Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why 'Singular Cake'?

Words should be chosen with precision. Words hurt. Words can damage people if used incorrectly. Choose your words, like your cake, with care...

Years ago, this became a maxim of mine. I still try to live this way. Take only what you need, one slice please, I can re-use that, no I'm fine thanks; say less, do more. In writing, as in life.

It takes practise. It is a daily struggle, especially as I love words, to only use the right ones, and discard the 'purple prose'. But it is so much more effective. And can save your relationships. And the planet.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Poem July 28 2016

Love album

Hearing ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ and being transported back in time
To my 19-year-old self, impossibly optimistic, spinning in a darkened room
As the guttural guitars reverberate through my chest, ripple the length of my arms and burst
From my extended fingers.
The ache this gives me now.
I can feel the greying carpet under my bare feet, and see the glint of brown beer bottles under a coffee table, and feel the worn canvas jacket folded in my hands as I pick through sleeping bodies
To the garden, for a breather, outside the fug of last night’s party
To collect my thoughts, still my pulse, spread my fingers over my sternum where I could feel my heart’s jagged beat
I’d made eye contact at 7.58pm and it had started then, this dimorphic sensation
Like asthma when stoned
Like trying to breathe underwater
Like heartburn after the warmth of golden whisky
The pinprick feeling on your skin when you are too acutely aware of someone’s close proximity
And need to move away before you kiss them or stab them under an eye with your keys
The ache this gives me now.
Because I can see the room all too clearly
And all the years outside that house are a fog-haze of distance, time, space, activity, movement,
None of which alters one iota that essential feeling that burnt its way through me, at the reverb echoing from the speaker, the fingerpicking opening, and the held breath before the drum and bass filled the space in me
A void waiting for any love
Any tribal connection, any hand to grab mine from out of the spinning, and still me
The ache this gives me now.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Here goes.... publishing your own eBook (Part 1) !

So I decided to stop procrastinating and just get a book out there. Well, why wait? After five minutes 'thorough' research, I picked Booktango as a likely candidate and started the process of creating my eBook and making it available for sale online.
Booktango offers 100% royalties to the author, but will also make your eBook available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook et al although these retailers will offer different royalty arrangements. It's not as if I'm doing this for the money, but these things will matter if your book takes off as a runaway success. The Booktango website is easy to navigate, and it took a short time to prep my manuscript, following their instructions. I had a cover ready (alright, I did struggle a bit with the pixel size/ratio, but I got techie help with this) and then it was a few days later that I uploaded my eBook ready text.
Slight hiatus while Booktango performed various checks, and I had to make decisions about royalty payments, a US tax return, account details and tracking. Then you wait - they suggest it can take anything from 1 day to 30 days for the eBook to appear live - I would recommend that you expect to wait a couple of weeks. I imagine they were checking for anything libellous, profane or plagiarised, but who knows? Et, voilĂ  ! My book is out there on the interweb!
Okay, and now for the marketing plan; hmm, I guess I will attack social media on all fronts - errr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger, a bunch of specialist websites for eBooks, and then start getting some reviews, particularly on Booktango and Amazon. This should be interesting. I will report back after a few more hours battling with the devil that lives online...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Okay folks, haven't blogged in ages, but this is a big one....

