the master .

As I’ve gotten more into the scene of blog-writing, -searching, and -creeping, I am left with one very important question. . .  

Why doesn’t Marian Keyes have a blog?
Seriously, it breaks my heart because I love her so much. Her words, her stories, her perfect chick-lit voice. The way she organically combines tragedy and comedy. I’d trade my right pinky nail for that kind of talent. (And believe me. . . my right pinky nail is my BEST nail.)
She doesn’t “tweet,” either. So I’m left with nothing.

I just want to hear her voice. Okay? Is that so wrong? Or weird? Reading her stories and books and even listening to them on audio isn’t enough anymore.

For those of you who know me, know that I quote MK practically every day. (See: Feathery Strokers.)
My sister and I were planning a trip to Ireland this summer. Secretly, I was hoping we would somehow run into MK on the street somewhere. Like maybe in her favorite chocolate shop; we’d both reach for the last caramel truffle, and then laugh nervously (wondering which of us would give in first), and then become best friends. She would confide in me all her secrets about writing the perfect novel, and then maybe she’d share with me the contents of her handbag–which is the truest test of friendship.

Until that wonderful day, please, allow me to share. . .

“I never wear flats. My shoes are so high that sometimes when I step out of them, people look around in confusion and ask, “Where’d she go?” and I have to say, ‘I’m down here’.” —Anybody Out There?
“You know what it’s like. Sometimes, you meet a wonderful person, but it’s only for a brief instant. Maybe on vacation or on a train or maybe even in a bus line. And they touch your life for a moment, but in a special way. And instead of mourning because they can’t be with you for longer, or because you don’t get the chance to know them better, isn’t it better to be glad that you met them at all?” —Watermelon 
“They say the path of true love never runs smooth. Well, Luke and my true love’s path didn’t run at all, it limped along in new boots that were chafing its heels. Blistered and cut, red and raw, every hopping, lopsided step, a little slice of agony.” —Rachel’s Holiday

“What is life but fleeting moments of happiness strung together on a necklace of despair?” —This Charming Man

the master .

As I’ve gotten more into the scene of blog-writing, -searching, and -creeping, I am left with one very important question. . .  

Why doesn’t Marian Keyes have a blog?
Seriously, it breaks my heart because I love her so much. Her words, her stories, her perfect chick-lit voice. The way she organically combines tragedy and comedy. I’d trade my right pinky nail for that kind of talent. (And believe me. . . my right pinky nail is my BEST nail.)
She doesn’t “tweet,” either. So I’m left with nothing.

I just want to hear her voice. Okay? Is that so wrong? Or weird? Reading her stories and books and even listening to them on audio isn’t enough anymore.

For those of you who know me, know that I quote MK practically every day. (See: Feathery Strokers.)
My sister and I were planning a trip to Ireland this summer. Secretly, I was hoping we would somehow run into MK on the street somewhere. Like maybe in her favorite chocolate shop; we’d both reach for the last caramel truffle, and then laugh nervously (wondering which of us would give in first), and then become best friends. She would confide in me all her secrets about writing the perfect novel, and then maybe she’d share with me the contents of her handbag–which is the truest test of friendship.

Until that wonderful day, please, allow me to share. . .

“I never wear flats. My shoes are so high that sometimes when I step out of them, people look around in confusion and ask, “Where’d she go?” and I have to say, ‘I’m down here’.” —Anybody Out There?
“You know what it’s like. Sometimes, you meet a wonderful person, but it’s only for a brief instant. Maybe on vacation or on a train or maybe even in a bus line. And they touch your life for a moment, but in a special way. And instead of mourning because they can’t be with you for longer, or because you don’t get the chance to know them better, isn’t it better to be glad that you met them at all?” —Watermelon 
“They say the path of true love never runs smooth. Well, Luke and my true love’s path didn’t run at all, it limped along in new boots that were chafing its heels. Blistered and cut, red and raw, every hopping, lopsided step, a little slice of agony.” —Rachel’s Holiday

“What is life but fleeting moments of happiness strung together on a necklace of despair?” —This Charming Man

Writing Inspirations – chick lit

Why I love chick lit
“I’m surprised you’re not married, Flora.”
“Oh?”
“You’re lovely and you can cook. What more can a man ask for?”
“It’s not what more a man can ask for, Charles, but what a girl can ask for. These days women are not prepared to settle for mediocre. There has to be a good reason to give up her freedom and independence.”
–Katie Fforde, Flora’s Lot

“It made me aware that I didn’t have a man and made me wonder if perhaps there isn’t something missing in my life.”
“Oh? What?”
“Love, companionship, that sort of thing…..And I may be quite wrong. A lot of women are totally satisfied and happy being single these days. But I thought I might have a boyfriend for a while and see if I like it.”
–Katie Fforde, Second Thyme Around

“But the trouble with falling in love was that it was involuntary, and no matter how well you knew it was a bad idea, if it was going to happen, it happened, and you couldn’t prevent it, however much you wanted to.”
–Katie Fforde, Practically Perfect

“There are some things I don’t understand about Jess and never will. No wedding dress. No flowers. No photo album. No champagne. The only thing she got out of her wedding was a husband. (I mean, obviously the husband is the main point when you get married. Absolutely. That goes without saying. But still, not even a new pair of shoes?)”

