Monthly Archives of: October 2010

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I lied about what we’d be doing today, internet.

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I’m sorry, you guys, I have not written any SERIOUS TOPICS for you. Work is still kicking my ass. It all strikes me as VERY UNFAIR.

So you don’t get too sad, I thought we could have some pictures instead. You like pictures, right?

What I’ve been doing while I haven’t been here

Kelly organised a ball. We dressed up fancy:

The ladies and I paid a visit to Blenheim, home of many vineyards:

This isn’t a vineyard. This is on the ferry. It’s nine in the morning.

We ate delicious food.

And we drank a lot of wine.
Our waitress tried to leave halfway through our drinks order.
We weren’t done yet, lady.

We had a kinda-sorta Thanksgiving, Kiwi-style:

I made a lot of pie.

Kelly made the table all beautiful.

 Everyone made delicious food.

And then we ate it.
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Today I have TOPICS!

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Oh my God, internet! I’m not dead, I’m just busy. IT SUCKS. I MISS YOU.

I just sent out the final draft of our Annual Report, which I thought I would be able to do much, much earlier, before I spent TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS MAKING VANITY COPY-EDITS, and blew my brains out. (I don’t write it, for the record. I just lay it out.)

Now I’m sitting at my desk and vibrating like a vibrating thing (a vibrating thing that’s not at all like a vibrator. That would be inappropriate. Hi Mum!), and eating risotto at a speed that would make a nutritionist cry. SO LET’S TALK. I need to burn off some mental energy before yoga.

However, I don’t have anything in particular to say, so I asked the internet (that’s you!) for TOPICS.

Here are some of those.

—–

iPod on shuffle. First 15 songs.

  1. A Thousand Pieces – Editors
  2. The Small Print – Muse
  3. The Captive Mind – The Helio Sequence
  4. Even If – The Honorary Title
  5. Butcher Blues – Kasabian
  6. Substitution – Silversun Pickups
  7. Use Somebody – Kings of Leon
  8. Would – Alice In Chains
  9. 10:03 – Doves
  10. Bust Your Windows – Glee
  11. Can’t Get A Read On You – Tinted Windows
  12. Once Things Look Up – The Like
  13. Evil Urges – My Morning Jacket
  14. Lampposts – Bell X1
  15. Wait for the Summer – Yeasayer

(NB: I am cheating a little. Since my 60gb died a hideous death, I’ve been using a 4gb nano and rotating music depending on my mood. This means that with the exception of too many Glee songs and a bunch of audiobooks, everything on there right now is pretty respectable. If this was my entire iTunes, you would ALL BE VERY AFRAID. But it’s not, so huzzah! I WIN AGAIN.)

—–

The Hobbit

Several people asked my thoughts on The Hobbit, which is unfortunate since I don’t have any.

Oh wait, I have one: AIDAN TURNER!!!!!

Corollary statement: OM NOM NOM.

The end.

And no, Alison, I won’t be stalking him. I am not a STALKER. I’m just LUCKY. Sometimes, film sets and/or relevant celebrity boyfriends just APPEAR BEFORE MY EYES, where I charm them with my wacky accent and convince them to let me release their albums, or whatever. It is NOT THE SAME.

—–

Why cats are better

I find dogs intimidating. Not because they’re big or slobbery or require a lot of work, but because they’re NEEDY. I feel guilty just LOOKING at a dog. Every dog alive wants more from me than I feel capable of giving it. (And if I ever get a therapist, that sentence is probably all they’re going to need.) They’re all LOVE ME? PLAY WITH ME? HANG OUT WITH ME? And I’m all YOU ARE SMOTHERING ME HERE, FIDO. PLEASE BACK IT UP.

Cats are better because they make you WORK for it. I like to earn every scrap of affection I get. I also like to pull on the fur between their toes, and otherwise annoy them until they lash out and try to escape, at which point I subdue them and shower them with kisses until I feel their kitty will break. Everyone needs hobbies.

