How I fell in love at first sight

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Image: Pixabay

Do you believe in Love at First Sight?

Personally, I never believed. You see, I think to claim to be in love – really in love – you need to get to know the object of your desire a little first.

You have to discover that yes, he too went to a street party for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee where he ate sausage rolls and took part in a three-legged race. That he too watched Tiswas on Saturday mornings. That he bought Space Dust from the corner shop on his way home from school and instead of making it last, tipped the whole sachet onto his tongue and pressed his mouth up to his best mate’s ear so they could share its slightly painful, explosive joy.

You have to know that he loved Blackadder and The Young Ones, loathed Bernard Manning and Terry and June. You have to find that you both love guitar music and curry.

And that, even if you disagree on a few of the details, you bascially see the world the same way.

I’ve always thought that this Love at First Sight thing was pretty superficial. That all anyone is saying when they use this tired old cliche is that their primal instincts have kicked in and told them this largely symmetrical, fit, healthy person has strong genes. And maybe that person’s genes would look pretty good all mixed up with their own  …

So, Lust-At-First-Sight-As-A-Way-To-Make-Your-Genes-Live-On-Into-The-Next-Generation? Yes, I believe in that.

At least, that’s what I thought. Now, my whole life view might just have been turned upside down.

The object of my affection is small, medium build, brown with a healthy shine and a spotless, perfect exterior. 

But this isn’t a superficial, base craving. I looked past this beautiful ‘packaging’, to what was within, and from the very first word I was hooked, smitten, obssessed – yearning for the times when I can slip beneath the covers and spend time with my new love, enjoying every thrilling moment …

Shall I tell you the name of my obssession? It’s Neverwhere.

What do you mean, that’s a weird name for a man? What’s that got to do with it? Oh, I see. No, no my dears, my new obssession is entirely of the paperback variety. And shame on you for thinking otherwise …

You see, I so often find with books that it takes me a while to buy into the premise, or to begin to care about the characters, or to get caught up in their plight. I can spend chapters reading slowly, with little enthusiasm or drive, feeling more than a little Meh about what’s happening to whom, where, when and why.

Maybe I read too many of the wrong books too often*. But not this time.

From the beginning of Neverwhere** by Neil Gaiman, I knew I was going to love it …

 Eldritch old Scots women predicting dark futures involving doors, a young woman on the run, two sinister strangers with a penchant for knives and rat dinners all overlaid with humour as black as a midnight walk in a sewer

What’s not to love?

So, here’s a question for you chaps. How quickly have you fallen in love with a book? After the first chapter? The first page? Paragraph? Sentence? Or do you need to get to know a book before you fall?

***

*To be fair, I felt the same about the last book I read – The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. Victorian London, brothels, prostitutes, dark filth-filled alleyways and prose you could melt into. Yum.

**Yes, I know. For a woman who claims to love all things dark, I’m coming very late to this Gaiman-shaped party. What can I say? I’m an idiot.

 

 

 

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We’re going on a cave hunt… Writing Caves #4

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I love being in bed. Not like that, saucy!

I just enjoy that soft, warm feeling that only hiding in your bedroom brings. Not that my bedroom’s anything glamorous. No four-poster, cushion-jungle, Barbie-bed shenanigans for me.

For a start, we’ve too much ‘stuff’ to keep the room clutter-free, so against one of the walls are boxes of books due for the charity shop, toys my son no longer plays with now he’s surgically attached to a games system when he’s not at school, bags of old clothes that are awaiting the imaginary car boot sale which we really are going to do one day… You get the picture.

Then, on my side of the bed is THE NEST. THE NEST comprises stacks of old notebooks, numbered and in the date order they were completed, along with the index book I use to record what’s in each one, so I at least stand a tiny chance of finding old short story/ novel ideas I had three years ago, but never had the time to complete (It’s one of the few areas of my life/ writing/ existence on this planet where I’m a tiny bit organised.)

Also in THE NEST are two stacks of books I-keep-meaning-to-read-but-haven’t-quite-got-round-to-yet. These include The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, several Booker nominees (which I’ve eschewed for years in favour of Suzanne Collins, Ben Aaronovitch, Neil Gaiman and tons of other great authors who will never be nominated for that esteemed prize). There’s a book of Greek Myths, a Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, which I’m just too chicken to read at night-time.

Then there’s the box of as yet unsold copies of Still Me*, the anthology of short stories and poems my writing group, All Write Then published a few years ago, testament not to the quality of the writing, but to how thoroughly useless I am at promotion. There’s also a pack of 200 business cards- Lynn Love:Author (Ha!Ha!)- which I misguidedly bought for my one and only foray into book fairs. Sold not a single book and it wasn’t fair!

THE NEST is a messy dust trap, but it encapsulates my love of books and writing (successful and really, very not so) and I love having it so close to me at night. Maybe I’m hoping the talent from all those Bookerists will leech out of the paper and into my brain as I slumber.

Anyhoo. Despite being a mess, my bedroom is great for writing in.

Imagine. It’s the weekend, early morning. The family are up and about because even though they don’t need to be, neither of them can sleep in when there are computer generated aliens to slay/ cities to build/ race tracks to conquer. I’ve had my first wee of the day (lovely), switched on the WIFI (a mistake for someone so easily distracted) and with freshly brewed tea in hand, sneak back upstairs for a couple of hours of tip-tapping on Dominic Silversteak**. The sun streams in (on a good day), I’m separate enough from my loved ones to concentrate, and close enough to hear them laugh/ argue/ moan about having to do their homework.

Bliss.

Bed- the Writing Cave of champions!

*If you’d like to purchase a copy of Still Me, they’re available from our publisher, Pewter Rose Press at a very reasonable price. All proceeds go to the Alzhiemer’s Society, so you’ll be buying quality and doing a good deed- hurrah!

**You’ve not been paying attention- Dominic’s my laptop, not the lover I keep in the airing cupboard.