Tag: funny

An A-Z of the Writer’s Life

An A-Z of the Writer’s Life

Don’t be ridiculous. Of course I haven’t run out of blog ideas. It’s only the end of January. This is important stuff!

Okay, important might be stretching it, but this was actually really fun. So, without further ado:

The A-Z of the Writer’s Life

(Because you always wanted to know, right?)

This is fine. This is absolutely fine…

A: Authors. That’s us. Even if we don’t feel like that’s what we are an awful lot, and need constant reassurance and regular infusions of chocolate to believe it.

B: Blogs. First because we think we should, later because it gives us an excuse to inflict our thoughts on unsuspecting internet readers.

C: Caffeine. Lots of it. Lots.

D: Drafts. So many drafts. Why are there so many? Why is there never really a final draft?

E: Editing. The word we don’t like to talk about, because there’s even more of it than there are drafts.

F: Fans. What we want. The kind that read our books, not the kind that move air around. Although in summer they’re nice, too.

G: Goals. Those things that shift a lot.

How we hope it works.

H: Headaches. Because our characters do things that we didn’t say they could do, and very rarely do what we want them to do. Also grammar, and real life interfering with our Work.

I: Insecurity. Lots of it. Will I finish this horrible draft? Will I make it less horrible? Will other people think it’s horrible? Will they think I’m horrible? Am I a horrible writer, or a horrible person, or both?

J: Jokes. Things we’re sure we tell badly, or else something that we suspect we may actually be. Not sure.

K: Kettle. Vital writer equipment. Enables us to fuel our caffeine habit, make pot noodles, and serves as a fantastic procrastination tool.

L: Laughter. Used as deflection when someone asks us how our little book is coming on. Often has a slightly desperate edge.

M: Murder. What we research more than is probably healthy, and said searches are probably why we’re on FBI watch lists.

N: Nightmares. In which we find ourselves at a writers’ conference, pitching an erotic comedy to an agent who represents only literary fiction.

Yep.

O: Oh. As in oh my god, oh help me, oh hell, oh no what have I done, and other things I can’t print here.

P: Proofreading. Because editing wasn’t enough. Editing is never enough.

Q: Quiet. What we insist we need, then get a little uneasy about when we actually get it. Is there a tap dripping? I think the fridge is coming on too often. I did not know the cat snored that loudly. Wow. All this quiet is distracting. How am I meant to work like this?

R: Research. Where we find out about interesting ways to kill people, untraceable poisons, how to dismember a body, and other titbits that don’t really help us in small talk situations.

S: Sighs. Many, and escalating as the drafts mount up.

T: Twitter. Where we ‘connect with readers’ and ‘build our audience’. Also known as hanging out with other writers, sharing bad jokes and pretending to work.

U: Unclear. Our characters’ motives, the plot, and our own memories of where we were going when we started this piece. Also our motivations for ever getting into this madness.

No, no. We just think it is. Hopefully.

V: Vague. Our behaviour when forced to leave the computer and socialise. Also known as ‘unsociable’, ‘awkward’, and sometimes ‘weird’.

W: Wikipedia. Where we fall down rabbit holes of unrelated research and emerge days later knowing the exact breeding cycle of the lesser red-spotted yak fly, but nothing more about the historical relevance of penny whistles, which is what we went in for.

X: X. Usually written large, in red, across vast swathes of manuscript while editing.

Y: Yowl. The sound the cat makes when we step on her in the dark while going to write down an amazing idea that’s just occurred to us at 3 am. Alternatively: Yelp, the sound the dogs makes, and also the sound we make when we walk into the bathroom door.

Z: Zero. The amount of regret we have about any of this. Most of the time, anyway.

 

 

So let me know, lovely people – any additions to this alphabet? Any substitutions? Tell me your thoughts!

Cat Logic

Cat Logic

You knew it was going to happen. Why would you even try?

In the world of t’internet, there exists the term, “cat logic”. It’s both hashtag and explanation, description and exclamation, and it’s one of those wonderful phrases that makes me happy about the existence of social media and the internet in general. Seriously, google “cat logic”.

You’re welcome.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, I’m going to share a few examples of Layla’s cat logic, as it’s a wonderful thing. I may also attempt to relate them to the life of non-felines, to prove that I’m using my blog for more than just sharing photos of my cat.

That may or may not work.

