Flash Fiction Attempt

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Now don’t judge me if this sucks, I’m publishing it here regardless.

Before I begin, this is what happens when I watch some shows. An idea jumps out of what would otherwise have been a snide comment made about a moment, a mere second, of what I was watching. This one, has come from Doctor Who: The Family of Blood (David Tennant and Freema Agyeman).

And so it begins. Let me know what you think.

As I stared into the eyes of the monster that wanted to destroy everything I loved, I wondered how it had come to this. How it had come to pass that I would find myself standing here, prepared to walk into the black hole. Or rather staring it down, daring it to swallow me. And completely prepared to take that step.

“Just hand it over, no one needs to get hurt.”

“It’s a hard thing to take a human life. Something that never leaves you. Well, let me tell you everyday of my life, for as long as I can remember, I have stared into the black hole. Just waiting for it to finally pull me in. So, I will protect those I love; and I will stare into the abyss without fear.”

In hardly more time than it took me to blink, the monster was backing away at a run. I sighed as I lowered the rifle from my right shoulder. But it remained in my hands, loosely aimed at the monster’s retreating back. In times like these you can’t trust anyone.

Introspection

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Since my last post, instead of writing I have been indulging in some larger screen Netflix – larger than my smart phone – and more than a bit of theoretically professional introspection. Some of which was directly involved with my most recent Netflix addiction – Jane the Virgin. One of Jane’s subplots is that she’s a writer, in grad school, trying to find her center (figuratively speaking). Jane, like myself is a romance writer; and like myself, is struggling to find the balance between the cliched conceit of the genre and a truly good novel.

Introspection can be a very useful tool. With insight gained from a telenovela I have had a look into how I structure and plan my novels. What I discovered was that while I thought I had one main plot per book (which I did), that it was joined by a series of subplots. I did not. What I actually had was a series of plot devices. Sometimes, in the form of bad things happening to my characters, purely for the purpose of keeping my plot (singular) moving. Or to make them appreciate the meager happiness I afford them.

This introspection will allow me to plan my novels better. I’m not a super planner, I’ve always been a solid mix of planner and pantser. I need to know where my story is going, and to an extent how it is going to get there. But I like the journey itself to be as organic as possible. Rather like Jane Villanueva I have to deal with a head full of highly opinionated characters. TV land allows us to literally see Jane’s characters, mine just sit in my head and shout at me until I write what they want me to. After I’ve written it, I can do with it as I like. I can change and edit to my hearts content, on the condition that I write what they want in the first place.

I have a number of things that I want to experiment with as a result of this introspection. Types of narrators, the fourth wall, time and place – which raises the topic of my family’s oral history, my family (whether they will admit it or not – mostly not) are wonderful storytellers, at least in oral short-story form. While you don’t have to believe me, it was something of a shock to me that some of my memories aren’t even mine – they were stories of my family members that I heard as a child and they stuck with me.

In the mean time, I hope that you are all working on your own NaNo prep. Or, if you’re not a writer, that you are reading books which capture your imagination and refuse to let go. I’m settling into winter, but I don’t think I would go so far as to suggest that it is a transition I am willing to make.

When Properly Armed…

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When properly armed there isn’t much that I can’t do.

If any of my Wrimos are reading, just know that this year’s Word of the Day will be much more user friendly than last.

I have just spent six hours Dictionary Diving, and carefully hand-selecting 30 functional words. But… I feel like I may need a bigger dictionary, I felt limited by the enormous quantity of words that are medical or science jargon. The point of hand-selecting the 30 magical words is to have words that everyone can use… if they put their minds to it.

As for being properly armed, I am now in possession of a functioning laptop. The upshot of which is that I got to type thirty words, and their definitions, rather than handwriting them. Armed with a laptop I work exponentially faster, and my work is guaranteed legible. Which is not always my thing. And sure I journal, by hand, but that’s not about legibility – it’s about getting what’s shouting inside my head, out. Don’t get me wrong, I will be paying this laptop off for the rest of my natural life.