–Sophie Kinsella, Mini Shopaholic

 “It was more to do with the way she had taken control of her own future. She had seized it, given it a good shake, and forced new things to happen. Poppy was fearless, impulsive, and determined to make the most of every moment. She seldom bothered to worry about what might happen if she got something wrong.”

–Jill Mansell, Perfect Timing

“Rejection was bad enough on its own. To be buck-naked and rejected was the complete pits.”
–Jill Mansell, Perfect Timing
“I can’t help feeling as if there’s something missing in my life. But I don’t know what it is. And the harder I look, the more I can’t find it because there’s just too much pressure and not enough time… I’ve bottled all this stuff up for so long that now its as if I’ve lifted off a lid and it’s all pouring out. It’s like I’m always playing catch-up. I rush through my life exhausted and anxious and worried all the time. Not to mention hungry.”
–Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives of Charlotte Merryweather
“Age and experience haven’t made me this wise old master; it’s made me this anxious, strung-out thirtysomething who worries about everything. Whose life is completely out of balance. Whose forgetting how to have fun. And who spends her life reading self-help books trying to find herself when she was here under her nose all along.”
–Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives of Charlotte Merryweather

“I love television. I mean, I do other things, it’s not like I just sit on my own and watch TV all day long, but there’s really nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a good take-away and “Friends” or “Cheers” or something.”
–Gemma Townsly, When In Rome

“…Like when I go to the doctor, I’m always convinced the doctor thinks I’m wasting her time. The moment I sit down I forget what my symptoms are, and end up apologizing and leaving, only to remember that I’m almost dying of food poisoning.”
–Gemma Townsly, When in Rome

“He just wasn’t……The One. It’s a funny business isn’t it? You can lineup ten thousand men and know immediately that nine hundred and ninety of them aren’t your type. so then you’re left with ten who are possibles and you have to narrow it down by a process of elimination, And it can all be going really well, you can think someone’s perfect in every way, then they do or say one tiny thing that makes you realize you could never have a relationship with them.”

–Jill Mansell, Rumor Has It

“You shouldn’t call a  handbag a purse. A purse was what people used to carry coins in the sixteen hundreds…..A bag, on the other hand, is meant to be seen.”
–Candace Bushnell, The Carrie Diaries

“How can you relax in front of someone who doesn’t think you’re enough?”  
–Kim Grenenfelder, There’s Cake In My Future

“Man, I hate writing. I mean, you know, I love being paid to be a writer. I love reading what I’ve written. I love telling people at parties that I’m a writer. I just don’t so much like the writing part. As a matte of fact, lately, I hate all of it. Seriously, why do people ever want to become writers?”
–Kim Grenenfelder, There’s Cake In My Future

“I knew that one day my life would be entirely different; full of feelings and friends and laughter and color and with an almost entirely new cast to the one currently peopling it. I was wholly certain that someday there would be another man and more children and a different job and a proper home. I had no idea how I would get from the small, bare life I was now living to the full, colorful one I envisioned. All I knew was that it would happen. But right now it was a long way away, happening to a different Lily, and I was in no rush for it.” 
–Marian Keyes, The Other Side of the Story

Writing Inspirations – chick lit

Why I love chick lit
“I’m surprised you’re not married, Flora.”
“Oh?”
“You’re lovely and you can cook. What more can a man ask for?”
“It’s not what more a man can ask for, Charles, but what a girl can ask for. These days women are not prepared to settle for mediocre. There has to be a good reason to give up her freedom and independence.”
–Katie Fforde, Flora’s Lot

“It made me aware that I didn’t have a man and made me wonder if perhaps there isn’t something missing in my life.”
“Oh? What?”
“Love, companionship, that sort of thing…..And I may be quite wrong. A lot of women are totally satisfied and happy being single these days. But I thought I might have a boyfriend for a while and see if I like it.”
–Katie Fforde, Second Thyme Around

“But the trouble with falling in love was that it was involuntary, and no matter how well you knew it was a bad idea, if it was going to happen, it happened, and you couldn’t prevent it, however much you wanted to.”
–Katie Fforde, Practically Perfect

“There are some things I don’t understand about Jess and never will. No wedding dress. No flowers. No photo album. No champagne. The only thing she got out of her wedding was a husband. (I mean, obviously the husband is the main point when you get married. Absolutely. That goes without saying. But still, not even a new pair of shoes?)”

