"I'm just going to write because I can't help it."- Charlotte Brontë

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quicksteps


I'm usually a one speed person when walking - zip, zip, zip with an invisible, soundless horn that I mentally honk at the sloooooow people who always seem to be blocking my path. This is still my default setting the moment I step off the train and hit the pavements of Melbourne, and the one I ratchet up when doing medicinal laps of the local botanical gardens, but I noticed about six months ago that I'd finally developed a second speed for living in the country. It only took four years, but now, when I head off for local doings, I positively amble.

I'm very conscious of the change and quite enjoying it. I schedule more time to accommodate this more relaxed state. I used to stress out getting to the train in the mornings, but now I mosey along thinking things and admiring the gardens that line the streets. I used to step off the train at night and rush home so I'd have an extra five minutes for doing domestic whatevers, but now I potter along enjoying the stars, moon, creek sounds, trees in the darkness and whatever wildlife decides to jump out and scare me. Now, when I head off for a bills paying and shopping trip, I simply cannot make myself pour on the gas. This is good, as it also helps me blend in - I once met a local woman in Melbourne who, though a stranger to me, said she recognised me because she'd seen me speeding between shops as I went about my business in town.

So yes, I did some local ambling today, and thought about that ambling and what it meant, and also did much chatting with the girl in the fruit shop. I'm a Wednesday regular now. I did writerly stuff too - writing, of course, subbed 3 stories (one was a recent rejection which an upcoming antho held for close to seven months, almost took, but in the end decided it didn't fit the tone. I'm really starting to dislike that phrase. What's so untoney about my stories? Ah well, onwards...) and wrangled content for the great, individual contributor pages Carrie Cuin is busily setting up over at Lakeside Circus. For now, my page reads: This performer is still getting ready for the show. While you wait, try your luck at a game of chance. We hear the ring toss is not quite as rigged as some of the other booths. Issue One is out on Friday, so you can view my efforts then.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Brilliant Timey-Wimey Was Had By All.

Bendigo Cinemas seriously underestimated the amount of interest there would be for the nerdy old Dr Who 50th Anniversary Special. First they cautiously scheduled a mere 2 showings, which sold out quickly, then added a third (to which we hastily bought tickets), but by Sunday they had squeezed in 2 more sessions earlier in the day and another after our evening one, so they went from 2 sessions to 6. People arrived early to get good seats and long queues formed, but everyone was cheerful and in high spirits, so there was a lot of street fun going on prior to the movie.

It was a great evening. The theatre attendants were wearing cool fezzes, there were Tom Baker scarves everywhere, young lads with bow-ties and slicked hair did their best Eleventh Doctor impersonations, giggling teenage girls dressed up as Amy Pond skipped about together in groups, and sonic screwdrivers were wielded with impunity. All age groups were represented. Inside, the atmosphere was good-natured, and once the movie got going, and it became apparent there were going to be plenty of in jokes to reward the faithful, and everyone realised it was going to be FUN, the audience bonded and it became a true Event.

You just don't get many of those.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Daleks are Forever


Because, let's face it, Doctors come and go, but a humble cafeteria saltshaker, when mixed with a little imagination and a healthy dose of chutzpah, can be whatever you want it to be, and the final product a thing of beauty (apologies to John Keats) that the people then embrace and make their own.


 
 
 



Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Robot Doggie in the Window


I'm a relatively connected and well-read girl, so I was delighted, but not surprised, to see a full scale Dalek holding a huge popcorn container and slurpee turn up at our regular movie theatre a couple of weeks ago, to read a Dr Whom cartoon in the Age newspaper on the train on the way home last night, and to discover this morning that Episode 13 of the BAMF Girls Club featured a certain bowtie-wearing and sonic screwdriver-wielding gentleman popping into the chaotic household shared by Buffy, Hermione, Bella, Michonne, Lisbeth, and Katniss (who recently had her own tie-in episode because of her upcoming movie.)

What did astonish me, however, this afternoon whilst out for a spot of shopping, was passing the local upholstery shop, an establishment that usually reeks of rural conservative properness, as is only fitting for a business that can make or break your most recent redecorating scheme, and spotting a very professionally homemade replica of everyone's favourite robot dog comfortably ensconced amongst the dignified wingback chairs. That's an affirmative - there was a K-9 in the window.

That's the kind of unexpected, everyday wonder that makes me think there's hope yet for humanity.

And do I have tickets for the Great Event tomorrow? You bet, what with all my ABC signals mysteriously vanishing when regional Victoria switched to digital. Yep, that's a techno advance worked out great for me. This way, if I'm careful, I have a ghost of a chance of seeing what happens before all the blogs blow the lid off John Hurt's Doctor.

