Friday, June 29, 2007
I love you so mutch and miss you when your in onther room.
Have a lovely day.
Even I'm not mean enough to suggest he should have proof read it ...
I wish you a lovely and fantastic birthday.
The boys have recently taken to calling me Mumitty, which they sometimes shorten to Titty ...
... much to my blushes when they call me in public.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Apparently my blog is rated as above ...
... on the basis that I've used the word bitch and pussy!I suspect the 'bitch' reference is about this fellow blogger ...
... and pussy???
I once described G as being a pussy cat.
Ooooh - better protect the kiddies from that kind of language, eh?
I'd thought it might have been connected to my cats who look like Hitler post, but apparently not.
Click here to rate your blog.
Thanks to Rachel for the link.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I've finished reading Take Off Your Party Dress by Dina Rabinovitch.
In a no-holds-barred narrative, Dina focuses her unflinching journalist's eye onto her life over the last couple of years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
This is Dina's story, but it's also much much more.
Her criticisms of some of the medical staff (what joy when she comes across one who can get a needle into a vein in one go) will be familiar to anyone who's had so much as a blood test or who has felt they are seen as a symptom rather than a person.
Analysing the cynical way drug companies sink their resources into the search for a cure as opposed to prevention (less lucrative) she expresses the anger and frustration of us all.
And she does all this with wit, wisdom, humour and insight.
In some ways it may appear that Dina's position is very different from that of many other women - private treatment, access to the top consultants, phone conversations with Madonna, a session with a Vogue stylist to choose post-mastectomy clothes ...
But in every important way, Dina articulates the voice of any women with breast cancer.
Denial, fear, trying to 'fit cancer in' round the demands of a large extended family ...
Her feelings about the loss of her breast, her hair ...
How she feels as a women dealing with male doctors ...
These are issues every women can relate to.
This is what Dina has to say about losing a pound a week and realising the cancer is back:
'This is the real indictment of the times I have grown up in, more even than the fact that cancer is on the increase all around us. Cancer is running at one in three in the UK, one in four dying of it but, bad as that is, it seems to me worse that what really marks me as early twenty-first century woman is this: I'm welcoming the weight loss.'
I said it before and I'll say it again: This is an Important Book.
Now it's over to you.
My copy of the book is inscribed:
For Kate, Towards a cure! and with love, Dina (May 2007)
It came to me via Minx and Cailleach, whose blog URLs are listed in the cover, now joined by mine.
I will send the book to the first person leaving a comment requesting it.
(You'll need to email me at info at debialper dot co dot uk to give me an address to send it to.)
You then read, blog, pass it on.
There's another version of this blog chain currently in the US here.
Of course you can also buy the book and help raise money.
As Dina says,
Towards a cure!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I want to put Shimshon on my sidebar, but he refuses to go.
I have some weird version of Blogger.
When I updated a while back, it changed/improved the posting, but the template etc stayed the same ie using html.
I didn't even know this wasn't the case for everyone 'til I helped Meloney set up her blog and saw how easy it was for her to add links etc.
So does anyone know how I can coax Shimshon onto the sidebar so I can show my allegiance to the Shameless Lions?
Apart from leaving half a slain antelope there?
Monday, June 25, 2007
6 & 7 July 2007
The site is just an hour by train from London and Lille, and on the direct Eurostar route from Paris, Brussels and Avignon.
* if you leave it too late to book, just turn up on the day!
A literary festival with a difference ... open access and packed full of enthusiasm and invention.
Here's what they say about themselves:
London Lit Plus (LL+) is an open festival, which means anyone can participate, and anyone can hold an event. All you have to do to be included is to submit your event, and we’ll add it to the list on this website. We want to showcase all the wonderful literary goings-on in London that we can in a two-week period.
The only conditions for entry are that it must be literary, it must be within the M25, and it must be taking place between the 29th of June and the 13th of July 2007.
We’d particularly like independent publishers and booksellers and schools to get involved, but everyone is invited.Click here to see the events already scheduled.
They've even got t-shirts ...
Thanks to Sarah for the link.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
This was yesterday ...
8.50am Take LG to school.
