Writer, galloper of imaginary ponies. Wannabe side-saddle enthusiast.

On A Really Bad Month

I think the friend who needed to go to the Apple Store should take as long a hike as your ex.
Brava, though, for this. It gets under the skin.

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm 7

On Ask a (Terrifyingly) Clean Person: Oozing Gourds, Glue Mishaps and Food Coloring Woes

Can I be greedy and ask two things? I got ink on a nice t-shirt, and I've repeatedly soaked the stain with special ink removers and with that Oxy stuff, washed it and... it's still stained. The other query is about a really lovely fleamarket teapot I got which still smells like it's full of fleamarket dirt, even though I've tried every which way of cleaning it. Any hints, o amazing one?

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm 0

On How To Change Your Name In 41 Easy Steps

Your nation's consulates are a joy, too. Last year I got blacklisted for applying for a journalism visa using a Society of Authors membership card. This year I went back armed with everything from a presspass to my parents' mortgage details and my birth certificate. It went as follows:

Consulate Guy: Well, looking at your paperwork this is incorrect. You shouldn't be applying for a journalism visa because this isn't journalism, this is a book. Who are Your Publisher? What do they publish?
Susanna: They are a publisher of fiction and nonfiction. It's printed media, as the website says. Here's an email that the consulate in Berlin sent me telling me I need to apply for a journalism visa.
CG: (reads) But looking at this, it's for something else, you're asking about a fellowship at a library in Virginia.
S: Yes, to research the same book. I asked the consulate what visa I needed to research a book, and they told me journalism.
CG: Well, I'm sorry they told you the wrong thing, but if you were writing for Bildszeitung and it was a book for them, you could apply for this.
S: Bildzeitung would work with a book publisher if they published a book. This is what the consulate told me to apply for if I was writing a book.
CG: I don't now how it works, but see here, for journalism it says video, radio, newspapers, not a book. A book comes under entertainment.
S: This book is reportage – I go to places and report back on what is going on. This is the visa the consulate told me to apply for.
CG: But this email is about a fellowship at a library...
S: Yes, to research this book, which is what it says. The consulate told me that book research fell under journalism.
CG: Let me see your contract. Yes, you see, this isn't journalism.
S: Here is the email with the consulate telling me this qualifies as journalism. It's for the same book.
CG: Well I could send it for review to Washington, but I can't tell you how long that would take.
S: So the consulate told me the wrong thing?
CG: I'm really sorry. And what do you do here?
S: Editor, writer.
CG: Any journalism? Who have you written for?
S: *reels off list of prominent newspapers, magazines*
CG: Well, I'm sorry, but this doesn't come under journalism. You need a B1 or a B2 visa.
S: Then why did the consulate tell me to apply for a journalism visa to research a book?
CG: I'm sorry they made that mistake. Do you want me to send this to Washington for a review? I can't guarantee when you'll hear.
S: (sensing defeat) So I have to reapply for a B1 or B2?
CG: Oh no, we can do that here now. All your paperwork is in order.
S: (collapses)

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 3:58 am 0

On The Miseducation of Marie Antoinette

Sounds very very very very like Antonia Fraser's biog of MA.

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 2:54 pm 0

On Fifty Shades of Brontë

@Crystal Kopp@facebook What on earth does Villette or its autobiographical content have to do with this analysis of Jane Eyre?

Posted on May 11, 2014 at 3:06 am 0

On First-Ever Tramp Stamp Discovered

Google "Pazyryk tattoos"– very beautiful ancient tatts from the Eurasian Steppe.

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm 0

On Talking to Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer, "Story Architects" for Young Adult Literature

The former literary agent's assistant in me wants to see the contracts. But it does sound like more a learning, nurturing environment than Frey Towers.

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 1:09 pm 1

On The Shark Has Pretty Teeth, Dear: Why I Teach Women Self-Defense

@Miss_T These include many of the reasons why I chose KM. I have a connective tissue disorder and cannot do judo/boxing type training. I also wanted something that felt instinctive and didn't require months or even years of training.

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm 1

On The Shark Has Pretty Teeth, Dear: Why I Teach Women Self-Defense

I travelled solo in Mongolia and China last year, so I took a half day krav maga course with a friend who had been assaulted on the metro a few weeks earlier during commuting time (no one came to her aid. They just sat and watched as a guy knocked her down and choked her.)

We had wicked fun. It was only a beginning – it's hard to overcome the reserve about really hitting back and you need serious muscle memory for many moves – but it WAS empowering. And the dirtiest fighting imaginable. I've been recommending it to all the women I know.

Every time I read Everyday Sexism's feed I wish that girls were all taught something like ESD or krav maga. Just something to make them feel less threatened. Yes, I know it's not just girls who get assaulted, but still. Thanks for this and your work.

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm 5

On What If a Women's Magazine Editor Edited a BBC News Story About Syria?

@Sheila Albertson Seconded. My God. Every time I've done something for a women's mag they've come at it with a full set of requirements about what's in it – facts or actual news be damned. They just have to get out of the way to make the right story. Oh, and I'm not allowed to say I live in Berlin as apparently that would just cause damage to the readers. Or something.

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 3:21 am 1