Gazette column: It’s time we all got some manners

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about manners and how, despite the hectic pace of modern day life, we should never, ever forget them.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Are manners falling to the wayside or do you find people still as polite as ever? Do, indeed, manners still matter? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: The book pulping has to stop

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of 

Photo of a Diarya Hopeful Author…

Call me old-school, but I like books. Not simply the e-ones, although, to be fair, they are amazing, increasing, as they do, the universal access to reading and information and the wonder that is knowledge. But books, the ones with spines and pages and the heady scent of learning – they are something else. And so, I bring to you this week – whilst  I swim in the deep end of my final book edit -a piece I wrote back in June 2012 for an old ‘Media Monday’ post, all about how Manchester Central Library were going to cull their book stores, pulping them, just like a similar proposal for New York Central Library.  Have a read and see what you think. I, meanwhile, shall go edit another 20,000 words…

 

“They’re pulping all the books” – Media Monday post – June 2012

Book pulping. Is it a) a new a Tarintino film; b) a fist-fight at a literary festival; or is it c) the shredding of books from a library. Well, this week, Manchester Central Library has found itself in a pulping mess after – in an open letter to the Head Librarian (you can read it here) – a host of eminent literary names called for a halt to the destruction of thousands of library books from the vaults of the long-standing library.

According to The Guardian, it turns out that for the past 18-months, Manchester Central Library has been culling – pulping – its stack of non-fiction books because renovations for the elegant domed building have not included enough room for, well, all the books.  You’ve got to question what on earth they were they thinking when the renovation decisions were being made. Just imagine the meeting where they discussed the library’s future. ‘Right, so, we need to renovate, yes?’ Cue murmurs of agreement. ‘It’s going to cost £170million and take three years. It will look fabulous. Any other considerations? Anyone? We’ll have enough space, right? Right? Great. Custard slice?’ Hmmm.  The thing is, I understand why libraries

Manchester Central LibraryManchester Central Library – but where are the books?

have this predicament. The more books they have, the more space to store them becomes an issue – it is a problem the New York Central Library is experiencing right now in their own renovations process.

But the point of a library is to have books. And those books are used by the people to learn, to expand their knowledge. Take older books away and you take away a history, a timeline of information and a generation of experience and thought. It turns out I’m not the only one who thinks this way. In their open letter, the literary figures said: “We are concerned that far too much of the irreplaceable collection is in danger of being lost forever. We demand that the current destruction of stock is halted and that a thorough investigation of the library’s disposal policy is carried out.”

In this age of the digital book, there is a clear argument that the use of books via such media can provide constant access to literature resources whilst saving valuable space and money. This I agree with in many ways. But to destroy old books, just like that, with no consultation with the public who use them and in many ways you could argue own them? That’s wrong. Would artifacts be destroyed from a museum? Or Royal documents or jewels be scrapped? Of course not – so why these books?

The Manchester Central Library was built in the Great Depression as a symbol of hope, its vast circular inscription reading “exalt wisdom and she shall promote thee”. Maybe, before they destroy any more books, the powers that be should stop and read that inscription for a second. At least it’s one set of words that can’t be pulped – I hear stone’s is hell to pick out of a shredder.

 What do you think? Should books be pulped or kept?

 Out on Thursday “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog…*

My Citizen & Echo column: The Women’s Football Show & the dismaying of my heart

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about Women’s Football and, specifically, the new BBC TV show of it that was aired last month and how, despite my tomboy genes, I have a dismayed heart. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other weekend stuff on there, too.

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday.

Your thoughts on the airing of Women’s Footie? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: When is too old to drive?

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about driving as we get older, the responsibility of it, asking when, really, is too old to drive?

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Should all ages be allowed to drive or should there be a limit? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

My Citizen & Echo column: Snogging in public – eeew, please, no

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about PDAs – public displays of affection – and how, for me, it’s just a snog too far. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other weekend stuff on there, too.

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday.

PDA or not? Which side are you on? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Solve both speeding & obesity – walk like Laurie Lee

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about Laurie Lee and how, we can take a leaf out of his book and walk more instead, that way we can reduce speeding and obesity some 80 years after the author was born.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Is walking more the solution? Or is today’s society just too fast and demanding for walking? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: How to be a better proof reader. Sort of.

