Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Scattered Reds and That Old Tornado-Feeling

I'm missing a lot of good things this week. If I had unlimited funds and a jetpack/helicopter gunship, then this week would be looking very fine. This week, I'd be feeling a little like an international playboy, so to speak. Because this week, two books that I've been lucky enough to get stories into are being officially launched. The first launch, for Even More Tonto Short Stories was last night, in Newcastle. By all accounts it went really well. I'm sorry I missed it.

Then tomorrow, in Manchester, Bad Language are launching Scattered Reds, their second anthology. My story, Pause, is in the book. I won't know who else is in it till I get my hands on a copy, although I do know my fellow Bugged alumnus Calum Kerr is in there, and he'll be reading on the night.

Here's the official blurb:
Scattered Reds - Book Launch

Bad Language will be launching their second anthology at the Castle Hotel on the 24th November. There will be guest stars! There will be books for sale! There will be an open mic slot!

The launch will be free to attend, and if you wish to partake in the open mic slot, please e-mail events@badlanguagemcr.co.uk
in order to book a place.

We hope to see you down there!

Dan, Nici and Joe.

I wish I could be there. It promises to be an amazing evening. If you're in the vicinity, then you should definitely pop in.

In other news, I NEED to visit this place.

Also, it's National Short Story Week this week, and I've managed to get two new stories written, and finished one I'd been wrestling with for a while. (Yay!) It makes a nice break from editing. I do need to stop with the 4am bedtimes, though.

I spoke with a friend a while back about feeling like there's a tornado inside you making everything heightened and crazy. Sometimes it lasts a few hours. Sometimes it's a few weeks. And it's always fun, but it puts everything up in the air and you're never quite sure how things will land, or what will happen when they do. I've got that now, the tornado-feeling, and I don't know why. Maybe I should wear my red shoes today, just in case.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A "Thinking About Time" Kind of Day

I’m always really surprised when the weather turns this cold. I feel like I’ve been caught out, like autumn has swapped itself for winter. Right now my hands are cold and numb and I’ll need to put on my hobo gloves in a minute.

Time is speeding up again. The last few weeks have seemed to last forever, but somehow it’s almost November now, and even though October has been full and crazy, I’m sure it can’t be the 30th already. Saw an interesting clip of a possible time traveller recently. I like to think it’s an actual time traveller, but the logical explanation is it's an "ear trumpet" and the person is hard of hearing. There must be some time travellers though. Someone must have figured out how to do it by now.

In a matter of hours British Summer Time ends, and we all get to travel back in time by an hour. I like thinking about this. That whole hour from 1am to 2am on Sunday 31st October, we get to redo. I have a feeling the hour will be a good one, based on the company I will be keeping. There are things I probably shouldn’t do. They are the things I want to do the most. We shall see.

I like thinking about how I’d live and what I’d do if I knew I could always go back and redo it, if I had the ability to stop and start and rewind time. Would I be more free if nothing stuck? Would I live a life full of risk and shameless abandon? Possibly. Or I might be just as likely to live with my hand on the snooze button, cosy and warm and forever in bed.

One of the reasons I always gave for wanting to be able to stop time, was so that I could read all the books I ever wanted to read. All the books. And I’m not alone on that...

...but what else? Maybe the fact that we only get one go at this makes the things we do more important. Telling someone you love them wouldn’t mean half as much if you could just rewind it and have it forgotten if it wasn’t reciprocated. We find a lot of who we are in those moments when we’re leaping over the abyss.

Yesterday I killed a cold, with effervescent vitamin C. Today feels like a good day. Maybe because it’s one of those “Time is being thought about/talked about/shifted around” kind of days.

Good things:

The Bugged launch in Manchester - reading to lovely people/reading with lovely and talented people/holding the actual book in my hands (also, Bugged getting a write-up on the BBC website, yeah!)

