Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 / 2013: Taking Stock

Given the date, it seems only appropriate that today’s post looks back over the last 12 months and forward over the next 12. Not only is it about to switch from 2012 to 2013, but I am celebrating 31 years on the planet.

WordPress tells me that 600 people have summited Everest this year, and if everyone who achieved that were to read my blog, it would take Everest 19 years to catch up. Which makes me think two things, first 600 people have been to the top of Everest this year? That’s almost two a day, since when was it so achievable? And secondly, it’s a bit depressing to think that my blog has only had 19 times as many views as the highest place on earth – probably in fact, fewer people have seen Elmowrites than the summit of Everest, since most of my visitors come back multiple times. Sigh.


But I’ve been reading about teaching children resilience, and the first lesson is to practise it yourself. So, woohoo, 19 times as many views for my little 1-year-old blog, versus just 600 for a mountain as old as the hills. Take that, Everest!

So, seriously, 2012. In my mind, this has been a year of great change. I’ve from Employed to Kept; Wife to Wife and Mother; Tenant to Homeowner; Wannabe Author to Published Wannabe Author. I wonder, if we were DINKy (Dual Income No Kids) before , are we OIKs (One Income, Kid) now? Basically, over the past year, I’ve switched into a whole new life-stage and become well and truly a Grown Up. I have accidentally embraced this song right on cue and I’m pretty happy about it.

Who knows what 2013 will hold? Hopefully a bit of stability, lots of family time and, of course, as much writing as I can fit in. I’d like to work on more publication, which means a year of writing, editing and submitting. This time next year, Rodney, we’ll be millionaires!



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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Friday Fictioneers – 708 Fulton

Another story for the Fictioneers, thanks to Rochelle’s prompt. I’ll keep this quick; I hear Sebastian stirring!


708 Fulton

He was staring so hard, he thought the glass might crack. It was there, just like yesterday, just like every day since he’d started coming to this cafe: a stained glass window depicting sunshine and a steaming mug of the black stuff.

But today, there were words: 708 Fulton. An address, perhaps? Or an army squadron? An old-fashioned English telephone number? He couldn’t escape the feeling that it was put there for him to see.

He sipped at his coffee and stared. Then an idea formed in his head. He put down the mug and walked out into the sunshine.


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Inspiration Monday – True Myth

Another Thursday, another post for InMon. Of this week’s prompts, the phrase “true myth” jumped out at me. There are a lot of true myths around at this time of year – not least the idea that Christmas is the most important festival of the year (if you’re Christian, you know that’s Easter, and if you’re not, you are celebrating something that isn’t a holyday [sic] for you at all! And yet, it the Western world, the propagators of the myth have made it true.) Of course, a true myth could mean something that truly is a myth and as such would need to fit the dictionary definition. For example:

a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.

In that case, most of the things we associate with Christmas aren’t true myths at all. Except, of course, the Christmas Story itself.

But, all that postulating aside, my story in response to the prompt is far less highbrow, and is the opening to a Bridget Jones-esque romance novel I will probably never write. I’d love to hear what you think.

True Myth

It’s a myth universally acknowledged that a single woman of a certain age must be in want of a husband. Or a wife, I suppose. Unless she has a houseful of cats, in which case she is probably happy just the way she is. Do cats make one happy, I wonder, or does a girl only fill the house with cats when she has already ruled out the possibility of happiness?

It’s clearly a myth. I know at least one woman who has neither cats nor life partner, and appears not to be desirous of either. Amy doesn’t just claim to be content, the way we single women do when our married friends flaunt their gorgeous, rich husbands in our faces, and subject us to their two-point-four perfect children. I’ve got that act down to a fine art: I can coo over a baby without the slightest hint of envy audible in my voice, and I genuinely don’t feel jealous when those perfect children are screaming, vomiting or tearing down shelves full of expensive crockery in Debenhams. But Amy really genuinely doesn’t seem to want all that. She’s a wildly-successful career woman, she has a one-week stand occasionally with some cute guy she finds in a bar, and then she goes home to her expensive flat in the Docklands, and is happy.

