Kindles, grumbles and market days

I’m starting today’s blog with a grumble, not a rant, just a grumble. I don’t grumble often but today I’m a tiny bit unhappy. I have decided to get an ereader. Mainly for Mum so she has access to lots of books on something that enables her to enlarge the font and read easily without having to hold large books. It will also allow me to check my books and read the occasional ebook too. So far, so good…. but remember, I am at the bottom of the earth.

One of our electronic stores (actually Australian) called Dick Smiths has been advertising a Kindle on TV. So yesterday, as I was in Hamilton, I went and had a look. They have two different sorts on offer, the basic Kindle 6″ wifi and the Keyboard Kindle. I found the basic one a bit annoying, with things to press on the sides to turn pages etc.

Being a cautious shopper (ha!) I had a look at other shops that stock ereaders, most have the Sony and one had the Kobo Touch. I fell in love, it is gorgeous! And SO easy to use and only $10 more expensive than the basic Kindle.  So I want a Touch ereader…but I want an Amazon Touch. I want access to the Amazon library. But I can’t have one. They won’t ship to little ole New Zealand and the chances are, it won’t work so well here. I’ve been trying to find out if anyone on the Kindle boards had one delivered to a US address and posted on and is happily using it..but you need a US credit card billing address.

There’s one thing left to check, to make sure that if I purchase my Kobo Touch through the book chain Whitcoulls, I’ll have access to the international Kobo website or just the Whitcoulls website, where the books are limited, all expensive and there are no free ones. If I can access Kobo proper, then it will have to be a Kobo Touch. Remember, this is basically for an 88 year old, so it needs to be simple to operate and I’m thinking the $200 range, so not an ipad or anything with loads of bells and whistles. I want to read ebooks and turn pages by touching the screen and have access to a vast library of books…but I live at the bottom of the earth.

Grumble over. Today is the best Trash and Treasure market day of the year, the Christmas one! The streets will be packed with stalls, there’ll be people singing carols and playing bagpipes (not at the same time) and giving away mince pies (maybe). I’m looking for containers for our new obsession, “The Christmas Project.”  Found some great ones at op shops yesterday and will finish the ‘gathering’ part of the project today. Over the next couple of weeks we move to phase two, the ‘cooking’ part!!

My favourite tweet of the week “Marks and Spencers new advert states that it wouldn’t be Christmas without M&S. They’re right. It’d be Chrita.”

Today’s writing tips come from A.L. Kennedy. Alison Louise Kennedy. She’s a Scottish writer and a Costa Award winner. She writes novels, short stories and non-fiction and contributes to newspapers and is a Professor of Writing at Warrick University. I like that she writes a ‘fictional diary for her pet parrot’, could there be any other kind?

 1. Have humility. Older/more experienced/more convincing writers may offer rules and varieties of advice. Consider what they say. However, don’t automatically give them charge of your brain, or anything else – they might be bitter, twisted, burned-out, manipulative, or just not very like you.

2. Have more humility. Remember you don’t know the limits of your own abilities. Successful or not, if you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life – and maybe even please a few strangers.

3. Defend others. You can, of course, steal stories and attributes from family and friends, fill in file cards after lovemaking and so forth. It might be better to celebrate those you love – and love itself – by writing in such a way that everyone keeps their privacy and dignity intact.

4. Defend your work. Organisations, institutions and individuals will often think they know best about your work – especially if they are paying you. When you genuinely believe their decisions would damage your work – walk away. Run away. The money doesn’t matter that much.

5. Defend yourself. Find out what keeps you happy, motivated and creative.

6. Write. No amount of self-inflicted misery, altered states, black pullovers or being publicly obnoxious will ever add up to you being a writer. Writers write. On you go.

7. Read. As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and irritatingly as you can. And the good things will make you remember them, so you won’t need to take notes.

8. Be without fear. This is impossible, but let the small fears drive your rewriting and set aside the large ones until they behave – then use them, maybe even write them. Too much fear and all you’ll get is silence.

9. Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.

10. Remember writing doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on

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