Chemex brewing for the caffeinated caterpillar

It’s a common generalisation that writers are fuelled by coffee. (I know of one or two who reserve the coffee for the editing part, but it remains part of their process.) I consider myself one of the unfortunates who was born with a less than optimal quantity of caffeine naturally present in the bloodstream, thus being obliged to consume more merely in order to obtain some semblance of normal function. I drink a lot of it, and therefore am particular about it. My beans are fresh ground at home in a burr mill grinder approaching its fourteenth birthday, and every …

Bathtime chat

“Do you think Hannibal uses TP or a bidet?” “Excuse me?” “He’s a serial killer, I know, ‘Don’t eat the rude’ and all that. But he’s, what, an aesthete, right?” “I really don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Hannibal Lecter. I just can’t imagine Hannibal Lecter using toilet paper. I mean, what brand would he buy? I don’t think he’d be won over by puppies. Does Claire Fontaine make toilet paper?” “Is this—” “Seriously. What’s the most expensive toilet paper you can buy? Also, do you think eating people makes a difference to the consistency of your poop? I can …

A Host of Sparrows

TODAY WE HAVE INTERNET. A ROO, A ROO, A ROOGA. Thus far in our new house, we have been adopted by the following garden birds: Edgar Allen Notacrow the blackbird and family, who observed us moving in and made sure we knew HE WAS HERE FIRST, SO MAKE SURE YOU BEHAVE BECAUSE HE WILL NOT STAND FOR ANY NONSENSE. Mr and Mrs Splashalot Songthrush. Mr Splashalot has Very Firm Ideas about what constitutes a proper bath. Mrs Splashalot is more restrained and thinks he’s an idiot. She REFUSES to bath with him because he GOES TOO FAR with all his …

NOT AT WORLDCON STOP NEED COFFEE STOP AM WRITING AGAIN DON’T WANT TO STOP

This weekend I should be in London, with thousands of other writers and fans of genre fiction. I’m not. I’m still at home in Scotland, where Summer is packing up the last of his bags and preparing to head south, while Autumn stands on the threshold tapping her foot in her impatience to get onto his wonderful carpets and cover them in kipple. Back at the beginning of April, my Dad was killed in a motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany. I was — am — devastated. The effect has been emotionally overwhelming. For the first time in my whole …