Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's Resolution Time!

This year I'll try and finally learn to play the double bass to some useful level of skill, plus some worthy stuff. (Worthy stuff always leads to trouble I find, but it's interesting.)

Last day of the year!

Oooh hooray, the gloom has lifted. Just in time for the New Year.
New Decade technically starts 2011, doesn't it? Yes. New Year is good enough, anyway.
Apologies to anyone I've insulted in the last few days and haven't apologised to yet.

I went to the Tate Modern yesterday just to get out of the house, and to get some writing done. There were children rolling about and a number of strangers sharing my table - it seemed like every time I looked up there was someone else sitting with me. Some of them were glowing with art experience and tea appreciation, some looked very annoyed about having to share a table. The presence of noisy children actually helped since I was writing the showdown of an adventurous children's book. I think I've pretty much written it now, I imagined the illustrations and it looks right in my head.
On my way back I had a strange argument at a checkout - I tried to refuse a plastic bag to carry a bag of crisps in. "I can carry it in my hand, that's what hands are for, that sort of thing anyway," I said. "But it's cold out there," said the checkout man cryptically, bagging up my bag of crisps. "Never mind, I'll take the train," I replied unbagging it and wondering what I meant by that. Anyway, success. No bag.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Hamsters

Am still fine-tuning and re-colouring hamsters.

This book should be finished soon.

Brrr, I am finding it really hard to wake up - it's been raining and raining and there's not enough sunlight to get me going. I refuse to buy a sunlight lamp, surely the rain will stop eventually...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Glow in the dark coffee

Oof. Winter depression is getting me down. It's not constant and mostly just needs a cup of coffee to chase it away. Good thing I got this espresso cup for Christmas, with hand-painted cats on it that glow in the dark. With that, I can face any sort of gloom.

I do get depressed, you know. People sometimes send me lovely emails saying that I'm cheering them up, and that is what I am aiming to do (with my books, I mean). They often assume I'm a thoroughly happy person, which I am not. I'm not secretly sad, neither. I sometimes feel like an archaeologist looking for happy bits of life to put into books. In summer, it's more like harvesting them. In Winter, I need to de-frost my world with hot drinks first.

Right now it is thoroughly defrosted, and I am working on a picture book which is starting to look really nice - I coloured in some pink-and-orange pages, hmmm, I'm always pleased if I can find a reason to do that in a story.

(By the way, that lovely cat-box is what the cup and saucer came in, decorated by Matthew.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why, actually?

You know what has been puzzling me for ten years now?
Why does every single person I meet ask me what part of Germany I grew up in? It's definitely not just polite interest, because if I am at all vague about it they won't stop asking. They really must know, even if they are invariably disappointed because they never heard of the place. And that would still be not odd if it weren't every single person wanting to know it exactly. They must it know more than they must know my job, my interests, anything else at all about me. There is an air of great importance about it every time, and they look me straight in the eye and speak slowly and seriously. Where the heck am I from, exactly? - There must be something odd about me not feeling the need to know the same about anyone else (although I've started asking, just in case it's a secret password against the zombie invasion).
I don't mind at all, I just sometimes wonder what it's all about.

(Update: All right, so the name of the town I grew up in sounds vaguely rude in English, and after ten years of not living there I feel I should be excused of saying it out loud at social gatherings. And yes, that's really the reason I am fussing about it. I admit it. The "I don't mind at all" bit is a lie. I'm just inserting this here because I just noticed this post makes me seem completely neurotic.)

The thing I'd REALLY like to know is, why do we recycle glass jars instead of reusing them? How hard would it be to make them a standard size, then collect them after use, clean and re-fill them instead of smashing them and making new jars? We could have industry standard sizes, why not?

And, which I'm wondering about things- why are toilets such a bad design? Why do we wee into litres of drinking water several times a day and then throw it away?

Why is the world so very strange?

You can maybe tell that I'm spending this evening not being at a dinner party, and feeling kind of relieved about that.

But honestly... why?

