually ever visits a library to borrow books (yes, the only one at all), might well have something to do with it. Part of me thinks I'm not going to evangelise about something like this. If people don't want libraries, or books anymore, then so be it. We'll all dive into the net and lose ourselves in the bright colours and loud noises.

Just sometimes, I long for the rich, silent, endless universe that books can offer. If only you give them the time.