Thursday, 16 May 2013

Catch Up

I have finally finished my marking which means I can resume editing the as-yet-nameless novel (next time I'm going to decide on a name *first*). 

I also need to start to think about how to approach a very exciting short story commission and an essay on The Book of Mormon Musical which I saw earlier this year (an hilarious, blasphemous, yet extremely affectionate portrayal of Mormonism and Mormons which left me with a jumble of happy/sad, uncomfortable, nostalgic feelings). 

Sweet Home update:

Sweet Home didn't make the Edge Hill Prize shortlist, but many congratulations to the collections that did (see here for details). It might just be the most exciting shortlist the prize has ever seen. I've looked at stories by four of the six shortlisted authors with my students this year (clearly I have excellent taste!) and I reviewed Hitting Trees With Sticks for the Short Review and wrote a feature piece about The Stone Thrower for Thresholds. I can't wait to hear who has won (I've got a favourite, but I'm not telling). 

Robaroundbooks has been profiling collections that were longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. You can click on the link to his blog to read his thoughts on Sweet Home which is profiled alongside Fireproof and Other Stories by Celeste Auge, Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry, Catching the Barramundi by Rebecca Burns and Tea at the Midland by David Constantine (collections pictured below). 

Fireproof by Celeste Auge (Doire Press) Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry (Jonathan Cape) Sweet Home by Carys Bray (Salt Publishing) Catching The Barramundi by Rebecca Burns (Odyssey Books) Tea at the Midland by David Constantine (Comma Press)

Treadmill desk update:

I'm still walking as I work. It's a bit addictive to be honest and it's starting to feel odd when I sit down to work.

The desk space is big enough to hold huge piles of student essays, stories and a rather odd PC solution (while I decide what to do about my ancient, but very much loved laptop). I've got a monitor propped up on packs of A4 paper so it's at eye level which works well (there's probably a more aesthetically pleasing solution, but I'm quite happy with it like this).

I've walked more than 40 miles in the past 3 weeks. I had expected the total to be higher and I think it may have something to do with the amount of time I've spent reading and marking student work - I found I needed to walk really slowly as I did this, sometimes at .5 mph - perhaps slower speeds are necessary for contemplation.  

Now that I'm finally back to editing my novel (hooray) a steady 1.4 mph seems to be working pretty well and I take back what I said previously about not being able to eat or drink while walking - it's actually pretty easy (although probably not recommended). 

The children love the desk. They like to take it in turns to use it for homework - and anything that makes homework more enjoyable gets a massive thumbs up from me.


  1. In the interests of keeping your coffee in its cup while using the treadmill, this article might be of use to you:

  2. Brilliant! I haven't spilled anything yet because, as per the article, I have been walking very slowly and not watching my feet - I'm clearly a natural :)

  3. I'm interested to see how this affects your neck and back when working, I suffer from neck tension which limits the time I can spend at my desk. What's your experience?

  4. I find it's fine for my neck (although I don't really have any specific neck problems). I imagine the desk might work well for neck tension due to the fact that it can be raised until the computer monitor is at eye height. The only negative effect I experienced was knee pain for a few days (probably the shock of exercise!) but it's okay now.