9.10am Back home, check urgent emails and gulp caffeine.
9.30am Leave to go to dad by bus and tube across London.
Work on ms I'm editing while on tube.
(Had phone call last night saying dad had been rushed to hospital with severe SOB - shortness of breath - and was 'extremely ill'. But when I phoned again at 10.45pm they said they were discharging him!)
11.15am Arrive at dad's. He's not there! Rush round to his GP - he's not there either.
Just about to start scouring streets when I have a brainwave.
Phone hospital - they kept him in after all.
12 noon Having packed a bag for dad, leave to get bus to hospital.
1.00pm Arrive at hospital. He's not too bad, though very frail.
Staff nurse and I try to discuss care options with him but he's having none of it.
2.30pm Leave hospital. Bus, tube, bus back home.
4.00pm Arrive home. L is already here for pre-arranged meeting.
4.15pm G drives me and L to FB's school for meeting to finalise parents' newsletter which L and I have been working on.
5.40pm Leave school and walk home.
6.15pm Arrive home and gulp down some food.
6.45pm Leave again to go to park for Dulwich run.
7.15pm LG runs 1500m.
7.45pm G runs 5km.
8.15pm Back home. Clean up. Make tomorrow's lunches. Get kids to bed. Start editing.
PS. This is not an elaborate excuse to get out of doing memes!
And I know Cailleach isn't the first to nab me for this.
And (guilt, guilt) I now can't remember who else it was ...
8 things about me ... gasp.
Thing is I'm so rushed - 2 manuscripts to edit plus my dad was rushed into hospital on Wed.
(I know - it's emotional blackmail.)
Am I allowed to cheat by linking back to 5 things and asking that you let me off the other 3?
You wait ages for a decent literary event close to home, then two come along on the same date.
On 29th June, Natalie will be at the Apple Mac store in Regent Street doing a presentation (scroll down to post on 6th June) on how she turned this into a book.
I've read the book and it is full of wit,wisdom and beauty. (Bit like Natalie then ...)
And on the same day ...
Martin Millar will be launching Lonely Werewolf Girl at my fave indie bookshop, the Bookseller Crow on the Hill ...
who are using the occasion to celebrate their 10th birthday.
And that date also happens to be ...
... my birthday.
So - do I go there?
Or somewhere else all together?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
If, like me, you instinctively support the Davidas when they take on the global greed-merchants, pop along to her blog to give her a shout and let her know she's not alone.
Funny that ... I never sat down and wondered about how or what I would blog ...
The way I do it just seemed like the only possibility.
I've realised recently that my blog voice, Real Life voice and fiction voice are all one and the same.
That could be a symptom of a lack of imagination on my part or it could be that I've managed to achieve consistency in at least one area of my life.
What about you?
Do you have a range of different voices that you can call on depending on the arena and circumstances?
Big thanks as ever to Maxine for commenting on the Penguin blog and giving a shout to myself and Clare as examples of good author blogs.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Here's an excerpt for your info anyway:
...book bloggers have also brought another, less salutary influence to bear on literary culture: a powerful resentment. Often isolated and inexperienced, usually longing to break into print themselves, bloggers — even the influential bloggers who are courted by publishers — tend to consider themselves disenfranchised. As a result, they are naturally ready to see ethical violations and conspiracies everywhere in the literary world. As anyone who reads literary blogs can attest, hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned. And the scorn is reciprocated: Professional writers usually assume that those who can, do, while those who can't, blog.
In fact, despite what the bloggers themselves believe, the future of literary culture does not lie with blogs — or at least, it shouldn't. The blog form, that miscellany of observations, opinions, and links, is not well-suited to writing about literature, and it is no coincidence that there is no literary blogger with the audience and influence of the top political bloggers. For one thing, literature is not news the way politics is news — it doesn't offer multiple events every day for the blogger to comment on. For another, bitesized commentary, which is all the blog form allows, is next to useless when it comes to talking about books. Literary criticism is only worth having if it at least strives to be literary in its own right, with a scope, complexity, and authority that no blogger I know even wants to achieve. The only useful part of most book blogs, in fact, are the links to long-form essays and articles by professional writers, usually from print journals.
