How to live with Writer’s Block.

By Tom, about writer’s block – please go and like the original, thank you 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

What awful timing, or perhaps it’s related. My new novel UnfinishedBusiness is published and I’m struck down by what feels like something I don’t want to name, no, not a STD, but writer’s block. Despite a launch party last night that included four Spanish women without  word of english to their name arriving to buy a signed copy of the novel for one of their brothers, I’m looking at Unfinished Business with the sense it was a fluke; never to be repeated.

I can’t recall if I’ve written about writer’s block before, I must’ve blocked it out, which is exactly the sort of crap joke that suggests it’s time to step away from the keyboard and do something else. Anything. Just stop writing. Mind you writers aren’t capable of much else, unless it’s the…

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Midnight Remorse ~ Remord de Minuit

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I get off my throne 

Take off my clothes

I keep my crown

My silver bangles

Get down on the floor

Crawl

A slow

Deliberate animal

I lick my lips, shake my hair

I can see your hands tremble 

Such are our desires

An urge, intense and primal

To play predator and prey 

At times you are my slave

Others I am yours 

We revel

In filth and shame 

Games of pleasure and pain

Now

You stand over me 

Still statue carved in stone

Silent with burning eyes

 

You are already mine – 

 

But my submission 

Its meaning 

My legendary pride 

Discarded

For you, thrown aside

A queen purposefully brought low 

 

makes you even more so

 

Placing the final piece in the puzzle

So complicated and yet so simple

The contract that binds 

Is the one left unsigned

Your hand on my throat 

My fingers in your mouth 

The sharp intake of breath

I expect 

When you’re on the edge

When I know you’re close

Tomorrow

And the days after

I will bleed into your thoughts

Seep in little by little 

Until

The need 

To taste me again 

Takes over 

Colours

With crimson red over monochrome 

Controls

You – body, mind and soul because

 

Mine is the name you can’t say

I am the secret you can’t share

What should have been sunset-lit

But instead

I am your midnight remorse

Je suis ton remord de minuit 

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Once

We escaped gloomy cages

Breathed new air outside the musty pages

Of the books we’d sheltered in

For so long

We were bewitching birds brought back for a single song

Dried butterflies,

Wings untied,

Briefly swelling with life

Drunk on sun & scented promises

The sweet sound of stolen kisses

For a little while, we were allowed

To fly once more – high, above the clouds

It didn’t last

It never does

Alas everything must die

Go back to ashes and dust

But,

I’ll always remember

How once we emerged

From the cocoon of past winters

Walk the plank

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Don’t ever be intimidated by groupthink, don’t fall for identity politics, keep resisting the bullshit…

…but if all your attempts to re-establish sanity fail, leave them to it, desert the sinking ship – and do it with honour and dignity. 

Be an authentic Corsair – walk the plank backwards while looking them in the face, so they are fully aware you’re jumping because you want to, not because they are making you.

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Insomnia

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It’s not often I have anything good to say about Twitter, it can be such a vicious place, especially right now as they’re cracking down on free speech. But… this isn’t going to be one of those posts!

Last night I couldn’t sleep, not one bit, not at all. Now I’m used to insomnia, I’ve always had problems sleeping but I usually manage a few hours. But last night there was nothing doing, I knew it was no use and I gave up even trying –  I was pacing up and down until morning because I couldn’t read, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t do anything. 

Predictably, by 8 o’clock this morning I was feeling like s**t.

So I turned to Twitter and asked if anybody knew of a quick pick-me-up, because I don’t drink coffee like other mortals. And Twitter delivered, a bunch of people replied with tips and another bunch messaged me to ask if I was ok, etc…now, that – alone – was a pick-me-up. 

I had the cold shower quite a few people recommended, and you know what? It bloody works – you have to be brave though. I also made juice with everything I was told would help – all kinds of fruits – and including a big chunk of stem ginger…now I won’t say the juice tasted nice because it didn’t…but I definitely felt better afterwards. 

I then posted a selfie to Twitter: post cold shower, post juice because it was after all a Twitter result – and now it has made it on my blog too. 

It’s now afternoon and I’m having green tea and feeling sooo tired…and hoping tonight won’t be a repeat performance of last night. 

People who have no problems sleeping…you have no idea how much I envy you. 

Because we were teenagers

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It’s many years ago – sometime at the end of the 80’s – and I’m listening to that song. The one with the mournful synths, the one with the words seemingly plucked from deep inside me – the words I would share with you if only I could be sure you’d understand what they all mean. In my living room it’s a bit cold, we just welcomed autumn, a shiver runs down my back and the cat gives me one of his contemptuous looks for no reason at all. I start the record again, the needle trembles, settles, the record cracks a little, just like firewood in the old chimney – I sit back down on the floor, I could listen to this record a hundred times and more.

The phone rings, a strident siren, nobody in 2019 would ever be able to stand it but back then, as with all the other big, clunky, loud 80’s machines, we were used to it. It’s still ringing – I swear it could wake up the dead – I answer it because I have a feeling it’s you. Yes, it’s your voice, I was right – it’s a sign.

“Don’t speak for a bit, listen to this.”

The phone is plugged into the wall, I pull the cord as far as it will go, and hold the receiver next to the speaker.

“Are you there? Now, listen.”

