Friday, August 29, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust

Getting my hair done in a lovely salon and that bottle of Sancerre last night must have done the trick, because I've just written 2000 words and with that, finished the rewrite of my seventh story. Yes! It always comes in a rush like that at the end, the build up of the tension in the story grabs me and propels me towards the finish line. Everything just clicks into place and the strands of the plot, which previously worried me as they didn't seem to go anywhere, wind together nicely.

Our holiday doesn't start until Thursday so I'll be starting the paper edit of story number eight before that. I was thinking of bringing the rest of the manuscript along on holiday so I can get as much of the paper edits done before I start work - even if it's just an hour a day. I'm not sure if this is realistic but there's no harm in packing them.

I'm going to dye my hair now ahead of a night at the theatre (I'd feel so posh if I wasn't the first at the bar during the interval, shouting for a great big durty pint of cider) as my new haircut exposes my badger-grey stripes. Can't get away with calling them highlights anymore...

Have a great one!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Not the best writing day I've had recently - have written about 100 words and then deleted them. I just can't get my head around the story today and my vocabulary has shrunk, unfortunately thesauruses only work if you have a word in mind already...damnit!

On a happier note, my new iPod arrived yesterday. I bought a Nano this time because replacing the classic ones every time I dropped/lost them was getting very expensive. (For some reason I can do a variety of yoga poses and stand on a surf-board without falling over, but cannot own a hand-held gadget without introducing it to concrete several times a day.) It arrived in the morning but I was able to ignore its potent siren call until I'd finished my 1000 words...if only I could conjure up that motivation again today.

Going to see No Man's Land by Harold Pinter at the Gate Theatre on Friday night. It's starring David Walliams (Little Britain) and Michael Gambon (too many plays to mention and Top Gear), and should be a great evening.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rat Race

Back to the grindstone today. Each word is like blood from a stone (I'm checking the word count every ten minutes) but it's inching its way towards the final 8500 word mark.

Eventually I passed my 1000 word target, and with a sigh of relief I focused the little creative fuel I had left to update my CV. I stared blankly at the screen while my swiss-cheesed brain tried to recall what I had actually done in my last job. I only left seven months ago, should I be worried?

The CV, finally complete, was winged to the lovely recruitment agent who took such good care of me all those months ago. She was so optimistic about my job prospects that my spirits were positively cheery afterwards. Not even the heavens opening during my walk could dampen it.

My living room is still my office until I get back from Barcelona though, so I'm going to take full advantage of sleeping in until 9 am and lounging around in my pjs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Well I'm back, as I'm not writing today my brain is finally freed up to do other things.

I wrote 4500 words this week but it was a tough five days. PMT doesn't usually feature that strongly in my life - normally I just crave chocolate and get a bit weepy over charity ads - but this week my hormones left me a nervous wreck. Add to this a particularly harrowing story and I was left with a weighted sadness that bore down heavily on my shoulders.

I felt so desperately lonely on Wednesday that I made a two hour round trip to eat at The Ours' work canteen, but immediately afterwards I felt desolate again. I stumbled down Grafton Street, choking back tears of self-pity, conscious that everyone around me seemed perfectly able to walk around the city without weeping like a baby.

Things didn't improve until last night and I'm glad to say I'm back to my normal contented self this morning. Daisy is having a party tonight and I'm reading up on Barcelona like mad. I've discovered Google Maps' My Maps facility (thanks Michelle!), where I'm personalising a map of Barcelona with recommendations for restaurants, bars and shops. You can even change the placeholders into cutsie icons, so I'm having great fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Having a break from blogging while I concentrate on this stubborn story. I'm finding myself researching it at the weirdest times - I'm constantly thinking about it, so there's not much space to think about anything else!

Hope you're all doing well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Starters Block

Even though this is my seventh time, starting the rewrite of a story is just not getting any easier. As with previous stories my anxiety level built throughout the day yesterday as I doubted my ability to do a good job, to meet my daily word target and my decision to tell the whole world that I was writing a book.

Sipping my drug of choice for such anxiety-ridden situations (white wine) I thought about telling everyone I was just joking and that I hadn't been writing a novel at all; or just buying a ticket to a far-flung land and changing my name. Luckily we had invited Dr. John over for a late lunch so I was distracted from my crazy head ramblings for a few hours.

I finally confessed my worries to The Ours before we went to sleep, he told me it would be fine and I would do a great job, but I still fidgeted for an hour, wide awake, while he slept beside me.

But as today dawned he was proven right; I cautiously opened the story on my laptop and started to type. 1000 words rewritten, a great start to the week.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Goodbye Ronnie

A bad day for Dublin. Not only were they completely outclassed by Tyrone at Croke Park today, but one of their favourite sons has died.

Ronnie Drew was a member of the Dubliners, one of the most well-known traditional Irish bands of all time, and also had a successful solo career. He will be sorely missed.

Here's one of my favourite songs sung by Ronnie, The Rare Old Times.

Friday, August 15, 2008

This Mortal Coil

I finished my paper edit of the seventh story last night. I'd had a slow day and had not got much done - I needed to do some research and, as always, did far too much - but at ten o'clock at night a mixture of inspiration and guilt pulled me away from the tv and placed manuscript and pen in my hand. I finished just shy of midnight, one day ahead of my self-imposed deadline. I don't think I've ever written so late in the day before, apart from when I dream an idea and sleepily scrawl it on my nightstand notepad.

