Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tits up

Right so I’m back after my holiday, it’s time to come clean. It was a break from blogging and a break from writing. Respite for a brain that didn’t know where it was going or what it was doing.

Once I’d decided to have some time out I tried not to agonize over the writing or in my case, non-writing, but still I dreamed about my book and my story. Everything that happened to me, all the things that I saw were relayed in my head as though part of my story.

I took the time to think about what happens now.

Do I want to write?

How badly do I want to write?

Why, the minute I say something out loud on my blog, does everything come crashing down around me?

‘I’m writing’ I say: I stop immediately and freeze in terror.
‘I’m plotting’ I say: suddenly I can’t work out the order in which scenes need to happen.

I’m not sure that I should say things out loud on this blog – for fear it all goes tits up… but I hope you realize what I decided.

I am still a Novel Racer.

Monday, July 30, 2007


While I was in the UK my brother and sister-in-law came over to our parents for Sunday lunch because I couldn't fit in a trip to Wiltshire. (Husband was exceedingly grateful that I was going nowhere near the Mulberry factory shop at Shepton Mallet - a mere stone's throw from my brother's! If you've never been and you're nearby - go, go, GO I tell you. Stroke the leather and inhale deeply for me please.)

But I'm getting sidetracked. My brother introduced me to this website which I think is wonderful. Having a visual mind this works so much better for me than a list of words. I was unhappy with my online dictionary so this has solved my problems for the time being.

What about the rest of you? What are your recommendations for research websites?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm back

Well, I'm back. I had the loveliest time in the UK although it was exhausting too. However, I didn't belong anywhere this time. It was all familiar, but nowhere was properly home.

I met two Novel Racer bloggers while in the UK: Jen and Helen. Jen and I made a pact for our launch parties (ha ha ha). Helen has (most impressively) got her first draft done which is very exciting and renewed my enthusiasm for my own WIP.

I was dead tired by the time I came to the end of my Grand Tour of the Beattie/Stevens clan - and climbed on to the aeroplane grateful to be able to stop living out of a suitcase. I woke in the night on the 'plane knowing I should stay awake because it would make the jetlag easier but someone had been by and put grit in my eyes and they wouldn't open. I sat there in my inadequate seat thinking about going home, but for the life of me in my confused and comatosed state, I couldn't work out if I was going to the UK or to Bangkok.

On my first full day in Bangkok I had a spa morning arranged with friends: I d booked a jetlag massage which was lovely, but resulted in my returning to the unconscious state. It meant I was alert enough (or maybe not, considering) to meet Ms Melancholy and her family that evening (see here). I'm still punishing myself for the social faux pas made there...

I woke on Friday morning with a ferocious migraine which meant I had to cancel my (urgent) website lesson and didn't get the (urgent) voting form up on the website before Husband and I came down to Koh Chang (Elephant Island) for me to try scuba diving. The family had done their 'Open Water Diver' training here and the staff were lovely, gentle and encouraging, so as a total coward I decided I'd like to come here for my 'Discover Dive'. I was clothed up in all the scuba paraphernalia, told to jump in and then instructed to submerge... this was my training.

You know what? We can't breathe underwater and my brain and my heart had a stand up (alright, floating) altercation about this fact. I tried several times, but each time I submerged I wanted to run (that's quite hard in water, wearing flippers, a tank of oxygen weighing as much as me (that's a lot) and a mask. He (the instructor) just wanted me to 'go down.' Like it was as simple as that. Anyway, I bottled it. I couldn't do it and I got out. I felt terrible: like a failure and that I'd let husband down who so wants me to discover and share the world of diving. It took until this morning for me to realise what a crap piece of teaching I'd had: or non-teaching. Maybe I'll try again in a pool in Bangkok, or maybe I won't.

Now that I'm back I'm going to have a potter around all my regular blogs and say hello. See you soon.

Dear Ms Melancholy

Dear Ms Melancholy

It was so good to see you again last week and lovely to meet your family.

I hope you all recovered from the lack of sleep/food/jetlag and had a lovely few days in the city (How was the Grand Palace? Did you get to the snake farm?) I hope the trip down south was easy.

Thank you for the hospitality at your hotel. I hope that I was able to help with protocol on tipping in Thailand, recommending good dishes (please try Larb Moo: spicy pork salad) and explaining that Thai dishes arrive when they're ready rather than coming all together. I realise that this strictly contravenes Melancholy family rules and hope that on your return you will be able to reinstate this well mannered behaviour in the children. Whilst on this subject, please accept my apologies for insulting your husband's bathroom building prowess, eating his dinner and making your son cry.

It was probably as well that you were all tired/jetlagged and that I disappeared when I did. All in all it was a wonderful evening!

Kind regards

Friday, July 13, 2007

A break from my blog break

Hello you lovelies, are you still there?

