Who do you think you are? I ask because I am not, it turns out, entirely sure who I am. I’d always thought identity worked a bit like being in a hall of mirrors — you project who you want to be onto others, and from the reflection they send back you can make your own conclusions.

Sadly I, alongside a few other billion people, have become somewhat starved of mirrors recently, and have had to make do on my own. It has been an interesting experiment, especially in the sartorial department.

As someone who both enjoys dressing up and…

I am sitting here at home, comfortably working from my living room, having woken up a bit late, and about to make myself a nice and healthy lunch. I will probably have a bath later, cook myself a tasty dinner, watch a movie on my projector and go to bed at a reasonable time. “Was 2020 really all bad?”, I wonder. Have I not grown as a person? Do I really want to go back to my stressed, cramped, overly expensive life when all this is over?

I stop and think.

Then I realise: I absolutely want to go back…

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

At some point in the past few years I became a compulsive bookmarker. Whenever I come across something even vaguely interesting online, I shove it into my bookmarks and never look at it again.

Last week, I went through my bookmarks to find something and it made me realise that I’d accidentally created a comical, at times poignant timeline of 2020.

I have included some highlights below, with comments.

Commission | Popelei

It is the beginning of the first lockdown and I have all the time in the world; I have decided to enter a short story competition. Have I…

It is Wednesday afternoon and for the seventh time this week, I have had to tell myself that I cannot pitch a story on how I have no stories to pitch. That is not something people want to read about, and definitely not something publications would pay to publish.

I can’t remember exactly when the great drought started. I was luckily busy with other projects during the first lockdown, and the sheer joy of being let out over the summer was clearly enough to fill me with inspiration.

In any case, a new low was reached about three weeks ago…

I’m not reading your 2,900 word open letter written in response to another long open letter, what the fuck is wrong with you all, do you really think I just sit here all day every day, waiting for yet another open letter to read? Do you think me a clown? Am I your jester? I will entertain this no longer, please feud away from me

I feel I should be writing a diary of all this, because why shouldn’t I? I write and I live, and as there is little to live for at the moment I must write; we write to remember how we lived, and I dearly hope we won’t have to live like this again.

Should I be writing in French? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this recently, about the fact that the words I was created in now slip away from my fingers when I try to grab them. …

Updated whenever I’m trying to procrastinate on my book.

[Context.]

606. Derek Twigg

(Yes, I accidentally scrolled past Derek Twigg so did Karl Turner first and I didn’t want to go back into the text so now it’s all out of order but what do you want me to do about it, huh? What are you going to do about it? That’s right, nothing. You dumb nerd.)

Man, it must be rough to grow up tall and thin while called Twigg; maybe that’s why Derek joined the civil service at 16, so people could call him things like “massive dweeb”…

Hello! I put this together for an alumni panel I was on but thought it could be useful for other people.

Callum May, BBC:

“Do crap shifts for a while and don’t complain about them”

Josh Lowe, Newsweek:

“Find some way to teach yourself analytics, as in: get used to finding what people read/how to make lots of people read something. And get used to that being a big part of how your stories are judged.”

Mark Di Stefano, BuzzFeed:

“Get to love talking on the phone.”

Rachel Cunliffe, CityAM:

“Say yes to any opportunity. Even if it’s not your…

I have, as far as I can remember, unsuccessfully lunged at two men before. One turned his head as I did, making me kiss his jaw instead, and the other froze in surprise, leaving us mouth-locked for an excruciating second before I moved my head and apologised profusely.

Both men, it turned out, weren’t against the idea at all, but objected to the setting, and snogging did resume later these two evenings.

Though the embarrassment was only temporary, I can still remember both moments like they were yesterday, the certainty I had that it was what they also wanted, and…

There’s this Italian deli near the cafe I work from most days, and I like getting lunch there.

I go to the gym every morning on weekdays and don’t go home to change afterwards, so the owners of the deli had, for a long time, only seen me look my worst; sweaty, greasy hair, no make-up, cheap trainers, old -tshirts I’d previously worn as pyjamas.

I enjoyed their food but started getting a bit annoyed when, after weeks of going there, the men working behind the counter still wouldn’t recognise me, or respond to my cheerful hellos and goodbyes, but…

Marie Le Conte

The Sunday Sport once called me a 'less-than-original sex person'.

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