"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~ William Wordsworth

The Writing Life Too

And if you're reading this, it means you're not writing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Skies are silver this morning and I'm emerging from the long holiday weekend with many tasks ahead this month, but also with determination to hold on to the quiet and peace of this season. As someone who is always doling out advice to writers, I love to note what other writers advise, especially those living in other times and places. With that in mind, here is wisdom from Vladimir Nabokov. I love what he has to say and suspect you will too.

Advice to A Young Writer
1.If possible, be Russian. And live in another country. Play chess. Be an active trader between languages. Carry precious metals from one to the other. Remind us of Stravinsky. Know the names of plants and flying creatures. Hunt gauzy wings with snares of gauze. Make science pay tribute. Have a butterfly known by your name.

2. Do not be awed by giant predecessors. Be ill-tempered with their renown. Point out flaws. Frighten interviewers from Time. Appear in Playboy. Sell to the movies.

3. Use unlikely materials. Who would choose Pnin as hero, but how did we live before Pnin?

4. Delight in perversity. Put a noun into the dictionary. Now we recognize the Lolita at every corner, see her sucking sweetened milk through straws at every soda fountain, dream her through all our fantasies.

5. Burn pedants in pale fire. Accept no fashions. Be your own fashion. Do not rely on earlier triumphs. Be new at each appearance.

6. Age indomitably, in the European manner. Do not finish your labours young. Be a planet, not a meteor. Honor the working day. Sit at your desk."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Even the most solid of things, and the most real, the best-loved and the well-known, are only hand-shadows on the wall. Empty space and points of light. Jeanette Winterson
Soot-colored skies this morning, but apparently about four days of sunshine are on the way. I just might get a chance to relocate more plants this week. NPR is broadcasting a story about Norman Rockwell's means of producing his art--he'd pose his subjects and settings and photograph them to capture the level of detail. Apparently his paintings are in vogue again and one recently sold for $15 million. You can see the photos that he used at npr.org/pictureshow.

I've been collecting quotes about writing and creativity for years and hope you find inspiration in these brief posts. Here is one by Charles T. Tart:

"In the depths of our minds are great treasures — but there is a problem in getting them. Our minds are like a lake on which a storm is blowing. The waters are constantly agitated. When you try to look through the surface of the lake to see the treasures in the depths, you generally can’t see them, or you may sometimes get a momentary, but generally distorted, glimpse of them because of the agitation of the water. What you think is here is actually over there, size and shape are distorted, etc. No way are you going to clearly see the treasures in the depths until you learn to still the waves by calming the storm. Until you learn to still that incredible agitation that is ordinary consciousness, agitation that is so habitual you hardly even notice it, you can forget about observing the really worthwhile stuff, the treasures that are inside your mind."

Be still, have heart, and keep writing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts. We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need - not all the time, surely, but from time to time - to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember - the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived."
- Frederick Buechner

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fog this morning so the world is mysterious. I need to start cooking, but wanted to suggest that you might want to read The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote. I read it a few days ago for the first time in years and was charmed by the story and as always,admiring Capote the word spinner. Hope you all have a Thanksgiving filled with grace and plenty.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunset came over the region with a swath of purples and violets. Another golden day is dwindling and I've been editing off and on. So can I just say this for upteenth (where does this word come from?) time: Fiction leaves out the boring parts of life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Skies are muted this morning and I’m tucking into several editing projects today and then going out to buy Thanksgiving supplies. Here’s something if you need a chuckle: Tom’s Glossary of Book Publishing Terms.

Some I’m especially fond of: EDITOR: A writer with a day job. ADVANCE COPY: A bound book that when opened by an editor will instantly expose an embarrassing mistake. NOVELLA: A short story that has not been edited.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today was golden with sunshine and calm, the light casting a glow over the world in that odd, coming-on winter way that fools you into looking around, wondering at the season. Went out tonight to hear Jennie Shortridge at Annie Blooms bookstore. As usual, she was full of grace and insights and radiance. With the holidays coming, please support the books of writers you know (Jennie's latest book is When She Flew) and independent book sellers.

