I'm very pleased to say my anthology of what I'm calling 'short fictions' is almost ready. 'Fifty-One Ways to Leave your Lover' is, unsurprisingly, fifty-one short, flash and micro fictions - all written with women in mind. By this, I mean, each has a theme concerning the issues faced by women and girls today. Some of the stories are a bit dark, some of them are funny, all of them are about women. It will be available to download onto your Kindle this week (I'll confirm dates when I can, but it's soon!) and proceeds from sales will go to a lovely charity called Platform 51 - you can check out what they do at platform51.org - but they're concerned with helping girls and women take control of their lives by doing all sorts of wonderful stuff. Have a look at what they do, and then download 'Fifty-One Ways to Leave your Lover' and feel good that you've helped them to carry on with their work. I'll keep you posted about the launch.
So, I'm in Devon. On holiday. On a farm. I'm cooking on an Aga. The sea is just nearby - in fact, it's my back garden. The sea is my back garden - imagine that! The effect of living this life, only for a week so far, has clearly changed my mode of writing. So now I write in short sentences. And I use more exclamation marks! Psychologically, maybe this is saying something about how sensational I think living this kind of life, in this kind of area, must be. As well as this, I have been introduced to various farming magazines: 'The Field' for example (copies of which have been left next to the loo in the bathroom, by the farmer I imagine). I have learned which plants are poisonous and the various modes of death - interesting - and I have also learned about the role of women in hunting/shooting. Women are 'pickers-up'. They, with their dogs, pick up the shot prey. Apparently, the Queen is an ace picker-up. See. Interesting.
Anyway, here's a picture from last night: the view from my new sitting room of the moon on the left and the sun setting on the right over the sea - which, as I've said, is my back garden. Beautiful. Looks like a book cover to me...
I've been reading about someone who set out, last Sunday, to write a novel in a week - and they did it. Just over 60,000 words in 7 days. This is an amazing achievement. From a personal point of view, I know it's difficult enough to write a short story a day - and flash fiction at that, let alone 8500 words. I suppose it's all about focus and concentration. Most of the time, I feel like I'm living a kind of split-screen life, not fully concentrating on any one thing. It's not multi-tasking. At all. It's just being busy and not doing anything particularly well. It truly would be fantastic to be able to sit down and just write, but even with that privilege, I think I'd still struggle to get a fully formed first draft in a week, or even a month for that matter. But this made me think: the very fact that someone decided to try this marathon writing session should speak volumes for the changes taking place in the writing business - and it is a business - but does it, really? Shakespeare wrote loads, and quickly, because that was his business. So, the moral for today is this: I should stop fannying about and get on with the business of writing. End.
(If you don't believe me about the novel in a week thing, read about it here: http://novelinaweek.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/did-i-do-it-day-7-report.html )
So, I'm writing again with some vigour, which is absolutely ace in every way. My new anthology of short fiction should be out in September this year - working title: 51 Ways to Leave your Lover. The proceeds will go entirely to the lovely people at Platform51 (have a look at what they do at Platform51.org). As well as this, I've begun writing a series of novels (first one likely to be out before the end of the year) - basically crime fiction, the protagonist is a female tattoo artist (apologies to my son, Rich Hadley, who's a male tattoo artist and who has something to say about the female of the species...) who gets herself into all sorts of wrangles and is from Stourbridge. I'm thoroughly enjoying writing this and really hope that people will like reading it. No working title just yet, except to say the protagonist is called Marsh. She has some hang ups, but she's good at what she does. I like her. Tomorrow, I'll be writing some more of her, but for now it's back to the Morgan's spiced rum and an episode of Dexter...yes please.