–Sophie Kinsella, Mini Shopaholic

 “It was more to do with the way she had taken control of her own future. She had seized it, given it a good shake, and forced new things to happen. Poppy was fearless, impulsive, and determined to make the most of every moment. She seldom bothered to worry about what might happen if she got something wrong.”

–Jill Mansell, Perfect Timing

“Rejection was bad enough on its own. To be buck-naked and rejected was the complete pits.”
–Jill Mansell, Perfect Timing
“I can’t help feeling as if there’s something missing in my life. But I don’t know what it is. And the harder I look, the more I can’t find it because there’s just too much pressure and not enough time… I’ve bottled all this stuff up for so long that now its as if I’ve lifted off a lid and it’s all pouring out. It’s like I’m always playing catch-up. I rush through my life exhausted and anxious and worried all the time. Not to mention hungry.”
–Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives of Charlotte Merryweather
“Age and experience haven’t made me this wise old master; it’s made me this anxious, strung-out thirtysomething who worries about everything. Whose life is completely out of balance. Whose forgetting how to have fun. And who spends her life reading self-help books trying to find herself when she was here under her nose all along.”
–Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives of Charlotte Merryweather

“I love television. I mean, I do other things, it’s not like I just sit on my own and watch TV all day long, but there’s really nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a good take-away and “Friends” or “Cheers” or something.”
–Gemma Townsly, When In Rome

“…Like when I go to the doctor, I’m always convinced the doctor thinks I’m wasting her time. The moment I sit down I forget what my symptoms are, and end up apologizing and leaving, only to remember that I’m almost dying of food poisoning.”
–Gemma Townsly, When in Rome

“He just wasn’t……The One. It’s a funny business isn’t it? You can lineup ten thousand men and know immediately that nine hundred and ninety of them aren’t your type. so then you’re left with ten who are possibles and you have to narrow it down by a process of elimination, And it can all be going really well, you can think someone’s perfect in every way, then they do or say one tiny thing that makes you realize you could never have a relationship with them.”

–Jill Mansell, Rumor Has It

“You shouldn’t call a  handbag a purse. A purse was what people used to carry coins in the sixteen hundreds…..A bag, on the other hand, is meant to be seen.”
–Candace Bushnell, The Carrie Diaries

“How can you relax in front of someone who doesn’t think you’re enough?”  
–Kim Grenenfelder, There’s Cake In My Future

“Man, I hate writing. I mean, you know, I love being paid to be a writer. I love reading what I’ve written. I love telling people at parties that I’m a writer. I just don’t so much like the writing part. As a matte of fact, lately, I hate all of it. Seriously, why do people ever want to become writers?”
–Kim Grenenfelder, There’s Cake In My Future

“I knew that one day my life would be entirely different; full of feelings and friends and laughter and color and with an almost entirely new cast to the one currently peopling it. I was wholly certain that someday there would be another man and more children and a different job and a proper home. I had no idea how I would get from the small, bare life I was now living to the full, colorful one I envisioned. All I knew was that it would happen. But right now it was a long way away, happening to a different Lily, and I was in no rush for it.” 
–Marian Keyes, The Other Side of the Story

Writing Inspirations – Marian Keyes

With Day #1 of NaNoWriMo in the can (5263 words. Thank you, fans),  my moist, excited and spongy brain can’t help but keep recalling and drawing upon some of my favorite novel passages, moving song lyrics, and clever turns-of-phrase (or is it turn-of-phrases? I don’t know, I’m still rather brain-fried.)
Marian Keyes is a writing hero of mine. Through her books, she shows  how a story can be depressing, heartbreaking and just plain tragic, yet warm, light and hilarious at the same time. Quite a skill. Parts of her novels can sometimes be a beating, but I always laugh, usually cry, without exception discuss it in detail with other MK fans and take careful notes.

Here is a passage I’ve loved for years, and one I share with friends pretty often, because the term “Feathery Stroker” has been part of my vernacular since the first time I read Anybody Out There?