"Like it or not, when you're a writer, there's no escaping the writer's life . . . when it comes to the feelings, obsessions, and just plain worries that accompany any writer's efforts, there's no getting out. Regardless of career experience, advancing age, and sizeable amounts of therapy, there's no 'cure' for the writer's life.
As soon as writers commit to the writing of a thing, they embark on a journey through both an external world of crises and triumphs and an internal world of feelings and belief systems."

~ Dennis Palumbo

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dust-color skies this morning and am going to work on my new book for awhile before joining a friend for a walk. Today's Writer's Almanac has a gorgeous poem XI from Wendell Berry that perfectly describes the landscape here:

The bare branches of winter had emerged
through the last leaf-colors of fall,
the loveliest of all, browns and yellows
delicate and nameless in the gray light
and the sifting rain

Start your morning with a poem. Have heart, be calm, keep writing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm up late after falling asleep watching Grey Gardens--this is the second time I fell asleep watching it. Trust me,the performances are amazing--it's just me. But I'm going to take advantage of this midnight quiet to write and send out a few emails. I was thinking about my columns I'm going to write to launch the new year and ran across this interesting quote by Philip K. Dick.

Dick whose novels have been adapted into Bladerunner and six other movies, thought deeply about human nature, the human condition, and a host of other questions. Between 1959 and 1964, at his creative peak, he wrote sixteen SciFi novels that were published, as well as mainstream novels that were never published, much to his dismay.

Dick wrote: “So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudorealities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing. It is my job to create universes, as the basis of one novel after another. And I have to build them in such a way that they do not fall apart two days later. Or at least that is what my editors hope. However, I will reveal a secret to you: I like to build universes that do fall apart. I like to see them come unglued, and I like to see how the characters in the novels cope with this problem. I have a secret love of chaos. There should be more of it. Do not believe--and I am dead serious when I say this-- do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The tall firs across the street are dancing in the wind, the sky pouting and sullen. Just wanted to extend a congratulations to the National Book Award winners, especially Collum McCann. And did you note T.J. Stiles saying,“the book lies at the heart of all of our culture.”Couldn't have said it better myself.
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment; and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
- George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

‘Tis the season to write poetry
A conversation with Sage Cohen
author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry

As the holidays approach in a down economy, Sage Cohen proposes that poetry can provide a meaningful way forward. Author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry, Cohen sees poetry not just as an art form, but a way of life. Following is our conversation about the possibilities of poetry today.

It’s the holiday season. Why poetry? Why now?

In today’s economy, many people are seeking alternatives the typical holiday spending frenzy. The good news about hard times is that they challenge us to find creative new ways to give, share and create meaning. Poetry can be a powerful instrument for conjuring such alchemies.

These days people have less cash than usual. How can poetry help?

Poetry can’t change our bank statements, but it can change the way we think about wealth and prosperity. In fact, it is my lifelong relationship with poetry that has taught me that income is one thing, but prosperity is frequently something else.

For example, a few years ago, I heard Mary Oliver speak. She reported that a critic of her poetry complained that she must be independently wealthy to have so much time to lie around in the grass and ponder nature. This made the poet laugh, because the critic was reporting in an underhanded and confused way about a truth that Oliver tapped into long ago: the act of lying in the grass and listening to the world IS wealth.

The truth is, we don’t need to go anywhere special to tune in to poetry. Our lives are already inundated with sensory information that is the raw material of poems. All we need to do is slow down, pay attention and write down what moves us, intrigues us or stirs our curiosity. This does not require an inheritance or a 401K. It simply requires a willingness to welcome the abundance that is already ours, and to follow the golden thread of language wherever it leads us.