Wise things I have learned
1.       Never, ever, ever consume a whole bag of apricots with two beers in a cinema. My Dad taught me this, when we went to see Barfly. He can’t think about Mickey Rourke now without getting indigestion.
2.       Cats and babies are basically the same thing. They have ninja skills that Houdini would be proud of – they can get through whisker-sized gaps, open stair gates that fox most adults, they can escape your clutches on a busy roundabout and head for the traffic laughing gleefully (Mimi) and develop allergies on a whim (Farley) whether to nuts or fleas (the last one was about cats) they can vanish just when you need them (Tabi) and there is a reason why Facebook is full of pictures of cats and babies. They are from another universe and have much to teach us. I learned almost everything else I know by living in a house with cats and babies.
3.       Losing weight HAS to cause you pain or discomfort. So don’t overeat unless you are a masochist who enjoys wearing Lycra (I’m looking at several people here, but mostly Joe.) This is why I invented the Singular Cake religion, which could solve global problems. And on that note, don’t forget to say ‘May they found cities’ when people sneeze. It’s a new blessing I invented and I’m waiting for the day when a stranger says it back to me.
4.       Now I want to share with you all – the real difference between men and women. I have thought about this for years and there’s only really one difference, apart from body parts. Women can get excited over presents that cost nothing, men can only really be excited if the present cost several months wages, generally speaking. So as a result women are more difficult to please because you have to put thought into their gift. It can be expensive jewellery, but it should ideally come from somewhere difficult to reach and hard to find, like a sort of Greek odyssey to a shop in Cornwall. This pleases us, as we know you’ve had to exert yourself to find this gift, even if it’s a piece of driftwood in the shape of a cat. Men would prefer something from the Argos catalogue (I’m looking at Ziggy and Georgie, as they taught me this.) And their gift should come with a hefty manual explaining it. They won’t read this manual, as they are far too macho for that, but it indicates how technically superior their gift is, and if it involves jargon like the ‘rear derailleur sprocket A25-B7’ so much the better.
5.       After I learned about the link between cats and babies, I also discovered the secret of teenagers. They are actually lovely creatures, but treat the same way as you would a zombie vampire shape-shifter, and you’ll be fine. Keep in a darkened room, by the light of a flickering television, feed late at night, preferably raw meat from the fridge or unhealthy snacks, and allow them to stay up late and then moan all day about being tired. They will look pale, dark-eyed and shapeless for several years. But they metamorphose into different things after that, depending on their true nature. You can’t do anything about it so just love and care for them anyway.
6.       Here’s an important one. When you are younger, you are immortal and can get away with everything. Age teaches us wisdom, because things start to hurt. Even when NOT doing exercise. Now, on any given day I might have a multitude of things going wrong involving teeth, joints, vertebrae or brain synapses. I might forget your name while talking to you, or be distracted by a new weird pinging in my knee. This teaches us to treat our bodies with care, but it’s often too late for that, which is why we get wisdom instead. Kid’s take note.
7.       Don’t ever spout that nonsense to your kids about ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ Because it doesn’t work. If you run upstairs screaming abuse because you’ve lost your keys, your three year old will do the same one day when the Health Visitor is round. So if you want model children, be a model citizen. If you can’t do that, take photos of them when they look cute and put it on Facebook, like everybody else does.
8.       Older women have more wisdom that anyone, but it can make them bitter and twisted, which is when they become witches. Witches are marvellous but unpredictable. However, older women should definitely be in charge of countries because they can be mean and stingy with money and make you feel it’s for your own good. If Hilary Clinton, Natalie Bennett and Liu Yandong all take office they should soon whip the world into shape. But you might have to eat your vegetables and stop putting your elbows on the table.
9.       As you can tell I don’t really have any wisdom to impart, but I do know what makes me happy now. It generally involves time on my own, pottering in the garden or on the beach or early morning / late at night writing on a computer. Basically writing poems or planting seeds. It’s not that I’m anti-social. But I do agree that we can all only make ourselves happy, and concentrating on that means I am nicer to be around. So I don’t buy into the idea that only one person will ‘complete’ you and without them, you can’t be happy. It’s good to find a boyfriend or girlfriend that makes you laugh, and doesn’t scare you when they eat, and then share all the special moments with them (or get them to photo you having fun in good lighting) but it’s very important to like yourself, encourage yourself and challenge yourself.
I am pleased to be having a Halfway Birthday. In the next fifty years, I want to publish some books I’ve written, perfect some recipes, get a driving license, have more holidays with all the people I like, and start up some family traditions. The first one is that I will buy a ring for all the kids when they turn eighteen, which they have to pass on to their kids in turn. Then one of my descendants can be on Antiques Roadshow 2065 and remember me fondly. I also want to continue my mum’s tradition of doing things I’ve never done before, and ringing people excitedly to tell them about it. Be warned, I might ring you if I master skateboarding. Oh, and you have to phone one another when it snows, and yell ‘It’s snowing!’ before hanging up - because that’s another tradition. That’s it.