Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 17/03/2015

Sir Terry Pratchett OBE, 1948-2015

So. . . what can I add to all that’s been said and written about Terry Pratchett since his death last Thursday?  I honestly didn’t expect him to die quite so soon, Alzheimer’s or no.  I’ve known people with the same disease last many more years, dwindling away until all that’s left of them is their malfunctioning body, while their mind – their essence, if you like – left a long time ago.  While I am sad that he’s gone, I wouldn’t have wanted that for him, and I’m sure there are few of his fans who would.  The man himself would have sorted out his own passing long before that point came, I’m sure.  And while it’s heartbreaking that we’ve lost him at a relatively young age, the alternative would have been agony for him and his family, so I can’t really wish that he were still with us.

I don’t have the full collection of Pratchett books.  But I do have an Amazon wishlist which is now rather Pratchett-heavy!  And I’ve gone back to the Discworld novels (which my flobby fingers keep wanting to type as “Discoworld” – I think he may have missed a trick there. . .) for comfort reading.  As many other fans have said, he aten’t dead while we still have his books, and given how many copies have sold over the years, and how many millions of fans he has, I don’t think he’s going to be really dead for a long while yet.  This is one of those moments where I genuinely regret not having children – think of the fun I could have had, introducing them to Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Sam Vimes, Death et al. et al.!  I’ve read so many posts on sites in the last few days from people who came to Pratchett via their parents, or who have introduced him to their children.  It’s wonderful to have that shared love of an author.  I know we shouldn’t judge each other (unless we happen to be sitting in a big chair in a big room wearing a robe and a wig, but that’s another matter), but I doubt I’m the only reader who judges other people by what they read, or who their favourite author is, and a love of Pratchett can go a long way towards cancelling out other annoyances I might notice in someone 🙂

Self-hosted blogs on WordPress can add a “GNU Terry Pratchett” banner to their sites, but for us minnows swimming in the shallows of it may be a while before the good people at WP HQ make it available to us as a plug-in.  In the meantime, I will continue to read, appreciate and love my Discworld novels, and give thanks for the life and work of Terry Pratchett.  RIP.

Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 15/02/2015

Setting up shop..

Setting up shop...

Some lovely abstract work by this artist.  Now where did I put my pencils. . .?

Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 04/11/2013

A short snippet about my cats

Yesterday (Sunday), I felt a little like Cassandra Mortmain at the start of I Capture the Castle, only I wasn’t sitting in the sink, but on the sofa.  But my notebook was resting on a fleece throw (Christmas 2011 vintage), and I was writing at a downward angle because my lap was occupied by the cats.  One sat, guard-like, on my left thigh, glaring at the coffee-table, while the other groomed herself as assiduously as she could while balancing on my right leg.  If I’d been typing this up at the computer, instead of scribbling illegibly in a notebook, no doubt the two of them would have been sitting on the keyboard.  Which might have made for an interesting blog post, I suppose. . .

ImageCats do not make a good writing surface!

Watching how they seemed instinctively to know just how to get in the way most infuriatingly, I wondered again at how easily they can develop separation anxiety even before I’ve left the room – I can only assume that’s what’s going on when I come back, usually a few minutes later, and find they’ve colonised my seat.  At least it keeps the seat warm for me, and it doesn’t take long for them to stroll back onto my (admittedly rather ample!) lap.  One of them gets particularly lonely for my company at around 6.00am every day, and then does a great big “Touch me not” routine when I eventually get up.  SLOC has decided that she’s the one he’s going to turf out first.  The other one will get to stay, but only because I’ll have turfed SLOC out before he can get to her. . .

 Anyway, speaking of I Capture the Castle, much as I’d love to live in a castle, I don’t think I could hack it in winter, not if my weediness about spending the season in a city cottage – albeit one with storage heating only – is anything to go by!  This weekend we had our first real cold snap and I had to put on my fingerless gloves in the house.  It’s only the 4th of November; what on earth am I going to be like in January?



Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 01/11/2013

November is my favourite month, I think

I’m supposed to be doing NaNoWriMo. . .again.  As in previous years, I will probably start out writing plenty for the first week and then let RL get in the way.  So I am going to try (for the nth time) and keep this blog more up-to-date than I’ve been doing.  Short posts, nearly every day – not weekends, because I’m not online at home – and we’ll see where we are at the end of the month. . .

