I think I just rambled

i wish i knew how to fence

How the heck do people pick up hobbies and stick to them? In the past three months, I’ve taken up archery and violin lessons. I have since given up the lessons (half an hour on a Friday seemed half an hour too far) and alas, next week holds the fateful day in which I return my bow to the club.

(It’s not the fact that I’m bad – though I am. It’s not the fact that I feel as one with Robin Hood when I draw back my longbow – though I do. It’s the time. It’s the money. It’s the fact that there are other things.)

Writing and reading have been my longest lasting passions. (And will be always be so, I am quite sure. I am attached to them. In the way you are attached to limbs. Your limbs.) Crocheting vies for a third place – I gave it up because the great majority of my family and friends now have blankets made for them. (Also, I’ve lost my crochet hook.)

Perhaps it is my curse – to always be trying new things and never sticking to them permanently. (There’s just so many other things.)

OTHER THINGS I’D LIKE TO TRY:

  • learning to fix a car (I STILL HAVEN’T DONE THIS MY WORD WHAT THE HECK)
  • tap dancing
  • carpentry
  • some sort of engineering for a day
  • wind surfing. properly
  • some sort of martial arts
  • learning Chinese
  • painting with watercolours. properly. not DABBLING but full on Miss Potter at the beginning of the old Peter Rabbit VHS tapes
  • living in Mongolia
  • fencing

NAVEL GAZING

Sometimes I have this horrible feeling that I’m terrible human being and shouldn’t spend a moment of time on myself. It tells me that life is about others and never about me, therefore hobbies are worthless. Also, I should go to India and volunteer at an End of Life House that I once saw on a documentary about happiness.

No doubt it would be a sobering trip and very worthwhile, but as I don’t foresee myself doing this in the future (I can taste the absolute GUILT in my mouth. It’s like a stomach ache. If you had a stomach ache in your mouth. And you could taste it.) I will have to turn my focus to other things, closer to home. (Like helping an old lady across the street. I did this once.)

Life is about loving others, it’s about the giving. But I also believe it’s about savouring what we’ve been given – beautiful, wonderful things to admire, a sense of adventure, and a thirst for knowledge.

Solution? Don’t be self-centred. Don’t admire your navel too much. But love and get on with life and also, probably, maybe definitely – in the winter, take up fencing.

WAYS FENCING BENEFITS HUMANITY

  • if someone near me is attacked and there is a blade/longsword/fencing sword/pokey stick thing nearby … well, I can launch into action
  • if I time-travel with someone into a time where swords are plentiful and not just prospective wall ornaments … well, I can launch into action
  • if there is a MAN EATING MOSQUITO near an ENTIRE SCHOOL BUS OF HELPLESS BABIES and the only weapon available is a sword … I mean, I could launch into action. Or I’d scream in a dignified way. And offer my blood as bait and lead it away. I’d die. It would be a sacrifice. I’m sure I’d look spiffing and graceful doing it. Delicate and lady-like.
  • … also why is there a bus full of babies and where is the adult supervision?!
  • if I am required to yank a grown man from the edge of a cliff he has accidentally nearly stumbled over due to taking a selfie (#closeshave #foiledagain) … I would have gained some speedy nifty footwork and core strength due to fencing.

Thank you. It’s logic. It’s superb. Call it destiny, fate, or the desire to dance nimbly whilst wearing a trimmed beekeeping veil as a visor and wafting a sword like a sparkler, I see it looming in my future.

I can’t wait.

I think I just rambled, Life

things that i will totally do in 2018

There’s nothing I love more than lists. Lists are amazing. I hardly ever complete them, (TRANSLATION: nope. I never complete them) but we have wistful relationship. Sort of like my relationship with my violin – full of longing and missing talent.

Last year, I didn’t complete a single resolution. Not. One. So I thought, hmm … let me learn from this. Let me try to set achievable things. Let me … WRITE THE LONGEST TO DO LIST YET!!

Ah, yes. I really learn from my mistakes.

