Moist

29 08 2018

humpty-dumptyWords – I love them. I even love the great huge portmanteau words (a la Alice in Wonderland) that carry loads of meanings between their consonants. I am gently mocked by friends and stared at by strangers when my three-syllable ones tumble out instead of shorter, clearer phrases.

It’s my sloppy brain filing system. I reach back for a word like orange and find titian, or ocean and find briny deep. I’m not happy, I’m exuberant. I have been known to galumph.

I blame Anne of Green Gables. I grew up like her – a little lonely, odd, wrapped in books and words like Aloysius. I read on my own, so my pronunciations are a bit dodgy. Poor Aloysius the fox lived for years as Alloy-si-us…

But there are some words that seem to be universally hated. Moist is one of them. It’s moisthard to find a pleasant use for the word, unless maybe in describing a cake or a towel, but otherwise, moist is tied to sweat, sweimages-35aty dark places, mouldering bread, dampness where none should be.

This is a moist summer. Offensively so. I honestly don’t think there is a spot on my body that is not moist at this very instant. Even my fingernails seem damp. The weather predictors use terms like humidex (ours uses the much more telling ‘frizz factor’), but really they are talking about moistness. How much there already is in the air, how much you shall personally generate, how much you will appreciate the drying effects of air conditioning.

I have never been so ready for the crispness of fall when I will feel my brain drying out again. I feel like I’ve been moist for far too long and the condensation and rising damp has seeped into my cerebrum.

I feel certain that, were someone to poke into my brain, it would feel like left-out-too-long zalivinoe, jellylike and fishy, with odd ideas floating around in it as the aspic melts in the heat.

zalivnoe-iz-sudaka-prazdnichnoe

borogoves_by_knot_a_typo-d7ot988At present, the old creativity-inducer seems positively mimsy.

“Well then, “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable” (there’s another portmanteau for you).” Humpty Dumpty, explaining the poem ‘Jabberwocky’ to Alice.

I’m going to have to thrash it out of somnolescence soon – this is the weekend of the famed #3DayNovel contest, and I have foolishly signed up again. Been told before this is a somewhat pointless exercise, not important, but for me, it is a reclaiming of the grey matter and white matter I’ve eaten holes through with my MS and the dang moistness…Some get tattoos, some walk across the Rockies, I throw myself at a computer and write. Hoping I can unmimsy my grey cells and leap in…twistedbrain_main-800x533

 

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Nanowrimo, or why it’s a darn good thing I’m an introvert

1 11 2016

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Ah, blissful solitude.

Solitude with the sounds of silence or rock and roll or even really old-time gospel music, while my fingers make strange movements and my brain creates a world in my head.
It’s a strange thing I spend most of my time doing – creating. Either I am wrestling with tiny bits of fluff and very very very sharp needles (with barbs), or I’m trying to get my  stabbed fingers to type coherent sentences, to create emotions with words.
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It can’t be done in polite company.

I’ve just spent the last two weekends at craft sales, filled with delightful people who create worlds, too, who toil in obscurity for the love of what they do. Filled, too, with the people who like created objects, the ones who may shop at Walmart for this and that, but who appreciate the time that crating from nothingness takes.

And of course the others, the scoffers, the bargainers. “Is that your final price,”
one woman asked me, for a handstabbed sculpture that I worked on for hours. I wonder if she’d accept the same treatment from her boss. “So, I didn’t really appreciate that hour you put in the other day – how about we just split the difference in your hourly wage and what I think you’re worth and let it go for that?” Or the ones who asked, “Are those made out of dryer lint?” Sigh.

I find it amazing that it is only women who ask to bargain, even professional, well-paid women, like C D on CTV, who tried to get a sale price on one of my critters. It’s like they feel fellow women don’t deserve a just wage.

But I digress. Most of the passers by were lovely and I particularly enjoyed when they’d smile at the things on my table, their eyes lighting up, even if they didn’t stop.

But I’m full up with people now. I need to extrude them onto paper, take the characters and the facial expressions, the sayings and the smiles and extract the good stuff and make them into new real people on paper. Maybe.