Obviously, Layla shares the usual feline traits. If it was bought for her to sleep in or play with, she wants nothing to do with it. Favourite sleeping places are my lap (or back, if I’m in bed), or anywhere that makes it awkward to get up/sit down/open doors/carry on life in general. Favourite playthings (despite the half-suitcase of Australian catnip toys I carted back to France for her on my last trip) are my hair ties, a drawstring from the SO’s PJs, and crumpled bits of paper. Every time a cat sitter looks after Layla, they very diligently collect all the hair ties and put them away on a shelf somewhere. They must think I’m some sort of hair tie stripper, flinging multi-coloured elastic bands about the house willy-nilly. Because one hair tie is not enough, obviously. It must be every hair tie I put down, no matter where that may be.

This is fine.

I go through a lot of hair ties.

But these are all cat logic traits shared with most cats I know, along with the astonishingly accurate foreknowledge that allows her to come and sit on my lap at the exact moment I need to get up. But Layla has her own wonderful quirks.

She will only sleep on the spare bed if I’ve stripped all the bedding off, including the mattress cover. Apparently this makes it a wonderfully comfortable place to nap, so much so that she only moves for food. Which is unfortunate, as vacuuming mattresses is not as easy as washing cat hair off sheets.

If we’re going out for the day, she must go out in the last minutes before we leave, despite the fact that she’s lazy and spends almost all day sleeping inside. This goes double if it’s raining and/or we’ve spotted some of the neighbourhood strays in the area. With no cat flap, this means we spend all day wondering how many fights she’s got into (Layla has never been known to walk away from a fight. She thinks she’s posh because she’s from Harrogate, but she’s actually very scrappy for a small cat), and return home to an aggrieved kitty, complaining about being left out where she can’t get to her biscuits.

I don’t care if there ARE two doors and three other windows open. Open THIS one.

She likes to sleep in cupboards. This is something that she shares with many other felines, but the problem is that she can’t really meow. She puts an awful lot of effort in, and you can see her sides heave as she pushes the air out – but if any sound joins it, it’s a tinier squeak than most kittens have. Which means that, if we haven’t noticed her go into a cupboard, it can take a long time to find her again. She ended up spending all day in one when we thought she’d done her usual Great Escape, only to panic when we returned home to find she wasn’t waiting for us. It took about an hour of frantic calling and searching outside before we thought to check the cupboards. To be fair, she was sound asleep, so I don’t think it was much of an issue.

And it looks even worse in reality.

She doesn’t like fresh fish, chicken, or meat. She doesn’t even like fancy cat food. Which is good, because there’s never any need to worry about leaving food out, but also bad, because when she occasionally goes off her food, I don’t have many options. Not that I’m entirely complaining that the cheapest, nastiest supermarket own brand food is her preference. Oh, and pork pies. That’s the only food she’s ever stolen. Which may say something about the composition of pork pies.

Layla, unlike many animals, isn’t at all bothered by loud noises. I remember the first Guy Fawkes after she adopted me, I spent a fortune on a Feliway plug-in, Feliway spray, Valerian drops for cats, etc, etc. I tried everything I could think of (or read about) to make sure she was going to feel safe when the fireworks started. Her ears barely twitched. I, however, was a nervous wreck. On the other hand – apparently the SO’s winter jacket is terrifying and he can’t put it on in the house any more. (Edit – I also discovered yesterday that toothpaste boxes are Very Scary.)

If she’s outdoors and feels a hairball coming on, she runs inside and finds a rug to vomit on, then goes back out. (In one house, there was only one small rug in the entire downstairs, everything else being smooth flooring. She always found it).

She never, ever walks on the kitchen counter, but every other surface in the house is fair game. This is not something I’ve taught her.

I hate air conditioning, but if it gets really hot in the summer and I can see she’s getting uncomfortable, I’ll put it on. At which point she will always leave the room. Likewise in winter – she’ll sleep in the bedrooms where there’s no heating on, rather than in the living room where there is.

Without fail, she leaves the Christmas tree a minimum of two weeks before she attacks it. It’s always just at that point when we’re thinking, “Ah, she’s such a good kitty. We’re so lucky, not having to worry about the tree,” that we come home to utter devastation.

Soon…

Two other things about her, which have nothing to do with cat logic, but which I’ll share as more examples of her lovely oddity: she’s clumsy, and she snores. Both of which are adorable.

And I have, of course, utterly failed to relate any of this to human life, so I’ll just say this – we don’t always have to have reasons for our pathological hatred of certain jackets, or our affection for small cosy spaces. We don’t need fancy things to be happy when small things will do just fine. And, while we may know better, there’s nothing wrong with eating a little cheap and nasty food now and then, just because we like it. A little cat logic never hurt anyone.

