The first Wordy Wednesday of 2019

I know I haven't blogged since hector was a pup, but fear not for I have a treat for you today.

No 2018 round up, no best bits of my year, no lists of funniest tweets or my most read blog posts, no; today for your enjoyment I have revisited a favourite person of mine, a friend and author...can you guess?

 Welcome back to the blog Ed! I had interviewed Edward Kendrick back in 2015 so it seemed like it was about time to have another chat and see what he's been up to.

Well Ed, what have you been up to since last we heard from you?

Good question (puts shiny apple on blogger’s table). Well, it’s been a funny old time really. In the three and a half years between interviews I’ve continued to write, do some self-publishing and generally tried to make things happen. I haven’t really chased agents in a long time and things have been difficult with work and deteriorating mental health problems, and that kind of thing tends to get in the way of word mining. Total bummer.

Still, I’ve somehow managed to release another four novels. A trilogy set in the soft toy afterlife about all kinds of serious things as well as fluff, stuffing and prat falls, and a near future sci fi sports biography type thing (you can see why agents are attacking my door with crowbars, desperate to get at my easy to sell goods). They are all pretty good, to be honest, but I would say that.

In addition to that I’ve written four more novels that are in various stages of development* Plus, I plan to self-publish two further novels in January 2019. The first is called Self Portrait and is the third part in the Gita Askari sci-fi series and the second is a spoof spy/assassin novel titled Diamond Double Black. Art is all in place. Editing has been done, just the formatting and general mucking about to go.

*gathering dust in a draw/hard drive.

How Does family life affect your writing?

Well, it comes in different packages. It makes me want to write things that the kids would want to read as well as more mature readers and I hope it makes me care a bit about people in general, and so show some kindness through to the characters I want to write about. In reality I’m not sure how true that last bit is, but anyways…

In more practical, nuts and bolts terms, it makes writing very difficult. I have a physical job that can leave me physically and mentally drained. I get back and I want to spend time with the kids and my lovely wife. The writing takes a back stage. If I can get the computer on before 8 o clock then I have a chance of getting some words in that make sense, past that then the exercise starts to become futile as I can’t get passed the fatigue as I have no momentum to push through it.
I wouldn’t put the writing first, ever. My family are the important bit. This is a flight of fancy, promising invisible unicorns and whispered praise that could just be long delayed echo.

What books have you enjoyed reading in 2018?

Here is a tricky one. I’ve been very depressed this year and one of the things that does is remove my ability to concentrate for long periods of time. I’ve pushed my head up above water every now and then and managed to get a book in or a tv series I’ve enjoyed, but for the most part it’s been a fog.
Saying that, I read The Real Town Murders by Adam Roberts in January, which I really enjoyed and I’ve been reading A Christmas Carol out loud to my wife in bed. Obviously, we know the story off by heart already but still, it’s good to go back and read it. Still a bit weird that it doesn’t have the muppets in the book, but you can’t have everything.

What’s the best food to accompany writing?

This year? Fizzy strawberry laces. Hands down.

What’s one thing that stops you writing?

My mental health. If I’m not in a good place then I can still write, but not even I can type when at the bottom of the well.

If you could visit any country on Earth. Where would you go? (all expense paid)

I’ve never actually left the British Isles before, which I know is rare now, but it’s true. I’d love to go to lots of places on this wonderful globe but top shot would be Canada. I like the cold and the heat and I love the idea of all that space/northern lights/snow/north American continent stuff without visiting Trump’s America. Plus, I have one of my oldest buddies out there. In truth, I miss him far more than I’d ever tell him, and never contact him enough on Facebook. So, I would go there. (can I go for several weeks to a month, so I could do loads of stuff? Cheers!)

And what does a writer hope to get for Christmas?
That is a tough one. I normally have my eye on a film or two and some music, but really, that is something I’m pretty sure I’m going to get, so the mystery isn’t really there. To tell you the truth, I really like getting a gift that’s left of field. Every year my older friends gather together around Christmas and we hang for the day and have a laugh. This always involves gift giving. I normally give people handmade gifts. Weird calendars, odd posters, unconventional jigsaws, that kind of thing. They, in return, head to the internet to wow me with the very worst they can find.
I’ll just attach a picture, because a picture can say a thousand words….

