Category Archives: The Awesomeness Of Me

LABYRINTREE

Today is a good day to do something you love.

Just one small thing that brings you joy: it doesn’t have to be big or take a lot of time out of your day, or even something you’re good at, it simply needs to bring you happiness.

For some of us that may be making art or a tuna melt, singing loudly to your favourite musicals, taking a walk, reading/writing show meta, playing a computer game made in 1998, reading a squishy romance, meditating, sword practice, treating yourself to tea and cake in the mid-afternoon. WHATEVER IT IS, go do it today and enjoy it. I’m not going to judge.
(Well, unless the thing that brings you joy is shit-stirring on the internet or drowning puppies, in which case, yeah *judges*).

Yesterday I was talking about the things I love and decided to run with that and paint myself a little labyrinth-tree while listening to the Fallout 3 soundtrack.

 

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Do a good thing for your head today. Be kind to yourself. Tell me what you did and let’s share something happy.

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Water and Witch Houses and More Water

One day, someone is going to notice how often I drown my characters who don’t fit in (call it metaphorical, call it symbolic, call it my last wave, whatever), but until then I’ll keep writing them.

(And occasionally selling them – another story about drowning just sold, details when I am all contracted and sorted. But it’s a biggie and I am well-chuffed *grins*)

On that note, award-winning writer Diane Awerbuck reviewed Short Story Day Africa‘s Water anthology in the Sunday Times, and said nice things.

This picture was stolen From Rachel Zadok's twitter feed

This picture was stolen From Rachel Zadok’s twitter feed

She also said my story (about drowning, kinda) The Worme Bridge had nods to Bosman and Lovecraft, which started a conversation about Boscraft, which led to her dinging me for never promoting my work after I said I had written Fake Town Lovecraftian shorts before.

So, in case you didn’t know about my ventures into the dreaming, here’s the (utterly beautiful, art-filled) anthology I’m part of: Dreams From The Witch House, edited by Lynne Jamneck, and published by Dark Regions Press.

Create Small

#createsmallThis morning I was having one of my daily meltdowns where I decide I can’t do anything and everything I try I will fail at.

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Shimmer and Glimmer.

Okay so let me tell you a long tale, one involving naivety, repetition, and sheer bloody-mindedness.

Shimmer Magazine started a decade ago. For those keeping record, I started writing more than a decade ago. (Though we shall use the word writing here in only the loosest possible sense. I was vomiting words onto paper with little understanding of what I was doing. These days I fake it better). I thought what I was writing was good. I also thought Shimmer Magazine would be a great fit because I like the stories they put out.

Shimmer and I had a gentle difference of opinion….

But I never stopped sending them work. Sometimes they would send me forms, sometimes an encouraging “submit something else”. We had a nice little relationship. I knew a few people working there, on and off, and we all stayed friendly because (and I cannot stress this enough – STORY REJECTIONS ARE NOT PERSONAL ATTACKS. They just mean that your story is not the one they’re looking for right now. Now let’s all eat cake. because cake is good.

mmmmcake.)

I was writing a story with another market in mind (for Short Story Day Africa’s Water Anthology, you can read about it here), and so, naturally enough, water was a prevalent theme. The story turned out to be too short for SSDA, so I wrote something else for them (we shall see what happens…) and sent this one to Shimmer because, well, it felt Shimmery.

Shimmer gently agreed, and much squee was squeed, because well. TEN YEARS, GUYS. TEN. YEARS.

But anyway, my short piece about running away from home, becoming water, and how families are connected is in the latest issue of Shimmer, alongside stories by Roshani Chokshi, Lavie Tidhar, and Erica L. Satifka. So that is pretty damn awesome. You should go buy it because besides cool stories it has beautiful artwork and you like beautiful art work and beautiful words.

