Monday 22 June 2015

First of the Month Fiction - July

It's the holidays, and so I'm shutting up shop with this post, due to return mid July. Everyone enjoy the break, and see you on twitter or around and about.

For newcomers, write a story in 100 words exactly or one less than 30 words. Put the story in the comments here, and link your blog below, so we can see your writing without a word count!

She was tired, achingly so. It was joyless. She was lonely. The dinner table had become a battlefield. Without any provocation, an argument explode and he'd storm out. Anxiously she prepared dinner, hoping there would be respite. It was rare, but there were occasional glimpses of the relationship they used to share.
"Paul, honey. Dinner!"
He shuffled to the table, slumping in the chair. He toyed with his food, silently. Not actually placing a morsel in his mouth.
"I've had enough". He pushed the chair back defiantly, challenging her.
It was so hard being a single mother to a teenager.

This one had to be striped down, and took forever to get the word count right. Not entirely happy with the outcome...but, so it goes!

Don't for get to add your link and happy holidays everyone!

Linking with #WeeklyWrapUp and #TIK

Friday 19 June 2015

An embarrassing admission

As every blogger knows, the Kidspot Voices of 2015 were announced last weekend. I can honestly say I was genuinely happy for the people on the list, especially those I read and know. I had not the slightest envy of them nor sour grapes I missed out. However, this is not a post on what a generous spirit I am (because who would want to read that?!). It does highlight the perplexing nature of what happened next.

I also want to add, that I regularly alert other writers to story competitions I'm in, because if my story isn't good enough, I'd love it if the prize went to someone I know. So I'm not the sort of person who can't celebrate another's success.

I am slightly uncomfortable with what I'm about to share, that I may take the post down soon after publishing. It's makes me cringe a little. Quite a lot, actually.

Well over a year ago, the lovely Zanni mentioned she'd signed a book deal with Little Hare. I was overjoyed for her as Little Hare are a BIG deal publisher. I was so excited to see things happening for people I know, which makes what happened next all the more curious for me.

On the same day I saw the photo of Zanni holding her newly published children's book (which I was so excited to see, as I felt we'd been on the journey with her), I discovered a person I was at Uni with had just published his THIRD book. I'd happily congratulated him, genuinely excited for his success. But half an hour later, I was suddenly struck with a horrible, sulking feeling. Am I the only person in the world who hasn't got a book published? (I know a few other authors, one of whom is embarrassed by one of her series but keeps writing them because the publisher keeps asking her to do another one - so she's successfully writing books she doesn't even like).

I want to clarify, I wasn't begrudging them their success, but it made me feel like a failure. A complete loser who couldn't get published. Not so much sour grapes as a self indulgent pity party. Like a spoilt, sulky toddler who I would admonish without a second thought.

Now here's the funny part. I haven't actually WRITTEN a book. It's not that the book I've written got rejected.  I have nothing to publish. I have just sat on my arse and done nothing with the idea I had over three years ago. Not even opened a new folder and given it a name. ZIP.

So you can see why the emotion is embarrassing, and something I'm not that proud of, fleeting though it was. We humans are such a mass of irrationality, some more than others.

Thankfully, I began to see the funny side of it, and shortly after the initial wave of emotion, I was back to normal.

I am reminded of the quote I used in a similar situation when my ego and vanity expanded to ludicrous proportions:

The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that's laughable is vanity. - Henri Bergson

So to make a positive out of this foible, I'm adding it to the list:

Torshlusspanik List:

1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)
11. Master a Masterclass (check)
12. Perform a rap song (check)
13. Trampoline adventure (check)
14. BMX Riding (check)
15. Do a cart wheel (check)
16. Ride an Electric Bike (check)

17. Astonish Myself
18. Write a book*.

*I actually did write a children's book for a competition, just for the exercise of it, and got really great feedback on it, as I'd written it in rhyme and they'd loved the rhythm, so I took it as a win, even though I didn't come close to winning the competition. However, I think I'd rather start fresh than rework that it counts on the list as a new challenge.

Linking with #TIK because I know this was stupid and glad it was momentary; and #WWU

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Coffee, Campari...

