Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Yellow Room

This isn't quite the yellow room I'd imagined, but all I could find! It's a bit too bright, isn't it? Not exactly the cosy little den I'd envisaged. Anyway, just to say that it should be just two more weeks before The Yellow Room Magazine is ready to send out to subscribers. Exciting, isn't it? I can't wait for the feedback! I hope we'll have a few lively letters pages similar to those in QWF.

The Yellow Room Competition closes today. I'm hoping for a few more entries in the post, but so far we have over a hundred, which isn't bad considering it's the first year the competition has been running. I'm rather miffed with Royal Mail, as our post wasn't delivered till 5pm yesterday. What's all that about? I remember the good old days when I lived out in the sticks and it was always delivered at 7.30am. The day doesn't feel as if it's started properly until the mail arrives.

I'm almost up to date with submissions and have about three to read. However, printing off acceptance and rejection letters is proving difficult, as my printer needs a new black ink cartridge and it seems as if Viking no longer do their 'order before 12 noon and deliver same day' service. Oh well.

On a more personal note, I've been researching a 'way of eating for life' in the hope of dropping at least another stone and keeping it off. I haven't found the answer yet! And I'm hungry!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Foggy morning, foggy brain!

It feels very autumnal this morning. We also have fog here in Rugby. The weather perfectly mirrors the way I feel. Fogged up and lacking in focus.

I've overdone it on the exercise this week and I'm so stiff; so tired. You know when it hurts to sit down; hurts to stand up? I just want to lie down and read, which is just how I'm going to spend the morning, I think.

It all started with a Spin class on Monday morning. Not feeling great after overindulging on the wine the day before (well, it was my birthday!) really didn't help. After the class I just flopped on the sofa and moaned about feeling exhausted the rest of the day. Tuesday and my calf muscles were screaming. I could barely walk down the stairs. However, it didn't stop me going mad with the housework (what got into me?) and doing an hour on the Wii Fit (including lots of 'step'). Wednesday and my calf muscles were screaming even louder. However, I bravely set off for my Legs, Bums and Tums class, after running a mile or so on the treadmill. And there we had to do more step aerobics and lunges off the step during which I thought my calf muscles were going to snap. Pain, pain! Thursday and my calves were okay, but my hamstrings and glutes were aching like mad. But it didn't stop me going to the Cardio Tone class where I was subjected to an hour of Jane Fonda-type aerobics called Body Attack. Lots of dancey-type moves which I hate. Felt very poncy. I had very little energy and kept looking outside at the sunshine, wishing I'd gone for a long walk with my friends instead. I spent the rest of yesterday wincing every time I sat down and feeling about 92.

It's been a rubbish week for writing. I've hardly opened up my novel file. I feel very guilty about it and annoyed with myself that I seem to have shifted my priorities almost without realising it. Exercise and diet have become my primary focus again. Why? Because I felt very fat. Because I overindulged on wine and chocolate at the weekend. Silly, silly, silly. When will I ever learn? However, I'm feeling slimmer now, thank goodness, and can perhaps do a little less exercise and more writing next week.

I've just rediscovered Marge Piercy after a very kind writer friend bought me her novel, Three Women, for my birthday. I intend to tuck into it any minute now! Gone to Soldiers is one of my all-time favourite books. I recommend it.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Writing and Exercise

I've decided I must have a split personality.

I've also come to the conclusion that writing and exercise don't mix. Shame, because I love both. And I will do both, obviously not simultaneously. Let me explain.

I joined a new gym this week and it's brilliant! I'm fired up with enthusiasm for my exercise regime once more. It had been in the doldrums for a few months. This new place runs various types of exercise class, which is a novelty as the last gym I belonged to for 7 years hardly ran any, and then only boring old Pilates or similar. This week so far I've been to Legs, Bums and Tums and Cardio Tone. Sound quite tame, don't they? Believe me, they weren't. I made the mistake of running on the treadmill for 2 miles and rowing just over 1000m in 5 minutes before the Legs, Bums and Tums yesterday. Talk about hard on the legs. I don't think I've ever done so many squats and lunges as I did in that class! However, it was great fun. I felt quite cocky this morning, as I didn't ache.

Today I went along to Cardio Tone. The instructor warned me at the beginning that there was a fair bit of boxing and martial art type stuff involved. I wasn't fazed. After all, I'd been doing the Davina Cardio Box at home. It was brilliant! Such fun and the instructor was like one of the Gladiators. We all went for it to a stomping fast dance track. I've never packed so many punches in my life. I'm on a real high now after all the 'whooping' and martial art-type noises you make when you're going for it.