What poetry can give us is something far more valuable than money could ever buy – it gives us ourselves. Poem by poem, we write our souls into existence. Weighted in words, the spirit that animates us becomes palpable. By the same token, each poem we read offers a small window into the human condition, in which we may better recognize some glimmer of our own being.

The world seems to be falling apart around us. Why should we be focused on poetry when it can’t help change anything?

You’re right; poems may not stop the clubbing of baby seals, domestic violence, child trafficking, dog fighting, genocide, conflict in the Middle East or whatever it is that feels most difficult on any given day. But as the motorcyclist must lean into the turn to prevent a fall, poems become a kind of machinery of transport, giving us a context for leaning into the pain that we meet and safely navigating through it.

My father always said, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” And poems are the treasures that can be exhumed from those undesirable experiences. Just think all of the great, poetic opportunities for understanding that lie coiled at the heart of every mistake, heartbreak, disappointment, and regret.

What if you were to literally look to your poetry practice as a way of moving through what pierces you to the core? What injustices might it help you examine unflinchingly? What epicenter of pain or grief might it help you enter and consider? How might you relax into the universal truths of divorce, death, intolerance, and change, and make a poem offering that illumines these truths with compassion?
How do you recommend that readers get started with their holiday poem-making?
I always remind people that their ordinary lives will offer more than enough source material for poetry. The following exercises are designed to get folks mining their own daily experience to see what inspired thoughts and language might be awaiting them below the surface.

1. Choose an activity you do regularly that is the absolutely most routinized, unremarkable event of your day. (Mine would be doing dishes.) Write down the answers to these questions about it:

• Notice the physical feeling of this routine. Which muscles are involved? What kind of rhythm or tempo does it involve? Are you cold or hot, energized or depleted?
• How do you feel emotionally when you do this?
• What are the smells associated with this activity? (I use lavender soap, so my sink smells like a French garden.)
• What do you see when engaged in this routine? (I look out at the butterfly bush and magnolia tree in my back yard. I enjoy watching meals erased from plates and glasses.)
• Pay close attention to your thinking. What images and ideas bubble up as you are doing this activity?
• How does the time of day or weather or location (indoors vs. outdoors, your home vs. someone else’s home, summer breeze or snowfall) affect your experience?

2. What wildlife, plants and trees do you see out your window at home, at work, or en route? What do they look like, feel like, sound like? What are their names? What are the visual cues and references in your home and/or workspace?

• Make a list of the 20 things you come into contact with most.
• Write down something else in the world that each of these 20 things remind you of. For example, The red teapot reminds me of the robin red breast. The worn wood of the mirror over the sink reminds me of the door to Grandpa’s barn. The curlicue pattern on the silver platter makes me think of storm clouds.

3. Think of someone you see regularly in passing but do not know well, like your mail carrier, barista or neighbor. Write a poem that imagines what their life might be like:

• Who do they love?
• What have they lost?
• What do their pajamas look like?
• What are their aspirations?
• What do they eat for breakfast?

4. Explore your holiday archives:

• What was your biggest holiday surprise?
• What holiday is most meaningful to you and why?
• Who do you yearn to see during the holidays?
• How has Santa (if you have a relationship with Santa) satisfied you and let you down over the years?
• What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened around the dinner table with your family at holiday time?
• What outfit comes to mind when you think back on past holiday celebrations?

This should give you a foundation of source material to start playing with. Circle a few words or phrases that interest you, and let those be the kindling for your poetic fire.

Don’t know where to go next? Freewriting can be a useful way to take your ideas and language a little further into the realm of the poetic. Set your timer for 10 minutes, sit down with your notebook, and keep that hand moving across the page, no matter what, without stopping, for the entire 10 minutes. You’re not trying to be brilliant here – just to get loose and let words start coming without thinking too hard. The more you practice, the looser you’ll get. And the looser you get, the more your language will surprise and delight you.