How about you? Any examples of cat logic you’d like to share? Or just the lovely quirks of your pets?

What?

 

 

I Don’t Know What I’m Thinking, Either

I Don’t Know What I’m Thinking, Either

It’s short story week! Jump on over to read Glenda & the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, or read on for a few thoughts about the story itself.


Yeah, and my bedside table is just as tidy as that. *snorts*

I do that writery thing you always read about, where I keep a notebook and a piece of paper by the bed. It seems like a reasonable thing to do, right? I mean, who knows what pearl of genius may rise to the surface in the night?

But this is what really happens:

If I wake up in the night, it’s because I need the loo, and I’m mostly concentrating on not walking into any walls or tripping over cat toys. If I survive that excursion, I sink gratefully back into bed and hope I haven’t woken the cat up. Because if I’ve woken the cat up, then she wants cuddles/play/food, and I have to either provide the first two or ignore the last, in the hope that she gives up and goes back to sleep. This is an unusual occurrence. She’s a very persistent cat.

However, assuming I survive this, I have every intention of going back to sleep myself rather than attempting to pen an inspiring note by the faint light filtering in through the curtains. My writing’s pretty illegible at the best of times. Half-asleep and in the dark, it’s going to look like the local spiders are sending us ransom notes.

Of course, I have tried, because it seems very writery, and I like pretending to be writery. But I’ll tell you now – my 3am dream thoughts are not lighting papers of story. They’re somewhere between a 5-year-old’s Christmas list and the ramblings of someone on a morphine drip. I mean, what do you do with “Rabbit. Green snow – bees. Yeah.”?

Not a lot.

However, I was evidently both relatively lucid and able to hold the pen like a normal human being when I wrote this one down: “Glenda & the Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.

I mean, it’s not a story.

But it was a seed.

Read on and enjoy!

 

Yeah, not QUITE like that.

 

Do you write down your dreams, or ideas that come to you in the night? Have they led you down some interesting paths? Tell me in the comments!

 

Friday Frivolities – Aging Gracefully

Friday Frivolities – Aging Gracefully

As you already know, I’m not the biggest fan of aging gracefully. It seems a little overrated to me, and I figure I may as well continue as I mean to go on. However, there is some sage advice to be found in this video.

I particularly love: “Cultivate younger friends, otherwise yours will all die off.”

 

 

What are your thoughts? What piece of advice would you impart to your younger self? Mine would be – and probably still is – you don’t have to know what you’re doing in life. No one else does either.

Happy Friday!

 

Friday Frivolities – People Try Books

Friday Frivolities – People Try Books

I have seen the future, and it is terrifying. Or at least I hope it’s the future, and not an upcoming documentary.

Admittedly, I have seen books being sold by the metre, to really set off that new living room or landing, so maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to assume this is just for fun.

Please tell me it’s just for fun…

 

 

Kind of love that Penguin Random House are putting such wonderful silliness out there.

What’s the oddest non-reading use for books you’ve come across?

 

Friday Frivolities – The Katering Show

Friday Frivolities – The Katering Show

I have no idea how I stumbled on this, but it is the cooking show we all need.

Much swearing, drinking, ridiculing of food shows, and political incorrectness ahead. Be warned – it’s very hard to watch just one episode.

 

 

You can check their website out here.

What oddly wonderful web shows have you come across? Share in the comments!

Stuff for Sunday – Weather, Kittens, & Winning Instagram

Stuff for Sunday – Weather, Kittens, & Winning Instagram

It seems we found our level last week, as Cake Wrecks was the one link everyone was talking about. I should have guessed, really – badly-made baked goods are rather more fun than philosophical musings. And therefore I shall deliver more oddities and less serious stuff. After all, there’s more than enough serious stuff in the world, so why shouldn’t we have more kittens and cake wrecks?

So let’s jump right in…

 

 

Attack of the Cute

This is an adorable website. It’s nothing but photos, gifs and videos of ridiculously cute animals. And they all look like furry little models, because all the photos are exceptionally good – if not professional, then not far off that level.

I tried to limit myself to just looking at the home page. (I also have to keep an eye out for the little furry muse. I mean, if she came along and found me looking at photos of other cats…).

 

 

Village Name Generator

I’m pretty sure that there’s no way a name as good as Upton Snodsbury or Barton in the Beans could ever be invented, and whenever I try to come up with good village names they always sound very obviously fake to me. And then I discovered this.

