Sunday, 23 August 2009

My bedside table

It's a small round dark wooden table that came with my furnished rented room. I've made it a bit more personal by using a bandana as a table cloth. My glasses are on there (most people don't know that I wear glasses unless they've seen me at work!) and my mobile phone that doubles as an alarm clock. There's also a box of nicotine free snus (Swedish tobacco), a box of Swedish throat pastilles, (why are all throat pastilles in the U.K. like sweets?) a glass of water or cranberry juice and a hand cream that my aunt got me for Christmas. (The kind of thing I'd never spend money on myself.)

And then there are my books of course and my journal and my diary and my note pad ... Plus a pen that I bought at Hong Kong airport.


As no armchairs or comfy seats came with my room I spend a lot of time sitting in bed reading and writing, sometimes with my laptop, sometimes without. I start every day my writing my morning pages (a practice I've kept up since doing the Artist's way) in my note pad. I finish every day by writing a short account of what I've been up to that the day in my small blue diary. In between I write down random thoughts in my journal (at the moment a famous moleskin sketchbook). If I'm tired or just lazy I spend a lot of time reading. Often I have one novel, one non-fiction and one poetry book on the go at the same time.


Reading at the moment:

The (dis)advantage of doing casual work in 16 different libraries is that I constantly find books that I want to read; it's just a matter of finding time ...

The novel I'm reading at the moment is called Harm's way and is written by Cella Walden. I've only read the first chapter but I can tell it's good ... It's the kind of novel I adore: young female protagonist trying to find herself ... As I'm young and female myself I'm always looking for heroines to identify with. Examples of such a heroine is Lou Connor in How the light gets in by M.J. Hyland. (A book I keep on my bedside table to inspire me when my writing dries up.)

I'm also reading three non-fiction books. The first one is Write away by Elizabeth George. She talks about writing in a very chatty way and it makes me think of my own novel in progress, how I can improve it and so on. As she's a crime writer I have a lot to learn about conflict as plotting is my weak side. The second book is a spiritual one called Intimacy by Osho. It just jumped out at me in the Bell, book and candle shop in the North Laines ... I find it very hard to open myself up to new people that I meet so hopefully it will be helpful. The third one is A woman in your own right by Anne Dickson. It's about learning how to be assertive .... I've finished reading it, but I still find it hard to put what I read into practice. You're supposed to do a lot of role play, but I haven't been brave enough to ask someone to play with me ...

Lastly I have three poetry books on the go: The English Earthquake by Eva Salzman, Sunday at the Skin Laundrette by Kathryn Simmonds and Life Mask by Jackie Kay. They are all good for dipping into. And I love finding lines like "The Dustbins are in bloom" (Kathryn Simmonds).

Couldn't put down:

Other useful numbers
by Sarah Broughton. One of these books that not many people have heard of ... It's a beautifully written book about yet another disorientated young female. There's not much of a plot, but being in Tracy's head and observing the world through her eyes is a joy even if the subject matter is depressive ... (A girl searching for a lost love going from one relationship to another and one job to another etc.) It's a library book, but I keep renewing it and will soon have to buy it ...

Gathering dust:

Kate Atkinson's Behind the scenes at the museum. I do want to read it one day, but I have a problem with books that are "forced" upon me. A friend bought it second hand and passed it on to me and said I just have to read it ... I know it's a good book and that I'll probably like it, but it's the kind of book that will always be around and I'll be happier continue my reading of unknown obsure novels with young lost female protagonists ....

Secret indulgence:

It's not really a secret ... but I love reading teenage or so-called Young Adult fiction. Not the ones for "young" teenagers, but the ones that are a bit more gritty. Last one I read was Killing God by Kevin Brooks. It was written in a very refreshing way using song lines by Jesus and Mary Chain. The ending was a bit too dramatic to be believable, but all in all it dealt with abuse and religious fanatics in a good way.

This blog post was inspired by a regular feature in Mslexia where a famous person reveals what's on their bedside table.

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