Shimmer 26 Jly 2015-500

Why I Don’t Know Who You Are

Like most writers, I have fairly unenviable social skills. I say strange and inappropriate things because I want to compliment someone, or because the awkward silence has gone on a minute too long, or because I have had too many glasses of wine at that book launch thing and trying to be a normal human is hard.

But this weekend while I was hanging out with far cooler people than myself at the Franschhoek Literary Festival, I realised I have an added disadvantage.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE.

And this is totally a problem I have with both facial and name recognition. All people look pretty much the same to me unless there is something remarkably distinctive about them, like they have only one leg, or pink hair, or are nine foot tall. And even then we probably have to meet several times in real life, within a context that I will remember because of Events, so that I will be able to associate your collection of features and syllables with that set of conversations or actions.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have face blindness – I don’t know enough about the condition to know if I fall within those parameters – but it is a very real problem for me.

This did make FLF a little distressing for me because I felt terrible when someone would say  “Hi, I’m so-and-so, we met last year,” and I am literally shaking on the inside because I now have to scramble through my index of associations and try get all the things in the right place and let me tell you that never works well.

So, no matter what it looks like, I am not snubbing you, or being wilfully rude, or pretending we’ve never met, I am just panicking on several levels. Be kind like you would be to a small child, say your name slowly, and give me an association I can use (“We were at Bob’s party and I told that terrible joke about an elephant and I wrote a book you said you liked, you nitwit.”) and give me time to set the pieces in place. I will get there. 😉

 

 

I can see and stuff!

So after a lifetime of terrible vision, I had an operation (ICL for those who need to know this sort of thing), and now I can see and it’s kinda weird.

 

Cool weird, though.

 

Anyway, for the last week or so I have been adjusting to life as a regular human who doesn’t fumble around, and can’t see their fingers perfectly when they are 1 centimetre from their eyes. Yeah, had to relearn to put in eye drops….

I was slightly worried that with the delay I would run late on the Giftling Novel, even though I built in a lot of cushion time. But all looks good, and I’m running through a final pass now. I’ve read this book so many times that right now it looks like the worst thing to ever have been worded, but this is a common writer-feel around about this point, so I’m just taking deep breaths and tweaking.

In less cool news, the elderly cat now needs a chair to get up to her food bowl, and that makes me sad. I can’t with pets any more. They get old and die and it’s like someone stabbed you through the heart, so you go out and get a new pet so you can get stabbed all over again. Humans.

Crop-rotation of the soul and other granola concepts.

Right. Crop rotation. You probably learned about this in school, yeah, but a quick refresher – you have four+ fields, in each you plant a different crop, the following year, you move all the crops along, and you give one of the fields a rest, planting it up with something like vetch to give nitrogen and stuff back to the soil.

Okay? We clear?

And why the hell am I talking bout crop rotation?

Because I’ve come to a realisation thanks to Beth Wodzinski about how the various pursuits she loves all draw from the same energy source, and that got me thinking about how I do something similar.

I have only so much whatever, and when I feel like I can’t write anymore, I should not look at it as stalling, or writers’ block, but as an opportunity for crop rotation.

So right now,  instead of freaking out that I’m not working on a book, I am planting a different seed. (If you follow me on instagram or twitter, yeah soz,  have been picspamming. :P) I’m working on other creative things – fixing things in the house, doodling, gardening.

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These all are good for my creative brain, and they fulfill the need to be making something, while also being productive and giving the word-field a chance to recover, to get rich and fertile in time for the next season.

 

 

Good morning, 2015.

This year is ready for me, and I am ready for it

 

three-of-wands

I’m starting out how I plan to go on:

 

Walked on the beach with the hounds and family, breathing in the smell of storm-raised kelp and rotting seals and salt water.

kelp

Had breakfast and champagne, ordered art supplies, and read comics. Felt happy and peaceful, and the tiniest bit itchy with anticipation.

 

I am so excited for this year.