Fixing things myself - oh, I am so smart, and ever so slightly surprised

Raspberry-flavoured effervescent vitamin C

Doing my first post-Hundred Days book sculpture

The Panique Au Village film

Lots of planning and thinking and writing

Talk To Me About Love - a social experiment (the brainchild of Max Wallis)

Sexy music:

Lovely music

Thinking about linking to GWAR for the lovely music one

Preparing to erase an hour

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Bugs, Books and Reading Out Loud

Behold! This is the contents page of the Bugged book! (I'm right at the bottom of the left page. Yeah! Note: all thumbs in the photos belong to Jo Bell. There's no way I can do nail polish that neat.)

And this is the cover. Sexy, no?

There are two launches, one in Manchester on Thursday 14th October that's part of Manchester Literature Festival, and one in Birmingham on Thursday 21st October that's part of Birmingham Book Festival.

I'm going to be reading at the Manchester one. My name is in the listing, so it's official. I'm dead excited. I like seeing my name on things that aren't asking me for money. Cathy Bryant, Valerie O'Riordan, Liz Loxley and Susie Wild are also reading, so I'll be in excellent company. I can't wait.

Friday, 1 October 2010

The First Star I See May Not Be A Star

Some music...

Some thoughts...

The moon these past few days has been amazing. And the sky has been so clear that I've been able to wish on the evening star (which yes, I know is really Venus and not a star at all, but I wish on it anyway) three nights in a row. Another birthday has come and gone and I don't feel any older or even particularly wiser, but I'm happy, and it feels important to be able to say that.

Someone else died tonight. It's 12:27 a.m. Sometimes I forget that every time the gate scrapes open in the night, it is the Body Truck bringing someone who has died in. We call it the Body Truck and it makes the people bodies, not lovers or brothers or mothers or friends. But just now I remembered it is a dead someone, and I let it make me a little bit sad. Because I know we all have our ways of dealing with the world, of shutting out what we need to shut out, but sometimes it's important to let these things in, if only for a little while. If only to see how we are shaped by them.

I will post less rambling things on here soon.

I am excited that there is a new story up at how men make love in the twentieth century. It is good.

I love mixtapes/cds.

There is a LOT going on.

I have a LOT to do.

Where did September go?

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My Own Private Ladybug Picnic

Encouraged by the folks at Bugged, I did some eavesdropping on July 1st, and was gifted with more than a few story ideas from my overhearings. I sat on the bed with the window open, hiding behind the curtains with a glass of pop, ears pricked, pen ready, having my own private ladybug picnic.

People always seem to have arguments in the street just outside my house - I do live in the centre of town, which makes it the route home from the pub for many many people, certainly adding a bit to the argumental vibe. It wasn’t even that late when I heard one poor chap’s heartfelt protestations to a silent/indifferent girl. I just knew I had to immortalise him and his cheesy but sincere words. And so the story, Scar, was born.

Then, I’m not sure what happened, but a month seemed to pass by without me realising, and the deadline for submissions was upon me. I made it by the skin of my teeth - I even won a prize for being the last entry!

And now I can reveal that my story made it into the book! It’s going to be in there with work from the core Bugged writers: David Calcutt, David Gaffney, Ian Marchant, Jenn Ashworth, Jo Bell, Leila Rasheed, Mary Cutler, Mil Millington, Stephanie Dale and Stuart Maconie, as well as with stories/poems/plays from other great "creative eavesdroppers". The official publication date is October 14th, but it should be available for pre-order on Amazon before that. Hooray!

The cover is still being designed, but I'm almost certain it will be something like this...

More news soon!


Also on the interwebs this week, I thought this article was really interesting, and found myself nodding my head and going "yes!" at frequent intervals.

And if you fancy a good read and/or like Fleetwood Mac, Stephen O'Toole's chapbook, Tusk, is now online at Pangur Ban Party. Stephen was kind enough to send me a hand-made copy of this a while ago, and it has some of my favourite sentences ever in it. If you ask nicely, he might have one or two left to send your way. He might not, though. Don't quote me or anything.

That's it.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Pensive Paws

I came up with a great name for if someone was making a film about some dogs that were in a band. The band of dogs could be called The Pensive Paws. One would need to wear glasses and be all thoughtful. Maybe the thoughtful one would be a Border Collie - they’re pretty smart. If anyone wants to make this film, you can have that for free. Also, email me, I have lots more ideas about films starring dogs, more than you’d even believe.