Single girls can tell. Sure, our married friends probably think we are all Amys, but we know better. I know for a fact that Sarah would have married Peter Proctor if he’d only asked her, even if it meant living out in Oman and wearing the hijab for the rest of her life; and I know that Josie is still hoping to turn up Mr Right among the other hunt protesters, regardless of their dodgy facial hair and obsession with injuring horses in the name of animal rights.

And they know about me. Because, for all that it’s a myth, where I’m concerned, the problem is it’s true.


Filed under Inspiration Monday, Writing

An Honour and An Admission

Last week, I was included in a list of “Most Influential Blogs of 2012” by SilentlyHeardOnce, so I want to start by saying thank you to her for this great honour.

The “rules” of the honour are that you must pay it forward, listing the blogs that are most influential to you, but here’s my problem, and the Admission I mentioned in the title. Whisper it … I don’t read many blogs. In fact, the only blogs I read are my fellow writers for InMon and the Friday Fictioneers. So the most influential blogs on me are our great leaders:


Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

and until recently, Madison Woods

These groups bring together writers and provide us with inspiration and community each week. So our leaders have the most influence on me as a blogger. But I don’t read blogs that influence me as a person – political commentary, or tips on how to [insert ambition here] etc.

I see them a bit like Twitter – too high noise to value ratio, and I’m just not willing to commit my time to that. So, I use blogs to supply some of my fiction reading, a few musings on writing from writers who interest me, and not a lot else. Which is pretty much what my own blog is made up of too.

I’m glad so many of you take the time to read it, and thanks again for the honour of your company.

Merry Christmas!

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Inspiration Monday – Drifting

One of the things everyone notices when they stop going to school or work regularly is that the days of the week start to blur. There are no external clues any more as to what day it is, and I find I can sit here pondering the question for a completely unreasonable length of time. In some ways, of course, it doesn’t matter. But it matters to the rest of the world – if I put the bins out on a Friday, they won’t be collected, and if I’d turned up to the doctor’s yesterday, they would have sent me away. Which is why I try to keep my blog posts on a schedule, to at least have some markers on the week. But that requires me to know what day it is. Today, I think, it’s Thursday. So here’s the latest InMon story, with thanks to BeKindRewrite for the prompt. As ever, I’d love to hear your feedback.


I am the invisible woman.

Joel drifts through life, oblivious. His dinner is always on the table, his shoes clean, his bins empty. He probably thinks we have a maid service to keep everything clean and tidy. Or maybe he thinks the boys are actually elves. More like imps, of course. They wouldn’t know one end of a broom from the other.

They sail along with every little whim catered to, just like their father. “Mum, I need a costume for the party tonight!” “It’s in your closet, Ben.” “Mum, I have to take homemade cakes for the sale tomorrow!” “Just cooling on the rack, Andrew.”

The perfect housewife, the perfect mother.

I know the drill, my own mother trained me in it. Of course, the perfect mother doesn’t pander to her daughters for fear of spoiling them, so I’ve been making way for men my whole life. I wish I’d had girls.

But tonight when they get home, their little ships are going to drift into the rocks. Tonight, their lighthouse will have gone out. Because tonight the keeper has a date. Not with another man, I’ve had enough of those for a lifetime. And not with a woman, I can’t quite get my head around that possibility. I suppose I’m old-fashioned, but you can’t change everything at once.

I’ll be back. I can’t leave them forever, especially when the fault is mine – I should never have let them take advantage of me. But for the next few weeks, I’m going to do my own sort of drifting.

I’ve left a note: it felt like I was writing a suicide letter. But I’m not going to die, I’m going to come alive.




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Converging to Diversity

The English language gets a bad rap. It’s hard to learn, the “rules” are inconsistent and frequently broken, it’s got so many irregular verbs that the regular verbs are living in a small enclave and battening down the hatches to avoid the onslaught, and that’s before we even get started on the idiom.

But there are rules. And the English language would be grateful if people didn’t wantonly break them! 😉

For example, when I was at school, we learnt a nice simple rule about Different and Similar. They are opposites, and so are the words you can pair with them: from and to. A is different from B and similar to C. Easy.

And yet, even the BBC has been saying “different to” for decades and now the North Americans have introduced “different than”. Than? Than?! It’s not even in the same spectrum as from and to!

