Sunday, March 27, 2011

Of love and special things

The house is quiet for now, which is kind of strange considering the kids are usually up and about an hour earlier than this. I don't have much time to blog today. I have a birthday card next to me that needs to get finished, and breakfast to go smack together in a dirty and cluttered kitchen - all hopefully to be done by the time the kids wake up screaming 'want weetbix!'

It's a hectic weekend for us, with the more chaotic day waiting for tomorrow. Anyone who has moved house knows it's not a piece of cake.

Speaking of cake, I need to go bake one soon. Chocolate cake with caramel treat as icing. It's going to be lovely.

Back to today, however, it's my hubby-to-be's 30th birthday. What an inconvenient time to be moving, right? But considering our current landlord is shady on the reasons why she wants us out, I didn't even want to bother asking her if we could delay the expiry date for another couple of days. Mostly because I can't stand people who are very obviously being dishonest and grappling for air when you demand explanations.

So, amidst the half-packed boxes and plastic bags and ironing (oh yes, believe it or not, the ironing hasn't stopped harrassing me even in this time) cluttering up our house, and all the packing that has yet to be done today, it's good to set aside some decent time to pay special attention to a special person. I don't think it's raining today, and it might be a bit windy and overcast - although what else is new? - but I think a trip down to the park for a round of family cricket/soccer will be nice. Maybe if it's not too cold I'll pack us a picnic too.

We've been invited to our friends' place for dinner tonight. So likely I'll bake the cake this afternoon and take it along with us. No gifts from me today, though. I already got him an early birthday present - a proper work table for his workshop - a couple of weeks ago. I'd have loved to have had it delivered on this day but life doesn't work that way. If I didn't buy it when I did, it would have been gone by the time I wanted to purchase it. I'm not being pessimistic by saying that. It happened to me before and, well, I live what I learn.

My cheeky monkey is up and demanding something from the kitchen, and little Mister is yelling from his cot. Oh, there we go.
'Want weetbix!'

Back on mommy duty.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The magic of stories

Listening to: 94.5 KFM
Drinking: Soup...mmm :)
Watching: Four Weddings USA


You get two types of writers: the kind who are idealists, and the kind that are realists.
I fall under the latter category.

Idealists spin you a complicated plot with perfectly gorgeous characters in hair-raising and worrisome situations. BUT they incorporate a little something special that gives the reader the hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There will be chocolate cake and coffee waiting in a rose garden under the warm sun when you get through this hell. The characters always triumph or escape their unhappy predicament. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And they always - always - give you a happy ending. Everybody gets what they want, except for the bad guys. Everyone lives happily ever after. The End.

Realists, on the other hand, give you flawed characters who somehow manage to stumble into sinking sand pits. Sometimes they deserve it, sometimes they don't. Either way they keep you wondering whether the characters are going to survive their doomed predicament, and if they do whether they'll come off stronger for it or be damaged beyond repair because of it. Sometimes you get an ending which isn't happy, but it's better than what could have been. Other times you get to that rose garden after all the hell, but the sun's heat has melted the chocolate cake and the coffee has gone cold. Happy, but not. The End. Or is it?

That's the thing about 'realist' writing. Like life, you're not always guaranteed to have things work in your favour. But that does give you the opportunity to explore the world of the character that much more. Of course idealists can do the same thing - but what more do you really want to know if you know they're living happily after? It's hard not to read such stories as mere 'fan service'. Realists don't have that issue, because realistically, as long as the character doesn't die at the end of the story, there is room to expand on the story.

But then...happy endings is where the magic of stories lie, isn't it?

That's all for today. I have Burger King waiting for me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

R&W

Listening to: Lose Control - Evanescence
Reading: Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr



A blog about writing and reading? For real? Gah, imagine that, I'm actually blogging about what the blog is meant to be focussed on!

