On helping to judge a writing competition

As an example, I hate Moby Dick with a passion. It’s just so tedious. But I can still objectively see that it’s A Good Book. If I came across that in my pile of entries, I daresay I’d recommend it for the longlist, just as soon as I’d dried my tears of boredom. It’s all about objectivity, which I don’t think we’re always very good at as writers, and therefore we assume that anybody who reads our work is looking for reasons to ‘mark us down’, as it were.… Read More On helping to judge a writing competition

The last normal day

I met a friend I hadn’t seen for years for lunch. I was nervous about it. What if we had nothing to say to each other after all those years of Facebook likes, Instagram comments, and no proper, spoken words? I needn’t have worried. We passed the time like we were still at university together, not realising how weird it would soon seem that we were definitely less than two metres apart, shouting over the noise of a cafe that was packed to the rafters.… Read More The last normal day

Fuckin’ imposter syndrome, man

I knew the article I wanted to write, but I didn’t really expect anybody to want me to write it. I was just happy to say I’d tried. So, imagine my surprise when I got a reply to say ‘this sounds great, go ahead and write it for us’. Or, more accurately, imagine the panic attack I had. I was not ready for a ‘yes’. I was only prepared to spend a couple of evenings watching Schitts Creek, pounding Lidl pinot grigio, and cursing The Establishment. Or, The Man. Or some other faceless entity I could blame my dissatisfaction on that wasn’t myself. But that wasn’t to be. So I freaked out.… Read More Fuckin’ imposter syndrome, man

What I did on my holidays (AKA sick leave)

I watched a lot of Netflix, do not get me wrong. Sometimes I even betrayed them and used my sister’s Amazon Prime account (shoutout to Mrs. Maisel). But I have a Netflix list that’s hundreds of hours long, and it turns out I have absolutely no concept of how much TV a human being can watch in two weeks when they also have to sleep, occasionally be in pain, or do literally anything else. Which is a really long-winded way of saying I made it through two and a half seasons of Gilmore Girls and a couple of episodes of Friends, although one of those episodes was Ross & Rachel’s breakup so that counts for at least five. I really thought I’d manage more, though. I guess, like Icarus, I dreamed too big.… Read More What I did on my holidays (AKA sick leave)