I signed up for the Iceland Writers Retreat next April. Why? It’s a silly thing, really – I haven’t been published in years, I write here rarely, I’ve taken enough writing seminars by now that I can never make back the money in writing.

BUT! Iceland!!! Northern Lights!!! Writers!!! ICELAND!!!

(many many handsome northern men)f3b4ba47b9e999a871f1a618a12cdc9e

So I tell myself that the only way I can rationalize such unreasonable expense is if I get published before I go and by ye gods I shall do it if I perish in the attempt. I’m using Nanowrimo this year to jump start my writing, to force my unwilling hands and brain to the keyboard. Tomorrow, around working on some commissions from my sales: two chihuahuas, a gecko, a moose, etc., I’ll be looking for places to publish my past work and writing more to spec. I have a hot date with the Writer’s Market and Duotrope and Places for Writers and more to find people looking for what I can write. Nanowrimo is for the first drafts of these projects. I know it’s supposed to be so you can write your novel, etc etc etc, but I prefer to write short. 50,000 words is a lot of articles written, a short story or two, a novella and change. It can be done.

And bliss, I can do it in my solitude, with dear cat Bendicks and Betta fish Bob for company and the sounds of life outside my windows. And of course, the occasional refreshing foray into the world for refills of inspiration and madness. And characters. I’ll be looking at you….

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I hope….





Gentlemen and ladies, start your engines…

1 08 2015

zieglerwriterdeadlineOnce again, I’m trying my hand at the #NYCMidnight Flash Fiction Contest. It’s a bit insane, given that I have officially “given up writing” (see previous blog entry), but there’s something oddly compelling about a contest with a very short deadline, given parameters, and a small word count, even for we procrastinator types.

See, in the contest, you are sorted into heats, given a genre, a location, and an object to work into your story. This time they are allowing some freedom about the genre definition, but really really want the location to figure prominently in your story. There are hundreds of people competing in the contest, which has several rounds; people gradually get winnowed out and tossed to the four winds until the last round where you compete against maybe a hundred people from around the world for the last fast fast entry.

As for me, well, I’m procrastinating. What else would you expect? I was given the genre “Historical Fiction” and a location and object that I don’t find particularly inspiring to my creative mind (plus I am not a fan of historical fiction genres unless they are very well-done and I can guarantee 1000 words is not going to be enough to do a good job). So I’ve been researching, looking into ideas that I can pluck from my local area and inhabit with people.

Right now I’m thinking of George’s Island (sometimes without an apostrophe), a little drumlin in the harbour in Halifax that has been used for defence since the first inhabitants landed here. It’s nicely situated in the middle of the harbour, with commanding shooting lines to cover any entry to the landing spots themselves.

The island has been used as a fort, as a prison, as a party locale(recently), a provincial park, and also, alas, as a parking place for many of the Acadians expelled in the Grand Derangement. It’s a windy spot, always, and tales of the poor women and children left there in November of 1756 give me the chills. The Brits didn’t treat the Acadians well, to put it lightly, tossing around 10,000 of them out of the Maritimes and leaving them to freeze and die on boats and in the water and on George’s Island (until they needed them to repair the excellent farmland dykes the Acadians built that were broken down and so they allowed a few of the men back). True, it was wartime. True, the French and Mi’kmaq were winning battles and scalping people and some of the Acadians were right in there fighting the Brits, despite some of their neighbours swearing non-combat oaths. But so many died with the expulsions that the shame was great enough to alter the course of Canadian history.

Longfellow made up Evangeline, and the rest, as they say, is history. Never deny a poet can move a country. Even if he’s never been for a visit to the place.

But enough of politics. Now I have to whip together a story involving these elements, make it read human, channel my inner Wolf Hall-ishness (hahaha), and come up with a readable short short story to send in by midnight tomorrow. Yikes!

On the very good side, we get feedback from our entries, and I can post my entry in the forum for other participant’s comments. Should be interesting…and who knows, maybe this will get me started writing for real again.

Or maybe, my apartment will just get really really really clean…

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Dear Geist,

2 02 2014

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How inadequate you make me feel. I simply don’t GET you.