I’d like to send readers off with a thought about poetry and holiday cheer

Egg nog, move over. Rudolph, there’s a brighter light guiding our sleigh tonight.

I’ve never experienced any holiday cheer that rivals the state of grace that poetry invites into our lives. That is why I often give poems I’ve written as holiday gifts. I print them on pretty paper, place them in an attractive frame and presto – the most treasured holiday gifts I’ve ever given only cost me the time I spent creating them.

Try it! You just might get hooked.

Wishing you all a peaceful and poetic holiday season.

* * * * *

Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry (Writers Digest Books, 2009) and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World (Queen of Wands Press, 2007). An award-winning poet, she writes four monthly columns about the craft and business of writing and serves as Poetry Editor for VoiceCatcher 4. Sage has won first prize in the Ghost Road Press poetry contest, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been awarded a Soapstone residency. She curates a monthly reading series at Barnes & Noble and teaches the online class Poetry for the People. To learn more, visit www.sagesaidso.com. Drop by and join in the conversation about living and writing a poetic life at www.writingthelifepoetic.typepad.com!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A huge storm passed through here in the night after battering the coast with mighty winds. The sky is showing lots of blue, but it won't last. For anyone writing mystery and suspense you might want to check The Writers Police Academy. I've met Lee Lofland and can recommend that this former detective, turned author, not only knows his stuff but is lots of fun. He consults with authors and for television and maintains the blog site The Graveyard Shift.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The morning sky is so gray I'm reminded of the terrible Dust Bowl days and all those people who stayed behind in states most affected, choking on dust, struggling to scrape by as the topsoil blew off and rains wouldn't come.

Busy, lovely weekend, but now I'm settling in to finish a bunch of projects. Last night my book club met to discuss Jess Walter's The Zero, which I thought was the perfect title to sum up the ridiculous plot and the protagonist who we never came to know. One of our members loved it and I'm fascinated how people are revealed through their reactions to books. Anyway, after dessert (apple walnut cake) we chose our next book, after wading through a pile of choices.

And one of the contestants was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. It's then that I recalled this essay Diaz wrote in O magazine Becoming a Writer.


Friday, November 13, 2009

There's some blue sky showing this afternoon and I'm heading out to run errands. Last night I went to see Ben Franklin: Unplugged at Portland Center Stage and want to recommend it and remind folks that it's still playing until the 22nd. Also, my interview with Susan Johnston of TheUrbanMuse is now available. And you know, so far, Friday the 13th ain't scaring me a bit. Keep writing, keep dreaming.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I was out tonight listening to my pal Marian Pierce and other writers at Marylhurst College read from their work. Lovely evening of ideas, language, chatting...makes me feel rich.

So I'm still at my computer answering some e-mails and wanted to pass along a link that Kerri Buckley just posted on Facebook by Michael Geffner 10 Places to Help Find a Home for Your Writing. Some great tips and links here. Keep writing, keep dreaming.

Oh and by the time I went out for my walk earlier there was a steady downpour so I didn't walk as long as I wanted....It's that time of year when I need to take advantage of every moment when it's not raining to head outdoors.
Cloudscape is a steely blue and I'm going for my walk soon. Thanks to all the veterans out there and their families for all they give and do. The jazz station has been on all afternoon (the better to think with my dear) and finally decent tunes are coming forth. Here's a quick writing prompt for you:

It's November, a Monday at dusk and a person is walking down the streets of Seattle (or Portland, or London) and although the person knows better, because it's autumn and a rainy climate, a sudden, violent storm catches him/her by surprise and without an umbrella. He/she dashes into a beauty salon/barber shop for shelter and upon walking in finds that there are several people engaged in a loud, growing louder, argument. They barely flick a disdainful look in the interloper's direction, but then things get really heated....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I was out walking just before dusk and huge, black, scowling clouds were descending,bullying the sky. I was walking toward home gazing at all that darkness overhead and asking myself what it reminded me of. And I decided it reminded me of power.
Here are a few thoughts from novelist, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk who has spent 10 hours a day alone, sitting at his desk, writing:

