Right Now

Loving:

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Isla ‘helping’ pack books.

How Isla says ‘Mammy’. And that her new word is ‘cookie’. And that now she says yes as well as no.

Homemade hazelnut lattes.

Being without my mobile phone.

Reading:

City On Fire, Garth Risk Halberg. My initial love for this book has cooled. But I understand that good books are like life, and cannot be interesting all the time.

Cuckoo’s Calling, JK Rowling. Kind of over-written, but somehow moreish.

Watching:

Recently finished Making A Murderer. I think Mr Robot is next.

Listening To:

This week’s writing background was Harry Potter and Miss Saigon.

The update on Serial Season One

Working on:

A story. With a prompt from Gabi Coatsworth.

Anticipating:

Well, we get the keys tomorrow. And we move on Saturday! That’s quite enough excitement for now. Also, Spring.

Making Me Happy:

Thinking about tomorrow. And the weekend. And next week. And on we go…

 

What about you?

This Is What We’re Going to Do

And so, I said yesterday  all the days that I want to write more.

This is how I’m going to do it.

Write 500-1,000 words a day.  Fiction or non-fiction.  Story or essay.

Read a book a week.  Doing Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge to help with this. Although, I really don’t need any help with this one!

Write/Draft one complete short story a week.  From a prompt or my, um, archives.  Open to story sparks, if you’d care to throw them at me.  Might post my efforts here for feedback.

Journal daily.  Not really into the concept of Morning Pages these days.  But we shall see.

Write more snail-mail.  I used to be really big on this.  Freed me up for other writing, and I met some wonderful friends.  Anyone wanna be penpals?

Subscribe to magazines again.  I love mail that isn’t bills.  My favourite magazines have been Lonely Planet Traveller and National Geographic.  What are your favourite magazines?  

And y’know, accountability and all that bullshit  good stuff.  I will mostly report back to Isla, ha!  But I’ll also try to blog here at least three times a week.  More is a bonus and may be a list.

A note on time management.  Isla still takes an afternoon nap.  She’s a good kid.  Words will happen when she sleeps, either in the afternoon or at night.

Let’s see if we can pretend there’s 25 hours in a day.

 

Dear Competition Judges

I’m writing to explain why I did not submit my story for your esteemed competition.

It’s because I suck.  And because I have a toddler.  And because the story has only one line.

‘Whose idea was this?’

Well, mine.

And I was very excited about it.  Until the week I had to write the story was the one week my husband had to work in his city office.  Which meant he wasn’t here to ply me with White Russians until I fell asleep  wrote a complete story.

And did I mention we’re moving?  Yeah, that’s next week.  I’m sharing the home office with empty bookshelves, full boxes and a bedframe.

And we’re still waiting to hear about our mortgage.  Which is y’know, kinda important for the move.  I spent a bunch of time this week gathering proof of residence, because I’m still American.  Apparently.  I sent copies of my green card (I really have one.  It’s actually a stamp.)  And then there were copies of my tax returns.

And I still needed more proof.  Two years of proof.  And so, I suggested we send them a picture of Isla.

I unpacked some utility bills and copied about 40 pages of bank statements.  At the bank. Because who gets paper statements any more?  So I went to the bank and probably rambled on a bit too much, but thankfully the lady at the bank was really understanding. Or maybe it was that thing where customer service people aren’t supposed to call customers really fucking stupid.

At least to their face.

As the paper pile grew, so did my heartburn.  How was I going to scan all this?  And would I like an envelope?

I took my envelope and my kid and trudged to the library.  I scanned four of the 40 pages and hoped for the best.

Even with all this daytime stuff happening, I thought I would be able to write my story at night.  But did I also mention that Law & Order: SVU is really good?  And that there are 5 different episodes a night 34 different channels?

I forget about this stuff when Neil is home.  Because, well, we read a lot.

And then there was Storm Gertrude, the awkward little sister of Storm Jonas.  She rattled some windows and kept me awake.  Which was good.  I got the whole story in my head.   When I got up from two hours of sleep, my new story threads were as frayed as my nerves.

Other stuff is happening that isn’t my story to tell, but I’m having flashbacks to my Grandmother with Alzheimers breaking out of movies and into other people’s cars. Flashbacks to eggnog and bacon-grease and nice teeth and peach polyester not-so-much power-suits.

And how, farther back than all that, she was my best friend.  And I still miss her every day.  These are weird, if somehow appropriate, feelings to have in the midst of packing up to move into my first home, with my favourite husband and my favourite kid, all of which I wish she was here to enjoy.

So, apologies for not writing a comedy that includes a cooking show and a paramedic.  I tried.  But life happens.

And, full disclosure here, I haven’t written a piece of fiction since before Isla was born.

I look longingly at my notebooks and prompt books.

And then I blog.  It would seem that these words are safer.  But I’d like to shake things up again.

The competition entry fee was part of my Christmas present from Neil.  Yesterday, I did some crying while I paid him back.  He didn’t ask, I just felt like a fraud.

I’m even tearing up now.  I can write over six hundred words about not writing.  That’s a real skill.

I’m going to really try at the new house.  Maybe unpack some new characters.

Starting with 500 words a day.  Coffee essential, White Russians optional.

Will write harder,

Lorna

youshouldbewriting

 

 

 

 

 

Comedy Is Hard

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Lucy.  My hero.

And so, I just got my assignment for NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge.  And we have:

Comedy. Cooking Show. Paramedic.

Apparently.

I’ve been waiting impatiently for these writing orders.

Our internet connection is rather slow up here. And then there’s that annoying time-zone issue, so the assignments were out a bunch of hours before I made Neil read mine.

