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03/01 Direct Link

Heavens.  Just signed up, and already feeling a slight dizziness from the stranglehold of committment.  To qualify for this batch, I have eight entries to catch up.  Worried.  Have I anything to say? Can I commit to writing every day?  How much is a hundred words?  Will I fill one entry with the word "supercalifraglisticexpialidocious" repeated one hundred times?  Will this exercise bring me a new career? Passion?  Obession?  A rash and some mild sweating? Gone over already. Deleting. This will be interesting.

03/02 Direct Link
At last, an hiatus from work and all things work-related. 

Yesterday I jumped aboard a train that whisked me far, far away from the London mist and smog and noise, and landed me the colder, strange land of Norwich.  Here the food is fresh and wholesome, people are warm and friendly, and occasionally a bit odd in the wholly enjoyable character-out-of-a-storybook sense, and traffic seems a little less hell-bent on flattening me.  All of this a satisfying distance from my cares. And now it has begun to snow.

Ah, le weekend!
03/03 Direct Link
Radishes.  Little crunchy globes of happiness.  Shall I slice you? Small semi-translucent white disks with lipstick pink-red edges.  Bite you whole? Sharp and refreshing, almost an onion, drier than a cucumber, no seeds to interrupt the journey of the tooth through the solid flesh. Slash a cross into its nose, wedge in some butter and snow it with salt? Ah the French do it well, all embracing the sharp, the creamy and the tang! Or diced? Pepper the salad with a bi-colour confetti, like torn rose petals, lending unexpectedly crispiness and delightful texture! Decisions...
03/04 Direct Link
This morning this little white box inspires egotistical awareness of my mortality.  In the event of unexpected death, my spirit self must not blush should these words serve in the tabloids as evidence of my state of mind.  After all, Facebook reveals nothing but my refusal to share every action of every waking moment.  Twitter offers that I recently compared road-hogging, pavement-grabbing cyclists to a man in a woman's thong (for sanity's sake, pick a side).  Though on reflection, I don't mind the latter being my legacy.  You may quote me on that.
03/05 Direct Link
I am playing Beat The Bathtub.

Before relaxing into a hot bath and heading to bed, I realise I still have six days to catch up this batch.  I must now write another hundred words before the tub overfills.

I play a similar game at work, Beat The Bladder:

Challenge:
I have a task I do not love.

Solution:
Drink a few glasses of water.

Result:
As the pressure builds, I launch into the task with renewed urgency.

Aim:
To finish the task before I wet myself

Reward:
I get to sprint to the Ladies.

Losing is never an option.
03/06 Direct Link

True genius is inspiring, minds that understand life's intracasies are sublime, elastic and fascinating.  

But "So what do you do?" and I'm undone. The man smiles, polite and chinless, glasses crooked on his unimpressive nose, behind which lurks a brain as expansive and complex as the sky, ordered as a microfilm library, worth its weight in rhodium. 

My confidence wibbles. I am about to be exposed as a pretender and I briefly consider a "We're not worthy!!" response in the style of Wayne's World.  

03/07 Direct Link
Aw crap, I'm behind! I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind  I'm behind  I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind  I'm behind  I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind  I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind  I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind I'm behind  I'm behind I'm behind I'm... am I at one hundred yet? I'm behind I'm behind I'm...there! Done it!
03/08 Direct Link

Fighting my way to conscious thought through dreamy mists of a painkiller haze.  It shouldn't be like this, I took them hours ago. I'm not a fan or an addict, this isn't my filthy habit or dirty secret. At times I can understand why you might. It's not unpleasant being air-lifted out of the exhaustling, bone-crunching grip of pain, feeling my muscles drop, relaxed and heavy, my brain dormouse quiet as after the deep sleep following a great massage. But it won't clear...must concentrate... 

03/09 Direct Link
I'm scratching my head over an article I'm to write for our divisional newsletter.  It shouldn't be so hard.  It's only a couple of hundred words, I know the subject, I have lots of reference material, and I'm sleeping with the editor.

Technically.  I am the editor.

It's inspiring tale about a remarkable man who for two and half years has poured himself into an immense challenge, extraordinary both in terms of personal achievement and the effect it will have on others.

Like I say, this should not be hard.
03/10 Direct Link
My goodness how deliciously still it is when the power goes! 

The lights are out, subliminal humming stops, the computer screen is dark and everywhere there is peace. 

Presently, a different type of noise starts.  People are talking to each other, actual vocal communication.  They chat, they grumble, they wonder, and in some instances they meet their neighbour for the first time.

"Hi, I'm..."
"Do you know...."
"How do we..."
"Really, I never..."

I sit in the dark, silently revelling in the simple pleasure of community induced by basic inconvenience. 
03/11 Direct Link

If I was a writer, in my ideal studio, what would it be like...

I write and draw simultaneously, one medium inspiring the other, a delicious tumbling of creativity!  The room is cool not cold, music changing intuitively with the mood.  My table and chair are beautifully fashioned in wood and the wall behind me is warm white.  I'm flanked by bookshelves heaving with volumes, magazines and materials.  Fabulous, juicy coloured pictures adorn the walls in front of me.  In the centre is a stone fireplace which fires up in the evening. 

