Archive | April 2008

I am going to be published !!!!

I’ve had a short story accepted.

Believe me, I’m so excited. It is better than winning the lottery. The Yellow Balloon has been accepted by My Weekly in their ‘supernatural’ slot!

I heard this morning. Today is Full Council day. I have to get my head in gear for tonight.

(Posting from work so very naughty, but just had to share with my bestest blogger friends.)

Whaheeeeyyy!!

Help!

‘Doubled Lives’ has doubled back on itself and tied itself in knots.

The characters are flat, one-dimensional and I’m so annoyed with them. They need a swift kick up the backside and to stop being so namby-pamby and pussyfooting around with each other.

I’m still committed to the plot, but have lost the excitement I felt with Twisted Garlands.

I think I chose the right plot with the wrong characters. The characters fit into ‘Going Back’, which has a completely different plot, in a different location, and a very strong central character with the wherewithal to galvanise them into actually doing something about their petty little obsessions and insular lives.

I’ve found myself playing around with short stories and little pieces of nothingness, just because I can’t bring myself to open up the file ‘Doubled Lives.’ To be frank – the bunch of no-hopers and pitiful weak men I have created as characters bore the living daylights out of me!

I originally created Tammy for Doubled Lives. I like Tammy – theres a lot more to her than meets the eye. She’s getting into my head just like Tom did in Twisted Garlands. The trouble is, Tammy wants to catapult herself through the glass ceiling and be the central character. In ‘Doubled Lives’, she just can’t – it would ruin the plot.

I didn’t mean to start ‘Going Back’. I just did it to keep Tammy quiet and stop shouting ‘hello – I’m here – what are you going to do with me now that you’ve made me?’

But she wouldn’t shut up. So now I’ve started Book Three without finishing Book Two.

With Tammy’s drive she motivated me to write 4,300 words in one sitting. Oh my god. I’m so excited about ‘Going Back’ I don’t think I want to go back to ‘Doubled Lives’.

Today I’m going to start on my character profiles. I’m afraid those nit-picking anally-retentive dullards in Doubled Lives are going to have to shape up PDQ, because Tamsin Hargreaves has arrived!

By the way – heard nothing more about ‘Twisted Garlands’.

My Me Time

I’ve never needed much sleep. As a child I’d snuggle myself down under the covers with the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, a torch, a pen and a writing pad and the dark hours would just fly by. I’d hug my knees in secret defiance of parental constraints about needing my sleep, listening to my dad snoring, my brother muttering randomly as he slumbered the night away and the tick of the grandfather clock in the hall.

I think my parents knew I was a night owl, but turned a blind eye to it because I never did cause any bother. (Until I got to be a teenager and get up at 4.00 am in the summer, sneak out and take my little dog around Wicksteed Park lake instead, causing them great worries when I was missing at breakfast-time!)

My average as an adult seems to be about five hours, but is linked to brain activity. Sometimes it just won’t shut down, no matter what I do, and I end up only sleeping for about two or three hours. A bit like a car engine revving out of control.

So here I am taking a few minutes out of my ‘Me Time’ to write my blog. It’s 2.40 am and I’ve just made myself my early morning cuppa! Mind you, I did go to bed at 9.00 pm last night, which was early even for me.

I absolutely love writing in the middle of the night. This time is mine – all mine and no-one can take it away from me.

Sitting here on my laptop in the middle of the night I chuckle to myself. I’ve come such a long way since reading Jane’s ‘Wannabe a Writer’ last summer. No more do I have to scribble in secret in the middle of the night and guiltily hide away my writings as if they were a sinister, dark secret.

I can be a proper writer now. And writers are a bit scatty and eccentric aren’t they? So posting a blog at three in the morning is not really all that odd, after all.

Taser Guns and Planning Meetings

At 4.00 pm yesterday afternoon I was looking forward to getting home to a takeaway, a nice relaxing evening and doing some writing before going to bed early with a book. Bliss.

We had a controversial application going to Planning last night. It wasn’t my meeting, so I made sympathetic noises to a colleague and felt relieved I didn’t have to cope with it. There were 75 objectors to one particular application.

Now – it’s impossible to take the minutes at a meeting when you are suddenly … well … ‘colonically challenged’, and that’s what happened to my colleague. She had to go home. There was absolutely no alternative. I ended up doing the meeting.

