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Friday, 16 October 2009

Five Obsessions

Lovely Helen at Commission Me - has presented me with an award which stands for not Tragic Obsession with Big Hats and Small Dogs, but integrity, commitment to excellence and stubborn optimism. I'm very touched. And a bit guilty because I've been a bit lax on the blog front recently. And as a codicil I have to give you my five obsessions. Which are in no particular order:

1. Extremely mature cheddar. You can forget that namby pamby mild crap. Give me the sort of cheese that gives your gums an electric shock. Particularly good when a lump of it is eaten with a splodge of generic pickle.

2. The Boy's Height. It's really hard to tell someone off when you have to look up at them to do it. And their response is Chill mum in a really deep voice.

3. The Girl's developing confidence. I remember a mother once telling me: Once they go to school, they're gone and now I know what she means. She has a set of friends, influences, opinions and tastes of her own. Yesterday she insisted on wearing a tunic with clashing tee, odd socks and a beret. Fashion wise I think she's channelling Vivienne Westwood. Drunk.

4. Writing something good. And I've been telling my students at the OU to allow themselves to write rubbish, to break through that awful inertia that comes when you sit down and tell yourself you have to write something good. I've been teaching them a bit about freewriting - composting - where you give yourself the freedom to write whatever you like. It's like turning your psyche over and over until a little nugget emerges that you can do something with. It's all true. But the bottom line is while it's good to allow yourself to write rubbish, nobody wants to end up submitting rubbish.

5. Aveda Hair Products. I know - I know. Especially as when I went into the 'lifestyle salon' I picked up a few products - one a 'glosser' and the other a 'finishing paste' and asked what the difference was. One glosses zee hair and the other feeeneeshes eeet, said the very glossy assistant. Insulted and patronised like that the only thing I could do was buy some overpriced shampoo. And to my intense annoyance it worked fantastically well.

And now I pass on the nominations to:

Jane Smith at How Publishing Really Works

Kit at Kit Courteney Writes

The Daily Quail

Elle at Product Placement

Nicola Morgan at Help! I Need a Publisher


Helen P said...

I particulary loved your number 4, Jane. My 17 year old is still in that phase I think. And fascinated that you are an OU tutor. Any recommendations for courses as some days I truly believe I am the best rubbish writer who ever lived.

Jane said...

@Helen - Ah the bane of us all eh Helen? We keep saying it's 'ok to write a crap first draft' but the point is they're supposed to get less crap! The OU course is good and does feed into my own work but I have to say the best, most practical course I've ever been on has been with the Arvon Foundation. Run and taught by writers who really know what they're talking about. Highly recommended. Google them. I did hear that Irving Welsh taught a course and everyone just got very very pissed - but not much writing was done!

Kit Courteney said...

I haven't been able to access your blog for a while (or a couple of others, so it's a fault my end) and am now catching up.

Thanks for passing this on... although I'm not sure I can whittle it down to only 5!

Product Placement said...

Likewise, I am painfully late to this party...

So, what am I currently obsessed with?

1. My toddler's speaking. He is learning new words every day and I am embarrassingly proud of him. I take him into shops just so he can dazzle people by pointing out things, and so they can go OOOH ISN'T HE CLEVER? God, what have I become...?
2. Dry hands - central heating, my laptop, divine retribution... Something is making my mitts feel like I am wearing tight gloves and I HATE IT.
3. Heatworld website. I like to think of myself as medium to high brow. Why, when I read this?
4. Coronation chicken. The sandwich filling of the gods. (When they'd run out of ambrosia and nectar and all that shite.)
5. My blog, and the fact it is currently not working. Checking it every 5 minutes to see if it's up again. ARRRGHHH

Merry crimbo Jane and thanks for mentioning me!
E x