Writing In The Wild

‘I don’t want to go.’

‘Yes, you do.’

‘What are you going to do for me in exchange for going out and speaking to people?’

‘I’ll fix your phone screen.’

‘Good deal.  I prefer messaging to speaking.  Actually, I hate people.’

‘No, you don’t.’

‘I don’t.  But how bout reading?  Can I stay home and read?’


‘Harsh, dude.’

But I left Neil in the kitchen with my phone, working on his end of the bargain.

I got in the car.

We drove.

‘Y’know, let’s just go on a road-trip.  C’mon.  I don’t really need to do this.  Mairi, don’t make me go in.’

‘Get out of the car.’

‘I’d probably get more writing done at the at the house.’

‘You wouldn’t, though, Mummy.’ Isla pipes up from the back.

‘Who asked you?  And seriously, HOW OLD ARE YOU?’

She just looked at me.  Like, into my soul.  That kid has been making me pull up my big girl pants since before she was born.

So I went.  To a short story workshop.  That involved other people.  And we weren’t in my house.

It was at the library.  For five minutes, it felt like being back at school.  I had a new bag, a notebook, a pen.  Because, y’know, writing.  Did I mention it wasn’t at my house?

So, introductions.  I don’t remember what I said.  Whatever it was included KID and BLOG and NOT AN ADVERT.  HI.

Then there were some hand-outs that made me realise I’m a bit rusty on the short story front.

Like, did you know that 2 or 3 characters are enough characters?  And shit has to happen to them?  And the story has, y’know, an ending?  And then you WRITE ANOTHER ONE?  I had NO IDEA.

And I’m only being halfway sarcastic.  Finishing things has always been my issue.

And again, not being funny here, but I have issues with ass-on-seat-and-finish-the-shittin’-story-thing.

I’ve missed the freedom of fiction.  Anything can happen.  And I love the point where writing becomes automatic for me, and I don’t have to think about where the next word is coming from.

Take this snippet.

The fruit was waxy on the table.  Ashtrays smoldered with lipstick edges. Steepled hands and toothpicks, things unsaid stuck in cheeks.  The room buzzed.  He smiled.  She did not.  But the look on her face said, what is she wearing?

I figured that I was writing to this photo.



Other than that, where the shit did that come from?

Photo: I’m related to all those people.  Mostly, my grandparents sitting in the front.




I Should Take My Own Writing Advice

I’ve been writing for longer than you think.  I’ve been writing for longer than I think sometimes.  I used to write fiction, had five novels on the go.  Used to write short stories longhand.  On my bedroom floor.  When I was 25.  I used to draft things, even when people said to leave that shit in.  I used to type my writing at 3 in the morning, while blasting music I found on Napster.  That’s how far back we  go.  Even farther than that.

I used to run writers groups for young writers that I am now OFFICIALLY too old far.

I got some stuff workshopped at Uni, had stuff in school papers.  They spelled my name wrong.  Twice.  It ain’t that hard.

Then I left.  To write.  To travel.  To get over myself.  And others.

I also left the novels unfinished.  The poems well-hidden.

I took jobs where I edited other people’s writing.  My red pen was purple.  I wrote 5O word artist bios, research reports.  Stuff with charts.  And numbers. Company newsletters, life-coaching worksheets.

And then, Neil says one night, ‘I’ve never read anything that’s yours.’

I started this blog to write stuff that was mine, that might be enjoyed by people who aren’t Neil.  Or my parents.

I tried a thousand words of fiction.  Again.  They got burned.

We moved here and I thought about hiding and writing and actually finishing something.

I spend A LOT of time telling others they should be writing.  And it’s true.   You should be. But so should I.

But before I start again, I’ve thought about HOW.

And this is what I got.

Write like nobody’s reading. Yet.

Write for you.  But write with someone in mind.  Write to them.  Tell them everything.

Write dialog like real talk.  Because that’s what it is.

Aim for 500 a day.  Less is OK.  More is gravy.

Work on your schedule.  I can’t write at 3am anymore.  After I’ve had coffee, I am a morning writer.  Those people used to scare me.  But I get it now.  Thank you.

Don’t talk.  Write.  Write now.

Screen your calls.  Ignore everyone but your children.  If your children are being annoying, work it in somewhere.

Write more than you talk, but read more than you write.

Do you.  If you write better with music on, blast it.  If you don’t, don’t.  Loud depressing music with intricate lyrics used to work for me.  Not so much anymore.  Now I prefer instrumental stuff.  Like the dishwasher.