So, now that I’m properly armed with a list of 30 awesome words, and a functioning laptop, I am ready for NaNoWriMo to roll around.

See you down the track a ways.

I Hates It!

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Like all starving, hungry artists my work is seldom ever really complete to the point where I can walk away singing about how much it love it now that it’s done.Typically, I reach the point where I am satisfied with it. No more. 

Well, three years after publication I am finally stripping back the one I hate and fixing all the things that are wrong with it. And I’m doing it in a two-fold process, I’m actually mapping out the story and keeping the bits that are satisfactory, while discarding the rest. I’m going to make it a little bit truer to life, a little bit less of a farce. I’m going to be calling in a few favours over the next while. And it’ll take a while, I’m doing it on my phone until I get a laptop. I don’t know if I can fully explain how much I hate typing on my phone screen, but my lack of blog posts recently may give it away. Or perhaps the uncorrected typing errors in my recent posts… because fixing them is actually more trouble than it’s worth.

You get the drift.

We Need to Talk.

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Apparently the four most terrifying words in a relationship. Except that our relationship is ALL about me talking. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to continue that trend in our fantastically one-sided conversations.

First of all it’s more like: WE NEED to talk. The collective, infinitely plural we. People. Humans. We need to talk. Sometimes just getting together and shooting the shit (figuratively speaking) is a good thing. It’s a good thing, because it lets us know that we have people that we can talk to. But we also need to be talking to our kids, and it can’t be a one sided interrogation. This is important for me right now, Bug is having a hard time at school, and it’s not bullying. He doesn’t feel as though he is being seen for who he is. At 8, this is fairly normal. They have finally got a real grasp on this school thing we force them to go to, and they are starting to realise that they can change how they behave socially, and that it will cause ripples on the surface of the pond, which interact with someone else’s ripples. Popularity, and being cool are now important. 

It is important that he knows I understand. So I tell him true stories about when I was his age. About the bullying I suffered, about the bullying I’m responsible for. It’s insanely important in this endeavor not to lie. And not to explain things too long term, sure I had to put up with the same crap. But he can’t understand that none of it will matter in ten years.

He thinks that Alvin the Chipmunk is the height of cool, and we had a talk about how Alvin treats his friends. Which is not great, I asked Bug if he would want to be friends with Alvin. He said no. Then we decided that we need to remake cool. We need to make it something we can be proud to be real friends with. 

Our current thing is RAK. Random Acts of Kindness. Just little things, to make people smile. Saying something nice about someone’s style, or paying for someone on the bus. Smiling at a stranger on the bus. All of this in addition to simple manners. 

It is interesting that we come to this point as I watch 13 Reasons Why. It reminded me that people under 25 feel everything amplified, always and forever… and that’s just in the moment. I’m in no way minimising the bad things that happened to the characters, nor am I defending any of their behaviour. I’m saying that it reminded me how they feel things. Because we adults do forget. It also reminded me that we need to talk. There’s that collective, infinitely plural again. 

But we also need to listen.

Unstitched Workshops with JustAtelier

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My inner hippie has been out in full force for the past fortnight, as Just Atelier have been running the pop-up shop, Unstitched, on Princes St in the middle of town. It’s all about eco-friendly fashion, and educating people as to where their clothes really come from (not just in the geographic sense). But the also have workshops to help you mend your clothes, therefore getting better mileage out of them, and how to make sustainable items (such as the ones that I have participated in so far).

But it’s also social, it is one of the rare occasions where I get to hang out with like minded (by that I mean it has been the shopfront of the Mad Crafters) people, who all have something to learn from you – not to mention teach you.

So far, in the past two weeks, I have completed two ongoing projects, and made 3 bee’s wax food wraps (in 3 different sizes), and a washable lunch bag with cup holder, there’s room in it for all your food and your cutlery. The buttons down the front allow it to be adjustable, you just wrap the little elastic bands (under the flap) over the appropriate buttons on the front of the bag. I’m looking forward to making my lunch and taking it in with me next week.Ange Lunchbag and Bee's Wax Foodwraps

There are still two more weeks of workshops, just click on the link to find the one that suits you and sign up. I may even see you there.