I also like to be intimately acquainted with what’s inside birds, and the feeling of dead mouse between my unsuspecting toes.

Willow is boneless and unresisting to hold from years of my bullying,
but you can still see the loathing in her eyes. I love her. 

This is Spike. He’s fat and cuddly, and gives me hives.

(Don’t talk to me about the theme names – talk to my former flatmate,
who also named her rabbits Warren and Wesley.
)
I look forward to similarly breaking the spirit of FutureCat (ETA December!).
Here’s one I prepared earlier. Trust me, she’s loving it.

—–

Yoga time! Tomorrow I will tackle your SERIOUS TOPICS! It will be VERY EXCITING. Or a HUGE LETDOWN. Either way, I am going to FILL UP YOUR READERS. Or browsers. However you roll, internet, I WILL BE THERE.

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Emily and I are pretending we might go somewhere other than Sweet Mother’s for dinner tonight. Which is cute of us, but ultimately pointless.

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I have a secret, internet. I have been avoiding you. I wouldn’t cross the street if I saw you coming or anything, but I might have been letting your calls go to voicemail. The truth is there’s only one way to say this, so here it is:

MY CAR. BROKE DOWN. THE DAY. AFTER I TOLD YOU. IT WAS FIXED.

And it was! Because what I have now is an entirely NEW problem! An expensive and complicated one that has rendered my car entirely useless until I find a money tree or some magic beans.

LESS THAN 24 HOURS LATER. SERIOUSLY.

This is what I get for telling life to suck it. Okay, universe. You win.

—–

I have another secret: I haven’t written anything in a week and a half. This is out of control ridiculous — I haven’t had a week and a half away from a novel in almost two years. It feels weird. It’s itching at me like a phantom limb, and I feel simultaneously guilty and like I’m getting away with something. Like I’m playing hooky from myself.

But man, I need this break.

After is a strange experience for me. It’s ambitious — I’m constantly terrified it’s too ambitious. It’s big and weird and, maybe most importantly, it’s my BIG IDEA.

It’s that idea that’s rattles around in the back of your head for years. The one that pokes at you when you’re trying to sleep. The one you think of when you see a movie you like; that has a soundtrack and a mood and its dust on your boots. The one with the characters you’re too invested in and the world you sometimes dream in. The one that words will never be enough for.

And right now, I hate it. It still doesn’t feel right. The characters don’t talk right. Nothing is happening the way I want it to, because nothing CAN happen the way I want it to. This idea has been around for five years, in one form or another, and it’s taken those five years to sneak up on it and pin it down and wrestle it into a story. And now I have to wrestle that story into clauses and constructions and paragraphs and chapters? That’s scary.

That’s FUCKING TERRIFYING.

The thought that I don’t have the skill to do this, that I’m not good enough or experienced enough to do this — that thought has been pretty much constant lately. And that thought makes me want to vomit. And then die. And then vomit again. Looking at my own words has been making me cold sweat. I know enough to know that I have permission to suck in this first draft, these first chapters. I know that every author is only doing their best to limit how much they fuck up their story in transcription. I know that.

And yet.

So I’m taking a break. At a certain point, it seems like all you can do is back off. Leave your characters to their own devices and live your life, and wait to see if you miss them.

And right now, today, I do.

I’m glad. And relieved. And a little nauseous.

I want to know what they’ve been doing without me; how they’re feeling about the shitstorm we’ve been through. I want to know if I can leave these first 10,000 words THE FUCK ALONE and move on, since I’ve now written them four or five times. I have to trust that as we get deeper, as their voices get clearer, I’ll suck less. And when I get to the end, when all the bones of this thing exist in a tangible way, THEN I can make it good.

—–

Sometimes, in weeks like this, I wonder seriously if I’m going to quit. If I’m one of the people who isn’t cut out for this — who doesn’t have the drive or the stones to see it through. Sometimes that seems like it would be a relief.

