Thursday, 30 July 2009

You're the bookish type, aren't you?

It's official. I'm writing my first novel.

Now, before you click on Ebay to buy me the prosthetic nose that Nicole Kidman wore in The Hours, let me set the record straight:I'm not aiming for high art, this is going to be more of the chick-lit/book-for-the-beach type rather than a candidate for the Man Booker Prize.

More Bradshaw than Atwood.

I'm planning to call it As the Actress Said to the Bishop and it'll be partly based on this blog - but with loads of other stuff thrown in for good measure.

I don't know about you but when I think of writers, I always picture them writing away in the garden shed, or at some fancy desk. The point is, writing is meant to be a lonely task. The challenge I've got is that in order to gather material, I need to be out and about and interact with people.

I'm starting off with a bang: attending a casting workshop followed by a play at Soho Theatre with Paula Wilcox and drinks after! There's Glyndebourne later on this month and fly fishing in early September but I don't think that's going to be enough. So, must fill up the diary between now and then.

And then on to the fun stuff: finding a literary agent, talking to publishers, and getting it on the shelves in time for next summer!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

"I've only got one wrinkle and I'm sitting on it!"

... said Jeanne Calment to a reporter shortly before her death (age 122) in 1997.

I hope this is because either she couldn't count or the wrinkling process somehow reverses when you pass 1oo... otherwise, I have to contemplate the fact that I have more wrinkles in my 30's than a 122 year old.

Or maybe it was a quip on her part.

I don't know about you, but my sense of humour (which is tenuous at the best of times) completely disappears when it comes to signs of ageing. The occasional silver hair, the first wrinkles around the eyes, fine lines around the mouth, age spots, general sagging... and that's just on the head!

I know, they sell miracle creams and there's Botox, or even facelifts for the foolhardy. But that all costs money. The credit crunch solution is to avoid all mirrors or reflective surfaces (and don't be tempted to take a peak in the side view mirrors!) and photographs (of yourself - obviously - not all photographs) - unless the lights are dimmed and there's a smear of Vaseline on the lense.

Then there's the difference between the stuff you know and expect from reading up on it in girlie mags --- you know, the articles that say: in your 20's., in your 30's, in your 40's, in your 50's... I remember seeig those in my early 20's and not even bothering with them. Then in my late 20's I started to read up what might happen in my 30's. Now, I can't bear to read about what might happen to me in my 40's let alone my 50's! (Apparently your earlobes and tip of your nose start sagging...)

--- and the stuff that takes you by complete surprise. Did you know that from your 30's onwards, if you go on a diet, your face falls off? Literally. One of the first things to go is the layer fat in the lower part of your face that keeps things looking plump and youthful. So you have to choose: nice bottom and flat belly or nice face. I'd rather have Nigella Lawson's face - wouldn't you? (Alternatively, you can have fat sucked out of your bottom belly and thighs and injected back in your face. I'd still rather look like Nigella.)

So until gene therapy comes to the rescue, I think I'll be sticking to a sensible diet, peppered with a few treats, and an endless supply of anti-ageing serum, day and night repair creams, face yoga and low lighting...

Having said that, I'm going to keep my options open: Wokey Hole are advertising for a witch to live in a cave as a tourist attraction (cackling is a must) and they're paying £50,000 a year.
Skinny and rich... just like Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor ordered.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

You're looking really good.

"You're looking really good."

Me, lying on the rug in my pyjamas: "Hmmmm." I was thinking how gravity was sinking my stomach in rather flatteringly but that the illusion would disappear once I stood up.

"You really are. And you have to learn to take a compliment."

Oh dear! We've been here before. I thought I'd learn to take a compliment. But apparently, these things can be unlearnt if they are not practiced. I'm not implying for a minute that I was out of practice because no one had been paying compliments... It's the "taking the compliment" bit that I hadn't been practicing. It takes a combination of humility, confidence, joie de vivre and optimism... like spinning china plates on top of long bamboo sticks.

"Thank you. Thank you very much. It's very nice of you to say."

I've been on this detox diet (still am: day 10 and counting.) which includes various forms of starvation (ranging from little food, to only food which is 90% water). So it makes sense that I would be looking marginally slimmer. Or does it?

I don't know about you but my body takes on average about two weeks to shift up or down weight wise. If I have a really greedy week, it doesn't show in that first week, and by the second week I'm thinking I've hit on the magic diet that lets you gorge on pudding and pizza without affecting your weight. So I carry on for a second week when all of a sudden "woomph!" my jeans are a bit tight and my bra cups threaten to spill over.

Conversely, if I'm on a diet, nothing really happens for those first two weeks. Makes it bloody hard to persevere... I'm thinking that my metabolism has finally got stuck on "very low" and nothing I do, not even near starvation, will melt the pounds away.

There's an ad on FaceBook at the moment that promises the loss of 2 dress sizes in 10 minutes. That sounds like a much better bet.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Bikini time!

I have some vague memories from history class about Bikini Island being blasted with a nuclear bomb at the end of WWII as a rehearsal before Hiroshima. (Actually, just googled it: it's Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, used as a nuclear bomb testing site by the US government in the 1940's and 50's. Now you know.)

Its namesake, the polka dot version, is just as explosive. Just the thought of it drives thousands of women (and I'm way at the front, ahead of the pack wearing both the yellow and the green jerseys) running away shrieking from various changing rooms. I don't care if it's got a super bra top that will "take the attention away from your hips" or a funky deeglo jungle pattern that will make everyone who as much as glances at me go temporarily blind... which ever way you look at it bikinis are terrifying.

The thing is, once I've been on the beach for a few days, and get a bit of a tan (that's a bit old fashioned, aren't we all supposed to rely on fake tan... or if we're really rich go for that ass milk 1920's pale look), everything starts to be and feel and look - well - normal. I don't know if it's exposing skin to the air, or salt water, or pool water (if you're on a proper posh holiday your pool water will be salt water) but everything tightens and smooths and looks just fine. Leaving me (and whoever else I've involved in the hysteria of bikini purchase and wear) wondering: well what was the big deal!?

The big deal is that before I get to that blissful stage, I have to purchase a new bikini. Why can't I wear last year's? Because I didn't go on a beach holiday last year (couldn't face buying a bikini) . The bikini at the bottom of my closet is at least 5 years old and what if it doesn't fit anymore?

- What, like it's too big?

- I wish! No, what if I can't fit into it anymore?

.... See?

So if I need a bikini, I have to buy a new one. And face my body at unflattering angles in a "fat" mirror with greenish lights that highlight every bump and every lump and every bit of orange peel and....


The thing is, I'm not planning a beach holiday for the summer, but I may need to get into a bikini anyway. For work. Some auditions require you to pop into a bikini (what kind of auditions are these I hear you ask... well if you're playing a beach scene... they want to know what you're going to look like on camera...)

The thing is, I did buy a bikini last year, with two bottoms (because mine was so big... NO! one's a hipster and one's 2 little triangles tied with some string and beads). They had a 2 for 1 offer, I had a moment of madness.

So what's the big deal then? What's this all about?

I've gone on a diet. It's the 4 day diet. There are 5 diets in all. 4 days on each. Thats' 3 weeks of dieting, including 4 days where you're allowed chips (fries) and burger. For real.

That way, if I need to get into my bikini (for work or an impromptu prance around Lake Como):

a) I know i'll fit into it (both bottoms)

b) it'll look good... won't it? WON'T IT?