Family · Humour · Ruminations

Pink Fluffy Unicorns And Wrestling With Chicken Waffle Club Sandwiches


fluffyIt’s true that the NEWS which isn’t FAKE and in ALL-CAPS is can be a bit dire nowadays. Not looking at you at all BREXIT loving Giant Cheeso Fascists.

So with that in mind I think people need more PINK FLUFFY UNICORNS in their life.

cwsAlso this weekend is that SPECTACLE of pop culture silliness WRESTLEMANIA which I shall be watching. And maybe eating Fried Chicken Waffle Club Sandwiches. Just Because. May you enjoy your break from reality.

 wrestlemania

Ruminations

Conquering Mountains


Mt_Taranaki

I work on the seventh floor of the library. Currently due to last years #EQNZ event we have no lifts, nor are we likely to for some time. Climbing the stairs is giving us lots of exercise.

One of the things that is keeping some of us amused is working out how long until we have climbed the equivalent of various mountains. 🙂 The maths goes like this:

Each set of steps between floors is around 15 feet.

Going from level 1 to level 7 would be 6*15=90 feet.

If I do the steps 3 times a day from level 1 to 7 – I do 270 feet a day

  • Mount Everest is 29,030 feet – it will take me 107 days to climb or around 21 working weeks.
  • Aoraki Mount Cook 12,218 feet –  it will take me 45 days to climb or around 9 working weeks.
  • Mount Taranaki 6,450  feet –  it will take me 23 days to climb or around 4.5 working weeks.
  • Mount Victoria 643 feet –  it will take me 2 days to climb or around .4 working weeks.
Ruminations · Writing

When You Can’t See The Words For The Letters or Adventures With The Demon of Self Doubt or Wordsalad


demon-161049_960_720Verily one has been thinking about writing again.

Part of this blogging again is an attempt to recapture the flow or words I had when I wrote The Spiral Tattoo. So today’s blog post, written on the train, is a an attempt to write-through some issues.

The Demon of Self Doubt is a difficult foe, so maybe if I put some down I can defeat him. So.

Word counts; are they useful tools for writing or the Demon? Maybe both. When I’m on a flow I can write nearly 1000 words an hour. The Demon tells me when I don’t do that I am failing. Setting myself word count targets hasn’t worked well yet either. I then of course get lost in my head over numbers – 3 hours a day commuting should be around 3000 words a day writing which is 15,000 words a week, which is over 600,000 words a year or 6 novels. All of which the Demon says you’re not writing.

So yep, the Demon he does nag at me over words. All the words I should have written. 😦

Should have. Because the Demon just has to tell me all the negative things that flow in the head. You’re not that good at writing. Your stories bite. You suck. Blah blah blah.

I do find it easy to come up with broad story ideas. I’m just at the moment not very good at following them through and writing them. I get stuck trying to figure out what to write for the details. The Demon with his negative voice is very persuasive.

Intellectually I know what I should be doing. Reframing my inner voice to tell positive stories about myself, but that is very difficult. See the Demon sneaking in there.

Now when I open up my wee device to write I get a tension behind the eyes and an urge to turn it off, or play a game, anything but stare at a blank page that shows me my failure.

Even now when I am writing this on the train and contemplating writing fiction there is an anxious clammy feeling in the chest. And the Demon whispers but what will you write, you don’t know do you. Which of the dozens story outlines you have started will you work on. You don’t know do you.

Fecking Demon.

What is that Demon stopping me from writing then?

Aside: note I am attempting to write this post for the entire trip. If I have the tool open and write a long post, mayhap this will help retrain myself.

So I need to write-through the discomfit of writing next to someone sitting on the train next to me. And the Demon’s voice.

As another aside the public wrestling with the Demon is an interesting exercise. I don’t want anybody to read what I am writing as I write it.

Where was I? O story outlines. So current works in progress that aren’t in progress.

First up there is a third Fursk and Gurt. See I have actually managed to write two novel length stories. I can do it. I did it twice I can do it again. There are people who are asking for the third Fursk and Gurt including Kylie. It’s nice to have people say they like what you have written even if the Demon whispers don’t believe them.

The third Fursk and Gurt will be more physiological thriller when it’s written than straight mystery. I have a rough plot line and a title and characters but Gurts voice has been drowned recently.