Even if I didn't want a break I've been forced to have one by prehistoric or French speaking computers. That's okay though because when I got back to my parents and their hand-cranked PC, I found Helen, Angie and A.Writer had all nominated me for a Rockin' Girl Blogging Award. Thank you lovely people. It made me all bleary eyed with emotion. I'm not sure what I should do now - but I think I put up the label, and then nominate 5 others. Can anyone tell me if this is correct?

I'm still thinking about the novel, because I had a scary dream the other day about snakes which are a metaphor in my story, and although I can handle not writing, I'm quite keen to restart. But I'm not going to...

We went back to the children's UK school to see the matinee of the show that my daughter would've been in had we not moved to Bangkok. We got there at the end of lunch time and watched the Dance Club's dance, and then we helped to put out the chairs for the audience: I felt as though I'd never been away. I loved being in school. I used to play 'Librarian' on a Friday morning for the junior school, and I co-ran a book club with the year 2 teacher, and I did an art class with Year 3. I loved being an involved parent.

Next was France. Lots of wine, cheese and bread. My mother in law is a fabulous host and I over ate, over drank and over slept.

Now I'm back at my folks, and tomorrow the excitement of the day is that I get to meet Jen at Spiral Skies. I'm so excited.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Tonight I fly to the UK.

I have peeled off all my plotted post it notes from my big piece of card and stuck them together. By rights, I shouldn’t be here talking about it. I said I wouldn’t, but I think I’ve got to talk about My Problem. Or maybe Problems.

I’m not writing. I am thinking, but mostly about why I’m not writing. I know what I want to write but when I try to do it I don’t or can’t. I wondered if perhaps I didn’t know how to get there, so I planned to plot. I talked about plotting; I cleared my desk and completed my other jobs. I bought some new stationery. And for a few hours I did plot onto a big piece of card that won’t fit into the ‘allowed to check a bag this big’ space they have at the check in desks.

So. What am I to do? I have two and a half weeks of 2/3 days in any one place and seeing people we haven’t seen for a year or so. Will I have a chance to write? Should I write about that instead? Should I continue to try and plot so that when I get back I can write?

I want to tell you that I plan to have a break from blogging BUT I think that may be a lie… I’m not sure that I can. I may be lurking…

I think that what I need is to have permission not to do any writing/plotting/thinking about writing or plotting. I don’t know where this will lead, but thinking about it hasn’t worked, so now I’m going to try not to think about it.

I may blog so do continue to look in on me, but it may be a bit sporadic too.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ooops, not showing my face

Well I've just come to see if I can post today, but I've noticed my comment about not showing my face around here until I've done my plotting.

I've ruled out my card, stuck the names of the principle characters up, got stuck on the name of a minor character and come to my pc to look for a name. I've chosen Cara - I was at school with a Cara, so clearly the age is about right. And then I thought I'd come and look here...

But I'm not meant to show my face... I think maybe I'll go and add Cara's name to the card and see if I can do more plotting...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I can’t believe I’m flying back to the UK on Friday night. I’ve only just got over my jetlag from my last trip. This is with the children though, so we’re basing ourselves in Kent at my parents and then we have a nightmare itinerary of visiting. So far it looks like this:

2 days in Kent
1 day in South Bucks
3 days in France
3 days in Kent/London
3 days in North Bucks
3 days in South Bucks
2 days in Kent
2 days in South Bucks

Oh my goodness, and oh my goodness. Not exactly a relaxing schedule, is it? I shall need a holiday when I get back.


Before my trip to the UK in June I had lots of health claims to process (piles of forms to fill in and reclaim the money from any doctors visits we’d done in Bangkok) and being the responsible type I let it pile up until it had grown into a grotesque stack. I did the sensible thing and continued to ignore it until I was actually flying, and then I put them all in my suitcase, promising to do the job in the UK and post them all off from there. Much safer, I decided.

I bet it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I repacked after my lovely week in the UK, (into a new suitcase remember) and I hadn’t touched the intimidating pile of forms, so I brought them all back to Bangkok again.

So yesterday, much against my desires, I did the whole lot. Oh my god, I really wanted to launch myself out the window. But now it’s done.


And really, the only thing I’ve got to do now (apart from my website report, which is … uhm, a bit like not being able to answer the exam question, and having to make it all up) I’ve got to do my plotting chart with all the post it notes.

No more excuses.

Gotta get on with it.

Gonna go and do it … now.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pinch and a punch ....

This seems like a good date to start afresh.

I’ve been worrying about if I’m telling the right story. I think I am, but I’ve stalled somewhat. Readers will know that I’ve cut about 16,000 words from my WIP because I’d lost my way. Despite turning my map upside down and sideways, I’m still stalled.

But… I’ve had a think and I’ve read (am reading) ‘Wannabe a Writer?’ and I’m going to try and plot visually, because that’s the kind of head I’ve got. So I’ve been out and bought some Post-It notes, and a big piece of card, and I’m going to attempt to put in what I know, and plan what I’m unclear about.

I shall let you know how I get on.