John Lloyd’s madness

Listening to: “Take that Road” – Across the Room

Lately, I’ve been putting more time and effort into learning to drive. At the start, I was terrified, and I remember the feeling. I still feel it every time I try something more intense. Today was the first time I drove in regular traffic, and apparently I did fine. It still seems like I need a run up to get into it, but I don’t always get or take one. So that’s that.

Last night, I had already decided I wanted to drive at least part of the way home, instead of just going round to the back road. To get myself psyched up for it, I thought a lot about courage and the type of things I want to inject into myself.

It usually isn’t a good idea to listen to what celebrities tell people to do, but it can be a very good idea to learn from them. The important thing is to treat anything anyone says as Just People. People can be wrong, they can be morons, or they can be profoundly right about something personal to oneself.

While listening to a couple of episodes of Chain Reaction, I came to a couple of conclusions. One, I’ll state briefly without explaining, because it is just for me. In the even that I actually read back on this entry, I will know what I mean, and that’s all that matters. I want to catch John Lloyd’s madness.

The other was something I had already thought about, and I had thought about it in connection to driving, so that was a fit that I replayed on purpose. It was about just having absolutely mad courage, do or die type of craziness.

The thing is, I used to live more like that. I used to take a lot more chances. Lately I’ve been accepting this pathetic excuse that I’m “busy”, that I have a lot of things on my plate, but that’s so far against the point. I have some number of hours in the day. That’s time enough to read, to study German or Spanish, to help around the house. Even if I potter around. I can improve.

Just because you’ve taught yourself the secret handshake doesn’t make you a member of the club. Get out there and do it, participate. Get involved. I don’t want to be sidelining or phoning in anything.

I also have to write my prompt for the writing group today. I know which one I want to go for, but it’s kind of last minute. Mostly, I think I just forgot about writing a prompt.


Well I’m rubbish

I can’t believe this.

I just wrote an entry and when I clicked Publish, it deleted it and then posted a blank entry. I checked the revisions, and the only previous version is identical–as in, blank.

The really crap part is that it wasn’t even an important entry. Sure, it’d piss me off if I’d written a lot and it had been important, but this seems so petty and tedious. A total waste of five minutes that I could have spent doing something constructive, like bloody getting dressed. Geezalou.

All I said was that even though I set up the admin email for WotW, I wasn’t getting any of the emails to my own account. Which is stupid. Another time when I just didn’t bloody think, and I catch my own backlash. Go me. What a rubbish failure I am.

Great. This is the perfect mood to slide into when I’ve got more to do. I’m tired of cleaning up the random acts of hatred my computer spews at me.


Can’t abolish the word “fantastic”

Listening to: Martina Topley-Bird – Sandpaper Kisses
via FoxyTunes

So I’ve had a pretty fantastic twenty-four hours.

Last night was the weekly WotW meeting, and we addressed everything that Mary and I had come up with last week.  In the meantime, I had thought of having a newsletter.  It’s another attempt to keep us in better touch, and I think that it’ll work as well as the other might have, had it not been such an unpopular idea.  Everyone is pretty buzzed about this one.  I have high hopes, and I’m going to work on it as soon as I have this blog post done and posted.

Afterwards, Dither and I got to walk around the Eaton carpark, which means I got to walk farther than usual.  It was actually warm enough for a walk round the neighbourhood, so I got a mile or two under my feet that afternoon as well.  Needless to say, I had a nice time.  I always do, with him.  ;P

Work was slow, with early out calls left and right, both voluntary and what I call “forced outs”, but I didn’t have to go to lunch early nor leave before my scheduled end tour.  I listened to Act Your Age, and reached the episode with Henning Wehn, which I hadn’t heard before.  I love Henning Wehn.  :3  This isn’t the best format for him, at least not with that presenter.  Simon Mayo is kind of a lame sod on that show, but he does keep the proceedings going, I’ll give him that.

Either the break just before lunch or during lunch itself, I started writing a story.  It was kind of the way that I wrote The Writing on the Wall, just sort of going and seeing what happened, with only a few little provisos in mind.

It unfolded on its own, getting into a conflict right away, thankfully.  That may have been one of the conditions that I set for it.  It’s fun to see something just coming straight out of my head again.