I'm reading Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, which was suggested to me by a fellow fan of Ms. L.J. Smith's work. The dialogue seems a bit strained and curt, and it feels like the characters are well developed but the author is not forthcoming on sharing their personalities that much. This might just be me, though, but it takes me a while to warm up to the different author voices out there.Or rather the writing style, I should say. If it doesn't flow as easily and seemingly naturally as that of L.J. Smith or J.K. Rowling, then I battle to keep myself from pulling out of new water.

New styles aside, the author did a splendid job at weaving together the fates of all her characters. It's just a matter of what one will do, or won't do, that will set off a domino effect on all the others, and so change the world they are in. I'm only halfway into the book but I already love the characters to death. Except the mother. Gosh, what a dog. Even the supposedly 'bad' characters speak to the reader, and makes you sympathise with them even though you'd really rather just see them as the bad guys. It's complicated to explain unless you read it yourself.

I'm not going to give a review for the book, I'll wait until I've read the whole thing before I do that. But I did want to blog about the similarities there are between this book, and the novel I'm currently (supposedly) rewriting, Shadow Legacy.

1. There's a new guy at school that has every girl falling for him without even trying.
2. The new guy is not human.
3. The new guy is very temperamental.
4. He's royalty.

If you're a writer you'll completely understand where I'm coming from with this. You know those times when you think you have a unique idea, and you work at it, and you decide to take a break and read the latest bestseller or go watch the newest blockbuster at the cinemas and you come off outraged going 'I'm gonna sue!' because they have the exact same ideas as yours. To the creepy extent that you become paranoid that somebody snooped through your writer notes and actually stole your concepts? You know?

This is basically what just happened to me. Note: it is just paranoia.
What this means is that, that book you've always wanted to read but never found so decided to write yourself, has already been written and you've been a bit slow on the uptake.

So, I'm happy I'm reading that book now. It means I can still change some of my now somewhat stereo-type concepts to something that is unique and new. Any decent writer knows just how disappointing it is to write something that has already been done.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Time's a tick-tick-ticking

Playing: One Republic-All the Right Moves
Mood: Sentimental/optimistic yet stressed out.

First thing on my mind right now is how much I envy VB's gaming blog. All the Vergil-ness would be to die for if only it was Dante-ness instead. I'm not that good at backgrounds and messing with codes (I completely stuffed up my weebly site), but I am considering asking a couple of friends if they'd be interested in creating a template specially for me on Blogger. (hint hint) No Danteness or DMCness, unfortunately, since this is my personal blog and I don't want to expose my family and friends to my unhealthy obsessions too much.

So we're moving at the beginning of next week and not even half of the house has been packed yet. Truth be told I'm two-three days behind on my packing and cleaning schedule, and I think we're going to have to go buy more boxes during this week.

This week!
Is going to be iNsAnE! Aside from the packing and moving house and all that that entails, I have to take my monkey-girl for her immunisations this Wednesday, Thursday morning we have an appointment with our midwife, and Friday morning we have (I'll just refer to her as our Tutor) coming around for the final home visit on the parenting course we're attending at the moment. On top of this, my monkey-girl can't miss kindy on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons because...well, I'm not really comfortable on sharing the why's to just anybody. Let's just say it's very important and beneficial to her to attend kindy on those specific days.

Now you tell me, how the heck am I going to pack my house in the few hours I have spare?
I think this week is going to consist of a LOT of late nights.

That's all for today. I have to go prepare that big piece of chicken for the man of the house. ;)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Of sunny days and heavy hearts


Listening to: It's a beautiful day - U2
Hoping: I don't get sued/complaints about the pics I've used on my blog
(in hindsight I'll stick to using my own photos and pictures from now, just to be safe)
Reading: The Parenting Book
Writing: Prompts


It's a sunny day in Welly. Blue skies with patches of puffy clouds, very little wind, and so far it looks to be a promising day for my laundry. What does laundry have to do with good weather? Everything, if you don't have a tumble dryer.