In order to be happy, I must have my daily dose of literature. In this I am no different from the patient who must take a spoonful of medicine each day. When I learned, as a child, that diabetics needed an injection every day, like most people, I felt bad for them; I may even have thought of them as half dead. My dependence on literature must make me "half dead" in the same way. When I was a young writer, especially, I sensed that others saw me as "cut off from the real world" and so doomed to be "half dead". Or perhaps the right expression is "half ghost". I have sometimes even entertained the thought that I was fully dead and trying to breathe life back into my corpse with literature. For me, literature is medicine. Like the medications that others take by spoon or injection, my daily dose of literature - my daily fix, if you will - must meet certain standards.

First, the medicine must be good. Its goodness is what tells me how true and strong it is. To read a dense, deep passage in a novel, to enter into that world and believe it to be true - nothing makes me happier, nothing binds me more to life. I also prefer it if the writer is dead, because then there is no little cloud of jealousy to darken my admiration.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that the best books are by dead writers. Even if they are not yet deceased, to sense their presence is to sense a ghost. This is why, when we see great writers in the street, we treat them like ghosts, not quite believing our eyes as we marvel from afar. A few brave souls approach the ghosts for autographs. Sometimes I remind myself that these writers will die soon, and that once they are dead, the books that are their legacy will occupy an even higher place in our hearts. Though of course this is not always the case.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Morning skies are changing every time I look up from my computer but right now they're about as cheery as a haunted graveyard at midnight. According to the Writer’s Almanac it’s the birthday of the poet Anne Sexton and the astronomer Carl Sagan who said, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

Yesterday I talked with a writer who had sent me a book proposal that was incomplete and unprofessional. She seemed like a nice person, but almost every time I raised a point, she disagreed, or explained how other writers had given her contrary advice. There’s a lot of crappy, inconsistent, or strange advice lobbed at writers these days. And lots of people who set themselves up as experts. In fact, one of the reasons I wrote three of my books was to add a voice of sanity or expertise into the writing world. So be careful out there and check the credentials of the people who are advising you.

Here’s a link to an article about the habits of novelists that will make you weep or giggle, How to Write a Great Novel. Although, I must admit I get my best ideas in the shower and while walking. Here's the URL in case the link doesn't work http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703740004574513463106012106.html

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The morning sky is the color of dust--which reminds me, time to clean this joint today. I've already posted this on Facebook, so want writers out there to know about a blog post by Aprilynne Pike who wrote a post called Firsts. It's about how to set your goals as a writer and break into print and break out as a writer. It's about thinking big, going for the gusto, and the wise and simple advice that if your manuscript isn't selling, you write another one. And oh by the way, her first book Wings hit the number one spot on the Bestseller List, it's been optioned to be a movie starring Mily Cyrus and she's only 28.

Happy Sunday everyone, and you know the drill: keep writing, keep dreaming.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Skies are changing every hour and I'm sure another deluge is about to descend. Last night I had a few hours to kill between my critique group and meeting a friend, so I stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. I was eating alone so passed the time writing in my notebook and creating a word web for the new book I'm working on.

A few tables away a married couple was eating and the woman yammered away, as if afraid of the silences in her marriage, her husband's occasional replies a low murmur. And there was an old woman sitting alone waiting for her friend. She had tousled, wild, white hair with a pink scalp showing through and wore sturdy shoes and pants, and sat with her feet planted wide.And I realized that old women in restaurants fascinate and scare me. I always want to know if they're widows or have spent a lifetime alone. They look brave and vulnerable and solitary. I notice they almost never bring books, but just sit and savor their meals, looking around, perhaps eavesdropping like I do. Maybe I'm afraid this solitary life is my future too. But I was curious when her friend arrived and they chattered about their layers of clothing (they both belonged to the same book group) and then the friend, a younger woman by a decade or two, began describing her upcoming trip to the Chelsea Flower show and other travels.

