Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Newsflash. I have found a book that is worse than Twilight. No, really

I am commuting to London for a few weeks (hopefully back and blogging next week), and therefore now I am a sophisticated metropolitan. I stride on to the train in the mornings with my small cappuccino and croissant and I do the Guardian crossword (not the hard one), also I have worked out the best place to stand on the tube and I run up the escalator looking purposeful and tutting. However: I forsook the Guardian crossword on Monday and succumbed to something shameful.
People, don't do it, however bad things may seem and whatever your Inner Goddess says. She's written two more, you know. Someone stop her
Yes, I kind of hate myself. Does this mark a low point? Who wants to take advantage of my questionable emotional state to send me a first edition of Thomas Hardy and a contract wherein I may wish to specify in long boring legally unenforceable detail my feelings vis-à-vis caning? Only I have to warn you that I would put the Thomas Hardy straight up on ebay, and I am fairly sure I have not emitted an aura of innocent sensuality since about 1992, if then. Perhaps I'm confusing it with the CK1.

I have finished it, it was quick but unspeakable, I have given it away, we will never refer to it again, and I will just warn you that if you read it on the train people do look at you, especially if you actually cringe with your entire body and go 'uggghhh' every time she refers to her inner goddess. Sorry, man who sat next to me on the train from Kings Cross yesterday, I could tell you were nervous and I was not sure if it was the book or the glittery cupcake. It did kind of go everywhere, didn’t it? Glitter hangs around, as well, doesn’t it? Never mind. You be careful and sit next to someone reading the Telegraph next time.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Saying thank you and a quick update

I am checking in to say thank you so much for all your comments on my last blog post, it was very encouraging. Also I wanted particularly to say to Sarah who said about that terrible sinking feeling you get when people want you to read their books that, yes, I understand completely and I know that feeling, because not only have people done that to me (I once didn’t get beyond the first line of someone’s novel, and yes, I still feel guilty) but I also used to read unsolicited manuscripts for an agent. And it was at this time in my life that I learned a very, very important lesson, which I should perhaps have applied in other contexts: if anyone ever asks you if you are broadminded, you say NO, because no good will ever come of saying yes. Just trust me on this one. If they have to ask, you are not close enough for your being broadminded to lead to any fun. I may think of a way to shorten that and put it on a tshirt.
I hate to be judgmental about wildlife but I really feel this might be the ugliest duck I have ever seen. Is it even a duck? We could not decide
Anyway, so I am going to get my novels up asap, and this is how we will do it: I will make them available, tell you when, and then we will never mention it again: you can read them, or not, as you feel, and I shall be happy and grateful to know that I have uploaded them with the potential of them being read one day by someone. I do not need to know if you have read them, I do not mind if you read the first page, think, NO, and go and eat biscuits or read Twilight, I do not mind if you hate every single one of my characters including the horse they collectively rode in on (there is no horse, this is a turn of phrase. There is a dog called Rex though, I had forgotten Rex) – this is all fine. We can move on. I will still love you. You can read my blog (or not). I have cat pictures. But thank you for your support, as it means a lot to me. X x x look, kisses for you all.
I cannot walk past black/brown/grey spots cat without her having a sniff round whatever I am carrying. Cat, in this bag is a canvas upon which I will paint a picture of Aunty Kath in which she looks as if she has been exhumed, which will cause all the art class to ask if she is as fierce as she looks, and me to reply, yes
I have realised there is a slightly depressing bit in the first novel, despite what I said, but I would like to reassure you that it all turns out fine in the end. Indeed, the only person I have allowed to read my novels who does not actually have to be nice to me as he is not bound by ties of blood/ affection/ mortgage said he ‘never realised I was such a cheerful person’. And that was his only comment (and I feel fairly secure in saying that cheeriness was not a quality he was ever going to admire me for). We have not discussed my novels since. I am saving that one for if I ever become famous for anything and you have to give examples, for an article in the Observer or similar, of when people in the past damned you with faint praise, as I bet no-one ever said that to Kafka.

(In other news: I am painting a picture of Aunty Kath and it is so bad I actually can’t show it to you. I am going to give it to her for Christmas and insist she hangs it somewhere really visible. Also, in an act of minor triumph this week, which is not an easy week, I managed to do this in pole dancing (with no hands). This does not look hard but it is, you have to grip very firmly with your thighs; however, when you have mastered it, you can start to do more complicated moves. Where will it end? I just keep thinking, as I add more kinds of spin to my repertoire and some floor moves like on the Pineapple Dance Studios programme, if things go really, really belly up and I have to look penury and despair right in the eye, which I actually might, although I shall not bore you with my Difficult Situation again, at least I have a marketable skill now! I will be fine).