(Update, after being told by a number of friends over email and phone and directly: people ask where people are from because they are interested in the country, not just in me. Um. Okay. Yes. Sorry. Thanks. True.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


You probably don't know this, but kites are one of my actual interests (there are a few, but you might miss them because of all the other things I get temporarily excited about, like knitting or chutney-making or complaining about movies).
My parents (who do know this) gave me a wonderful book on kites for Christmas, and I spent most of the evening looking at pictures of a cicada kite - my favourite kind of kite. I wish I could spend some time sitting in the workshop of a kite building master watching these being made. - Here are some decorated by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, I saw one of them in an exhibition years ago. They are amazing objects, perfectly rigged like tiny ships and designed to sing in the wind.

Otherwise, Christmas in running out, and I am happy.

We stripped the goose and had leftovers, which as always were twice as tasty as the meal. The bones are bubbling in a casserole for goose soup, and in a while I'll decide what to do with my share of goose fat. This particular one yielded more than I've ever seen. At least three litres. We haven't even rendered half of it yet. I think I'll make some apricot and onion spread, and save a jar for cooking, and freeze the rest for next autumn. It's a serious animal to cook, a goose, definitely feeds a lot of people for a long time. I'm not expecting any appetite for meat for January.

I'm warm, because I'm completely covered in knitwear that nice people have made and given me for Christmas. Last year I got elegant little pretty things, this year slightly tribal warm things. I approve. Now I shall drink some wine and do some writing... I'm re-working parts of my graphic novel script, which is slightly unprofessional because I already handed in a second draft, but I am feeling inspired. I told Alexis what I'd written so far and he had some ideas for changes, several of them things I'd already considered myself, so I'm making them now because if we both thought of them they probably are for the better.

Presents... (and boring Star Trek)

I got BRILLIANT presents this year. A hand-knitted jumper and a skirt from my mother, a book on kites, a facsimile edition of Edward Lear's Parrots, a mask that Alexis brought back from his Galapagos trip, a strange and wonderful hat, a jar of artichokes, lovely crockery, money for treats and commemorative paper-cut out and dress-up dolls of the Obama family.

And more things.

I have no idea if I cooked the goose right because my sense of smell failed completely. But people said it was tasty.
Also I watched that Star Trek movie at last, with Christmas guests, and sorry guys but - no. What was the exact title again, "Star Trek - The Time Traveller's Captain"? If I see ONE MORE STORY where any character's motivation is someone coming back from the future telling them "you don't want to miss ONE MINUTE of what you will experience together, so get lovin' them NOW" I will, well, stop watching right there and then and do something more entertaining like, I don't know, dust the shelves.
We watched an original episode afterwards and everyone went "Aaaaah... oh yes, that was really GOOD, wasn't it". Yeah, you know, IT WAS. And because I'm not "The Time Traveller's Audience" it's not enough to tell me "these guys are going to turn into people you know and love" to make me want to watch them pointlessly faff about for a whole movie. Especially when it transpires halfway through that it's all set in an alternative reality. - I just hoped William Shatner would pop through from the future, too, take one look around, say "This must be one of these bad parallel universes where Spock has a beard" and collapsed the whole movie.

But otherwise, wheeee, brilliant Christams! Hope you all had a great time, too!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I went to watch "Avatar" last night and since I expected the plot to be completely pointless, I was happy when it was actually reasonably fun. - We spent some time discussing it straight after, and I proposed a short story version which cuts the main character - if you think about it, Sigourney Weaver's scientist could have saved the day by herself doing pretty much just what she was doing anyway.
Otherwise, we agreed the creatures were fun but could have been much more exciting and thought-through, it was a little bit like taking an earth creature and running it through a process that added two legs, two eyes and a USB plug, and then asking yourself: could this be more bio-luminescent? Could this be more sub-aquatic? - instead of actually trying to evolve a credible eco-system from common ancestors built from scratch to suit the environment. - (Could have been worse, could have been Elephants on Wheels.)
And we also agreed that the leading lady was lovely, and that the top predator beastie was in no way as good as a Sandworm and should have been more awesome. Generally, more awesomeness to the hero of legend, or else hand it over to Sigourney, was my impression.
But fun, despite watching an evening of, well, um, kind of this. (Actually, that does look like a good day out...)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Deal

Here's a scratch performance of a song I wrote the words for at the Battersea Arts Center - Music and Pictures by Matthew Robins, puppeteered by Tim Spooner. I haven't got all the musicians' names right now... anyway, just listen to this!

Update: Here are the lyrics for you.

