I bloody love Dirty Dancing. I think it’s an amazing film. I had a crush on both Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze as a teenager. Katy Brand writes in her book how the film has impacted her life and I didn’t expect much from this book, I just love connecting with other people’s love for something that I also love. Katy shares my name (obv.) and lived locally to me, so I connected with that. The cultural references, like VHS struggles, I identified with all of that. The essays that Katy writes on Dirty Dancing are fascinating, going into depth on the – for example abortion storyline in the film and so it was fun but serious too. It isn’t fluff. Not that there is anything wrong with fluff. It felt like a satisfying read, you know sometimes you get to the end of a book and you’re almost like oh is that … it? Like a roast dinner with no Yorkshire’s, it doesn’t feel right. I felt I Carried a Watermelon covered everything. I loved it. In fact, I think I may just pop a hardback copy into my basket now. Ooh Lord, and now I am being shown frequently brought with products. A shirt, Dirty Dancing DVD, a mug …
Thank you HQ for gifting me with an ARC copy of this book
Often the most difficult thing about writing is, well, doing the writing bit. I can dream for days about all kinds of scenarios and characters and lines that I type into a Word document or the drafts of my phone. Then inevitably forgetting about them. This is why writers can have an awful lot of WIPs!
(works in progress)
So how does one begin with the business of writing? Here are some tips.
1. Get comfortable. I get a lot of writers don’t have the luxury of time to write, so whether it’s on the train and you need to put headphones in to zone out the noise around you and get some words on paper while commuting, or in the early hours of the morning, while your partner snores from the bedroom, and you need to wrap a blanket around you because it’s a bit chilly, do it!
2. Writing materials are important too. I don’t know about you, but I loved my smelly glitter pens and stickers as a child. There’s no need to use an old Biro when you have highlighters, fine liners, and fountain pens at your disposal.
3. Drink of choice. Water, squash, or Cola. Whatever. Writing is thirsty work. Enough said.
4. Don’t stop. I mean, obviously if you’re getting cramp in your wrist, or your eyes are aching, take a couple of minutes to stretch/blink, but don’t go and find a distraction. Many times I have gotten up from writing to walk into the kitchen, get a yogurt from the fridge, eat it, put the spoon in the sink, decide I need to do the washing up, then load the washing machine and put that on, and then pick up my phone, get distracted, and start scrolling.
These are my 4 quick tips to beginning that story, or novel, or poem. Let me know in the comments what your tips are for starting out.
I don’t know about you, but I am aiming to get more of my writing published this year. This blog is a (short!) list of literary journals/publications that are accepting writing & art at the moment. Don’t forget to read the guidelines on their website, they can vary from publication to publication!
Loneliness comes in various guises. Sometimes you want to connect, to talk with somebody. Desperately wanting to know someone is willing to talk with you. Sometimes it’s that ache of needing to be hugged, because it’s been so long. Other times it’s just wanting a laugh and forgetting you live half of your life inside your own head. It’s knowing you don’t have a friend to tag in giveaways on Twitter, won’t need an extra seat, and second guessing every damn decision you make.
I remember feeling the loss when I was rejected by friends as a seven-year-old. Friends that thought I was a little bit strange, intense, overzealous. For me it is ingrained now, loneliness. I find my own solutions, sometimes through poetry, and other times good old Google helps me out.
Does technology make us more or less likely to be lonely? I don’t know.
It is different for everybody. I didn’t grow up with technology the likes we have now. I remember tapes and VHS and floppy discs and the house phone. When I begin to use the internet in my late teens I found community and people that I could engage with. It’s incredibly easy to talk to people online when you aren’t so used to it offline. Which is where I have to say it’s about balance. If life offline is OK then it’s much easier to regulate what you are doing online. You won’t be vulnerable to coming into contact with that disease called scroll and compare.