After work, I finally got over myself enough to ask my mum to drive out to one of the almost abandoned roads beyond the REC, and I drove the van down most of it.  It was the second time I’ve ever driven, and it was a lot less nerve-wracking than deciding to do it.  I got practise just operating a vehicle, and pulling over.

I’ve got a hunch that I’m going to be doing a lot of the latter.

When we got home, I was still pretty jazzed about it, so I asked if I could back out of the driveway.  I didn’t do all that well, but I backed out of the driveway and then drove round the cul-de-sac and parked in front of the house.  I’m awful, but at least I’m learning how to do it.

I finally got to sleep around 8:30 this morning, after getting something to eat so my pills wouldn’t make me sick, and that something was a piece of a piece of cheesecake.

It’s been a good day.

Now I’m going to get to work on the newsletter.  I’ve never written one before, and when I’ve been on sending lists of them in the past, I’ve tended not to read them, so I don’t have a writing voice for such a thing, but it’ll be interesting to try.


Hats need a head like dogs need a run

Listening to: The Rocket Summer – So Much Love
via FoxyTunes

This song is not good for me.  XD  I have so many silly SAT analogies pop up whenever I listen to it.  I do love the line “like a pen needs a page” though.

Not gotten a lot of sleep today, but I managed to finish reading feywriter’s rewrite of her first chapter.  WotW needs a revolution, and while I’m not entirely sure how to make it happen, I know that I can do something. Given that we all work with longer length fiction, I think the biggest problem with our critiques is that we don’t have the whole picture.  I know that I’m willing and able to read a book in a week, so personally I think that critiquing an entire novel at a time, spending one or two months on that one novel, would be an improvement on the piecemeal hopping.

I have to get on the forums and detail this though.  I’m kind of cowardly about stepping in and saying it though.  I’m not sure how to word it.

I also got a PM through FictionPress from someone who needs a beta reader.  Considering I’ve had two people PM me about that before and never heard back after my own reply, I’m sceptical about whether or not this won’t be more of the same.  However, I’ve accepted, based on its being a grammar/spelling job.  We’ll see how it goes.

For the last few days, I’ve been trying to set aside some time to watch Spoony’s coverage of E3.  I wasn’t able to keep track of anyone else’s, and I like his reporting style, even if other people don’t.  I still probably won’t be able to see them until next week.  But at some point, I’ll be able to set some time aside for a huge binge.  :3


Discussion is the Lesser Part of Valour

“We’re not going, and that’s final.”

“Oh come on. It’s nearly July and we haven’t–”

“If you say we haven’t spent any time together this holiday, I’ll thump you.”

“Well, we haven’t.”

“I got you that pizza, didn’t I?”

“Right before you left on an ’emergency’.”

“Was–was that air quotes you just did?  Oh that’s it, I’m off.”

“You can’t leave now, it’s gone past three.”

Philip pulled the duvet up over his head with the intention of releasing a sulky sigh.  Less than a second later, he kicked himself free of all the bedding and made a noise very like that of an indigant dog discovering veg in its dinner bowl.  “I thought you promised to stay away from cauliflower.”

It had never sat well with him to share a bed for sleeping purposes, and if he had been asked, digestive troubles would have topped his list of reasons why.  “I didn’t eat any cauliflower,” Trey said, gathering up the blankets.  “My stomach’s just been complaing, is all.  It was some kind of meaty thing at a Korean restaurant did it.”

“I’m sorry, is this a twisted attempt to blame the dog?”

A pillow hit Philip square on the nose, hard enough that he swore and examined it with his fingers to see that it retained its hawkish shape.  Trey began to build a little fort out of pillows and the discarded blankets.  “It’s not important.”

“Not to you, you didn’t smell it.”

“It’s your own fault, sticking your head in for a sulk.”

“It’s my fault you farted?  Now that really is too much.”

“Holiday, Philip.  I want to talk about our summer holiday.”

“We aren’t having one.  You can shout, simper, or cut off my legs at the knee and start calling me Lucy Porter, I am not flying us out to have a rotten time in a foreign country.”

“Then why can’t we have a rotten time in this one?”

“Haven’t you been paying attention for the last half hour?  We already are having a rotten time, and we’re doing it for free.”  Philip took the weaponised pillow and punched it into a wobbly shape, then hugged it, leaning forward in a celebration of ill posture that his mother would have wept over.  “I don’t understand what you find so bloody enticing about that place anyway.”