End of 2014

2014 Year in Review:
1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Took up archery, French, and Aikido. Started reviewing books for print media. Adopted battery hens, became a guinea pig parent. Started weight-lifting.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

tbh, I don’t even remember what they were.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No? Some family members, i think, but they are people I hardly ever see.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not this year! Hooray!

5. Where did you travel?

This has been a travel-free year, paying the house-stuff meant not being able to go anywhere this year. Though I did mange to get away for one day to Franschhoek for the lit festival (and ice cream :D)

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

More compassion, for myself and those around me.

7. What would you like to have less of in 2015?

dramarama

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting some shorts published in Apex and F&SF,

9. What was your biggest failure?

home schooling, probably.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Spent this year feeling very tired, for no reason.

11. Did anyone close to you get married or divorced?

Eh, I stay out of this stuff.

12. What was your favorite family adventure this year?

Dunno about favourites, but this year we took the kids (and hounds) up the mountain a lot more, and it’s been good for them and us.

13. What was the best thing you bought?

A house in my favourite place in Cape Town!

14. Where did most of your money go?

A house in my favourite place in Cape Town! 😛

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Buying my bow and rest of my archery kit. 😀

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

manic street preachers – europa geht durch mich

17. Compared to this time last year, you are:
Happier?

Hmm, about the same

Richer?

hahahahahahahaha
Thinner?

No, but stronger. RAWR!

 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

meditation

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

getting upset by stupid things.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

With my family, hugging urbuddy.

21. Who were you friends with this year?

eh, people. This is an odd question.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?

I’m always in love.

23. Did you lose touch or regain touch with anyone important this year?

Still tentative, but looks like my brother and I are rebuilding our relationship.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Eh, hate. There are some people who annoy me more so I stay out of their sphere, but hate is a strong word.

25. What was your favorite TV program?

Hmmm, In the Flesh and Call the Midwife are probably tied.

26. What was the best book you read?

Best is relative, I have a list of favourites I’ll talk about in another post.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Not of this year, but the first time I’ve seen it and I loved the animation – Azur et Asmar

28. What was the best thing you ate?

Shrimp tempura (it’s been a bad year culinary-wise, i admit)

29. What made you laugh this year?

The Spawn, and the things they say/do

30. What made you cry this year?

Many things, but that’s part and parcel of dealing with depression.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 37, and I climbed the mountain and then watched The Princess Bride on my projector with some good friends.

32. What was your happiest/proudest moment this year?

Probably the F&SF sale, let’s not kid. 😛

33. What was your saddest moment this year?

eh…a long series of publishing moments 😛

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

desperate and sad

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

BENNY LIZARD, but really I dunno, I just like how weird he looks. like a Byronic Lizard Person

36. What current event affected you the most?

So many depressing things happened this year, but because of who and where I am, few of them had any real personal effect on me, let’s be honest.

37. Whom did you miss?

My Dad. Always.

2014: A Retrospective

I have a tendency to be quite a negative person – always focusing on the crappy stuff instead of the good, so by the time the end of the year rolls around I’m like waaaah what was the point of that, why do i exist, lalalalala etc.

 

So instead, I will look at the cool things that happened this year.

 

1: We moved into our own house, not a rental.

2: I got to rehome six battery hens and now I eat actual free range eggs every day. YAY HAPPY CHOOKS

3: I started learning archery, French, and aikido, all of which I am terrible at, but have immense fun doing anyway.

4: The Boy and I saw Tori Amos live. (let me repeat that. TORI. AMOS. LIVE. NNNGHH. YES.)

5: I spent time with friends and family who are important to me.

6: Folded Wherry brought out the paperback version of House of Sand and Secrets.

7: I had cool and unexpected phonecalls with publishing people.

8: Some short stories of mine were published in awesome mags: Waking, and The Girls Who Go Below.

9: I became a squeaky mom to three adorable guinea pigs.

10: *Finally* finished some books that were languishing on my hard drive, and started some new projects.

11: READ ALL THE THINGS.

 

A good year, yes. 😀