Not quite there

I’ve been writing for myself since I was young, but aside from this blog which I do as a hobby, I’ve completed one novel (though honestly it needs more editing) which I submitted to the Wilbur and Niso Smith adventure writing prize (shortlist in link) and I’ve submitted one other piece to Asimov magazine. I neither got shortlisted for the award of had my submission accepted.

No big deal, I honestly didn’t expect either to be a screaming or immediate success.

What has somewhat surprised me is my lack of pessimism about this. If I had tried and failed 10 years ago then I probably would have packed it in altogether and focused on my current career fully and completely…or at least other things.

That’s not how I’m feeling though. I want to put more energy in. I want to refine and improve my writing and put more ideas down on the page.

Maybe I’ll never make it something I can subsist off of, though I can hopefully get something published and I can definitely enjoy myself while doing it. I’m not convinced the pure aim of life, of writing is to simply enjoy what you’re doing. It does feel like a good starting point though, if the business of survival is in order.

So, here’s to my writing hobby. Long may it continue.

Working on my bolognese

We were making a lot of bolognese for our twins since they started eating solids – east to make, has some veg in (and we lace it with courgettes and spinach so they get an extra dose of greens), and can be eaten with and without pasta. Before them it had been a long old time since I’d made a bolognese for myself. Even then, effort was minimal. Onions, beef, tomato – of course. A bit of garlic, herbs, tomato paste – naturally. That’s pretty much where it stopped though. I cooked it quick and was happy with whatever the result was, but I guess I stopped eating it as it wasn’t knock out flavour.

Now that’s all changed. I’m using nice plum tomato passata (or blitzing San Marzanos myself), freshly ground beef, adding bay leafs, Parmesan rind, balsamic, red wine, actually using a real soffrito combo. Not to mention cooking the thing on the lowest possible heat for hours. You get the picture – my finally taking my bolognese seriously.

I do a lot of variations, but here is the most recent I did.

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Growing veg part one

Poking through!

I got a kit for Christmas with little biodegradable pots, dehydrated compost and five different types of seeds for slight more “unusual” veg – purple carrots, yellow courgette, purple Brussels sprouts, tigerella tomatoes and colourful chard.

I’ve always wanted to have a go at growing my own veg, so when spring came around, I finally gave it a go.

So far it has been relatively straightforward, with nature doing all the work really. We’re a long way from getting to plants a size and quantity that make a meal though!

I’ll let you know how it goes but so far I’m especially impressed with the courgette (of course, that’s my least favourite veg of the bunch!).

Weaving elements of life

I hate to think of time as limited and something that needs to be divided up. Endless prioritisation exercises are needed to try and all of a life into those divisions. Of course I do prioritise it, but I really hate to. Things tend to go in the immediate “I have to” or “I want to” files. The former is typically the daily grind at work plus to real have tos – eating, drinking sleeping. Though these also fit firmly in the latter camp. I can’t bring myself to call a nap a waste of time. It may take up a division or two and mean I don’t complete a piece of work on a particular day, but I love to do it and it feels good.

These divisions don’t haunt may as they may some. I don’t clock in and clock out. They cast a shadow though on my desire to write. I only want to write when I want to, when I enjoy it. As a hobby that’s right. Still, I wish I could ease up on twine of the “have to dos” which may make me more likely to get that time back to write more than I have for the last several months.

I’m sure I could just be more disciplined. Where’s the fun in discipline though?