Also, I must honour the child within who spent many hours in the schoolyard with friends screeching 'Exterminate! Exterminate!' and zapping Cybermen.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Those Darn Danes

 

I love this portrait. I love that it exists. I love that the artist, Thomas Kluge, hasn't been beheaded. I love that the painting itself hasn't been burnt, its ashes then dumped in the moat of a 1,000 year old Danish castle. I love that you can go see it at a public exhibition. Many points to the Danish Royal Family for its sense of humour.

You can read a more arty analysis of the mysterious and spooky, and altogether ooky portrait here:  http://www.fastcodesign.com/3022006/design-crime/this-painting-of-the-danish-royal-family-will-steal-your-soul

Thursday, November 21, 2013

After an Officey Day...

 
 
...full of weariful intrigues and much uphill struggling, it was lovely to come home to a package from Prime Books, rip it open, pull out books that include one's own name in the TOC, and fondle said books.

Yes, I've received my contributor copies of Aliens: Recent Encounters. Guess what I'll be dipping into this weekend?

Nice.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

And Young Ones Shouldn't Be Afraid


I have a few rules for life, which I try to stick to but don’t always succeed, and one of them is to not give into the temptation to try an impress anyone under the age of twenty-five with tales of my own awesomeness at their age.
 
Firstly, they won’t really believe you. You’re old. You were born old. Even if, by some miracle, you really were their age at some point in history, it’s a given that you were just a younger version of exactly the same person you are presently living the exact same life you do now. Personal development is just theory to a seventeen year old. They haven’t lived long enough to know what it means to have crammed one or two more of their lifetimes into your lifetime. They’re as clueless about the difference a few decades can make as I would be before the millennia lived by Methuselah.

Secondly, the very young are not really interested in the past exploits of we oldies. At all. In a few years, maybe, but not yet. Note, as I’ve done on many occasions, how the eyes of the young glaze over as you go on and on about the amazing adventures you got up to whilst island hopping across the Mediterranean with just a sleeping bag and a toothbrush, as you brag of partying for weeks on end and boast about all the lovelorn fools you spurned, as you fondly grumble about the long nights you spent in a lab finding a cure for cancer, and laugh at your own recollections of training for years and then coming last in Tour de France. The young are consumed with their own awesomeness and how that awesomeness ranks compared with the awesomeness of their friends, and are convinced that they have an awesome future ahead of them. This awesome future is a given. It has to be, otherwise life looks way too scary from where the young stand. You might have stuffed up - because obviously you have, just look at your life - but they definitely won’t. If they’re lucky, they don’t know about life’s sneaky derailing tricks yet or that heartbreaking things can happen that require years of recovery and that random chance often brutally knocks you over. Because. They. Are. In. Control. And they are awesome. Unlike old people, who are unawesome.
 
Thirdly, a young person’s definition of what makes for an awesome life is often very limited. The younger and more self-absorbed they are, the more convinced they are that they’re the only ones in the universe possessing knowledge of the One True Path to Eternal Awesomeness. Don’t even try to tell them that you too were once likewise enlightened, but then you grew up and discovered there were many  other paths in the forest that were also interesting. You are lost. They are not.
 
Anyway, I made this rule after watching far too many of my contemporaries bust a gut because they suddenly became worried that young folk didn’t find them cool enough. I know it’s a stage of life crisis, but it can get awfully unseemly. The insecure oldies desperately want the kids to know that they were also once slim and beautiful and active and brilliant and admired, and that they too did amazing, crazy, naughty things until the crack of dawn, but all they do is bore the socks of the young ones. It’s a hopeless cause. The young and the old cannot compare themselves with each other at any given point in time. The only fair way to compete, if you must do so, would be to compare the achievements of each person at the same age, which, without a TARDIS, is practically impossible. So it’s up to we older people to show some sage-like dignity, maintain our air of mystery, and allow the arrogant young to be up themselves. We once were conceited little know-it-alls – it’s their turn now. They’ll get old soon enough. Then it’ll be their turn to try and convince the upcoming generations that they used to be soooo awesome, although by then, there’ll undoubtedly be another exceedingly irritating word to denote the coolness that goes beyond cool but which usually only applies to the young.

It's how the wheel turns.

By the way, have I told you about the time there were a thousand people crammed into in a great sporting venue, all of them shouting my name while I…  J

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What My Brain Saw


So I was on a tram, on my way to the Arvo Job, looking at people and thinking about stuff, just maybe daydreaming a bit, when I glanced out the window and saw a sign with an arrow that clearly read 'To Extermination Complex'.

A split second and one blink later, my brain realised its mistake, tweaked a few synapses, "reality" reasserted itself, and the sign was so very obviously made up of the far more innocuous words 'To Entertainment Complex'.

But maybe my brain was right the first time? If so, what nefarious happenings am I not seeing on a daily basis as I make my way about town?

