As I scuttle off for the summer months, I just wanted to say some ‘thank yous.’
Thanks for sticking with me.
Thanks for telling me you read tinylife every week.
Thanks for the likes and comments: here, on Facebook, on Twitter.
Thanks for letting me whine, ramble, rant, figure things out as I go along, say very little, say far too much, say things in a roundabout way, say things in a direct way, say things with brutal honesty, and talk on a range of disparate subjects.
Thanks for putting up with my God-awful drawing skills.
Particular thanks to Cheryl for not being cross when I forgot (again!) to post her guest posts.
Thanks to Cheryl for her guest posts.
Thank you for supporting my writing, my poetry, my novels, and my creative life.
tinylife will be back in September.
Oh it must be Spring. I’m busy!
I like to be busy, but not as much as the average … person? Person in the UK? Person of my generation? ‘Busy’ doesn’t take long to develop into ‘stressed,’ and ‘stressed’ has developed into psychosis – only twice, and a long time ago now, but… I don’t have the option to push myself like other people.
What has been particularly wonderful about this year, as opposed to other Springs, when I was busy with the kids, or busy with work, or busy writing things no one was interested in, is that this year I’m busy with paid, creative work. Sometimes. Other paid work has to fit around the writing, not the other way round.
Meanwhile, the children have to fit around creativity AND paid work, and are no doubt feeling very hard done by!
I spent some years of my adulthood listening to Radio 4.
This did not last long.
We bounced around for a while, but I’ve settled on Boogie in the Morning, on Forth One. This is why:
- Arlene is not marketed as a travel news bimbo. She’s given an equal amount of airtime,
- Boogie is polite to her and doesn’t treat her as ‘less than’ because she is a woman,
- the quiz happens before we have to leave for school,
- I used to listen in the basement of the City Chambers in Edinburgh. Now I listen in my kitchen in the East Lothian Countryside,
- they actually go on a booze cruise with their biggest fans every year,
- there is a cute kid telling a joke every day,
- the banter is pure quality, and
- if it’s a snow day, they let us know!
My favourite bit of parenting is when the kids are getting along. I am delighted to report that, at the time of writing, and for the last week or so, they have been best pals!
Of course this means no one ever goes to sleep…
‘Carry on time’ is the perfect compromise between ‘your parents need some child-free time in the evenings’ and ‘but we’re not tiiiiiiiired.’ Sometimes it ends in tears (or punches), but it’s only when they’re really quiet I have to go and see what they’re up to.
It is a pleasure, getting to know these little people, watching them getting to know each other. It is even more pleasurable doing this from the sofa, watching Netflix with the cat. It’s not just the convenience, though, honest! Without my input, their relationship has the chance to grow.
There is no news about my second novel.
Here is the news about my second novel.
I was very fortunate to meet a lovely agent who read the whole thing, and she really liked it. This was beyond exciting! She had loads of great feedback too, including ‘what’ it is (a comedy) and what the main themes are (parenting insecurity, female rivalry, the pressure felt by, and put on, children).
I re-wrote the draft with all her comments and observations. This is draft 15, but it’s very similar to drafts 7 and 8, (except draft 7 was in the present tense, of course).
Then I did that thing I always do when I’m nearing the end of a redraft. I slow right down because I’m afraid to finish. But I did finish. It’s 10k words longer and it’s back on submission. Wish me luck!
I wrote an angry letter to the council yesterday.
As you probably know, this is both an art and a science, with rules pertaining to both.
The science bit involves precision. They must be persuaded that they are Just Plain Wrong and should change their minds immediately. Here you must stick to the facts.
But let’s not forget that this is an Angry Letter, and strictly speaking, ‘I find this situation unacceptable’ is a fact too. And there’s the art of it – the invoking of emotion. Of course, the artist has little control over the audience’s response, but I’m hoping for something like contrition that inspires action, which brings us back to the objective – and further from the notion of art.
If it is an art at all, it’s disposable, once it’s achieved its aim. As is the anger, thankfully.
At the close of my sixth decade, I’m too old to play games. Acceptance is the easier option, and more likely to yield success.
I accept the signs of a life lived in a perfectly serviceable body. Once, I played the game. Girls manipulated their appearance to win the man, the money and the desirable life, though the odds were against us and the prizes were overstated.
And even in the unfeasibly smooth face of the septuagenarian celebrity, the pursuit of youth is a game not worth playing. Good luck to those women, but for me, commodification in the guise of empowerment and visibility of the older woman is too high a stake.
I’m out of the game. I won’t buy the miracle cream and I’ve embarked on my last diet. Because, I’m relieved to report, being older suits me.