Where Am I

Having first procrastinated about whether to write a new entry given how long it’s been since my last one, I decided to go for it.

I now find myself procrastinating about what to write.

I suppose I should start by explaining where I’ve been. But then, I’ve not really been anywhere special. Well, dealing with the usual life drama and on holiday sure but nowhere that’s truly incapacitated my ability to write.

I think my subconscious had something to do with it. Keeping me away I mean.

Yet again, I fail to commit to a routine or a project that will enable me to write. It’s like real life is like this big prison that I can’t break free from. My creativity is on the outside but I’m stuck well and truly on the inside.

So, yeah. Guess I’m in prison.

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That Time Of Year

It’s that time of year again.

Those odd days that fall between Christmas Day and New Years Day.

It’s the time of year that I look forward to the most – a procrastinators heaven. No big day to prepare for, no work to get up for, no shopping or cleaning to be done (as I’m so well prepared for Christmas that my cupboards are bursting and my floors are spotless) and no other random social obligations to fulfil.

Each year, I have a plan – a plan to be creative, free with time, sleep, imagination…

And each year, I fall into the same trap. Computer games.

My husband, a seasonal gamer, uses this time of year to blitz the years biggest releases. His ideal way to spend his own downtime; away from the rat race.

And being the competitor that I am.. well, I just have to join in don’t I?

My writer’s notebook lies next to me – having had some passing attention this past day or so… but today, well today was just a write off with no writing.

They say to be a writer, that you must write. If there was a way that procrastination could be captured, bottled and sold then I think I would win hands down.

But until then, I guess I shall just stick with what I know and what I’m good at – pass me that controller.

Writer’s Whimsy

WARNING: This is a post of whimsy and a stream of consciousness under the influence of a glass of wine and the pressure of a thirty minute countdown until my better half returns home.

LOCATION: Kitchen Table

DOING: Typing on iPad, iPod dock on with music on shuffle

My mind has been busy during the week since I have last posted. And I don’t mean with the humdrum of life, I mean between washing the dishes, going to work, picking out what to wear in the morning, cooking the tea etc.

It’s like my mind has developed it’s own way of occupying itself during those normally blank and serene moments.

It’s trying to problem solve the embryonic plot I have whirling around the recesses of my brain but it’s whirling so fast I can’t catch it. And when I try to, it ricochets off the wall of my consciousness and sets off down a different path.

And then I trance out to the musical accompaniment that is inevitably playing in the background.

This could be in the car on the way to or from work, in the kitchen when I am washing the dishes or in my mind when it wanders to the safety of musical verse.

Music is great for providing nostalgia. A time, a place, an emotion – sometimes all of the above. Then the threads of nostalgia weave me back into writer mode – how can I capture that? How can I describe that feeling? Would my characters feel like that?

Can I write that?

And then I panic.

I’ve become a ‘wannabe’ writer.

I’ve subscribed to a writing magazine.
I’m a member of writing forums.
I’ve signed up to a course.
I scour the competition pages.
I have index cards, A3 paper, a white board and marker pens.
I have a cloud based research account.
I have a writers notebook.
I read. Alot.
I have a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad.

But the only thing I can bring myself to write is this blog.

I have the ‘Writers and Artists Guide: How to Write’ on the table next to me. I picked it up from my bedside table at the same time I picked up this iPad. And instead of reading about writing, I opted to write instead.

Which I guess is good.

But something deep in my gut remains unfulfilled.

My characters aren’t fully formed, my plot is full of holes, my world is full of contradictions and my conflict is undetermined.

I want to create characters like the ones that lived with me when I was growing up, in fact sometimes still live with me now. It doesn’t take much to recall them but when they appear, they are as 3D and as comforting as they were when I first discovered them.

If I can’t create my own characters that I want to spend time with, fight for – even fight with – then this writing game might not be for me after all.

I’m a writer in crisis.

Blog Life – My First Blog Award

This blog was ‘born’ on Friday 16th August and though I can’t quite believe it, it has already won an award thanks to Maddy over at beautify inside and out.

The award is the ‘Liebster’ award… [see cute shiny thing below] and is awarded to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

liebster2

Of course, it doesn’t come without it’s terms and conditions – one of them being I have to answer 10 questions put to me by my nominator. I think this might be interesting for my readers or it might not be depending on the reason you read this blog!

1. Do you believe in reincarnation?

Yes. Though I have no evidence of this and I don’t believe that it necessarily happens to everyone, I believe that it is possible. This doesn’t mean I believe in God as I don’t think reincarnation and God are mutually exclusive concepts but that’s a debate for another day.

2. Who is you favourite author?

Ugh. I am a big reader and to pick one would be just too tragic. I like all manner of fiction from horror to romance to mystery to thriller to ‘chick-lit’…

3. What is your favourite reality TV show?

I don’t like the new generation of reality television such as TOWIE and the like but I do admit to watching some old school formats such as X Factor, Wife Swap, Come Dine With Me, Supernanny & Top Model. Unlike some people who watch these shows, I don’t pretend that they are profound or intellectual. I watch them for entertainment – and I’m cool with that.

