Friday, April 09, 2010

Ideas on writing #1

1) Write as often as you can. this might not be every day for some but every week for others, but write enough so that you feel proud and not guilty. Once you reply to someone's frankly rather rude question 'What do you do?' and at least one of your replies is 'I love writing, I write, I'm writing something', etc then you've just nailed the lid onto your coffin of free time. And opened a tiny - untraceable - bottle of guilt that will waft its scent about your house car, person for the rest of your days. Unless you write enough to feel satisfied, then the stink will dissipate - a little. Write as much as you can each time you have free time. Your family may break apart, you never have the sex anymore, your animals are fed only every second day, your garden looks like a dump, you lose weight, gain weight, get pimples and wrinkles at the same time, your house looks like the caravan salvaged from that self-same dump and balanced on an old fridge that houses rats, and your clothes are so rank people take a step back when you open the door, but you are, now, a writer.

2) If you weren't enough for yourself, others, your heart, your church, your soul, your friends, or your lover before you got published, you won't be enough for any of them after you get published. it's nice it's fun, it's a soft little secret you can carry around with you for the rest of your life like being able to carry your teddy or blanky or invisible friend around with you in your purse and not be chided or kicked to the ground and beaten, but you do pay David Beckham's ransom for it in a plethora of unexpected and freakish ways.

3) By writing enough to feel slightly more satisfaction than guilt, you will hopefully have several dozen manuscripts and be about to find the Holy Grail of writers - Your Voice. Treasure it. It's what editors and agents are looking for. but Your Voice does not have to be something that is so determinedly distinctive anyone could pick you out of a lineup with the greatest of writers just by seeing you write one word. One sentence - maybe. You might write in such a lean spare style, or you might like the odd adjective (but you shouldn't, they're like Two-Dollar Shop chocolate easter eggs) or you might have a smear of uncontrollable whimsy, but if it's what comes after having written so much, let it be, keep writing, it's yours, gaze at it like your bright red screaming wrinkly baby covered in your own blood and smile like a simpleton, you've done it. It might not be quite what you hoped for, but you did it. Be grateful for small mercies - and remember, no one else but another writer will understand and they'll probably smile sarcastically at your anyway or ring and laugh about you to your other best friend. Try to ignore it.

4) Reward yourself on accomplishing goals. Whether you wrote one sentence, or one chapter or half the book, if you had trouble sliding yourself along the cold concrete floor of your home/24 hour car-repair shop to your desk and shake at every touch of the keyboard, and can't lift your eyes to look at what you've written (which is no doubt in All Caps or separated into two thousand sections of the 'To' line of your email program) and your neck is cramped between the clutching muscles of your pinched shoulder blades and your eyes burn with tears and your one weirdly long pinkie finger nail keeps hitting the delete button and you're sweating so much the keyboard is starting o send up smoke signals to the local tech shop, then you must give yourself some reward for writing instead of killing yourself or eating your body weight in easter eggs. Be it big or small, live yourself a tiny smile, be your own best friend, as they say. Today you may eat fresh food, or unspoiled milk, or wear clean underwear. you are a clever clogs, the bees knees. Treat yourself like it.

Listening to: The Sea Thieves
Eating: Muesli from Spoon in Port Fairy
Thinking About: How nice Rain is
Watching: The Rain and Spicks and Specks from last night
Reading: The Road by Cormack McCarthy
Wearing: White Chiffon Dressing Gown which i now notice is a teensy bit see-through and I just chatted with the neighbours while letting out my two remaining chickens (one died over the weekend) and I was trying to chat while weeping and pulling my hair because she was an excellent chicken (and apparently, the only layer). Can't wait to have the neighbours over for drinks soon. Want to adopt more ex-battery hens to give them some decent life but am now aware of how they are less farm animals for produce and more familiars/dearly loved pets. Damn it all to hell.
Writing: Essay on panic attacks. chapter for The Tequila Bikini. Very long shopping list.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Teenage Hoon Boys in Cars - Not what you'd expect