I held Even More Tonto Short Stories in my hand yesterday. I haven’t had my author copy yet, so when it came into the library with the other new books it made me completely giddy for the rest of the day. I went to get my phone to take a photo but when I came back it had already been checked out! I don’t know how writers keep it together when they have a whole book out. I wanted to do cartwheels and everything. And not even sweary “I live in a shed”-lady could dampen my spirits.

Monday, 16 August 2010

No News, Just Ramblings

Last night I woke after sleeping all afternoon to find the house full of light. I cooked some rice and listened to a record. Upstairs, friends laughed. I went into the room and lay on the couch. They were being funny with words, swapping words. They were trying to think of new good words to swap. I pushed my feet against the arm of the couch. I felt straight, rectangular. I felt happy to be in the room with them. One of them tried to teach me a game but the rules were impossible. I played my hand anyway, hoping to somehow understand eventually. I still don’t understand. And then I did writing but I kept mixing the letters up. My fingers typed some things faster than others, swapping things around by accident while everyone else was asleep.

Today was lazy and spectacular. Today was a story pulled out of a hat at the last second. I have eaten a lot of hazelnuts. I still think I’m half-nocturnal. I am obsessed with Wuthering Heights right now. This week. Today. Not the song. I have a friend that I really miss being around. Today the friend seemed sad, but there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t even let them know I knew they felt sad. People wear masks and live in their own small worlds. Where I live, there is nothing wild. I miss the hills and ponds and tall grasses of my childhood. I miss climbing trees. I would give this friend a forest to lose themselves in. I think being lost might make everything all right.

I think I’m different to how I was. I still don’t know for certain if that’s a good thing, but I think maybe it is, that soon I will settle into this new skin and there will be stillness in my life again. Everything I write down feels like a story, or that it could be a story. I’m completely blurring the edges between fact and fiction. I always have done. I’m always thinking: can I use this?

I met two deadlines this week, one admittedly by the skin of my teeth, after realising my original piece was well over the wordcount. It’s been a good week. Not so strange as some of the weeks I’ve had lately. But interesting all the same. More of this please.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Remember This Guy?

Yesterday I got a nice email from Ola, the guy behind one million giraffes, telling me he'd blogged about the giraffe I sent in. Yay! I did it as part of my hundred days project, on day 79, because (a) I have a thing for giraffes, and (b) I love the idea of someone collecting a million giraffes. He still has a ways to go...

(From the website)
My friend, Jørgen, doesn't believe I can collect one million giraffes by 2011. I'm gonna prove him wrong, but I need your help. You can create your giraffes in any way you like, but not on a computer and no store bought objects. You must create your giraffes yourself!

I've gotten 906 176 giraffes so far, so I only need 93 824 more and I have 172 days left to get. Please help me!

Go on, make a giraffe. Make two!


On a non-giraffe related note, I have a new story up at How Men Make Love In The Twentieth Century. Thanks Ben!


That is all.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Proxy in Print!!!

So today's the day Dzanc Best Of The Web 2010 is released. You know, the one edited by Matt Bell and Kathy Fish, with my story Proxy, from kill author in it, along with stories from so many amazing writers. You can have a read of the contents and intro pages here, and maybe even buy it, if it takes your fancy? No pressure.

I originally wrote the story for the second Word Soup, a live lit night up in Preston. The theme was 'Skin'. Most of my stories have the word 'skin' in them, it's definitely a recurring theme. I read somewhere once that skin was the largest organ, and it's stuck with me ever since. (It's helped me out in at least three quizzes, as well. Ahhh quizzes. Lovely lovely quizzes.) But I wanted to write something new to read there.

I'm tactile. I like to touch things, like the way things feel. I'm not sure I'd always rate sense of touch above vision, or hearing, but there are times when that sense takes precedence, and it's often those times that stand out, the ones that are remembered on your skin. The way a certain song imprints itself on your brain, takes hold of you and keeps adding more of your emotions with every listen; holding someone's hand in the dark, and all the electricity of that, all the thoughts firing and the noticing every single small movement, is just as powerful for me. (And the songs that I love, I really love.) I wanted to write about that (all I do is write about that!), but this time from the angle of there being a lack: of proximity, of being able to touch. So, yep, that's what I was trying to do with Proxy.

