Thursday, 28 February 2008

Podcast and a bit of Coffee news

I listened to the podcast for February’s Beat the Dust. It was quite a surreal experience. It’s such a strange thing to hear someone reading words you’ve written. I closed my eyes and pretended I was being read on the radio. I felt all goosebumpy for about an hour. Melissa read it EXACTLY as I would’ve. Well, obviously a lot better, actually, but she got it all. She got everything. I’m still quite giddy about it now.

It’s weird how the medium of something can change it, without the thing actually changing at all. They’re the same words. But speaking them out loud has given them something else. At the weekend I went to a spoken word event at a coffee shop in town. Poetry is something I used to write a lot of, but now I don’t feel confident about it. I think because I wrote so many terrible poems when I was younger, I’ve stopped trusting in my ability to write poetry. Maybe it will change. I will give it another go, and I will try not to take it so seriously and just have fun with it. I think that’s the trick. There were some brilliant poets and performers at the event. It made me quite nervous, because we’ve got a launch planned for Coffee where we will be reading out loud, and watching others “do their thing” hammered it all home. Public speaking terrifies me. I get The Fear reading stories to kids at the library. So the idea of standing up in front of people and reading something I’ve written is just insane. Maybe I can persuade Melissa Mann to do it instead of me. I could get her to wear my bumblebee costume and everyone will just assume it’s me and then I can take all the credit. Or maybe not.

If we practice, and if we have enough other stuff going on, then I think it will be okay. We made the first prototype up on Monday. I stitched it together with brown thread. (We have decided to go with brown instead of silver for this one. I am okay with that. I’ll use silver next time.) I can’t believe we’ve got it together in such a short amount of time. My ‘zines used to take me ages. I think it helps that there are three of us. Even if one or two of us feel like slacking off, there’s always one left to kick everyone into shape. It’s good. I can’t wait for it to be ready.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Dead Friend Poets Society

My friend likes the moon.
A lot. Or maybe just quite a bit.
But his likes are irrelevant.
Once, we convinced ourselves that our other friend was going to die.
But our other friend didn't die. He just went to France for a bit.
We wrote obituaries for him while he was away.
We imagined he was not "just doing a bit of decorating".
We imagined he was being held by "sex people".
It was a long week.
In fact, I think it was two.
He came back with tales of painting and of doing woodwork.
I think we were a little bit disappointed.
But we were also glad he wasn't dead.

Anyway, my friend who likes the moon has made a website.
It is about the moon.
It is about "all things moon".
We are both pissed off that we missed the eclipse last night.
Clouds are okay sometimes.
But not when you've stayed up till 3 a.m. to see the lunar eclipse.
I have written a story for it.
I love Wikipedia.
And the moon is quite nice too.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

A week of not very many words, unless you count Scrabulous

It’s been quite hard to write this week. I didn’t want to force it, so I just read stuff and thought about things a lot. I wrote something for Coffee that I quite like, but apart from that, I’ve definitely not been buzzing with words. The writing feels very cyclical. Like I’ll have a couple of weeks of words words words, followed by a week of hardly any words at all. I worried the first time, thought I’d lost my mojo, but it came back, and now I recognise the ups and downs and don’t panic about it. I think it came back last night. I finished something I’d been working on before the void, and I got some ideas about other things, and it felt like I was full of words again.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


On Sunday I got together with two friends who also do writing, and we read through each other's stuff and talked about ideas and writing and things that work and things that don't. It was nice to be with people who have the same ideas about things. Once, I did something that I thought would be a good idea, but it turned out to be a quite big, uncomfortable mistake. I'm just not into goblins and vampires. So it was a relief to have a common ground from the start, i.e. I already know these people and they don't do role-playing. I think that's all you can ask for, really.

We set ourself a theme to write stories around: coffee. Two of us already had stories loosely tied to that theme, but we’re working on new stuff as well. It’s quite exciting. We have a deadline set for next Sunday. I have a good feeling about all of this. We might make it into a blog, but we are definitely making it into a chapbook. There will be one hundred copies. I am going to stitch the signatures together with silver thread. I’ve decided on this and no one is going to stop me. I love silver thread. That is that.

