The Ernest Hemingway Institute of Manliness

I poured the water glass a third full of cognac and drank it off. ‘That was very big,’ she said. ‘I know brandy is for heroes. But you shouldn’t exaggerate.’ – From A Farewell to Arms Was there ever a man as manly as Ernest Hemingway? When I’m feeling a little melancholy and addled, I […]

Heavenly Places

Life is pretty short on miracles. I know this because I have made that shift, as pretty much everyone has, from my childhood state of believing pretty much ANYTHING, to the slightly flattening realisation that unexpectedly wonderful things are few and far between. Which is fair enough, because life is unmiraculous, and I’d be hell […]

Bravery, Resilience, and Being Brilliant: Doris Lessing is My Hero

Whenever I talk about Doris Lessing, I tend to become a little incoherent with sloppy infatuated love, and talk about her I do, a lot, to anyone who is reluctantly cornered and can’t get away. I first encountered Doris Lessing when I read The Golden Notebook at twenty-one. I was typically twenty-one (or at least, […]

Hearts, Books, and Butterscotch Sundaes

When  it’s driech and chilly outside, there’s a hangover in the post, tomorrow is Monday and winter is starting to be a thing that might happen again – then it’s time to wear happy clothes… … eat some takeaway, put on the Mamas and Papas and get some good reading. Tonight I’ve been reading short stories […]