This morning I opened a free sample of your magazine, mailed to me with a pleading note to renew my subscription, offering a free tote bag if I took you on for three years. The magazine had tempting titles: “why I mastered ukulele”(a favourite instrument), “Helen Humphreys” ( a favourite author), “inferno, purgatorio, paradiso” (a favourite book).

Eyes flipped wide. What the heck, I thought, I’ll give it another look. Usually I find Geist impenetrable, hopelessly fond of literary jumping jacks and the ultra hipster feel of Vancouver on a hyper-caffeinated day. It thinks of itself as cool, above readers, unspeakably literate.

I find it tiresome.

The ukulele temptation was a poem of impossible inaccessibility. About flamenco dancing.

The Helen Humphreys review was oddly patronizing, which made me angry, but not strongly enough to feel the urge to care. I adore Helen’s writing, and I find even in her less engaging novels moments of pure transcendence. The final comment was cold: “made me want to comfort Helen. This too shall pass.” So glad you can recover quickly, reviewer, whoever you are.

The Dante article did remind me I wanted to read him, but the article was too full of masturbatory self-congratulation to be meaningful.

And then there was a whole page devoted to “I’ll-advised status updates”, an unfunny collection that surely to god we can find in too many places already. Ick. Grow up.

It all made me long for a good wallow through the much much better and less snottily pretentious New York Review of Books. Therein I learn things, I find new authors to stimulate my mind, I find actual thoughtful reviews about books and less about the writer of the review.

And that’s the thing, Geist. If you weren’t so enraptured with your own total coolness, I’d be tempted to subscribe. I like to support Canadian magazines, I regularly get and read the Walrus, Quill and Quire and such. But a gal only has so much free time for reading and I prefer to spend my time reading something of value.

So keep your tote bag. I will miss the maps of place names on a theme, though. Those are cute.





Work done

3 09 2013

Last night I went to bed, feeling a strange feeling.
I didn’t feel restless, no inner struggles, no sense of impending failure or wasted time or frustration.
I felt complete, finished, settled.

As I lay back in bed, awash in this unusual sensation of satisfaction, it occurred to me what the cause was.

I had written.

Nothing earth shattering, probably not even something any good, but I’d let my muse lead me around and for the moment, she was content.

Almost everyone who writes mentions how much more wonderful the feeling of “having written” is than the actual process of ripping the words out of your head.

It’s been a long time since I felt that so acutely.

Thanks, #3daynovel contest. It’s been a fun ride and I’m smug as a cat this morning.
Now, if I can only get my computer printer to cooperate….





Day Three #3DayNovel

2 09 2013

Yikes! Is that 8:22 already?

Foggy day to go with my brain. It’s been days of sitting, dwelling in my head, I still have miles to go before the story ends, and my fingers just aren’t fast enough to get them all in.

Haven’t had a decent meal except for dinner the last two days – not hungry, given my total exercise is mental. Not ODing on coffee, yet. I think today may be the day as I scream into the finish line…panicking, wind in my teeth, madness in my glance.

Need a soundtrack for today. Oddly, given my novel context, my iTunes shuffle kept playing “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I shifted to Seaside -FM last night, usually perfect for writing, only to be assaulted by hymns for their late night “songs of praise” show. Given that I am writing about religious matters, it kind of freaked me out.

Beginning to get paranoid about being watched from above…

But maybe that’s the muse I’m courting. God knows (as it were), I could use her help.

And wheeeeeeee! Off I go!





#3DayNovel How To Find Your Writing Muse

1 09 2013

How To Find Your Writing Muse.

Nice article, and good for this second half of my writing day, which is going to be a long one. I’ve already passed through the “I don’t really need to do this thing anyway” moment – quickly this time, which is unusual. I can normally count on an hour of wallowing in “don’twannaland” at least.

But my story is calling, I have a terminally oldies radio station on to give me some musical accompaniment, and I overslept so I have the pressure of time. All good things.

I try to get up and walk around every half hour or so unless the story grabs me and sticks me in the chair – it’s been an hour and a half now and I’d better at least uncross my legs or I may well end up trapped in this position in perpetuity. Time for another glass of water, too. Brain needs watering.








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