The devil came round to my fathers house
had a cup of tea and joked with my mum
had a look at the garden and played with the cat
then he asked - can I see the little one?
I heard she’s been crying and we can’t have that.

the devil gave me a chocolate rose
and said this one’s for free
and as I ate it he said young madam,
I have something to propose
would you do a deal with me?

sure I said
why not I said
I’m sure it will be fine
I once swapped a cake for a rabbit
and it wasn’t even mine
so go on, go on, go on, tell me more

the devil gave me a candy floss tree
and said have another one do
I’ve got a joke that’s only for you
It might go on for many years and more
and its never been told quite like this before
Its the best joke in the world, you see
but if you laugh you belong to me.

sure I said why not I said
I’m sure it will be fun.
I haven't laughed since I was born
and I’ve seen sausage dogs run
so go on go on go on tell me more.

the devil still comes to my house
but he never brings presents to me - no, no more
he drinks my tea and he smiles at me
asks me how have I been and what have I seen
and I say I can’t complain dear sir
got a house made of stone and a coat of fake far

I’m fine I say, I’m swell I say
there’s nothing more to tell I say

I might find me a husband or go to japan
but I’ll never go to hell, I say
so go on go on go on tell me more

the devil smiles, he smells of smoke
sometimes I wonder about that joke.

I Am So Proud!!!!!
There should be a whole show eventually. Oh yes.

The words to this song, by the way, I wrote years ago onto a wooden desk with a pencil because that was what I had to hand when I thought of them. Later I copied them out and put them in a letter to Matthew, and got back a tape in the post a while later with it set to music. That was one of the most amazing things I've ever got in the post.

(And Alexis arrived back from Galapagos at last, and showed us amaaaaaazing drawings of tortoises and blue-footed boobies and other beasts and actually I might fall asleep now.)

Monday, December 21, 2009


Mmm. Just roasted and ate a load of chestnuts.
Outside, big fat snowflakes have settled into a crunchy white reality blanket.
My friend Kris is still here - she was meant to travel home to Germany on the Eurostar this morning. First we were worried, now we are just going to bake things and wait for everyone else to return to the house.
My flatmate is stuck in Madrid. It seems flights stopped going out. Our Christmas visitor from Amsterdam is thankfully only stuck in Victoria Station. Trains cancelled, buses... who knows. I'm waiting by the phone.

Am imagining Daleks sliding past the window, rotating gently, with caps of snow and their eye-stalks iced over.

It's very quiet outside.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas ongoing...

Hooray for pre-Christmas celebrations! I've been to some lovely ones already, and there are more ahead. I've been all over South London, holding new babies, playing with cats, admiring trees and studios and houses and projects, eating turkey and bread sauce and mince pies. I've been visited by Gus the Neighborhood Bookshop Dog in the pub, and he jumped on my lap to say hello. He's the only dog in the world who is allowed to do that, because he's polite and doesn't smell.
People are pairing up and settling down and reproducing all around me, and when I was younger I worried this would get me down eventually because older friends told me it would. But it doesn't. I like being single, it beats being with the wrong person, which especially around Christmas feels like having ones brains sucked out slowly into the void with a straw. If anything, every year I feel more grateful for the continued absence of that particular feeling. - It's wonderful, visiting all my friends and being visited, and everything gradually becoming more decked out with presents and ornaments as we sit and eat and chat and warm ourselves on fires real or electric. This is how I hope all my Christmases will be.

I am feeling rather sorry for anyone who is stuck due to the Eurostar not running, and very grateful that I don't have to travel myself. It's a bit inconvenient, isn't it, having the big family holiday at a time when travel is most difficult. That was probably rather sensible when families stayed living together in one place. I'd vote for concentrating on Easter, family-wise, and celebrating Christmas with whoever is around at the time, well, that's what I do... but then - see above, et cetera.

I was just unlocking the door to go out into the cold and buy some bread somewhere so I could have toast for lunch, which is all I could come up with presently, and I was looking at the sad note that's been sitting on our doormat for days: MISSING BLACK AND WHITE CAT, his name is Eric, PLEASE help... - brrr, I thought. What a time to go missing. Brr.
Then the door was open - and just outside someone had set up a stall selling artichoke pie.
A happy family carrying aloft a black and white cat passed before I could say "Oh wow".
"Meow," said the cat.
"We found him! He was gone for DAYS!" they called, and were gone again before I could say "Merry Christmas, Eric".
I bought a slice of artichoke pie, and went back into my warm home.
NOW it's Christmas.