Well, I think that's enough of that!

Thanks for popping back and I'll check out all the new reads.

You can follow Ed on twitter too where he squeezes out words almost every day.

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So you have an extra adult living in your home.

My daughter is not just a teenager, she became that 5 years ago, no she is now AN ADULT. As an adult she can do adult things.

Last Friday she fell in the door drunk after being sent home early by mates because a club wouldn't let her in (she was too intoxicated apparently - which she strenuously and slurrily denied) 

Her bedroom is still a teen land of danger, no one should venture in, clothes litter the floordrobe and various bottles of beauty products are scattered beneath the mirror shrine to instagram. Windows are never opened and curtains rarely drawn, it's a world of gloom, and complex disorder.

On the whole though, like many adults she is pretty responsible. She has a car (gifted! because she did well at her A levels) and she has a full time job.  She is never late for work, works hard and is appreciated by those she works with.

At home, when requested, (though never spontaneously) she will do chores around the house, sweeping, hoovering, dusting, walking the dog etc etc. Though of course 'tidy your room' is not a chore that currently seems possible.

So I have a new adult in the house, I can send her out to buy beer, ask her to pick up things in the car (including me!) it's rather fantastic and strange.

As yet I haven't asked her for rent. It all seems a tad new and weird, this new adult in the house. For years she had pocket money from us, and now I'm looking at that money flowing the other way.

And I'm wondering how to proceed, there are few manuals about teens, there are no 'Mum and Teen' church groups to join, as there were toddler groups, I rarely chat to other mums of teens and it's hard to do that anyway because as parents we don't want to disrespect our offspring's privacy. 

So here I am, embarking on a new chapter, a new adult in our house, living here, eating here, being messy here, how soon should she be contributing here too? Is it too late? Should I have started on day one of paid work?! Is it too soon, is it nice to allow your teen a bit of fun (assuming you can afford it) when they first start earning?

I'd love for other mums and dads of adults to let me know their opinion, or what they have done, and even what they wished had or hadn't done! I guess like much of parenting there are no hard and fast rules and what works for one may not work for another, we all just muddle along. 


Fun pub games for the sober and drunk alike

I saw a fun thing online this week, in which an elaborate and brilliantly successful prank was played in a McDonalds. In case you missed it the story is here, to summarise, two lads noticed no Asians in any McDonalds adverts on the walls of a local McD's. They mocked up their own large poster and then (and this bit was amazing) used cunning and guile to put the poster up on a blank wall, and there it remained for at least 50 days (and counting). My hat is off to them, the prank was wonderful.

And this then led to other people on twitter talking about pranks they had played, such as putting photos of themselves in all the photo albums in a store (rather that photos of Jeff Goldblum which is obviously a superior choice).

This in turn led me to remember a game my friend and I used to play back in the late 80s and early 90s.

We started a silly monthly night out on the first Thursday of every month. There was probably a reason this started but it was rapidly lost in time and the celebration of "First Thursday" just continued. The rules were simple, it occurred only on the first Thursday of a month, we had to go out drinking straight from work, we would visit several pubs, and we didn't stay out past 9pm.

After a few months to spice up the fun we invented the First Thursday Game, in which each person had to buy an item from a charity shop (for less than a pound!) and then leave said item somewhere in a pub, cunningly positioned to match the decor, the object must be in plain sight (no hiding it behind things) and then the following month anyone who could see their item still in the pub claimed a point! There were of course no prizes just much laughter.

The sort of gems we left included an obviously school made metal work sculpture, an ashtray from Devon and a really cheap and nasty vase.

Extra points were gained by how cheap the item was, so a 30p item would beat a 99p item for example.

Some months we'd add a theme as well, such as 'souvenir items with places names on' (see the Devon ashtray) or 'something wooden' etc

Thinking about this simple game and the joy it brought made me think I should look at bringing it back, I wonder if it would still work?

I talked about it on twitter and a few people seem keen to give it a go. If you, (like Joy and Emma) plan to have a go - do let me know in the comments below. I'm just sad that back when I played, digital photography and phones were not common so I have no photographic evidence of our silliness.