What a difference a few inches makes

Reviving a friends blog for his musings while overseas has jogged my memory that I too have a blog, sorely neglected.

Some of you will no doubt be pleased to know that I have still been writing. In fact more than before. See this from an entry on “day One” written when I bought an iPad mini. It is the case of “what a difference a few inches makes”

“This might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I might be getting closer to that dream “writer” image of myself that I’ve coveted for years. Images of me sitting perfectly poised and serene with a laptop in a quiet dimly lit cafe, intently people watching one minute and steadfastly focused on the great Australian essay the next flood my dream self. Of course I could never fix on whether I wanted to live in an austere environment, as a hermit or as a collector of “inspiration” in the form of stuff.

But the romantic image of sitting in a coffee shop remained”

And 3 weeks in now I can attest to that. I am indeed writing more. Both longer pieces that I can leave and come back to, or more incidental notes from reading/listening to audiobooks that I’m doing more of too. I’ve written a well meaning but angry email to Amnesty International while lying in bed. I play “Hey Day” (think FarmVille but better and less annoying) while drinking wine waiting for transport, I read “designing 2050″ over a piccolo latte.

Yes I could do all of those things on the iPad and I did do more than I ever did with the laptop. But the simple fact is I didn’t do it unless it was required. I would look up my calendar when I needed to, only getting out iBooks when I knew I was going to sit there a while, like an hour or so and when I had enough desk or table to look vaguely together and typing felt strangely stressful. Even though the iPad is small and is useful and was a good size and compromise, the iPad mini feels very automatic and very one handed friendly. Like its size was built for me

Before this turns into a “Brought to you by…” post let me tell you that I’m loving the fact I can just do mini things in my mini pad and carry a smaller bag into which the iPad’s smaller frame can fit without planning the bag pack.

I’m centralising my writing too. Although I do carry pen and pad which also still fit with ease in said bag, I don’t feel bereft. I’m writing more because it does feel worth it to get the mini out for “one line” which invariably turns to three. I’m writing emails though I’m still behind on my social catch ups. I’m processing my head better which I’ve had to do more of lately, and hopefully doing s o with less of a burden.

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Tuesday tiny: Updated pen

Doc and I talked about writing:

Me: “After all, the Pen is still mightier than the keyboard”?
Doc: “Don’t you mean the touchpad”
Me: “Hang on I still type, mostly”

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Mutterings 29 June

  1. Collectors :: Hunters (and)
  2. Passion :: Crime
  3. Winner :: Loser
  4. Uninhibited ::Open
  5. Challenge :: Julia (Australia’s new PM)
  6. Self :: Other
  7. Your :: Say
  8. Viewer :: Window
  9. Random :: Chaos
  10. Vice :: Regal

These came from Unconscious Mutterings as usual.

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tuesday tiny : poof. Gone

I now understand better why “they” advise writers to carry a notebook and stop and take notes as soon as inspiration strikes.

Yesterday, while trying to kill time I had a sparkle of inspiration. I was en route to nowhere special, and was committed to remembering the sparklefor when I sat down, which I didn’t do till some three hours later. To my credit, I did at least have notebook and pen with me this time.

When I parked ….. pooff. Gone.

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A box in the mail

Yesterday was fun.

I had a visit from a university friend and her daughters (3 and 9 months). They are gorgeous. It’s strange and pleasing to be able to talk of knowing folks for over 10 (or 20) years. I feel all old but in a good way. AS and her hubby fall into the over 10 year category.

So I was due to meet them at a local shopping centre for coffee before going on to other things. Unfortunately my health and my wheelchair were once more acting up so despite the mess I decided to invite them over.

With baby sleeping time, my guests arrived at about 11 30. Given my recent health issues my friend had offered to bring freezer meals over. I like cooking but lately I’ve just not been up to it physically. So it’s wonderful. I now have a freezer full of pumpkin soup and stir-fry.

AS in typical style also brought over an invented macadamia caramel coconut slice. Divine. With left overs for PB.

Speaking of PB he arrived home slightly early and he dropped a cardboard box parcel in my laps.

Ordering stuff from Amazon for me is rare, but fun. I don’t know why it’s rare, but its fun because I tend to forget I’ve ordered stuff by the time it arrives so its like Christmas. The postage is a bit expensive too, I order books and non critical things. So three books, all on writing arrived, two of which look great. Naming the World and A Year to a Writers life.

Christmas in late February!!

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Sleeping centre

Interesting watching the slow waking up on my local “big shops” open.

It’s very deliberate and good for one’s sense of observation. People almost whisper out of reverence for the sleeping giant. Noise makers cast furtive and apologetic glances around, almost willing their necessary noises to be quiet. Seeking to not disturb the meditative rhythm. Stillness and warmth following the minor banging and crashing of morning evolutions. This “breathing” gets more regular, with the quiet meditation fading out as the centre continues to awaken, seeming to open in the figurative as well as the literal sense.

Soon this will be different. The centre in these early parts will soon be unrecognisabled with folks hurrying and scurrying in the 45 minute dash. Now though is this moment.

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Blogging with Discipline

I like this idea.

I can relate to what Beth talks about. I have tended to be one of these writers;

There are times when my mind is filled with more blog posts than there are days in the week, when everything in my life can be easily put into a witty and/or meaningful bit of writing.

