This writer & used books – A life-long love affair.

I love used books. I love the way they handle, the frayed edges, the scuffed covers. I love the way they smell, a little musty, smoky perhaps. New books are shiny and pristine, tempting me from the shop windows of the local Waterstones. But used books tell me a story, in addition to the one that’s printed on their pages. They tell their story, from the moment I pick them up and leaf through them, inhaling their unique scent when no one is looking (& still feeling a little weird, but that’s life). I’ve discovered hidden inscriptions on the inside cover, my favourite authors’ signature on a title page and bookmarks lost between the pages. A little present from the previous owner 😉 As a writer it’s these stories I treasure most. Newness has potential but it’s unused, unformed, uninteresting. I want frayed edges, coffee stained covers and cracks in the spines, of my books…


My copy of “Music for torching” by AM Homes smells a little smoky… My copy of “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker has poems scribbled in the margins… My copy of “Room” by Emma Donoghue came with a postcard bookmark… My copy of “The Almost Moon” by Alice Sebold has her signature on the title page… I love these books. They tell a story, even when I’m not reading. 😀





#JustLife, #Patreon, #WritingLife

When the student is ready the teacher will appear…

So I spent the last few days listening to the audiobook-version of Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking”, trying to get some advice on how best to go about this whole Patreon thing. Artistically we’re very different, I’m a writer, she’s a musician but at the end of the day we both want to do the same thing – make art and use it to connect with people. Insofar her memoir has taught me a lot about being fearless, asking for help and accepting that the answer might be no. All of this seems daunting to me, putting myself out there for the trolls to devour in the hope of reaching through to a handful of people who get me and my work. What gave me a little confidence boost, however, is that even the “Queen of Crowd-sourcing” Amanda Palmer admits that she was not born this way that she’s just reached the other side of a years-long process, where finally being vulnerable and trusting others not to take advantage of that has become natural, for the most part.

I’m not gregarious, my personal history has taught me that generally people are shit and it seems close to impossible to rewrite this conditioning. But I will try nonetheless because I’ve also learned that the “people are shit” attitude may protect me from those this sentence actually describes but it also makes me miss the ones who get what I do and that’s a damn shame. Most people are generally alright I guess, it’s just that most of the time we’re not thinking, too preoccupied with our own shit to empathize – I’m like that too sometimes but I still get upset when it happens to me. I’ll never get naked in front of a crowd so they can draw on me that seems like an odd idea to have, let alone go through with but it works for Amanda Palmer – so live and let live. Still when it comes to her Patreon, her social media presence and general attitude towards the people who fund her art I could do worse than put into action the advice she’s given me in “The Art of Asking”. Because like I said in the end we both want the same thing – to make art and make a connection.