Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back on 2010.

A few days ago, I was making my new-years resolution to finish an unnamed beast of an epic. The day before yesterday, I decided to close my eyes and delivered my very first blog post. Yesterday, I found a name for the epic and a little later, I finished my rough draft. 

That's what it felt like, anyway. At the same time, it feels like I've known some of you for years (even though I only started blogging on 2 August.) 

My year has been through highs and lows. The lowest being my epic failure at economics at the home stretch of my final year. But luckily that served to blunt the blow of failing to win NaNo. ;-P

But you know, this has actually been a blessed year for me. I moved in (and met) with a girl who would become the Watson to my Sherlock Holmes (really). I was maid of honour for one of my best friends in the whole wide world (and also my first blog follower.) I saw my other best friend three times this year despite her having moved to the other side of the country in January. 

And I still have all the family members and friends that I had at the beginning of the year, which makes me very blessed indeed. 

So I can easily say that this year was the best one I had in the past decade.  

All that's left to say is thank you for getting to know me and that I hope that this new decade will bring many new blessings and opportunities your way. Have a wonderful 2011!



Thursday, December 30, 2010

New music and new characters

For my birthday, my cousin's boyfriend gave me a bunch of old cds that he thought would make for good writing soundtracks. 

About ten percent of it will work for Doorways. 

The rest? 

The rest is pretty much the soundtrack for Guardian. 

It's great to finally have the music I need. To me, music is more than the backtrack of the book I'm writing. 

It helps me hear my characters. 


It helps me to FEEL my characters. 

In fact, nothing helps me to know my characters better than listening to their songs - particularly new songs. New songs tend to let me explore a new aspect of them. 


Easy. I hear a song and suddenly smile, realizing that the song fits a character somehow. Then it's my job to figure out why the song works so well. Random, but useful.

What do you do to figure out your characters?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Improvising a Poem...

Hello all!

Finally, I am back an ready to get posting. I was planning to be back by yesterday already, but three of my best friends in the whole world threw me a surprise birthday braai (similar to a barbeque). So I thought that blogging in their presence to be a tad rude.

While I was contemplating that thought, I suddenly remembered that I had signed up for a blogfest to stretch my creative mind.

As per usual, I completely forgot about it until the day it is due. So... Here's how it works.

I pick a picture from the ones offered...

And then write a scene of no more than 500 (bahahahahahaha) words in narrative-verse poetry.

Fun right?

No idea. I've never done it before. But here goes.

My convoluted narrative verse poem...

Dreaming of a Victorian Christmas

On the day before Christmas,

The heat and light darken
Into a night so cloudless
That I imagine that Star beckon
To those first three gift givers.

And as I ponder
Those three magi,
Who at great peril followed that wonder
There is a thought of where I
Wish my star would take me.

If only I could be
In London
With my family
Dressed in shirts of pure cotton
And crinolines and bustles.

I suppose I would wear
A corset if I must
If I could only get to stare
At things before the rust
Of the ages have settled.

Of course, it would snow.
In lovely thick drapes
And we would know
To cover up in mantles and capes
Before wandering out to play.

How fun it would be!
Skating and riding on a sled
And frolicking before we
Set off to home, cold kisses,
Hot chocolate and bed.

But then, clear as day
I see,
I don’t need to go away
To be right where I want.
For what I really wish

Is for all those I love
To be in good health.
This is what I want above
All dreams going to unknown places
And of worthless wealth.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Today is (was) going to be a short post.

As Christmas approaches, my to-do list lengthens. As such, this post shortens. ;-P

Today will be taken up by unpacking a fridge after our one maid filled it with plates. The fridge being coffin-like in volume.

Luckily I have a slave (my younger brother) to help me move the ceramic plates somewhere else.

When that's done, I get to bake! Hopefully. I'm thinking lamingtons and more traditional treats named Jan Smutsies and Hertzoggies.

For those of you with zero South African connection (me excluded), Jan Smutsies and Hertzoggies are basically small soft cakes with apricot jam baked in between. Incredibly delicious. Ask nicely and I might even post a recipe.

But to intrigue you, I present:

Hertzoggies (the tops are made of coconut)


Jan Smutsies.

Ask really REALLY nicely and I might throw in some other kick-ass traditional South African treats.

But I digress. After that I have to pack a suitcase for a week and move into my mother's room to make space for the family. Which means I have to plan what I have to wear. For almost a week.

