2017 has been an absolute nightmare of a year in many ways. But in bookworld? Well, it's been a damn joy.Read More
Finishing things. It’s difficult, isn’t it?
Starting is always easy. Ideas come to you in the bath, in bed, in middle of a conversation with someone you should be listening to. You scrabble for a notepad, and BOOM. A start.
But the finish. The finish is ethereal. Untouchable. Seen only through a forest of struggle and stamina.
I am famously quite rubbish at finishing things. Sometimes I can’t even finish a sentence without starting the next one. My head runs off before my mouth and can catch up, and the same is true of pretty much everything.
Finishing things, then, is quite the effort for me.Read More
You, like me, may wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night, assaulted by the recurring realization that Theresa May is Prime Minister.
Theresa May is Prime Minister. No, it doesn’t get any less awful the second time you write it.
Of course, it’s not just her. It’s that, somehow, the Conservatives have not only held onto power in the last 6 years, but in fact have managed to wrestle it from the (admittedly incredibly weak) hands of the Lib Dems so that they, now, hold it alone.Read More
As you might have noticed, it’s been a while since the initial post explaining this series. While this is in some part due to a heap of work and social commitments (and holidays), it’s also because I’ve been intimidated by the task ahead of me; attempting to present religious texts in a fair and balanced way, without shying away from their issues. As world events occur and prejudices flair, the job seems to get more and more difficult. So, in a way, I’ve copped out for the first installment. I’ve gone for the book that I’ve read most recently; the one that’ll be both more and less controversial than the others but in ways that aren’t quite as socially ostracizing:
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The basis of Scientology.Read More
There’s nothing, and I mean nothing, that I like more than getting on a train with a good book, a hot drink and a big fat piece of cake. I love knowing that the next few glorious hours will be filled with words and warmth and bits of crumb, the train snaking through greens and blues and highs and lows and eventually, but not too quickly, depositing me where I need to be.
So began to my first trip, two weeks ago, to Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, which is nestled in the highlands just near Inverness.Read More
Normally, I steer clear of anything that contains both Nigel Farage and Melanie Phillips, as I value both my sanity and the concept of saying things that make sense, but a friend sent me the link to “Brexit: The Movie” the other day, just around the time I was realising just how many people seem to be considering voting to leave the EU. I have, up to this point, heard no convincing argument for why we should leave the EU, so I thought for the sake of informed voting, I should at least watch the film.Read More
I won’t be talking about whether or not the claims made in the books are true or false; I’m not interested in a discussion of whether this or that God exists, or whether we’re on an endless cycle of reincarnation or simply cark it after a few decades and turn off like extraneous machines. I have my views on that and you will have yours. Rather, I’m interested in accurately portraying what these books contain, regardless of my feelings about them.Read More
I’m not much of a self-helpy type of person. As a student of critical thinking and A.J. Ayer’s verification principle, I don’t like meaningless sentences, and as a steadfast hater of routines I have arrogantly rejected anything approaching discipline in my adult life. Hence why I realised last year that I was really wasn’t writing much and actually wasn’t getting anywhere and didn’t even have a few short stories that didn’t completely suck.Read More
Every time David Cameron says the phrase “7-day NHS”, remember that this isn’t just a harmless piece of rhetoric, nor a frivolous fallacy, nor a mere slap in the face of everyone who works for the health service and mans the battle stations on weekends, evenings, holidays and whenever else they’re needed. It’s all of these things and more.Read More
Last week, I was thrilled to be a part of Panama City’s first bilingual storytelling event, CuentaCuentos. Modelled on live storytelling nights like the Moth, this event featured true stories told live by writers, performers, and in fact anyone who wanted to stand behind a mic in front of a room full of strangers and open up to them. Who would do such a thing? Well, me.Read More