Category Archives: book? what book?


I haven’t posted anything in ages, I know.  There is a lot going on right now that’s keeping me away.  Work on the house, work at work, and a couple of top secret items I can’t talk about just yet. 

And, yes, I know it’s lame to reference a top-secret item without actually giving up the info, but I just can’t yet, okay?

Thing I can talk about, though, include, the fact that a man named Dickie is currently working on fixing the render and repainting the front of my house, following which he will fix our hallway so it looks nice and also fix the walls in our much neglected second bedroom.

Jeremy is in Bangladesh right now for work.  But he gets back very soon.

My grandmother has been moved from the hospital to a nursing home, where she will probably stay for the next few months as she recovers from her recent surgeries.

And it’s October, a month I have been dreading, because October marks the anniversary of the month I spent in Michigan last year when my dad was in the hospital.  It feels impossible that this year has gone by so quickly and so slowly.  I’ve got plans in place to get through November (NaNoWriMo , lots of time off work, Gillian Welch concert) but have made no contingencies for this month, which was kind of stupid of me.  Hopefully the building works on my house and prep for NaNoWriMo will keep me distracted.

And on a more frivolous note, Oliver tried to eat my toes yesterday morning.  Apparently rather than sleeping I should have been unlocking his cat flap and letting him out into the world.  My cat can really be a jerk sometimes.



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Filed under book? what book?, dorking it up, grief, homely, olimuhver

Jumble sale

  1. Do you know how you can tell I’m feeling lazy?  I do a list of unrelated items on my blog.  Other clues include, but are not limited to: Spending all day in bed reading trashy books, ordering curry for dinner and eating the leftovers for the next three days, and the state of my kitchen.
  2. Somebody found me by using the following search term yesterday “is sal paradise a reliable narrator?” and my answer to you, intrepid internet surfer, is NO Sal paradise is absolutely 100% not a reliable narrator.  He spends the whole book hopped up on goof balls for goodness sakes!  Not to mention all that cheap wine.  Seriously, dude is not to be trusted at all.
  3. Vienna, I have lots to say about the trip to Vienna, but will be brief as I don’t have my photos handy.  It was a really surprising city.  I expected it to be pretty and sort of cold (not temperature wise but attitude wise).  I was right in the first case and totally wrong in the second.  Vienna was one of the friendliest and most comfortable cities I’ve been to.  People were super nice and helpful, the city itself was very manageable and easy to get around.  And, of course, it is beautiful.  Really breathtaking at points to be honest.  I would like to go back, maybe in Autumn or Spring and see more of it.
  4. While we were in Vienna we went to the neighbourhood where Jeremy’s Bubbie grew up.  The door to her old building was open so we went in and poked around.  Then we walked down her old street to the square where more of the family lived and then poked around the park, Augarten, nearby and imagined her and her sister strolling through and checking out boys.  Of course maybe the two of them were more serious-minded than all that but I choose to think that even if they were they still had the occasional frivolous stroll through the park and giggled under chestnut trees together.
  5. November is officially the month of action.  I’ve already requested a bunch of time off so I can make a serious attempt at completing NaNoWriMo.  I want this to be the year of the first draft (you know like I’ve been saying every year is the year of the first draft, but this time I mean it).
  6. On that note, if anyone wants to form a posse of support, cajoling and critiquing for November, please give me a shout.  Yes, writers do work in a vacuum, but it also helps to know there are other people in similar vacuums toiling away at the same time as you and with a similar goal.
  7. The allotment has been much neglected due to reasons involving travel and arthritis and laziness.  This week that must change.  Our tomatoes are almost ready.
  8. Arthritis is a demon.  I’m taking a new medication (sulfasalazine) and am only on a half dosage so far and it makes me feel horrible.  Nausea and headaches and super itchy skin and, so far, it’s not helping the arthritis even a tiny bit.  That will take 3 months at full dosage.  Apparently once I make it through the first month and move myself up to full dosage it should get better, right now it just makes me feel miserable.  But I’m pushing through and doing my best and trying not to bitch TOO much (I still bitch about it a little though, maybe more than a little even).
  9. Oliver’s face is back to a normal size although he does still have a sad shaved patch.  This has lead to many off colour jokes that I will not repeat here.
  10. I promise not to be so lazy next time and to provide a real and proper update about something interesting and funny, scout’s honor (insomuch as someone who never made it past Brownie in the Girl Scouts can give a scout’s honor).

