The steps I take (literally) to avoid my novel

I had to laugh the other day when I was reminded of the phrase I heard in my teens about whether a guy is interested in you or not: ‘Don’t listen to the mouth. Watch the feet.’ I was never quite sure what it meant, but I thought it boiled down to ‘actions speak louder than words’.

What made me laugh, however, was how the body acts out what the mind (conscious or unconscious is feeling/wanting/wishing). Body language gives everything away, if you know how to read it. In my case, my body was literally ‘acting out’ what my mind was thinking.

There are a bunch of temporary ‘Wenlock’ and ‘Mandeville’ statues around London as part of the Olympic Games London 2012 celebrations, which encourage little kids and grown kids alike to follow the ‘trails’ around London, being photographed at each one. Every Wenlock is detailed according to his environment, and so you have City Wenlock with bowler hat and striped suit, and a PhoneBox with suitably red phonebox attire.

How can I keep avoiding such an entertaining reminder of my novel?

Except that the Wenlock closest to where I work – as I discovered weeks after he was first placed there – is called Novel Wenlock. And I have been AVOIDING him every day, either walking past without noticing or taking a different route across a square rather than the direct route past him.

I laughed when I realised. Because I have totally been avoiding my novel (the one that passed the MA examiners, but which needs so much work on it still). Perhaps I’ll be more conscious and mindful of it now I know that I can’t pass by Novel Wenlock every day without saying hello.

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Breakfast in Trafalgar Square: the calm before the crowds

With all the hustle and bustle in London, and endless countdown to the start of the Olympic Games, I’d forgotten to stop and absorb it all. It’s far too easy to pass things by every day, to let them become the wallpaper of your world, and not notice the detail.

inktuition trafalgar square 1

It was 12 hours to go and Trafalgar Square was warm with anticipation.

So it was with my morning hot chocolate that I took a few minutes to sit in Trafalgar Square and absorb the atmosphere: the people in their pink outfits (Games stewards) greeting me with a smile that looked like they meant it; the growing number of tourists taking snaps of the Olympic countdown clock; and the young man who offered me his paper to sit on so I wouldn’t get my dress dirty on the concrete seats (above which pigeons are always hovering). Continue reading

a poem after the london riots

The lasting legacy of ludicrous riots:

what will that mean for me?

Not the mobs in their looted trainers,

or the YouTube vigilantes;

not the columns condemning violence

or the angry-eyed document’ries.

Maybe the broom-wielding Wombles

or the Continue reading

photos after the London spending cuts protest

The Ritz in London's Piccadilly a day after the spending-cuts protest.

It was strange facing the calm after the storm, walking down Piccadilly in London just hours after the riots. What was meant to be a peaceful protest against the UK Government’s spending cuts ended up in chaos, with buildings daubed with paint, windows smashed, and 200 people arrested. It’s not a sight I was used to seeing – and nor was the damage done to the iconic Ritz hotel.

It had been cordoned off and sections of the fascia were boarded up, so workers could clean up the mess and restore it to glory. I felt such a sadness at the meaningless devastation.

Just a few minutes’ walk away, however, Continue reading