I was standing at the coffee machine, beginning to write a shopping list in my head of what I needed to buy today, and it began "Coffee, Campari..."
I was struck with a wave of gratitude, how lucky I was to have a shopping list like that. It represents luxury, it indicates great enjoyment. It's what I WANT not NEED, and I am grateful I can get both without really needing to forego something else as a result.

So in a fleeting post, I wanted to remind everyone (myself most of all), how BIG some of the smallest things are.

Linking this old post with #Blogtober because I think this is an important message for these times. Focus when you can on the little things right in front of you. 

Monday 15 June 2015

Blog like no one is reading...

I've already written a post on Why I Write which outlined that when I looked at what I needed to do to make the blog fiscally successful, I decided I wasn't interested in those changes (it would bore me to write AND read). So Where the Wild Things Were is in essence, an outlet for me, and interestingly, growing in readership. Basically I already blog like no one is reading, most of the time. I see it more as emptying my head, in order to clarify my world view, for me. (I do have a mildly popular though poorly named travel blog that is more correctly 'niche' focused but for this post, I'll stick with my out of the box effort)

I also use my blog to promote things I think are deserving, and to make a difference (in a tiny way) for issues and causes I believe in. It's my soapbox, if you will.

Part of the challenge for Blog Exchange included:"It’s more a case of removing the unspoken blogging lines you’ve created." I use the link ups for that. I try to follow their prompts, as it makes me write on a topic where I may not have gone, so all you hosts, I'm eternally grateful for your efforts.

I was a regular for the now defunct #SunshineSundays. I loved this link up because it made me write in a more poetic style, less of a point to communicate in the post, more of an exploration of words or images. I use Conversations over Coffee for this now, but that is only on the last Thursday of every month.

I write for link ups whether I get a lot of readers in return for the effort. I figure I can always promote the post myself but it's the exercise in writing that appeals to me (and the time frame - I need end dates).

The other thing I love about link ups, is I get to read abroad range of blogs. Instead of reading my faves, over and over, I will read randomly. I will read blogs I've never heard of and I will comment to show you I've been there. I like to see what other people are doing, because there is a lot of broad world view out there. For me, the blogs that vary each week are far more enticing that the ones that are 'niche'. But that's me, and not an indication of what will make your blog successful. (What? 'How did I not make the finalists of #Voicesof2015?' I hear you ask. I know, it's astounding...)

I write short stories, and have been published in an anthology, long listed in the Hunter Writers Centre Grieve competition, so they aren't complete rubbish. I love writing stories, but really need to work on the more imaginative side, being less pedestrian, and playing a little more with the construction of sentences. That's why I like the more poetic prompts. They required me to do that each week, and they push me creatively and out of my comfort zone. (Does anyone else think comfort zone is less about fear and more about laziness?)

For me, blogging is not just blogging. It's dedicated writing practice, every week. It can be whatever you want it to be. Going against all that they tell you (and I make such a minuscule amount of money, you can ignore any advice I give), don't sell your audience short. They may be more interested in what you have to say than you think. While you are a niche blogger, it doesn't mean you can't once a month, or once a week, stretch out of your niche. Support the link ups, not to gain readers, but for the exercise in writing.

Lastly, I want to thank again the hosts of all the link ups I visit. I love that you put aside a post one day a week where I can park something you've asked me to write. I like that at times I start with one idea on a prompt but go somewhere completely different. I love to see where everyone else went on the topic. Please don't be disappointed if the linkers are limited. If I'm there, it means you are doing something right!! (I am the centre of the universe, in case you were unaware).

For me blogging is very much as E. L. Doctorow said:

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.

Linking up for #WritersDen

Saturday 13 June 2015

Where I write

Where I write is not where I type. I am often constructing a story or blog post in my head, and then the next morning I type it up.
This post, Better Jobs was written in the carpark of the hospital, and then on the drive home.
This very sad (but one of my favourites) story was written on the walk to preschool, when I saw a photo stuck to a telegraph pole.
The tale of the crab was written as I walked down the street.

More often than not, I lie in bed writing in my head - dictating what I will type the next morning, should I remember.