Next up there is a comfy murder mystery set in small town NZ featuring the owner of a movie theatre. I have written a start and have a plot line.

There is also a pure fantasy about a land that has fallen into Dark Ages and the main Character forges a kingdom. Civilisation man. 🙂

I have a diverse YA story about a village where reality means all children until puberty can change their bodies including gender but at puberty must fix their body forever.

Also a diverse sci/fi crime set on the moon – plot line is very hazy on that one though I do have a strong character image. The lead protagonist is a middle-aged psychic cop who can re-live the final hours of a dead persons life. She is lesbian. The Demon tells me, being cis het male, to not write that one.

There is also the idea of an diverse urban fantasy set in Wellington. The main character is a Transgender woman cop. There is an intersection between Maori mythology and European mythology when a Vampire from Italy descends on Wellington.

I like to play with non-human characters so I did start to work on a Fursk and Gurt story where they were in modern-day Wellington, so a second urban fantasy.

Huh, I just remembered the story arc set in the Asteroid belt. This was more an idea for a TV series than a novel, although I thought writing the novel would be a good idea. Think western on the belt.

The other sci/fi fantasy I had was to write elves in space. I had images of wooden sailing ship flying between the moons. Powered by large stones that were mined in the Asteroid belt. I have about seven or eight different story starts for this one including one about a Gargoyle that lives in an orbital city.

One of the more recent ideas, that hasn’t got passed the frontal lobes, was to write a story featuring that new system Trappist with its worlds in the Goldilocks zone that NASA recently unveiled.

PIA21425

Most of the above have at least a thousand words written on them.

As an aside the train just left the tunnel under the Rimutaka’s and we stopped at Maymorn. I’m going to be curious to see what the word count is on this.

So carrying on, the Demon is telling me to stop. But don’t I want to put this aside until after Petone. So dear reader if you have got this far the last part of this blog might ramble a bit as I seek to meet an objective.

Writing those plot points again I can still strongly see elements of them. I want to finish them for people to read but I don’t know which one to write and how to proceed.

Do I write a complete story plan? That hasn’t been overly successful in the past.

When I wrote The Spiral Tattoo it was very organic. It started as a short story which I wrote in one evening. 5000 words one Friday night. I passed it to Kylie to read and she said that’s great but it feels a bit rushed at the end. Maybe you should turn that into a novel. I said ok and went and did that.

The Oaks Grove was a more planned book and I feel less successful. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do and three-quarters of it worked, but to be honest the ending bites. I intend to rewrite the ending next year when it comes of contract with the publishers. I also need to re-edit The Spiral Tattoo. That is off contract but I’m not doing anything with it until I have both books back.

My mode at the moment is to think of a broad plot line, discover a character, write a thousand words, and then The Demon comes a knocking and so I put it aside and then don’t do anything until the next story arc comes to play.

Upper Hutt – it’s still dark.

So organic isn’t working, neither has planned. But I think I need to do planned. I am thinking of a plan for the next week. I think I should organise as many of the story seeds as possible and then spend a commute writing a plot outline. Seeing if I can formulate characters and scene ideas. It might take more than one commute for each one but if I do that then you won’t have to sit through a stream of conscious effort to write for ninety minutes and I will feel like I have achieved something.

It’s interesting as my screen is filling with words and that feels good. The Demon howls but I am feeling like I am getting the better of him this morning.

Another aside: editing as many of you may know I struggle with dyslexia. Or I was given that diagnosis as a young fellow. My spelling is atrocious at times, and my grammar appalling. Which is not great for an aspiring writer. But I am getting better at self editing and picking these things up. This post will need a fair bit of cleaning up when I post it.

One of the things my mind does is when I read something I have written I read what I think I wrote rather than what I did write. So as I edit I read words into sentences that for whatever reason didn’t manage to make their way from the brain via the fingers to the screen. So this is a bit of a mess at the moment.

Back to planning. I shall plan a number of stories, and then start work on one while I commute. I have Scrivener which is a great writing tool and will use that for the writing. I am currently writing this in notepad.

Once I have all of the stories planned I shall start writing one of them. I will write each commute and whenever that little old Demon of Self Doubt comes knocking I will work through that anxiety.

I also want to keep blogging, but I want to start really concentrating on writing fiction during the commute. So I will find a time during the day to write a blog post. I think this is doable.

