A Bigger Splash

Last night we took the train to London to see the David Hockney exhibition at Tate Britain. Thirteen rooms of Hockney artwork spanning six decades. It was wonderful. I didn’t like all of the pieces on display but I loved lots of them, including his double portraits and his overlapping Polaroids. Photography was not permitted, but I found this short video online which gives  a taster:

Our tour ended in the gift shop. Well, don’t they always? But for once, I didn’t mind.






New Year, New Notebook

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? We haven’t quite reached the middle of January so I’m going to go ahead and wish you all a Happy New Year.

Yesterday my buddy Independent Clause blogged about a stationery accessory she bought over the holidays. You know you’re obsessed with stationery when you buy it accessories.

Still, I’ve been known to obsess a bit about notebooks myself. Here’s my most recent purchase:

Honestly, could it be more perfect for me?

You know what, it could. Give me a second. Yup, much better:


What’s your obsession?



Poetry & Songs

Last week I relied on poetry to get me through creeping despair. This week another poem lifted my spirit. Driving in the car I heard the most gorgeous poem on Start The Week. It was called In Wales Wanting To Be Italian and was recited by its author, the poet Imtiaz Dharker. (You can hear it here, at about the 26 minute mark, but I don’t know how long it will stay on the website.)

I don’t read enough poetry, but when I got home, I googled the poem and promptly ordered the book of poetry in which it appears.

Here’s an excerpt:

Is there a name for that thing you do when you’re young?
There must be a word for it in some language, probably German…
What is that called ?
Being sixteen  in Wales, longing to be Italian
To be able to say aloud without embarrassment “Bella, bella”
Lounge by a vespa with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth
And wear impossibly pointed shoes.

And of course, since last week I’ve been listening to another great poet, Leonard Cohen. When I was an angsty seventeen year old, he was a constant companion. This song has been covered so many times, but no version is better than KD Lang’s. And I love the moment she shares with Leonard Cohen at the end. Enjoy.


You Could Make This Place Beautiful

Sometimes you can’t put into words the sense of despair you feel. You have to rely on the words of better, more powerful writers. Today is one of those days.

Good Bones by Maggie Smith:

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Goodbye Doesn’t Mean Forever

I’ve spent a lot of time with Rachel O’Brien, the protagonist in Up She Rises, but it’s time to say good-bye, although maybe not forever. The manuscript has been submitted to literary agents. I can either keep pressing refresh to check for non-existent emails or I can start working in earnest on novel number two.

Here’s what’s in my writer’s toolbox so far:

  • a working title (too awful to share here)
  • a plot outline
  • the beginnings of writing (fifteen pages of long-hand and five Word pages)
  • a pile of notebooks (I’m considering longhand for the first draft )
  • a nameless main character

Let me tell you a bit about Nameless. She’s a new lawyer from a small town who accepts a position with a big law firm in Toronto. Cue fraud, whistle-blowing and sexual harassment. All in a day’s work, right?


I plan to spend today world-building. What about you?




Here’s One I Made Earlier

Writers are often told to persist in the face of rejection. Send it out again. Keep submitting until you find someone that gets it, someplace that wants it. Mostly I follow that advice.

But this poor little baby has been seeking a home for so long now that I’ve decided to let it live here, on my friendly, inclusive, supportive blog.

It’s called A Google A Day and it was short-listed in the Writing Without Restrictions category of the The Yeovil Literary Prize 2015. Please give it a cuddle and make it feel at home.

A Google A Day

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