On Blogging vs Box Set Binging


Bloody hell. That escalated quickly.

It flew from my fingers and out into the world to become breakfast, bog or bus reading material before I had half a second to think whether or not it was a good idea to say ‘fuck’ in a post that quite likely, my dad was going to read. He’d refer to it as an ‘F bomb’, you see, and you’re not supposed to drop them in the family home.

But read it he did, and then, bless his heart, he shared it. He didn’t mention the F bomb. He didn’t even raise his eyebrows at ‘in uni, I was the one who always writes about sex’.

And it wasn’t just my dad I forgot to worry about. The fiancé. Post-blog he’s concerned about the James May fetish. He wants to know exactly how much of our dirty laundry is going to be pegged out in public (only the good stuff).

I joke. He’s been great. He’s still stuck in New Zealand though. Maybe we will have to sell the ring to get him home.

Anyway, I definitely should have thought this through. You see, the thing is, if I’m writing about not writing, I suppose I’m writing about what I’ve been doing for all of these years instead of writing, and that’s quite a lot. Carpet F bombing, soiled sheets and all. And I think I’ll say writing once more in that paragraph, just for good measure. Writing.

So should I have kept it anonymous? Gone all ‘Belle de Jour?’ I mean, regardless of upsetting the nearest and dearest, I might end up a teacher one day, and you’re not supposed to put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t be comfortable having tattooed on your face, are you?

Oh well. Too late.

So I’m going to see how it goes. Take it slowly, drop the odd profanity, ease in an uncomfortable anecdote, then mention an illegal substance or two about three or four months in, when the novelty’s worn off they’re both bored of reading it.

That’s the thing though. What if they don’t get bored? What if no one gets bored? What if this actually goes well and people actually read my writing? Basically, I’m about 11 and a half thousand times more self-aware writing this post than I was spouting rubbish to no one in particular on WordPress at seven in the morning.

It’s horrible. Kind of like that slick-palmed ‘I’ve just sent an incriminating text to the wrong person and now I’m watching those bloody ellipsis dots flashing while they write me a reply that’s going to make my bum twitch’ feeling. Only this time, it’s not a text. It’s a friggin’ essay. And I did it on purpose.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that people read it. It’s been nice. Friends sort of asking about it, helpful advice proffered, etc.

‘Why don’t you write about fashion?’ said my sister.

Ha! My go-to look is lumberjack chic.

‘Current affairs?’ said the brother-in-law.

Um, sure. That could work. As long as he means ‘current affairs from the perspective of an ill-informed layabout who gets most of her news from Twitter’.

But that’s the thing. Even with something to write about, now that I’ve declared war on procrastination, it’s worse than ever. You see, they have Netflix.

It’s freaking awesome. I’m a box set glutton. If box sets were spaghetti I’d be the fat guy from the beginning of Seven face down in a bowl of them. And I’d have died happy.

Orange is the New Black. I love it! And if Obama can find time to watch it then I for one certainly can (see, I told you I get my news from Twitter). Plus, it features Jim from American Pie as a self-indulgent, lazy writer who wants to write about questionable sexual practices.

Sherlock. I’m going to say it, even risking the wrath of all those feisty Cumberbatches in the world, it’s crap. And I persevered, I really did. I wasted hours trying to get into the ridiculous cheese fest. It was better than writing about whatever I was supposed to this week (the tyre piece was reasonably well received, thank you for asking).

Luther. Good Lord, even worse. Who’s that duck-faced Alice bird? Idris, get back to Baltimore where you belong, you’re better than this!

Happy Valley. Not a Netflix one this, but iPlayer. Thank God for Sarah Lancashire. She’s badass, and she knows good grammar. It’s fantastic. It restores my faith in British drama. It makes me want to write (kudos, Sally Wainwright).

So the guilt sets in, the screen darkens for a second and I notice my reflection in the giant flat screen TV; unwashed, pyjama wearing, and, if I’m completely honest, eating my niece’s last Petit Filous while she’s in nursery.

That’s a new low. Even for me. So I peel myself off the sofa (after the episode’s finished, I don’t feel that guilty) and climb the stairs to my little cubby hole to get cracking. After I’ve had a shower. And come to think of it, my eyebrows could do with a pluck. And if I’m serious about this writing thing then maybe I should clean my room, you know, so I can concentrate…

Uh oh. Siobhan, you were going to write a BAFTA winning BBC crime drama.