Trey just pouted.

“I mean, a buffalo sanctuary?  What makes that so different from a donkey sanctuary?  There’s one of those down by your parents.”  Philip paused, tapping his bottom lip.  “All right, I’ll grant you that point in its favour.  Buffaloes aren’t situated near your mum.”

“It was only a suggestion.  I’d settle for going  round the beach if you’d only consent to getting out of a your fancy gear  for twenty minutes.”

“You had me out of my gear tonight.  That’s not good enough?”

Blushing did not suit Trey at all, but Philip would never say so.  He didn’t like sleeping in the same bed, but his pride wouldn’t allow him to put up with being kicked out of it.  “I can’t say anything to that. Now you’ve got me trapped.”

“Good.  I like you better that way.”

“I still want a holiday.”

Philip grunted in exasperation and flopped onto his back.  Unfortunately, he was sitting too close to the wall and clapped his head against the headboard.


Little Yellow Ducks

Listening to: Lifehouse – Just Another Name
via FoxyTunes

We beat the anti-gay bill!  First news I got when I got home and I had to run up and tell mum right off.  Nicest thing I could have heard this morning.  I just sat and relaxed for the first time since Sunday morning.  Maybe that’s why I was so anxious?  Just not being quite sure.  I feel better, in any case.  They’ll try again, hate is a stubborn drive, but people won’t stand for it.  I love being about to say that about things that matter.

Some fun stuff happened at work too.  There was this evil chair that was quite broken though.  Scared the crap out of me trying to sit in it and get work done.  It lurched in both directions, forwards and back.  I was certain that if I didn’t balance myself perfectly, I would fall and humiliate/hurt meself.  And the mail volume got so low that they pushed off everyone who had an end tour up to ten o’clock.  At 6:26, of all times.  I was rather amazed.

But I got to a really good bit of A Game of Thrones.  I rather like the character of Samwell Tarly.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because he’s so open about admitting to his cowardice.  The other characters’ reactions to him reminded me oddly of Flashman.  Not the character, but the style of the books.  Not sure why.  Speaking of Flashy, I can actually read some of the paperbacks I have.  I’m still missing some, but I do have the audiobooks to fill gaps.

I put off writing my Philip homework for pretty much the entire week, bad me.  But last night at lunch I just sat down and booted up my netbook.  Took me fifteen minutes to write a chiefly dialogue-driven scene between him and Trey.  It was kind of funny.  I wrote it based on the prompt and a line I really wanted to include that was basically just a Lucy Porter is Short joke.  So dumb, but whatever works, right?  It was fun anyway.  I had time to sit and read it back for mild editing purposes too.

But I’ll post that tomorrow.

Today the first two chapters of Daf and Rhys are going to get picked on by the other WotW-ers.  I hope they give me some feedback that inadvertently helps with the part I’ve been trying to edit.  Even after editing it, I think I need to just scrap it and rewrite.  There’s too much dragging on, for one thing.  There are also mistakes that get me lost.

I think I’ll take some of my favourite bits instead of trying to save the whole thing, and just cobble those into new, streamlined bits.  It’s probably the best route.  However, that will take longer, and it’ll be harder to do on the netbook.  For some reason, that kind of revising is easier on a large screen.  It could just be an aesthetics thing.

All right, it’s half past three now.  I need to get going on arranging my stuff and washing my hair so that’s all out of the way as quickly as possible.


Writing styles Life styles

Listening to: Two Door Cinema Club – Eat That Up, It’s Good For You
via FoxyTunes

Last night I was finally able and willing to edit some of the twelve pages of crap writing that bogged me down and pulled Daf and Rhys down to hiatus.  They had help, of course, but no illusions, the three days that brought in nothing but bad writing getting worse were the chief contributing factors.

Mostly, I don’t rewrite.  Small edits are usually all I require while still in the middle of writing.  If I go into full-on editing mode, then I would tear everything apart and only my packrat mentality would save anything.  I can’t afford that any more than I can this hiatus, so maybe it’s a moot point.  Haha.