I don't even plan what I wear to weddings and funerals. Sigh...

But I will suffer this trial for the sake of Christmas.

Speaking of trials. I'm also very likely going to have to stay off blogger until Tuesday.

I'll try to sneak in some blogger time.

But it is beyond likely that I will drop off the face of the blogosphere until next Tuesday. Starting now.

No wait!

Have a blessed Christmas! May your time with your family be as wonderful as it can possibly be and my the love of Jesus Christ fill your house on this Holy Day.

With LOTS of love,

Kiss Kiss,

Hug Hug,

Missing you already,


P.S. Commencing drop from blogosphere in. Ten. Nine... AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaa.........



Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It's official.

My muse is just plain contrary.

I decided to take a break from Doorways and started working on Guardian. As soon as I finished writing the scene I wanted... The plot outline occurred to me, weaving James and Ward's story back into the plot as I intended all along.

I must say that I am thrilled by this. But why couldn't I just have done it while I was still in the "strike while the iron is hot"  mood?

That said, I might take a break from writing in general for a short while. Maybe just until January.

Even though I've been quite productive these past few days, it feels as if I'm wringing my already over wrung mind for whatever ideas I might have left. It's just not a fun feeling to have. Especially not when I'm doing something that I love.

I actually had a headache after I wrote only 1000 words.

Maybe I shouldn't push myself. But as I said. Now that I am contemplating taking a break, I feel that draw. That intense desire to sit down and start crafting a story. Whether it's an old one or a new one.

So I want to write. I really do. So why then do I feel such a resistance when I am writing?

Have any of you experienced something similar?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The problem with taking a break.

I decided to get my creativity going again by working on something else. Just for a while.


Optimistic thought of the century.

See... I decided to just write a single scene to open Guardian. For those of you that don't know, Guardian is the book that occurred to me a few months back. I shelved it pending the completion of Doorways.

I never stated which draft of Doorways to be completed. Yes people. I am a genius at finding loopholes.

Anyway. I wrote it out and got hit by the clearest voice I've ever had. Really. It's literally as if I'm tuning into Arian's mind. Not that her mind isn't a scary place. She's bitter and more than just a little cynical.

I know for a fact what part of me she comes from, though. Which makes it a bit uncomfortable. Like a mother looking at her child and seeing that the kid got all of her personality traits. Including the worst ones.

Still. She does intrigue me. Not as much as, say... Darrion. But then... Darrion is in a league all of his own. 

I just hope that I didn't open Pandora's box now. I still want to rewrite Doorways. As quickly as possible.  It won't do to have Arian chattering away while I'm trying to tune into Callan or the others.

On the other hand... I think it might be a good idea to rest Doorways until I can look at it without shaking. If that is even possible. But if I am to rest Doorways with a hope of getting back to it, it might be a better idea to stick to small projects like short stories and poetry. IF... I could get my brain wired that way for a while.

Fact is that my mind is geared to writing novels.

That's it. Time for a change. I am going to write a poem a day until I can say my mind is geared to anything literary.

Maybe I'll even post a few. IF... they aren't too terrible.

What do you do to give your mind a rest before rewrites?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Contradictions in my muse and me.

My muse is a wonderful lady sometimes. Yet somehow, she manages to be a complete bitch at the same time. 

For example, she believes that pressuring me to write during a time that I'm down is a bad idea, so she just doesn't give me anything to say. Of course, the one thing that can get me out of the doldrums would be... yep you guessed it. Writing.

She hits me with the most wonderful ideas.

When I'm too busy to do anything with them.

Then she leaves in a huff because I didn't get back to her quick enough. Leaving me with nothing when I do have time to write.


 She got me though the first draft of Doorways. And promptly started ignoring me when I wanted to get stuck into the rewrite.

Now she's nudging me towards writing again. Except that the idea floating around in my head has nothing to do with the rewrite. 


I'm actually contemplating putting my rough draft aside for a month so that I can approach it with an open mind.  I think a big reason why I'm getting so stuck is that I'm co close to the current version that I just can't possibly imaging changing anything to the storyline. Even as I realize that huge changes are necessary.

But even as I say so, part of me is completely balking at the idea. After all. I spent so much time on Doorways that the idea of doing something else for a while is completely alien. Sigh.

My muse is refusing to give me any advice on this one. So now I'm asking yours. Do I take a break or don't I?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Po-TAY-to Po-TAH-to. SA-lary PIT-tance

Sigh. You know, for all my promises of regularity, I really am being pathetic at it.

