Friday, July 29, 2011

Yet More Dreams

Oh dear. I had another dream last night which, unfortunately, was not about Huw Grant, but something far more worrying. It was about..

Babies. Yes, babies.

I never dream about babies and that kind of stuff. Why now??? I know I'm a bit stressed at the moment with it being the school holidays and the fact that I am actually for once seriously contemplating going back out to work but even so....dreams about babies??? That's the stuff nightmares are made of...

So I give birth during the night at home. (Luckily, in my dream I didn't dream the labour bit otherwise Mr T might have woken with a heart attack as I screamed "No, not stitches. Anything but the stitches! And get your hand away from my backside! A woman's backside is her own private kingdom!") So anyway, I give birth and Mr T quickly takes the baby away and puts it in the next room whilst I fall into a long, deep sleep. (Wishful thinking on my part. The day I get a long deep sleep will be the day I peg it.)

I wake up the next morning and fall into panic as I have slept for hours and not fed the baby and imagine it frail and weak. I dash into the next room, expecting the worst but, sitting upright in a cot, in the most beautiful bouncing baby, all smiling and cheerful and who looks about 10 months old. Ahhhhhhh. My panic begins to fade even though I know that apart from the cot I have no equipment, no pram and no clothing for this baby as luckily I do have the one thing a baby really needs from it's mother...


Yep, so I lean forward, boobs exposed, my baby looks up at me and opens his mouth wide, beaming as he waits for his milk. It is then that the true horror of the dream really hits me....

My baby has TEETH.

He even has BACK TEETH.

Humph. My dreams are so unfair. Breastfeeding babies with teeth?  It doesn't get any worse than that.

Well there you go. Yet more insight into the strange mind of Mrs T. If anyone wants to analyse that dream feel free to do so. I hastened to add that a) I am not pregnant and do not want to be pregnant and b) There isn't any chance at all of me being pregnant since Mr T encountered the evil hands of  "The Butcher" and  c) I am not on drugs of any description (although you may find that hard to believe.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Me and Mr Grant

I saw across him across the car park. He was just coming out of the doctor's surgery. He looked handsome, debonair and charming as he always does. My heart fluttered.

A thought flashed across my mind that maybe he was being treated for bipolar disorder... quickly followed by the even more worrying thought of erectile dysfunction.

But as our paths crossed I was captivated by his sparkling blue eyes, his lean body clothed in a dark grey suit and open necked shirt. His casual elegance.

He smiled.

I smiled.

"Hello," I said shyly.

"Hello," he replied, his smile breaking into an enticing grin.

"I trust you've not got bi-polar disorder?" I said.

"No, indeed," he laughed. "Just a small problem, easily rectified."

I glanced down at his pants.

He laughed and said something witty.

I said something witty in reply.

He said something even wittier.

I said something even more wittier.

"Wow," he said. "Your the funniest woman I've ever met."

"So you've not met Graham Norton then?" I quipped.

"Hmm. Point taken." He grinned again. "You know, I've never met a woman like you."

"Neither have I," I replied. "Which is lucky as otherwise I'd have to share my inheritance."

He laughed again and reached out and touched my face.

"You have the most amazing eyes," I said as he ran his finger down my cheek.

"You have the most amazing...bottom," he said, as his hand strayed to my thigh.

"Oh gosh," I replied, my knees shaking. "No one's ever said that to me before!"

He slid his arms around my waist.

I wrapped my arms around his neck.

We moved closer together. Our lips were just about to touch and....


Yep, Mr T's alarm clock went off.

Sod it. Sod it. Sod it. Why do things like that always, always, happen to me? The only time I get a decent dream where I'm not been bashed to death by a lunatic with a Le Crueset saucepan or drowning in a sink of stinky dishwater and it has to be ruined by Mr T's alarm clock. Humph.

I'm lodging a formal complaint. I demand some flattery of my bottom or I'm moving out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Poetry, The Writer's Handbook, Playboy and a serious case of the giggles

Oh ho hum.

There I was, perusing the pages of the Writer's Handbook 2010 (can't afford the latest edition) looking for markets for humorous stories and general inane waffle as befitting my abilities when my eye fell upon an article by Chris Hamilton Emery of Salt Publishing, an independent publisher specializing in poetry. As you know poetry has been on mind lately (or not on my mind lately - whichever way you look at it) so I duly read through his article Twenty things I didn't know before becoming a poetry publisher which had me giggling into my coffee cup and generally thinking that Mr Hamilton Emery should be writing comedy rather than poetry. Here's number 14 of his 20 ....