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I bring good news. Well, it’s good news for me; you, however, may not share in my celebration, unshackled,as you are, by the endless workings of this blooming novel, but still – I shall share with you. Yes, the news is that I’ve (finally) finished the 3rd edit round of my book – and I am mighty pleased. Edit three was an additional, character development edit layer, where I worked on the main character, her traits and general characterisation throughout the book. And while I’d like to think – after reviewing 90,000 words and cutting to 70,000 – it was over, I’m having to slot in another final edit, a vital one: edit number 4 – the proof check. Be afraid.

So, while I work on that to a deadline, I bring you to a post I wrote back in January on my traditionally, and quite frankly, rubbish proof reading skills – and how to get better at it. (Top tip: when proof checking grammar etc, I read it in the voice of a robot. I do. I sound daft as a brush, but it works. God, this life.) Enjoy!

“How to be better at proof reading. Sort of…” (January, 2013)

It’s been all about the edit this week. But not as we know it. Last week I (finally) finished my second novel, and while I’m chuffed to bits, I am relieved not to look at it for a while because the amount of things to do while I wrote it have been piling up around my head – the biggest of which is my first novel. ‘Honey,’ my hubbie says as he reads through my weekly column before I send it to my editor, ‘I corrected a few mistakes there for you.’ I nod my weary head and take the laptop from him.

You see, as well as not being able to cook for toffee (I burn soup), I am utterly rubbish at proofreading.  I’ve mentioned this slight downfall of mine in this blog before and how it is a bit of a pain, considering my profession. It’s a bit like a doctor saying diagnosing isn’t their strong point, a government saying it’s not really the best at closing tax-haven loopholes (little bit topical there, see…) or a dog not quite being able to aim at the lamppost correctly – it’s supposed to be what they do.

It’s because of my little weakness that I find myself in the frantic position of having to re-edit my first book, The Boy Who Played Guitar. The fantastic thing about publishing on to Amazon has been that it has put me out there and given me amazing feedback on what I can do. I’ve been lucky; everyone has been positive. The reviews have been good and readers have loved the heart-warming, sad tale, the twists, the turns, the characters. The only downside is the odd mistake littered here and there because of, quite frankly, my crap proof reading skills – and readers deserve a well-proof read book with as little mistakes in it as possible. I did proof read the book before I self-published it – and it got amazing feedback from literary agents – but the thing is I did it all my myself, pulling an all-nighter to do so, so that, by the time I reached the end of the novel, I was bleary-eyed, grumpy and unable to check a my kids’ homework for errors, never mind a piece of writing. In fact, have you spotted any mistakes in this piece? No? Go on, have a look…See, told yoo…

One of the most crucial things I have learnt since first publishing my book is this: get someone to help. Anyone will do. Your neighbour (I did), your mates, parents, spouse (it only causes a few arguments, so…) Just be ready for some clear, honest critiquing and always pick someone who is going to tell it to you straight. Best not pick a politician then. I have been proof reading The Boy Who Played Guitar now since Saturday and it’s – touch wood – going okay. I did stay up until 2 a.m. on Saturday night, but got so tired I had to have two cat naps to keep going. When it got to my eyes dosing off for the third time I decided to call it a day, well, night – I’d make more mistakes proofreading half asleep, and believe me, I can make mistakes at the best of times (just ask my kids…).

Our youngest is off ill today, so I’ll spend the day catching up with paperwork and emails while I keep an eye on her (sore throat – poor poppet) That means I should be able to finish proofreading tonight and all day tomorrow. After that, I’ll be ready to re-upload it to Amazon and then? Contact as many blogs I know who take submissions of books for review. A scary thought, but highly essential. Once that’s done, it’s back to more editing, but this time of my second novel. Dear God, no wonder I’m cream crackered. ‘Mum,’ says our youngest, ‘I’m cream crackered, too.’ Her voice makes me jump – she is behind me, reading as I type. ‘Honey, you snuck up on me.’ She smiles. ‘Sorry.’ Then, as she gets back into bed, she says, ‘Mum, you spelt ‘you’ wrong in paragraph three.’ I look. She is right. She’s 8-years old. Told you I was rubbish at proof reading.

 Have any proof reading top-tips to share? Do let me know – I need all the help I can get…

Out on Thursday “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog…*

My Citizen & Echo column: Why Miss.Piggy is my feminism hero

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about Miss.Piggy and how, as an icon of my childhood, she is the true feminism hero. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other weekend stuff on there, too.

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday.

Miss.Piggy – a feminist hero or not? Who’s your hero? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**