Usually when I take a ‘break’ from Lamellae I don’t know it’s a break until it has already happened. This time I’m doing it differently. With quite a few distractions coming up in the next few weeks, I’ve decided to schedule a break. Not a long one – I aim to be back here before the end of the month – but I’ll be looking forward to getting back!
I have to admit that I’d always believed that we had Teflon and Velcro thanks to NASA and then recently that this is in fact a furphy! Both Teflon and Velcro were developed by people outside of NASA and later used by the space program. Though, I guess you could argue that we probably all know about them and they found commercial success because NASA made their existence and applications known.
It was the Naked Scientists podcast that set me straight on this one. Excellent stuff as always.
One of the things I love about the bookclub is that we select books by putting selections in a “hat” and doing a blind draw. The method keeps an alluring mystery about what we’ll read next and ensures an equal chance for all kinds of books.
My favourite things is when a book is picked and – as happened this month – two people go “that’s my suggestion!”. Sometimes they’ve come to it via entirely different routes and sometimes the same one. It’s fascinating what brings books to the attention of each of us.
The book that was picked this time is We are all completely beside ourselves which found its way into the “hat” from my hands and another bookclubber’s. I’ve been wanting to read it for ages as I know many a person who loves it, so the bookclub will give me the push to!
For the recent book club book, I ended up grabbing an audio version and it’s the first time I’ve really sat and listened to a book read in such a concentrated form. I’ve often listened to such things on the radio, but they’re always in short sections over many days/weeks, so this was quite a different experience.
I liked it. Not only did it allow me to do some weaving while I listened, but it was a nice way to get through a book about the horrors of the German occupation of France during WWII. I think I’d have found it harder to get through if I’d been reading it myself.
One thing that interested me – particularly because I listened to it in such a condensed time frame – was how often the author used the same phrases or descriptions. I probably wouldn’t have noticed them in reading the book because they were ordinary enough to slip by the eye, but the ear seems to pick them up more.
My only frustration with the audio experience was that I had it playing at the opposite end of the house to where I was weaving, so I couldn’t skip past some of the longer descriptive passages that I would skim in a book, looking for the next narrative bit!
The book The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, is excellent. Everyone in the book club was in agreement on that. Essentially about sisters, it uses their differing experiences and responses to the occupation to show, in great detail, what happened to France during the war and the decisions that faced the people – mostly women – in the cities and villages.
Today, I spent a couple of hours sitting chatting with my writer friend Ellen. We had met to write, but it was just a day for talking about writing, publishing and various other related things so we went with it.
In a sense it was the perfect example of something I’ve been thinking about recently; what productivity means for a writer.
I’ve been on a holiday from work for nearly two months now and I have been massively productive in a range of areas that have nothing to do with writing. For a few days this bugged me. Then, I started to think about what I’d actually achieved on Blurty and the novellas and realised that it hadn’t been unproductive it had just not been as productive as other areas.
There’s that niggle that always tells me I should be doing volume but the reality is that sometimes explaining your project/s to someone is as useful as spending an hour editing. Just like getting necessary house maintenance done, or immersing yourself in other people’s wonderful fiction (i.e. living a life) is important to not burning out.
I was brunching/writing with some writerly friends the other day and it came up that even after listening to a read of a piece there can still be errors in the text you miss. It got me thinking that I never use the weird computer voice in my editing software to listen to my books. Probably because of the ‘weird’ aspect!
Anyway, I decided that I would give Blurty a computer read.
It was a mix of useful (who knew how many instances of the-the I had!), funny (the voice emphasises things strangely) and strange (I find computer voices a little creepy). Though I give ‘David’ marks for his pronunciation of all my weird words.
Another gigglefest from xkcd!!