“Jacqui’s Feathery Stroker test is a horribly cruel assessment that she brings to bear on all men. It originated with some man she had slept with years ago. All night long he’d run his hands up and down her body in the lightest, feathery way, up her back, along her thighs, across her stomach….And so the phrase came about. It suggested an effeminate quality which immediately stripped a man of all sex appeal….Far better, in Jacqui’s opinion, to be a drunken wife-beater in a dirty vest than a Feathery Stroker.
            Her criteria were wide and merciless—and distressingly random. There was no definitive list but here are some examples. Men who didn’t eat red meat were Feathery Strokers. Men who used post-shave balm instead of slapping stinging aftershave onto their tender skin were Feathery Strokers. Men who noticed your shoes and handbags were Feathery Strokers. Men who said pornography was exploitation of women were Feathery Strokers. (Or liars.) Men who said pornography was exploitation of men as much as women were off the scale. All straight men from San Francisco were Feathery Strokers. All academics with beards were Feathery Strokers. Men who stayed friends with their ex-girlfriends were Feathery Strokers. Especially if they call their ex-girlfriend their “ex-partner.” Men who did Pilates were Feathery Strokers. Men who said, “I have to take care of myself right now” were screaming Feathery Strokers. (Even I’d go along with that.)
            The Feathery Strokers rules had complex variations and subsections: men who gave up their seat on the subway were Feathery Strokers—if they smile at you. But if they grunted “Seat,” in a macho, non-eye-contact way, they were in the clear.
            Meanwhile, new categories and subsection were being added all the time. She’d once decided that a man—who up until that point had been perfectly acceptable—was a Feathery Strokers for saying the word groceries. And some of her decrees seemed downright unreasonable—men who helped you look for lost things were Feathery Strokers, whereas no one but extreme Feathery Stroker purists could deny that it was a handy quality for a man to have.
            Funnily enough, even though Jacqui fancied Luke something ferocious, I suspected he was a Feathery Stroker. He didn’t look like one, he looked like a tough, hard man. But beneath his leather trousers and set jaw he was kind and thoughtful—sensitive, even. And sensitivity is the FS’s defining quality, his core characteristic.”

Writing Inspirations – Marian Keyes

With Day #1 of NaNoWriMo in the can (5263 words. Thank you, fans),  my moist, excited and spongy brain can’t help but keep recalling and drawing upon some of my favorite novel passages, moving song lyrics, and clever turns-of-phrase (or is it turn-of-phrases? I don’t know, I’m still rather brain-fried.)
Marian Keyes is a writing hero of mine. Through her books, she shows  how a story can be depressing, heartbreaking and just plain tragic, yet warm, light and hilarious at the same time. Quite a skill. Parts of her novels can sometimes be a beating, but I always laugh, usually cry, without exception discuss it in detail with other MK fans and take careful notes.

Here is a passage I’ve loved for years, and one I share with friends pretty often, because the term “Feathery Stroker” has been part of my vernacular since the first time I read Anybody Out There?

“Jacqui’s Feathery Stroker test is a horribly cruel assessment that she brings to bear on all men. It originated with some man she had slept with years ago. All night long he’d run his hands up and down her body in the lightest, feathery way, up her back, along her thighs, across her stomach….And so the phrase came about. It suggested an effeminate quality which immediately stripped a man of all sex appeal….Far better, in Jacqui’s opinion, to be a drunken wife-beater in a dirty vest than a Feathery Stroker.
            Her criteria were wide and merciless—and distressingly random. There was no definitive list but here are some examples. Men who didn’t eat red meat were Feathery Strokers. Men who used post-shave balm instead of slapping stinging aftershave onto their tender skin were Feathery Strokers. Men who noticed your shoes and handbags were Feathery Strokers. Men who said pornography was exploitation of women were Feathery Strokers. (Or liars.) Men who said pornography was exploitation of men as much as women were off the scale. All straight men from San Francisco were Feathery Strokers. All academics with beards were Feathery Strokers. Men who stayed friends with their ex-girlfriends were Feathery Strokers. Especially if they call their ex-girlfriend their “ex-partner.” Men who did Pilates were Feathery Strokers. Men who said, “I have to take care of myself right now” were screaming Feathery Strokers. (Even I’d go along with that.)
            The Feathery Strokers rules had complex variations and subsections: men who gave up their seat on the subway were Feathery Strokers—if they smile at you. But if they grunted “Seat,” in a macho, non-eye-contact way, they were in the clear.
            Meanwhile, new categories and subsection were being added all the time. She’d once decided that a man—who up until that point had been perfectly acceptable—was a Feathery Strokers for saying the word groceries. And some of her decrees seemed downright unreasonable—men who helped you look for lost things were Feathery Strokers, whereas no one but extreme Feathery Stroker purists could deny that it was a handy quality for a man to have.
            Funnily enough, even though Jacqui fancied Luke something ferocious, I suspected he was a Feathery Stroker. He didn’t look like one, he looked like a tough, hard man. But beneath his leather trousers and set jaw he was kind and thoughtful—sensitive, even. And sensitivity is the FS’s defining quality, his core characteristic.”