Of course, now that I've linked to the article, this will no doubt been seen as evidence of that last line.
I have only one response to that: 'Am I bovvered?'
Thanks to Working Words for the link.
- techy mate came round yesterday. As a result my browsing has transformed from snail on barbiturates to greyhound on amphetamines. Whoosh ....
- G and First Born had a big row. I just managed to prevent FB from cutting up the Father's Day card he had spent hours making. Instead, he took his revenge by applying a thick layer of glue to G's chair!
Friday, June 15, 2007
I'm grateful for the opportunity to have become the latest link in a chain that should take it on a wide-ranging journey through the blogosphere.
Lee told Minx here.
Minx blogged about it here.
She sent it to Cailleach who blogged about it here.
And then sent it to me.
I'm going to read it now, blog about it when I've finished and then pass it on to the first person who emails me requesting it.
(info at debialper dot co dot uk)
They will then blog about it, put their name and url in the front cover, and pass it on to the next person.
Oh and by the way, Dina blogs here.
And any money raised from sales of the book goes here.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It sometimes seems a bit random ...
For example, I know of mentions that the alerts don't pick up ...
And sometimes it tells me about ancient history, with no indication why a particular site should crop up now ...
Anyway, today I got this link to an online Chatshow interview I did a couple of years ago, when Trading Tatiana was published, and thought it might amuse if you haven't already seen it.
One of the few bits that don't make my toes curl in embarassment is when I'm asked for my favourite diva dressing room demand (!) and I say, 'An ashtray.'
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I've adopted one of the Shameless lions.
I resisted for ages.
I'm too busy, I told myself.
I have to focus.
I need discipline.
I'm blogging too much and writing too little.
But then I popped into Shameless's blog in an unguarded moment.
And saw that 44 out of 48 lions had been adopted.
And there were over 100 comments on the original post!
Just about all my long-term blogmates had their own lion ...
I couldn't stand it.
The fact is, I just didn't want to be left out ...
So I'm now the proud adopter of Shimshon!
His name is the Hebrew version of Samson ...
... strong, with rippling muscles and a tumbling mane of hair.
First Born, having just turned 12, will be celebrating his barmitzvah next year.
He will read the portion in the synagogue that corresponds with his Hebrew birthday (according to the lunar calendar).
His portion is ... Shimshon!
FB is half an inch shorter than me, weighs a stone more and has a shoe size 3 times larger.
He also has a tumbling mane of hair that cascades down his back.
So when we came to name our lion, there was only one real possibility ...
We don't believe in coincidence.
Here's my 48 word contribution to the Shameless Lions Writing Circle:
- Well, you always said you wanted a pet ...
- Yes, but I was thinking of goldfish ... maybe a hamster ...
- B-o-o-o-ring ...
- You said you'd never even have a dog!
- Too true, squire. They hump table legs and stick their noses in pooh.
Whereas lions ...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I was going out to collect Little Guy from school.
I got as far as the front door when I realised something didn't feel quite right.
I looked down.
And saw ...
... attached to the sole of my shoe ...
... a pristine white ...
... pant liner.
I haven't read it myself yet, but there have been some rave reviews from the blogosphere.
(Click on the right hand bar of Caroline's blog to find the links.)
Let's hope this is an example for the future ...
... a book picked up as the result of a blog ...
... by a publisher who specialises in finding new authors via the web ...
... publicised by blogs before anyone else even gets hold of it ...
... so that the pre-publication buzz is in place ...
... hopefully resulting in huge success.
If you're in the Manchester area, click here for details of launch events.
Which needless to say will give me very great pleasure!
In answer to the questions some people have asked, the Fayre kicks off on Friday 6th July.
If you come on the Saturday, you pay for one day only and can still camp at no extra cost.
Prices are £45 per adult for both days, £25 for one day only.
13-17 year olds are £15 and under-12s are free.
It's shaping up to be a wonderful weekend.
What do you mean you're not coming???
Don't you want to be able to say in years to come,
'Ah, yes. Wye Fayre. I was there at the beginning ...'?
Click here to see and hear some of what you can look forward to.