4. Do you prefer lollies or chocolate?

Chocolate – every time…

5. What book has changed you?

I don’t have one specific one – I think every book you read changes you in some way, even if only in a small way.

6. Cats or dogs?

I have both cat and dog so to pick one would create a karmic divide in our household. I love both though, for the record. I get different things from both of them.

7 Would you go skinny dipping?

Well, yeah. I mean – why not?

8. Is lying bad?

As a general rule of thumb, yes. However, a lot depends on motive and therefore ‘white lies’ do have their place and are sometimes acceptable if they are for the greater good.

9. Do you wish to be famous?

No… I’m a private person. I fantasise about what it would be like sometimes but I never wish for it to be a reality. Seeing my book in print in Waterstones? Well, I could live with that…

10. Are you tidy or messy?

It depends on which zone of the house you look at and what time of the week it is. Everything has a cycle and has its turn being messy, tidy then messy again. It gets tidied in turn and I do strive for lots of tidy at once, sometimes it just doesn’t work. So I’ll guess I’m an ‘aspirational tidy’. Nothing is so messy that the floors or covered, that drawers won’t shut or that things can’t be found though… so yeah. Tidy…

*drum roll*

And now, I look to my fellow bloggers to select 10 other recipients of this lovely award who will in turn get to a) post the award on their blog b) answer 10 questions from me and c) ask 10 questions of another 10 unsuspecting bloggers.

It’s like… a virtual chain letter but nicer!

  1. http://halfdecentgigrider.wordpress.com/ – Great blogger with a great attitude
  2. http://forlackofabetternerd.wordpress.com/ – NYC resident with a unique take on life
  3. http://terriponce.com/ – A novelist with a great attitude who I’d like to get to know
  4. http://kategallagherya.wordpress.com/ – A novelist with a new book due out soon – great humorous blog
  5. http://ajw95.wordpress.com/ – An aspiring author like me who needs some encouragement and support to make it through the writing process
  6. http://musingsofanaspiringscribbler.wordpress.com/ – A fellow writer with her own view on fanfiction
  7. http://apageofheaven.wordpress.com/ – A book review blog where I will be sourcing some new reads
  8. http://juiceb23.wordpress.com/ – Show some support for Lucy who is nearly 30 and has a list of 30 things to do before her big 3-0 birthday
  9. http://myeyespygallery.wordpress.com/ – Awesome photographer with thoughtful accompanying narratives
  10. http://3stagesofgirl.com/ – Funny Mom-Blog – hilarious posts

And here are my questions for you guys (and please elaborate!)…

1. Where is your favourite place in the world?

2. What is your favourite smell?

3. If you could be someone else for the day, who would it be?

4. Which celebrity do you wish you could make disappear?

5. What is your biggest ambition?

6. What is your biggest regret?

7. What is your favourite room in the house?

8. What is your first ever memory?

9. What is your favourite song?

10. Tell me something really unique/strange/odd about yourself that not many people know.

The World of Fanfiction

With the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades and the new venture that is Kindle Worlds, fanfiction is rapidly becoming mainstream.

As a fanfiction reader of 16 years, I’m actually feeling a little sad about it.

Not because I don’t think fanfiction is good or that the authors don’t deserve recognition but because for me, it was a world to escape to that existed outside of mainstream.

Back in the days of dial up connection, Angelfire and Tripod, I remember sneaking onto the PC to devour fanfiction at all times of the day and night.

It started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Buffy and Angel to be precise. Then it was all about Spike – Buffy and Spike. In fact, it was Buffy and Spike for a long, long time.

After perusing Angel and then Leverage fanfiction (because of Eliot who happened to be Lindsey in Angel which was an offshoot of Buffy…) and not quite getting the same buzz, it’s now all about Vampire Diaries fanfiction.

Damon and Elena, to be more precise. This generations Buffy and Spike – but not quite as raw or broken.

I think fanfiction is an amazing world to be a part of. I have even dabbled with writing some myself over the years. And guess what, everyone was encouraging and supportive and genuinely happy to read what I had written.

As a writer, it was an incredibly rewarding experience and gave me some of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had.

I didn’t write for profit or fame, I wrote for love. I didn’t read to criticise, I read to escape and live a little longer with the characters I had grown to love during the course of their series.

For me, fanfiction is a compliment to a writer – they have created something so special that viewers/readers can’t bare to let it go; the prospect of living without those characters or in that world is just too difficult to comprehend.

And sometimes, some of those worlds were a lot better than the reality that was my life. `

Now those worlds are expanding to incorporate more traffic, I worry that the fanfiction world itself will expand and transform beyond recognition for someone like me who remembers the magic of the ‘good old days’.

In a world of technological evolution, looking at the next cycle of innovation, I’m aware that this makes me sound old.

But for me, the fear is that the commercialisation of fanfiction will eventually wipe out one of my most precious sanctuaries of which I have the fondest memories.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Buffy, Bella & Elena

When I saw what Joss Whedon had said about there being no empowered females in Twilight and Vampire Diaries, I was a bit surprised.