I want to write something like “if I knuckle down” but that “if” is negative framing. So I am going to eliminate that from my blogging. I am taking a positive approach to my internal dialogue and will only commit active and assertive phrases in the blog. I believe this is retraining the mind.

Yes the Demon nags at the back of the mind telling me negative things. But by committing only positive messages, self affirmations, I will train myself to ignore that. Did you see what I did there. Go me.

The train has reached Waterloo and I am still writing. This morning is being very successful so far.

Next on the plan, the library blog. I would like to see that being more active as well. However I don’t want to over commit, not achieve an objective, and let the Demon back to full strength. I think once a week on the Diligent Room blog is achievable. I used to write something every Sunday and I think I will go back to that. The next post I have in mind for that is looking at Open Access resources for librarians.

Posts to my actual writing site will be much less frequent. Once I have this writing schedule in full flow I will do monthly updates there at the bare minimum. I may even cross-post from here. Not this post though.

I must also allow myself the ability to edit and explore other new ideas. So the morning commute, once planning has been done, will focus on the primary work in progress. The evening commute may be primary work in progress, new story idea planning, other story writing. I will allow that time for this.

The train is now leaving Petone. The sun is starting to peak its head above the horizon, although the clouds obscure this. It’s a grey morning now with a full carriage. The chap who sat next to me from Featherston is snoring and has just stirred. The harbour is a little choppy so I wouldnt want to be crossing on the ferry. Wellington is partially obscured in drizzle. I have written many words (I will do a word count at the end of this post) and I am feeling that I have been successful in my battle with words.

I think sometimes as a writer I don’t see the words for the characters on the page, or the lack of them. But today a veritable word forest has sprouted.

Right now I am dithering over when to call it quits for the trip. I want to mark a spot where I can say each day this is where I want to end my trips writing.

In the morning I think it should be Kaiwharawhara as we go past the Animates. On the way home it will be after Matarawa – when I see the Dalefield factory.

Well there’s Animates, so from me it’s Good Morning. And if you have made it this far have a chocolate fish. 😆

Twochocolatefish

(Word Press tells me this 2169 words long – not bad for 90 minutes of writing)

(Also lots of editing in that final third. Must watch that)

Humour · Ruminations

Hello Darkness My Old Friend


I am starting to look forward to daylight savings ending. Currently when it’s time to hop on the train it’s dark, and we don’t see light beyond the windows until around 7.15am as we are heading through the Hutt Valley.

So next week it will be nice to have light before heading through the tunnel. Off course that won’t last and by mid-winter it will not only be dark when I hop on the train but also hop off. That’s OK though.

A week into the refocus and regular blogging I still haven’t written words on stories, but I have managed some consistent blogging. Mostly done on the train in the morning. I think though by the end of the week I want to start using the train time for writing stories rather than blogging.

I will therefore have to find time for blogging elsewhere in the day. This can be done. 🙂

Meanwhile it’s not silent but I shall leave you with this most excellent cover:

Recipes · Ruminations

Breakfast Potatoes


Doesn’t everybody go through food fads? You know, when there is a go to thing you always like to eat until you don’t? Mine at the moment is breakfast potatoes which I like to have at least once a weekend. Admittedly I’d have them everyday but that might be excessive. 😆

20170326_110231To make one breakfast potatoes one first softens onions, garlic, ginger and chili in a little butter and oil. At this stage you can also add salt, pepper and spices. Sometimes I add cumin and stuff to make it curried breakfast potatoes.

20170326_110503Then you turn the pan down and add small cubes of potato and cover.

20170326_111947In about ten minutes you uncover and give the mixture a stir before covering again.

20170326_114121Then ten minutes later uncover to finish up and plate up.

 

Humour · Ruminations

Old Man Hair


I think one of the biggest traumas in growing old is old man hair.

First the hair on your head starts go grey, then it starts to disappear, and then the worst thing happens. It starts to reappear in strange places!

Your ears start to sprout great tufts of thin hair, then it migrates down your back (which has the advantage I guess of warmth retention. Then in other strange places. Towards the end it sprouts like a vine from your nose and your eyebrows become great furry caterpillars.

eyebrowsI am telling you this as I contemplate taking scissors to my eyebrows before they take over my glasses and I can’t take them off anymore. I’m sure they have become sentient so if you never hear from me again it is due to my eyebrows resisting the Great Trim of 2017!