Which sense or senses do you most focus on in your writing?

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to Bugged

Tomorrow is not only the first day of July, it is also a day to do eavesdropping, and do eavesdropping good. It’s all part of Bugged, a project for UK writers. They call it ‘creative eavesdropping’. I guess as writers we do this anyway, but this is like having permission to do it.

From the website:

1 On July 1st 2010, go forth and…. eavesdrop! Wherever you are – in the British Museum or Bradford bus station, in your office, the pub, on the train – listen in to conversations and fragments of speech around you. Be discreet. Try not to get punched.
2 Write a new piece of work based on what you hear. We want poems of up to 60 lines, stories up to 1000 words, flash fiction up to 150 words, scripts up to 5 minutes long. Our favourite recent overhearing is ‘I think it was the turtles that did for her eventually.’ Yours may be tragical, farcical, touching or mundane. You don’t have to quote your overhearing directly – it might just be a starting point for your piece.
3 Submit it to us by email after July 1st, and before August 15th. The sooner the better.

(Further details can be found here.)

I wish it had been B-Day on Tuesday, because there was a crazy lady in the library who could’ve set me off on a hundred stories. My favourite quote from her has to be: “I LIVE IN A SHED!!!” The rest is pretty unrepeatable. But I will be eavesdropping in the library again tomorrow, notebook in pocket, when I’m supposed to be tidying the Biographies. I’m sure I’ll overhear something good, something that will inspire a story. Bring it on!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

I'm A Festival. I'm A Parade.

We’re lying on the bed with the window open. The breeze sucks the curtain out of the room, billows it like a sail into the world outside.

His arm is wooden beneath my neck, but when he speaks he moves his hand, twitches his fingers, and I feel his muscles contract and slacken underneath me.

Our clothes are from another decade. We laughed at first, trying on outfits of the dead, their garish colours at odds with our complexions. But it soon exhausted us, the being other people, the being ironic. And so we lay down on top of the sheets. But we’re still not ourselves.

His eyes are hidden behind dark glasses, huge. Reflected in them I am a mass of gold and green. I’m a festival. I’m a parade.

We breathe soft under the weight of the clothes. He is layers of red and blue and brown. He is three shirts deep, strangled by a tie that’s bigger than all our dreams put together.

His body is unrecognisable. I press my hands against where his chest should be. All I can feel are buttons, shiny and smooth beneath my fingers.

I undo them one by one.


(I'm writing tiny stories/snapshots inspired by songs, either taking the title or a line or two. The stories don't really have anything to do with the songs, but maybe they'll evoke the same feelings, or maybe they won't. I'm making a tiny book of each story. Just one book per story. If you would like this one, leave a Yes in the comments or email me at ejlannie [at] gmail [dot] com with your address.)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Lucky Owl Writing Necklace

It feels like it's been ages since I last wrote anything on here. Forgive me interweb, for I have been busy doing non-interweb things. Mostly writing, with a spot of gardening, some sitting in the kitchen with my housemates (avec tealights) during a power-cut, reading, making hassleback potatoes, counting words, oh, and making an owl necklace. (And half-pretending to imbue it with magical properties i.e. it is now my 'lucky owl writing necklace'.)

I think it's working, because I recently found out that my story from >kill author, Proxy, has been nominated for the storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2009. It’s a long list of brilliant stories, and I feel honoured to have made it onto it. Big congratulations also go out to kill author, who won the Million Writers Award for best new online magazine or journal. Yeah! I think I’m a little bit in love with >kill author.

And Dzanc Books have just officially announced the line-up for Best of the Web 2010, which Proxy made it into. I think you can actually pre-order it now, and it’s out in June! Eeek! I’m very excited about that, especially after seeing who else is in it.

Other people who’ve had good news recently:

Jenn Ashworth. Her blog full of fibs has been shortlisted for the Author Blog Awards. Woop! You can sign up and vote here. Do it. Do it now.

