Wednesday, 12 August 2009

My name is Sue and I'm an addict

I need help. I'm a hoarder and compulsive buyer of books and it has to stop. NOW! It'd take me a year to get through my 'to read pile' yet I've asked for more books for my birthday. Why? When I can't keep up with what I already have.

I have 2 bookcases in my house; 1 is to the ceiling around 3ft wide and has 6 shelves crammed full, the other one is slightly smaller with 3 shelves, again busting at the seams. Then upstairs I have shelves in 2 bedrooms again overflowing. Plus there're books stuffed behind the sofa, in wardrobes and under beds.
Yesterday I decided enough is enough. I need to thin them out. It isn't that I don't know where to send them - there're dozens of people would be grateful for them - it's the act of giving them up I can't face. I find it sooo painful to let them go! I feel like an addict doing cold turkey.

My collection falls into several categories.

There're those I've read and enjoyed so much I'm loathe to chuck because, well, um, I might find them useful as reference for my own work.

Obviously, any reference books on writing I cant possibly ditch even though I can quote them word for word.

Ditto dictionaries and 'Year' books even though this info can be mostly accessed on-line.

Some fiction I haven't even read but cant possibly get rid off them because I'll eventually get around to doing so...when exactly? 2012???

There're those I've tried to read and didn't finish for various reasons - usually because they weren't to my taste BUT I cant ditch because I may come back to them later...but probably won't. But you never know, do you? Take The Time Traveller's Wife - couldn't get into it but now the film's out I feel compelled to try once again.

Then there're the signed editions from my fave authors I'd NEVER EVER give up because I love them and their work.

Then there're those signed editions of books I'd never normally buy (Know Your Newt??)but did so because the author looked lonely there behind her/his table in the bookshop and we had a nice chat about the writing game etc.

Recognise my dilemma? I bet you do. Anyway, yesterday, I began the task of getting rid. I took 2 large carrier bags of books to the charity shop but had to park right outside, run in, dump them and run out again before I bought more to replace them.

Today I've filled two more large bags. I don't think I can face another trip to Barnardo's in case I fall off the wagon.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Blog Takeover Day

Hello, I’m Maggie Dearly and Sue’s asked me to take over her blog for today. I’m thrilled, if a little bemused, because I’ve always thought of myself as a secondary character in her novel. Surely she’d want one of the main protagonists to scribble something - the MPs being Alex and Roisin* not forgetting Sandra. Alex is my son, by the way, the lovely Roisin is his employee (at least in the beginning)and Sandra is...well, maybe I’ll keep that to myself for now. Don’t want any spoilers do we?

Where was I? Oh yes, Sue assures me I’m important because my role is pivotal to the plot - without me there’d be no conflict.

‘And we all know why a story needs conflict, don’t we, Maggie?’

And there was me thinking she’d only invented my character because every good family saga**needs a clich├ęd, menopausal widow to bounce clever dialogue off.

So now I’m here, being pivotal, what am I expected to talk about?

My only claim to fame is I was once sacked from a charity shop, for calling Cherie Blair a ‘F*****g greedy cow’. As I told her security at the time how was I to know she’d come to officially open the premises? She looked nothing like the grinning Cheshire cat we see on the telly. I thought she was one of the girls from the pie shop next door come to get her hands on the best stuff before we opened. And for the record, you can’t sack someone from voluntary work.

Alex was a bit put out at the time. He didn’t say as much but I think he was worried my actions would reflect on his business. As if the whole of Throcking Pava would boycott his cafe because the owner’s mother had denied the then PM’s wife a 50p bud vase. Honestly! He worries too much. He takes after his father...

Talking of which, I do miss my husband, William, despite what Roisin thinks she saw. Okay, I admit, Mr Chen*** was in my house naked but everything else is entirely down to her imagination. Except for the wacky baccy. That I do regret. That and a certain course of action taken almost three decades ago.

Still, we came through it all in the end. Well, we had to or the novel would have an unsatisfactory conclusion and we can’t have that in a best-seller can we?


* ‘Roisin’ (pronounced Roe-sheen) has one of those funny accents above the ‘o’ but I don’t know how to find the symbol on here and everyone calls her Raz in the book so I don’t know why Sue’s so insistent I point it out but she's the writer so I have to indulge her.

**Saga isn’t how Sue would describe it. More a romantic comedy...about family loyalties and bonds...and other family stuff. So a saga, really.

***Zsui Chen, holistic practitioner – responsible for flushing my colon once a month.


Please vote!

There're hundreds of 'How To' books on writing out there and I think I've read most, if not all, of them. Obviously, when a writer friend pens one I'm going to buy it - I'm nice like that ;0)But seriously, Wannabe A Writer? by Jane Wenham-Jones is definitely one for the bookshelf whether you're a newbie writer or an experienced one.
To get to my point and yes, this is unashamed begging but I don't care because Jane deserves it - Wannabe a Writer? has been nominated in a little award thingy to do with independent publishers.
Please go to The People's Book Prize website and look in the non-fiction section and vote for it. Pretty please!

And even if you don't want to vote (shame on you!) you can still get more info on Jane's book here.

And there's lots more on her website here