#atinylife the other stuff

In between the published works –

the novel that did OK

a story in that collection put together by MA students,

a poem here, a poem there

the joy of a short-listing

the folder of ‘no longer on submission’ scribblings

there is the ‘other’ stuff.

I couldn’t fit it all into the bookshelf:

hours spent tinkering with broken friends, instead of broken sentences;

days spent with Netflix, instead of cutting, instead of copy-pasting;

weeks spent holding the cat, instead of the pen

piggy-bank empty and smashed. All spent.

the other stuff

Tears leaking from the hot water tank

shredded text messages used for mouse nests

reams of progress stacked, dormant

still in their polythene. Sterile blank pages.

Where is all the work I could have done

if other people had been

kind? accepting? loyal?

had trusted my life had to be lived this way?





#atinylife Skiving

Today I have been thinking about…skiving

A Scottish word, this, skiving is slacking off when you should be working. As a Scot, but also of Eastern European heritage, I pride myself on a double cultural work ethic. Normally when I feel guilty about skiving it’s because I’ve only written a thousand words and redrafted a chapter and a blog post.

But yesterday for some reason I couldn’t get down to it. Hours were frittered away on social media, which is meant to be only one part of my work. I was skiving and I knew it. Skiving Pic

Then something else happened. The house, which has been going into a steep cleanliness decline since I got a contract, became of interest. I wanted, needed to clean it.


The door was shut tight, but the window was banging on the outside wall.