Choices in Non-fiction

The Body in Pain by Elaine Scarry
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

I don’t read much non-fiction (I don’t read non-fiction), so I decided to pick up these books for some inspiration and all-round ‘let’s not feel too dumb this year’.

The Body in Pain is part critique, part philosophical essay on the nature of human suffering, and the way pain is presented in the world. Scarry divides her book into three main proponents:

  1. the difficulty of expressing physical pain
  2. the political/perceptual complications that arise from those difficulties
  3. the nature of human creation

(lifted and paraphrased from her intro)

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is exactly what is says on the tin. Einstein’s theories, probability, quantum, the structure of the cosmos (etc, from what I can remember in my head).

This might be an interesting time to tell you that I took one science for A-Level (Biology) and got a straight set of impressive U’s on my end of year exams. So at least I know how to spell my name, am I right guys? Amirite?!

If anyone cares this is a close-up of the blanket I’ve been working on. I’m a certified hooker – I just love hooking. Innuendos aside and all, I have a penchant of starting projects at the beginning of the correct season, and ending them at the start of a wrong one, so I’m going to have two sweaty little nephews using this in the summer.

Look at it. It’s just so fluffy. I want to eat it. It’s like marshmallow.


To Heart. Love, Mind.

Our path has run off-kilter and into the wilderness
Digging a grave so deep into the earth
We might just reach the core in time
To save what is left of our unbalanced war
So we drive dangerously close to the edge
And spiral, periling through the past we wrote in pain.

We had a focus.
Affixed by fingers and hearts and souls
But we strung ourselves along until we broke each other
Prolonging the time we would take to mend;
And reach the center of our fragile road
To find happiness
So I could witness the smile on your face
The way it had once been.

I mourned a year and a year and a year
To the point we’ve reached of healing.



Fight Me/Drunk Rant

Slipped toppling out that taxi cab
War wounds bashed over knobby knees and elbows
Clinging to my mate with the bloody gashed chin
Fight me baby I dare you.
I’m wasted, face it, taste all that whiskey
It’s tricky, risky, miss me in the morning
Once the sun shows and I blunder my way home…

Hangover vodka waiting by the bedside
Table, unstable, tripping over cables
Words on backwards and clothes written forwards
Fight me, really, I dare you.

Remember that night where we got it all wrong
Ten shots down and still standing strong
Botching words, unheard by the crowd and music
Pounding out
So damn loud.


Nooooooooooooooo remember that one night in uni you just got so hammered and starting mixing letters in your rum? Yikes.


This Poem Is Out. Of Rhythm.

The metric of your beating heart is
Slightly out of sync
And creeping back and forth on toes.
Expose the fact you cannot tell a single
Flipping truth.

Your beating heart no longer drumming
Humming out of sync
And sweating drops of liquid lies
Despite the very efforts you still can’t
Bite on honesty.

Feeble heart all out of rhythm
Hidden in its cage
And thumping hard to get let out
And doubt the things you keep on spewing, undoing
All your fiction.


On failing lie detector tests.

Why does it feel like writing gets harder and harder the more you do it? Shouldn’t you find it easier once you get into the swing of writing day after day – or am I driving myself into a writer’s block pit?


A.M. Working Girls

Pretty little pity girl
You’re all dolled up in six inch heels
Reeling from the alcohol
And crying tears that sparkle.
Impartial to those naughty boys
Who spoil but cheat and hurt you
Throwing glitter on your wounded pride
Riding on torn coattails.
Oh pitiful little pretty girl
That glitz rubbed off your knickers
The liquor’s soaked right through your eyes
Surprising those who knew you.
Your hearty party glamour plans
Fell through when he debased you
Blue flecks of glitter streaming down
Don’t worry, you’re just dreaming.


Not all that glitters is gold.

book review

Book Review – The Saxon Stories – Bernard Cornwell

The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell

Having watched one and a half episodes of The Last Kingdom on BBC iPlayer, I decided that I needed these books in my life. Not just the first (which would have been a more sensible approach to reading) but the first five, which I found on sale (and as a bargain-lover, I just had to buy them).

I’ve never been particularly absorbed in historical fiction and have often found it hard to focus on books of this genre, but Cornwell just happens to be a God among God-writers when it comes to drawing readers in to his tales.

The Saxon Stories (or Chronicles) follows the life of Uhtred (son of Uhtred, son of Uhtred, who is, surprise surprise, son of another Uhtred) of Bebbanburg, born a Saxon but raised a Dane by the great Earl Ragnar. His fate is entwined with that of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, the first King to dream of a United Kingdom with hopes of merging Wessex, East Anglia, and Mercia.

To Alfred, Uhtred swears an oath that changes his life forever, and we learn that fate is inexorable. Uhtred’s destiny is set out for him, and he must decide between the life he loves, and the life he is sworn to serve (and just so you all know, that last bit is taken from the back of the book because book blurbs like to remind me every damn time what’s up with Uhtred.)

It’s not only the historical accuracy of the Anglo-Saxon period that Cornwell gets absolutely spot on. His vivid descriptions of battle (I’m just done reading about the Battle of Ethandun), and his rich knowledge of Vikings and Saxons brings the story to life and makes me feel like I want to fight in a shield wall and spill someone’s guts out with an axe (It’s all very harrowing stuff.)