Generally, projects

I told you in my previous post that this blog doesn’t necessarily address any of my general interests and concerns in a concerted fashion. Well, I address them, I just don’t focus on any one to the exclusion of all else, which makes sense, as it’s pretty much how I live my life (and sometimes how I love my life). Still, I do have interests and plans and projects, and if you’ve any desire to read along with me, you might as well know some of them.


So. It’s my project at the moment to read every book that has ever been shortlisted for, or won, the Orange Prize for Fiction. Why the Orange Prize? Well, it gets less recognition than the Booker; the books are cheaper; it’s a great way of finding new authors who I haven’t read before, and who are usually quite literary even if I don’t necessarily like their work; and it’s a great way of prioritizing female writers. It isn’t that I solely read female writers – in fact I tend to be rather gender blind and not recognise or recall the gender of the author of any book I read – but I am aware that women tend to be marginalized by prizes such as the Booker, and by the writing and publishing world more generally. So this is my way of making sure I don’t fall prey to that common problem. At the same time, as the Booker is awarded to authors writing from within the Commonwealth, I also prevent myself from becoming entirely indoctrinated by American culture. The books are still skewed to the Western view of the world, but I avoid the intense capitalism and consumerism of the USA. A small mercy.


I also have more creative projects. I never learned to sew at school, despite wanting rather badly to be put in the textiles stream, it never seemed to work out for me. I learned to hand sew on my own, which has gotten me through, but I really need to be able to use a sewing machine if I intend to get anywhere in this arena. And so, this weekend I am taking my first sewing class at a local community college. Apparently we’re learning to make a shirt. Once I’ve become rather more accomplished with the sewing machine, I’m planning to make some new curtains for my new bedroom, as the ones I’m currently using a) belong to my flatmate and b) are a rather dreary shade of black. My new ones will be dark pink, because that’s a friendlier colour.


I also have a project where I would very much like to make something for the daughter and new baby of some rather wonderful friends of mine. Since they’re of very tender years, it needs to be entirely baby friendly, which is more difficult to do than I had thought. I do know what I want to make them… it’ll be cute and fluffy and distracting… but I don’t want to go into any further detail since they’re known readers of this blog. Hi you. I love your daughter.


In addition, I generally have environmentalist plans. It’s hard to commit to a specific target or plan, living in a shared, rented house, but it’s always my aim to live a more environmentally friendly life. At the moment I’m focussing on trying to reduce our electricity bills, starting a worm farm / compost for kitchen scraps, and getting a kitchen garden going. The last is going to include as many herbs and vegetables as I can make happen in a small garden plot in a shared courtyard behind a terrace in inner city. It may be challenging, but that will make it all the more interesting! Now, does anyone have a remedy for an onion weed infestation? We have a problem like I’ve never seen before, onion weed bulbs the size of garlic bulbs. I may be mildly frightened of them.


I’ve also an ongoing project to become a better cook. I’m a vegetarian with food allergies, so this continues to be an interesting challenge, particularly living in a house with omnivores. Cross your fingers for me. 🙂


Finally, it’s my aim to blog here – and for the magazine [i]Overland[/i] – more often. This blog has existed in various incarnations in years past, but never received enough time or possessed enough of  theme to be successful. Now I’ve given up on themes and grand schemes in favour of writing about things that I am doing, that make me happy, that might someday inspire other people.


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