Difference is diverging, hence you use from – things are separate FROM each other. Similarity is converging, hence the use of to – things are coming TOwards each other.

If I could enforce one grammar rule, it … actually, it wouldn’t be this one at all, but this one is easy, so it’s a decent place to start my rants about grammar rules. Just wait till I get onto the subject of “due to”!


Filed under British Expat in Canada, Writing

Friday Fictioneers – Watching the World

It’s Friday again (how does that keep happening? Any minute, it’ll be Christmas!) and time for another piece of fiction. A little snippet for you this week, with two characters I feel I would like to work with. The photo is from Doug MacIlroy, the other responses can be found on Rochelle’s website. Do pay both of them a visit – you won’t be disappointed.


Watching the World

Grandpa was always making things. That morning, I arrived to find a papier-mache ball drying in a bucket.

“What’s that? The world in a bucket?”

“You know I can’t tell you,” he smiled, “Or I’d have to kill you!”

I checked facebook while I watched him work. Lois messaged me: “Whatcha doin?”

Mom said Grandpa was “two cakes short of a picnic,” and in town, they called him “Crazy Doug”. I couldn’t tell Lois where I was or how much I enjoyed being there. Instead I looked at the globe wrapped in chicken wire and replied, “Just watching the world.”


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Inspiration Monday – Imaginary Research

Those who pop by every other Thursday for submission suggestions might be disappointed to see another InMon post. Eventually, I’ll get back into the swing of things but at the moment, I seem to have more brain power for writing than researching, and since my blog is the only place I’m writing at the moment, I enjoy the extra chance to exercise creativity. I hope you’ll bear with me for a while longer

Talking of research…

Too Clever For His Own Good

“What does Santa have for dinner?” asked Joshua, pushing his peas around the plate in attempt to make them disappear.

“Peas,” said his father, unable to hide his frustration. “And so should you.”

“How do you know?”

Ian sighed. He should have known better than to put one over on his son. At six years old, Joshua already had his mother’s sharp eye for when he was being fobbed off.

“Dad’s hotline,” he tried.

There was a hint of an eye roll from Joshua. “I’m going to ask him in my letter. I bet he has nice things, like ice cream and turkish delight and sausages.”

“All on one plate?”

It was more pronounced this time. “Not all on one plate!” For a second Ian thought he was going to get angry; then the boy caught his eye and giggled. “Although… he is magical, so maybe he would have them all together and magically make it taste good!”

Ian felt the laughter run across his heart and found himself joining in. “Well, be that as it may, my research clearly indicates that Santa eats peas. And Rudolph – carrots too.”

Joshua picked up a forkful of peas. It approached his mouth, but came to a halt between his open lips. Joshua laid the fork back on his plate and ran to the kitchen. He returned with a clean plate and two carrots. He quickly shovelled the peas onto the plate.

“What are you doing, Josh?”

“We’ll leave these for Santa tonight. Instead of sherry and mince pies.”




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Back in July, my fellow blogger, Emma, kindly nominated me in a post about blogging awards. You can see her post, and the rest of her blog here:

Somehow, I missed her post back in July, but I’m delighted by it now: thanks, Emma!

The various awards Emma recieved have different requirements. I’ve posted some unknown facts about me before, so instead I’ll answer the questions she poses (and answers) in her post.

Favourite Colour:

I love turquoise and pretty much any shade of green, but the official answer is purple. A nice, dark, royal purple. Like one of the two colours of our wedding theme.

Favourite Animal:

I’ve always had an affiinity for cats. In fact, I used to think I was one. Now I have two favourite animals – my cats, Max and Pepsi.

Favourite Number:

Easy. 11

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink:

hmm… tough call, but probably fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Facebook or Twitter:

Another easy one. I really really don’t like twitter. Facebook’s main downside is how many times people post spoilers for the Grand Prix results!

My Passion:

I don’t do passions. I love many many things, but I’m not really passionate about things in that sense.

Favourite pattern:

pattern? pattern? How does one have a favourite pattern?

Favourite day of the week:

I quite like Tuesdays, for no particular reason, they just sound nice.

Favourite Flower:

I can’t put it any better than Emma:

“Gerberas, they look so happy!”

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