Now I'm supposed to be rewriting but I'm impatiently waiting for my brand new laptop to arrive. I know that once I have it in my clammy little paws I'll be playing around with it all day, backing up my old laptop and fiddling with the unfamiliar features and applications of the new one.

Only last week my current laptop started to wheeze like an emphysema patient and follow commands at positively arthritic speeds. It's as if it knows I'm moving on...and so can finally let go. Or something.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I am paper-editing up a storm while the Olympics coverage chatters away in the background. Perhaps not the best way to get my work done, but it's a necessary evil, otherwise I'd be slacking off constantly to watch it.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the Games, watching athletes at their peak after years of hard work and sacrifice is very inspiring. Alright I'm sitting on the sofa with a laptop instead of running / swimming / cycling for eight hours a day, but work with me people!

Only three weeks until our trip to Barcelona, I was originally hoping to have the eighth story finished by then but it's looking increasingly likely that I'll only have the seventh done. If that's the case I'll still be happy with my progress, as I know I've done my best.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So Far...

My parents arrived Thursday evening, The Ours made scallops and chorizo for starter and mushroom risotto and pan fried sea bass for main (both gorgeous!) and then we headed out to see The Weir at the Gate Theatre - we all loved it, and not just because it was set in a pub either. I was in stitches at the writing and performances, but the play also deftly touches on the sheer loneliness and isolation that often accompanies rural life. I'm not a superstitious person either but the ghost stories had my hair standing on end, that's how perfectly each one was told. One of my favourite plays no doubt.

When we were leaving, The Ours remarked that four tickets were the same price as one to see Tom Waits (€120), no disrespect to the great man but a night at the theatre is still a relatively cheap affair and well worth the effort. (In other words - go and see it!)

Friday was spent in Kells, Co. Meath via Celbridge, Co. Kildare - for reasons too long and complex to go into - those country roads are not conducive to a settled stomach, especially if you had a few drinks the night before. Needless to say Friday night was a quiet one in front of the tv!

Yesterday we visited Blondie's gorgeous house in Rathgar. Unfortunately as we arrived the heavens opened and the barbeque was soaked, but luckily the vast kitchen held us all and the food tasted just as good done in the oven. Then on to meet Paddington at the Front Lounge to celebrate his birthday and meet his lovely boyfriend. A great night was had by all.

Tonight my parents are back in Dublin and we're going out for a bite to eat. Hope you are all having a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The writing has not been going well this week but strangely I'm not stressing out about it. My 1000 word a day streak wasn't going to last forever and I'm feeling burnt out - so a break, however unexpected, comes as a relief.

Maybe I'm just looking forward to the weekend too much to sweat the writer's block. We're making dinner for my parents on Thursday and going to see The Weir at the Gate Theatre; The Ours took me to see the play in London not long after we first met, so it's very close to our hearts.

Saturday is Blondie's barbeque in the afternoon (c'mon sunshine!) and Paddington's birthday in the evening. Then on Sunday my parents are back from Wicklow and we're eating out - not sure where yet, any suggestions welcome!

Hopefully I'll be able to tackle the seventh story again soon, but until then there's plenty of cleaning and washing to do - why do weekends away turn your flat into a rubbish tip?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Our two day weekend in Birmingham was packed full with shopping, a stroll around Baddesley Clinton stately home, great meals in a gorgeous country pub (the name has escaped me) and Wagamama, and a few drinks at The Bull's Head in Hall Green.

We got back Sunday night and I'm still wrecked today, must be old age creeping up on me. I'm taking turns attacking my paper edit and cleaning the flat - my parents are staying with us on Thursday and Sunday and the place looks like a bomb hit it.

Must get back to it - may your Tuesday go smoothly, especially the long-weekenders who went to back to work this morning in the pouring rain.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Dark Knight

I've been looking forward to The Dark Knight ever since they announced the sequel to Batman Begins, but I spent last week dodging spoilers while riddled with a virus. So I was gibbering with excitement when The Ours and I finally headed out to the cinema last night.

And I'm delighted to say that it lives up to the almighty hype surrounding it. It's satisfyingly spectacular in its cinematography, stunts and effects but, unlike the usual blockbuster action film, the characterisation is excellent.

It is so well cast. I've enjoyed all the Christian Bale films I've seen so far and I've been a fan of Aaron Eckhart since the brilliant Thank You for Smoking, but Heath Ledger’s performance steals this show. Gone is Jack Nicholson's campy, greedy and elegant villain; this Joker is an amoral psychopath with a sense of humour that is blacker than black.

When I was reading up on editing I came across a piece of advice about writing villains; give them an off-putting mannerism to drive home their unattractive nature. I won't tell you what it is but Ledger's The Joker has a mannerism which is both repulsive and hypnotic. I was utterly taken in by his performance.

It has violent scenes that may not entice everyone but it is worth a look for the personal struggles, motivations and moral dilemmas that the characters experience and endure. And from a purely non-writerly perspective it is just a brilliant film!

One of the trailers last night was for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the animation looks absolutely beautiful. A vast improvement the overdone live action CGI of the newer Star Wars films methinks (one of my pet hates, don't get me started...)

I'm off to Birmingham for the weekend - have a great one.