Thursday, July 31, 2008

Big Wide Open Spaces

Well, we survived the journey, despite yet another motorist on the M1 trying to smash his way through to the other carriageway. His accident occurred at almost exactly the same spot as the accident we witnessed in May (also on the way to Scotland), and, it must be said, as the accident in which my mother and I were involved in 1986. I think someone is trying to tell me something (to stick to the M40, perhaps). This time, however, there were no injuries. No hands needed to be held. And we carried on our way in awe of the severely bent, but intact, crash barrier. I really thought he was a gonner.

An hour later, and we were at Helenmh's where we finally got to meet Smudge (renamed 'Spludge' by the small girl). I thought Helen very brave to have us, considering that the small boy arrived with sick bowl in hand. But he was fine, and after a good natter and some great food, we were on our way again. We made an overnight stop at my sister's (more good food, more nattering, and a stupidly late night) before making the final push for the Highlands - only 460 miles to go, on five hours' sleep...

Three cans of Red Bull later and we pulled up outside what is now our home for six weeks. It is a tiny house (the kids are all in together), but it's really comfy, and we're loving it. It's not the inside, you see; it's the outside. There's lots of it. Lots.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dettol & Dioralite

You can guess, can't you?

We've all had it, all five of us, in forty-eight hours. Actually, it's longer than that now, because the small boy threw up again today, over thirty-six hours after the last time (parents of other small children will understand why this is so unfair). Only this time he did it at school, at pick-up time, right in front of the assembled parents. He also managed to splat three other small children and a teacher in the process. Oh, God. [hides face in hands] I'm tired.

We leave for Scotland tomorrow. No more school now for small boy and, given that he had to take yesterday off too, we might as well have gone on Saturday... except for all the vomiting on Sunday, of course.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Have You Forgotten Something?

Do you ever get that feeling that you've left a half-finished cup of tea lying about somewhere? Or at a party, when you've put your glass down, moved away from it, and taken another glass? You never quite lose that feeling that there's something, somewhere, waiting for you.

I do it with shorties too. I think them up in my head during the school run (or whenever else I have no means of committing them to paper/silicon), and put them down somewhere while I wait for the chance to write them. I forget, of course, everything - the characters, the plot, the dialogue. The whole lot vanishes somewhere between thinking how brilliant it all is, and realising I can't remember a word. Just to make it worse, I never quite lose that feeling that I have forgotten something important. It is very erksome, and somewhat distressing.

Well, yesterday, I did it with chocolate. I put two squares of Dairy Milk down somewhere, and forgot where I left them. All afternoon and evening (school run, shopping trip, cooking, kids' bedtime, cinema) I could hear them calling (but not loudly enough for a positive location).

Well, having finally given up on them, I went to the fridge for some more, and you know what? There they were.

Some (admittedly, very small) part of my brain was actually working: I'd put the chocolate where the kids can't reach it, where it was sure not to melt, and where I'd be certain to find it again later.

If only I could be that clever with my missing shorties...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Determined - My Writing Word of the Moment

In November last year Womagwriter posted the following quote, pinched from J A Konrath’s blog:

There's a word for a writer who never gives up: Published

It struck a chord with me at the time, and even though months have gone by, this remark keeps popping into my head.

It is a welcome visitor just now. At the moment I am smothered with work, a mountain of washing, a house that is buried under five years’ (of not more) of junk, the demands of three small (but lovely) children, and endless paperwork of other people’s making. As soon as I stop to write, the whole world crashes down around me, and the result (not surprisingly) lacks lusture.

I can imagine that these are the circumstances under which people consider giving up; but I’m not. Why? Because of JAK’s remark. Because the only way to be one of the two in three thousand slush-pile survivors is to keep going. And because I don’t want them writing on my grave: “Could have made it, but didn’t try hard enough.”

What’s your 'writing word of the moment'?

I have to tell you that the highlighter is Photoshoppery; I don't want you thinking I'd do that to my beloved dictionary.