The Council Chamber was absolutely packed – standing room only. The sound system failed mid-way through the meeting. It went on and on and on. I ended up not getting home till half past nine (and I’d left for work at 8.00 am that morning,)

Then to top it all – when I did eventually get home after being directed by multiple police to Europa and back again just to be able to access my driveway, they’d eaten my takeaway and hubby said there had been an ‘incident’ down the bottom of our street involving the entire area being sealed off with police swarming everywhere and reports of someone being shot!!!

Now this is in sleepy little Barton Seagrave – a respectable little village on the outskirts of Kettering. Shot? Shot! I thought. NO! People dont get shot in Barton Seagrave!

These are two headlines that appeared today on BBC News and in today’s papers:-

MUSLIM CENTRE IS GIVEN GO AHEAD. RESIDENTS OBJECT.

and

MAN SHOT WITH TASER GUN DETAINED

How on earth did I manage to be involved in TWO headlines in one day!!!

No wonder I couldn’t get to sleep last night and was blogging at 3.45 am.

A Chinese Tale

Lane’s post about her daughter’s fashion manifesto plucked a random memory from deep within my brain cells.

I learned to knit at about seven, taught by my great-grandma. At nine I knitted my very first jumper. I remember it was bright orange and I was so proud of it. By the age of 16 I’d progressed to elaborate fair-isle and complicated cabling. With nowhere else to go to find new and interesting knitting challenges I decided to design my own!

A new restaurant ‘The Mandarin’ had opened in town. Kettering’s very first, ever, Chinese restaurant. As I passed by a couple of days after it had opened, there, in front of my eyes, was a brilliant idea for my next knitting project.

I could just picture it – my very own unique fashion statement, complete with state of the art Chinese writing encircling my boobs.

The next day I went back and carefully copied some Chinese writing I’d seen on a colourful poster of a Chinese lady serving food in the window. Later, at home, I designed my jumper on graph paper, colouring in the little squares that represented the Chinese writing. I was really chuffed and couldn’t wait to get started. I bought the wool the next day.

Two weeks later I wore my latest creation to college, where I was a full-time student taking my O levels. A lad I didn’t know offered to buy it off me for a fiver! Everyone loved it and wanted one too. My teachers oooed and ahhhed – especially my Art teacher. How clever I was to actually design it myself! My head (and ego) expanded.

A couple of weeks later, in the corridor at college, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around. It was a Chinese lad.

‘Excuse me’, he said, ‘why have you got Chicken Chop Suey and Fried Rice on your jumper?’

For a split second I thought I’d spilled something down my front. Then it dawned on me.

My inflated ego shrivelled like a popped balloon. I never wore the jumper again.

(By the way, I still love knitting – nearly as much as writing)

A Mere Puff in the Ether

The lovely (and very helpful) comments from fellow bloggers has prompted this post. I thank them all for reading my previous post and taking their time to offer words of wisdom and their own personal thoughts and experiences.

Reading through the comments this morning really made me think. Has Denise hit the nail right on the head when she talks about women being more independent than men? I think so.This tendency can’t happen by accident, though, can it? Could it be that, as mothers of girls, we instinctively and sub-consciously prepare them for the huge weight of responsibility as future mothers themselves one day?

I can remember quite clearly the different ‘feeling’ of being a mother to a girl as opposed to how it felt to have boys. Both my boys were more loving, more clingy, less outgoing and less confident than their sister at a similar age throughout their childhood and adolescence. But did I make them that way – and did I somehow force my daughter’s more independent nature without knowing it?

Karen says that her teenage children evoke an uncomfortable sense of ageing in herself. I remember feeling exactly like this about ten years ago when my daughter was about 18, my eldest son 16 and Technoson was 10. I can remember clinging to the sense of relief that at least I still had a young child as well as fledgling adults, and that relief seemed to balance out the relentless canter towards becoming my mother.

Lane always posts such lovely comments. She thinks I’ll be a good mother-in-law. My son-in-law is a gem. I love him to bits and I know he’s fond of me too, despite the leg-pulling and jokes! BUT … and it’s a big ‘but’ …. will my daughter-in-law-to-be feel the same? Or will I come across as an interfering old bag? I think I’ll have to learn a new set of rules, because my son-in-law doesn’t bat an eyelid when I pick up toys, or make myself a coffee in his house, and yet I think, had Rob’s mum been a ‘normal’ mum, I would have resented it had she done this in my house. (I know my son-in-law doesn’t mind because I asked him once. He just laughed at me and told me there was a pile of ironing in the back bedroom, too!)