Addendum II:
Now my best friend is stuck at my house due to Eurostar Rubbishness, and we shall bake carrot cake tomorrow.
Now it's Even More Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


...about my best friend having to travel on the Eurostar on Monday. She might get stranded instead, I think. I do hope she gets home for Christmas.


I had just finished hoovering the flat with the Henry Hoover and was still ranting in my head about this completely un-ergonomic object being considered a much loved design classic just because it's got a grinning face pasted to the front (yes I know it's quite powerful, but it rolls over more often than a three-legged puppy, and it's about as easy to store as a baby elephant with its schnozz stuck down a drainpipe) and thus wasn't paying attention while shredding a receipt with some Japanese shredding scissors which I'd consider a particulary good piece of design... now part of the skin of my thumb is sliced into really neat parallel flaps. OUCH!!!!
Man, I'm cross.

(addendum: And I have a painful spot on my nose. Exactly in the middle of the tip of my nose. Wah.)

Friday, December 18, 2009


I just got back from the Battersea Art Centre, and I am thoroughly happy. And proud.
I watched a small trial performance of a few songs by Matthew and his current set of musicians - and all the words had been written by me, over the last few years. Some of them I knew well and some I had forgotten completely.
And it was BRILLIANT!
We all sat in a little room with candles and a fireplace, there were shadow puppets and other projections manipulated by Tim, rabbits and cats and fish and monsters and even the devil himself, and I couldn't believe how wonderful the music was - there was a cello and a violin and a bass guitar and a pump organ, and all of them playing together beautifully. It was like a happy dream.
I'm so pleased with what Matthew did with the songs, he's starting to weave some stories that make the words I wrote from something idiosyncratic into something that I think will be meaningful to people who aren't, well, me. Which I think is the best thing that can happen with something one makes.
Oh hooray!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Flyboy Book!

Just saying:
Matthew is hand-making wonderful books again. And you can buy them here.
Flyboy, Mothboy, the Wicker Cat and the Robot have become like real people to me by now. I almost expected them at the table when I visited Matthew and Tim for that Christmas Dinner last night. (Mothboy was in the tree, actually, probably attracted by the flashing fairy lights.)


Huh. That was a nice evening.
The postman woke me up - he had a huge parcel from Germany, and he laughed and shouted WAKEY WAKEY when he saw me.

I wonder why.
Oh hooray, I didn't expect such a big wonderful parcel! I shall stick it under the tree right now.
This year I sent off a minimum of presents in time (but they are all nice) and I expect I shall stretch out Christmas and keep sending off and handing out more things in January. It's that kind of Winter this year - I just seem to have four times as many friends as I'm used to.

There aren't quite enough birds in our Christmas tree yet. Today I shall work out how to rectify that. And, yeah, make some more presents.

But first I want a cup of tea.

Christmas already!

I just got back from a brilliant Christmas Dinner - basically, whatever happens, Christmas is pegged down securely for me now. I've had my brilliant roast with all the trimmings and a lovely evening. I tried really hard not to rant about computers, science fiction and/or copyright regulations after two glasses of wine, and somehow had a rant about picture books instead. This is quite out of character and I can't remember what I said neither, except that it involved Julie Andrews and a fork lift truck.
I also found out that Very Excitingly Matthew is planning to perform several songs that I wrote the words to on Friday at the Battersea Arts Center (among other things). Three songs, I think. It might turn into a whole show. I already got to see some props and bits and bobs, and it all looks brilliant. Come and see it if you are around.

Then I got home to find more lovely Christmas post had arrived, especially John's new CD.

Yay! Merry!!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hamster Attack at Dawn

I shall leave the digital skies alone for now.

Time to go out into the first snow of the year to get some stamps, post off some cards a bit too late and then go to an early Christmas dinner.
Actually, scratch that. Time to huddle up to the radiator and do some writing and let the late Christmas cards be really late... it's Too Cold! But I'll still go to the dinner.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Skies, light, colours...