Time really flies when you're doing... nothing.

I'm serious. The whole time, I considered getting my butt moving, but by the time it came to serious consideration, it was night.

The one thing worth mentioning is the job interview.

It went well.

Really well.

They offered me the job.

But I was laughing so hard at the salary they offered me that I didn't get round to posting about it.

I mean. An eight hour (or more) shift. At night. Managing a restaurant that for all intents and purposes were blown out of the water by the previous manager. All the stresses associated with turning the place around...

For R2000 per month. That's roughly $285. In South Africa, it's below the minimum wage for waitrons. For a managerial post, I'd have been insane to take it. In fact I think the restaurant owners were either nuts or desperate when they made an offer - given that I made it abundantly clear that I wanted to pay at least a portion of my tuition next year. Plus rent. 

Goes to show you. Humans, for all of their eccentricities and quirks, might in reality just be fundamentally stupid. I hope that that's the case. Otherwise my mind would go to more sinister conclusions. After all. I'm young. They might have had exploitation in mind.  And I really (for all my cynicism) really want to believe in people. 

But exploitation or no. With or without the idiocy/insanity that arguably makes us all human. Offering the one person who had been willing to come to their rescue next to nothing a few hours before they really needed that person.... Not even remotely smart.

Anyway... I have a thought skittering through my brain about the restaurant. But I'm still deciding whether I'm insane enough to give it any attention.

But I know that something good is waiting just around the corner from me. I just need to be patient...

What's going on in your life?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rock Bottom and Sky High.

So sorry for my unannounced absence these past few days.

Monday kind of got lost between research for that other WiP of mine and I promised to write an awesome post on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I hit rock bottom. As in, if I was through dynamite and a shovel, I'd have found myself in China. I don't know whether it's due to staffing problems, laziness or just plain insensitivity, but my illustrious Tertiary institution decided to let me know by TEXT MESSAGE that I would not be allowed to continue my studies. No reason. Nothing. Just one hundred and sixty characters' worth of soul destruction.

By this morning though, I came to an interesting realization. I had hit the bottom of the hole, so there was nothing else to do but salvage and/or move on. The time had finally arrived for me to tough it out. So I drove to my University and asked for an explanation from the admin. See... I could not grasp how I could be kicked out on a single subject. The message made me almost doubt in myself, since I started to think that I could have failed another one or two of the subjects. Funny how quickly that came up.

But then I made a funny decision to a) Trust God in where He was going to make me go and b) refuse to believe that I could have done so badly after I had written so well for the other modules. c) Find a job that would be worth my while. I might not have a degree, but I would not let that ruin my life. By gum! (I should mention that I get very blustery when I tough things out. When I start gritting my teeth, people should run for their basements.)

So I walked into the lady's office and asked quite nicely for an explanation. (See, for all my bluster, I also know that it's much easier to get things done by asking nicely.) And here it is. One of my module's marks have yet to be confirmed. They had turned the entire process of admissions over to a computer program that reads an unconfirmed mark as a 0% performance. That, with the economics was just enough to put me on the so called blacklist. 

But basically, I had nothing to worry about until 10 January. But I was much too relieved to be annoyed. 

In fact I was almost in tears. 

But I stuck to my job decision and started looking. I found a job as a restaurant manager close to my home and applied. The owner called me back a few hours later for an interview! So if everything goes well, I might be employed by the end of December. 

I'm thrilled! But I'm still praying about it. If I'm meant to get the job, I will. If not, I know that something better is on the way. 

That's my news. Anything big happen since I was around last?

Monday, December 13, 2010

You Love Me! You Really Really Love Me!

Morning all! I've been reading your comments for my last post and I was staggered at how many of you offered to help.

Thinking back, I shouldn't have been, since I always knew that you are all beyond awesome!

I wish to give all of you who have ever left comments on my pasts the Fair Dinkum award. (Thanks for giving it to me Nancy!) Every single comment as been hugely appreciated and loved.

To me, fair dinkum is a aussie slang word meaning that something or someone is nice, cool, appreciated in some way. And yes. Absolutely positively awesome.

To claim this reward, you need to comment to me, explaining what the phrase fair dinkum means to you. Do you know any fair dinkum people? Tell me about them. Then you also need to suggest reasons why L'Aussie chose this image for her award. Can't wait to hear what you think.

