Monthly Archives of: April 2014

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100×5: On the move

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My brain decided I shouldn’t sleep last night. Like, at all. Now, I’m a champion insomniac — I’d medal in not sleeping at the staying awake Olympics — but this morning I was still awake at 6:15am, which is freaking impressive, even for me. I feel like I’ve been beaten with a bag of hammers. Like I’m hungover or still drunk or flu-sick or half-mad.

I’m living alone at the moment, which is kind of fantastic. When I’m not walking sleepless circles around my mostly-empty house, I’ve been working my way back through the Harry Potter movies, drinking too much wine on my couch, and generally avoiding writing anything of consequence. So here’s a scene from AFTER, because I don’t have anything new to share today.

Picture.

Helping Thomas and Ang move last weekend. Xander-cat explores his new digs.

Helping Thomas and Ang move last weekend. Xander-cat explores his new digs.

Words.

AFTER, that beautiful disaster, is my Big Idea. I’ve blogged about that before — it’s the book that keeps you awake at night, that rattles around the back of your head for years, the characters taking up space in your dreams. I hate it more often than I love it, but I can never seem to leave it alone.

At my current pace, it’ll be finished sometime around 2025. Stay tuned!

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100×4: Empty

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I was going to post a scene from AFTER, but I’m tying myself in knots over every imperfect word. So, instead, here’s some rough-as-guts pirate playtime.

This logic works in my head.

Picture.

photo 1 (1)

Words.

The ship sat, squat, in the mouth between two rocky islands. The tide sucked and swiped at Northward from both sides, and the little boat in her shadow whipped on its rope like a wagging tail.

Sailor hated it here. Last year, they’d waited almost three weeks before an Imperial ship had passed. All the chickens had died and rats had got into the flour, and they’d lived on the oily, salty little fish that schooled in the swirling shallows. Sailor’s lips and knuckles had cracked and bled, and the whites of Tarq’s eyes had turned yellow.

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100×3: Want

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Today all the extra work I did in February furnished my house. I did my usual — days of extensive research, followed by losing my patience and buying everything in one shop just to get it over with.

I forgot about delivery times, though, so my new throw pillows and I will be eating off our laps for another couple of weeks anyway.

Picture.

photo 1

Gimme-your-steak face.

Words.

More pirates. I don’t know that I’ve nailed this yet, but it’s the closest I’ve ever been to pinning down how it felt, to me, to be a teenager. YMMV.

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100×2: Bird’s eye view

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I’m already reaching on the themes here, folks.

Today is a good day. I’m feeling better, finally, like I fit in my own skin again. It’s been a tough year, so far — a confusing, anxiety-ridden mess that’s done a bit of a number on my sense of self. My instinct has been to withdraw and hide from the world for a while — but I worked so hard not to do that through the anxious, messy stuff, and although it didn’t work out for me (it was never going to work out for me), I have to trust that I learned something, and that pushing myself got me somewhere.

So here I am.

Welcome back, me. I missed you.

Picture.

photo 2 (2)

Words.

This is from a thing about pirates. Pirates! It’s something I started as a playtime break from my Serious Novel when that one wasn’t going well — kicked off by this single mental image — that then took on a life of its own. It’s all very rough and kind of silly, but there’s something really cool buried within it that I still want to explore. When I find the time…

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100×100: First

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My brother and his partner Hayley have been doing the 100 happy days photo challenge. I love the idea of it: a reminder to look for the good, to seek out and record the things that delight or amaze you. They’re past day 70 now, and I’m already sad to think about it ending — to stop getting my daily insight into what the people I love most are doing and feeling.

I was tempted to sign up, but I know myself — this year was the second year in a row I ran the Round the Bays course on the right day but at the wrong time, and the second year in a row I’d signed up for it myself. Ain’t no one gonna tell me what to do — including me. I’m so contrary I can barely get myself to do the things I want to do.

My solution is 100×100: a picture and a hundred words, loosely related. Bits of things I’m writing, bloglets, maybe some poetry. MAYBE. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not promising to do this every day, because I’m bound to break that by tomorrow, but I need a kick in the pants — not to get creating, but to get what I’m creating out there.

A few years ago, I submitted the first paragraph of my first novel to a competition run by a literary agent in the US. I made the final 15, from over 2500 entries. Being me, I thought, “well, it’s not like you won”, and promptly forgot all about it.

I went back and found the list of names today. Turns out, nearly everyone else on that shortlist is published now. I never even tried to query that book — I filed it under “not good enough” (with everything else I’ve ever written) and never looked at it again.

I’m calling myself out, here and now: we’re done doing that, self. Time’s up. You’ll never be good enough, because you’ll never stop getting better — put things out there anyway. Open yourself up. Fall down. Fail. Do.

100×1: First.

leaves

First leaves, fresh starts, open hearts:
an “everything will be okay” moment.

Here’s that first paragraph. Sparks, 2009:

I don’t believe in love.

It’s like magic tricks for adults, this idea that you can be completed or fixed or solved by someone. Like we’re all negative equations, and we have to pair up to do anything positive. It’s bullshit, and I don’t care how cynical that makes me. The world is full of people making each other miserable because they think they can substitute a boyfriend or a wife for purpose or self-respect.  Love is a water-colored, Santa Claus view of a biological urge, and I haven’t met anyone yet who’s made on the deal.