I'm adjusting the colours in the book I'm working on today, trying out dramatic and pretty-blue skies, different shades of night blue and sea green, and sea blue and night green, mid-morning yellow glow and different sorts of haziness and shadow. I've got the feeling I'll end up learning something very useful, but until then I try my best not to get cross with the slightly hideous and uncanny results.

Also the milk in this tea is ever so slightly off. Bleh.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Huh, it's cold.

I've spent my studio time today collaging a nest for some hamsters, tomorrow I shall post it off to be scanned.
Right now, I'm waiting for the next episode of Dr Who to come online so I can shout at it. (Shouting at TV series is my idea of relaxation. When I was tiny I used to shout at Sesame Street. Later I shouted at Star Trek. I wonder if other people watch their favourite programs when they are alone and shout at them. I don't shout very loudly, and hardly at all when other people are present. I shout at every bit of the script I disapprove of, which is why it has to be a favourite program, else I get totally worn out...)
Until that happens, I shall list all the human characters in the graphic novel I'm working on (all the main characters are animals and already worked out) and assign them genders, ethnicities, shapes and sizes and assorted varied characteristics to make sure I don't end up by accident with 80% short white skinny nerdy girls just because I wasn't paying attention.
I would do some digital colouring (more urgent) but I don't want to get out of bed. Because it's COLD.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I am currently celebrating the news that someone somewhere has come to some sense - in fact, Ed Balls - and relaxed those new rules that demanded anyone in the UK working with children in any way to have to get themselves police-checked (and pay for it, too). I was going to stop doing school visits because it annoyed me so much. Okay, make sure people who are left alone with children are not dodgy. But be reasonable about it.
Well done again, children's authors' lobby.

Otherwise... I'm making Christmas presents. And then, possibly, a new skirt, following the pattern of a favourite one that has become grease-stained.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I just re-worked my graphic novel script that had exactly the right number of pages but not enough of a dramatic ending. First I wrote the new ending which added a good number of panels, some of them rather big, then I went through the whole lot and upped the panel count per page a smidgen, from a basic six panel grid to a basic nine panel grid.
Now I am ten pages short.
I think that's good enough to start pencilling, I bet I'll find I want some extra pages SOMEWHERE.
Also I actually don't remember at all if I had the right number in the first place. My head is swimming from turning every scene into a dramatic set of rectangles in my mind.

HEYY I re-wrote my script though, and I think it has all the stuff in it was supposed to have!

Oof, again.

(Update, hours later: switched the laptop back on because I couldn't sleep, tinkering with dialogue now...)

Learning Electronics

I just saw my ideal present featured on BoingBoing - but it's the ideal present for my teenage self. Ah well.

So now I'm telling you, in case you know anyone who might also get obsessed with buying tiny pretty resistors from the electronics store and then soldering together lie detectors that fit into match boxes and making their own electronic musical instruments out of... anything to hand, really.
If I'd had this book and kit back then I'd probably have my own robot manservant today.

Instead I'm committed to making books now... which is also a good thing. If I should ever be rich enough to own a house I'll have a workroom for making things. Until then I'll just dream of electric sheep.

By the way, I'm still very grateful to my dad for going along with every crafty whim and helping me make hundreds of things, that's still one of my best memories, my dad saying "It's Saturday, what will me make today?" and sometimes it was a puppet theatre in the attic and sometimes it was a pendulum that drew patterns in fine sand. And my mum taught me sewing and pottery, and how to think instructions through and then maybe do it differently, and very importantly that women can put up their own shelves.
Also I'm glad that I was always allowed to turn my room (or the attic, and any other spare space) into maybe a spaceship complete with fairy light starfields and flashing control panels any time - or into a stop motion film studio with an old super-8 camera strapped to a step ladder and lamps filling the rest of the room. Or whatever else I got into my head.
I'm not sure who I'd be today if I'd grown up without making.
Thanks mum and dad!

Friday, December 11, 2009


a) hurt my back by sitting for too long.
b) noticed laptop works fine sideways on the floor.

(By the way if your laptop doesn't like to stand on end you can get this instead.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Second Christmas Card! Yay!

Yayyy it's the year of lovely hand-made Christmas Cards.
Today I got another one. Here is a photo.

