Flying update

As this is a blog, I feel I ought to report what’s happening with me, at least once in a while. I’m trying to make progress with a novel I started on more than a year ago. As part of this, I’m taking another workshop course at City Lit. It’s the highlight of my week and I’m getting great feedback, encouragement, and discovering that there is so much more I need to do. I know it’s often said that you shouldn’t workshop something till the entire first draft is finished but I am worried about the foundations I’m laying with the first few chapters and I don’t want to “go off half-cocked.” A friend from my local informal workshop said about my work-in-progress, “I think this one has legs.” That’s why I chose to press ahead and try to complete it and why I’m doing all I can to do so. It’s fascinating to see how others are getting on with their writing and I learn something new every day, in the process of giving and receiving feedback. The course is called “Advanced fiction writing workshop” and our tutor this time is novelist Mary Flanagan, whose comments and notes are both charming and insightful.

Thanks NHS, 10 years younger & faff-less writing

I’m very grateful to Dr El-Husseiny and all the team at Charing Cross Urology department for giving me back the ten years younger that I feel. To the jolly Caribbean night nurse, you are gold, cheering-up the ward of men with tubes where no tube should be.

And I hope the worried Londoner who talked to me by name, is okay. He was so worried and I said I was the same before but I could have said more as I left. Others too. It’s a world apart. We were there for prostate reduction operations. There was a man older than the rest who was fairly quiet and another young guy who was shouting and moaning but he had other complications, probably a different operation, I think.

That was some months ago now. It’s been fascinating, becoming “ten years younger.” Once I’d recovered from the operation and started feeling like this, I thought it’s like having part of a life to live over. What I didn’t do for the past ten years and should have, I now must, or will it just be the same again?

So I’m doing some work on a writing project, instead of faffing around, noodling, doodling. But it’s tricky, this “being serious” malarkey. There’s a danger that my, though I say so, light & breezy text is at peril of becoming dull by having to make sense. But I hope if I rebuild on better foundations, which I am doing now, that normal service will be resumed, and light breezes shall blow again. I don’t know if this is of interest to anyone other than me but no matter!

My most-played Spotify tracks of 2019

My Year in Books, 2019 (via Goodreads)

Election 2019 – Evict Johnson from No. 10

This is my position exactly. I can’t wait to see that horrible Boris Johnson & his mob slink out of Downing Street before Christmas. If Johnson wins, will life in Britain even be worth living? It’s not clear.

Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 11

Yes, I put together this collection of short stories. If you like it tell your friends. If you don't like it, tell your enemies.
Unboxing

If you read the book, a review on Amazon or elsewhere would be very welcome, no matter whether positive, negative or mixed.

Available from: WaterstonesPowells, Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk, Book Depository & other online booksellers.

Book Depository, which is also owned by Amazon, offers this with “free delivery worldwide.” Sounds a bit too good to be true, no? If you successfully order from a research station in the Antarctic or the heart of Amazonia, I’d love to hear about it.

To order from a local bookshop, quote publisher Willesden Herald, ISBN 9780999527764, which they can find in their Ingram catalogue and order for you.

If you want to avoid buying from Amazon, and don’t want to buy from Powells or Waterstones or order from your local bookshop, I have a small stash of copies, which you’re welcome to have at cost. If that appeals, contact me to by email to arrange.

Yam, sweet potato, cassava, bitter melon

Clockwise from top left: piece of a large yam, two sweet potato, two cassava*, one large bitter melon. The skin of the cassava is slippery like a soapy sort of candle wax is coming through it from the inside. Bitter melon lives up to its name; one way to use it is in stir fry with beaten egg, garlic, onion and tomato – if you dare.

* Warning: Cassava is poisonous if not prepared properly. It contains a form of cyanide, which can lead to various disorders, paralysis and death. On no account should it be eaten raw. Ref. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava#Potential_toxicity