Then, I also want to give away a versatile blogger award. (Thanks Blogger!)

So, to receive this award, I have to tell you seven things about myself before passing on the award to seven more people.

So seven things about myself...

1) My birthmark is a spot of freckles on my stomach.
2) This year, I have read over a hundred books and seen around fifty movies. (My two great passions except for writing.
3) My fencing nickname is Scaramouche - due to my dramatic flair. Incidentally, the name comes from an awesome book by Rafael Sabatini. (He also wrote Captain Blood.)
4) My favourite quote (also a sort of motto for me) comes from that book: "He was born with the gift of laughter and the knowledge that the world was mad."
5) I play a mean game of table tennis. If I'm on form I can serve so fast that the ball will fly out even if the player only touches his paddle to it.
6) I have drawn blood in a broadsword battle. The guy was twice as big as me and thought I wouldn't be able to get to him. So he didn't wear a mask. Big. Mistake.
7) When I read books with larger casts of characters, I tend to love the Best Friend more, since he/she is usually the deadpan snarky borderline psychopathic person - and as such gets the best lines after the villain.

And the winners of the Versatile Blogger Award are:

1) Gary
2) Meridith
3) Rachael
4) Hannah
5) Jessica
6) Golden
7) Nancy

With a special mention to Blogger.

They all are busy with their WiP and blogs, but still took time to offer advice and/or help when I needed it.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A plot... A plot... My kingdom for a plot!

Hey all! I've gotten so many awards since the last award page update that I feel overwhelmed. I will get to them all though as soon as I can. Thanks for my award, Blogger!

So... I'm in a little bit of a dilemma at this stage.

I realize the need for a plot outline. After all, I need to get the book going from point a to points b, c,d and e.

My rough draft left so many plot holes and loose strings that I don't know how I'll ever get them worked back into my book. Sigh.

yWriter has this awesome thing where you open chapters and scenes in the chapters. In other words, you can build an outline and then write in them. Brilliant.

Except that this pantser is drawing a complete blank. I know where the the end goes. Sort of.

I made a nasty little discovery. Since I'm a pantser, I was  merely concerned with getting my characters to the end of the book. They had that end in common.

But now, since I decided to change the end, I've basically split the entire story into two parts. The two main factions involved have nothing to do with each other - and for a brilliant reason. So the fact that they don't have a common goal until the end of book two...

The thing is that I want to write the entire series, but I want all of the books to be good enough to be read alone. And if viewed alone in the current shape, half of the entire storyline is going to look redundant.

In short... It's a mess. A huge one.

I never thought I'd say this, but...


And so... I need help. Lots and lots of help.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Challenge Continues

As the name suggests, this writer has found herself a far too catchy a tag-line for her to drop it just because the original challenge came to a premature end.

After all, I have rewrites. And roughly thirty pounds to lose. But now, instead of saying that I will do both before 31 December, the challenge will lie in the fact that I must both exercise and write diligently.

For the rewrites, I decided to try out a (from what I read) nifty program called yWriter. It's freeware, so it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of your average novel writing program. Still, it was designed by a SciFi writer who has face pretty much the same challenges as I have. So I'm hoping that the program will help me keep track of the story.

Also for the rewrites, I have started with ponderings. Things related to the story that didn't necessarily go into the main part of the story. World building, basically. Last night I got stuck into the History. I am still far from the present, but I have already learnt a lot of things that are going to work beautifully in all of the stories. Once I'm done with the History, I'm going into Geography. After that the Population, Cultures, Economics, Technology etc. When I get tired of that, I'm going to do something I really really enjoyed.

Character interviews. And this time, I might just chain Darrion to the table until he starts talking. Kidding. I doubt that will help. Sigh.

Weight loss wise, I plan to adapt my eating. Not so much what I eat, since I'm not particularly unhealthy. But rather how much I eat. No... Not starvation dieting, but rather smaller portions aimed at keeping me satisfied instead of glutted. Then, I want to get back to running. Not jogging. Running.

Jogging is boring and exercises the legs. Running keeps me challenged while giving me a full body work out. Why? Have you ever tried to sprint with bad posture? If I run, my entire body has to work in order to get me to my goal point as fast as possible. And... no. I won't get a heart attack, since I'm running in short bursts followed by recovery walks, followed by short bursts... I found it a lot less painful than jogging, which says a lot. One of the main reasons why I stop jogging within days of starting is because my legs seize up from day one. Running? Nope. Not even a little.