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Filed under book? what book?, garden, health (or lack thereof), homely, olimuhver, Uncategorized

On making shit up

So why am I not writing more?  Yes the allotment is taking up a fair amount of my free time, but I’m still wasting a good 4-5 hours every day that I could be using to make stories and create fiction and, you know, lie in a socially acceptable manner.  Why am I not doing that?

Somebody motivate me or give me a deadline or something!  Please!  Because seriously, I don’t need to watch more Hollyoaks, it’s not even that good right now, and it’s never been as good as Days of Our Lives.  Particularly the summer when Marlena was possessed by the devil and John Black (her ex-husband) found out he used to be a priest (he forgot because of amnesia due to something Stefano did) so he had to exorcise her.

Perhaps this is the problem, I’m too easily distracted by soap operas.  I need to burn my television (no I don’t, don’t worry television, I won’t really burn you).  Or at the very least I need to avoid it.


This crisis in creativity has been brought to you by a viewing of the movie Bridesmaids, which was very funny and I liked quite a lot but only served to remind me that I can write (and have written in the past) funny things too.  So why am I not doing it?  Because I am lazy, that’s why.  And I really need to get on the ball and stop messing around watching stupid tv shows all the stupid time and write a stupid book already.


Filed under book? what book?

It’s not that 34 is old . . .

but Tea Obreht, the winner of this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction, is only 25.  And having been 25, I know for a fact that 25 is very young.  You don’t feel young when you’re 25 because you’re probably done with college and working a normal job and doing grown up things, but it is still pretty damn young.  And when I was 25 I had not won any major prizes for fiction.  Not unless you count that $500 scholarship in 1998 a major prize ,nd I do not, it was very nice and I was really pleased to have won it, but it was more minor than major.

So, yeah, 34 is not old, but it is nearly a decade older than 25 and I am feeling a bit like anunderacheiver at the moment.  I want to write a book and win prizes too!  And I want it to have happened 9 years ago.  This, of course, is not an option which means I need to stop slacking and get on task.  It’s not like there’s an age limit on these things and Tea Obreht’s good fortune doesn’t mean that I can not also succeed.  I can succeed, I know that, but seriously, 25.  That’s just ridiculous.


Filed under book? what book?, culture it up, grumpus

Midwestern Gothic

If this gallery business works, these are some pictures of a dilapidated schoolhouse that I took while driving from Attica to Port Huron one day.  The schoolhouse is between Imlay City and Capac on Old 21.  It was a really grey and humid day when I stopped to take these pictures and I briefly considered going in through the back entrance but it was swarming with bees.  I’m not much of a photographer but I’m glad I took the time to take these pictures.  I had driven by the building once already and knew this might be my last chance to get these while I was still in the US.

I had forgotten how stark the scenery in this part of Michigan gets.  The building is in the middle of a massive field which had just been plowed.  Like most farmland in the area it’s ringed by a thin line of trees.  As you drive down Old 21 on very windy days it sometimes feels like your car is going to be blown off the road.

Sometimes when I am drunk and feeling verbose about Writing and being a Writer I will spout off about the idea of my Writing as being Midwestern Gothic, and even though there are (thus far) absolutely no crumbling old schoolhouses in any of my writing, this is the sort of thing I am thinking about when I am talking a load of shit about words.

It’s all in the idea of the thing not necessarily the literal interpretation, okay?

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Filed under america, book? what book?, travel

Bank Holiday Overload

It’s the end of summer bank holiday this weekend.  This means that Monday is a stay at home and stay away from work day.  I took off Friday and Tuesday as well, because that is how I roll.

