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Friday, 25 January 2013

Sabbatical

I've given up working in the book shop and I'm currently on a sabbatical until the spring when I will resume my part time gardening jobs. The idea of this break was to get lots of work done on my novel. But I've quickly realised that spending 12hours or more a day at the computer trying to write is not all that productive. Recently I've become obsessed with writing the novel, it's all I do, all I think about, all I care about, even though I find the process of writing difficult and I feel inadequate. 
Back when I first gave up full time work to write (five years ago!) I didn't put so much pressure on it. It wouldn't matter if I only spent an hour writing, the rest of the day would be spent walking or in the garden. And I enjoyed writing more then, maybe because I didn't realise how bad at it I was. But more likely because it wasn't the only thing I was doing. 
I've decided to get back to the good old days of fresh air and wholesome rural living, so I'll hopefully go on more walks and get into the garden more. 

A big reason I stopped walking so much is that I moved to Mr Kite's cabin, which is in the middle of nowhere, but there are almost no footpaths here, and the countryside is dull: intensely agricultural. The village I lived in before was close to the ancient forest of Selwood; there's coombes, woods, lakes, Stourhead (national trust property), hills, and lots of footpaths everywhere. It was just easier to walk there. It's only a forty minute cycle ride away, so I will hopefully return to my old walking routes. On cold days such as these, I have to make do with the lane walking on offer locally. 

I don't like to bring a camera with me when I walk, though I might do so occasionally. Yesterday I had my Dictaphone and recorded some sounds.



Here's some observations I jotted down at this location:

Small lake reflecting white winter light and browns. A duck makes a V in the water as it swims. 
A line of tall conifers near the lake. 
A large deer or possibly small horse lying down near the hedge.
Rolling interlocking landscape, hazy and cold blue.
Remnants of snow flecked on fields. 
A chinnock flies overhead. 

Other observations
Along the railway bank: a glass beer bottle suspended in a barbedwire fence by the handle of a plastic bag, so neatly done it must have been deliberate. Other scattered litter, also deliberate but less artistic. Badger set. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Peters Comic

I forgot to mention that I wrote a short comic. Danny Morison did the illustration, and most of the work. At the moment it's up on this website http://thepeters.thecomicseries.com/ so please read it and let me know what you think. This is the first comic we've finished, and we both used it as a learning tool/ a bit of a playground. 

It's a sci fi story set in a future world but with my own hippy nature-is-awesome slant. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

All the books I read in 2012


Happy New Year! Last year I read 55 books (or more, I think I forgot to note some of them). My resolution for this year is to read at least 45, so I can say I've read 100 in two years. I hope I can read 55 again, but too much more than that and I start to eat into my writing time and that's not something I want to happen. 
Other resolutions include to quit one of my jobs in order to do more writing (already put that one in motion, I leave the book shop on the 20th of January), to finish writing a book, to send it off, to  do more exercise, more gardening, more walking, find more good music to listen to, maybe find time to update this a little more often too. 

Books I read in 2012 plus my own personal award ceremony for the best writers and books I personally read in 2012. 

(those in bold have broken into the 80s. Only the rarest of gems get such high scores. Scoring system based on my old University marking system where getting 90 or more was almost impossible).

1. Twilight Robbery – Francis Hardinge                                       65
2. Apples – Richard Milward                                                       45
3. Love Songs For the Shy and Cynical – Robert Shearman        78
4. The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God – Etgar Keret              77
5. Girl on the Fridge – Etgar Keret                                              72
6. It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini                                  42
7. No One Belongs Here More Than You – Miranda July              69
8. Tiny Deaths – Robert Shearman                                           80
9. Nimrod’s Flipout – Etgar Keret                                               73
10. Dogs 0 (Manga)                                                                   49
11. Na├»ve. Super – Erland Loe                                                    73
12. The Tiny Wife – Andrew Kaufman                                          75
13. Legend of a Suicide – David Vann                                        70
14. Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion                                                71
15. St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves – K.Russell        69
16. The Safety of Objects – A.M Homes                                     76
17. All My Friends are Superheroes – Andrew Kaufman               75
18. Palo Alto – James Franco                                                    67
19. 1Q84 1&2 – Haruki Murakami                                                78
20. McSweeney’s 30 – Various                                                   73
21. Suddenly a Knock on the Door – Etgar Keret                                    60
22. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – A. Bender              62
23. In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan                              68
24. The Middle Stories – Heti                                                     52
25. Tell Me No Lies – Malorie Blackman                                      39
26. 1Q84 3 – Haruki Murakami                                                  87
27. On Writing – Stephen King                                                   65
28. The Waterproof Bible – Andrew Kaufman                            83
29. The White Cat – Holly Black                                                  66
30. Pastorlia – George Saunders                                                67
31. Red Glove – Holly Black                                                      64
32. Granta 119 – Various                                                            52
33. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love – Carver    85
34. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned – Wells Tower      89
35. HBWOSG – Dave Eggers                                                     76
36. Lights Out in Wonderland – DBC Pierre                                 71
37. King Arthur – Robin Lister                                                     36
38. Black Heart – Holly Black                                                     55
39. The Crimson Chalice – Victor Canning                                   68
40. The Circle of the Gods – Victor Canning                                58
41. Writing Fiction, Critical & Creative Approaches – Boulter        72
42. The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart                                           68
43. McSweeney’s 40 – Various                                                   60
44. Civitas to Kingdom – Ken Dark                                             69
45. A Better Angel – Chris Adrian                                             82
46. Assassins Apprentice – Robin Hobb                                     67
47. The Wild Things – Dave Eggers                                            63
48. The Great Night – Chris Adrian                                              58
49. The Bird Room – Chris Killen                                                62
50. The Little Sister – Raymond Chandler                                    74
51. Granta 120 – Various                                                            70
52. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern                                     61
53. Dr Who Apollo 23 – Justin Richards                                      15
54. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness                                             79
55. AD 500 – Simon Young                                                        45


Best and worst of the books I read in 2012

Best short story collection: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned – Wells Tower
Best novel: Andrew Kaufman’s Waterproof Bible.
Best children’s/ YA book: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.
Best Non fiction: Civitas to Kingdom by Ken Dark.
My favourite all-round author in 2012: Andrew Kaufman.
Top authors: Andrew Kaufman, Wells Tower, Robert Shearman, Chris Adrian, Murakami, Carver, Chandler.  
Worst book: Dr Who Apollo 23 (I’m not sure if I should even count this one.) I also read half of Kraken by China Mieville and couldn’t finish it.