For day 13 of NaPoWriMo I responded to a drawing done of me last night at the student union at the University of Melbourne.
Last night I managed to get to the 50,000 word target of my fourth year of NaNoWriMo. Huzzah! I was so pleased to have been able to get it done, two days early, and with only a couple of thousand words worth of story to go. I’m going to wrap it up today and tomorrow and then put it away for a little while to stew.
I’ve had some conversations in the last little while about my plan for the future. The only problem is I don’t really have a well thought out and detailed plan. What I want is a job that I like well enough, that’s part-time so that I can do my creative stuff on the side, and possibly one day I’ll get a job where I can use my writing skills, but maybe not. That’s the plan.
At the moment I have a job placement which is three days per week doing Human Resources. It’s a refreshing change from the basic office admin job placements I’ve been doing recently so I’m really enjoying getting stuck in. It’s only until the end of the year though, and then I’ll be back to looking for ongoing work.
So here’s the new plan. Starting from now I’m going to work one day per week on my writing. Now that NaNoWriMo is finished for the year I really need to start doing something with my older manuscripts. The one I wrote last year, in particular, needs a whole bunch of structural edits and additional sections.
I’m going to do what I’ve heard other professional authors do, for example Dawn French and Fiona McIntosh, that is set myself a proper 9am to 5pm day of work for my writing. In the morning I will spend my time researching writing opportunities, applying for jobs, finding writing competitions, magazines and periodicals and blogs that are taking submissions and do that. This will be my time to work on this blog. I will also look into networking possibilities in the industry and short courses in writing that I might like to do.
In the afternoon I’m just going to write (and rewrite). I’m going to start with the manuscript from last year’s NaNoWriMo, which needs some big stuff done to it, and spend a couple of hours a week just going through it and fixing it. Editing has never been my strong suit, I’ve always be much more interested in coming up with new material, but I must spend the time revising and reworking. Maybe I’ll set myself a deadline of the end of January to have it done and I can start sending it to publishers.
Some of you may have noticed that that only adds up to four days work. You’re right, and the other day I’m going to keep for my band. We meet once a week usually, and rehearse for 4 or 5 hours. That takes up most of one day of the weekend. I will spend some of the time on the other weekday practicing and the rest of the day getting the chores and life admin stuff done that I would have done on the weekend. We’re also going to start looking for performance opportunities in the new year so I’ll schedule those in too.
My aim in this is to get myself into a routine. I’m not studying anymore and I hope to have a solid, ongoing job by early next year. It’s time to get serious about the business of creating and make sure that going back to uni was not just a frivolous escape from being at work.
I am That Woman.
I’m at a market with my sister
I pick up a necklace
With Frida Kahlo’s face on it.
I put it back on the display wrong
My sister turns to me, smiling, and asks:
“What are you doing?”
“Destroying the joint,” I reply,
“I’ve been warned about women like you,”
She says, still smiling.
I am That Woman.
It’s hot. I’m in a line
Waiting for a ride
At an amusement park in Holland.
A child in front of me turns to his friend,
He’s restless and excited,
His face aglow with illicit glee,
He’s speaking German and pointing
At the dark, plentiful hair he sees
Peeking out from underneath my arms.
I am That Woman.
Each morning I paint on my face
So I can go unremarked upon in the world.
I put on a costume, one that says:
“Nothing to see here.”
I conform to your gender stereotypes
To your standards of beauty
Yet a man at a tram stop tells me
“Your features are all wrong.”
I am That Woman.
And sometimes I don’t want to be
Wish I didn’t have to be.
I want to bare my chest on a beach
I want to earn as much as the next man
I want to grow old disgracefully
And have worth beyond my fuckability.
I want to come home to a man
Who will love me because of,
Not in spite of, the fact
I am That Woman.
I’ve spent today so far hanging out at my accommodation because yesterday I slipped on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh and hurt my right foot. This is my fourth day at the Fringe. I’m pretty devastated.
Since arriving I’ve seen so many amazing things. I’ve been filling my brain with all sorts of art and I don’t really how, or if, I’m going to be able to keep it all straight in my memory. I feel like there will be things that be pushed out when I try to fit something new in. That being said the idea of having an immersive experience where everything sort of blurs together into one abstract blob sounds kind of amazing too.
Maybe I’ll start last night and work backwards. I saw Beardyman, who is a sort of musical improviser. I have seen a bit of his stuff on YouTube and he was one of the few people who wa on my list even before I got to Scotland. The show, One Album Per Hour, is made up of song titles suggested by the audience before the show and he sort of makes up a genre and song based on those titles. My suggestions wee “Vampires on Speed” and “Watermelon Floyd”. I was really excited when he read out the first one and proceeded to make up a song which started with organ like massive chords and a dodgey Transylvanian accent through a dancey rave party high section, coming back to the organ chords at the end. It was pretty cheesy but I don’t know what else I was expecting from a suggestion like that.
