Halloween is scary

It’s Halloween next week, which means I have signed up to have approx. 600 kids come past our house tomoz (wish me luck). Also, I should be recommending scary movies and books for your enjoyment.

I, however, do not like scary movies or books so soz can’t help you there. I remember finding Nightmare on Elm Street (the original, of course there was a remake) BEYOND terrifying but then the Firstborn watched it with a mate when they were ten and were both rolling around on the floor larfing because the special effects were so shite.

Due to my Catholic background and having many jolly chats on a Friday night at youth group about exorcism (as one does), and playing records backwards so you could hear the secret message from the demons (no? only us?) I cannot watch anything like that unless I want to give up sleeping for the next week.

Scary Movies

The Exorcism of Emily Rose gave the husband and I insomnia for a good week. If that does it for you, that is my recommendation for a truly disturbing Halloween film.

On Writing

As for scary books, I like psychological thrillers but ghost stories and horror have never been my cup of tea, so I just don’t go there. When people say Stephen King, I think of his book On Writing and perhaps the movies, The Shining (redrum!) and that one with Kathy Bates as the crazed fan whose name I have forgotten. On Writing is pretty fabulous, it’s partly about writing and partly a memoir, do read it if you haven’t.

The thing about getting older is that you no longer feel the urge to subject yourself to any of this – basically the shelf with the f*cks that you’re supposed to give because everyone else is doing/seeing/wearing/reading XXX and you need to do/see/wear/read XXX otherwise you just won’t be COOL, well that shelf, dear readers, is empty. And it has been empty for a while now.

Which brings me to my other bugbear – trying to police what people read. Everyone must read what they like, be it popular genre fiction or the most obscure literary fiction, or audio books or podcasts or comics or newspapers. Let the people read! Most of the time I enjoy reading genre fiction, at the moment all I seem to be reading are memoirs, but as a kid I lurrrrved Mills & Boon Romances and adored Jilly Cooper.

I read somewhere how sad it used to make JC when people would call her books ‘guilty pleasures’ and would prefer not to be seen to be reading them. I was having a chat with Jenny Crwys Williams and Sue Nyathi about this, and Sue and I were talking about how JC taught us so much in terms of writing popular fiction. I think I owe a lot of my writing style to JC and Nora Ephron.

Speaking of the Ephrons, I gobbled up Nora’s sister and co-writer, Delia’s memoir this past week. Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life is about how she falls in love at age 72 after her husband passes from cancer and THEN how she too has to battle the cancer that killed her sister.

What I found interesting about Delia’s writing style is that she’s a lot more serious than her sister – yes, yes, I know the subject matter is not exactly hilaire – but Nora turned everything into a funny story and her sister is not like that.

There were a couple of fabulously funny lines, but Delia seems softer and more serious – there’s a vulnerability about her work that I found that intriguing and I now want to read her novels.

Left on Tenth

In bookish news, I attended Sue Nyathi’s launch this week for her latest novel, An Angel’s Demise, which looks utterly fab. The launch was such a joy, not only because it’s always wonderful to hear Sue speak but because I got to catch up with the Chasing Marian crew. The skinner was out of this world and I larfed until my stomach hurt but I’m afraid I cannot repeat any of it here. What I can tell you is that we have PLANS for CM so watch this space.

Book Launch 1

In family news, the Firstborn has been swanning around the Greek islands (AGAIN!!) and is currently in Milan and the Lastborn is in the thick of matric finals. We did however manage to go and watch a waterpolo match whilst she was taking a break from studying. Yes, we are THOSE parents who will carry on watching sports’ events even after our child has finished. The matrics were greeted like rock stars which was rather special. It was also special remembering that this particular tournament was the first one we got to watch live last year after the roro.

Somebody Somewhere

TV recommendation: I watched one episode of The Old Man with Jeff Bridges. Intriguing but horrendously violent and I’m not sure I need that in my life right now. What I did enjoy was Somebody Somewhere – a dramedy on ShowMax about a woman who goes home to nurse her dying sister and then has to contend with family dynamics and finding her place in the world. Charming and soulful.

Final thought: the thing about having zero f*cks to give is that obvs one doesn’t want to become a boring, old fart, so perhaps you don’t want to revisit things that do nothing for you, but it never hurts to try something new.

Well, apart from getting a tattoo or a new piercing, that shit will hurt.

We can also apply this to reading – do try different genres from what you usually read – but if you hate it/it does nothing for you, give it to a friend/donate it to a library and read something else. No judgies. We can still be friends even though we don’t like the same books/authors. Happy Halloween and happy reading! Xxx

*the movie with Kathy Bates was called Misery. Thanks god for Google.