Music has always been a means of relaxation for me. That said, I don’t enjoy much rock or hip hop or rap. I love having some pop songs every now and again to lift my mood, or when my mood is already up.
When I moved halfway across the work for a job, I left my ukulele. I’d had it since I was 9 years old and I didn’t want to risk any accidents during the long journey to my new home. I thought I could make it, knew that I would miss it but didn’t think I’d have withdrawal symptoms such as:
Buying a ukulele necklace
Watching ukulele videos on Youtube
Pinning every ukulele image I saw on Pinterest
And so I bought one. I got the cheapest soprano ukulele I could find online and now I can’t get my hands off it! These past few weeks I’ve been learning fingerpicking patterns. And I just love every second of it. I don’t know why I waited this long.
So you’ve done it. You’ve finally finished an entire book and it’s out there in the market. How do your friends react?
Based on experience, they fall under one of two groups:
Those who ask you for a copy. These people feel that they, on account of your friendship, acquaintance, or simply knowing each other by name, are entitled to a free, signed copy of your book. The only way they can go about asking you for it is to sound as though they’re teasing, so they can come off as demanding. Yes, they will demand. Give me a copy. Now. And sign it.
Those who ask you where they can buy one. These are the more timid crowd. They ask you for a link to your sales page, or which bookstores carry your title so they can purchase one. These are your real supporters. And when they do ask, they might even answer: “Oh, stop it. I’ll give you one. We’re friends after all.” And so you are.
And here’s the part where I talk to the friends of said beginning authors: The best way to support their craft is to – hello? say what? – BUY their book! How would you feel if you were an architect and someone demanded a FREE blueprint for their new dream home?
If you haven’t read about where I lied about dinner which is the first half of this story, depart from this page and get thee to that post now by clicking here.
But if you’re up to date, here’s the rest of the story:
So after that, he did say he would share some of the chicken he was going to cook for dinner the following day and because my mother says to refuse an offer is an insult, I gladly thanked him for the kindness.
It is now the following day, and I walked into the kitchen a few minutes ago and there was this note hanging from my cupboard:
There were six large pieces of chicken and potatoes and vegetables in that ‘Aluminum, silver,’ and I dared not believe that ‘that one, mine.’
Then lo and behold, he walked in.
“I just saw your note,” I said.
“That’s a lot. Are you giving it all away?”
He stares at me with a blank expression for two seconds and says, “No, my English, bad. I mean you take what you want, I eat too.”
If he wasn’t so embarrassed I would have laughed my own embarrassment out loud. So much for socialising, eh?
So yeah, I took a piece. And some potatoes for good measure.
I live in a block of flats. A new tenant has just arrived, who loves to cook. This is only the second time I’ve met this gentleman, and the first time he gave me half of the strawberries he was having for dessert and offered some of the pasta he’d made for dinner.
So, two things we know about him:
He loves to cook.
He loves to share.
Tonight, I was about to have dinner. I’d cooked some pork liver with young corn and broccoli yesterday and they’re sitting in the fridge just waiting to be heated. I took the plate which was still in my room to the kitchen, which I share with about 6 other people.
In the kitchen, a pot of stew was boiling. I knew it was his because it was the same one he’d cooked the pasta in. In a hurry, I washed my plate so I could microwave my dinner and be gone before he came back. But I was too late.
The kitchen door opened and there he was. On with the usual greetings and small talk, and then he asked, “Are you hungry?” This, of course, my brain translated as: I’m cooking stew, I’ll give you some and whilst I’m sharing we can talk more.
“I’ve just finished dinner,” I blurted out, seeing that he could just as easily have interpreted my washing of the plate as a post-supper wash rather than a very late post-lunch cleanup.
The truth is, I want to move to a different department at work, somewhere I can have a lighter workload and have less stress than I normally do at the moment. I was supposed to send an email today to the lady who was in charge of said post, but I changed my mind.
I just couldn’t bring myself to abandon my current department. My manager has been nothing but kind and helpful to me; my colleagues are lovely (well apart from the occasional deviant, but everywhere’s got one), and compared to most departments, I’m actually in a good place.