I wanted to show off a bit about that last one, but I’ve seen too many shows so far to give them all a review. I’m also quite tired as I didn’t sleep very well, my foot kept hurting, so I’ll make a list and of the ones, so far, that are worth seeing:
Unfortunately some of these have already finished. Three plus weeks is a pretty long time to do a show. Apparently this is the point at which people start to go a bit insane which should be interesting. I’m hoping that I’ll be up for a short trip into the centre tonight for a show or two. It seems like a waste not to go out at all with so many things to see and so little time.
I’m feeling a bizarre combination of inspiration and brain fart. I feel like I really want to be able to produce something as great and mind blowing as some of the shows I’ve seen here, but I also feel this crippling sense of intimidation. I guess it’s that thing of comparing oneself to others; sometimes you come out well sometimes not, but usually the comparison is not worth drawing and is completely unhelpful. As much as I know it is unhelpful, I none-the-less am compelled to do it.
Perhaps this experience is a bit like being in India; you realise it’s true scope and effect on your mind only much later when you’re at home and have had time to assimilate the information properly.
I am learning, however, that I really struggle to respect someone if I don’t like their art. Strike that, I don’t have to like it, nor do I have to completely comprehend it, but I must respect the art if I am to respect the artist. Comedians who are dismissive or insulting to groups of people fall into this category. That isn’t art, it’s being a jerk.
So I have more than a week more here to drink in all the things, and hopefully venture to a couple of the other parts of nearby Scotland. I hope my foot will be more up for walking soon too!
Hullo dear readers!
I have now been in Amsterdam for about 10 days staying with some of my beautiful friends who moved here about two years ago. So far I have touristed thoroughly, in addition to eating all the things, sitting with some neighbours and pretending I understood what they were saying (and mostly getting a vague idea), BBQing in Vondelpark and cycling about the town, Weesp, where my friends now live.
I had hoped that I would be able to do some writing while I was away, but it doesn’t seem to have happened. Travelling is tiring, y’know? I have taken a few pictures around the place, and seen lots of cool museums.
One of them, the Eye Film Museum, had an exhibition by a South African artist/animator William Kentridge. The photo below is of his stencils which were used in the films that they had in the exhibition.
Watching the film installations in this exhibition, and having read the little blurbs that went with them, it became clear that I didn’t get it. Like, at all. I mean, I can be pretty arty, I can look at abstract paintings or see avant garde theatre and usually have some appreciation for the work but these film were just a bit beyond me.
Perhaps it’s fatigue to do with being away from home, perhaps it’s to do with his commentary on South African culture, which I admit I don’t know much about, or perhaps I just don’t get it.
The experience of being in the Netherlands was pretty surreal to start with, but after a while the architecture and the language and the flat landscape and the cars driving on the other side of the road and all the bicycles all combine and you realise you’re far from home and it’s nice. I leave here on Saturday for Edinburgh to catch the Fringe Festival. I suspect it’s going to be intense. I might have more time for blogging there but then again I might not.
For Christmas, my mum gave me a ‘voucher’ for a photography course. She made it herself and it accompanied some money with which to pay for said course. My mum does good presents.
I took some time looking around for a course that would suit my skill level, more experienced than a beginner but not a super whiz (especially with the technical side of things). After speaking to a few photographer friends and having a look at the photos available on each course’s website, I decided to go with Creative Photo Workshop‘s Natural Light Portraits course. It was a bit on the expensive side compared to the other courses out there, but ran for six hours, and, it turns out, they pay for a model, which was really great for practising. I decided that the longer duration (other courses run for three hours) justified my spending more on it.
Both of these shots were set up by the teacher in order to demonstrate what he wanted us to learn, as well as the many others I took.
I’m really glad that I attended the class. Before yesterday, I wasn’t confident to use the manual setting on my camera, although now I feel like I have a better idea of what the individual functions do and how to get them to do what I want them to.
Glynn’s photographic style is distinctive and strong, and while not completely in tune with my own style, produces some awesome effects that I’m glad to be able to replicate. He is extremely knowledgeable and he’s able to convey technical information and tips without making it seem like hard work, which is great for someone still learning. Glynn also focuses on in-camera technique, rather than post production or photoshop, which reflects my own preference. His style is a bit blokey, and though it’s not my favourite, in the end, didn’t affect my enjoyment of the class.