I’ve linked to the blog post, but if you scroll down you’ll discover the link to the English Village Name Generator, which gave me Toot Hansell and Little Weirding. It makes me terribly happy.

 

 

Celeste Barber

If you haven’t discovered the wonderful Celeste Barber, you must do so immediately. She writes a very funny blog here (although it hasn’t been updated for almost a year, boo), and her instagram is fantastic. All those times you’ve thought that a celebrity’s in a ridiculous pose, or wearing something entirely bizarre? Well.

 

 

 

Windy.ty

This is probably only interesting if you’re a weather geek or like prettily coloured maps, but I love it. You can click anywhere and choose to see wind, cloud cover, temperature etc at any location, all in rather pleasing graphics.

Want to know if it’s snowing in Iceland? Done.

Want to know how strong the wind is in the Southern Ocean? No problems.

Want to know how hot it is in the Gobi Desert? Click and go.

I can waste so much time on this.

 

How about you? Any fun links you’d like to share this week?

 

 

Friday Frivolities – A Capella Science

Friday Frivolities – A Capella Science

If you follow me on Facebook at all (and Twitter to a certain extent), you’ll have realised that I have a weakness for all things science. I don’t understand the half of it, and can never remember much of what I do understand, but I still love it. The fact that the universe is full of wonderful things, and that clever people dedicate their lives to discovering them and using small words to tell the science-illiterate like me about them, never fails to make me happy. And if said clever people seem to be having fun at the same time – well, all’s well with my world.

This, therefore, makes me terribly happy:

 

 

There’s a whole YouTube channel of these, and you can find more of Tim Blais’ work on Patreon..

What about you? What’s something that makes you happy from a distance?

 

 

Stuff for Sunday – Planets, Kids’ Mags, & Bad Cakes

Stuff for Sunday – Planets, Kids’ Mags, & Bad Cakes

Somewhat like Friday’s new Frivolities post, I make no promises about how long I’ll keep this up, but I fancied sharing a few things I’ve been reading this week. Some I may have already mentioned on Facebook or Twitter, others I may have forgotten to for one reason or the other. But if you’re looking for a bit of Sunday evening reading, you could do worse than these.

Or you could read some of my short stories over on Wattpad, of course. But if you’ve already exhausted that, here are a few things that caught my eye this week – some silly, some less so.

 

Scoop:

“Scoop is a monthly printed magazine for 8+. Designed to inspire and nurture a love of reading and stories. Every month we bring together a host of incredible writers and illustrators who create original fiction and non fiction, we promise never to talk down to our readers.”

And I really want to subscribe, judging from the list of contributing authors. Research, right?

 

 

 

 

Brain Pickings: Leonard Bernstein on Cynicism, Instant Gratification, and Why Paying Attention Is a Countercultural Act of Courage and Rebellion

“As we grow up and learn to be cynical, Bernstein argues, we gradually stifle this inherent love of learning, turn off our curiosity, and become calcified. Out of that cynicism springs the impulse for instant gratification — the very opposite of the pleasurably protracted challenge of learning.”

Beautifully encouraging.

 

 

 

Nasa: Cassini, the Grand Finale

Because, wow.

 

 

Cake Wrecks:

And now to lower the tone a little.

“A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate – you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it’s simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I’m not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.”

Follow them is you don’t already. Sugary hilarity will ensue. (And yes – that is Batman fighting a Great White with a lightsabre.)

 

 

Buzzfeed: Deep Animal Thoughts

Because how could this not be adorable? Click on the smiling critter and get a deep thought.

“If you get a chance to be weird, take it.”

Win.

 

This is how I spend my Sunday, apparently. What odd or interesting articles have you run across this week?

Friday Frivolities – Black Books

Friday Frivolities – Black Books

 

Now, I’ve been sticking to the once-a-week blog type thing, because honestly, being organised enough to blog once a week is already plenty for me to handle. Plen-ty. However. This week seems to have been a long week for everyone. I’m not sure why – end of summer, back to school, just one of those weeks, take your pick. So it seemed to me that a little Friday pick-me-up was in order. And what could be better than a dose of Black Books?

 

It appeals to the grammar nerd…

 

The introvert…

 

The bookworm…

 

And the writer.

 

Which is all of us, right? If you haven’t seen it, it’s brilliant, ridiculous, and you can make Friday immeasurably better by watching now.

 

 

And if nothing else, you can think, well, at least I’m not that bad.

What do you watch when you’re feeling a bit down? Any favourites?