I was taught a valuable life lesson by a cat this week.
(Now that's the sort of opening line you don't get to write very often.)
In a shock move, I was in my local pub, trying to think through a problem with the teaching I was working on.
And the answer Was Not Coming. Not At All. Not In The Slightest.
So I started getting distracted. And looking through a newspaper, and at my phone, when a cat hopped up onto the bar.
And before you even think it, dear reader - because I know you - no, the lesson wasn't to start licking my paws, or any other part of my anatomy.Read more
Twice this week I've heard the dreaded words - "That was really good."
Why dreaded? When it sounds like praise?
Because my mind always thinks -
If it was only good... then it wasn't good enough.
Admittedly, one occasion was talking to myself, when thinking about some of my teaching for the excellent Swanwick Writers' Summer School next month.
The other came in feedback from an inspiration and careers event I did at Huish Episcopi Academy in Somerset.
Characters are such a big part of writing and life - friends and lovers, enemies too.
But I was thinking this week how even the inhuman can have character.
I spent Friday morning at Huish Episcopi Academy in Somerset, doing an inspiration and aspiration talk, and teaching writing -
As the expressions show, it was a great day. And here's a large part of why -
When I got to the Academy, there was a car parking space for me outside reception. And a teacher waiting to greet me, along with the Deputy Head.
(even computers can be unexpected characters and have mad wobblies - as per the unfinished blog above - so here's the rest...)
... and I was taken to the coffee shop, and given tea and a white chocolate cookie (they sure know the way to a writer's heart.)
Then escorted to the hall, to meet the IT supremo, who had my presentation all loaded up, and a clip on microphone ready to go.
And the young people were all smartly dressed, and smiling, and well behaved.
Which then translated into me grinning along and having a splendid time.
You can contrast that with some schools I've visited, where no one is waiting for you, and no one knows you're coming, and nothing's been prepared for you, and how differently such events go...
Even organisations have a character. And it comes from the top.Read more
Don't think me being overly smarmy, but I have this image in mind of you lovely people who fritter away a few minutes reading my blog -
Thoughtful, smart, seen a bit of life, know something about the world, kind, generous, warm, witty, all that stuff, and certainly...
You're likeminded souls who love reading and writing.
With that in mind, here's a challenge.
I was lucky enough to give a talk at Salcombe Library in South Devon this week, and had a splendid time. Not least because of the view -
How about that? If you can mentally edit out the gawky looking guy in the middle, the library is on the hill, above the town, overlooking the estuary, and it's simply stunning.Read more