I make him read my important stuff first, because husbands have all the power,  I really am a giant wuss.  About some things.  And writing makes me nervous these days.

‘I think you can do this,’ Neil says.  ‘Comedy.  You’re very funny.’

‘I’m hysterical.’

‘And you like cooking shows.’

‘It’s raw because you didn’t facking cook it!’ I say, in my mediocre Gordon Ramsey voice.

‘And when you cook, we need to call the paramedics,’ Neil says.

‘You were so close,’ I say.  ‘Can I use that line?’

And so.  I was happy with my lot.  And then I got out of bed.  And thought about it.  Read up on the other assignments.

I emailed my best writing friend.  ‘I want your assignment.  And everyone else’s.’

Because comedy is hard.  Because THIS IS FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S FUNNY, DAMN IT is annoying.  And not funny.

‘I’m not funny’, I say to Neil.

‘Is that a joke?’

‘OK, I’m not funny anymore.’  ‘Motherhood has made me, I dunno, obvious.’

‘What the hell are you talking about?’

‘Well, yesterday I made a joke about slipping on a banana peel.  Really.  It was very laboured.’

‘That was yesterday.’

Indeed.

I don’t think you can switch assignments.  So I’ll try with mine.  And I’ll go easy on the Caps Lock.

I PROMISE.

P.S.  If anyone else is um, doubting themselves, genre pointers can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bookshelves Are Concerned

Before I moved in with Neil, I lived in six apartments over five years. Several of my landlords used my rent to pay for ski trips instead of their mortgages. Because that’s a thing. Anyway, there was legal stuff that had nothing to do with me. Except I had to move a lot, and with each new place I unpacked less and less.

When Neil and I met, I was down to my cat and my bookshelves. He bought me a coffee machine, which rounded out the kitchen. But really, my last Christmas party in Glasgow was just us, some friends, the cat and some chicken wings.

We moved in together and the bus-stop downstairs provided a weird kind of opera every Friday night. The boiler stopped working a bunch of times which meant there was a hole in our bedroom floor.  Which the plumber never got the chance to fix.

The old place was interesting. And truthfully, I miss it. It was where I set out pebbles and asked Neil to marry me, and then he turned around and asked me. It was where we landed after the honeymoon. It was where my husband told me I was pregnant.

It was Isla’s first home outside my body.

But when the opportunity arose and we moved to Skye, we were ready. OK, Neil was a little more ready than I was.

Even though we want Isla to grow up in the country with easy access to trees and y’know,  other country stuff, I was afraid we were giving up too much to soon. Things like time with friends.  And easy access to nachos.

But we did it.

Living with my Dad and Anne has been interesting. There’s been laughs and chocolate and episodes of Poirot. I have essentially moved my family in with my parents, and it’s been easier and harder than I thought it would be.

So we are on the move again. The three of us.

I’ve become good at moving. Home has always been more about people than walls for me. But I’m glad there’s a place for my people now.

I’ve never had a whole house to live in. I had a renter’s fear of holes in the walls, so I was careful about hanging the New York skyline that’s followed me through all my moves.

My furniture, including the bookshelves is flatpack, Ikea specials.

I left home at eighteen. The ceiling of my bedroom was purple. Every place since has been rented. And white.

As a twenty-something I would traipse around stores that aren’t Ikea, imagining what my ‘grown-up house’ would look like and the people and pieces that I would fill that home.  I might have even cried a little.

And now, I have my people. And other people who are always welcome to visit. Our furniture might be ‘beachy and distressed’ as per my Google search last night. But our (maybe purple) door will always be open.

 

 

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In February.

Goals For 2016

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Start here.

Part of the re-vamp of this blog will be me participating more regularly in memes, blog-hops and other social blogging projects that I like/make sense to me/want to share with others.

One of those such things is Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and The Bookish.

Today’s list is Resolutions for 2016. I prefer the term goals. Let’s call them goals. See, they’re trees, um, goals.

And here they are with nifty categories.

Writing

Start/continue the journal/letters to Isla and show her that life is mostly beautiful and always an adventure, with a lesson in there somewhere. I’ll also be mentioning that all her weirdness comes from her father. And me. OK, both of us. Sorry not sorry.

Participate as far as I can in NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge. I thought about it last year. This year I’m in.

Write more consistently/constantly, generally-speaking. I want to get back to that person who filled a notebook every night and wrote a story every week. That person was me. And I have writing to do.

Reading

Finish the books I start. This could be said for the ones I’ve started writing, as well. But for now let’s talk about books by other people.

My husband calls me a flippant reader. To illustrate this point, up until a few days ago, I had 57 (!) books on Goodreads listed under currently reading.

I have this thing where if I see something that hits me somewhere, I have to read it RIGHT NOW. All the books. Or at least 57 of them. Then I had a baby. And moved. Either that, or I lost the book. Or fell asleep. Or read the last page. And then picked up another book.

Anyway, 57 became 4. Because, well, I’m currently reading them.

Leave a stack to read through this month, and pack the rest.

Finish that series. And that one. And this one.

Home

Organise the new place, when we get there. Or at least try.

Get new bookshelves. My current ones have followed me around since I was 18. There’s mutual love there. But they are tired. And scuffed. And missing some damn dowels.

Find a mosaic coffee-table. Or maybe make one. Does that mean I get to break shit? And call it art? OK, then.

Paint a wall with chalkboard paint. For Isla. For us.

Life

Let go of anxiety. I’ve had the one with the big A since Isla’s been around. I’d like it to move out already.

Be. Laugh with my kid, and Neil. Read. Write. Drink coffee. Neflix. And chill. No, really.

So that’s 12. Or maybe its only two, and the rest is how I get there.

I shall try. We shall see.

What about you?