Anyway, just to give this post something of a point, my novel-writing effort this year will be on a work that I’ve had festering away on various bits of paper (including, one drunken Christmas night when I got all inspired, a paper bag from the local card shop) for around six years now.  It might even be longer, because I can’t remember if I had the first idea for it when I was still living in England and missing home, or it came to me after I’d moved back.  I will be spending the weekend trying to work out what the story is actually about!  I’ve written vignettes over the years, and I know who and what my two main characters are, but beyond that I got nuthin’ 🙂

Have a good weekend!

Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 18/09/2013

Why You’re Never Too Old to Read Children’s Books

Why You’re Never Too Old to Read Children’s Books

No need for me to add anything, it’s all there in the article 🙂

Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 09/08/2013

Holy crap, it’s been a year!

It’s been a year since I last posted on this blog. . . A whole year. . . And six days, but who’s counting those? In that time I’ve written one full short story, I think, and that’s just flash, so it’s under 500 words. I’ve gone on with two longer stories that have been fermenting quietly over the years, and that’s it. And I call myself a writer? Some bloody cheek, if you ask me!

One of the writing books I dip into has some useful writing prompts in each chapter, and one of them is to write about my “creative self”. So who is the Creative Me? I’m not sure, but if I were to draw a self-portrait, I think it would have to be a half-finished pencil sketch!

I’ve begun lots of writing projects over the years, but have very few finished pieces to show for it. I think this is down to a few key factors:

I’m a dilettante. I start things, and then turn into a dun-coloured butterfly and flit away to something else, then something else, then. . . well, you get the picture. The end result is that I have lots of good ideas, some strong story openings, but hardly any strong endings.

I’m not sure I’m any good. So I don’t stick with the pieces I start writing because I convince myself there’s no point in completing them.

I’m a perfectionist. I can’t believe I’d say that about myself, but there you go! Just because everything in my life isn’t “just so” doesn’t mean I don’t want it to be. I think I’m frightened to put in the effort to finish things off, because I worry that it won’t be right in some way. Instead of just finishing a piece of work and putting it out there, I fret over it and discard it because it wasn’t perfect first draft. Now, who on earth ever gets it right first time?!

I don’t want it to be thought that I never change what I’ve written, or revise it. The crossings-out in my manuscripts would make a liar of me if I did! I think I am nervous at the prospect of writing something “big” that will need editing, expanding, revising, rewriting. . . But I’m also excited by that! I picture myself doing serious rewriting, frustrated by the task but also energised, eager to see how the next draft of my story turns out, wondering if I’ll think it’s better or worse than the previous version. I just haven’t developed the habit of slogging at my writing yet.

So, what now for the budding author? Habit-forming, I think. Five minutes or so a day of writing to begin with, even if it’s just about writing, but anything to get me thinking and creating. Then type it up, put it on a memory stick, and upload to the blog next day. I haven’t managed to stick to that just yet: I’ve been writing, but keeping it to myself.  Today begins Phase Two of Operation Start Bloody Writing, Woman!, where I actually upload something I’ve written (and leave it up on the blog, not come back later on and delete it!).

So, to quote the Top Gear chaps, on that bombshell. . . here is the first bit of five-minute writing I’ve done in the last week, complete with <gasp!> revisions and editing and whatnot.  Now all I need to do is hit the “Publish” button 🙂

Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 03/08/2012

Focus On: Fiction and Poetry Blogs

Focus On: Fiction and Poetry Blogs.

As this is just today’s Daily Post, I’m sharing it to my own blog so I don’t lose it!  Short but with plenty of links to useful pages and sites.  I’ve fallen out of the writing tree recently, so I need all the inspiration I can get to start me off again!

Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 03/08/2012

Top Ten Bookstore Pick Up Lines

Sadly, I’ve never been on the receiving end of any of these chat-up lines. My life is an empty shell, clearly 😉


Ah, Letterman.



10. Care to come back to my place for a little Dickens?

9. When you’re tired of dating “speed readers” call on me.

8. You’re pretty nicely stacked yourself.

7. Have you seen a copy of Tax Tips for Billionaires?

6. Who’s your favorite Karamazov Brother?

5. I’ve got a great reading light next to my bed.

4. I can bench press a whole stack of James Michener novels.

3. While you’re turning those pages, mind if I lick your finger?

2. You’re hotter than Emily Dickinson in a tube top.

1. Is that an unabridged dictionary in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

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Cork City Council unanimously backs gay marriage in landmark vote | Irish Examiner.

Very proud to be a Corkonian today!

Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 28/06/2012

Swells, waves, rocks and rolls

Swells, waves, rocks and rolls.

Interesting article in the Irish Times about how the Aran Islands may have been formed.

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