Friday, 29 July 2011

Espresso? Dark Chocolate? Mint Tea?

Here's a bit of fun. Submit your writing to the Creative Cafe Project and assign your story a drink :

The Creative Cafe concept seems to me, a fabulous utopian idea ... I want one ! Or at least I'd love to have one nearby. I want to be the writer who's pretending to write a novel on her laptop, the one who people interrupt ... ask questions ... share writerly stuff ...

The Creative Café is the brainchild of university lecturer and children’s writer, Gill James. In 2006 she envisaged a network of cafés where creative practitioners know they are welcome and where normal coffee lovers know that they will be able to experience something a little different as they sip their brew. This is happening informally. The project aims to identify, create and expand Creative Cafés. Several pilot / benchmark cafés have been identified. The project is now seeking to organise expansion logically.

The Creative Cafe Project is looking for:
... thought-provoking and entertaining stories, though ones which might be a tad different from what you normally read in a woman’s magazine. They should be the sort of length that would make easy reading whilst you drink a cup of coffee, even if you linger a while, but without you needing to rent-a-table.

Each story will be assigned the name of a drink. [You may assign the drink] Something light and frothy might be a hot chocolate. A dark piece of flash fiction could be an espresso. Something good for the soul would be a mint tea.

[Suggest under 3000 words. Shorter stories and flash fiction welcome]

Check it out, Gillian 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Can you hear anything ?

Triple Glazing

No sound of cycle bells ringing,
engines racing, buses droning
or wagons thundering,
over the A six three something,

No sound of children laughing,
crying, arguing, not even birdsong
can be heard
through the triple glazing.


Faux Pas and Random Figures ...

Faux Pas

Cool as a martini in Manolo Blahnik towers
she steps from the tube, mind the gap,
sharp stilettos clipping the steps
Louis Vuitton hanging,
she clings to the glue-coated
moving handrail, hails a cab,
slips tortoiseshells in her hair,
tap, tapping on monikered mobile,
a jewel encrusted fake,
she ogles at Oscar de la Renta.
and travels to nowhere.

I was just exploring the opinion that luxury is more of your own perception than what it says on the label when I came across these figures:

China – 300,000 millionaires
Russia – 88 thousand millionaires
[Moscow] 33 billionaires
India – 70,000 millionaires


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Just found these ... exercise without using too much energy ...

Morning everyone. I was just having a desktop tidy up [more procrastination - supposed to be editing 'Scrambled-egg-pet'] and found these starter phrases and sentences ... thought I would share them with you ... this type of writing exercise often gets my mind going when I'm stuck ...

Just finish any of the intro sentences that attract you:

From behind the dark cloud, the moon emerged, its cold pallid light, casting shadows …

James Spencer stared accusingly at her ...

My mother once said that …

Had she really wanted to know? ...

Charles was extremely fond of telling people …

It was 1951. Jenny Price was happy. ...

It was 2010. Andrew Smith wasn't happy. ...

In the beginning, God made man and then he made …

Today will be a day of letting go ...

On Sunday morning, on almost every Sunday morning, ...

Jenny Jones' friends were all of the opinion that she …

Jack Jones's friend were all of the opinion that he ...
He had come from the plane and was even now forgetting ...

Enjoy, Gillian.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Henrietta ... my new inspiraton ...

Henrietta: A Walk in the Park ... [oka my garden]

Thanks to Henrietta for getting my imagination going ... I know hens, chickens [same thing obv] chicks, ducks, goose stories have been around for hundreds of years ... and so I decided to add to that list with my new short story, coming soon, for children aged 6-9 years; Scrambled-egg-pet.

Off to do some editing [again] Gillian 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

If you thought Falconry Displays were boring ... watch this ...

Whilst researching [otherwise known as procrastinating, I came across this amazing piece of film ...

Enjoy, Gillian

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Relaxing Tiddlers ...

Check out the Relaxing Tiddlers at the foot of the blog [below favourite books] ... another half hour of procrastination used up.


Too Many Projects, Too Little Time ...

Too many projects, too little time. What with extreme ironing and continually re-stocking food supplies fast becoming projects themselves as my teenage boys turn into real men, I'm finding I still don't have enough time to get down to what I want to do ~ Write.

So, for now, I've put all businessy projects on hold. I have decided to commit ALL my spare time to writing! That concept, three weeks ago, I felt elated about and I got to the hobby / task straight away [one of the reasons I haven't been here for a while ~ apologies]. But there I went again ... not keeping the eye on the ball, the finger on the button, my mind on one project. Typical! Arggh! My problem once again - too many projects. My mind was all over the place, trying to choose one project to focus on: Adult novel/contemporary saga of power and control in relationships, Touchstone, waiting to be finished. Short stories waiting for an edit. Children's picuture book stories waiting for ... whatever. Children's novel, a cliff hanger waiting to be attended to. Interactive activity pages for children suffering trauma mostly developed but lie neatly on the bookshelf waiting for finishing touches, a printer and possibly a touch of confidence.