Put your heart on the page.  Or the screen.  Or that envelope on your kitchen table.

And if it sounds like writing, re-write it.

What works for you?

Tell me everything.
















These Are The Hands

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary.  If you’ve been following along you may know that Neil wasn’t actually home for it, but he’s back today.  And the house is happy again.

Now.  I’m quite fond of complaining saying my husband is decidedly unromantic.

Today, this happened.


‘Mumma, what are you doing?’

‘I’m calling your father.  And if he hasn’t left yet, you’re gonna learn some new words.’

And then this happened.

‘Please tell me you’ve left?’

‘Shall I tell you where I am?’

‘Are you driving?  Because I miss your face, and…’

‘And, I can see the house from here.’

You’re here?!  You are SUCH a bastard.  A wonderful bastard.’

And five minutes later there was an actual group hug in my kitchen.

And I totally take back the whole unromantic thing.  Or something.

More good things from this week…

Fave anniversary gift/bookmail:



Favourite sappy/albeit appropriate country song:


Fave FB memory:


Fave Isla photo:


It’s been a good four years/nearly eight, really.

Here’s to the rest!


(Post inspired by life and love and My Urban Family.)















Welcome To The Pub

1._lucy_does_a_tv_commercial (1)I’ve decided I’m gonna be a bit freer on this here blog. I’m feeling a bit more isolated than usual these days and I feel like I need to connect/write/talk more.

Truth is, I don’t get out as much as I used to. Skye is often CLOSED or some shit. I sign up for things out of the house that are canceled. For reasons. Like I’m the only one interested.

I get very excited when my PAs arrive in the morning. (I have two people who come in on different days to help me Isla-wrangle.) The mothering is mine, because she is, but there’s some physical shit that I can’t do. I’d like to do ALL THE THINGS and worry every day that I am not ENOUGH. And if you’d like to bash me for having someone open her juice or cut her strawberries, or lift her out of the bath, then go ahead. Because it’s nothing worse than I’ve said to myself.

Whoah. Tangent. Sorry, not sorry.

My point is. I get excited when PEOPLE come in to my house.

I’m like HI PEOPLE. Allow me to tell you ALL THE THINGS. I can be a bit full-on. Sorry, really sorry. I even annoy myself.

And so. I’m here. Hi.

Some current truths:

Isla and Neil are indeed my everything. I’m trying to work on that, so I don’t annoy them. And so I get myself back. But for now. There’s us.

I miss my friends. In Edinburgh. In New York. Anywhere that I am not.

Every time Neil goes away for work weeks, I feel bad. I miss him, yes. I know he’s working for us, yes. I know it could be worse. He’s not in the military. I mostly feel bad because everyone hauls out their calendars to make sure I’m ‘covered’ overnight. In case I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Which has never happened. *knocks on head, like it’s wood.*

My pre-and-postnatal Anxiety has never gone away. These days, it’s Generalised. Which is a heap of fun. I take a teeny tiny green-and-yellow thing called Prozac with my morning coffee.

I used to cry every day. Worry that I haven’t memorised Isla’s face enough. I still do those things. But now I’m medicated. The crying jags are shorter.

The coffee is stronger and I do three cups a day.

I ask Neil to hide the junk food, and then get mad when I can’t reach the cheese balls. And the marshmallows. But I never eat them together.

I worry that I sit too much. And I feel bad when I stretch out on my bed.

I get really involved in TV shows and books after Isla goes to sleep. I’m taking it almost personally that Bloodline is canned after season 3.

And it sucks that Neil has another Edinburgh week this week. And he had one last week. And we won’t be together for our wedding anniversary on Thursday. I should grow up. It could be worse. But it still sucks.

So, that’s all my shit for now.

How are you?

25 Things About Me

  1. I was born in Dallas, TX
  2. I grew half-way up on Long Island, NY.
  3. I wrote my first short story about a family of mice when I was 7.
  4. Purple is a way of life.
  5. I have CP.  It’s not a BFD.  But sometimes it sucks.
  6. I’m 36.  And I’ve recently started to look my age.  It’s kinda neat.