So thanks Mum, and thanks Creative Photography for opening up my experience and for instilling a sense of confidence in my technical ability which should result in a better translation of my creative vision to the finished shot. Woo!! I look forward to shooting more portraits in the near future!
I didn’t manage to get to White Night in Melbourne last night, for various dull reasons that I don’t need to go into. So today I thought I would head into the city and see if there were any remnants, or things I could still see.
There wasn’t much left, and there wasn’t that much mess, but then it was hours after the end of the event, so maybe it had been cleaned already.
Have you ever worried that you’re actually boring? That you’re actually exactly the same as everyone else, and everything you think makes you special is bullshit?
Have you ever thought that being different isn’t good? Have you ever just wanted to be like everyone else and fit in and be liked and get up and go to work and come home and have a meal with a lover and go to bed and get up and go to work and be happy with that?
Have you ever managed to be happy, or even pretty contented, for a while and not picked at it like a scab? Like you can’t possibly be happy because Coca Cola tells you that you won’t be happy unless your frolicking on a beach holding an ice-cold sugary drink surrounded by models. That you won’t be happy until you live in your own detached house with a husband and two point three kids and a mortgage too big to pay off and a car too big for anyone to drive.
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought you know what, I’m actually pretty hot! Fuck everyone who doesn’t want this all up in their business, it’s their loss! I’m awesome.
Have you ever felt lonely, alienated and worthless only to go out on a date with someone and realise that you’d much rather be alone than date them just for the sake of dating someone?
Speaking of dating, did I tell you the one where I met this dude from an online dating website who told me several times in messages that he was boring and suburban and asked if I was really sure I wanted to meet him because I seemed all creative and interesting and wouldn’t that be really dull for me because he was so boring and normal? Did I tell you about how he sat across the table from me and spent an hour regaling me with all the fucked up shit he’d done before he gave up drinking? How many times he’d driven home drunk. How many times he’d driven off the road. How many times he’d screwed people over. How he’d had his license revoked and been called a menace by the magistrate. Did I tell you how much I wanted him to be boring in that moment?
Have you ever looked at your life and thought, you know what, everything I’ve ever done, everything I’ve ever felt, good and bad and in between, has led me to this place. And this place is pretty fucking cool.
‘Coz I have.
Adventure, Art, Artist Date, Destrends, Goals, India, Inspiration, Little Raven Publishing, Melbourne, Motivation, NaNoWriMo, networking, New Year, New Years Resolutions, publish or perish, Spoken Word, Travel
Last year I wrote a post outlining my goals for the year. These were the things that I had on my list:
For the most part, I did pretty well at achieving the goals I set for myself.
One was fairly straight forward, I sent off my manuscript to any and every publisher that I thought would be even vaguely interested and I had no response. That’s about what I was expecting, it’s a super competitive market and I think I would probably need to be pretty lucky to get picked up, but it was a bit disappointing none the less.
On to number two. I rewrote Adventures in Mediocrity as a film script, which turned out to be much harder than it sounded (requiring quite a different skill set if I’m honest), and I ended up with something that was way too long and boring. I haven’t made time to go in and slash it up in the way it needs to be. I’m counting that one as done, but it’s still a work in progress. I also didn’t send it out to anyone, because as I say it’s still super long and boring and will need some very serious attention in order for it to be worth sending to anyone.
Three, plan a trip, was meant to be just that, plan something. But in mid May (or sometime near there), I decided I needed a holiday sooner rather than later and I very quickly organised a three week trip to India. The trip was a real eye opener in so many ways. I’m very glad I did it, I learned a lot about myself and about life but it was often extremely challenging. Tick for that one!
Number four was a carry over from 2013, and again I didn’t do it. I wonder if maybe young adult is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, and it might be better to put this one on a bucket list for something I want to do at some point rather than trying to force it to come out in a particular year. I think young adult could be really fun to write, but I also have loads of other project ideas so I’ll get to it one day.
Five was submit for the university magazine. This one is a bit dissatisfying because I did submit two items, one was a satirical quiz, in the vein of the Cosmo/Dolly quizzes that many women will remember having done in high-school, and the other was a response to the Ilsa Vista killings in May. Both of these items were rejected and I wonder whether as a mature aged student I don’t have quite the right perspective for what the editors want. I dunno, maybe they just suck at diversity.
Number six was amazing. I would like to thank Little Raven Publishing for providing the avenue for my to perform my work to a beautiful and receptive audience. I performed at Velvet Tongue events a couple of times, and at the launch of Little Raven 3, an erotic anthology in which one of my stories was published (woot!).
