Emma is currently...

  • Addicted to: Fruit and nut mix
  • Listening to: Band of Joy - Robert Plant
  • Reading: Naples '44 - Norman Lewis

Sunday, 15 November 2009


You know when you have one of those moments that are so intensely humiliating you can't stop thinking about it for days afterwards and cringe every time you think about it? Yeah, those ones. The last time I had one was in Year 12 when I got onto the bus without realising I had stepped in dog poo, then realised by the time it was too late and the whole bus was full except for the seats in front of and behind mine because it stank so much, and I had to endure the whole journey with everyone laughing at me.

Well, I had another one of those moments today.

After a few days at home I came back to uni today. I'm at the train station, about 30 seconds away from missing my train, wearing heeled boots and carrying a heavy bag, my laptop and a suitcase. And I have to run. So I stagger to the escalator in my heels, and the escalator is full of people. I realise with delight that it is my chance to be like one of those busy and important-looking people you get in Waterloo station who run down the left of the escalator going "sorry, sorry, excuse me" while everyone else stands on the right like a lemming.

So I hoist up my suitcase, say "EXCUSE ME!" in my most busy-and-important voice, and begin to run down the left of the escalator. Then I trip, wobble in agonising slow motion for what seems like an eternity, before tumbling down the escalator in the most spectacular fall anyone has ever seen. I sort of crumple like a rag-doll against my suitcase, limbs sprawled everywhere, and then roll down the handrail of the escalator until the moving steps deliver me in a heap to the bottom. I look to see the other people on the escalator watching me with blank, dead eyes. I then have to endure the further humiliation of scrabbling around on the floor to find my ticket, which I discover I have somehow managed to tear in half on my way down.

On the plus side, I make my train with about five seconds to spare. Red-faced and wheezing, I collapse in a seat after staggering down the aisle like a drunk person, rolling over several people's feet with my suitcase on the way. When the inspector comes to check my ticket, he laughs and says, "This one's seen better days, hasn't it?"

I laugh myself every time I think back on it, even though it was humiliating at the time. That's why I thought I'd share it with you all.

Saturday, 14 November 2009


Just a quick update on everything...

NaNoWriMo is not going well. Oh, I'm keeping up to speed with my word count. But I realised, about four or five days in, that my novel is painfully bad. I'm going to keep on writing it, because that's the point of NaNo, but it really is painfully, painfully bad. For one thing, I wanted the allegory to be subtle. It is not. It is a massive saucepan-in-your-face allegory. It's like using...I don't know, a banana for a phallic symbol. Everyone gets it instantly. It is not subtle or clever or funny. It is just awful.

And it's boring too. I know the point of literary fiction is that nothing happens. But good literary fiction makes the things that do happen so intense that the reader doesn't get bored. In mine, it's just that nothing happens. I just spent about five pages describing my narrator sitting at the kitchen table drawing a picture of a car. This event had no significance whatsoever. I just wanted to reach my daily word quota so I padded it out with as much suffocating flowery description as my poor fingers could muster.

Oh gosh, I feel so sorry for whoever insists on reading this. I hope that will be no-one, but every time I have to explain how I can't have a social life because of NaNo to one of my friends, he or she will say, "Oh, you have to let me read your novel when it's done!"

I dread writing it every day. It's like a fat, ugly, screaming child that demands my attention, and the more I feed it the fatter and uglier it gets and the more it screams and wails and bangs its fists against the table. I can't wait until November 30th when it finally shuts up!

I haven't done my writing yet today. The fun is still to come. Today I've been busy spending some quality time with John Donne, writing an essay about his Holy Sonnets using what is quite possibly the oldest, dustiest, most obscure book the university library possesses. It was the last relevant book left on the shelf and I'm pretty sure dead moths fell out when I picked it up and prised open its withered, yellow pages. It appears to be covered in the elaborately cursive inscriptions of the last person to read it, who must have studied at the university sometime in the 70s, or possibly the Dark Ages. This was my fault for waiting until the last possible moment to crawl out of my bedroom and drag myself to the library, by which time all the decent books were taken by keen people. Now I've got to make the best of what I've got.

It is 5pm and I have written an epic 421 words. I am now going to take a break and maybe have some tea. Life is good.