*ah-hem*

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BOOKS I WANT TO READ

  • A Dickens (WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!!!!)
  • The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over The World by Tom Feiling
  • Two indie books
  • Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
  • Nine Day Queen of England by Faith Cook
  • Pride and Prejudice (I’ve tried, but have yet to succeed)
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
  • A book by P.G Wodehouse (this will be a GREAT hardship)
  • Two books by Georgette Heyer (SUCH HARDSHIP)

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BLOG THINGS TO BE DONE

  • Two posts a week (HAHAHAHA)
  • Two Heyer Recountings
  • A Dickens Recounting
  • Two Guest Interviews
  • A few ‘Terrible Movies I’ve Loved’ posts
  • Greater interaction on other blogs

WRITING THINGS I’D LIKE TO ACHIEVE

  • Finish The Elf Stew
  • Edit and republish Our Intrepid Heroine
  • Enter a short story competition
  • Submit an article/short story for publication in a magazine/e-zine (is that what they’re called nowadays?)blur-1869579_1920

OTHER LIFE THINGS

  • Skate the Rideau Canal
  • Arrive back in England in one piece with sanity intact (WHAT SANITY?!)
  • Maintain daily devotions throughout the year
  • Strive to be kinder

I think – in order to encourage myself – I will cross off this list as I go. So be sure to check back. It’s a riveting sport.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really mind if one thing or everything or nothing gets crossed off my List To End All My Lists – what matters, I think, is put most succinctly in this verse from Micah 6 v 8:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

(Though, of course, if I don’t manage to read a Dickens, I shall be BITTERLY disappointed.)

Life

resolutions that i didn’t keep in 2017

Look, I think I’m allergic to resolutions. Terribly, awfully allergic to them. I had resolutions made last year – heck, I wrote an entire blog post on how “I’m giving myself goals that I know are possible for me to achieve.”

Oh. Ha. Ha ha ha HA!

In my defence … I was working very hard in order to come to Canada. Please picture someone slaving day after day, taking up every single shift possible, coming home in the wee hours exhausted and drained … and then going back to do it all over again the next morning. Seven days a week. Four weeks a month. Twelve months a year. Ten years a decade …

(That’s not how it went, but it’s how I’d like you to imagine it went. Thank you.)

This is how I did …

1 // READ A DICKENS. JUST ONE. SURVIVE IT.

I didn’t read just one. Oh no. I outdid myself: I didn’t read any.

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2 // READ LORNA DOONE

I tried, but the book I had was a) very thick (I’m not kidding – you could clobber an intruder with it. It might not be completely effective but … you could), and b) the text was  too small and uncomfortable to read. If I remember correctly, I had it out on my desk for a few months, in painful hope. I managed to read a few pages … or paragraphs. So I suppose, in a way, I did read Lorna Doone.

Just, you know, not all of it.book-2572013_1920.jpg

3 // FINISH THE LIBRARY LASS

This didn’t quite work out very well. Why? I wrote too much and then there was nothing and then stage fright sprouted and “this is the way the project ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.

“Marriage is a give and take situation – the husband gives the money, the wife takes it.
– by Authors Numerous, CYNICS THROUGH THE YEARS

(I liked to pepper The Library Lass with quotes by fictional people. It was enormous fun.)

Maybe I will return to it, maybe I will not. Maybe I have commitment issues with my projects. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I’m indecisive. Maybe I’m not.

4 // PUBLISH SANDWICHESbooks-2596809_1920

Oh. I think that this was a dream too lofty. Though this story has a special place in my heart, it needed plenty of work and I did not have the time or the urge to complete it. I did not have the ‘umph’ as we say in my family.

5 // WORK ON THE SALT PUN

I worked on it – I did. I swear I did. I had a wonderful name for it, I had character pictures and background information and went through the ENTIRE manuscript with highlighter pens for every story arc. (I know. It was like, the ultimate level of commitment!) But then, in September, it suffered a major blow – I moved continents and left my hard-copy-scrawled-with-irreplaceable-notes manuscript behind.

Put a bit of a spanner in the works, to say the least.

It is now waiting for me to return to it, this September. (I miss you too, my love!!!)

Join me, later on in the week, when I draw up a list of goals for this year. Oh yes, my friends. You know what they say – once bitten, twice DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN FOREVER AND EVER AND LEARN NOTHING!!!!

I think I just rambled, Life, On Writing

resolutions that we can keep

This evening, I’m feeling a little weary. I’m a people person. I love people. I like people. I find people fascinating. In small doses. Eight hours of them? Non-stop? I run out. Like a battery prone to coughing fits and accidental slips of tongue.

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But that’s not the point of this post. (There is a point). The point of this post is to belatedly discuss resolutions. I could sum up the whole post in one sentence, but, as I enjoy explaining things at length, I’m going to stretch it out into an entire post.

*maniacal laughter interrupted by coughing fit*

Last year, I wrote a post about the classic books I wanted to read that year. I read two of them: King Solomon’s Mines and The Three Musketeers. Two out of six is not successful. It is awful and no good. I’m not impressed with myself. To be frank, I’m disappointed in two things.

two disappointing disappointments:

  1. my lack of motivation
  2. my delusion that ‘heh, one month left in the year is plenty of time to read THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PAGES’

This year, to be disgustingly optimistic is not my objective. Nope. I’m going to be depressingly realistic. I know me. And I know that I am often optimistic and wildly unrealistic. Just look at my to do lists – they are as missing of ticks as my future cat will be. (That sounded better in my head.)

