Tag Archives: bloggy buddies

Dr Dawnriser

Our bloggy buddy, acclaimed poet and former teacher has done something rather remarkable. Years of field work, analysing, learning hard sums, applying theory, writing, thinking and arguing. Yesterday morning, she defended her thesis. In a few weeks, she’ll parade across a stage in red robes while her nearest and dearest try not to whoop and holler with delight.

Dawnriser and I go back to our school days. She’s been a researcher in London and Dublin, part of the Human Genome Project.  She taught for years. She wrote poetry and dealt with enormous personal challenges. She returned to university in her forties to study the science she loves. Fate has determined that I can now see her house from mine, about a minute’s walk. She is a perfectionist, a worrier and an all round star. She’s about to start making waves in science.

A virtual round of applause please for Dr Dawnriser, my mate.


homework (for Janie)

In a burst of Oh I feel awake and reasonably alert again, hurrah! I started two of the Future Learn courses this week*. Three hours per week of creative writing (8 weeks) and two hours per week (2 weeks only) of drug origins. There are many great things about these courses, but the key points are 1- they are free, 2- I can do them in pyjamas, unwashed and unseen.

I was delighted to see that our bloggy buddy, Tinman, is doing the same writing course. I haven’t figured out how to do proper discussion on the  course site, and there seem to be hundreds of people doing the course, but it’s nice to know that a buddy is in there somewhere. Tinman shared part of this week’s writing task- I was going to, then I wasn’t. Then Janie was encouraging, so here we are. I want a bit of a kick start, a reminder of why I blog at all, and to get back into the habit of it, so I may as well post some of the inane ramblings that actually count as me writing.

The task was to write 2 paragraphs, one a fact and three fictions, the other containing 3 facts and one fiction.

She was born in May 1965, to a houseful of boys. John, Jim and Bob were her elder brothers- there were two years between each of them and four years between Bob and her. They all had blond hair and twinkly blue eyes. She was a screaming red head. In time, the way these things do, her screaming settled and the boys’ hair darkened.

When she was 8, she spent weeks in hospital. The boys gathered up cards and gifts from her classmates. There was a late night operation, a blood transfusion, a visit from the priest. Bob was glad she was away.

These may turn into something eventually, they may not. Bob may be worth exploring. What interested me was how interested I got in  two short paragraphs. I didn’t know what I was going to write until I started, and then my brain started to buzz.

Don’t you love the buzz?



*Everyone I know is thinking that I’ve still got a lot to learn about managing my health, I need to pace myself more, I shouldn’t keep taking on too much and then crashing, and they’re right. I know that. I even agree. But then I get swept up in childish enthusiasm and think that all those sensible voices are BORING and that I have to still try and be myself somehow. A crash is always imminent so I want to make the most of the awake days. Yes, I am a nightmare to live with. But I’m ready for bed just after tea time most evenings.

the little things

Yesterday was a dozy day. I tried getting up, but retired defeated, after eating. Eventually I showered, put on clean pyjamas and made it as far as the sofa, accessorized with hot water bottle and little old lady rug over my legs.

Today was to be better. I had plans. But time has this habit of vanishing. It’s lunchtime and the cupboards are not cleaned, the ironing isn’t done, tasks from 6 weeks ago sit on the table, shaming me. There are things to be doing, but I’m faffing on the internet. In my dressing gown. If the sun shines I notice the grubby windows. I brought a cake stand to a coffee morning on Saturday and it needed a good clean before we could put the buns on it. Luckily, I’m not proud- I wasn’t remotely bothered when I could have been mortified in front of the Irish dancing mummies. (I’d never cope if I was a competitive Dance Mom).

When I wasn’t doing any of the many things that I need to be doing, I read Emma’s post and recognised the feelings. You probably do too.

Then, on twitter, a moment of sanity. Words of wisdom from @SharonOwensAuth- housework all on one day, another day for writing, a day for other things, time to do nothing at all. Sometimes we just need somebody to point out the obvious. Little steps to make the chaos a wee bit more manageable.

from: http://thebookhabit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/monday-musing_12.html
from: http://thebookhabit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/monday-musing_12.html

reading, walking and international women

Somehow we escaped having to dress up for world book day this year.  Girl1 got an hour of silent reading in school (a huge treat for some; not so much for her) while Girl2 made her classroom door look like a book cover. Unfortunately no photos are available.

On the day I thought I’d take a look at the unread books on my shelves…

left of shelf

right of shelf

pile 1

pile 2

Then there’s the Kindle. It holds dozens of unread books, as well as the finished ones. I’ve taken to reading on my phone too- there’s always at least one book on the go.

Of course, there’s no chance of the piles shrinking. It’s against the law to leave a bookshop without at least 3 new books to add to the bundles, downloads sneak on to devices and the Post Office collection spot is used to holding deliveries of second hand paperbacks.

Some of you do much more than read. You write poetry, short stories and novels. Several of you have published real books. Actual hold them in your hand books, that I am lucky to own. I get a flush of excitement when I see an author’s name and think “I know her”. I feel the celebrity stardust from here.

Our bloggy buddy Andra Watkins has taken a book launch to a whole new level, and I am loving it.

If you know Andra (and if you don’t, you really should change that) you’ll know that her writing is full of power, energy and humour. Just like herself. She is creative, and a builder of community. She challenges herself, shares the adventure and the learning.

I’d never heard of the Natchez trace until recently. Now, I’m hooked by the traditional route from  Mississippi to Tennesee. I knew of Meriwether Lewis, but nothing apart from the transcontinental expedition with William Clark. A great thing about Andra’s book To Live Forever: an Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is that I didn’t need to know anything about Natchez or Lewis to enjoy it. No knowledge of history is required. Just people.

To Live Forever has a powerful story, a contemporary setting and totally believable characters. it is fantastical, but I believed even the most improbable events. Bloggy buddies, I actually gasped at one point. There may also have been sniffling. Meri and Em travel along the Trace finding support, challenge, each other and themselves. I loved it. You should read it.


To mark the launch of the book, Andra is up to something remarkable. She’s walking the 444 mile length of the Trace, 15 miles a day. This is not a gentle amble along a paved path, more a hefty hike through the forest. For 444 miles. being Andra, she’s bringing us with her. Daily video and written updates, and answering reader questions. The trace is a character in the novel- we’re getting to share that, to recognise locations, to visualise Meri and Em just there.

Did you notice? That’s our Debra  whose question Andra is answering. It’s exactly the sort of question I’d expect from  Debra- even in the wilderness, making sure we look about us and appreciate what’s going on.

Andra, I’m using you to mark both World Book Day and International Women’s Day because you and your words inspire me. When I have a week of being exhausted and practically housebound, that’s no mean feat.