And in case you're still not convinced, take a look at this:
WYE FAYRE, our perfectly-formed 5,000 capacity festival takes place on the 6th-8th of July 2007 in the Kent countryside, one hour from London. We've got a stunning line-up of established and up-and-coming international bands and artists with all the festival trimmings you'd expect and plenty more you won't be expecting.
Electroacoustic Club will host The Bimble Inn (as seen at Glastonbury and last year's End Of The Road festival) and there'll be a towering outdoor main stage, the Far & Away Stage, set in 'Dingly Dell,' and The Stage With No Name (the singer-songwriter tent). The Brixton Therapy Centre will have their own big tent, where you can be massaged and generally 'healed' and there's the ingenious 'Play' tent, where kids can entertain themselves, whilst DJs entertain their parents. There are real ale and lager bars, a wine bar and even a converted camper van bar serving cocktails and champagne. There's also great food and ice cream.
Best of all, after the main stage shuts down at midnight, the trees become lit up and the whole site transforms into an after-hours arena of alternative entertainment, including films, Penned In the Margins poets and impromptu acoustic performances by some of the headliners. There are separate fields and acres of space for camping and parking, including a dedicated family camping area, as well as rooms to rent for those of you who aren't happy campers.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
How's that for nifty leap?
Check here for details of an exciting event in Kent Wye on 6th and 7th July (as opposed to Welsh Wye).
'Revel from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning in the stunning grounds of Withersdane Hall, set in the heart of the Kent countryside and only an hour by train from London.
Five stages of folk, rock, blues, roots, Americana, indie, electronica, raw grooves and psychedelia, plus comedy / real ale, real lager, wines & cocktail bars / great food & ice cream tricycles / al fresco record shop / marketplace / alternative healing & therapies tent / free camping & parking / rooms to rent.'
Sounds great, doesn't it?
You can see the full lineup here.
Here's what the organisers have to say about themselves:
'Wye Fayre is organised by a passionate and enthusiastic bunch of live music and comedy promoters, event organisers, designers and musicians.'
L, who told me about it, says:
'It's starting out on a similar scale to what Glastonbury once was ...'
How can you resist?
Tickets available here.
UPDATE: Just realised the links to the separate pages don't work for some reason too techy for my poor tired brain to work out. Each takes you to the main page and you can follow the links from there.
It's a clear sign of the diversity you get in this here blogosphere and a vindication of the decision to acknowledge the role bloggers have to play by officially commissioning them (us!) to cover events.
First up, there's my epic post covering the first couple of days of the Festival.
(Can you imagine how long this post would've been if I'd been there for the full festival?)
Then we have Fiction Bitch's political analysis.
John Baker's published several posts culminating here - some straightforward reporting, others showing how real life situations can inspire good fiction in the right hands.
On the It's a Crime blog, Crimeficreader gives us the Welsh perspective as a regular attendee at Hay.
And so, in his inimitable fashion, does Skint Writer.
Struggling Author shares her enthusiasm here.
You can get the insider's view here from a festival volunteer.
And here from a contributor.
And finally scroll down to the bottom of the comments here to see that we're not just howling at the moon - people do hear us.
Finally, if you missed it all, go here for all the interviews and show details ...
... and here for the free download.
Wear some wellies, close your eyes ... it's the next best thing to being there ...
And Fiction Bitch tagged me a while back on a similar subject.
I'm trying to write, dammit - and it seems to me that writing about how I write is not what I should be focusing on right now ...
So instead, I'll direct you here where you can see some people's responses once they've achieved the holy grail of a book deal.
Here's a little taster ...
'And even before the potential post-publication humiliation, there’s deadline pressure; crippling self-doubt; diets of Entenmann’s pastries and black coffee; self-made cubicles structured with piles of books, papers and unpaid bills; night-owl tendencies; failed relationships; unanswered phone calls; weight gain; poverty; and, of course, exhaustion.'
If you've been following Rachel's blog, you'll know that her cyberstalking nightmare has been ongoing.
Now it seems there has been a resolution at last.
