Monday, January 23, 2006

Patchwork thoughts

Patchwork thoughts because
(a) quilting is my new hobby and true to form I have gone wholesale for it and spent a lovely two hours today not writing but browsing a remnant and fabric warehouse and then a not so lovely twenty more minutes doing the same. The latter time not so lovely becuase I was over my pay and display time and anxious about those nasty people in flurecent orange and no hearts. You know how in Ireland how you get tax breaks if you are engaged 'in artistic endeavours. Don't you think we should get parking breaks for being creative?
and (b) because I only have itsy bits things to say today:

First talking of taxes. Why is it that if I rent a room to work from, as I do with my office in Chambers, I can tax deduct the cost of the office whether I use it for writing or legal work. However, if I chose (as I did this morning) not to go to the office and write but to go to the Starbucks round the corner and edit the first two chapters of my novel I cannot deduct the skinny blueberry muffin ( note the skinny!) and Zen tea. Is there any logic there? Its a kind of rent for using their comfy chair is it not? It was also a great way to start the day which should have been spent at home writing but had to be spent in court becuase one of my colleagues had a family emergency and needed cover. Another barrister congratulated me on the way in which my brief was carefully placed in a ring binder and tabulated into numbered sections with yellow stickies. I didn't let on that it was in fact the first 28 chapters of my novel which I was still sneakily working on whilst waiting to get called on into court ( don't believe all you see on Judge John Deed - there is a great deal less action -and sex- in most court rooms).

Also for any bloggers reading who don' t subscribe to Mslexia there was a good article about blogs in this issue and you can get it at the authors own blog which is at

And to change the subject - ever go into a huge bookshop really fancying a great new book but have too little time and too much choice and find yourself dithering and not enjoying the experience as much as you should? I had ten minutes in Manchester's Waterstones last week before having to run for a train. ( I would not have had to run if I had not tried to squeeze in 10 minutes in Waterstones but hey, its there, it has a magnetic force, and what is a girl to do?) I decided at random to go three shelves to the right, three shelves down three books in and see what I got. And there I found the book I've just read in one day and had never previously heard tell of : New York Times Bestseller 'Little Children' by Tom Perotta. The blurb decsribes him as an American Chekhov and as an American Nick Hornby - two authors who seem quite far apart on the spectrum to me but that might be becuase I am an ignorant heathen who has never actually read any Chekhov. Anyway , its a simple plot, an easy but enjoyable read... but you can tell it is written by a man.

Is that a controversial thing to say? On the face of it is a novel about relationships, about the effect of a summer affair, about the moving into the neighbourhod of a child sex offender. It's just that everything seems to come down to sex and very little of the sex has any great emotional content. Not that it is gratuitously explicit - the most overt scenes ( one, very funny and involving a thong and Slutty Kay from a website but I'm not revealing more) are part of the plot and not undult graphic at all but its a matter of tone - hard to put into words but I feel that a woman would be softer, more anayltical about the reasons and the relationships whereas the scenes here are matter of fact, more focused on the action of the narative with side comments on the relationships.

Anyway the rule of three worked for me. I have to say I tried it again with the number four but got some weird sci-fi novel in translation from Japanese so perhaps there is no magic in the system but it did remind me to pick somthing up at random everynow and again to give it a try.

1 comment:

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