Nathan Good and Aimee Wilkinson (who I do TTO/Hello Hub things with) both have stories in the new Tomlit.

And this is good news for people with ears: Biff (TTO/HH) has finished his record and you can listen to some of the songs here.

And...Word Soup is One! There is a Word Soup Birthday Party happening on Tuesday 20th April at the New Continental, in Preston. I'm not 100% sure I can go yet, but I'll be there in spirit if I can't. I think it's going to be ace.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Day 100 of #100days: End/Beginning

And so the 100 days is over. I made it down to the event in the fairy-lit, balloon-strewn warehouse in Dalston, where I met some lovely hundred-dayers in real life (hello, and thanks for the camaraderie, the plagiarism, the couch, the Lego and the badges!); marvelled at the Museum; and laughed heartily at Josie Long, Isy Suttie, Sara Pascoe(who also made me cry a bit), and the Pictish Trail and his 30-second songs. There was even cake. A massive cake, with 100 candles no less.

My pledge was to do something creative every day, and to learn Icelandic. The ‘doing something creative’ suited me well, as it basically meant getting on with my writing. But the more I read the blogs of other hundred-dayers, with their photos and comics and sketchbook pages, the more I felt like I wanted to do something ‘visual’, something I could photograph and document. It wasn’t till I was about half-way through that I started to focus on the ‘altered books’ thing. It was something I’d played around with before and really enjoyed. So I went with it. And it progressed from painting on pages to actually cutting things out from the pages, making the pages themselves into other things. I enjoyed it so much that I think I’ll call it a hobby, and do it some more.

My Icelandic didn’t fare as well. Learning words in isolation does not a language teach. Or something. But I’m going to continue with it anyway. And the way I see it, I’ve given myself a head start.

Talar þú íslensku? Err...I'll get back to you on that one.

Am I a better person? Who can say? It’s felt like my life over the last three months has been part of something bigger. And that’s been good and bad. It felt strange for me to be blogging nearly every day, as I’m used to giving myself time-outs from the internet. So in the end I got around that by collating entries and doing catch-up posts. I’ve been more inclined to say yes to things. And I’ve been drawing more, which is something that I missed. And I think taking stock every day changes the way you look at things, too. It stops the days all blurring into one. Which to me, is a good thing. So, stepping onto the positive side of the seesaw, I think I’ll conclude that for me, it’s not necessarily the doing of a certain thing every day that’s been important. Rather, it’s been the reflection, and the thinking about each day and all its events, actions, plans, ideas that matters, and I think it’s this that has set me on the path (and it’s possibly quite a long-ish path) to being a better person.

Chrissy Williams, who was busy learning a new word a day for the whole 100 days, sums it all up beautifully here...

"Whatever we decide to do every day affects us. We affect other people, so what we do affects them. Small things accumulate into big things. This means that small things matter. What do you want to do today? Can you make time to do something small, or will you do nothing?"

Big thanks to Josie Long and the London Word Festival for making it all happen. And hurrah to everyone! We did it.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Days 96 to 99 of #100days: The final countdown or The end is nigh

A while back, I volunteered to help out at the Writing Industries Conference in Loughborough, so that was how I spent Day 96. I got to run the bookstall, with Deirdre and Paul. It was a good day, with lots of writers and writerly things.

I've been really conscious of needing to do a big catch up on my 100 Days. The party is tomorrow (today now) and I'm really excited about meeting up with people and seeing the treasures in the Museum of 100 Days. I'm not going to exhibit anything because all but the last few cut-outs have been made in the one book, making it sort of impossible to display properly, or well. I did think about cutting the individual pages out, and mounting them on card, but then they'd just be bits of paper. I think I'll bring the book and just keep it in my bag, so if anyone wants to have a look, they can. I just hope no Mills and Boon authors are going. There were a couple at the Conference and I was a bit relieved that it wasn't their particular books I'd been slicing up. Although it would have made a brilliant story if I had. Hmmm.

See some of you tomorrow/later. Can't hardly wait.

