I AM BACK properly now. Did you miss me? What? NO? Get out.
Anyway. As regular readers will know, I recently got married. It looked like this –
And made me feel like this –
I’ve already done my gushy marriage post and there is a lot more content to come on this, so I will leave it there. But my family, friends, and above all Paul have made me feel VERY VERY lucky recently. I am full of love.
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. I picked this up at the airport on a whim and SERIOUSLY BLOODY HELL. The Versions of Us tells three parallel tales of the lives of the same couple, but based on slightly different starts to their relationship. Although I found the ending slightly unsatisfying, in the main this was perfectly judged, consistently surprising and engaging as all hell. Lush and gripping and beautiful.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. It has been pointed out to me recently that the book I am writing is not, as I thought “accessible literary fiction”, it is in fact commercial fiction, most specifically, a psychological thriller. So I have been mainlining the little bastards. This one was pretty good. The writing quality is not great and the boring police procedural plotline is given way too much page space – so much so I nearly gave up after a chapter. I persevered though, and as promised, there were properly surprising plot twists and I really did want to know what happened. Look at me reading the denouemont in Schipol Airport –
The Bones Of You by Debbie Howells. More of the same really. Slightly stronger writing, slightly weaker plot. We are told that there is a dead teenage girl. WHO KILLED HER? Can you guess? I could. Quite easily. But I enjoyed the reading process a lot – nice language, descriptions and pacing.
This week I have started working on a new poetry show, but also sort of my next novel – I’m hoping they’ll be companion pieces in a way. It’s about disaster. Ha! Chirpy… It’s going okay I think? The first scratch is in London on the 24th, which is terrifyingly soon… I’ve heard this week it’s also going to be part of Offbeat Festival in Oxford on the 24th of June – so that’s the date to have it all polished and slick like.
Yesterday I put on my big girl knickers and asked my boss if I could reduce my hours to three days a week. I’m turning 30 on Sunday, and it felt like time to really back myself and my writing career, and give myself the most time I could, and the best possible chance. It means a pay cut, obviously, but also an ocean of time to try my very bloody hardest to get rich like JK Rowling, um, I mean, pursue my art. Wish me luck!
In other good writing news, I have been shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize. A real prize, for my real novel! Pretty bloody exciting. I find out next weekend. Wish me more luck.
I also started logging my writing time – in terms of actual hours that I have sat there, bum in seat, writing things. I am a big believer that the way to get good at something is to just… do shitloads of it. I thought a no-bullshit time log might help.
This week’s bum-in-seat hours: 9
Deadpool. Amusing! I liked it! Except a few weird misogynistic jokes that filtered through. It is forgettable though. I have already forgotten a LOT of it. Maybe because in The Netherlands they sell beer in cinemas? Who knows!
The Martian. Late to the party on this one. I thought it was genuinely very beautiful. Shout out to the special effects, and to Matt Damon. A heartstopping/warming exploration of what humans need.