This brings me on to my first point. High impact exercise is at odds with the state I need to be in to write. I think I have to be in a kind of semi-comatose state to do the latter. Lost in a kind of dreamy other world, which lends itself well to slobbing around in pyjamas and eating naughty things like chocolate, biscuits and cake. Oh, and mustn't forget the odd glass of wine. Whereas aerobic exercise makes me crave high energy salads and copious amounts of water. Exercise makes me feel very much part of this fast-paced world we live in and to be 'out there'. The two activities just don't marry well at all. I'm perfectly comfortable in both 'states', but it's difficult being in both frames of mind on the same day.

I must keep working at implementing 'the new regime'. I have to write first thing and get that 'at least an hour's worth' done. It would be two hours worth, but my exercise classes tend to start at 10.30am. Such a dilemma!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


That melancholic feeling is still with me today, although I do feel reasonably fired up with enthusiasm for The Yellow Room and my novel.

I've just written a (hopefully) moving passage in my novel. I've tried to depict a traumatic episode in one of the characters' childhoods. Not easy! I want tension; drama; a sense of sadness and innocence lost. I also want to avoid mawkishness and sentimentality. Very difficult. I was feeling upset as I was writing it, so maybe that's a good sign!

I'm devoting most of today to sorting out The Yellow Room admin. I have lots of rejection letters to write and very few, if any, acceptances. It's very difficult to know what to say when rejecting someone's story. It's their baby, after all. I just give my honest opinion as to what is wrong with it and why I don't want to publish it. However, I realise some writers get very discouraged by this and are almost put off writing. It's a worry that I might be crushing someone's confidence to that extent. However, the last thing I want to do is compromise the quality of the fiction in the magazine. It's not easy being an editor, you know!

Finally, I've just read a lovely tribute to Richard Wright, the Pink Floyd keyboard player who died yesterday http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/neil_mccormick/blog/2008/09/15/richard_wright_the_great_gig_in_the_sky. I was hoping to see the original band members in concert once more in my lifetime, hopefully with Roger Waters as well, but it is not to be.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The New Routine

I feel as if I'm getting back into a routine now the children are back at school. I really must do more blogging, though. I feel as if I haven't really anything interesting to say! My creative energy is currently being channelled into my novel writing, although I have dabbled with a couple of short stories in the past few days. It's a nice break from the novel, actually. I've also started writing the annual letters to those friends who have birthdays in the few days leading up to mine.

Today has been interesting and different. I got called a 'dizzy slag' by a horrid man who almost stepped off the pavement in front of me today, despite having seen me approach. I haven't felt right all day since! I was on my way to the hairdresser's for my six weekly trim and was looking forward to some pampering. This stupid man ruined it all. Why couldn't he have been more patient or crossed the road in a safer place? Even hairdresser, David's gay anecdotes didn't cheer me up. Then tonight I found out Richard Wright died today. He was the keyboard player and one of the founder members of Pink Floyd, one of my favourite bands. He was only 65. He died after a short struggle with cancer, it seems. I hadn't realised he composed the song, Great Gig In The Sky, which we played at my first husband's funeral.

I'm somewhat vexed that The Yellow Room still isn't at the printers. I was hoping it would be ready to send out to subscribers this month. Now it's looking less and less likely. I had issues with the design AC had come up with and he's gone quiet on me. He's busy working. I have also allowed myself to be overcome with submissions and have a pile of rejection letters to write. The prospect doesn't fill me with joy.

But it's no good, I just have to cheer up, because it's my birthday on Sunday! I'm looking forward to a Sunday roast meal out and cake! My diet will be forgotten for three days this week. I think the cake eating will have to begin on Friday.

Did I mention I'm going to look at a new gym tomorrow?

Monday, 8 September 2008


Our holiday apartment was situated on the top floor of this lovely old house with some spectacular views over the Atlantic and the islands of Jura, Gigha and Islay:

Kintyre was brilliant. The most relaxing holiday I've had in a long time. It was a real 'getting away from it all' holiday. Very few people around, very few cars. Lots of wildlife. And the weather was lovely. It rained once.

There were many highlights. Looking at the seals sitting on the reef from our window as we ate breakfast. Visiting the Linda McCartney Memorial Garden in Campbeltown (I'm a big Wings fan!) and bumping into one of the locals who told us exactly how to get to Paul McCartney's farm up in the hills at Gobagrennan. He wasn't there, but I still got very excited anyway!

The beaches on Kintyre are beautiful. So clean, so empty. Pale sand. We particularly loved Saddell Beach (where they filmed the video for Mull of Kintyre) and Dunaverty Beach. I spent many a happy hour sitting in the sun reading while the children played in the sand or the rockpools.

It all seems so long ago now.