poetry

the orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

Wendy Cope 


I went to the park the other day, sipped tea from a flask and read a book. I watched the rainclouds draw closer and closer, rolling towards me over the trees; on the way home, rain dripped slowly from my umbrella and I was caught by each silver drop.

Laughing with loved ones, eating August plums from the tree, waiting for the neighbourhood cat to trust me enough so I can scratch under its chin …

Simple, everyday magic is enthralling and this poem captures that so splendidly.

I love you. I’m glad we exist.

ness talks about life

what to do: life crisis edition

In June, I quit my job. It wasn’t to write full time. If the last month is anything to go by, that would be a truly terrible idea.

(It appears that I can write best by having something called ‘a structure’. Ew. Take it back.)

I did take some time to complete the publishing of A Most Irregular Prophecy which was useful. Immediately afterwards, I was bitten by a writing bug – the symptoms of which were: has ideas, cannot write. Entirely useless. Utterly vile.

And this month, I’ve been caught in the midst of a job hunt. I’m weighing up my options. Here are a few that are definitely on the table …

AN OFFSHORE OIL RIG

I have watched precisely (1) movie and read (1) romance book that is either set on an oil rig that explodes or has a main character who works on one. That being said, I really think I absorbed enough crucial information to know that I could most definitely be brilliant in this line of work.

Would I worry about its potential detrimental affect on the environment? Yes. Do I have the upper body strength of a limp noodle? Also – yes. Do you see these answers?! So positive. My future is bright.

#goals

SATURATION DIVING

I’ve watched a documentary about this (Last Breath on Netflix). Boom. Sorted. I’d be fine. One hundred percent. I’d be a thriving diplodocus.

(Would I be terrified? Yes. Would I get over this fear? Yes! Do I have any experience with diving? … No. Is the documentary about a close brush with death? Yes. Yes, it is.)

(Also – mild digression – it’s a very interesting documentary. I’d highly recommend it.)

ASTRONAUT

I was contemplating offering my services as an astronaut when I saw that the UK Government had this on their website regarding a potential career:

THE CHEEK!

How appalling. Haven’t they learned to beam yet? One would expect to be able to beam home from space for the weekends. Disgusting. The state of the world.

I’m reconsidering. Seriously reconsidering. Yes, yes, I am. I will refuse to complete my (multiple) PhDs that I am most definitely doing. In astrophysics. And … astrology. No. Wait. Astronomy. That’s the one.

(I read a book about eclipses once and also enjoy staring at the night sky, valiantly discerning the difference between airplanes and stars. I feel as though this qualifies me for a great many fields.)


It is quite fortunate, I think, that I love to read books – through their pages, you can live a thousand lives and walk in many different shoes. In the meantime, the job hunt continues. Next up? A job on an Ocean Liner. Massive boats that have nice big names. Like The Ginormous. The Colossal. Or … the Titanic? Ah yes. That could work. Lovely ring to it.

ness talks books

three horrendous things i do to books

I know, I know – this may seem quite trivial – but to versions of my past bookworm self? It is NOT. As I go through life, I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to let go of things, to refrain from making judgements, it’s okay to be wrong and … it’s totally okay to break a book’s spine.

BREAK THE SPINE

New paperback books are difficult to read – you have to wrestle to make sure that they stay open. And then, if you’re called away, you put them face-down for one moment and suddenly they’ve sprung up and closed. If I’m confronted with this problem and if I own the book? I will happily, merrily, and easily break the spine. I won’t flutter an eyelash. I’ll even take satisfaction from it.

(Am I … a monster?)

(Pfft. No.)

DOG-EAR THE PAGES

Sometimes, keeping track of a bookmark is tricky. I always lose the nice ones; by putting them in books it’s taking me years to read or putting them in a place to ‘keep them safe’ (AKA so safe I will never find them again.)

I’ve used tissues, receipts, pens, hair ties – everything and anything. Probably a spare sanitary towel too, if I got very desperate. However, lately I’ve been embracing simply turning the corner over of the pages.

And you know what? It works. It’s like being environmentally-friendly-self-sufficient-y. The page is there. You don’t need anything else. Turn the corner. Boom. Page marked. You know where you are. No scramble for the closest item that will magically morph into a bookmark.

UNDERLINE / HIGHLIGHT

I’m rereading the Amelia Peabody mysteries again and this time – if there’s something funny or an iconic character is introduced or if it’s just a good quote? You can bet that I’m underlining it. It’s like leaving a note to the future me. It’s a way of making the books my own, of engaging with the story. But I’d like to again note: only do this if you own the book.

ONLY DO THIS IF YOU OWN THE BOOK

otherwise: MUCH judgement and side-eye

I love second hand bookshops with books that look old and well-read. Because I don’t just see the book and the pages and the cover – I’m seeing the ghosts of past readers. It’s the most introverted way of connection I can think of. So break the spines, dog ear the pages, and underline as much as you like! Engage with the story! (You’ll find ‘hahaha’ scrawled in some of my books. I hope, in the future, someone reads that in a monotone: ha. ha. ha.)