I remember just before I “seriously” started blogging a friend looked on the domain of my email address at the time (it was puzzling), expecting I think because it wasn’t a telco account that I might have a blog and telling me that it’d be a fascinating read if I did blog. I’m glad she did. I wonder though if like most bloggers, I feel a pressure to be fascinating every time. Indeed the catch cry that “content is king” is championed on many a blog.  I have often waited till I had the post in my 3rd draft stage with a beginning, a middle, and an end before I have started typing or I have just ranted.

I recently applied for membership of BlogCatalog; a blog directory similar to Technorati. It was hard for me to find which category of theirs I would “fit in”. (Oh where have I heard that before?) I was rejected. I’m fine with it. I think they look at the blog on a few days in a row and it might have been during my last “bloggers block”. The email read in part:

Your blog is brand new and/or doesn’t have enough content to make it truly valuable.
If this is the case, please resubmit after you have made more postings.

Ouch… But getting more disciplined is something that I want to develop anyway.

I’ve always used my work and confidentiality as an excuse. That’s true, but it needn’t be an excuse.

So;

Blogging with discipline doesn’t mean you have to blog every day or that you can’t ever take a break. It means blogging regularly–whatever that means for you. It means sitting down and trying to develop a blog post idea instead of waiting until a perfectly-written post is already floating around in your brain.
Given that what about this for a trial? I’ll write 5 blog posts a week and commit to putting at least three up per week till the 15th March. Some may be very brief, other dull. But we’ll try it and reassess.
Lets talk.

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interesting insight

After reading a couple of writing related books this week including Writing from Start to Finish by Aussie author Kate Granville which advocated structure, I found this an interesting contrast. This is from Khalid Hosseini who has written two books; The Kite Runner (which I haven’t read), and A Thousand Splendid Suns, which was one of the most important books I have ever read especially for fiction. Challenging and confrontational (which was what I was seeking) but also incredibly moving and gentle.

I’m thinking the free form writing might be more my cup of Milo too.

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on reading on writing

If I’m honest. I’ve always fancied myself as a one time writer. I have visions of filling notebooks, of sitting in a corner somewhere expressing myself in hard-fought-for phrases that somehow become morphed into sage or entertaining prose that would somehow, one day either pay the bills, or earn respect. My “vision” is as varied as the days I have it. It comes and goes. Like most things.

I certainly have the notebooks. not full by any means. I seem to like the idea of collecting the tangible instruments. I scribble in them, without much rhyme, rhythm or discipline  I lose interest. I get distracted by downloading instant gratification tv shows or more kindly by life itself. Then in predictable order I pick up a book, and if its interesting or easy I devour it. I rapidly pick up a second book, expecting to devour it like the first and welcome back a childhood pass-time.

Somewhere in this second read (whether I even finish that book) I re-entertain the thought of writing myself. It’s not I hasten to add usually  born of any sense of my being able to improve on the book I’m reading. I become interested in words and their ability to transport one from the land of the reader to the land of the writer. I also have a period of confidence during this cycle in thinking that I might have something interesting/entertaining to say. I head out and buy another writers’ guide, google another writers’ prompt site and crack the spine of another journal, scribble a day or two of exercises without much of what feels like success and wake up one day staring at the white page. Boom. That’s it. Without the structure of deadlines, I head to iTunes.

It was during one of these “writer” cycles some years ago I purchased On Writing by Stephen King. I haven’t read any of his novels at this point, except for a page in a bookshop as a teenager that scared me. Science Fiction has never been my thing. But it’s a memoir on the craft, and that’s what I was looking for;among a small collection available at that time. It’s also recommended by other writers’ guides and let’s face it he sells books for a living. I started reading when I bought it. He seemed crude. That cycle had ended. It went back on the bookcase as a “one day” book.

Last week was that day. This writing cycle is being maintained by careful management, more time, more urgency. I’m on an economy drive so after discovering some of my writers guides in a box in the shed I decided to pick up one I could just read as I got on with “Life”, and not be expected to have notebook too. So his was it. I’m glad of that. I’m enjoying it. I like him. I get him. I almost want to read him.

It is a book in two parts. I have just started on the second part – the toolbox — like writers boot camp without the exercises, after finishing the first part. Times past I would have started with the toolbox and wished the author well. However it is described as a memoir of his life by others; King is clear, the first part is his CV — the forming  of the writer. So I read the “CV” at his urging as you would want to before taking too much advice.

These collection of memories paint a fascinating picture of key memories as defined by Stephen himself, focusing on his mobile childhood, his relationship with his brother and the early development of his writing talent. Quite bravely he addresses his period battling his addictions alongside starting his early married life. It’s selective, but nonetheless brave.

The bridge between the CV and the toolbox is a wonderful chapter titled “What writing is”. This is where Stephen and I meet most closely and where he cements my trust in him as my teacher (at least for 100 pages). He argues that writing has the power to transport the reader into the mind of the writer, much as I had always beleveed. He calls it telepathy. Regardless of time and space. He argues as much for the “spaces between the notes”.

My favourite passage so far:

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.  Page 117-8

Thank you. Permission to come lightly. Instruction to see it as work?

More quotes and a better review from 37 Signals.

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In the Carnival again

Down Under Feminists CarnivalWhilst assessing my statistics the other day, I noticed that after nominating myself one month to the Down Under Feminist Carnival I find I have once again been nominated for this.  I’m thrilled. Thanks Mynxii

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