    This is a picture of me when I wasn’t 36.  I don’t know what was happening on my head.
  7. When I was younger I wanted to act on TV just so I could forget my lines and end up on the blooper reel.
  8. My mouth/mind is more dirty than you think, unless you know me.
  9. I’m a LOUD introvert.
  10. I don’t like Paris in the Spring time.  Or any other time.  But it has given me some stories to tell.
  11. My favourite cities are NYC, Edinburgh, Seattle, Florence, Prague, and Bruges.
  12. I did A LOT of traveling when I was in my 20s.  Some of it was solo.
  13. I’m fluent in Italian-American-New-York-English and sarcasm.  Basically the same thing.
  14. I’m maybe not the country girl I thought I was.
  15. But country is still my first music love.
  16. I once had a saltire painted on my face for St. Andrews day.  At work.  All day.
  17. My spirit fictional characters are: Harriet The Spy, Darlene Conner, Anne Shirley, and any character Jeanine Garafolo has ever played.  And Lucy Ricardo.
  18. I used to be a book snob.  Now, not so much.
  19. I love true-crime documentaries.  And Judge Judy.
  20. I quote movies in regular conversation and most people don’t know what the shit I’m talking about.
  21. I like most people.  But not so much the people who don’t know what the shit I’m talking about.
  22. I’m a narcissistic pig.  Not really.
  23. I would pretty much do anything for my family and friends who are family.  Even the Yankee fans.
  24. I tried to write this list without mentioning Isla and Neil.  But they are my heart.
  25. If I’ve ever asked you how you are or what’s going on in your life, it’s because I actually care and honestly want to know.


Your turn.

Overheard In My Kitchen

Isla:  Mum, you ran OVER my Bugles!

(We have graduated from Mummy/Mumma to plain Mum when she’s pissed at me.)

Me: I’m sorry, does that really um, grind your gears?

Isla:  What?

Me: Never mind.

Sometime later…

Isla:  I’m still hungry.

Me:  I’ll fix you a plate.  You better eat what I give you.  (Ham, grapes that I thought were olives, and raspberries.)

Me, again:  Isla, c’mere and get your deconstructed sandwich.

Isla:  That’s not a sandwich.

Me: Hence the word ‘deconstructed’.

P.S.  She ate a lot today.  Most of it was healthy.  Don’t write letters.


I found this on the internet.  It’s true.  And appropriate for this post.










More about my sandwich artistry can be found here.




Coffee and a Visit

Hello!  How’s the week treated you?  I hope you’re all good, but even if you’re not, let’s put the world to rights.

If we were were having coffee show you my favourite picture from this week.


Isla decided my wheels needed redone.  I was very happy with them.

Some things:

If she says she’s experimenting, she doesn’t get in trouble.

She knows my favourite colour.

We have rolls of wallpaper for her painting experiments.  Next time this happens, I’m gonna drive all over that stuff.  Thanks for the nudge, Sally.

Yesterday, we took Isla to the park where I kindasortamaybe attempted to be social with people who don’t know my sense of humour.  Ask me how that worked.

After that, the plan was to find a bookshop and have lunch at our favourite seafood shack.  No parking and a depressing closed sign meant Isla got a nap in the car while we just circled around the island listening to Eric Bibb.

This was cool too, because, y’know, Neil and I actually talked.  Which is something we still like to do.  Bonus is when we’re road-tripping with music on, and not talking about kid stuff.  And I’m very proud of my city-boy husband who is comfortable enough with country driving that he can now y’know, drive and talk at the same time.

I thought I’d have a new secondhand book stack to show you today.  But, no such luck.

I actually think I have enough books to be getting on with just now.  Y’know, like the ones in my house and on my Kindle.  Which is also in my house.  Let’s have a silent reading party.  Wherever you are.

In related news, my Kindle is actually falling apart these days.  I didn’t know shit like that happened.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we are kindasortamaybe planning our regularish trip to NY.  However.  We don’t have useful things like dates, yet.  So we can’t plan beverages/pizza/shenanigans, yet

Speaking of beverages, I would so have some with these groovy people wherever they are in the world.

Elsa, Nicole, Sally, Caitlin, Heather, Carol, Bella, Em, Suzie, Christine, Alice, Ritu, Tiffany, Melissa, MeriahLucy, Jackie, Juls, Josy and Emily . Go say hi!

And don’t forget to add your #weekendcoffeeshare post link over at Nerd in the Brain.

Oh, look, we’ve finished our coffee.  Want another one?

Lorna xox

P.S.  If we’ve ever had coffee in real-life, or want to.  And you don’t have a blog or haven’t updated it in yonks.  Please start one or start writing again.  So I can stalk visit you.