I constantly have characters coming into my ear, pleading for me to share their tale of woe, like a lesser Pirandello. They keep coming back if I ignore them, or decide it's too hard or beyond my ability. They also come back if they aren't happy with my effort. I don't need editors to tell it's no good. The character starts nagging me because I 'got it wrong'.

I have ideas I want to expand on or share, but usually only a fraction are still there when I sit down to type. Sometimes I start composing posts because I don't know what my opinion is on a subject, and if I put it into words, it clarifies what I think.

It makes me sad that there is never enough time to put it all down in words.

"The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe." Gustave Flaubert
Linking with 

The Writer’s Den Linky Badge

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Better Jobs

I was waiting for a family member to come out of recovery and up to the ward last night. I listened for over ninety minutes to the chirpy hospital staff discussing & dealing with some serious patient issues. Given they were on the night shift, they seemed overly enthusiastic to my tired ears. I thought about what remarkable people they must be, dealing with such horrible and stressful things, giving up their nights to help strangers (and thus their days too).

I finally left and walked to my car, just as a shift change was going on in one of the other buildings. A number of young people in hospital attire were making their way to their cars. Young people who had chosen this life of service to others.

That's when it hit me how truly awful our Treasurer's comments were, that people should get a better job if they wanted to buy a house. It's not only impractical, it's insulting.

It concerns me that the person with the fiscal plan for our nation is thinking we should call a stock broker or merchant banker if we're hit by a truck. Is that the plan? If everyone gets better paying jobs, then who's left to do the essential services? What kind of alarming economic policy is that?

However, maybe he means to increase the wages for all the teachers, police, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and other essential services that we as a nation need daily. I don't mean by the miniscule 5% that they have to fight tooth and nail to get every few years. I mean jack their income right up, well into six figures so that they don't need to quit and become barristers.

Who would pay for this, you ask? Well, I guess all those industries that rake in huge profits and in topsy-turvy land somehow managed to be tax exempt. Of course, that's just my uninformed guess, I'm sure the Treasurer had something in mind when he came out with that line about getting a better job if you wanted to buy a house.

So Mr Hockey, what is the plan?

Linking up #OpenSlather

Please note, as always, you don't have to agree with me, but you do have to play nice. I will delete any comments that are rude or disrespectful to me, other commenters, the Liberal Party or Mr Hockey.

Monday 8 June 2015

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.

For those that aren't familiar with it, the title is a quote by Albert Schweitzer. Memory is not a static thing. Memory can be lost, and found and alters over time. I read recently, that when we remember something, we are actually remembering the last time we remembered it, not the event itself, which is why some memories fade and some stay strong, and they often vary over time.

In We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, she talks about a lot about the nature of memory (and it's changing facets). She says "This doesn't mean that the story isn't true, only that I honestly don't know anymore if I really remember it or only remember how to tell it."

She expands on this idea "Language does this to our memories - simplifies, solidifies, codifies, mummifies. An oft-told story is like a photograph in a family album; eventually, it replaces the moment it was meant to capture."

My husband was telling a story from his childhood and his sister asked "Was I there?" (she wasn't) and then pondered "Why do I remember it so clearly then?" It was purely because she'd heard the story so often that her mind had injected her into the picture.

The fluidity of memory is how that terrible trip turns into a fond memory as the repeated telling of the tale for the amusement of others begins to inject the humour of the story on the feelings associated with the event.

Time and memory are true artists; they remould reality nearer to the heart's desire. (John Dewey) and this may be a blessing or a curse.
Have you ever had someone tell your story as their own? Do you find the nature of memory fascinating?

Linking up with #BooknificentThursdays

Sunday 7 June 2015

What we hate about facebook...

As soon as the topic of Facebook comes up, someone will pipe up with posts they hate. For some reason, things our friends like to post drive us mad. In no particular order, posts we hate on FB are:

1. Photos of kids. We hate people that constantly post photos of their kids and show off about their achievements. (How many times to we have to say they're cute?)

2. Photos of food. What are we even meant to say to that?

3. People who post about their exercise. It's no accident the article titled 'I got a fitbit and became a bore overnight' went viral.

