Tag Archives: life in general

New Year, New What Exactly?

It is the year 2017, according to the Gregorian Calendar. It may as well be Year 42AMB (After My Birth). Or Year Zero with the way the leadership of the world is going.

Reflection: 2016 was meant to be the Year of Getting Stuff Done.

Stuff didn’t get done. 

Because reasons.

Some within my control. Others outside my control.

And it was the most frustrating year regarding my creative output. I realised it’s been two years since I’ve written a complete short story. The most output I had was the rough draft of a verse novel (still incomplete) and part of a novella. I had done little pieces of writing but there was a host of reasons that kept me from putting in the work and making it happen. 

It’s not trying to make excuses, although I can do that with the death of two significant people during the year. It’s an acknowledgement of what I did not do. I can use the word ‘failure’ without it becoming a label to wear.
I failed to complete projects.
I failed to write.
I failed to make time to work out what I wanted to do.
I failed to plan.
I failed to pursue my creative desires.

I did do things that kept me thinking about writing and creativity, like my zentangle poetry. More importantly, I gave myself permission to put it aside for the sake of significant priorities. And that’s ok. 

But with the end of the year, taking a break over January, I needed to move beyond the sloth and slump and take on a new perspective. In speaking with some close writing friends, we try and find a single word to help guide and focus our creative work. It took me a few days to sort it out but my key word is “Intentionality.” 

If I am to pursue the creative goals I have set for myself I need to be intentional about the work I have planned and the work I plan to do. Which leads me to how I want to approach the new year.

DO THE WORK.

If I am to be intentional in my creative work, I therefore need to DO THE WORK. That work might involve planning a new short story, creating a new zentangle poem, writing a new piece or editing a current story.

It needs to be planned, deliberate, month-to-month goals and outcomes. One month it might simply be planning and note making for a project. Another month it might be actually writing a short story or pushing towards the completion of the verse novel or novella. At the moment, this month is given over to completing a vignette collection.

It’s a new year and a need for a new perceptive. Therefore, I will be intentional and do the work.

How about you?

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Handwritten Pages #5

I grew up in a house with a corrugated iron roof and loved hearing the sound the rain made on it. It’s a familiar sound and a familiar memory and I used it as the basis for an idea developed below.

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Like the wind picks at the corrugated iron roof, this memory is a scab I have picked at for years and years.
I have scratched and scratched.
Sometimes out of curiosity, out of a need to understand; to comprehend how we failed to relate to one another. Or out of frustration and anger at failed intimacy. 
I retreat into the solitude of the bedroom, into a book and a pen and bury myself beneath headphones where the music thrashes and yells and pummels.
And like the wind, I return to pick at the scab of memory.

Handwritten Pages #4

Sometimes it’s random images that lodge in my head like a splinter. This is one of them. I think there’s more to this story but I’m putting it aside for later to see what grows out of the compost heap.

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The child stood on the crest of the hill overlooking the city. She turned her eyes upwards to the uniform inky expanse of night sky. It was spotted with dots of white; a scattered litter of light like tissue fragments on a black jumper in the wash.
Turning her gaze downwards the city lights exploded in a galaxy of white, orange, red, blue, green.
She bent down and performed a headstand, inverting the world, and for a brief moment she believed the earthly heavens were brighter than she ever hoped for.

Handwritten Pages #3

This week’s Handwritten Page is inspired by a colleague of mine who wrote down for me a series of events and remembrances of growing up in Queensland, Australia.

I have only taken a snippet of a memory while I work out a larger story from the raw material. On a side notes, people’s stories are fascinating.

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My sister and I would sit in in the projectionist’s booth at the drive-in, offering gifts of popcorn, hot chips and sips of Coke to the projectionist. Gifts from our mother who ran the tuck shop as we waited for Dad to pick us up after he finished his shift.
We watched visions of life unspool through the reels as the clatter of the projector spoke over the dialogue and music, until frame by frame, it disappeared.
I loved how the end of the film would fthlip fthlip fthlip as the reel ended. A child’s tongue extended, blowing a raspberry. I saw it as a cheeky gesture, a way to express myself no matter how serious or shitty life would become. A chance to blow a raspberry at circumstance while the reel was changed and life moved on.

One Image, Two Conclusions

Last Friday I had a shocker of a day at work; the end of a long and tiring week which meant that I did not shower myself in glorious brilliance. And, as they say, the hits kept on coming.

It was nothing earth-shattering and it didn’t affect me directly but a piece of news that hit me at my weakest in terms of creativity and my own writing progress because over the past few months my writing time has suffered due to work commitments, and the ability to find the mental and emotional energy was sorely lacking. And it manifested itself in frustration and, if I am at all honest, jealousy.

I hit up a creative friend and simply vented in private. In the words of John Farnham, to “take the pressure down.” And it felt better to whinge about my own predicament and celebrate the success of others.

Over Saturday I was playing around with my phone, a new notebook and my fountain pen, to take a photo.

The first result was this:

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Aside: The fountain pen was a gift from my colleagues for my 40th birthday a couple of years back and the inscription reads, “When your heart speaks, take good notes.”

And every writer knows this feeling. However, in my current feral state of mind about getting stuff done, it was a challenge, an affront, a curse, a mockery.

But, shaking off the negativity, I changed the photo to this:

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Comparing yourself to others is a sure road to bitter disaster. Pursuit of your own goals and dreams is the correct path. 

Photo A Day In January – Part 2

Here is the second collection of images from the Photo A Day in January challenge.

A reminder of what this looks like:

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Day 11 – Outdoors

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Day 12 – Something I Wore

I wore these for a friend's wedding almost 20 years ago. They have held up really well. Still wear them from time to time.

I wore these for a friend’s wedding almost 20 years ago. They have held up really well. Still wear them from time to time.

Day 13 – Three of a Kind

Tiny beanbag chickens

Tiny beanbag chickens

Day 14 – Close-Up

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Day 15 – Mail

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Day 16 – Chair

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Day 17  – Faceless

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Day 18 – White

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Day 19 – In the Hand

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Day 20 – Patterns

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A New Year’s Writing and Reading Reflection

I had a little twitter brain explosion one afternoon when I was thinking about the editing I was planning for later that evening on a short piece of flash fiction. Think of this as a series of brain farts, a Macbeth if you will, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (one of my favourite lines from Shakespeare).

Why do I love to write? Because I love to read. The interplay of language to describe, emote, challenge, question, intrigue & entertain.

As readers we have favourite sentences or passages that capture the essence of our emotive response, better than our own words.

Passages w/ rhythm, illogical allusions that resonate, visceral gut punch, emotional core of who we are erupts as a volcano

These are the sentences we use as mantra, prayer, statement of intent, flirtation with a lover, standard of character.

E.g. ‘To be or not to be’ or ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ almost cliche yet strike at our heart’s vortex & echo with symbolism. 

This is why I read and write, and why I believe reading is so important, so necessary, so vital to our humanity.