Days 87 to 95 of #100days: When in Rome...you probably won't get that much sleep

First half

Days 88 to 91 were spent between Torino and Rome. After a day in Turin and a nice bit of wandering, friends Maurizio and Simona got us up early and took us on an 8-hour roadtrip to the Eternal City, to catch up with the Fine Before You Came boys. FBYC had travelled down from Milan to play that night. It was all a bit hectic and a lot brilliant. I wish there'd been more time to see Turin, but it would've been silly to pass up the chance of sightseeing in Rome.

So here we have the cut-out Colosseum...

Trevi fountain allstar Neptune...

and Trevi fountain crazy horses...

and also, man with conch...

Second half

Days 92 to 95 were spent sleeping and catching up.

Things I've learned:

1) You really can never have too much Tiramisu.

2) If you say "when in Rome..." to people when you actually are in Rome, they just look at you funny.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Day 86 of #100days: "It's our time down here."

I couldn't fit Data on the page, so I had to glue on a bit more page.
I could watch The Goonies every day and still not get bored.
The Goonies got played a lot on the old Ferguson Videostar.

Day 85 of #100days: "Where we're going, we don't need roads."

Good old Marty McFly. Good old Michael J. Fox. Good old time travel. Bad Libyans.

Only 15 days left now. It'll be weird when it's all over. Maybe all the Hundred-Dayers can celebrate March 10th every year as a new holiday: "Better Person Day". A hundred days is nearly a third of a year. And I appear to have spent most of a third of a year cutting up books. I'm not sure what that says about my chosen profession. I do know I find it very therapeutic, though. And quite fun.

Day 84 of #100days: "Help me Obi Wan, etc"

Everyone's favourite princess... Leia. Even if she did snog her brother.

Day 83 of #100days: Ouch

...continuing with the video theme. I like themes. Themes are good.

Day 82 of #100days: "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."

That old Ferguson Videostar got me reminiscing about all the videos I used to watch and love. It only felt right to make a paper cut-out John Cusack, from possibly one of the greatest "music" scenes in any film, ever.

Day 81 of #100days: ferguson (killed the) videostar

Day 81 saw a call out from Hundred Days HQ for video. I briefly entertained the idea of doing some kind of stop-motion wizardry, but I'm nowhere near tech enough, and the Mr (who could probably do that kind of thing with his eyes closed) is in Italy, so I came up with a plan B: a paper representation of my beloved old Ferguson Videostar, in all its toploading glory. Ah, Ferguson Videostar, how I loved thee.

Day 80 of #100days: toy o'clock

At work I was sent a link to a site called Toy-A-Day, for half term activity ideas. It's brilliant. There are so many that I want to make. There's even a template so you can design your own.

This book-cut was inspired by these toys. (I still appear to be pilfering.)

Day 79 of #100days: giraffe o'clock

Still not quite over Homage Week, I decided to jump on the giraffe bandwagon with this giraffe for the ace one million giraffes site. If you're not busy you should draw one too, help a guy out.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Day 78 of #100days: Homage Week ends (with a biscuit-eating robot)

Last day of pilfering! I'll be sad to see Homage Week go. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, and have even been plagiarised myself. Thank you Emerson! As a fitting end to this homage business, I decided to revisit 100 tiny moments from my past, present and future. Last time, I went back to my past, so I figured this time I'd head into my future.

This is me in the future when I'm a robot. The best part about being a robot is, I have extra long arms, which are excellent at doing that thing that Mr Tickle did, i.e. wriggling off downstairs to get a biscuit while Mr Tickle (now Robot Me) stays in bed.

Thoughts on The Future:

1) I'm glad they still have biscuits.

2) I hope my robot arms are retractable.

3) It's quite nice that robots have beds.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Day 77 of #100days: TV Party Tonight!! (Or maybe just a bit of a party and then a potato.)

This is my homage to Greg Wohead's 100 Days project, whereby he's tweeting a play every day.

The TV Party

(My housemates and the Mr. are on tour and I have the house to myself, so, what normally occurs under said circumstances is I have my own dance party in the living room. Today, not unlike other such days, I decide I am the front(wo)man in Black Flag.
[This is totally in keeping with the homage theme.] I get quite excited about having a TV Party, tonight.)

