Competition News & Technology Triumphs

Delighted to learn I came second in the Writers Bureau short story competition with The Delivery Man.  You can read it and the other winning stories here. Congratulations to Glenda Cooper, who came first, and also to V Mackenzie and Kim Fleet placed third and fourth respectively.

I had recently failed miserably at an exercise in demonstrating ‘voice’ when I started writing this story.  So I set out to try and get the ‘voice’ right and keep it going for the whole piece. I was thrilled to receive this feedback via twitter:

Thank you, Shirley.

Please note, people, I now have a ‘follow me on twitter button’ here on the blog, and I have miraculously managed to ’embed’ the above tweet into this post. Achievements abound.

Still, enough about me.

I received this email from my mum this week.  Entitled ANTS, this is it, in its entirety:

“Take a look at

Diatomaceous Earth

for getting rid of ants…… and other annoyances! (like constipation!

xxxx”

Made me smile.

Procrantination

I had been studiously reading the newspaper while eating lunch. Doing two things at once. Very efficient.  Getting up to embark on my next task – yep, I was going to do some writing, having managed to avoid it all morning – I replaced the paper on the coffee table. Out of the corner of my eye it looked like the wood grain was fluid; the table no longer solid. Not me losing the plot. It turned out to be a mass of busy ants hurrying between the papers, tissue box and remote controls that hang about on there.  Further examination revealed many more milling about on the carpet and mountaineering up the table legs.

Not being an avid housekeeper, cleaning rarely makes it onto my to do list. As soon as it’s done you have to start again, much like gardening and decorating.  Best just to let a certain fuzzy sludginess build up, I find. Although, if people are coming to stay, I do actually shift the need to clean up to the top of my list and get round to doing (most/some of) it. In acknowledgment of my general lack of housewifely qualities, I had chosen a neutral (okay, dust coloured) carpet with flecks in it, including, rather cleverly I thought at the time, black flecks, to disguise the black sock fluff that gets everywhere since everyone in the household now wears black socks. Because the winter has gone on and on, and we’re all still wearing socks in June, there’s more sock related fluff than ever, providing ample camouflage on ant day.

It takes quite a long time to catch ants. Perfect procrastination for a Monday afternoon. Once you remove one from its path the others get giddy and gad off in all directions.  In the end, I gave up on being humane and was down on my hands and knees with the sticky roller used to remove ginger cat hairs from dark clothes, and on occasion from the cat himself. (He seems to enjoy it; perhaps I could set up a cat spa.)

Cat and Carpet

Cat and Carpet

Anyway, the roller was also very effective at catching ants, although perhaps cruel.  I felt like I’d committed genocide, and of such an industrious and non-procrastinatory species. They do just get on with it, ants, don’t they?

I suppose my sticky clothes roller approach to ant catching is a more modern, handheld version of my grandfather’s method of dealing with the same problem.  He used to tie sticky paper round the trunk of the plum tree to catch insects making their way up towards the fruit.

Still, I’m feeling very wary about karma. It’s strange being god-like and all powerful over something so much smaller than yourself.  I don’t like it at all.