Here I am! Yes, another blogger who's been away for a looooooong time. Why is it we set up blogs, then leave them hanging so they become our dirty little secret? I'll tell you why: Because we can. But that's not all. More importantly. I realised today that I could write pretty much anything in this little space that is mine - and which has no mortgage, no lease, no bills, and all the rooms belong to me. Hoooray! And in thinking this, in realising that no-one's reading this, I also realised that, far from being lonely or feeling like a loser of any kind, I could, in fact, capitalise upon this...oh yes...not saying how yet. Suffice to say secret blogging will be the subject of a future novel. I say 'future' as I am well into the process of working on a double-hander. One is 'literary fiction' novel for submission for a little MA I'm studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, the other is an experimental first in a series of crime novels, which I will (boringly) upload to Amazon for all the Kindlators to download for pence. This is obviously not a new idea, and I'm sure the bubble will burst sometime soon, but it is proving to be fun, and I'm aiming to get it done and dusted by this time next month. The Kindle revolution rules!
But of course, I'm talking to myself, no-one's listening - I know all this already. I've become the voice inside my own head. Why do I need a blog to remind myself of what I'm actually doing? It's like a syndrome. I might invent a name for it, something snappy like: Irritable Blogger Syndrome, of Schitzoblogia. LOL.
It's been a while since I've posted. No excuses. I've been deliberately not posting. I'm grumpy, alright? And to prove I'm a committed miserable old fart, today I deliberately and wantonly and knowingly started an argument with a complete stranger. Yep, you read it right. A COMPLETE STRANGER AND I HAD A ROW. OK, picture this:
I'm driving back home, negotiating the one-way system at the bottom of my road. Now, let me pause here for a moment and set the scene by just explaining that the one way system includes a large misshapen traffic island (not round enough to be a roundabout, more like a melanoma of some kind) at the bottom of the hill. The road is wide here, and I could see an elderly couple were near the kerb, so I indicated my intention to follow the flow of the road round to the left (actually, there was no particular need for me to indicate here, as basically it's the way the road goes...but now I feel like I'm explaining myself, which I'm not). Anyway, this elderly man decides to cross, so I slow down to allow him. Meantime, the elderly lady stayed on the pavement. Now, here's the rub, the moment if you like: So he's walking across the road, I've stopped, my window is wound down, so far there's no issue at all. However, just as he gets to the other side of the road and I move forward to continue home, he looks into my car and tuts. There's a look on his face that seems to imply I've done something wrong. OK, I think, this is not right. So, I immediately stop the car and say, 'Is there something wrong?' (Note here, I have to say it three times before he acknowledges me) Eventually this elderly gentleman comes over to me and says 'No, not at all' sweet as pie. So I say, 'Really? I thought you just tutted at me.' He sort of withers a little and says 'No, I was just tutting at my wife.' In my head, I'm thinking I bet you're a total bxxxxxd to live with. I mean, who in their right mind would think that would be a reasonable response. I WAS TUTTING AT MY WIFE! Really?? So, sarcastically I say 'Oh, that's alright then, tutting at your wife.' (in brackets, clearly NOT) So then, this wife-loathing, excuse-making, pompous ass of an elderly gentlemen suddenly changes. I mean his whole countenance changes. To me, he looks like someone who'd make good use of Rohypnol if only he had the capacity to. And he begins to walk away, but as he does, he turns and says 'You should be kinder to people' ...AS HE WALKS AWAY he says those words to me. As if he has had the last word, as if he has managed to put the lid on it. OH NO.
So, at this point I turn off Gardeners' Question Time with a flourish and shout (yes, shout) 'You should try being more polite. Maybe you should start with your wife!'
And then I drove off.
Take that for a Sunday afternoon rimshot you old goon.
I sincerely hope I bump into this old buffer again. I'd love to continue th
One of the things I will always remember: Friday night, 29th January. It's bitterly cold and the air is biting at our fingertips. The sky is clear and the moon full, casting a yellow-white glow across us. According to the internet, this is the night we could see Mars. Now, my lovely daughter is a space-freak with a telescope so despite the cold, we trained the lens slightly to the left and down a bit of the moon where, with the naked eye a very bright star shone slightly reddish. After a bit of adjustment, quite a lot of shivering and debate, there it shockingly and suddenly was: a disc, red-grey and grainy, but there it was. We were both quite literally awestruck and marveled at our own reaction as well as the sight itself. Forgetting about the chilly air, the runny noses and the bloodless fingers, a cliched moment occurred in which life came into focus as clearly as Mars did. How lucky, how precarious, how significant we are.