Peachisms Update!

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It had to happen eventually. Another Peachism has been added to the list of the ‘hundred worthy families inscribed in the golden book’… I mean my blog post.

Please allow me to introduce the newest Peachism:

Pie Warmer – To have reached the state of pie warmer is to have reached that time of day where the brain simply switches off in self-defense. Previously known as ‘lights are on, but no one is home’.

Literary Food: Old Sam’s Chicken Adobo

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So I know it’s been awhile, a long while, but I have another Literary Food post for you; this time from Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak Series.

Without further ado I present Old Sam’s Chicken Adobo! It’s a Filipino dish that caused indecent noises over dinner… I make no apologies, or was delicious. In fairness, I didn’t actually look up the recipe. Wikipedia assured me that in essence it was Chicken marinaded in vinegar and soy sauce, which was later reduced to become the sauce.  All of which is served with rice.

Alas, I neglected to take a photo of my chicken marinading. however I photographed the rest. 

To make the marinade I used roughly equal amounts of white vinegar and soy sauce, I was eyeballing whether or not it would cover all of the meat. Then I added a teaspoon of crushed garlic, a shake of black pepper, a generous shake of cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and exactly 3 saffron stamens (just to make me feel fancy). I dropped my chicken in the mix when it was only partially defrosted, gave it all a swish and left it to sit. At some point in the afternoon I returned and repeated the swishing, turning the meat as I did so. About an hour before I wanted to start cooking, I diced all my meat (I only had breast in the freezer) and dropped it back in the marinade. 

I used the rice cooker for my rice, it does a better job than I ever will. 

I heated some oil in my cast iron pan and transferred the chicken using a slotted spoon. 

When it was just browned, I poured over the marinade and reduced it by about half. 
The end result was rated highly by the natives, and Bug loved every bite. I will definately be making this again. I can’t thank Old Sam enough for the inspiration. Also on the Literary Food list from the Kate Shugak series is Chopper Jim’s Coq au Vin… 

Until next time!

24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear

Brilliant piece, and the only thing that I would add (because I’m like that) is a quote from the Bedknobs and Broomsticks Movie: “As long as I do it with a flare!”

warning:curves ahead

This morning, as I was perusing my Facebook timeline, I happened upon an article that a lovely friend shared. It was entitled “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30”, and it triggered Maximum Eye-Rolling from everyone who took the time out to read it.

Written by Kallie Provencher for RantChic.com, this “article” (I use the term loosely) highlighted things such as “leopard print”, “graphic tees”, and “short dresses” (because “By this age, women should know it’s always better to leave something to the imagination”). Kallie, it seems, has a number of opinions on what women over 30 should and shouldn’t be doing, having also penned “30 Things Women Over 30 Shouldn’t Own” and “20 Pictures Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting Online”. (What is this magical post-30 land where women are suddenly not allowed to do or own so many things?!)

Motivated by Kallie’s “article”, I decided to…

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Patting myself on the back

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My younger brother recently married his girlfriend of 9 years, and Bug was their ring bearer. Since the wedding I’ve had to field any number of questions from Bug on weddings and marriage, most of which I’m unequipped to answer.

This weekend Bug asked me if he could marry a girl in his class (they’re 8 & 7). I told him no, because they bring out the worst in each other. He then asked me if he could marry his best friend, a boy in the next class room. I told him that if they wanted to get married when they are old enough, then that is fine with me because they bring out the best in each other.

I’m inordinately pleased that I didn’t have to tell him that it’s okay to love any gender, that he felt he could ask me that without fear of what would happen. Like all parents I doubt my abilities, and live in fear of screwing him up. It’s nice to know that in this and the manners department, I’ve done it right.