Quiet Time

My new story is up at The Pygmy Giant.I've been looking forward to this for a couple of weeks. It's always dead exciting to see a story published. It makes things feel real.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure

Today’s been a strange one. I’ve been sort of living inside a story. Sometimes I wish I could spend all my time doing this, like if the Take On Me video was somehow true, only you could choose your story before you got into it, and getting out was as simple as just thinking: home. There was even a story inside the story, and I was just sitting there, in my room but also in this other place. And I kept just thinking of words and more words, and I wished for some i-thing that could send them straight to my computer rather than me having to type them all. And that i-thing probably does exist, but it is only available in Japan and costs nearly a million pounds. I don’t think I will ever have one.

I’ve just had the feeling all day that I’m somehow in two places. I usually get it when I’m on the bus to work. My head feels like it’s in a kind of syrup, and I want the journey to go on forever. I want never to arrive.

When we were little, my sister and I lived in a cave in Mexico for years. It was a big cave, and there was a lot to do - we swam, we danced, we partied. But the cave was also her bedroom, denned up to the max with blankets and fairy lights and up-turned chairs. Existing in two places at once was not a problem then. And I think a lot of that is because we didn’t analyse any of it, we just took it for granted. So that is what I am going to try to do more of, to see if it makes me any less fuzzy when I’m next in two different places at the same time.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Letter Number Fifteen

Well, I think selling my soul to the devil has definitely paid off this year. I have a story online at the glory that is the Winter 2008 edition of Straight From The Fridge, and I will also have stories in The Pygmy Giant and Dicey Brown in the next few weeks. Eeek!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

In My Mouth

A story I wrote called In My Mouth is up at the brilliant Beat the Dust. I am quite chuffed. You can download the chapbook and print it off if you want to, and at the end of the month it will be available as a podcast, with Melissa reading all the stories/poems. I think it will be a strange thing to hear someone reading a story I've written out loud. I'm very curious and excited about it, though.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Who would win in a battle between Joan of Arc and a Bumblebee?

Whenever there is a fancy dress party, I always go as a bumblebee. It’s never much of a disguise, even though I’m wearing a mask, because everybody knows it’s me. My bumblebee self has become part of the furniture. I do love my bumblebee costume, but lately I’ve been thinking about alternative costumes. The poncho that I wear when I’m cold looks a bit like chain mail, and every time I wear it (which has been a lot lately) I feel like Joan of Arc. A bit, anyway. It’s made me think about maybe being Joan of Arc at the next fancy dress party I go to. I’ve already planned out the tin foil-covered cardboard sword of my dreams. In fact, I think a lot of my costume would involve tin foil in one way or another. But it would be good. Well, in my head it’s good. I hope there’s a fancy dress party soon, so I get to try it out.

I think I could really get into character, as well. As a bumblebee, you can buzz a bit, but that’s really as far as it goes. But I could have quotes lined up if I went as Joan of Arc. Like “Hi, I’m from Rouen. Have you ever been to France?” And maybe I could even say it all in French. I would definitely say “poisson rouge” A LOT. And I could be all blase about the god stuff, say things like “Look, I knew nobody would take me seriously, what with me being a girl and everything. So I said god told me to do it. Who’s gonna argue with that? It’s not like I can’t wield a sword well. I mean, look...” and then I’d get out my tin foil-covered sword and sweep it around above people’s heads. It’d be brilliant.

If it was the end of the world, would we know it, and if we did, would we feel fine?

If there were any groundhogs in Derby, they would have most definitely seen their shadows today. Which means I will be wearing my poncho and fingerless gloves whilst writing for another six weeks. Ho hum. I’m glad it wasn’t Groundhog Day yesterday. Yesterday was all kinds of crazy weather. The sky turned black and it began to snow and hail. This lasted for about ten minutes, and then it was as if nothing cold had happened at all. I had to turn the light on, because my room got so dark. It felt as if the world was ending. And it made me think about it quite a bit. Sometimes I imagine things like this. Everything could come crashing down without any warning at all. And even if we were warned about our impending doom, what could we really do about it anyway? So I don’t think we’d be told, and it would just happen, and that would be the end of that.