(This would amuse me greatly.)

Ultimately, how you treat your books is down to why you own them – if you are a collector or want everything in pristine condition – keep them perfect. Here – I give you permission. Protect them. It’s okay. But if you are reading them for the story, don’t stress about keeping your books perfect. You don’t need to. Life is too short. The creases, the notes, the broken spine – it all shows that a book is well-read and also?

Well-loved.

*sniff* such a beautiful sentiment

Wow. I feel like this is a super impactful moment. We are bonding. Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Also, I don’t think I used enough gifs.

happy reading!

books

a most irregular prophecy – it’s out

I was therefore forced to draw the only possible conclusion; I was going to be heinously murdered.

A MOST IRREGULAR PROPHECY

It started as a short story and it’s now a full-length book with a dope front cover and words and everything. If you fancy a bit of a barmy read with a Victorian, a reluctant Scribe, Unicorn-type-creatures, Portals, Propaganda, and a touch of romance? It’s here! It’s actually here!

It’s ready in paperback and ebook. (I’m particularly proud of the back cover. It has pamphlets and a hot air balloon.) Ahem. Anyway. This is a book. A book I wrote.

My feelings are the below – from this post:

But oh – if it’s a tiny bit beautiful, if it’s a little funny, if it’s moving, if it’s a wondrous adventure, if it makes you see a glimmer of something you can’t quite name, or startles you into a laugh; if it’s something that I can be pleased with then, I would like to share it with you.

this book falls into ‘startles you into a laugh’ i think. whether that be good or bad, i’m not sure

If it’s not your cup of tea – that’s perfectly fine. If you read it and have a strong opinion (positive or negative! either is alright!) do scribble a review. Or don’t. This is a free country.

Either way, please join me in being excessively gleeful that – after six years of silence – a full-length book has finally been completed. I’m so very glad to share this one with you.

books

a most irregular prophecy – front cover reveal also, unicorn poop

I’d like to announce the fact that I had an idea about unicorn manure and I ran with it. And by that I mean, I wrote a book about it. An entire book.

Behold! Here it is in all of its glory:

isn’t it DIGNIFIED?

It went like this:

MY LOGIC:

  • I like Portal fiction
  • What if the person abducted had a very mediocre destiny? That would be funny, right? Right?
  • What if … they were abducted to shovel unicorn manure? What if it’s toxic to everyone but Humans?
  • *gasp* Why, Mr Spock – I think we’re onto something

I wrote a short story about the idea (‘one moment I was washing my car, the next I was neck-deep in manure‘ reads a highly attractive line), chuckled to myself, and then put it to the side, confident that I was quite hilarious and a genius. (These are dubious facts.)

Then, a few years later, I read the short story again, chuckled to myself and thought I was quite hilarious and definitely a genius. (Again, the facts are dubious.) But I went one step further – I decided that I’d write a book on that single premise.

And so I did.

That ‘and so I did’ sounds so … simple and laid back. It was not that simple. It was not that laid back. I had to seriously consider the implications of unicorn manure. I dedicated so much time to it. (Put that epitaph on my gravestone thank you very much. Follow it up with ‘a life well lived’.)

The heroine transformed from a 21st century girl with pop culture references and poop puns into a determined Victorian woman with flame-red hair and no poop puns.

And then, of course, in the lead romantic role is Mr Sorrow who isn’t the coolest dude to ever dude … but … I like him. He’s dope. He’s cool. He’s also an alien.

It also has:

  • toxic unicorn waste (… you’re welcome, humanity)
  • a slow burn romance
  • unicorns but also not quite unicorns
  • furniture flying around (it’s ONE scene but … you know, it’s freakin’ Pulitzer winning. Ah-hem. The way I describe a table in flight? Well it could never be accused of being poetry but, well. It could never be accused of being poetry.)
  • everything going wrong
  • a Victorian heroine caught up in the middle of everything, determined to set everything to rights and then have a cup of tea like a boss.

It’s called A Most Irregular Prophecy. It’s not just about unicorn poop anymore. (Wow. What a tagline.)

“I didn’t have anything left to do except to die. I would do it nobly. With dignity. Preferably after a moving speech.”

A monstrous Natterdash is waking, the dread Wizard Tig is stalking Planet Ora, and a new Prophecy regarding their destruction has been announced. In the central role? A Human abducted from 21st century England and cast as The Foretold One.

Long time captive and full time Suffragist, Victorian Primula ‘Vi’ Ravensbourne is dragged into the mix to act as translator and Thrawk keeper. With unseen enemies, reluctant Foretold Ones, and a gift that is Most Unexpected, she’ll soon find that all is not as it seems.

Vi may want the populace to have a Voice, but one must be alive in order to speak. Can Vi help fulfil a Prophecy that is rapidly running off track, and off script?

It’s coming your way the 30th of July. That’s this year. 2021. Just so you know. (I once stayed up for a book release only to find that I’d got the wrong year.)

You can pre-order it on Kindle here and add it to your Goodreads to read list here.