Close at home and far away

I don’t like this week. Unexpected events are eating into my time, and everything has taken longer than planned (or gone wrong/broken down/fallen over etc!). I’ve got lots of  ‘take-home’ work to do for my main Proper Job, plus I’m now working extra hours (why oh why did I say yes!) So now I don’t get a day off this week.

Not to mention the fact that I still haven’t completed my tax return (or last year’s Aug-Dec final figures that need to be done first). Gulp. I know the deadline approacheth apace…sigh.

The main printer at home has gone bonkers, so with that and the bizarre ‘thou shalt be a complete jellybrain’ curse that I’ve been under for days, it took me a while this morning to polish and finally print my poem, ‘Colleagues’.

But it’s done, and duly sent off by post to the Generation Gap themed competition in Writers’ News. Fingers crossed…

That’s what’s happening close to home. Now for Far Away…

If you’re aware of 100 Stories for Haiti, put together by Greg McQueen, you might be interested to know there’s a similar collection coming out to raise funds for the Red Cross Pakistan Floods Appeal.  There are more details here(and I’ve popped the link in my blogroll). 50 Stories For Pakistan will be a book of 50 (you’d never have guessed!) stories of varying genres by a whole host of writers, with a max word count of 500 – and of course no violence, destruction, death etc.

I started rewriting a short story I wrote a couple of years ago, which I’m going to send – I’m sure there will be lots of submissions, so we’ll see how that goes. It would be great to donate a story to something so worthwhile. If you want to donate directly to the appeal right now, the link in the sidebar over there > will take you straight to the donation page.

Once thing’s for sure – their problems make mine seem pretty insignificant. I’ll stop whinging.
That’s all for now…

Woo-hoo! “The man from Del Monte – he say yes!”

OK, it wasn’t exactly the man from Del Monte, it was whoever it is that looks at the submissions for the WiseWords page in Prima.

So now I have proof for myself that, as other writers have commented, you never know you’ve been published in WiseWords until you receive the cheque (no letter, just a sheet with in-house codes and a cheque attached at the bottom!).

I’m glad I didn’t know though, because one of the Proper Jobs has been pretty stressful over the last couple of days, and when I got in at 3.30 pm it was the nicest kind of surprise to find a cheque waiting for me 🙂

Right, need to go and finish a poem for a Writers’ News competition – it has to be posted tomorrow. I never really think of myself as a poet – but of the two poetry comps I’ve entered, one was tiny with no shortlist or even runner-up, the other was a standard Writing Magazine competition and I made the short-list. So I must sometimes have it in me to Rite a decent Rime 😉 – I’ll give it a go.

How Advanced Am I, Really? ;-)

It seems I’m about to find out because today a somewhat wet and bedraggled DHL driver delivered a bundle of joy to my door (lucky that I wasn’t Proper Jobbing today). Yay! It was my OU course materials for A363 Advanced Creative Writing.

It turned up at the ideal time, as I needed a break from the computer and wanted something to read with a cuppa before picking up Constructo Boy from school. So I settled down for a read on a sunlounger (upright). Don’t get excited, it wasn’t outdoors. It’s lurking near the patio doors in the vain hope of being allowed out of them again, looking uncannily like a dog desperate for walkies!

This was only after I’d reassured the DHL driver that no, I didn’t want him to hand me the sodden mass that was Arty Daughter’s newspapers (bundled in plastic, thank goodness). I tried to explain that she could shake them off later when she got back, but bless him, I don’t think his English was up to it so he just looked at them, rather bewildered, and walked away. 

So I’ve had a little browse at the intros in the course handbook and study guide, and can’t wait to start. I’m sure come assignment time, though, some of my enthusiasm might have worn off… 🙂

I have to write screen adaptions and plays. I have never done this before.

I’m sure it will be fine.

Gulp.

Finally – I’ve landed!

Phew! I’m here. It’s here. The website, that is.

I more or less know what I’m doing with websites, but I wanted a specific look for this one, being the first one that represents me and not my (ex-) business, workplace or incognito blog. And I wanted something free and easy to update ;-). After several frustrating, time-wasting, disappointing attempts (did I mention frustrating?!) my Techy Husband told me his workmates were recommending Wordpress.org (that’s Techy, not Tetchy, he’s in I.T – although sometimes…*g*). I’ve had a blog on WordPress.com for a while, so this sounded like a good idea, particularly when  I realised I could download the .org version for free to my subdomain. Yay! I was off.

But then I couldn’t find a Theme I liked. I spent some time trying to adapt themes from WordPress and downloading Notepad Chaos 2 from the web – a beautiful design with my favourite colours and lots of writery-imagery – but it needed more knowledge and time than I had to make it work in WP admin(and judging by whinges on the net, I was in good company!).  Still, this time wasn’t wasted (grits teeth) as my knowledge of CSS went from non-existent to minuscule – hooray!

Finally I found the theme you see before you – the Notebook Theme in all its glory. You can download it here. If you do so, and want to get rid of the aggravating ‘home’ tab (that doesn’t lead to a page you can edit but instead to a ready-installed ‘about me’ page, so you have two links to the same page!) – drop me a line and I’ll tell you how to fix it.

There are still things I want to add, and ideas and posts that I’ll steal from my old blog, WriteousIndignation, but this will do for today.

Ex-Medway Townie that I am, one of the things I’ve found funniest about living in much-more-rural west Cambridgeshire is the newspaper headlines. You could pretty much guarantee that the big stories in our old papers were going to be stabbings, drug raids, child abuse…

It’s very different here (and don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining).  The most amazing things make the front page! A close friend upped sticks at the same time as we did – in her case to Somerset, near the edge of Exmoor. We often swap what are, to us, hilariously wonderful, gentle headlines, by email or letter. One week, our local front page story was about the names given to some chicks born at a local zoo – ok, they were a rather rarer breed than a chicken, but still…

However, it was the Cambridge News that made me snort with laughter yesterday (the snorting will make me look bad, in a minute.) I didn’t get a chance to follow this story up, because I only glimpsed the headline before my daughter whisked it away for delivery to her waiting customers, and to be fair it wasn’t the front page headline. It was one of those ‘other important stories’ that they give you a taster of at the top – you know, the ones that are meant to make you desperate to carry on reading the insightful journalism within.

It read: “I found glass shards in my peanuts.”

I told  you it would make me look bad… 😉