Humour · Ruminations

The Daily Blog Conundrum


The Daily Blog Conundrum

conundrum 1When writing a blog every day, or even with any regularity, one starts to consider ones topics. If one is travelling, or doing a project, or whatever activity that lends itself to regular reports it is fairly easy. If, however, one is simply blogging daily life it can get more complicated.

Does one fill ones blog with regular reviews? Photos of cats? Photos of food? It tends to be a mixture of content. Also is this a diary, should it be written at the end of the day? Once upon a time I think people thought of blogging like public sharing of diaries but I think the open nature of the blog means that is very much less so.kitten

For me there comes an inevitable point where I start considering blogging thoughts on politics, philosophy and spirituality. So far I have resisted the urge mainly by thinking no-one wants another cis, middle aged white guy pontificating on the web.

Of course that would mean one thought folks actually read this. 😆

I have been contemplating a series of longish posts which are more me trying to work out thoughts and questions than to say anything that could be meaningful. It may still happen but so far the resistance is strong.badger

As you can tell I opened up my Surface (Hmmm maybe I should review technology at some point – might need a spreadsheet of potential topics) once on the train and starred at the blanks screen trying to think of what to write. So you get a stream of conscious (with a little post editing) as today’s entry. Ah well.

babybadgerSo for today have this post with random pictures of animals. 🙂

Humour · Ruminations

Great Intentions – Writing,Exercise, Sleeping and Trains


dawn
Dawn on The Commute is not always this pretty

When we shifted back to the Wairarapa and I started The Commute on the train I had intentions of writing each trip. Theoretically there is three hours each day of enforced immobility where I can tap, tap, tap on the keyboard relatively uninterrupted. Things so far haven’t worked like that. 😆

A combination of factors has meant very little writing has happened. Firstly I haven’t quite conquered the Demon of Self Doubt. Also I keep falling asleep.

I don’t sleep very well. I get a probably six hours of restless sleep each night. And then I hop on the train and the motion rocks me into a doze. I’m sure this isn’t good for me.

The lack of sleep is and then sleeping on the train is probably linked in a cycle. If I didn’t nap on the train I probably would sleep better. It’s probably also linked to fitness levels which are generally poor.

Lucky for me at the moment I am starting to get incidental exercise. I walk at least down from the University to the train station. I work on the 7th floor of the library and since we have no lifts currently and for the foreseeable future it means I usually do 7 flights of stairs twice a day. Also M wanted to do Karate and I have been hoodwinked into joining her.

The net effect it I am starting to see improved fitness. Which will lead to better sleep. Which hopefully will lead to less sleeping on the train. And finally increased productivity writing wise if only I can kill the Demon of Self Doubt.

Verily right now as I write this for posting later I’m actually on the train and awake. I can’t tell you about the passing landscape due to it being dark. All one sees as we flow tough the very early morning is the occasional light from the farms before stopping in the glow of commuter stations. Currently one tells if we have entered or left the tunnels under the Rimutakas by the sound of the train.

Maybe I can turn intentions into reality. Maybe. We’ll see.

UPDATE: Post commute – no writing but also no sleeping. Yawn 😆

Building · Family · Ruminations

Strange Obsessions – Ovens


One of the many things you don’t get told as a kid is the strange obsessions you develop as an adult. I can remember (vaguely as my memory isn’t that great) as a kid obsessing over games, books, music etc. And then as an adult my obsessions go more varied.

I have found myself obsessing over insulation, double glazing, lawn mowers and paint colours. One constant obsession recently has been solar energy for the house.

For many years now I have had obsessions over different ovens. The makes and models can change but there are a number of constants. I always obsess over two ovens, one a wood fired oven with wetback, the over is a duel fuel oven with a gas hob and electric oven.

matriarch01Currently my wood range fetish is focused on the Homewood range crafted in the far north. They have three beautifully manufactured wood stoves and I doubt I will ever have the room in the kitchen for the largest one but I do so want it.

classic_deluxe_110_df-cran-exportI have fairly consistently wanted the Falcon oven as a duel fuel one as well. It is also a lovely looking piece of cookware and would sit rather nicely along side the Homewood.

Maybe one day we will have the dollars to remodel the kitchen/dining room and I could fit them both in.