It’s an order. it’s a prayer.

The shiver returns though I don’t feel the cold anymore, I’m nervously twisting the phone cord around my fingers – halfway through I stage whisper: “this bit coming up, you gotta love it.” I don’t know if you can hear me over the record player.

There – the song is over. I let the silence stretch for a number of seconds so I can pull myself together, I’m hoping you fell in love and need time to recover.

“Well?…”

An agonising beat

Wow…yes…wow.”

I hear hushed wonder, the tone is right, you got it – my gift wasn’t wasted.

The next day there is a kiss, and we’ve got many more phone calls ahead of us. But it was the music, the synths, the words – it was the record player that did the trick, that really started things.

Forget Spotify and the über modern hi-fis, forget instant sharing, forget digital and iPhones – none of it has ever been as intense – as real – as the old record player and the ugly clunky grey phone stuck to the wall.

And it wasn’t just because we were teenagers.

A whole year & another birthday

For as long as I’ve had this blog, I have never failed to post a little something on my birthday. So, it’s a bit late this year – my birthday was on Saturday – but I’ve put this together: it’s basically a few pics going back over the last 12 months. To be quite honest, I’ve enjoyed this short walk down memory lane, though I appreciate none of you will know the moments and stories behind the pics so this is really for me rather than anyone else. I’ve gone from blonde back to Brunette this year and it feels right as I’m in a really good place right now, I’m back to being me – fully and unapologetic-ally.

Here are all my blurry and not at all professional snapshots.

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I can totally do sweet and innocent…

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I was on my way to a ‘free speech’ rally in London (yes, again!)

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Last year, we – France – won…
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The World Cup!! This is the day of the final and I’d been ill for 3 days but who cared? Not me

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Mermaid-like

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Mermaid-like again

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Don’t ask me…
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I’d just been to a funeral – feeling despondent…

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Somebody had just called me a ‘free speech warrior’ in a NEGATIVE way…

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Red poppy day –
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The New Jeeves book was out!
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This was meant for a special someone…
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Not sure why I was looking so angry – I was tired is probably why

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Ending it all on yesterday – I was about to brave the wind

Blog Update

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I haven’t updated my blog in ages and I feel kind of bad about that, but I’ve been incredibly busy – I might write about it soon, when I get a little bit of time to do so. In the meantime, here’s me late last night, I’d just returned from a talk in London on “Freedom of Speech” – yes, I hear you, even you at the back. You’re rolling your eyes and mumbling: “does she talk about anything else these days?!”

Fair enough, but I do actually talk about plenty of other things (oh yes, I do) It’s just that this is something that matters greatly to me and if I’ve become a bit of a free speech warrior, it’s because those types of warriors are needed at this precise moment in time. Last night, in the heart of Westminster, people from my tribe, people from all over gathered for a principle, for a basic right – one that won’t be taken away from us if we can help it.

Aaaaand I’m done – see, that wasn’t so bad 😉

Bonne Année – Happy New Year

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What a year 2018 has been…

I started it bottle blonde and I’m ending it as nature intended: brunette.

I finished my Master’s.

I argued with far too many people on Twitter.

I read a truckload of books, too many to count, but here are the ones I particularly enjoyed – in case anyone is looking for random recommendations:

The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin

Patronising Bastards – Quentin Letts

Lethal White – Robert Galbraith

The Nix – Nathan Hill

The Destroyers – Christopher Bollen

See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt

Priestdaddy – Patricia Lockwood

This could hurt – Jillian Medoff

Marlena – Julie Buntin

Sing, unburied, sing – Jesmyn Ward

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Grist Mill road – Christopher J. Yates

Death in Bordeaux – Allan Massie

Dark summer in Bordeaux – Allan Massie

Cold winter in Bordeaux – Allan Massie

End games in Bordeaux – Allan Massie

Magpie murders – Anthony Horowitz

Ill Will – Dan Chaon

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

Narcissus and Goldmund – Hermann Hesse

Sapiens: a brief history of humankind – Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus: a brief history of tomorrow – Yuval Noah Harari

The Craftsman – Sharon Bolton

The death of Mrs Westaway – Ruth Ware

The woman in the Window – A.J. Finn

Snow Blind – Ragnar Jónasson

Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan

The Marriage Of Opposites – Alice Hoffman

And my all-time favourite this year, and also the one I finished only yesterday: The improbability of love – Hannah Rothschild.

(I absolutely adored this book)

I did take too many selfies…I could say I’ll try to stop doing that but…who would I be kidding – I’ll most probably be as bad next year.

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I ate too much generally (definitely far too much chocolate) drank too much alcohol but I worked out almost everyday. I took long walks on the beach and out in the countryside, I got lost among trees, I danced in my house, outside it, I laughed, I cried, I tried hard to remember that life is all too short and you’ve got to take the time to do the things that matter to you. I’m stating the obvious, I know, but who cares, it’s the truth.

2018 started with a real low: I lost my beloved grandmother in January, and ended with a high: there was a very special 2 year anniversary this December…such is life: pain & happiness and a range of other emotions in between.

Happy New Year to all of you lovely, lovely people – I’ve got high hopes for 2019.

*the pics are last week’s (19th) before a night out in London – I haven’t taken any selfies since…they might as well be the last ones to appear on this blog in 2018*

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