I mean, he’s right – he did ‘like that band first’ and did vampires before they became sparkly and went mainstream – aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Joss says that the females in the new franchises are ‘passive’ and don’t really ‘know what the hell is going on’. He’s likened the franchises to ‘Choosing Boyfriends: The Movie’ and says they essentially ‘go against’ Buffy.

I mean, I thought Bella and Elena were cool. Well, admittedly, I could kind of see where he was coming from with Bella but she wasn’t so offensive that I couldn’t read the books or watch the movies.

Elena has her own quirks and admittedly, it takes her a season and a half to get up to speed with everything but for me, she gets there in the end. Sure, just after she’s found her feet, she’s turned into a vampire thus back to square one but … well, we’ll gloss over that one.

Buffy was and still is one of a kind. She was created to be the ultimate empowered female in a male dominated and patriarchal world. Her quick wit, her love of ice cream and her dating woes were red herrings in an otherwise kick ass world of crossbows, hard choices and the pressure of being the ‘chosen one’. She surpassed expectation:

  • She got dead but she was still pretty.
  • She saved the soul of the man she loved then sent him to hell.
  • She’s bled to the brink of death to save the man she loves, yet again.
  • She saves the world from an evil robot.
  • She actually does die this time – saving her sister – and goes to heaven (but is brought back; darn it).
  • She saves the world – from her best friend.

Then she finds a way to not only save the world but save herself and her future in the process.

She fights and she fights hard. Sure, she cries, she breaks nails and she misses dates but she steps up to the mark every single time.

I think because neither Elena or Bella are that well developed or defined, Joss does actually have a point with what he’s said.

However, in their defence, none of the new franchises really set out to create a new brand of heroine – I don’t think they gave it much thought.

They are paranormal romances. And all of them have the age old ‘love triangle’ kicking around in the mix.

The difference is – for Elena and Bella, this is primary. For Buffy, this is secondary.

She does what’s needed to be done.

And though it has been some time since I’ve watched Buffy, this scene came to mind:

Buffy: I killed Angel! Do you even remember that? I would have given up everything I had to be with him. I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life. And I put a sword through his heart because I had to…. It is always different! It’s always complicated. And at some point, someone has to draw the line, and that is always going to be me. You get down on me for cutting myself off, but in the end the Slayer is always cut off. There’s no mystical guidebook. No all-knowing council. Human rules don’t apply. There’s only me. I am the law.

Sure, Buffy was paranormal and it had its romance – but it had conflict; real tangible conflict that went way beyond the ‘should, I shouldn’t I’ dance that Joss refers to.

Does any of the above mean that I love Vampire Diaries (or like Twilight) any less? Hell, no.

Elena and Bella really become vampires – Buffy never (and couldn’t) go there… that’s new right? Damon and Edward are hot – eye candy is always good. And there is conflict, albeit not on the same scale or to the same intelligent degree that there was with Buffy.

Buffy, despite the name and the veneer of superficiality that goes with it, is actually one of the most intelligent pieces of TV ever written.

And I admit, when I think back to how I felt when I watched Buffy for the first time, when I watch Vampire Diaries, sometimes it does just feel like settling.

(But I’ll still watch…)

Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self

I like quirky writing.

I love ‘Dear Me’ – celebrities who’ve written letters to their sixteen year old selves. Insightful, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant.

Hugh Jackman, Jodi Picoult, Michelle Rodriguez, Alan Cumming… my favourites.

It got me thinking about what I would say to my sixteen year old self and I think it would go something like this.

Dear Me,

It’s been a while huh? I thought I would take this opportunity to share some pearls of wisdom that I have acquired over the years – whether you take heed of them is entirely your choice…

  • You’re probably sat worrying about what other people think about you. Don’t. I know it’s easy for me to say but trust me, it gets you nowhere.
  • Your fashion sense will improve and so will your sense of humour.
  • You need to learn to laugh at yourself and don’t take everything so personally – some days will be harder than others but there is great power to be found in doing these things.
  • That guy who broke your heart – one day you will break his and it will be the best thing you will ever do.
  • You’re not sporty, you never will be and don’t ever pretend to be. That way lies embarrassment.
  • It’s ok to be alone, you are good at it and one day will come to enjoy it – it will not only give you great strength, it will be your greatest strength when it comes to standing tall against toxic people who come into your life.
  • Embrace the way you look, you can’t change it and you’ll blossom – ignore the haters and make the most of what you’ve got.
  • Trust your instincts – your gut is never wrong and the sooner you realise this the better.
  • People will come to you for advice and guidance, they too will learn to trust your instincts. This skill will take you far in life but use it wisely.
  • Learn when to keep your mouth shut and remember, it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it. You’ll be hearing this alot right now I’m sure, but it will be a struggle for you to overcome. Try harder.

I know you probably expected more from me but you should know that you will see and do a lot in life – and you will regret nothing. The details are just spoilers.

Make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time and be reassured by what I’ve said. You’ll get there, don’t worry.

Me x