Boys in Cars
There are a few more hoons in my area than I used to find in St Peters and the city and Malvern and Norwood and Stirling and North AdelaIde - all the places I've lived in before in Adelaide. Some of them are perceived as 'fancy' but they still have boys in cars. I prefer where I'm living by far, mostly because there's a great neighbourhood feel here, there's no snobbism at all, even fewer topiaries (a personal dislike) and ladies who think they're better than other people because they have big hair and huge (often fake glitzy designer sunglasses. I often (sometimes accidentally) have big hair and big sunglasses but I think I'm a dork so i hope I don't get mistaken for these obnoxious types. Who knows? Knowing yourself, let alone seeing how people see you from the outside, is tricky. I can't imagine, it's usual a good start to try to be humble before nature and not people, good natured before people and nature, and treat with both with respect.

I have changed my mind about Boys in Cars. I have three incident where they have been extremely helpful to the point of saving my mum's life and helping me find lost dogs.

1) My mum fell down a steeply inclined driveway and really messed up her face, flaps of skin, thirty stitches were needed, two black eyes, she was a sight. But a couple Boys In Cars came and sat with her while my dad ran off to get help. Lucky they did because a huge 4WD pulled out of the driveway where she was lying almost unconcious and the boys stopped the car just in time before they ran over my mum. seeing as she's been fighting the good fight against Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for about five years now - and so far winning, being run over by a Camden Tractor would have been a serious bummer.

2) Christmas Day my partner and i parked our car in a pub carpark with a roller door. after hijinks and excellent lunch and fun with my mum's side of the family we went to dgo home, only to find the carpark locked. Everyone knows it's impossible to get a cab on Christmas Day unless you order it on boxing Day the year before so we were bummed. Then I found a way in, and figured out how to use the manual override on the door to get us out. Only problme was, on pulling the door down after the car came out, the pieces of metal closed over to form one straight flat piece of door after being coiled up into a roll on the roof - and cruched the tips of all my fingers as it went. After pulling them out and screaming I apparently ran onto the road and then fainted. A Car of Boys took the corner on two wheels, stopped, jumped out and helped me - thinking I'd been hit by a car. They and my partner helped me to go down to the beach where I soaked my crushed fingers in the icy water as i sobbed pathetically. A month later I had a bunch of fingernails removed.

3) Three little teacup poodles got out on the street near the dog park where I take Marshall for his afternoon blitz/nutter session. Their owner was frantic and I parked the car askew and ran up to ask what was wrong, we saw the dogs up on a side street and raced after them, but by then they'd disappeared, several streets later, - and me totally lost in an area I only knew of because each street is named after a car (i.e. holden, corolla, Fiesta, etc) I hit a cross roads and a car full of boys rolled to a stop before they ran me down.
I signaled without thinking, squaring my hands off to indicate something small, and then held up three fingers. The car stopped, the radio turned down and they pointed in the right direction, askedover the only slightly deafening rap music if I wanted help. it was only as I was running off where they'd pointed that I realised I'd done it all without considering they looked like they were about to do a drive-by, Monster truck wheels, tattoos visible on hands heads, fingers, sunnnies over hooded eyes and behind that - expressions of deep mental disturbance, music louder than a baby's scream, but they were more helpful than a half dozen people I ran into on the way to find these dogs in a garden, lazily eating some slower dog's dinner a half hour later, exactly where they'd pointed me to.

Listening to: Juno soundtrack
Eating: tofu green curry
Thinking About: if budgies mate for life
Watching: budgies mating
Reading: The Age and The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald from a couple weeks back - there's a late pile on my couch
Wearing: stacked black boots, short dresses my mum says show my undercarriage. Thus also Bike shorts that make me look like I'm wearing a full body slenderiser that's just failed it's job
Writing: this, I guess.

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