Survivoring; Twenty Lessons I Learnt From May 2014

10426633_10152460388888216_1104746832989711036_n (2)1. How to walk for a whole day in high heels.

2. Even Raymond Carver is not infallible, (a rather reassuring lesson to learn when launching one’s first far-from-perfect novel in less than three days).

3. How to transition from day to night using nothing more than a blood red lipstick.

4. Wine helps..

5. ….as do afternoon naps.

6. After crossing a certain point of neglect houses, like hair, become self-cleaning.

7. Inspector Morse is an infinitely reassuring presences and ITV3 seem to be screening one of his various incarnations 4-5 times per day.

8. How to wire a soundboard and project a movie in the never-to-be-repeated off-chance that your scheduled technician does not show up.

9. Time spent with little people who love you will always prove to be the best kind of leveller. (eg. Six year old nephew “What is your book about Aunty Jan?” Jan: “A little boy who gets sad and then holes appear all over him.” SYON: “That is stupid.”)

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10. Last minute prayers seem to work just as well as the pre-planned variety.

11. There’s no such thing as orange high heels. (Perhaps this is only the case in Belfast where they might be perceived as sectarian).

12. There is no limit on how many times you can say, “it’s not actually a children’s book,” before interviewers will stop asking you, “so, what age is the book aimed at then?”

13. The cinema is the only place where you can’t really get any work done.

14. I’m not that fussed on bikes.

15. Frank Mitchell gives a surprisingly good interview.

16. Think carefully before adopting a mantra such as, “July is coming,” for you will find this mantra leaps out at you from text messages, emails, post-it notes and personal conversations, ad nauseum, for months.

17. A good personal assistant is the difference between triumph and hiding behind the stationary cupboard, weeping.

18. Bob Dylan’s “Pressing On” is a surprisingly motivational song to chance upon at 6:30am on a Monday morning.

19. Talking about writing or even writing about writing is a poor substitute for actual writing.

20. There is no better, stranger, more inspiring job in the whole of Belfast than the one which has consumed my life for the last thirty one days and promises to enthral me for many, many days to come.

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A big thank you to all those known and nameless who helped me survive May 2014. Here’s to June which is already beginning to look like May, the sequel.

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