Even later, in the warmth of inside, we didn't shake the feeling off. Even now, days later, we still haven't. Good.
Given my advancing years, it's hardly surprising that I'm beginning to get a bit, well, grumpy, is it?? Take, for example (please, please, please take) the fact that I feel inexplicably irritated by people who eat snacks whilst walking through town. I have grown to hate, hate, hate seeing folks chomping on sausage rolls (in brown paper bags like illegal American alcohol) or devouring ciabatta bread and french rolls with cheese and ham flapping about their greasy lips. I despise seeing people eating triangular sandwiches or gorging crisps as they're walking along the pavement. But worse, much worse than this are the people who simultaneously combine street-eating with loud mobile phone conversations - especially those which involve any shrieking laughter at all. I'm going to call this particular pet hate of mine "Manic Street Eating".
I have absolutely no idea why this agitates me so much. I suppose it's something to do with an innate preference (training by my parents I suspect) of sitting down to eat. I just feel it's incredibly impolite to eat whilst moving around anywhere, let alone on the street for goodness sake! Surely NO-ONE is SO busy that they can't sit down for ten minutes to consume a sausage roll? And why eating and talking at the same time? And what exactly is so funny about having a telephone conversation in the street? Can someone tell me?? Please??? My theory is people these days feel guilty about taking time out to sit down - we have to be on the move and visibly, demonstrably happy.
Not for me I'm afraid,
And don't be surprised if, when you're in town, indulging in a fast-food bite that a miserably looking woman-of-a-certain-age doesn't give you one of her withering extra-hard stares.
That'll teach ya!
Snow's still with us, worse than ever in fact but what a strange trail of coincidences there have been this morning. First, son Jon (planning on moving into his new place this weekend and fed up because the carpet fitter cancelled today) had huge difficulty in moving his car from outside our house. I duly tried to dig him out but the snow was impacted and the car was doing a bit of a bolero. Then, in a brainwave, I at last found a use for the ashes from last night's fire. Let me tell you it's as good as grit and I was very pleased with myself. Jon's Cio went sailing off up the road. Yey!! However, with snow still falling, as I am waving a delighted Jon off, Man-with-Van slithers wide-eyed down the hill with a look on his face that says 'get the **** out of the way, I can't stop!' which I did, only to watch him slide sideways into the Jon's parking spot, and our neighbour's car...You've got to hand it to the Universe, haven't you?
I'm off to do some yoga...
Sometimes acts of God are just what a person needs. Sometimes acts of God are good for the soul. When the snow falls, the schools close, the roads close, the shops close and we have to spend time with each other when we least expect it.
Looking out of the window this morning, my son Rich who (by way of description) is an award-winning tattoo artist, said 'Oh my actual God mom, when is this snow ever going to leave us alone?'
Whichever way you cut it, it's a good question, and it prompted a massive discussion that we would probably never have had, had it not been for the snow. Forget the meaning of life though, we're much more high-brow than that. We're into interesting stuff: weird dreams: Rich's nightmare about an ex-girlfriend breaking into our house, finding her way to his room and strangling him to death; philosophical questions about Jeremy Kyle's messianic qualities, his estimated capacity to dish out DNA results and the media's obsession with 21st century freak shows. Surely there's only so much the British public can take; partner-tracking...yes, it is what you think it is, and life questions such as should Rich work in the USA or Europe...oh the choices, the choices! And all this because of the snow. Acts of God, mmmm sounds like a good title to me..!
Kerry Hadley-Pryce has written fiction for as long as she can remember. She has had a thousand jobs ranging from dinner lady to company director, but writing is the best job she's had. She lives with her family in the sunny West Midlands, UK.