When I made the decision to take off these days I saw the whole weekend as an empty expanse of time.  A treasure of a blank five-day weekend.  Then everything changed.  First we decided to replace the fencing in our back garden.  No big, it’s a tiny garden.  Then two people sent out birthday party invites.  Then there was an opening at a gallery we like.  Then the pub down the road announced they were having a boot fair in the ballroom (boot fair = craft fair / rummage sale in American), then another party was announced for Friday night, THEN I got an email from a friend announcing that I was expected to play Rounders  (a game which makes absolutely no discernible sense at all) on Monday.

What the fuck dudes?  I mean it!  I know this probably sounds miserable of me, you’re all like, oh poor Carolyn her life is so hard, she’s just TOO damn popular.  But for real, I just wanted to buy some full fat milk for my coffee that I would drink whilst sitting in the corner of the second bedroom whilst trying to write a goddamn book and all these jerks (aka my really awesome and wonderful friends) keep planning really awesome and wonderful sounding events.  Maybe if I just don’t sleep until Tuesday I’ll have time for everything?


Filed under book? what book?, dorking it up, garden, Sports? Really?

More birthday related items

As usual, around my birthday I’ve gotten a bit antsy about life.  As in what I’m doing with mine and things that have remained unfinished or just undone in general.

It should be obvious that the first draft of my midwestern gothic epic remains unfinished.  It is a sad and shameful fact that I have not even opened the file on my computer in months.  It’s not that I’ve forgotten about it, I haven’t, I’ve been thinking about it a lot if you must know, I just haven’t been actively working on it.

The other day I made a list of all the things I want to write about.  It was a combination of vague (eg Family/ shared histories / what makes us who we are) and ultra-specific (eg Novel about expat experience structured around Foreigner songs (do not steal this idea, I will pursue legal action if you do, I am totally not kidding)) but it was a good exercise to get my brain in gear.

I also made a list of things to do this week.  Like, clean off the dining room table (started, it’s a pretty epic task though, Hercules would ask to go back to the stables), write 3 pages of anything (this counts as 1 right?) and no TV, except Mad Men and Glee when it starts up again.  I’ve already broken the no TV rule, but only for BBC morning news and the Daily Show, so that’s not too terrible.  But as a result of this decision I’ve been thinking about how much of my active brain I fill up with meaningless crap.  Specifically crap about celebrity and tv shows and stupid time wasting things.  So I’m going to try limiting my exposure to this sort of stuff.  I’m going to spend less time reading about Hollyoaks plotlines of the future, and the dissolving marriage of Sandra Bullock and more time actively working on making my own life and the lives of those around me better.

I’m not going cold turkey or anything (you’ll have to pry Mad Men from my cold dead fingers! Same goes for episodes of ANTM on Youtube, even if this cycle DOES sort of suck, oh and that new show by the creators of The Wire, I’m gonna watch a lot of that (It’s got Bunk, and Omar and John Goodman!)) but I am going to cut back, I’m going to see where my brain takes me when it isn’t spending so much time looking at things that don’t really matter.  I’m pretty sure I used to be smarter and more creative.  I’d like to bring that back into my life again.

I know I said this last year, but this is the year.  I’m going to finish this stupid first draft, maybe even a second if I can get my brain in gear.  It’s important, I need to remember that.


On Monday, Jeremy and I are going to Brighton.  Normally I do this birthday trip on my own, it’ll be nice to have company though.  We’re going to eat cupcakes and look at the sea and go to used bookstores and hopefully find me a new messenger bag.  My Pantone bag is near death after 2 years of dedicated use and service.  Maybe we’ll drink some wine too, it will be my birthday after all.  You only turn 33 once, it ought to be celebrated.

On Sunday, if it doesn’t rain, we’ll be having a birthday picnic on Peckham Rye Common.  If it does rain, we’ll go to the pub, I’ll bring Scrabble.  Either way it should be a fun time.

Sheee-it this is practically 2 pages, I’ll still just count it as one though.

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Filed under book? what book?, dorking it up