4. Travel photos. Stop showing off.

5.  Selfies. How insecure are you, and why do I have to keep telling you that you look good?

Now all of the above, people hate. Yet, without a doubt, everyone one of us constantly posts at least one of these, if not more. So here's what we love to post on FB:

1. Photos of kids. We're so proud of them, and they're so cute.

2. Photos of food. We can't believe it turned out so well.

3. People who post about their exercise. It's a great way to get motivated and we're so proud of what we can do.

4. Travel photos. Is there anything more amazing than the big wide world, and how do you know where you want to travel to if you don't see where people go?

5.  Selfies. Scenery shots are boring, and I'm actually there.

What are your pet hates on FB, and what are you guilty of?

Linking with #MummyMondays

Friday 5 June 2015

Late to the party

I've been a little down lately, overwhelmed with life's little problems that seem to come thick and fast as you age...but then I stumbled across this band out of France and I can't tell you how quickly my mood lifts when I listen to this song from way back in 2012.

I defy you to not be elevated out of your Monday Mourning (I love that term), simply with a listen. You never feel happy, until you try....

There's a meme going around facebook that states "Music can cure things medication can't". While I don't agree with it completely, it certainly is one of the things that makes life so incredibly wonderful. Even Nietzsche thought along these lines, declaring “Without music, life would be a mistake.”  

I will not be joining in with the most annoying thing your partner did prompt of  #IMustConfess as I don't want to tempt hearing the long list of my equally annoying quirks!

(you can buy it on iTunes - C2C on the album Tetra)

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Churches #Haunted2015

Kind of cheating, as they're creepy at the best of times but couldn't resist with these beautiful stone buildings. We were at a party in a church hall, and the birthday boy stood at the gates of the cremated grave plaques (I don't know what you call that) and shouted "I'm looking at death! I'm looking right at death!" It was very surreal, and hilarious.

Anyway, the bigger the photo, the creepier I think they are (the smaller ones didn't work quite as I expected). And the second  last one, I just like as it's the presence of God washing over the building (no filter, just what it was). The last one is my favourite, but I could be reading too many books about WWII and that may be clouding my vision.

 This one isn't creepy, just thought it was pretty.

Linking up with #WWOT

Monday 1 June 2015

What I learnt from Woman in Gold

No spoilers, Helen Mirren is fabulous, truly excellent and Daniel Bruhl is totally wasted, with his nothing character...

One thing that came up, is that 'people forget, especially the young'. Even those children of the victims know little or think little of it all. This can be a bad thing, but it can also be a good thing. When looking for happiness or contentment, one doesn't need to be caught up in the past. It is, however, important to learn from the past. Don't pretend it didn't happen, and just don't let it happen again.

 Image Source:Wikimedia Commons, Attribution: Gage Skidmore

The meaning of restitution comes up, and it's not about money, it means to return something to it's original state. This is easier said than done, and we can't ever really go back and make things the way they were, because the damage is done inside us whether the framework seems to have returned to normal. It's a fine line we tread each day with careless actions.

In the thick of the Nazi occupation, one captured Jew says to his fleeing daughter 'your job is to learn to be happy again'. The fact is, nothing is so insurmountable that we can't learn to be happy again. We don't forget it, we can't change the past and restore it to how it was, but we can learn to be happy again. It requires us to change, us to manage our thoughts and feelings, and how we view things. The character lost all her friends and family, saw horrible, unimaginable things, and her whole world fall apart, and yet manages to put her life together and be content with her lot, for many, many years.

I guess what I learnt, was that while your world may have seismic shifts - divorce, death, serious health issues, your dire feelings will eventually change. It may take a few years, but you will eventually come out of the tunnel and be happy again. There is the loss, there can never be restitution on that, but there is a new way of life awaiting. We can learn to be happy again.

What I learnt most of all, is sometimes I'm struck deeply by ideas but when it comes to expressing them in writing, I fail. I've looked at this post a few times since I wrote it, and it's not what I want to say, but I don't know how to correct it. So this #MummyMondays you are dumped with an unsatisfactory post, and for that I'm sorry (but I need to put it to rest, so here it is).