03/12 Direct Link
It's past midnight and the world feels very quiet right now.   

As ever when left to my own devices, I'm awake longer than is sensible, awaiting something exciting to finish baking in the oven.  The room is warmly scented with the combined aromas of Guinness and chocolate.  I'm tired but happy.  Planning dishes and desserts, as I have been all day, delights and calms me, and there is real pleasure in seeing my idle dreams come to life. 

I'm minutes away from a hot bath, then the bliss of sinking into my bed.
03/13 Direct Link
Today I made the most beautiful dessert.  I'll describe it. 

The recipe was Macaroon Marie Antoinette, from Eric Lanlard of Glamour Puds. Originally vanilla, I fancied a berry twist.  The meringue is delicate blush, the sweet paste inside a darker, vivid pink.  Every mouthful is crisp, nut-crumbly and sweet, then yieldingly soft, delivering a full-bodied, mouth-kissing sorbet of strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blackberry and red current, a pleasing rush of flavour to the palette. 

I piled them high, scattered with a verdant feathering of mint, then finished with a tumbling of fresh raspberries.
03/14 Direct Link
So tired.  My eye lids are achingly heavy, my body pleading with me to slither down the pillows and allow it to lie horizontal.  My neck, ever the diplomat, rolls my head back and forth, causing it to loll languidly.

It's been an hour since my friend, having taken the wrong train, ended up in a remote, northern part of town.  Having offered her a bed for the night, I now wait for her arrival.

Imminent.  Imminent. 

Tick.  Tock.

Any moment the doorbell will ring.  Any moment now, and then I can sleep.
03/15 Direct Link

The Gains and Losses of Breaking Up

Gains:
Independence, sleep, a healthier lifestyle, my friends' respect. 

Fabulous.

Losses:
Several unwanted kilos I'd gained with him, expensive weekly tube journeys.  

I didn't even lose him.  We still have a chat, have a fag.  Chew the fat.  Shoot the breeze. 

But his long arm, warming round my shoulders, encircling my waist as we danced down the street, curling around me as we sleep.

I lost his arm, and sometimes it is all I can think about.

03/16 Direct Link

Staccato, high-speed fingernail slap-tapping the keyboard.
Half-sung, half-whispered singing.
Hissed, repetitive, unimaginative swearing at inanimate objects.
Huffing and sighing with exaggerated emphasis.
Virulent negativity.
Refusal to attempt to remember faces or names.
Refusal to attempt to correctly pronounce names.
Sucking large mouthfuls of food up from paper napkin nosebags.
Speaking with an over-full mouth.
Speaking on the phone with an over-full mouth.
Active resistence to seeing fun in life.
Childish smirking at things that just aren't funny.

Please God, either give me a new job or let me punch her. 

03/17 Direct Link
This year I move into the career I've always wanted.  It's been a long journey, and not exactly a straightforward one.  However, I am now writing every day, I'm weaving drawing into my day job (not just doodling either!), and I feel it's getting closer and closer...

My dream job involves concepts, writing and art, around a subject dear to me, that I'm passionate about.  It will be sustainable, not destructive or give false promise to my clientele, but rather nourishment and smiles. I'm ready for it and I can hardly wait to see how it happens!
03/18 Direct Link
How I hate office politics!  I keep hearing that they are just a part of life, learn to deal with it, learn to play the game, but that's like The Rules and relationships.  The more you pander to that crap, the more you encourage it and give it credence - who the heck wants to live in that world?  It is not the way I am, it is not the life I want!  If that means I live in a fantasy world then I'm all for it, and I welcome anyone who wishes to join me there!
03/19 Direct Link
Who discovered that highly heated sand turns into glass?  I often wonder how that happened.  Was a man sitting drinking cocktails on a beach and narrowly missed being struck by lightening?  Did the sand next to him suddenly turn into a perfect window?  If so, what did he see?  Fish?  Australia?  The devil and his minions? 
Seen from above, does the devil have a bald patch? 
I digress.
I like to think that a child's sandcastle was struck, turned to glass and inspired the Emerald City in the "Wizard of Oz".


03/20 Direct Link
Reading "Mudras: yoga in your hands", I am reminded of my grandmother.  Despite her ailments, her faith in the power of healing through pressure points was unshakeable.

"Press here," she would say, demonstrating on her arthritic hands, "you must press here every day, it's good for sinuses.  And here,"  pressing her thumb lower down the palm, "this will help you lose weight, it's the thyroid."

She would sit in the kitchen, glasses perched on her nose, with "Health in your hands" spread open in front of her, patiently, methodically pressing the requisite area to alleviate her maladies.
03/21 Direct Link
I don't think I had realised how much I miss him.  Five and a half intense months we were barely apart.  Four days separation felt like weeks, and reunited we'd run to hold each other hard, adhere together, as though it had been years.
When I was so involved in my work I forgot the time, and suddenly it was dark and late, he would whisk me out, either to dinner, or home to eat pizza and watch bad TV.
My hours are longer now he's gone, if only so as not to feel the space beside me.
03/22 Direct Link
Within two hours, I have cooked up a culinary storm in preparation for the week ahead.  This eliminates the expensive-for-what-it-is lunch concern and the post-work-forage for dinner, and cuts down my spending and haphazard eating patterns.