No, it was definitely an eye-brain glitch.

Not a matrix moment.

I hope.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Getting Stuff Done


I'm busy getting focused. I finished one story on Monday  - just a shortie, but it's done - and almost completed another today. I know how it ends, and it's not an epic saga either, so it should be done and pretty much polished by Friday after two lots of commuting-writing on the way to the Arvo Job. Then I've got two more stories lined up for completion. I'm feeling productive writingwise again :)

Alas, I've also had to fit in a lot of napping and sleeping lately. I hope it's a passing phase, but if there's one thing I've learnt over the past 2 years, it's if I need to rest, I MUST rest. Obey the body. It's busy doing stuff too. Give it what it needs to get on with the job.

So writing + Arvo Job + normal daily stuff + napping = not much blogging. For now.

Bedtime :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Because I Love a Little-Old-Lady-Turns-the-Tables-on-a-Lout Story.


And it's Friday. Almost Saturday. This is about a cat-loving, retired competitive ax-thrower and a burglar who should have done a background check on his intended victim.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/11/04/ax-wielding-woman-chases-thief-away-in-hemet/

Never underestimate little old ladies.

Oops, it is Saturday now. Yay!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Room to Move


In the future, real estate agents need not fear unemployment, not ever. In fact, they will become an independent species of human, probably the dominant strain, running rampant through the galaxy and handing out their shiny brochures. They'll be impossible to eradicate, and all economic power will be controlled by their mighty interstellar guild because:

Astronomers report that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable Earth-sized planets in the galaxy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/05/science/cosmic-census-finds-billions-of-planets-that-could-be-like-earth.html?_r=1&

So pick a quadrant, any quadrant, and invest now. Best to get in early and buy before the prices skyrocket. So what if the planet is on the seedy side and needs a little renovating? Be a winner and grab yourself a continent or two. Or nab the whole darn thing! Location, location, location. You'll be sorry if you don't.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Energy Diversion


Today was a public holiday (Melbourne Cup Day), so I diverted the energy I would usually dole out on commuting to the city and expend on doing my bit at the Arvo Job into catching up on sadly neglected cleaning chores that often feel like a bridge too far during a normal work week. The place was starting to feel way too cobwebby and dusty for my peace of mind.

All the big rugs were washed and hung to dry out in the wonderful, warm, jasmine-scented Spring air, and tomorrow I plan to wash the floorboards before returning said rugs to their rightful places. Covers and cat bedding and assorted throws are likewise enjoying a night out under the stars and wafting in the freshening breezes. I also weeded - the back garden is mostly presentable now except for one damned black spot that I will out, out next for 'tis time to do't - and, continuing my Great and Borderline Obsessive Destacking Quest, I got rid of as many old cardboard boxes from the back shed as my recycle bin could hold. I'm already scoping out my next stack (once all the old cardboard boxes are gone). I think it'll be those printed copies of the different drafts of the first two books of my way-too-massive SF saga. Hard to part with, but they fill a lot of space, and my Great but Neglected Work is all safely stowed on multiple hard drives anyway.

I also baked and did a lot of reading.

All of this may seem like dreary stuff to post about, but I'm excited, because I can feel it's part of my old cycle of tidying up my physical environment after a period of relative blahness and so-so writing in readiness for a creative surge above and beyond my usual daily output. Things are bubbling.

And I did write today as well, in between my Herculean tasks. I ripped apart one of my darlings that just isn't being snapped up despite kind comments, and ruthlessly edited it. I'm determined that it SHALL be sold! The process was, satisfactorily, a lot like destacking :)

Now for some baked goodies and visual entertainment.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Most Satisfactory Sunday


After some token housework and zealously obliterating another papery stack (into the recycle bin it mostly went) to clear more space in my study, I spent a few happy hours sorting through my published SF short stories, picking three for a reprint anthology, checking the manuscripts and subbing them. Ah, the trio of  memory lanes I traversed in the process. I remembered the sweat and time and tears and effort I put into each of them, recalled the sadness of their initial rejections, and relived the joy I felt when I finally sold them. Okay, perhaps I'm being a little melodramatic, but you get the gist of it :)

Then I submitted another SF story for a publication that has cut back on its reading periods and is now only accepting submissions for the first week of each quarter. You have to be quick, you have to be organised these days - I'd jotted a note in my diary to make sure I caught this window, and held certain story for a month so it could have a shot at this market. Most publications are inundated with stories, and often hang up their 'closed to submissions' shingles for months on end, and even the ones with regular reading periods often beg off for six months or so while they catch up.

Anyway, I also wrote a bit, so I feel I've accomplished useful writerly things this fine Sunday. All in all, 'twas a good day - peaceful, productive, and full of potential.