This might take a while. Sarah Lancashire


Positive Procrastination Strikes Again


I do not love to write. My urge to do so is somewhat more akin to discovering a not-quite-ripe spot somewhere inconvenient to squeeze, you know, like on the really fleshy part of your cheek where it’s nigh on impossible to get a really good grip on the bastard. Any attempts to do so will leave you with a face pitted with angry crescent nail gouges, and eyes watering like you’ve been ‘cooking a lasagne… for one.’

My failure to burst said spot leaves me with a sense of general malaise and dissatisfaction at being thwarted by what is no more than a teeny tiny physical symptom of all of the bile I’ve been storing up for the last 27 years come to a head in a none too pretty, ever so nearly pussy (read pus-y, I just had to Google that and was very nearly sucked into a vortex of ‘Must See! Abscess, Pus, Painfully Disgusting!’ videos on YouTube that would have demanded at least 17 undivided minutes of my attention) enough, viciously pulsating boil that I’m quite sure I can see from the corner of my eye (if I close the other one and scrunch up my face just so).

No? Just me then?

After the aforementioned 27 years of mediocre short stories (in uni I was ‘the one that always writes about sex’), abandoned novels, WordPress blogs created then left unfulfilled in the back of the wardrobe like that adventurous dress you just had to buy and will definitely wear sometime, like, you know, when you actually go clubbing again like you used to when you were 21, I’ve decided that the only thing I have the absolute authority on writing about is, well, not writing.

This genius bolt of lightning struck me (cliché, abandon immediately in favour of something more witty) wait, wait, wait, well, to  stay with the bodily urge images that I’ve so vividly created for you so far, I’ll say ‘this idea struck me like a spine tingling, sweaty-thighed compulsion to pee upon waking from a saucy dream involving a James May-alike’, at 5am, after five hours fitful ‘sleep’ during which I avoided the writing that I’m actually supposed to be doing on the scintillating subject of… tyres. Hang on, at least that explains the James May dream, although I’d be lying if I said it was my first.

I suppose I should give you a bit of context here. Right now I’m sat up in a single bed, in the box room where I currently reside rent-free courtesy of my sister and her super successful husband, both who endure my hopelessness with wry bemusement and a sense of ‘well, at least we’ve got a free babysitter again.’ My sister is younger than me, by some three years, and is more together than anyone I know, but does occasionally like to remind me that my uterus is pruning by the day, and I only have so many fruitful years left to furnish my niece with the cousin she so desperately deserves before I’ll be forced to ‘do an Angelina.’

Anyway, I live here because I have no real job, no money, and slim to no prospects. A month ago I left my fiancé on the other side of the world some six weeks after he proposed to me because I was homesick and the only job I could get was on a cheese counter where I would have had to wear a hat, and sell cheese to people I despised only marginally less than Michael Gove, Liz Jones of Daily Mail fame, John Malkovich and Kevin Bacon (the last two are unfair, I only dislike them because I’m terrified of various characters they’ve played in their esteemed acting careers).

It’s OK, we’re still engaged. I think.

I was very nearly offered a proper job in New Zealand, in advertising, being mentored by a bigwig to come up with catchy campaigns to sell probiotic yoghurt or to people with nothing better to spend their money on, but I pulled out at the last minute because I didn’t ‘see myself’ as a big balls career bitch (which is obviously where that would have led… or so I became convinced).

That isn’t the first grown-up job I’ve run away from. It’s the, um, third. But more on those later.

Ah yes, the tyres thing. I do work. I’m a freelance writer of sorts, but this freelance gig means goes as far as writing exclusively for an online marketing agency on topics ranging from photocopiers to ‘fall-themed wedding favors’. Sometimes I even blog as a soccer mom for them, encouraging my peers to attend exciting tourist destinations I’ve never laid eyes on.

So that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. And it’s the last thing on earth I want to do. Maya Angelou died yesterday. She said, ‘Nothing will work unless you do.’ So I’m doing this. I want to do this. I woke up, I followed Caitlin Moran and Dawn O’Porter on Twitter. I embraced my inner Lena Dunham and thought, fuck it. Part confessional, part ridiculously premature memoir, here’s my car crash experience of being ‘the girl most likely to become Prime Minister, Corpus Christi High School, 2003,’ who wound up a self-pitying, lazy-arsed mess, who didn’t take her makeup off last night and now has another one of those not-quite-ripe spots that just begs to be fiddled with.

It’s time to squeeze that zit.