Finally, I'll ease myself into muscle toning exercise...

No. I lied. Finally, I'm planning to drink lots and lots of water.

But this is pretty much how I want to live my life from now on. No limits to what I can eat, but rather when and how much. The water will curb the cravings that make me reach for that extra bite.

What about you? Have any of you tried yWriter? What did you think of it? And exercise? Do you do anything to burn away those problem areas (thighs and tums)?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Good day all! Firstly I wish to apologize for my absence yesterday. My data ran out due to multiple failed attempts at downloading novel planning software.

Yes. The pantser has gone plotty. More on that later.

Anyway... I want to apologize for the fact this and any other posts until I can buy data will be in this pale grey. My Blackberry seems most unwilling to specify text color.

Finally, but first on my mind is a thank you to Nancy for my newest reward. It really made me feel special.

Right. Admin's done. Let's get back to the post.

So why have I been trying to download a story planner? It's kind of a good news bad news sort of thing.

I've been struggling for days, wondering why it felt like I was starting with a new book instead of finishing Doorways. This has been bothering me for days until I lost patience with myself and sat down with the thought the entire day.

Nothing leapt out at me, except for a well worn notebook. This was the notebook I used to write random scenes that I had edited out of the second version of the story.

I'd completely forgotten about it, so imagine my surprised I was when it struck me that these scenes fit into the version I'm busy with.

But I still needed to figure out where they were supposed to go. So I started looking at the bigger picture. There I saw two things. One, I more or less know where books 3 and 4 are going, but that book 2 has nowhere to go except to book 3. Everyone I know hates a filler, so the thought of me writing one is far from appealing.

Two, if I looked at the book schematically, I should have noticed a huge problem. I'd been writing the book toward two climaxes- both of which are equally huge. This can be good, but not if there's an equivalent to a book in between. This scenario reminds me of the new version of the movie Casino Royale. Good, but lost quality because of that entire part in Venice. To my mind, the climax had already taken place, but I was forced to sit through a long bit of waffle until the story reached the "real" climax. Arguably the sequal was better off because of it.

And that, I realized, was where the similarity ended. See I had this awesome character who was going to die...

I won't say anything more, except to say that that character alive will make book 2 awesome.

All this made me realize that anything after climax one has to be moved either to earlier in the book or to the sequal...

The good news? Guess up to where I have written.

The bad? The fact that I've finished my first rough draft hit so fast that I don't feel like celebrating. I really wished I thought of this before.

The ugly? Imagine a puzzle of thousands of words and images that I have to whip into shape.

What about you? Ever get broadsided by the knowledge that your story was finished? How is your writerly life going?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge Day 2

So... That is why I am avoiding the use of daily goals.

The moment I logged off, I got sucked into the black hole known as chores. By the time I got back, I dropped onto the bed and fell asleep. The town I live in has summer winds - which means that at night, all the windows rattle and wake me up.


Anyway, my writing is a bit behind what I wanted to do. So today I want to get a lot of writing down. Will I be able to write enough? No idea, but I'll take a whack at it.

Then of course, I was reminded yesterday of the fact that the industry standard word count has been lowered. So... 80k words.

Not a chance.

There is really no way I can write this story in half the word-count I planned on when I started. This leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. I might finish and fail to sell the book.

On the other hand, as far as I know, the word count cut has to do with the number of pages the get printed on. In short: the Recession.

Good news? The recovery should come some time, bringing back my word count.

Bad news? I have no idea when that will happen.

I hate not knowing when something will happen.

On the up-side, my story doesn't exactly follow current trends found in the Fantasy genre. So I can pretty much take my time... The only thing that keeps me in a hurry is me. I really want to finish Doorways.

When I do, I'll leave it simmering for a month before starting the rewrite. In the mean time, I'll finish my other WiP (which is almost halfway) before getting stuck in with Guardian. Both of these is sure to fit nicely into the 80k word count, since the story lines aren't remotely as complex as those found in Doorways. 

If the rewrite on Doorways is done, I'll check the market and check the book. If it is still necessary by then, I'll see about splitting it in two. Still, I hardly find this option attractive, since Doorways is intended as part of a series of four books. I don't enjoy the idea of forcing a fifth book into the start. 

But then I think, I am getting waaaay ahead of myself.  After all. I need to get Doorways done first...