Me: (“sings”)We’re gonna have a TV party tonight.

Me: Really?

Me: Yep.

Me: What are you going to watch?

Me: Err...Glee.

Me: And then?

Me: Just Glee. Then I’ll eat my jacket potato and probably go back upstairs and work some more on my novel.

Me: You definitely know how to party.

Me: Hmmm.


Day 76 of #100days: For the love of knives

Not quite sure who or what this is an homage to...maybe to knives? Or maybe it's just to the One Hundred Days To Make Me A Better Person project as a whole, and to everyone involved. Yeah!

(And I think that bit of positivity qualifies me to be plagiarising Toni/Missyaggrevation and her promise to always see the sunny side. Ace.)

Day 75 of #100days: Sharks Patrol These Waters

For Day 75, I thought I'd have a go at Benjamin Partridge's Random Article project. He's writing/was writing a daily story based on Wikipedia's 'random article' button, pressing it once and then sticking with that article, whatever it happened to be. Instead of a story, I decided to stick with my book-cutting, which I am really enjoying. But it meant I had to cheat a bit, because the first few articles I got were either towns in Poland or lists of political candidates.

Based on the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_reef_shark, as generated by the random article button.

Day 74 of #100days: Kaffi

This is my homage to Angela Fernihough's 100 Days of Coffee. Coffee is good. It's definitely helping me with all this catching-up.

Day 73 of #100days: Hat Trick homage

This one was pilfered from think tank toybox.
"I will read a book for at least 20 minutes a day, for 100 days."
This was even more of a cheat for me because it's something I do every day anyway. I can't stop myself. This would normally be quite boring to illustrate, but luckily the book in question was Missing Kissinger by Etgar Keret. I was spoiled for choice, but in the end decided on the story Hat Trick. Look at the bunny. Isn't he cute?


Day 72 of #100days: Homage Week begins

Josie’s mission for days 72 to 78 is to pay homage to other 100 Days projects. Hooray! I’ve been dying to nick some of the other hundred-dayers’ ideas. First up is my homage to 100 tiny moments from my past, present and future.

From my past. This is when I saved River Phoenix from that lion by singing to it. I forget the song. But it really chilled the lion out. Then me and River went and had breakfast, mostly fruit.

(I admit, this one might have been a dream.)

Days 60 to 71 of #100days: Excellent news, a b*stard cough, and cut-out rockets

I’ve had some quite ace news, in that my story Proxy, which was nominated by kill author for the Dzanc Books Best of the Web anthology actually made it in! Woop! It’s a bit unreal. Some amazing writers are going to be in it. I’m chuffed to bits. I can’t wait till it comes out.

To celebrate, I did something that Dzanc Books would probably not approve of...

I had an unexpected breakthrough in my novel, too. A part of the plot that I couldn’t quite get to grips with has thrown up its own answers, and it makes everything make lots more sense. Phew. I was getting ready to chuck it in the bin. I tend to have these Eureka moments while I’m fuzzy-headed with colds/cold medicines. I wonder if there’s a certain part of the brain that’s only activated when I’m ill. Or whether it’s more to do with most of my brain shutting down and letting the story part just take over. I do have some great fever dreams. Which makes me think it probably is the latter. Handy to know...

This is a catch-up post, so I'm only going to put my favourite book-cuts from these 11 days up...

and my favourite...

The theme has been err...space. And coughing.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Day 59 of #100days: Spelling it out

So today's the last day of love week. And I have loved every minute of slicing these pages. Oh yes. It's nice having a theme. I wonder if Josie's got anything up her sleeve for day 60?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Day 58 of #100days: The dinosaur with beautiful ankles

On the withdrawn-for-sale shelf at work is a big book of dinosaurs. I walk past it about eight times a day. I think it wants me to make it into a 3-D pop-up extravaganza of a book. But as Jenn has reminded me, this cutting-up of books is a bit naughty. So I am going to stick with Mills & Boons for now.

