Posted in Books, Education, Writing

Currently Reading – August 2018

I’m slowly trying to work my way through the reading list for my MA course. I’ve never been a fast reader – unless I’m completely absorbed by what I’m reading (see Harry Potter) so when it comes to reading technical books or deep literature then it’s going to be a bit of a slog.

Pictured above is two of my newest additions to my rampant collection. The Self-Editing for Fiction Writers book, by Brown and King, I already know will be an invaluable resource so I’m trying to take notes and read it carefully enough to get as much out of it as possible (and so I don’t struggle to reread it before assessments). It was highly recommended by someone on our course and I promptly picked up a copy on amazon, reasonably cheaply.

The second book Searches and Seizures by Stanley Elkin was a bit of a challenge to locate a copy of! I managed to find an old second-hand copy on amazon again but it was sent from Better World Books in Mishawaka, Indiana! The book has travelled further than me. Also, I’m certain I ordered another book off them before. Alas, this book was recommended through another book on my reading list: Reading like a writer by Francine Prose. The Elkin book is three novellas, but the Making of Ashenden is the one Prose suggested to read… about a man who falls in love with a bear. Odd, but interesting. I’ve only glanced at the first page but Elkin has a unique style of writing and description.

I finished reading Brief Cases by Jim Butcher, the newest collection of short stories from the Dresden Files world. It’s helped a little to ease the pain from waiting so long for Peace Talks to come out, but I understand the author has had major personal happenings in the last few years, so I won’t add to the complaints. I’m likely to do a more in depth review of Brief Cases, as I want to start doing for more books I read – simply because I have a terrible memory after I’ve read something, reviews would be a good way to keep track. The short version is Brief Cases was amazing – especially the original novella Zoo Day – brought Maggie into much sharper focus, not just as a character (finally) but what may come of her in the future.

I’m still reading On Writing by A.L. Kennedy from the reading list last year. It’s a very interesting insight into one of Scotland’s cult (?) writers. I like how she describes her own process as lasting years but a constant slog, even while travelling and ill. Most of the book is blog posts lifted straight from her site, so I enjoy just reading a post or two at a time, hence why it’s taking me so long to get through it.

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White must be top-of-the-list for all writing students whether English Lit, Composition, or Creative Writing, like me. But it really ought to be top-of-the-list for everyone who ever uses English. Ever. It’s a short volume, but concise and definitely something I’ll refer back to time and again.

Other than these, I’ve been working through my new Italian books for my course starting mid-September. They are A1 beginners books and while I do already know all of this stuff, it doesn’t hurt to revise the basics. Language learning is more of a wander than rushing straight to the final destination. Plus, it’s been 3 years since I did my C1 classes in Spain -_-

e x

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Posted in Musings

Freezing

So it’s almost the end of August but Scotland hasn’t realised that it’s technically still summer… Back to the ice age for us, sadly.

I’m sitting here trying to do work and read but keep getting distracted by recipes and studyspo on Pinterest. Alas, there’s always tomorrow.

Did I mention I’m cold? I’m wearing my Harry Potter pj set (jumper and long trousers) and my little bear slippers because it’s so damn cold. It’s probably a sign to turn in for the night. I’m hoping tomorrow will be a bit more productive – the most I did today was get coffee and my eyebrows done. Small self-care steps matter. Booked a hair appointment for next week on my day off because it needs cut and my hairdresser is moving 😩.

I’m impatient and excited for September, so much good new stuff will start!

e x

Posted in Writing

A Zombie Tale

A freewriting exercise to try get my creative juices flowing again. I’ve been terribly blocked lately. This could become more, or not. Enjoy.

There is no time to think. Only react. I jump as the zombie face screams bloodily into the screen. I am the character, I am the screen. I shudder with a cathartic sigh, rippling the bathwater as I reach for another sip of my wine. I am safe. It’s Friday night and I’m lying in my bathtub safe at home, sipping wine and watching whatever zombie flick prime recommended to me on my laptop – a safe distance from the water but at the perfect forty-five-degree angle so I can half submerge my head in water and never lose sight of the gore.

This is the life.

The program ends, and I let the auto-play do its thing. I use these few seconds to contemplate my life, but never long enough to act on anything. This is my happy existence.

I hear a crash outside. I startle but only because I’m on edge already. I have a love-hate thing with zombies. My heart pounds in my chest. I stand up in the bath and wrap my towel around me. A shiver runs up my spine. There’s a weird part of me that loves the electric feeling only fear can give you.

I step out of the bath and hear glass shattering. Or, maybe it was just the water. A little alarm bell starts to ring in the back of my head. I swallow the sudden taste of metal in my mouth and pull the plug out. I can’t move. I stand still, willing another sound to happen, so I can react but hoping to hear nothing… but what if…?

The door rattles in its hinges as something forces its weight against it.

My scream is silent, I bite my hand instead.

The door rattles again, but there is no other sound. Am I being paranoid? Is my flatmate home early, drunk and needing to pee?

‘Hannah?’ I call out.

Silence. And then groaning – wailing. A desperate cry for something.

My hands are shaking. I’m freezing. I have no clothes to wear. I have no way to see what is on the other side of the door. Maybe she’s playing the mother of all tricks on me? My mouth is dry, and I have nothing else to do but stand here. Waiting.

The door rattles again and a fist comes through the door – searching, grabbing. It’s a real arm, with skin, covered in blood, not makeup. The arm pulls back through the door peeling back most of the skin, leaving it in the arm-shaped hole in the door.

There is no time to think. Only react. I jump as the zombie face screams bloodily into my face.

(c) 2018 Evallone