I now have chunky chicken and vegetable soup, made with home-made stock, herbs and a good deal of smugness, two small highly fragrant melanzane alla parmigianas, and I've defrosted a few sizzle steaks. And made chocolate and Guinness cake for work.

Now if I can just find a way to shoehorn it all into the fridge...
03/23 Direct Link
You know, it's fascinating seeing how others use the 100 word structure.  Some keep a diary, some write stories, some prose...one dude seems to to have chosen to fill the space with as many obscure and convoluted words as possible.  Personally I find reading that gives me a headache but hey if that's what works, more power to him!
This first batch for me has very much been about getting into the habit of writing every day.  On the next batch I'd like to plan and style more, start being the writer I want to be.
03/24 Direct Link
Where did "chick-lit" originate from?

Personally, I can't prevent a mental image of a sun-ray-radiating hatching wearing a big beaky smile flapping into my head when I hear it.

And what is the male equivalent? "Dude-dark"? "Man-shadow"? "Cock-lit"?

That last isn't meant to sound as porny as it does, I'm just keeping up the poultry theme.  Plus it sounds pleasingly like "chocolate".

I have my own name for such books, and it's not so gender-specific: "Digestive biscuits". Because they aren't nourishing, but they do go rather well with a cup of tea.
03/25 Direct Link
Heavens, I've just made lunch for tomorrow, and it's so darn delicious I'm actually fantasizing about it.  Not in a weird way.  However good food is, there are boundaries we do not cross.

I grilled courgette.  I grilled carrot.  I grilled steak.  I mixed lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil together with a fistful of fresh basil and another fistful of fresh thyme.  Tossed it all together. Carefully filleted some pink grapefruit segments to be thrown in when serving.  One tiny taste almost undid me.  Come on, 12.45pm!
03/26 Direct Link
5 tips for decluttering your bedroom:

1. You need: bin bags, charity shop bags, a damp cloth, a dry cloth, a duster, a broom or vacuum cleaner. 

2. Be systematic.  Work shelf to shelf, drawer to drawer, around the room.  This way you'll see results quickly and won't miss bits.

3. Keep drinking water.  You're stirring up a lot of dust and it's dehydrating and de-energising.

4. Put on some bouncy music - make it fun!

5. Be honest.  Do you really need it? Do you really love it?  If not, out it goes.
03/27 Direct Link
Easter's here!  A time for eating chocolate, spring cleaning, and doing DIY.

Also something about Jesus.

I love this time of year!  Much better than Christmas, with its compulsory shopping and decorating, painfully grinning "good will to all" while our overdrafts blush, for one day of gluttony for which we are subjected to commercial guilt throughout January.

Now the sun is out, days are getting longer and there's a feeling of possibility! We're properly in 2013, we got through the first quarter, and there's still masses of time to make things happen.

And there's LOADS of chocolate about!

03/28 Direct Link
Wisdom and inspiration from my desk, an extract from a blog article I read ages ago:

So What Can We Learn From Woody Allen?

- Wake up early
- Avoid distractions
- Work three to five hours a day and then enjoy the rest of the day.
- Be as perfectionist as you can, knowing that imperfection will still rule.
- Have the confidence to be magical and stretch the boundaries of your medium.
- Combine the tools of the medium itself with the message you want to convey.
- Don't get stuck in the same rut - move forward, experiment, but with confidence built up over experience.
03/29 Direct Link
I have a song in my head that I learned to sing at school.  My mother and I used to sing it in the car as we travelled around together.  I still love it.  It is so simple and true, I think everyone should know it:

When you're smiling,
When you're smiling,
The whole world smiles with you.
When you're laughing,
When you're laughing,
The sun comes shining through.
But when you're crying, you bring on the rain,
So stop your sighing, be happy again!
Keep on smiling,
Cos when you're smiling
The whole world smiles with you.
03/30 Direct Link
March is the month I had an article published on the other side of the world for the first time.  It's not paid, it's not lofty, but I wrote it, it's mine and my words are being read by people to whom I have no connection, ie they are not friends, family or work colleagues.  This is enormous progress.

In fact this month, I have probably written more than any other time since it was my profession to do so. 

Part of this of course can be ascribed to joining this website, eight days into a batch.
03/31 Direct Link
Last night I returned to Molly Moggs.  Several months had passed, but as I entered the tiny pub, I felt the crush of warm bodies, heard the cheery notes of the music box, and I was home.

The reigning queen was Julie Paid.  When we arrived, she had been performing for almost four hours, but still looked gorgeous.  Her fire-orange dress flashed and shimmered, her hair was a sexy platinum blonde tumble.  Haughtily she regarded the crowd through thick false eyelashes, immaculate pink lips sneering. Then with a sudden cheeky smile, she began to sing.