Otherwise... I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to visit some sculptures and buy some new birds for the christmas tree, and to Forbidden Planet, and now I shall put fairy lights up in my room, and then I'll draw a battle plan for the showdown of my graphic novel. Lots of arrows. Yes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fairy Dust

Today I saw a girl put on perfect eye makeup on the bus, that included some nimble eyelash curling action.
Then I had meetings about three books - one was all script editing, turns out my script can mostly stay as it is, except for one scene which needs to be much bigger, and now I think I know 90% of how to re-write it. Then we looked through the second book and I delivered some sheets of bits and bobs that will be scanned so I can scatter them around on the pages where they are still a bit empty-looking. Then I had to paint some pages of magic fairy dust, because we decided the third book could do with a dose of that. The fairy dust came out well, and I had time left to note down some scenes and the ending of my novel. Then I went back home to cover the birds, and got a front seat on the top of the bus which never happens normally (I always have to stand at the back wedged between six tired people, typically).
When I got home there was a tree in the corridor, still cold from the outside world. I shall help decorate it when I'm fully awake again. Right now I am sitting in bed eating crisps and drinking a very small glass of port, feeling mentally drained and liking my life. I guess this is the sort of day that people who think I have days like this every day think I daily have.
Not so. It's particularly good.

(Only boring bit: the rechargeable batteries I bought were all empty. Surely they should then call them "chargeable batteries"?)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Christmas Card, yay

I got my very first Christmas card of the year!
It's beautiful, too... here's a photo:

And now I shall go to a nice pub and eat a vegetarian mushroom burger, one of those with one giant mushroom instead of a beef patty, oh yes, because it's been that sort of a day where everything goes very well but there's slightly too much of it and there's no way I'm going to cook and anyway I'm meeting a friend.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Whistling while you Work

I just stopped myself from work at the end of the podcast I was listening to (another one - I'm getting very used to them now) to go and muck out the garden. I can't think of any other word for it, it definitely didn't feel like gardening. Think potted balcony garden abandoned for several months due to lack of access in the rainiest part of the year. Pots of mushroomy rotten sludge held together by dead roots.
It's definitely a good idea to do some physical work between colouring sessions, I just wonder how other people seem to manage to do nice un-sludgy whistle while you work type domestic chores that probably smell good, too. It's probably because they don't let matters liquefy before they tend to them.

I'd like to do something pleasantly domestic tonight, but can't think of anything except making pickles - baking a cake would be the classic choice but I don't really like cake. And lately I can't be bothered to knit or crochet neither, because I need my hands to draw and write with - getting RSI from making a sock when I have a book deadline would be idiotic.
Pickles... say, why don't I just eat some pickles and then do some writing. They sell pickles in the shop. When did I turn into my own Stepford Wife anyway? I'll make pickles when I feel inspired to pickle. Enough domesticity already!

Phew. Freelance Sundays, eh?

Happy St Nicholas Day!

Consider getting tree alternatives this year... here's a magnetised screw with iron particles suspended in liquid.
(see more)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I tidied my wall


While clearing out my wardrobe I found a framed original "Shark and Lobster" artwork, and after giving away a load of books I managed to clear a shelf, which I then used just to put favourite things on... so now I have a pleasant wall to look at when I wake up.

(Also just looked at this picture and realised the Bantha is saddled back to front. I am so rubbish at posing toys.)

"The True Deceiver", and something about endings

I just read "The True Deceiver" by Tove Jansson, which was recently re-published in the UK. I liked it a great deal, enough to read it all in one go after midnight. It made me feel grateful, because it dealt with things that bother me and that are hard to put in words - the way that people choose a way of making sense of the world, cutting off some things, pegging down others until they have something that works and seems completely true - and they may forget that there still is an outside place beyond that construct where they might hardly be able to function and survive.
It features two seemingly opposed characters, and I could easily identify with both of them. One of them is a bumbling picture book illustrator, the other a determined woman with a scary dog and a matching grin. I do recommend it, although don't complain if you find it sad. I found it very calming.

Work-wise, I'm presently having a shot at writing a big hollywood style ending. I think I might need to re-watch some movies for inspiration, because (as often) all I can think of is Ghostbusters. And, with some effort, Star Wars. A Big Intergalactic Celebration Covered In Marshmallow Fluff seems to be my ideal happy ending, can you blame me...