Regardless, I still feel close enough to the story that however long it takes, I won’t lose the thread.  It may have to wait until September.  It’s no small thing to plan a wedding and there is still a lot that we haven’t got done.  I’m keeping up with WotW, so at least I’m still writing Philip vignettes and flash fiction prompts at meetings.  And when I have a story idea, I plan for it and play with it when I have a few minutes at work and while I’m typing (via daydreaming, even though it’s not during the day).

There are a couple of idea I’ve had that I’ve been doing that with, one in particular that embodies something I’ve always wanted to do–a story about the ordinary person who gets bumped into in an action movie.  I like when they get pulled along by accident.

I like the idea of using the 500 themes to get to know the characters.  It’d be pretty cool to get that going again.  I could write short pieces and really get myself to try out the concept of shorter fiction.  Right now, I find it vaguely repellent.

I tend to write a high count.  It’s worth reading, there’s just a lot of words.  I go off on tangents, just like when I’m talking, and like when I’m talking, my beta readers and editors usually don’t want the tangent gone.  In fact, they usually don’t even notice that it’s not important.

In a roundabout way, I think I’ve been talking about my economy of words.  I understand the concept just fine, but I think I execute it in an oldfashioned way.  By that, I mean…  Well, I think I mean what I mean.  Eheh.

My influences in writing are all over the map.  But there are some who actually share some writing habits with me.  They tended to rabbit on, which is fine, but it does mean you end up with a lot of pages.

I’ve been re-reading a Game of Thrones at work lately, and every time I glance down at the page count (my ebook reader has it around 800 pages), I think of just how much he has going on in that book.  His cast is enormous.  But things get done.  It starts to feel crowded and immense, and I love it.  It makes me want to write an epic with thirty-plus important characters, but viewpoint gets in the way.  I would have to switch about like people like him did back in the day, and I don’t know how I feel about that.

A lot of writers from his era and before got away with a lot of things that do not wash these days.  Like using “you” in the narrative, and mights and mays without have beens.  For some reason, I give certain authors a total pass on this.  Maybe it’s because it’s authors I’m already used to, that I read growing up.

Terry Pratchett and even Piers Anthony are hard for me to nitpick on things like that as well.  But Ira Levine cannot get away with anything from me.  I’m merciless on him, and I do not know why.

Tia Irene and Grandma have moved in, and here I am, talking about writing and books instead of what’s going on here.  There’s so much life in this house.  We have a proper nest of family now, with Cody coming to visit his mum a lot.  He’s so much happier lately.  It’s like he never had a rough patch in his life.

It’ll be hectic settling in, but we can do it.  Jared’s gone back to Phoenix and I miss him.

I’ve got to wrap up and go back upstairs so Tia Irene’s not by herself.  I also need to get some water and feed myself.  Food, water, life.


Day Seventeen D&R

Listening to: Two Door Cinema Club – Eat That Up, It’s Good For You
via FoxyTunes

Well, today was a total cock-up.

Because the last three days have been getting steadily worse, I decided that I needed to change tactics and edit those to see what I can salvage, what needs to be thrown away, and then start writing again from the repairs.  Fortunately, my goal since beginning has not been to write a novel NaNoWriMo style, merely to write a minimum of a thousand words every day.

Today I wrote my homework for next weeks WotW meeting, more Philip.  He’s our mascot, so that’ll be consistent, though he is now run on prompts instead of merely being one himself.  Eilonwy has the coolest long-running setup for him, and I’d love to end up on a track like that–I’m inthpired :B–but we shall see what we see.

So that’s the plan.  Keep on writing every day, while repairing Daf and Rhys’s last chapter and a half.  Which brings us to the cock-up.  Apparently there are things to do this evening, so I have not only had no chance to edit a single line, but I won’t.

So yeah.  Hurrah.  Let’s hope tomorrow isn’t such a massive punch in the bollocks.



Listening to: Ruki Vverh – I’m Already 18
via FoxyTunes

Journalism was going to kill him.  It’d have help through the hands of an evil man, but Randy knew where to place blame.

He hid his face in the folds of his sleeve.  Snot and tears mingled with one another, darkening the fabric.  Blood dripped onto the wet spot, trickling down from the gash along his hairline.

He couldn’t pin down where exactly he’d screwed this up or how, but the dark, wet Jackson Pollack inside his jacket’s elbow was a solid testament to the fact that he had indeed screwed the proverbial pooch.  He swiped at his forehead with the back of his hand.  Blood streaked his fingers in a smeary, striated mess.