The real reason I wanna move out is because I don’t really enjoy my job anymore. I feel like I’m completely misplaced. I’m a right-brained girl and this is a left-brained job, and if I can’t quite (which I can’t just yet), then I would like to just please be assigned somewhere that isn’t quite as busy?
But loyalty won in the end. I knew I’d lose sleep over it if I abandoned my current post. So here we are, not moving. And I’ve got no one to blame but myself and my bloomin’ principles.
According to the statistics office in my head, 99.9% of introverts love to read. And with much reading comes much isolation, for how else would you read if not alone? Then there is the trouble of not having anyone to talk about what you’ve just read because you’re so secretive about everything that you hadn’t tell anyone what you’d been reading, in fear that they might see through your very soul if you did.
So here we are. A book club where we don’t have to meet. I’m starting one here because honestly, I do not have the energy to arrange one where we actually meet (actual people, energy depletion, that sort of stuff, you know).
I’ll be announcing a Book of the Month every first of the month beginning September, and any of you readers who want to join in, just drop a line in the comments below and let’s get talking!
Young Adult Fiction. It’s technically a new genre that’s boomed over the last decade. It has certainly got many non-readers to develop a love of books, and has certainly done a lot of good for the publishing and the movie industry.
I read about a hundred novels a year and I’d say only 3 of them are YA fiction. If you’re gonna tell me that I just need to find the right book to fall in love with and get into the genre, believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve read reviews and started the first books of what people say are the best YA series in the market today. I’ve read standalone novels. I have tried.
It took me a while to realise it, but here’s what puts me off YA fiction: whichever book you read, whether it’s fantasy or romance or adventure or what have you, the voice of the narrator is always the same. Has anyone else ever noticed that?
If I read a YA novel set in medieval times, I tend to get the feel of the setting more from the language than from the description of the landscape. So if the author talks to me in modern English, the only thing that will be going through my mind would be how incongruous the language is to that time period.
For this reason, I tried to limit myself to reading YA fiction set in modern day civilisation. But that didn’t work either. In the modern world, teens commit suicide because they aren’t accepted by their friends. Young adults run away from home because their parents ‘don’t understand.’ Main characters make intense, stupid, crazy decisions in response to problems that are, to be honest, utterly insignificant in the grander scheme of things. In short, they were whiny. And I can’t read whiny. It hurts my ears.
And that’s the long and short of it.
If you think you can give me some YA recommendations which you are confident will make me change the way I feel about the genre, please do write them down in the comments below. Because to be honest, they are an easy read and make for a good break if you want a bit of reading relaxation.
Have you ever had a dream so strong that it demands all of your attention to the exclusion of everything else? You begin to hate your otherwise noble occupation, you detest every minute you spend with friends, and every time you’re doing something else, a voice in your head keeps telling you you ought to be working on the Dream.
If you’ve ever had that, don’t ignore it.
I’ve had mine since I was about 7 years old. I wanted to become an author. The sad thing about writing literature is, it doesn’t pay by the hour. So you may have to find other ways of making a living while working on it. And that’s where I am right now.
The important thing is that if the Dream never abandons you, you should be wise enough to return the favour. If it stays there for that long a time, it may well be worth fighting for. There will be plenty of obstacles along the way and you will have to overcome them, but all of that effort will be worth it in the end. And trying, no matter how many times you fail, is far better than looking back and telling yourself those two most painful words: “If only…”
I recently find myself trying to occupy as very little space as possible. It’s a metaphor; I’m not a contortionist.
Because of my almost pathological avoidance of conflict, I flee from tense situations and escape before things get complicated and heated arguments arise. Whenever someone confronts me or steps on my toes (again, a metaphor), I don’t answer back and as much as possible, I don’t try to defend myself. Maybe it’s because of my upbringing, maybe it’s because I’ve got a certain personality type. Maybe it’s because I simply decide these things aren’t worth the trouble.
But the point is, lately I’ve realised it’s not good for your inner sense of self-worth. You let people step on you, you feel small — no matter how many times you try to convince yourself they weren’t worth it.
So here’s a little exercise I’d like to do with the rest of you out there who are like me. Let’s, every now and again, remind ourselves that we are here, we live and breathe, and we have every right to take up as much space as we want. And the world will just have to deal with that.