Overlooked stuff uncovered . . .

by my wonderful and dynamic brother.

A few months back I started wondering about whether I should get a website done – to consolidate all the wandering threads of writing: published stuff, work in progress and first jottings. I asked a few folk, reeled away slightly at the cost and decided to wait until I had a really good reason for doing such a thing – like landing an agent . . . I’d also mentioned it to my brother but knowing how incredibly busy he is, I’d put the idea firmly to one side and got on with everything else.

An email appeared one morning: ‘Hi, did you get the mockup?’ No I hadn’t; he sent it again and the result was the start of the website he is building now and of which I will be linking to this blog as soon as I’ve done all my allowed homework for the site – files of it. I don’t know how anyone goes about doing anything as seemingly complex as this. He’s showed me all the various stages from a neurone cluster-like diagram to the beautiful pallet of colour and script he has devised. I shut down mentally after about three minutes of how-it-all-works explanation, and I wish I didn’t. Could be the Luddite in me, or maybe I just don’t have that sort of a brain. Anyway, I can certainly appreciate the result, and his generosity!

I mentioned overlooked stuff in the blog-post title. It refers to the other art things that I do – photography and painting/illustration. I haven’t made any paintings for a while as the writing has taken over; the illustration continues in my books in the form of line drawing and inky experiments but the photography is a continual process – I just never considered it to be an art form, just something I do all the time, like a diary. My brother has decided otherwise and has, under his marketing hat, put it all on the site. It’s a revelation to me, and something I wouldn’t have considered but he’s so right. It’s all part of my writing progress: visiting places, observing, recording and storing away visual images to use at a later date.

Thanks Adrian. You are the most marvellous being!

Site is live at kateahardy.com if you want to have a peep but lots still to do so excuse the (creative) disorder.

 

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One of many, many visual recordings . . .

Day jobs

images

As a child and a million years before Youtube and the internet, I spent most of my time inventing stories and illustrating them. My first full length (exercise book) tale was called Mr Mint and the monster — I found it a few months back while cleaning mum’s house out, the pages soft with layers of coloured pencil and rubbings out.

My next epic story writing was at Art College where I studied photography and film. Rather than writing a thesis on an aspect of photography or semiotics, I requested that I write a series of short stories: which I did and luckily the examiners seemed to like. Sadly for me I have lost the black bound book containing the hundreds of pages that I painstakingly typed in front of a mobile gas heater in our hideous freezing student house.

Next big stage in writing/illustration for me was a children’s book. When we had arrived at the ‘fussy eating’ stage of our child’s life, I felt compelled to share the frustration with everyone else and started on an idea involving ‘The Beastis’, dog-like characters that had first appeared on our home-made jam labels. After a zillion rejection letters and many style changes, I was lucky enough to find an agent, (hello Celia, if you read this) and the book was published by Puffin in 2004. I then wrote many many stories, mainly for our son, involving the Beastis, but wandered off into the realms of landscape painting when we moved to France.

So day jobs . . . yes. Why did I do all those different things? Necessity certainly, but all those jobs have proved useful, however boring they were at the time. Useful for writing for sure.

I was just thinking earlier about writing them all down. So I think I will.

First job ever: working at Mrs Batchelors corner shop for fifty pence a morning.

Following on, series of babysitting jobs, car washing, dog walking, paper round, looking after a baby for a whole summer (that was terrifying).

Later: Bar maid in four different pubs, waitress, kitchen assistant, assistant in old peoples home, bookshop staff person, Boots staff person, Mars bar factory worker, gardener, cleaner, painter and decorator, brief flirt with car bodywork, after school childcare.

At College: Fish and chip shop staff person, bar maid, waitress, cook, ceramic rooms cleaner, DJ.

After college: Photographic assistant then apprentice to a room-set stylist. Estate agent blurb writer, magazine article writer/photographer, architect impressions maker.Then full time stylist and china hire-shop partner. Styling needs a sub category of just about anything you could think of: Detective, taxi driver, model maker, painter, cook, dog trainer, school teacher, robber, inventor, bullshitter, diplomat, location finder, actor, director, etc etc. One day is never the same as another.

I tried to escape this mad world by taking a sideways jump into textile design, painted furniture, jewellery making, illustration and back to writing. Finally stopped styling by moving countries.

Now we ‘get by’ by doing anything that comes along while working on our own real projects, in my case, writing and painting. Et voila. Sorry about the list, I just had to do that. But if you do read the books later, you’ll see where the jobs slot in.