Sunday, 1 May 2016

SELLING YOUR HOUSE – THEN AND NOW.

I.              The Stager
The last time we sold our house and moved on was forty years ago. Things have certainly changed since then.  To motivate potential buyers you must stage your house. This is how I did it 

THEN. Before a showing 
  • I ran the vacuum cleaner over visibly dirty spots and my palm over visibly dusty surfaces. 
  • I rinsed the dirty dishes and didn’t just leave them on the rack. I put them back into the cabinet! 
  • I yelled at the kids for tracking mud into the hallway. 
  • I yelled at my husband for napping on the couch with the pages of the newspaper spread over his chest. 
  • I yelled at everyone: “Pick your clothes up from the floor." 
  • I prayed for many showings, not only to get the house sold, but because this was the only time it looked decent.

NOW.  A professional stager walks through your house.
  • She requests you to remove (a) all doilies (b) half of the knickknacks (c) any paintings with nudes or religious figures which might offend people of another persuasion. 
  • She will also ask you to remove area rugs and show as much floor space as possible or at least reposition them so that they will guide the visitor’s eye toward a desirable object. 
  • She will randomly remove at least one piece of furniture from each room, either to improve the layout or to assert her authority.
  • She will counsel you to place an urn with hot pink flowers at the front door (Why do urns remind me of funeral homes?)

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE? Never mind the price and location of your house. People will make you an offer because of the way you have arranged your furniture or because they can’t resist hot pink.


Stay tuned for the next instalment as the For Sale sign goes up.

Friday, 29 April 2016

#AMREADING JOSEPH CONRAD, HEART OF DARKNESS AGAIN AND FINDING SOME HEAVY STUFF.



Some of narrator Marlow’s remarks that hit the mark:

When I saw a spot that looked particularly inviting on a map, I would put my finger on it and say, When I grow up I will go there.

It’s queer how out of touch with truth women are. Really?

Passing the coast on his ship: There it is before you – smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, Come and find out.

Keeping up with the demoralizing times. I respected the fellow. Yes, I respected his collars, his vast cuffs, his brushed hair. His appearance was that of a hairdresser’s dummy, but in the great demoralization of the land he kept up his appearance.

Retelling your dreams. No account of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, the commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is the very essence of  dreams.

Reacting to an inarticulate howl. It was ugly enough, but there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it.


Feigned grief.  He considered it necessary to sigh, but neglected to be consistently sorrowful.

(image from 2.bp.blogspot.com)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

#AMREADING LIAM DURCAN, THE MEASURE OF DARKNESS. A MEDICAL MYSTERY?

Martin Fallon, architect, emerges from a coma and finds his brain an unreliable narrator of his life.

He is told to keep a “recovery journal”. Christ, a phrase that practically carried its own air quotes along with all the other carefully balanced baggage carts of self –congratulation and self-pity.

He has to relearn movements. The gesture of nodding arrived naturally in his head. It was an act slower than simply nodding, a movement that Martin felt could be sustained indefinitely, even incorporated into his everyday routine. Useful even for swallowing pills.

He ends up walking down into a road ditch without quite understanding the purpose of his movements. His voice rose, seeming to his brother to have the same tonal quality, the same visceral timbre, of an animal in distress. It was a sound that touched him almost more than the fact that it came from his brother. The sound demanded action.

Martin remembers:
The women at the party, a cluster of lakeside doyennes and their monumental spouses, the clique of legacy lakesiders. This group was offset by another category of female guest that struck him as oscillating with the energy of striving for some urgent yet mysterious goal. Their silent, sullen husbands followed a step behind like cut-rate bodyguards.
April in Moscow.Wet snow was not uncommon this late in April, the tail end of a winter snapping one last time on the city. It was a threat acknowledged on the face of every Muscovite. A grim refusal to be caught out in one’s hope.

The suicide attempt. It was no longer a mere incident clouded in amnesia, but an event he could construct, richer and sadder and more cinematic than any simple recollection of events.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

#AMREADING DAVID BUTLER, CITY OF DIS.

This story of an innocent going through a series of doomed relationships offers some brilliant definitions:
  • Celebrity: Someone who is known by people he doesn’t know
  • Poetry: A branch of astrology which takes itself seriously
  • Animals: Reptiles – lifeless fossils, hippo –a snout in the steaming water, wolves – in perpetual motion animated by ancestral hunger
  • Absence: The imagined presence of the other, so delicious, so soon short-circuited by reality
  • Potential: He always gave the impression that he was rising toward an aphorism. But as usual, the aphorism failed to materialize.
  • Helplessness: A pond with sides too steep or slippery to climb out. You scramble at them, but you never lift yourself much above the water.

Friday, 8 April 2016

LAUNCH OF MY NEW NOVEL, THE INQUISITOR'S NIECE, AND GOOD-BYE L.A.!
POSTER IN THE WINDOW OF BOOK SOUP
ANSWERING QUESTIONS AFTER THE READING


READING FROM THE INQUISITOR'S NIECE

AFTER THE READING, WITH  FRIENDS