I think we all would do better if we set achievable goals. Now, if you’re one of those sickeningly optimistic and motivated people who set goals as high as Everest AND MEET EVERY SINGLE WHITE CHOCOLATE LOVIN’ ONE OF THEM, I am not talking to you. I’m sure I would like you if I met you (hi!) and would only envy you a teeny-weeny bit, but I’m addressing people who suffer from goalfailuretitus.

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thaaat would be me. i’m addressing me

By ‘set achievable goals’, I mean the sort of goals that you know you can do. Sure, stretch yourself a bit (AND RISK PULLING A MUSCLE WHY DON’T YOU) but don’t over do it. There is a difference between saying ‘I’m going to swim thirty lengths at the swimming pool’ and announcing ‘I’m going to swim across the English Channel. Nay. THE INDIAN OCEAN!’

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This year, I’m giving myself goals that I know are possible for me to achieve. Yes, some of them are a little bit of a stretch, but these are my goals, darn it, I’ve got to let a tiny pinch of optimism creep through.

my thirty lengths* at the swimming pool:

  1. Read a Dickens. Just one. Survive it.
  2. Read Lorna Doone.
  3. Finish The Library Lass (that’s a working title. honest)
  4. Publish Sandwiches
  5. Work on The Salt Pun (also a working title. a brilliant working title)

*I’m not actually going to be swimming thirty lengths. The very thought leaves me limp with exhaustion.

And so, to conclude, to sum up, to finish, to end, to wind up, to wrap up etc etc etc:

set achievable goals

(or don’t. Set wildly unrealistic ones. Aim for the moon. Try and try and you never know, with enough elbow grease and will power, you just might make it. I’ll be here, with my two classics read, cheering you on)

happy reading!

On Writing

an afternoon writing

Last week-end, I indulged myself by keeping a written log of an afternoon of writing. I aimed to reach the lofty heights of 5,000 words. Did I? you ask.

Ha. Haha. Hahahaha.


3:21pm Today is beautiful; the sun is shining, it’s not too hot nor too cold. I’ve been out on my walk to the shops, have spent some time outside and have now sat myself down with apple juice and water. I’ve selected music but I’m listening to ‘Still Alive’ on YouTube (Portal, anyone? I’ve never played it nor realised it had music like this).

3:43pm I got trapped on YouTube. Have now extracted myself. Peter Hollins … I blame you.

4:16pm (Word count: 723) Short break. K is yelling at S and he’s like ‘wow, what’s this, woman?’ It’s all very dramatic AND I DIDN’T PLAN THIS AT ALL. As a side-note, I’m really enjoying listening to the Legend of Tarzan music.

4:20pm There is a chair over there. When I hit … something on my word count, I’m going over there. Right. Back to the writing. Listening to: Tarzan and RainyMood.

4:36pm (Word count: 1,071) Moving to the chair. One fifth of the way towards my goal. K and S are staring murder at each other. Not sure if the Tarzan music is distracting or helping.

5:27pm (Word count: 2,263) Right, I’m going for a break. My right eye is protesting, RainyMood is confusing me because it’s beautifully sunny outside and yet I hear rain in my ears. My wrists are aching.

5:55pm (Came back from break) I’m outside. My eye is threatening to make my brain ache BUT WE WILL FORGE ONWARDS! Music? Play. Fingers? Type. Brain? Please, please, please work.

6:40pm (Word count: 3,263) I’m moving back indoors; my laptop battery needs charging and I think small beasties might be climbing into my shorts. NOOOOOO! Where’s a knight in battered armour and a fly swatter when you need one?

OWWWW! Tried to get up. Tried to take my earbuds out. Yanked at my earring instead of my earbud. IT HURT! IT REALLLY HURT!

7:00pm (Break is over.)

7:36pm (Word count: 3654) Oh, it’s getting a wee bit harder. I typed something to the effect of ‘green moss covered moss of the stones’. What? Whyyy! Having a small break because my brain no functioning. I think I’m going to stick K in a landslide. Not sure if I’m going to have her followed by Psycho Man BECAUSE I HAVEN’T INTRODUCED EVEN THE THOUGHT OF HIM.

I need tea.

11:25pm Oops. I fell into the massive trap of ‘Soldiers Coming Home’ videos and had to use some facial wipes as tissues because I was blubbering like a baby.

I think, as it’s so late, that I may as well call it a night. Sleep and books are calling.

final word count: 3,654