Tomfoolery says she’s not worldy or wise, but underneath the cheery, fun-loving blog I know there lies a very clever, wise and perceptive lady. I’d love to hear her words of wisdom on this one!

Helen’s gone all soppy with her ‘aaahh!’ I didn’t feel very soppy or benevolent about five months ago when I angrily confronted Technoson and The-Girl-I-Didn’t-Know dressed in his dressing gown at 11.00 am in the morning. Was my reaction just a sign of the times? Has sex really become the new snog ‘n’ grope? Am I just as old-fashioned as I perceived my parents to be back in the 1970s?

Debs has given me an enormous amount of comfort. Her two husbands still love their mums! My husband has never been close to his mum, and neither have I, so I’ve no comparisons to make to ease my fears. Thanks Debs, for that!

Mother X is one of Blogland’s most devoted mums. Anyone who reads her blog will know that. All I can say is that I wish with all my heart that one day her sons will learn to live independent, fulfilling lives and perhaps find someone to fall in love with. How will she feel though, steering them along the rocky road towards independence? My fears about losing my son to another woman are mere puffs in the ether in comparison and I feel humbled.

Quillers married at 19. So did I. So did lots of my friends. It was quite usual in the 1960s and 1970s to marry young. The divorce rate is much the same as for older age groups. Another thing – I’ve always believed age-gaps don’t matter to those involved – it’s other people sticking their noses in that matters. Quillers’s marriage survived, and so did mine. If our children’s marriages fail, there’s nothing we can do about it but be there to support them. There’s an army of first wives out there who all married at 19, so I’m not so much worried about them being young.

So, all things being equal, my main worry is about their future happiness in this dysfunctional topsy-turvy world, where greed reigns and sensibility falls, defeated, to its knees.

So let’s all make a concerted effort to just be the very best parents we can to our adult children, giving support when it’s asked for and keeping silent when it’s not. The most we can do is to all work together, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to make a better world for them and for future generations.

Being a Mother in Law

Do some of my ‘wannabe’ chatroom buddies remember a few months ago when I turned into a fire-breathing dragon when our nearly-20-year old Technoson brought a girl we didn’t know back to stay in his room without asking?

I was furious with him, but despite not knowing his girlfriend before I clapped eyes on her at 11.00 am the following morning, in the intervening months I’ve warmed to her. I can see she makes Technoson very happy, and he does let her stick her cold feet up his sweatshirt to warm them, so it must be love!

Last night Technoson and Girlfriend took us out for a meal. It was totally unexpected – I didn’t know anything about it until I got home from work at about 5.30.

Afterwards, we were just finishing our drinks when they went all serious, and said, ‘ummm … errr … we’ve got something to tell you.’

I feared the worst. Technoson’s whole life, past present and future, flashed before my eyes in a split second!

‘We’re engaged,’ said Techoson, doe-eyed and obviously gone very soft in the head judging by the silly grin plastered all over his face.

(They’re only babies! How can my little Twinkle be engaged. We haven’t even met her parents yet and now we find ourselves with a joint-family engagement party to organise.)

Their birthdays are only two days apart in the middle of May – so that’s when it will be official.

Last Friday night Technoson apparently did everything properly and asked her dad if he could marry her. I had to laugh at what her dad was reported to have said to him:

‘Well mate. You’re the best of the bunch, so I guess I’d better say yes. She’s been out with some right twerps before you.’

Apparently, according to the Girlfriend, that was a rare compliment, and Technoson should be highly honoured! I somehow think Rob will get on very well with her dad.

Now, to get to the point of this post:

Being a mother-in-law to your daughter’s husband is easy. It just feels like you’ve adopted another son. When Little Miss Prim and son-in-law-to-be told us they were getting engaged it didn’t feel like this. I didn’t feel like I was losing my daughter in the slightest.

Can someone tell me why I feel like I am losing my son? Is this what is meant by the saying:

A boy is a son until he takes a wife….

… but a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life?

They’re planning on getting married in three years’ time when they’re 23. Part of me is screaming that they are far too young – but deep down I don’t really think age comes into it. A marriage will either survive, or it won’t. If they both feel it’s right then it probably is.

I just want them to be happy.