The new issue of The Writer magazine arrived yesterday and an archive article by Donald M. Murray is called 10 habits of a SUCCESSFUL WRITER. And one of his habits is called The habit of completion--something I've been writing about in my new book. He writes: A piece of writing is not finished until it is submitted for publication as many times as necessary for it to appear in print.

I also wanted to let you know about an interview with John Irving at bigthink Advice to Aspiring Novelists: Don’t Shoot Yourself
Oh, and besides eavesdropping, I had a breakthrough while noodling in my notebook.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The sky is promising rain and I need to prep for my afternoon critique group and toss a load of laundry into the washing machine. I just wanted to post a few updates here from the writing life.

First, Jennie Shortridge's When She Flew is now available. I've posted a review at amazon and in my November newsletter. She's going to be at Powells in Portland on November 12th and Annie Blooms on the 23. For her full schedule go to her website.

Also, Hallie Ephron has a new book,
The Bibliophile's Devotional. For more information on Hallie and her books go to http://www.hallieephron.com/ Hallie's smart as a whip(although as I write this, I'm wondering where that expression came from. The crack the whip makes in the air?) and her books and insights are always worthwhile.

Finally, for Portland-area writers- Writers in the Grove Present:
An afternoon of original readings
2 PM, Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 Theatre in the Grove
2028 Pacific Avenue, Forest Grove, OR
Donations accepted to benefit Theatre in the Grove and the Forest Grove Senior Center
AUTHORS -- short (<3 minute) submissions wanted Deadline Dec. 7, 2009
For application to submit or for questions, e-mail writersinthegrove@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

From my Division of Shameless Commerce--well, maybe that's not quite accurate. What I want you to know that there’s still time to sign up for this inspiring, empowering, and thought-provoking workshop on November 7.

Writing a Book that Makes a Difference
9:30- 4:30
PNCA 1241 NW. Johnson
Cost: $75
A workshop that instructs writers on how to write a book that comes from our deepest passions, and communicates emotions, caring and concern. We’ll discuss how our books can touch a reader’s imagination, life, and heart. A wide range of examples from various genres will be used to illustrate the discussion and a reading list and generous handouts will be supplied.
Topics to be covered:
 What makes a novel, memoir or nonfiction book matter to readers.
 How to make meaningful statements that make peoples’ lives better without preaching and sentimentality.
 How to identify your audience.
 How to choose your format—inspiration, fiction, memoir, or how-to.
 How to focus on the central theme, question, or issue.
 How to hone your writing voice “the music of what you mean in the world.”
 How to break down a project into doable segments.
 How themes are handled in fiction.
 How narrative is used in all forms of writing.
Please contact Jessica at jessicapage AT spiritone.com or 503 287-2150 for more information or send a check to P.O. Box 920141, Portland, OR 97282-1141.

Monday, November 02, 2009

After a morning creepy with fog, the sun is out this afternoon and although I should sit here and crank out my newsletter, I’m heading outdoors to work in my flower beds –I’ve got plants to move around--and bulbs to plop underground while the world is somewhat dry. And yes, the Halloween party was great fun, but I’ve never been so thankful to slip out of my heels (which I rarely wear these days) and uhm, foundation garments and slop around in my bathrobe when I arrived home. Plopped on the couch and watched an episode of True Blood.

And here’s a fabulous quote for fiction writers Hilary Mantelin a recent article in The Guardian: “A novel arrives whether you want it or not. After months or years of silent travel by night, it squats like an illegal immigrant at Calais, glowering and plotting, thinking of a thousand ways to gain a foothold. It’s useless to try to keep it out. It’s smarter than you are. It’s upon you before you’ve seen its face, and has set up in business and bought a house.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/oct/17/hilary-mantel-author-booker