Category Archives: books

reading them, writing them, lending them to your friends because they’re amazing (the books as well as the friends)

snow daze and more of the sailor

Oh, I do like to be beside the snowside! No wait, I’m sure that’s not how the song goes..

Yes, I have moved house. Yes, it snowed pretty much all weekend. Yes, that made the whole moving house process somewhat..interesting.

fun times ahead!

Do you see that shape at the bottom right hand corner of the photo? That’s my car, shortly before I removed just enough snow so that I could actually open the doors. Oh, and shortly before it started snowing again, but properly this time. Real snow that means business.

You might have gathered from the above that I was, perhaps, a little annoyed by the snow? Somewhat inconvenienced? Irritated by the white stuff falling from the sky?

Well, you’d be wrong. I’m actually screamingly excited, like a toddler on crack, about the snow. I’m just pretending to be bored and irritated because I’m supposed to be a grown up, and that’s what grown ups do, right? Continue reading



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popcorn, shiny things, and a house to live in

It is here at last! The great day when I can announce to you all that I have found a place to live! Yeeeeah 😀

In less yeah-worthy news, I am struggling to blog on my new toy. More on that in a minute; but for now, here’s the good news:

I have viewed approximately ten zillion and seventy-eight apartments and houses in the past few months. Regular readers will know of my terrible* trials during this time. It started with the stressfulness of packing my stuff up from the old place, and musing about how my possessions resemble popcorn, in my handy guide to what you shouldn’t do when moving house:

Spend more time staring at your pile of stuff, wondering how it got to be so big, than actually packing it. Like
how does this happen? It all fits into your living quarters (relatively) neatly, then as soon as you start placing it all in boxes, it goes BOOM and expands to ten times the size. Like when you make popcorn. Right? Except less tasty and less suitable for movie snacking. Also a lot heavier.

popcorn time :DUnrelated: here is a corn I popped on Saturday. Looks a little bit like a spider.

Then, a while later, when I had viewed a few places and become somewhat disheartened by all the FROTHINGLY BONKERS people and UNSUITABLE FOR HUMAN HABITATION houses there are out there, I did not hold back on how I felt about the whole thing:

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a revelation about the revolution; or, making writing easier

So you know I told you on Friday about my New Year’s Revolution?’s the thing. What I didn’t tell you was that I’d just bought myself a secret weapon in order to help me achieve the goals of the revolution. My secret weapon looks like this:  Pad of i

And it is already changing my writing life, and a few of my prejudices about what a writer should and shouldn’t do.

My pre-iPad writing habits:

  • I have a great idea for a story! But I’m in the middle of the supermarket/at a friend’s house/in the middle of the desert/somewhere else where I don’t have my laptop with me. Never mind, I’ll just write down my idea on my phone (using my trusty Evernote app), and then the next time I can get to my laptop I’ll write some more.
  • I could just write it down in my notebook, using ye olde pen and paper. But then I’ll still have to type it up later, because I like having all my writing in one place, and I find the words flow more easily when I’m typing than when I’m writing longhand.
  • But of course it takes me a while to get round to turning my laptop on, and even when I do there’s other things that need to be done first, emails that need an urgent reply, Facebook photos that need an urgent comment, awesome articles that need an urgent tweet; and it’s all too easy to let myself get distracted by the interwebz, because by the time I’ve actually got round to having my laptop in front of me, it’s usually several hours after the initial idea, and I’ve sort of lost interest in it. It’s still ok, I still think it has potential as an idea, but the urgent fire has gone, and with it my ability to withstand the temptations of a broadband connection.
  • So I have a lot of Evernote notes that contain brilliant ideas, that haven’t been developed. (I can say they’re brilliant because no one else has seen them so no one can disagree.)
  • I also have a massive sense of guilt that my brain appears to have no trouble producing story ideas, but I have a lot of trouble actually getting round to writing them.

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the 3 books you MUST read. or else

Much as I love those lists of 100 books you must read before you die, they’re always a bit…well, let’s just say I’m convinced the only purpose these lists serve is to make literary snobs (among which yours truly) feel 70% smug about how many books on the list they’ve already read, and 30% disappointed with themselves for not having read them all.

So here is A Different Daylight’s guide to the only three books you’ll ever need. If you’ve read 100% of them, I will love you forever and also come round to your house and bake a cake for you. Any cake you want*.

*actually I won’t.

In no particular order, then:

um, like, now. srsly. we NEED to talk

This is it. The big one. The book that changed forever (not that I wish to fall into the trap of journalistic clichés, but still) the way we look at children. Continue reading


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why i’m scared of writing

You know what scares me? Writing. It’s what I do for a living, and people sometimes say I’m good at it, but I’m terrified to do it each time in case this time it’s rubbish. I can’t think of opening a blank document, staring at a blank page. The pressure to be extraordinary is too much.

William Golding said of his writing, ‘I can only just do it, you know.’ That has always been me. I am always at the very edge of not being able to write; many times when I could write, I don’t, because I’m scared; so that the times when I do write feel like they have been clawed back from a precipice. I can’t imagine being prolific.

It’s the infamous, the terrible, the greatly-to-be-feared NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. Write a novel in a month! The tagline: Thirty days and nights of literary abandon! I am not the kind of person who could do that, I don’t think. I am about as far from that kind of person as it is possible to get without actually falling over.

But a story of a thousand pages starts with a single word. How could it ever be otherwise? A lot has been written about how important it is for writers and other artists to overcome their fear of failure, and just write. I realised recently that I always assumed that one day I will be able to ‘just write’, one day I won’t feel this crippling fear, one day I will not be a person who is afraid to write in case they get it wrong.

a collection of devotional verse

More and more, however, I don’t think that day will ever come; and more and more, I realise that that’s not a disaster. Being scared of writing is not the same thing as not being a good writer. I won’t say it’s a necessary precondition – although some have said that – but the one certainly does not exclude the other.

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