Actually, I've noticed before that endings are difficult. In most of the longer things I've written there's been a dramatic penultimate scene followed by general relief that mostly everyone is still alive, and a sense of exhaustion and maybe a nice cup of tea. With this one (the graphic novel script I'm working on) I already knew that I didn't quite have the energy to write a proper uplifting finale, and so I went to the cup of tea straight away, thinking: in a little while it'll all have settled in my mind and I'll be able to pick just the right bits of the story to tie up. Someone will realise they've overcome something and put it in just the right words, most likely.
So today I'm re-reading the script and taking notes of trouble... all the things that get sorted out in the end. I've already written the sorting-out part, all I need now is a scene that shows off the goodness.

I wish I could write in the pretty cafe, but it being Saturday there are no free tables. So I'm writing at home by the washing machine, because there's underfloor heating, I need to do the laundry anyway, and the washing machine sometimes walks off if unattended, so it's a quasi-symbiotic all-round acceptable situation.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Charity Vortex

I just ran away from some charity workers who asked me to sign up at the car park - I did not mean to. In fact I'd been meaning to stay at home, but then I decided to take a bag of books and a bag of clothes to the Charity shop. There I overheard a lady wondering how to get a desk she just bought to the car park, and offered to help carry it. And just before we got there, two friendly people took it off us, told us to take a break and then got out papers for a different Charity for us to sign. - I don't think running away spontaneously was the correct option. Just right that second I was convinced I'd been caught up in a strange Charity Vortex, and I feared for my kidneys, and I really did not want to explain myself.
I felt quite bad, running down the street, abandoning a stranger with a heavy desk like that. It completely negated the whole effort, somehow, even though she seemed quite happy signing and chatting, and she was pretty much where she'd been meaning to go, and I'm sure they'd carry it the last stretch for her. - I should at least have said goodbye.
Then it started raining a lot, and I got wet and felt like everything was back to normal, more or less.

Eric Orchard's Cloud Cartographers

Here's something brilliant I got in the post:

Eric Orchard's Cloud Comic

...two mini comics by Eric Orchard.
He is working out a wonderful universe of characters and stories - this is a spread from "The Cloud Cave" which features the most exciting looking clouds I've ever seen - exactly the sort you'd imagine if you drag your duvet over your head on a cold morning and dream for a bit longer.

Staying In

I refuse to be rained on today. Do you hear? I refuse!!! I refuse any hint of grey wet fresh air. I shall read a book for breakfast and eat tinned food for the rest of the day, and work from home.

There's digital colouring things to be done, which is just the right sort of thing for today. And I have two stories to dream about - one is already written, but the ending needs to be bigger, with meaningful things said and hugs and celebrations and maybe dragons flying overhead. The other is somewhere midway, and exciting things are going to happen next.
It's quite amazing, having all these adventure stories on my hands, not just in my head - I am thinking about them a lot, listening to them while I'm walking around and imagining the characters climbing all over the real world between scenes, and I'm making notes in my head (and sometimes my notebook) about their habits. Sometimes I get nervous, because there's so much left to write and draw, then I think about the gravitational field of Jupiter instead, which is a good thing to think about when anything seems overwhelming.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Traffic Lies

It's still raining. I got rained on again, this time in Hyde Park which felt kind of glamorous, also I now have waterproof Mascara.
The rain I don't mind, I'm used to it now. But somehow the damp weather seems to be messing with the transport announcement systems. After the bus that lied to me a few days ago, telling me I had arrived when I had NOT, today I sat on a train to Victoria that was convinced to be travelling in the opposite direction, leisurely and reassuringly ticking its way to Bexleyheath. - So that one did not fool me, but the bus back home did. It took me right past my door and didn't stop, because the BUS STOPPING sign was stuck, so I did not ring the bell. I had a brief argument with the driver and am now feeling that particular frustration experienced when not being able to explain what you are annoyed about because the other party is a bus driver, and they actually are almost always right, YES, EXCEPT FOR THIS ONE TIME AND I'M JUST SAYING YOUR SIGN IS BROKEN, JUST STICK SOME TAPE OVER IT OR SOMETHING, BECAUSE... yeah... whatever.

On the other hand, I do get to live in London.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back to the studio!

I''m back in the studio, I've sorted my shelves and laid out my materials and now I shall draw the last few bits of artwork for the new book. After I've done some warmup doodles, my hands feel clumsy after months of writing.