But… I don’t write by choice. It’s a choice to stay disciplined, to focus on achieving something, but there are words inside me all the time, bubbling up, stringing themselves together. The only option I really have is how I use them. I haven’t worked on After in over a week, but I’ve still written. It feels like purging to me, like emptying out. I blog, I journal, I email like it’s a competitive sport. I narrate EVERYTHING. I have a sneaking suspicion that words are the only way I can process the world.

Sometimes I need to remind myself that it’s not just that I want this. I LOVE this. I AM this.

And if my biggest problem is that I love this story so much I’m actually scared to write it, then I’m probably not doing so badly.

—–

Things may be quiet this month — I’m heading away this weekend, and things are crazy busy at work for the next few weeks. But even if we do not talk, internet, please know that I am THINKING OF YOU ALWAYS. And I like you very much.

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Further adventures in sensible living.

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So, my car has oil. As usual, I took the longest and most complicated route possible in achieving this. I ignored the situation for as long as I could. I went to get gas, couldn’t bring myself to prostate myself in front of a forecourt attendant and ask for help, and just caught the train to work for a couple of days. Finally, Kelly and I went and booked me a service, because that seemed like the easiest way out of the whole debacle. As I learned in private school: when in doubt, throw money. (NB: This, on the whole, has not served me well.)

Yesterday, I got a call from my best friend’s husband. I had been avoiding him, because he is constantly called upon to fix my life for me, and I worry that he gets slightly tired of having a second wife who steals his chips and doesn’t put out.

“Katie,” he said to me, “you are a fool.”

This is true.

“Your car isn’t going to explode in the next ten minutes,” he explained in the weary tone of someone who’s tired of having his chips stolen. (Apparently this is why it’s called a warning light!) “And you’re not paying for a service to avoid opening a cap and pouring in some liquid.”

Secretly I was relieved, since I am currently overdrawn in all my accounts, and had been planning to hope that the garage had dishes in need of washing, or would be open to solicitation. But, I thought, surely it is more complicated than that!

No, internet, it isn’t.

We opened a cap, and poured in some liquid. My car is purring like a happy kitten, and the whole business was achieved with a glass of wine in hand. The way everything should be achieved. Suck it, life! I win.

—–

Izzi is saying to me, right now, “I love me an ellipsis, but eventually a sentence just needs to END.”

—–

Rocktober was on Friday night. I was house-sitting for Kelly again, so I went up to her place after work to get ready. I put on my new black jeans, loaded up the eyeliner, and emptied a can of hairspray into my teased hair. (Then I put it in a ponytail so you couldn’t tell, like a secret painful present for morning-Katie to brush out. Don’t say I never gave you anything, hungover future self.)

I’d brought soup and a bagel from work to eat beforehand — not because I was planning on drinking sensibly but because I really wasn’t. Damage limitation, my friends! It’s a beautiful concept. As I went to prepare my dinner, I realised that the dog was getting fur all over my snazzy stretch capris.

So I took them off.

Pleased with my nous — ha, last blog! SUCK IT! — I returned to the kitchen and set about toasting my bagel. It was a warm day and I’d left the back door open behind me, so the sounds of neighbourhood chatter drifted in on the breeze. I was finding the whole situation quite delightful, until I turned around to get a plate.

As it turned out, Kelly’s neighbours were having a gathering out on their deck… directly opposite the open door in front of which I was making soup IN MY UNDERWEAR.

Confronted by a party of strangers all trying to pretend we hadn’t seen each other, I beat a hasty retreat to the bedroom to find my pants. When I returned, my plate was empty and a very innocent-looking dog sat quietly in the corner, surreptitiously licking his chops.

So that’s the story of how I arrived at the bar and Jeffrey was like, “You should do three shots of tequila in a row on an empty stomach!”

And I was like, “Okay!”

Which lead to this:

Which almost lead to a story about how I sold my body for an oil change.

Oh well. There’s always next time.