As a compromise, I have cut out some dinosaurs who are in love. They are even having a kiss. Who said romance was dead?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Monday, 25 January 2010

Day 56 of #100days: A house made of paper

This is my third attempt at making a house, and now I really am cutting this book to shreds. It's surprisingly therapeutic. Bad librarian! I definitely need a sharper knife, though.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Day 55 of #100days: Words slam into jumbled proximity

Josie Long's not-so-secret, seven-day mission from Day 53 was to do love-themed things. I only got the instructions yesterday, but well, I think that err...doing "creative" things with Mills & Boon books counts. The books are about love. The fact that I'm essentially destroying them...well, we can keep quiet about that, right? After all, it is more "embellishing" than out and out destroying. Just look at the pretty words.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Day 54 of #100days: Voice-thundering-heart-breaking-bird

While I've been looking at cut-up books and book sculptures, I've become aware of the craft knife nestling in the pot of pens on my desk, and over the last day or two, my fingers have been itching to grab the knife and give book-cutting a try. So tonight I Had A Go. (See above.) Initially, I tried doing a tree, but I do not have the patience for intricate things. (And this is also not helped by the knife's blade being so dull that butter could cut it.) And so instead of a graceful tree, I have a voice-thundering-heart-breaking bird. But hooray!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Day 53 of #100days: Fumbling as you glimpse a minute

You shiver blink dance frozen numb.
Fumbling as you glimpse a minute.
It rains and it rains here, just down.

Tonight I read something that took my breath away. Here's a glimpse, click to read it in full...

Like, as if there are all kinds of weather inside him and a city library with a domed roof and the biggest flock of starlings forming all the words and shapes in the sky you can imagine.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Day 51 of #100days: In the blinking of an eye

In the blinking of an eye life scorched her.

A split-second suspended.

The laughter sudden, darkening.

Days 32 to 50 of #100days: Catching up and altering books

I’ve mostly been keeping myself away from the internet. I spent too much time last year just clicking ‘refresh’ a hundred times a day, losing hours of real time. So I’ve cut back, and it’s been good. I’ve got a lot of writing done. I spent a day making a board with timelines and multi-coloured Post-it notes and did lots of “Narrative Arc” playing and planning, and everything with the novel feels more solid now. Yay.

Instead of learning a word a day, I've been working on my Icelandic course a couple of times a week, getting to grips with pronunciation and short conversations. It's harder than reading, but essential if I'm going to learn properly.

Another thing I’ve been doing over the past few days is ‘altering’ pages from books. Not in the way that the crazy borrower does with the Jeffrey Archer books, ‘correcting’ the grammar/Jeff’s word choices/etc, which is highly amusing, but mostly because it’s Jeffrey Archer and not because Library Property is being defaced. Although it is a bit in the same ball park. It does essentially mean destroying a book, which I am dead against normally, but in the case of ‘altered’ books, it can create something that is more than it was. (See above, by the amazing Su Blackwell, for example.)

I am choosy about what I will alter. Old poetry books from charity shops are good. But the books I feel least guilty about using are old deaccessioned Mills & Boons. Not that I have anything against them, but I also have no qualms about painting over things like “lush breasts” and “hot-pink t-shirt” and “impressively muscled thighs” and “skin the colour of cappuccino”. It makes it kind of easy to get my paintbrush out.

I don’t know where I first read about it, but there are lots of artists doing amazing things, (Brian Dettmer does great things with old encyclopaedias. Read an interview with him at Orange Alert) far better than the things I do, which is basically paint gesso primer over most of the words, leaving the ones I like or that feel right. (Similar to this.) Most times a small story appears, or a poem, or a killer line that I’d never have thought of in a hundred years. Sometimes I momentarily get sucked into what “Eduardo” said next, until the paint whitewashes him away. Mostly though, it helps me shut off my left brain, so that when I write straight afterwards, it always seems to flow.

So for the last fifty of the 100 Days, I’m going to do a page a day. Some I think will be the starting point for stories, others might be stories in themselves, and maybe if I put a few together a pattern will emerge. We'll see.

* the photo at the top is from Su Blackwell's blog. She rocks!