Roughly speaking, the developed world's population will all become poets in 2033. Poets are the plankton of the literary world....Some people call themselves poets because they write stuff. This is like describing yourself as an athlete because you jogged to catch the No.33 bus this morning. Most "poets" are frauds and, like rogue traders, will turn up to mend your boiler with a sack of bread knives and a tub of Vaseline."

Classic stuff. Echoes my sentiments entirely. Anyhow, to continue. Having failed to find anything suitable in The Writers Handbook that looked even vaguely promising and a proliferation of "No short stories," No unsolicited manuscripts"or "Unsolicited manuscripts never used/rarely used/only used if we're desperate and you've got a double barrelled surname and are related to a long line of literary geniuses" I was beginning to feel despondent.

Now, of course, there's nothing to stop me soliciting my work in the first instance with a letter or email but somehow that conjures up a picture of my good self standing on a street corner in fishnets and a miniskirt as a car containing a disreputable publisher pulls up and the window unwinds as I whisper suggestively "Sixty quid for a humorous typed story - thirty quid for a hand job."

(That's "hand written job" obviously - I have principles you know. Not many obviously. But some.)

So anyway, feeling a bit dispirited I thought the best thing to do was to search the entire Writers Handbook for the word "humour." Now to be fair, some publishers did use the word "humour." However - if you use the word "humour" and then quickly follow it by the words "Melvin Bragg" should one be taking you seriously as a publisher of humour?

Anyway, I buckled down and had a good read (scan) and then, suddenly, my heart started to beat furiously as I read (scanned) something very promising indeed;

Approach in writing with ideas. Unsolicited manuscripts not welcome unless from qualified chess experts and players.

My heart thudded even more wildly as ambitious thoughts raced through my mind...

I can play chess! It's a strange request - but maybe it's to prove you have a brain! And I have a brain! How many 46 year old women can play chess and know what "castling" is? I must be in with a chance of proving I'm a brilliant academic, literary genius and writer of extraordinary talent! (etc etc etc)

And then I looked at the title of the publication:

British Chess Magazine

Hmm. Me thinks that somehow I've proved I am not an undiscovered genius...

So duly put in my place, I decided to search the Internet for suggestions for places for my humorous stories until at last I found a magazine which actually specifically mentioned the word "humour" and, even better, it was contained in the following sentence;

Regarded as one of the best paying markets for serious contemporary stories, mystery, suspense, humour, science fiction and sports stories.  

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! A magazine actually exists that wants humorous stories! My salvation had arrived!

Or possibly not.

As the magazine was...


Yes. Playboy. How does that work? Would any Gentlemen Readers like to enlighten me? Does Playboy have funny stories that are raunchy as well? How do they do it? Are the protagonists ones such as Coco the Clown who pulls funny faces by day and by night is a male stripper? Are the stories wild fantasies about Joan Rivers or having sex with inflatable replicas of George Bush?

Somebody explain please....

In the meantime, whilst I wait for you readers to enlighten me I feel I need to research this market.... So last night I asked the Good Mr T to bring home a copy of said magazine.

You have never seen a man more delighted in your life.

Ps: I would like to add that there was a lot of "rules" attached to the purchase of said magazine.

Pps: I would like to add that my next story may be about a sexually frustrated chess player whose "castle" is under siege from a group of marauding lesbian warriors.

Any takers?

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Question for Writers

Alrighty, I have a question for you writers and aspiring writers out there or indeed anyone who knows how to make sense out of nonsense. (Not me obviously.)

Why is it, when I look around the web, that poets seem to be paid more than prose writers? For example, I just looked at one website where the fee for a poem is £25 and a prose writer is £15 per thousand words. Now I don't want to dispute the fact that any piece of writing poetry or prose takes some creativity and any numbers of hours to write. However, a poem might only be three lines, is probably likely to a "filler" and not likely to be a key feature unless it is written specifically for a poetry magazine. Further, I would suggest poetry requires little or no research as it usually contains emotional sentiments rather than facts and figures whereas the research for some articles can take ages. Or, in my case, a whole sitting on the lavatory.

So how do you balance the worthiness, financial or otherwise, of one form of writing over another?