Depending on how good the monkeys behave, I might suggest a brief trip down to the beach for an hour or so this afternoon. To be honest they haven't been that good this morning. For one they tried to lock me out of the house when I was hanging up my washing, and then they tried to eat my breakfast when I finally got around to actually having breakfast.

And, I'll just apologise right now if this blog post seems random. I'm squishing a whole month's worth of blogs into one and trying not to write a 500 page life biography while I'm at it.

On the topic of writing, I do believe the little bug has curled back up into its shell and rolled into the furthest and darkest corner of my mind. Just when it was finally emerging again, too. Life has a tendency to beat down on ones drive. The creativity is still present; I nearly finished a oneshot (that's a very short story for anyone who is not familiar with the fanfictioner lingo) last night for a competition club I'm involved in. The prompt is anguish. It couldn't have been more fitting considering the state I was in after receiving some bad news relating to the health of a family member. I still stand by the theory that writing is cheaper (and far more efficient) than therapy.

It also helps to talk to someone.

It hasn't lifted my spirits much, or relieved the ache in my chest. You can't expect to go on a rollercoaster ride and laugh and smile and have a good time when you're suffering on the inside. Life doesn't work that way. But letting it out in one form or the other has helped clear my head enough so I can think and decide what I'm going to do about it.

Writing and family issues aside, it feels like hell has descended on earth. I watched the news the other day and for a moment thought 'this is like something out of an apocalyptic blockbuster'. There have also been people (and this ticks me off more than I can explain in words) who have taken clips of the video footage shown on the news of a 13 feet high tsunami destroying lives and homes in Japan - and HEY, there's a white thing streaking across the screen. And this is filmed LIVE! OMG, what is that, a UFO? Can it be that there were aliens present when this tragedy occurred? Because really WTF is that white thing?

Now, some of you may have heard me say this, I do believe there are other beings out there which we know little about. I also believe in angels and God, but I'm not pointing out that there are angels hovering in the sky or that hey look there's God's hand/face/finger in the clouds either. Yet people are focussing on something insignificant, something small and stupid and completely irrelevant streaking across the screen while there is a tsunami killing thousands of people live on TV.

I get that a lot of people will shrug it off and go 'well, there's been lots of these things happening in the history of our world, this is nothing new'. It makes me wonder just what has become of the human race. Where is the compassion and empathy? Where is the humanity? First a HUGE earthquake, then a MASSIVE tsunami, then three NUCLEAR meltdowns, and to put the cherry on top a volcano erupting. It's one after the other catastrophe hitting one place in the timespan of two weeks. It's easy for people who are not personally affected by these events to flick off the TV when the news is on because they've grown bored of it.

The same thing happened with Haiti. Who ever spends a thought or prayer on those people lately? Only those who were affected by it. The rest of the human race have forgotten and don't really care that most of those people are still homeless and are still struggling immensely from day to day just to get by.

I think that anyone with a grain of compassion in their bodies, anyone with a mind, can imagine what it must be like for the people who are now stuck in Japan. I could write you a story about what it could be like, but could you handle it? Would you want to know? Would you want to look at it from THEIR perspective? Would you care?

That's the problem. People say 'oh how tragic, those poor people, it must be awful', but they don't really care. They forget about it until the news throws it back in their face to say Hey, this is still happening, it's real, it's not over just because you turn your head the other way.

I'm not saying everyone is like this or does this. There are a lot of people out there who do care but don't have the resources to help. There are a lot of people who do care and who are helping because they're trained and are competent in giving aid. I know I'm dissing a bit on people who are not personally affected by this catastrophe, but bear in mind that I myself am not personally affected by it either. I have no family or friends (that I know of) who are caught in that hellpit. I still care. I empathise. I pray for them.

Life taught me to live in the moment.
Death taught me to appreciate what I have.
Humanity taught me to hold onto my faith.
The Holy Spirit taught me of myself.
Jesus taught me love.
God taught me peace.