Speaking of published, I also had two of my works, one story and one poem, published in my writing group anthology, and another story in a different local anthology. It’s been fantastic to be able to work with my writing group, a group of people who are both critical and encouraging, and to have that bear fruit. My writing group also had a workshop day in October, one session of which was a panel on poetry that I was invited to moderate. I really appreciated the faith in my ability, and the opportunity to try a new skills, and the positive feedback that I received for the session. I would certainly be keen to do something like that again. That one wasn’t on the list, but it was certainly an achievement worthy of being recorded.
Seven was finish the mural for my house. This one was an utter failure and the main reason for that is that the relationship between myself and the housemates in that particular place disintegrated completely and I moved out. I’m not going to count that against myself, because sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s ok.
The next one was to win NaNoWriMo again, which I did, so yay! But as was discussed in my last post, I haven’t finished the story, so that’s a bit annoying. I will finish it though – that’s going on the list of 2015 goals.
The last four are slightly less measurable, but I’ll attempt to review them. Talk to strangers has been going really well for me, it has resulted in meeting Seth, who invited me to join his band/jamming buds, and also meeting Alex, who is now also part of the band/jamming buds. It’s resulted in meeting the boys from Destrends, who I’m totally obsessed with and love a lot, and it’s meant that I’ve had some awesome, sometimes challenging, conversations with people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Exercise has been consistent in my life generally over the year, I’m still working out at the gym two or three times per week, and I occasionally venture into other types of exercise too. My housemate and I are hoping to get into a routine using some free weights and some boxing pads, so that will be a good addition to my regimen.
The ‘To Read’ pile hasn’t really changed; I’ve read a bunch of books this year, but I’ve also added a bunch to the pile, so the pile is just as big, if not bigger than it was at the start of the year. The book club went well for the first half of the year, but when I went to full time study, with three literature subjects, I didn’t have the time to read another book a month. I finish my degree mid next year, so perhaps I’ll venture back to the book club in the latter half of the year.
Finally, keep writing. I have written a lot this year – I’ve written poetry, and short stories, most of third novel, and erotica and horror and lots of things in between. I’ve blogged, I experimented with reviews, and challenges, and I would like to blog a bit more regularly in 2015. My skills in editing will probably need some work in future, it’s really not my strong point and I feel like it might help with getting a publisher’s attention if I were more willing to kill my darlings, as they say.
2014 has been a really busy year for me. I’ve done a lot I didn’t think I would do, I’ve done a lot of things I wanted to do, and I haven’t done a few things I thought I wanted to do. I’m happier, healthier and more settled now that I was a year ago. I still don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, but that’s ok for now. Maybe at the end of 2015 I’ll be able to report that I know what I want to be when I grow up. But if I don’t then that’s ok too.
I’m going to be following this post up with a new list of goals for 2015, so be on the look out for that, but for now, I want to wish you the very best for the New Year. I hope you’re able to set yourself some goals and achieve them. I wish you happiness and growth, to be surrounded by people who love you, and the courage to love yourself.
According to a guy I was talking to on an online dating website, Joni Mitchell used to think of creativity as being like crop rotation. If you worked in more than one artistic discipline there would be periods where you would spend a lot of time on one form and the others would lie fallow, as it were. You would ride the crests and troughs of each type of art so that they would each have time to mature and regenerate between periods of high productivity.
I’ve been feeling bad about the amount of time I’ve spent on the novel I started for NaNoWriMo this year since November finished. I made it through the challenge, and I won, but since it’s been December I’ve written very little. The reason I guess I’m feeling a bit guilty about it, is that the story isn’t finished.
I don’t like the fact that the story isn’t finished. It niggles at my brain but I’ve been really really not feeling like writing. I know this isn’t surprising, NaNoWriMo is not a sustainable way of writing, and the last two times I’ve done it, I’ve finished the work within the month. I’ve never had this feeling of unfinishedness hanging over me.
There are other contributing factors too. I’m not studying currently because it’s not semester time, and since I’m a full-time student these days I don’t have a ‘proper job’ so I’m sort of not really doing anything which means I’m floating around and floating around feels directionless and feeling directionless is a bit of a vicious cycle in which you feel like you don’t achieve anything so you then don’t feel motivated to achieve anything and therefore don’t achieve anything. I think you can all see what I’m getting at.
I have been spending a significant amount of time on my bass guitar playing, so that’s good. And I’m sure it being right before Christmas isn’t helping with the generally weird feeling of forced frivolity either. I don’t really know what this post is trying to say but y’know, maybe I’ll take myself on a photowalk tomorrow or write a couple of thousand words and then I’ll feel a bit more like I’ve done something.