Let's hope FJL now gets the help she clearly needs -
- and her victims get some much-needed breathing space.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Personally I would far rather sit at my laptop and communicate than stand on a platform with all eyes on me.
But imagine how much harder that would be if the words just don't come.
If they get stuck behind your teeth and refuse to tumble from your lips.
And now imagine if that was the case not just in public speaking but in every aspect of your life.
Imagine how hard it would be to communicate - as a child in class or in the playground - or as an adult in every area of your life.
That's the reality for people who stutter.
Mark Arram - best buddie and esteemed founder of the East Dulwich Writers' Group - knows what that's like, having battled with stammering throughout his childhood.
But in typical procative fashion, he's pulled together the various strands of his life as a mentor, counsellor and skilled percussionist and come up with a solution that really works.
The In - Rhythm technique for relieving the anxiety in stammering is concerned with externalising the speaker's voice onto their body through the use of rhythm.
Stammering is a very internal experience: tightening of the chest, butterflies in the stomach, heating of the head, shallowness of the breath, rapid swallowing. All these things happen prior to and during the stammering speech. It is analogous to a spluttering engine where all we hear are the sounds of its faltering parts.
The In - Rhythm technique for relieving stammering tensions does away with having to look 'under the bonnet' of the stammerer by locating speech immediately on the body, diverting any anxiety away with rhythm.
Click here to see some impressive case studies and videos.
The technique is clearly effective.
This is the kind of thing that changes lives ...
Monday, June 04, 2007
(And we've been called a lot worse than that too. See here and here and here.)
Blowhards provide a useful addition to the debate.
(Thanks to Frank at Books Inq for drawing this one to our attention.)
And lookee ... there are intelligent comments on the post too
ie a debate ...
... one thing you can get on a blog that you can't access with print journalism.
Maybe that's what scares them ...
... as I said in a history lesson here.
Anyway, I'm reminded of this quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Just found these further contributions on the subject with yet more insightful comments here and here at Petrona.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
But I've had bad experiences in that area that have left permanent psychological scars.
A few years ago, we were in Bristol where G was running in a half marathon.
No smoking anywhere in the hotel.
But no one will be any the wiser if I just slip into the bathroom, I thought ...
A few puffs in ...
... fire alarm shrieks.
It's me, I think in horror.
I must have activated a smoke alarm ...
'It's ok,' I tell G and the kids.
'It's a ... er ... false alarm.'
A few minutes later, there's frantic knocking on our door.
'Evacuate the hotel!' a voice yells. 'There's a fire alarm.'
What can we do?
I can't tell him the 'fire' was less than a centimetre in cirumference and had been dangling from my lips a few minutes earlier.
So outside we go to join all the other disgruntled guests, workers etc huddled in the car park.
I shrink away to the periphery, casting guilty glances all round.
Can anyone tell?
Will they smell the smoke on me?
What will they do to me if they find out???
I spot a woman I'd met earlier and sidle over to her.
'This is a drag,' I say, twisting my features into a rictus grin.
'OMG,' she replies.
'It was me!
It was all my fault.
I'd sneaked into the bathroom for a crafty smoke and it set the alarms off!'
I've retrieved it now and it's back on my shoulders so I can share the quote with you.
When asked about how she felt about her looks, Sandi replied,
'Too many women have wept good time away worrying about the physical when they could have been reading - or, better yet, writing - a good book.'
Saturday, June 02, 2007
So guess who's up this week ...
Yep - they've quoted from my Hay blog and from Fiction Bitch's post re the festival.
The other 2 blogs quoted were interesting too.
The Midnight Bell and Hodmandod both mention the emergence of new independent publishers - Social Disease, (website currently unavailable) Wrecking Ball and Burning Shore Press.
Then there's Readreverb - publishers of my man in Spain, Steve Redwood.
Click here to see their philosophy.
These add fuel to my theory that this is both the best of times and the worst of times for writers.
'Worst' in that traditional publishing is becoming ever harder to break into ... especially for those whose writing is not considered mainstream or authors whose early books don't go mega overnight.
'Best' in that there are some really inspiring alternatives - a long way from the 'self-published' stigma of yesteryear.
Let's hear it from the glass-half-full posse!