Now I've tried my hand at poetry. It is not easy to be succinct in a few words. However, I wrote this one in about 20 mins ( I know, the quality is debatable... but then again so is a lot of published poetry!) Whereas, the majority of my for articles for The View From Here have required extensive research -for example for my Damon Galgut article I read all six of his novels! Now that might be overdoing the research somewhat - but whilst I'm quite happy to talk out my backside on my blog I wouldn't dream of talking out of it elsewhere. (Well most of the time anyway.)

Of course, it pretty much goes without saying that all writers are underpaid. Unless you get to be as successful as Dan Brown or J K Rowling you'd better get used to bread and dripping. I'm just grateful Mr T has a job and I can flirt with writing - if I actually had to make a living at it I would probably have stuffed my head in the cooker by now or died a dramatic death by first cutting off my ears, then shaving my head and finally jumping off London Bridge reciting The Ancient Mariner.

So any thoughts anyone?

Oh, out of interest one of my popular posts is my short story Caught Short. I leave it to your imagination the phrases input into Google that have made that one so popular! Let's just say that should my recent literary endeavours fall short, I have a future in "contemporary" literature.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Can it be True?

Can it be true?

Is it really possible??

How can such a thing happen???

I gasped. I gawped. I felt a churning in my stomach.

I pushed the first suicidal thoughts out of my mind and whispered in awe...

How can any woman have a hair THAT long on her chin?

I turned the mirror to catch the sun and...

Slowly, deliberately, with skill of a brain surgeon, I raised my shears...

And then I had a thought...

You know, Mrs T, if you thread it with pasta it would work incredibly well with your organic knitted jewellery range.

I am a genius.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Seriously Unfunny and Funny Unseriously (No, I don't what it means either but what the heck it sounds great!)

What a week. Blimey, I'm glad it almost over. It's been a week jammed pack with irritating and upsetting events - you know the ones folks - not those ones where you get knocked for six like bereavement but the ones where you get thumping headaches and are gradually being wound up like a clock and all of sudden you snap. I haven't (completely) snapped yet - well if you exclude the phone call with school - which was what I would call a "warm-up exercise" but I'm close. If I can survive tomorrow I might just make it to the weekend without being arrested.

Hmm... let's hope that chap who likes to park at the bottom of my driveway doesn't park there tomorrow - if not for my sake for the sake of his car...

Anyhow, in between all the general moaning I've done this week, I did finally send two pieces of flash fiction off to two different writing competitions. Now something I've learnt over the 3 years I've been writing this blog, which is more or less the time I've had aspirations to be a writer, is that humour doesn't win prizes and there aren't that many competitions -  none in fact - for humorous writers. It's all literary. You know - weeping, wailing that kind of stuff. Novels where people tear their hair out, have limbs amputated and generally have a really shit time.Which is great of course -  I like nothing better than reading about amputated limbs whilst I'm sucking my chocolate but it is not exactly Mrs T, the writer. It's not that I don't weep and wail myself (obviously I do and sometimes quite loudly) it's just that I can't do it for very long without suddenly finding something very funny -  I'm afraid  I am that mean, heartless person who laughs when folks trip over on the pavement or their wig blows off.  But, hey what can I do about it? I try to be serious, I really do, but I just wasn't born that way!

Now I can hear some of you saying  "Ha! You lie Mrs T! Didn't the Finkler Question win the Man Booker prize? Isn't that meant to be funny?"

Well yes, Readers, The Finkler Question is indeed meant to be funny and I thought was funny - but everyone else thinks it's pants. Except for the people who like Jewish subject matter who think it's brilliant in a kind of Jewish academic way - which is why it was probably awarded the Man Booker prize. In other words - it's an academic award. So there you go - a book which is supposedly humorous which no one actually thinks is funny. Except me.

You know I think I have a problem.

Anyway, to get back to the flash fiction. Now, in order to have a chance of winning some great literary prize I decided I would have to write something serious. Initially, I thought about stories about amputation and hair loss but decided they was probably too mundane - so in the end I went for themes even more depressing - death and child abuse. I had to limit myself to 250 and 600 words respectively because a) that was the rules b) anything longer and I would slash my wrists and c) death can actually be a funny subject so it was vital I stuck to 250 words otherwise my hero was likely to become the first mortician who had a part time job as a clown.

So there you go. I have finally written something serious. Just watch me lose.

Hmm.. I really love the idea of a mortician who is clown. I think I'm on to something.....

You know... sometimes I think this insomina affects my mind....

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...