Clearly, the activity pages seem most important due to the very idea of them. The overall design is child-type hand-drawn pictures, shapes and patterns. Yep, I should be able to do that. Why not? Yep Start here - it's the obvious place to begin.

So what did I do first? As usual I entertained the P word. Procrastination. I sat quietly and did some thinking. [After all, isn't writing 80% thinking 20% writing?] If I focused on the starting place of my writing and moved forwards from there, I could work my way chronologically through all my writing projects, dotting all the 'I's and crossing all the 'T's. Yeah, yep, yah, that seemed like a good enough reason to do what I do best - procrastinate! I got out ALL of my poems and made a themed collection ~ two. I decided to publish a poetry pamphlet [which involved two evenings on internet searches]. I designed some covers ideas, short-listed the content, enlisted the help of my artist friend and approached a printer. Great. Now What? During that process, I found some narrative poetry written for children and waiting for illustration. Hmm ... What could I do with this? [no doubt you're forming an image of the problem I have] One of the poems got me thinking [again]. I dug out some Roald Dahl, Anthony Horovitch, Anne Fine children's stories and did a quick re-cap [Love the Magic Finger story - the one where the neighbours, who are constantly shooting at birds, get changed into birds and find themselves living in a nest whilst the birds take over their house]. That night, I couldn't sleep. Around two-thirty in the morning, I had the makings of  four children's stories and worried I wouldn't be able to remember them in the morning, [have you ever worried about forgetting your night-time ideas?] scribbled the thoughts down on a scrap of paper [actually the back page of Jonathan Franzen's brilliantly observed, The Corrections] and tried to go back to sleep. Not a chance. By four, I'd written hundreds of words for each story. 

So you sense my dilemma. Focus you say. Focus I say, every time I sit down to write. And here I am, procrastinating on my blog ... Maybe I should just re-name it: PROCRASTION?

Anyway, must be off now ... must finish my current short story for children, 'Scrambled-Egg-Pet' or maybe a spot of Ironing? The choices are endless. Hopefully I can do both without drifting off to another project like shortening my mother's new curtains, cleaning out the chicken house / loft / garage, [incidently, take a look at the feng shui garage on and prepare to be jealous. Other distractions I'm trying not to think about; digging a vegetable patch or worse, taking accumulated stuff to a car boot sale / charity shop / tip, go for a hire-bike ride along Blackpool's Wonderful New Promenade ... now that might be worthwhile ... get the creative juices flowing ...


[oops - maybe should make a new label, 'Procrastion' ?]

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

More Pamphlet Proto-types ...

I began with an idea, like most people do. A poetry pamphlet. I realise the 'poetry pamphlet' is not my idea, but my idea was for me to publish one or have one published. Is there a difference? Possibly around £200. So my idea, [not a actually an idea, more of a-this-is-how-they-usually-look] to print a poetry pamphlet, began as a standard issue Poetry Pamphlet:

Card cover with title, author and logo; 4 x A4 pieces of white slightly thicker copy paper [possibly the logo or similar printed on one or two pages], with Times Roman point 12 font in black.

Then I visited my friend who's an expert on hand-crafted celebration cards - or sticking and cutting as I often call it. Here are yet some more proto-types:

Possibly the reason why my blog posts are getting temporarily shorter.

Thanks for reading, Gillian

The Corrections

Just having a read of Jonathan Franzen's, 'The Corrections.'

Not reached page 100 and loving it. Every page, paragraph, line, phrase, word, Sooo well observed and written. The only problem now ... it's around 600 plus pages long and quite heavy.

Also on my reading list for the next two weeks:
Kazuo Ishiguro ~ 'The Remains of the Day'
Jeffery Archer ~ 'Only Time Will Tell'

[I've managed to upload/download or is it download/upload them to my iphone ~ and feeling rather smug about it ! ]


Sunday, 3 July 2011

Are you lonely?

'An artist is always alone - if he is an artist.
No, what the artist needs is loneliness.'

Henry Miller

via SocialOomph


Find it hard to choose a book to read?

I sometimes find it takes tooooo long to choose a book just to read - I know that probably sounds completely odd - but what I really mean is - a book purely for enjoyment rather than assessing writing styles, voice, character, tone, mood etc. etc. etc.

Being part of the World Book Night, I was sent a link to this list of 100 books ... 'kinda' made the job a bit easier for my next read ...

and 'kinda' didn't, as I realise how many more I should get through.