Friday, April 19, 2013


Why is it that many photographers pose writers with their hand(s) awkwardly hovering around their face? 
How often do we do this in real life? Almost never.

•   the chin-on-fist pose (looks like a punch on the chin)
•    the finger-on-chin pose (smart and pensive)
•    the drooping fingers under-chin pose (nonchalant)
•    the chin-almost-on-palm pose (uncomfortably relaxed)
•    the fingers clasped pose (please buy my book, I beg you)

•    the fingers-over-mouth pose (I'm muzzling myself)
*   the Mr. Burns evil steeple (come into my parlour)

As few of us are actors or models, we’re not usually comfortable with cameras so posing can be awkward and unnatural and we tend to do what we’re told by the photographer. 

But few photographers are directors so they don’t really know how to get our quintessential body language right. 

When you feel uncomfortable in a pose, you'll look uncomfortable so, pick your own, the photographer wont mind and you’ll look much better.

Friday, April 12, 2013


The reason I haven’t written about writing for a while is that I’m not really writing, I’m re-writing. This, for me, is a thrill and a pain. A thrill because I get to re-invent a character and look at the story from a different point of view. Like picking up a snow-globe and giving it a turn and a shake. It’s also a pain because my imagination tends to write little novels around each new angle and this is exhausting.
    A character usually pops into my mind fully formed, as did the protagonist I'm changing. But he's now been promoted from a rather bland beauty to a leading man with the same motivations but more time on stage. I had no idea how much trouble this would be. Even though he looks the same and has the same role in the story, he’s got to think, speak and behave more dramatically and this involves massive amounts of re-working.
    And of course, his new importance affects every other character. Some just slightly, other more profoundly. The trick is not to get carried away with the new aspects, not to let them branch out and grow into useless distractions. Ruthlessly managing each is like riding an ostrich: you don’t want to hurt it but you also don’t want it to hurt you by bolting and wasting your time.
    * Surrounded my desk with many leafy plants so the additional oxygen will  feed the writerly neurons in my brain.
    * Read magnificent books that made me gasp with admiration and feel yes, I could do that even though I knew I couldn't because I’m not those writers.
    * Got up at 3AM and sometimes just sat stupidly staring at my screen until lunch but on magic days, I wrote like a banshee until bed time.
    * Painted trompe-l’oeils on all my walls which allowed me to think and plot while giving my fingers a rest from the keyboard. Painting as meditation.
    * Had other pressing things to do, which never fails to give me a powerful urge to write.



Saturday, April 6, 2013


Yesterday my phone and broadband went out.
Thank goodness it hadn’t happened the day before when I was doing my taxes online or I would have had a heart attack. As it was, I had to drive to the nearest Time/Warner store where, fortunately, there was no line and ask the slovenly, sullen woman behind the counter to get me back online. She yawned and said nastily: “You should have called us so we could have run diagnostics.”
    “My phone is out.”
    This got a suspicious look. What, how dare you not have a cell phone? You must be some kind of pervert. Sulkily, she asked me for my personal data and called someone.
    “A technician will come in five days,” she informed me with a smirk. WTF?
    “Five days without a phone, no way.”
    Her look said You-are-an-ungrateful-wretch as she wrote down a phone number on a scrap of paper.
    “Call customer support at this number and ask for an earlier date.”
    “But aren’t you customer support?”
    “There’s a phone at the end of the counter, under the television. You can call them from there.”
    Seeing this person was not going to communicate with me in any other way than to let me know I was bothering her, I made my way to the end of the counter to a germ-infested, old fashioned dial phone in hideous, spit-smeared gold. This is what Time/Warner offers in the way of service for high tech products.
As the television blared, I dialed the number with my finger in my other ear. An hysterical voice in the earpiece informed me that, Yay! I had won some kind of competition and only had to answer five questions to get something or other.
I hung up and dialed again.
    By this time, the room had filled with a couple of dozen chattering people, one of whom came and stood right next to me to stare at the TV and listen with interest to all the personal information I was required to provide to the second
supporter of customers. After going through my personal data again and placing me on hold while she checked something, she informed me that, yes, my phone and broadband were out of order. While I silently fumed, a security guard came and stood behind me to stare out the door.
    I was passed to a third customer supporter who  went through all my personal data
yet again but seemed to actually grasp what the problem was. He was helpful and speedy and set up an appointment with the obligatory four-hour window for today. But the technician didn’t show up and when I contacted Time/Warner by wi-fi, they said the technician had come but had not been able to contact me by phone. Duh!
    So, here I am using my wi-fi to order a cell phone and looking forward to telling Time/Warner what they can do with their far too-expensive digital phone service and unnecessary broadband.                                         *
PS - It was TimeWarner on TWITTER that finally got the problem solved. Unfortunately too late as I'd already ordered my new phone.