Tag Archives: Accents

The cab of shame…

Why is it that when we’re already emotionally challenged, something else happens and even as an independent, confident adult, we appear unable to think or deal with the crisis on our own?

I am one of those people who hate being late, and rarely break the rules, especially when it comes to appointments and parking. So you can just imagine how dangerously high my stress levels were when I was still trying to find a parking space 5 minutes after my appointment had started. This was a first meeting, so not the greatest way to start a new relationship with a person whom you’re hoping is going to help you deal with your daily stresses in life because of a chronic illness. Now, I’m sure someone put up the sign I didn’t see while I was actually in my appointment. Either that, or a bird or a cloud, or something was blocking it when I did actually park. Needless to say I emerged from my appointment almost 2 hours later to find Mercury – my beloved MINI convertible – GONE!!

As I stood there, starring at the empty space, presumably expecting my car to somehow miraculously reappear, my emotions, already slightly fragile (NB British Understatement) from the appointment, got the better of me and I was suddenly unable to think or do anything for myself. What did I do? Call the husband of course, who was smack-bang in the middle of the operating room, patient on the table, room full of people… and now a blubbering wife in absolute tatters on the other end of the phone. Instinct told me that I had been towed before I saw the sign – you know, the one that they put up while I was in my appointment. The calming and familiar voice of hubby talked me through the steps I needed to take, because remember I was unable to think for myself now, and I finally managed to call the tow company. I couldn’t even give them the correct license plate, but at least I could remember the numbers, just not in the right order. Thank the Lord!! Mercury was safely in the pound, but I now had to go to the pound…

Another phone call to hubby, among the beeping of machines and the voices of busy healthcare professionals. “Excuse me, I know you’re straightening someone’s spine, but I’ve been towed; this is far more important right now”. I was instructed to get in a cab. Luckily for me I was right next to the city’s general hospital, so cabs were ten a penny. I peered into the open passenger side window and quietly muttered the address. A loud Caribbean accent hit back at me. ‘Oh! You been towed?’ Honestly, the shame! He turned out to be really friendly and chatty, as I sat in the back, traumatised. He refused a tip, told me exactly where I had to go, and what I would need to do. I didn’t question how he’d become so knowledgeable in this matter. I sheepishly slid up to the empty window and begin the process of retrieving Mercury, practically offering my right kidney when asked for a method of payment, anything, take anything I just want my car back! At least it was warm and sunny when I finally fired up the engine. I rolled the top down and… oh no, I had to stop at two gates to get out, should have left the roof up! I put my head down instead, in the hope I wouldn’t be caught on camera for my picture to be plastered all over the city. I could almost see the caption: ‘Romance Novelist Busted for Abandoning Her Car Illegally!!’

Back on the blog!

I know it’s been a while, sorry but life and severe lack of sleep has left me barely functioning over the past couple of months. I don’t have a lot of reserve normally, but when I watch the clock all night it’s difficult to get through a normal day of life without adding any extra pressure to it. However, I have managed to keep my 2015 challenges going, with only a couple of days written retrospectively. I’m currently on day 83; that’s 83 quotes, both funny and serious, and 78 journal entries, about all sorts of annotations and personal paraphernalia that I need empty out of my head. I find that if I don’t write down these thoughts and musings, something else will come along and push them right out of my head forever. Often I haven’t known until the end of the day what I will write about. One day I couldn’t think of anything constructive so I wrote about salad! As for the quotes, well I have thousands of those things. I’m afraid I cheat a little when posting them by scheduling them via Hootsuite. Life is just too busy to be dropping everything to pick up ‘Thelma’ and get all philosophical, while juggling homework and vegetables.

So why am I not sleeping?

Well, chronic disease and pain is playing a large part in my insomnia. I have found myself caught in one of these vicious circles that’s difficult to break unless something changes within the cycle. Lack of exercise due to pain and discomfort… unable to get comfortable in bed… tired from everyday life, but not enough physical activity… unable to sleep… gradually coping mechanisms become more and more fragile… more pain and discomfort, less likely to exercise… and so it goes on until finally enough is enough. Yes I have meltdowns, yes I am a ratty old cow, yes I am a raging lunatic when the kids don’t listen to me… yes I am human and sometimes even the strongest people just need someone to give them a hug and tell them that it’s all going to be all right.

Thankfully I have a fantastic rheumatologist who totally understands my plight. I don’t like resorting to pills, I take enough of those as it is, but I guess it is something you just have to learn to accept when you’re in my position. I hate sleeping tablets, they make me feel fuzzy and slow, but a natural remedy such as melatonin has at least given me some more natural sleep. It’s not perfect, I still lay awake for 2 hours a couple of nights ago, but since then I found myself sleeping in – good job its spring break. Hopefully this ‘catch up’ phase will be short lived and by the time I have to drag my sorry backside out of bed even earlier than usual for the school run to do my share of ‘traffic duty’, I will feel and look a little more like me. As for the exercise part, I used to love pilates and swimming. I have agreed to give both another shot, even if it means only doing 1 length of the pool when I was used to doing 1 mile! I know initially I will suffer, but hopefully in time that benefits will outweigh the problems.

I will not be beaten… I will not let it win… it can do whatever it likes on the inside, but letting it show on the outside means it’s won.

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The hand written dictionary

How do you write in an accent? There are so many of them, but unless you’re familiar with the way they sound, reading someone’s else’s interpretation can make the speech hard work. I played around with this when I was writing my first novel, attempting to use the Geordie accent of my home town of Newcastle upon Tyne. There are a number of famous Geordies I could name for you to give you some idea of what it is meant to sound like… Sting, Mark Knopfler, Rowan Atkinson, Eric Idle, and more recently people might remember Charlie Hunnam who was almost Christian Grey. I had mixed feedback; the Brits got it, the Canadians struggled. So I decided to just use terms of endearment and specific words that are commonly used within Geordie-English. This felt more natural to write, but then I stuck a Glaswegian in the story and had the whole dilemma again! However, the Scottish accent is known world wide, though specific regional dialects are probably not so widely known, but that didn’t matter for this character. As long as the reader knows he is Scottish, most people will have a good idea of what he sounds like, so for his speech I felt I was able to write the words exactly the way you would hear him say them. I’m presuming it worked because my editor didn’t raise any questions, or make any comments about the speech containing these ‘accents’.

I am now a short way through writing my third novel and find myself in a similar situation. My main male character is an Aussie, an accent which is not unfamiliar to me. There is an Aussie in my first two novels, and her speech came very naturally as I have two very good friends from Down Under. However, this cheeky male character is quite the joker and he needs to sound like a ‘bloke’. So I turned to the great god Google to teach myself some Aussie slang. Why didn’t I just ask my friends, I hear you say? Well, one lives in another province and the other one has an 8 month-old baby – the last thing she wants is me bugging her about translating my book.

It turns out that Google is an old-fashioned Aussie, and doesn’t really say the same things that my 30 year-old hot bloke would say. Although I wanted to get further through this novel before I let my Albertan Aussie friend read it, there were parts of the speech that just weren’t sitting right with me. Having been one of my readers for the first two, she was more than happy to have another excuse to avoid the housework. She was very quick to pick up on my old school Aussie-isms. It was quite interesting and very amusing to understand the real meanings of some of their lingo. She has now sharpened her ears to pay more attention to the little gems that her charming husband periodically comes out with. After reading my most recent chapter, she reassured me that I was finally starting to get it right. So now, among my many pages of notes, I have a hand written dictionary… of Aussie slang!