Friday, 8 June 2012

A post in which I am deeply uncool and ask you to read my novel

Right. After the blinding success of your advice on my hair, (and I want you to know that I wore bright red lippy with it yesterday and it looked very cool), I have one final favour to ask you lovely readers, and then I am so going to leave you alone. Not only will I make no more demands, but I will post constructive things about knitting and take some nice pictures (not of mad cats) and be helpful. All this do I pledge. One more favour only.
Have some Waitrose Lemon Cupcake. Yum, taste of the middle classes, on offer, £2.45 for 4
This is how it is. Years ago, I used to write and it used to amuse me more than most things amuse me (obviously not as much as mad cats. I’ve met someone else who knows where the Mad Cats of Cambridge are, and now I’m stalking a particularly bold furry black one she’s told me about. I know this is an unhealthy development. I’ll let you know if we start work on a Cambridge Cat Map App). Before it stopped amusing me, I cranked out 2 1/2 novels, and I thought they were ok. I mean, Tolstoy wasn’t quivering in his grave, but there were a few bits in them that were funny and sometimes I used to drink wine, read them, and snigger, hur hur hur. Then life got silly and fiction couldn’t compete, and then I couldn’t even read, never mind write, because everything seemed Very Very Serious. Well, now I can write again, and I need to move on to the next novels or poetry (God help me) or whatever is to come, so I want these ones off the table, and I want someone else to read them who is not me. Because, they might be amused, and if not, they might think, this is rubbish and I could write something better and will do it, and then I will have something new to read myself. Who knows? It’s fine by me either way.
The pen is mightier than the sword, although, today, I am ashamed to admit, we brainstormed ways to kill a particular person with my new 2.25mm sock needles (blow them through a tube like darts), so, sock needles are probably mightiest of all
So I am going to try to self publish my novels as ebooks. I don’t know how ebooks work, I don’t know what I am doing, and I am certainly not intending to make any money out of it – it’s a clearing-the-decks exercise which will pay me back spiritually not monetarily (ha!): here is the favour I am asking. I don’t want your money: I want your souls. I know some of you nice people must read books sometimes. If I haul my reluctant arse off to the library with my laptop within the next month or so and work out what to do, would someone read my book? Please? I will do codes (if I can work out how!) so that there are free copies for blog readers. I cannot promise you much, but I can promise you it is not as bad as Fifty Shades of Grey (look, I read the blurb, it did not look good), it is a bit funny, there is a ginger cat in it, and it is not depressing. OK, that’s probably all I can say, but – not depressing! A bit funny! A ginger cat! That’s surely a start! Come on, you’ve read worse than that!

And it would be nice for me, because, when I am sitting grinding my teeth over my laptop in the library, all confused about what a Kindle is, I could think, I am fifty shades of despairing over how to upload my file, but, I will persevere. Because I, Susie, have a potential reader, and, as God is my witness, I will upload this file for them. Hell, I will even run the spellcheck. Because I care.

(OK, I’ve looked at Lulu quickly. This might be doable. OMGosh! Exciting. Off to rewrite chapter bloody 1).

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Blonde ambition (I'm out of blonde quotes now, you'll be pleased to know)

OK. I had my hair dyed. Do you want to see? Do you? Do you, though?
The stuff in the background is lavender and although it looks questionable it is allowed to be there
I look a bit knackered, because I’m having a bit of a week, and also because I am not photogenic. Try to imagine me with a few hours’ sleep and some lippy. I kind of love it. (Nobody say, ‘roots’). It took hours. We went through two applications of bleach and one of toner. After the first application of bleach it went that really unspeakable yellow that hair goes when you’ve had a really bad dye job or indeed done it yourself with some Domestos after a few too many Bacardi Breezers. The hairdresser washed it off and dried it and was saying, gosh, this is looking amazing, and I sat there thinking please God no, not on top of everything else, you as a capricious divinity cannot possibly have sent me orange hair. It is as bad as when the henna went wrong when I was 14 and Keith Smith called me Cheesy Wotsit all term, O what can I do, as obviously the hairdresser is looking enthusiastic even though I showed her the picture and everything. So I nervously squeaked out, do you think perhaps it should be a bit less orange, and it turned out we were only half way through and it was looking amazing for that stage, not as a finished thing.
Gremlin says, why go blonde, I find it incomprehensible
So that shows you that you should chat to your hairdresser all the way through and not get sidetracked reading articles in women’s magazines about how to be happier and make a peplum work, either or. I know how to be happier: shall I tell you? Write lyrics for songs. I have written a song and now I feel much better. All I need now is a McCartney to my Lennon (Dan, I believe you may know more than three chords, and I am looking at you. I am looking at you most pointedly).

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


I have been painting our living room. Our living room has gone unpainted for a while because Partner and I have this ongoing battle about painting things. Partner says we must paint the entire house WHITE like a MAD WHITE CUBE and if I show him dusky blue or grey he looks appalled and disgusted, and it all becomes difficult. I say, other people have colour in their houses why can’t we, let us experiment with subtle coffee colours. Then Partner says, no, WHITE! WHITE EVERYWHERE! And I say, clearly we are not suited, and actually you would probably be much better off with someone else, perhaps I will leave or alternatively you could leave, and Partner says, I cannot leave because I would have to make a lot of trips on the Number One bus with all my books in boxes, so we had better just find a way to compromise and live together. And I say, magnolia? And Partner says, no! WHITE!
Paintings by me
Paintings from etsy and I am reasonably sure there is nothing dodgy on that bookshelf
Anyway, my friend has now moved into a mansion, and after I saw it I decided Partner and I must make a pretense at living like adults, and not e.g. have a hole in the ceiling which is partly covered by a botch job involving handbag interfacing. So I gave in and painted the living room white, and actually I think it looks fine. It makes the room next to it look worse, but, I will move on to that one at some point, although I may do the bedroom next. I am embroidering this cushion to put in it,
I am working up to engaging with the French Knots
and I think I may cut off the back panel and back it with something different, then use the back panel to embroider something else. I have some skull transfers from Sublime Stitching, so I thought that might look nice. Skulls and roses.
I am a brave little soldier
I saw this furry little chap in Cambridge the other day. Is there anything sadder than a dog tied up outside a shop? He was being very brave and patient, and waiting. I bet he was left there for, ooh, a good five minutes. How do they get their faces to look so poignant? It is probably a skill I would do well to master.

(Dye job tomorrow. Me = nervous!).