Thursday, March 04, 2021
Wednesday, March 03, 2021
Tuesday, March 02, 2021
Monday, March 01, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Tuesday, February 09, 2021
1. The park, frosted with an inch of snow, is empty and we are the first ones into the playground. We make footprints along the paths, and the children collect icicles to decorate their snowman.
2. We come to the end of our reading book, Harriet The Spy. It's quite a gruelling read, about a child navigating a huge life change as well as conflict and bullying at school, but we were swept along by the deft, light writing. And it let us talk in a non-urgent way about bullying and lies and truth and fiction and child neglect and snobbery and all sorts of things. It's one of those books that has jokes aimed at adults -- I read it as a child and I could tell there were things going over my head, and I'm so glad I've read it again, because it's very funny on that level, too.
3. The exercise we do in writing is a revelation -- write a sentence in one minute to a particular prompt. A minute is ages in terms of a sentence, and it makes me think that, really, no little slip of time is too short for a writing session.
Monday, February 08, 2021
1. I've woken early and can't sleep so I go downstairs for breakfast. After a little while the children join me, scratching their hair into sleepy spikes, rubbing their eyes and complaining that the kitchen lights are too bright.
2. To glance up and see that snow is falling outside.
3. Alec asks for hot chocolate. To tell him that he can make it himself, if he likes -- so he does.
Friday, February 05, 2021
Thursday, February 04, 2021
Wednesday, February 03, 2021
Tuesday, February 02, 2021
Monday, February 01, 2021
Friday, January 29, 2021
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Monday, January 25, 2021
Friday, January 22, 2021
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Monday, January 18, 2021
Friday, January 15, 2021
1. On this wet day the world has shrunk and from my window I can only see as far as the end of the Pantiles.
2. I am summoned downstairs by excited children to look at the dusty space under the worktop where the old oven used to be; and then a few hours later, to see the new oven that has been installed by our landlord.
2b. Alec announces that he wants to have a bath instead of a shower. It turns out that he has no idea how to run a bath; so Bettany does it for him. This has been a common pattern from about the time Bettany could walk, and Nick and I can see it continuing long after we are gone.
3. I am too tired and grumpy to do anything this evening. I have a radio comedy recommendation sitting among my emails so I dig in with Conversations from a Long Marriage.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
1. Two roofers drop over the back fence to look at a couple of leaks. It is funny to be disturbed while I'm working by a man tapping on my third-story window.
2. There are snowdrops pushing white bells out of bare earth in a flowerbed.
3. To butter crumpets for the children's bedtime snack.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
1. To find my notebook is nearly full, and to wonder how that happened.
3. The games master wonders if we remember the names of some wines which were mentioned in passing during a gaming session back in early summer. Although Tim logs all our adventures on Heropress we all take a few notes as we go, and when I flip back through my gaming diary, I find the winelist -- complete with the modern-day prices we used to give ourselves an idea of the wine quality.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
1. Alec is as terrible a procrastinator as I am, so he agrees to come for a quick healthy walk round the block before starting work. We see kiwi fruit hanging on a vine; a wary dog; swimming pool-blue tiles up a garden path; and we still make it back in time to get our work done.
2. We start a new term of creative writing. It seems like magic that a group of people can organise themselves into a helpful, supportive co-operative, even at such a difficult time as this.
3. It is very satisfying to read a novella because it is over so quickly that I can hold the entire story in my head.
Monday, January 11, 2021
1. To sort through our vast Lego accumulation searching for the particular pieces the children want for the sweetie dispensers they are building.
2. The weather today is something rather magical -- freezing fog. Every twig of every tree is iced with crystals. We nearly miss it because we don't go out until late in the afternoon. As it gets dark the air temperature or humidity shifts a little and the ice falls away.
3. To count the shopping into the larder so I know that our cupboards are ready for the weeks ahead.
Friday, January 08, 2021
Thursday, January 07, 2021
1. To keep myself motivated I am working through a writing course.* I try a technique that seems really basic, that I learnt years ago as a way to fix a story that seems broken -- but suddenly I understand how to apply it much earlier in the process, and it is a complete revelation.
2. To hear the printer working when it has been rather unreliable.
3. We get our tax returns done. This is a task that hangs over us every year -- but it never takes that long once you get started. Over the years we've got better at record-keeping, so the information is easy to get hold of.
The course is on Domestika, with Shaun Levin. It's titled Creative Writing for Beginners -- but I always think that with writing it's worth going back to basics from time to time.
Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Tuesday, January 05, 2021
Monday, January 04, 2021
Sorry for the unannounced break. I was ill right before Christmas, and then, you know, Christmas happened. I needed a complete break from everything. But I'm back at my desk now.
1. We eat the last pieces of the gingerbread, rather rich and spicy, that we got for Christmas.
2. Nick gets supper, and finding myself not needed in the kitchen I hide away upstairs to read a bit of my book.
3. We are reading When Marnie was There, which Bettany chose partly to annoy Alec because it didn't look very exciting. But we are enjoying it all the same, with much speculation about who Marnie is and asking so many questions about why Anna behaves as she does. I never liked it particularly as a child, finding it puzzling and a bit intense, although my own childhood copy has survived cull after cull of my books. Reading it now, though, I can see that it is very well put together and its honest treatment of children's emotions and unflinching portrait of parenting a damaged child makes for a compelling and uncomfortable read. There's a studio Ghibli film of it, which we might watch together.