“If I get out of this alive, I’ll become a farmer.”  His voice sounded hollow and foreign in his ears.  A thin, thready rasp breaking the low din of the forest.

Birds chittered a meaningless conversation over his head.  “Screwed it up, screwed it up,” he head through the inane chirps.

No-one would miss him.  Randy snuffled and wiped his nose.  Come to that, no-one would miss either of them, but he wasn’t the homicidal maniac in this equation.  Even if he made it out of that forest alive, there would still be hell to pay.  Sooner or later.

But hell was already on its way.  He could hear Worthington’s heavy, tromping footsteps crushing twigs and mushrooms.  An unforgiving man even on his best day, Randy had gotten caught stealing the man’s wicked secrets.

“Come out, ya little thief,” Worthington bellowed.  “We’re gonna have words, you an’ me.”

The cocking of a firearm had little competition in a scariest sounds contest.  Randy struggled to maintain control of his bladder.

“Come out!  I wanna show you how much I appreciate nosy parkers gettin’ in my bidness.”

Randy looked down at the sheaf of papers clutched in his clammy  hand.  There was no way to get this information back to the newspaper, or even the police.  Not in the brief time he had left.

His heart pounded.  The footsteps were so close now, he could have sworn that he’d already been shot.  That those feet were flattening his grave dirt.  He lay on the ground like a snake, trying to let his body fade into the grass.

Steel-toed boots halted in front of his face, inches from his eyes.  His nose dripped, and his eyes stung with renewed tears and the effects of merciless allergies.  He didn’t dare sniff.

The gun barrel grazed his cheek, almost like a caress.  Then Worthington swung the rifle, hard.  Like a psychotic golfer at a driving range.  Randy cried out, sent rolling in pain.  He hugged the incriminating papers to his chest.  The gun’s muzzle lowered to aim at his head, ready to remove his face at point-blank range.

He grabbed it in both hands and yanked it away.  Towards Worthington.  The intent was already in motion, neither of them could stop the blast.  Worthington screamed, fired again.  Randy’s hands burned, but he held on.  Pulled the gun up to aim higher.

This time, Worthington didn’t scream.


Writing prompts and the effects thereof

Listening to: Yoav – Where Is My Mind? (feat. Emily Browning)
via FoxyTunes

Yesterday at our Writers of the West meeting, we implemented some new rules and changed the schedule in hopes of better organisation and improved attendance.  One of those things was to work with a writing prompt.  There’s no wifi at the Coffee Club (which I almost prefer) but Entyqua had an app in her phone for the prompts.

We flipped over a few of them and finally came to an agreement on “Only a hunting accident can resolve the problem”.  It was interesting how things turned out.  Elly (sorry if I don’t have the name right ^^; ) focused on the accident portion and wrote something quite funny, while Entyqua focused on hunting and also played up the humour, and I went with using it to resolve a problem.

I joked that between the three of us, we had one person who paid attention to the prompt.  XD  Each of the pieces was a different type of writing, which was cool.  First one was a monologue account, Entyqua’s was first person and could easily stretch out to a novella or longer, and I actually managed a real short story (third person).

We also decided to give ourselves homework, with a sort of group mascot as the hero–or villain–of short pieces.  I think that vignettes will be most common, but we might come up with a couple of short stories.  Again, we used Entyqua’s phone app, and came up with Philip.

My notes have him down in bullet impressions.

  • Philip
  • green eyes
  • brown hair
  • hooked nose
  • witty & charming
  • childish and prone to sulk
  • never uses a lift (elevator to you ASE-speakers)
  • secretly a criminal

I’m not entirely sure if the idea is for him to change from person to person, or even if we all have to write about him each week or are meant to take it in turns.  But just in case, I’m going to write something tonight at work.  Elly’s idea was to make him a secret murder, but I like him for white collar crime.  Another thing I’m going to do that I don’t think anyone else will is to stick him together with the character I wanted to choose before we rolled Philip.

His name is Trey (I supplied the surname Pendulum, but I also like Pulsifer), an actor, philanderer, and “professional boyfriend”.  He takes theatre classes at the community college, and I like the idea of having him either default himself to Philip as a professional, or just be his roommate.  Depends how Donald Strachey I want to be.