Any of you in the same boat? How do you deal with it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge Day 1

Thanks so much to everyone that commented on yesterday's post. They certainly got me to thinking about two things: Cooking and Writing.

Cooking-wise, I am now trying to figure out how I will whip up my masterpieces while getting someone else to do the clearing up. Yes. I am a) that lazy b) that evil.

Writing-wise, the comments got me to thinking. Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I technically have no idea how many words I need to finish the book. I'm currently approaching 40k words, while the word counts in Fantasy novels lie somewhere between 150k and 200k. So... I'm roughly a quarter of the way through. But how many words I need to finish the story?

I chose 4000 words per day arbitrarily since the goal sounds both challenging and nearly doable. If I successfully get that many words done, I'll hit 100k by the 31st. While that still lets me fall short on the word-count, it should be enough for me to finish the story. I'll make up the rest when I rewrite and write in the details.

But... As Nevets pointed out, daily goals puts a lot of pressure on the writer. He pointed out that it only worked for him for a month - technically all that I need - before it crushed him. I really don't need to be crushed. After all. I have another book to write. But heaven knows that I have been writing Doorways for two years now. It's time I finish it. Next year brings many changes to my lifestyle - which will only make finishing the story more challenging. So if I'm going to get the draft done, it will be in this month.

But then... I thought. Instead of making it feel like a job, I'm going to dress it up as something else. I'm calling it the Great December Writer's Challenge. My goal: finishing the beast by New Years Eve. Word-count: whatever it takes, but roughly 4000 words a day.

But then I thought... Surely I'm not alone here. Surely there are people who made New Years resolutions this year to finish that book - only they didn't. Or people who want to finish their edits in time to submit their work to agents in January. Anything.

If you have anything writing related that you want to finish by 23h59 on 31 December, please join me in the challenge. Set a goal, let me know and let's get it done together.  

That said... I think it's time for me to go kick some word count butt.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A bit of advice?

That is it. I have come to the realization that I can't spend my holiday moping around.

It's such a damn waste of time.

Not to mention boring.

I have to start doing something, since my recovery state is immobile. If I don't start getting things done, I am going to end up wasting more or less three weeks that could have been spent toward reaching my goal(s). But I'm still planning how I will get everything done.

See, writing is far from the only thing I want to do this holiday. I want to take up the last two artistic pursuits I have never put my hands to: cooking and sewing. If I'm honest, I see cooking as just a notch above alchemy. I really haven't a clue as to how people can take a bunch of raw ingredients, dice them, mix them etc, toss them into a pan et voila... One masterpiece served on a plate. It boggles the mind. Clothes are another thing though. That's just me being far too impatient to practice.

Anyway. Well... maybe I lied, but I can't see a single art other than those two that I have not tried... But if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to enlighten me.

Back to the point. I therefore have to cook, sew in addition to me taking up jogging and exercise again. Then there are my friends and just taking some breaths of fresh air. After all. It's summer and the beach is now 500 meters away...

Oh and picking up that other art again: Languages. In particular, French and Mandarin.

Did I mention that I don't do schedules?


Why not? Well... it started when I was in high school. It once occurred to me that I would get more done if I scheduled my time. That way, I could control time, so to speak.

As it turned out, I had committed myself to things of such a permanent nature, that I was left with no openings until after seven in the evenings. And then I had choir practice until nine on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No amount of scheduling was actually going to create time. A fact that left me rather depressed and had me tossing my diary into the bin. I never took up the habit again.

There is no way I'm going to schedule my December. These are the last responsibility free weeks I'll have in my life. I'm not going to work myself into office hours or worse.

So... Here is my question. Who of you set daily writing goals? How do you attain them without it feeling like work?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Aaah bliss...

I have to make an embarrassing confession today.

I had my first day of holiday, with the thought clattering in my mind that I should have posted something. Well....

I had no idea what to type. Go figure. Anyway...

Today I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time (yes... I know.) and moved on to a Jeffrey Deaver. I'm nothing if not a varied reader. I'm contemplating setting myself a huge daily writing goal a la NaNoWriMo, but with more words. If I'm going to have a snowball's hope to finish Doorways by 31 December, I estimate that I'll need to write about 3000 words per day. Factoring in my mom's birthday, family visits, my birthday, socializing and Christmas, I'm going to have to aim for 4000+ words just to average it out...

But hell, that sounds steep. But the satisfaction beckoning me should I succeed is really tempting. But the disappointment should I fail... Sigh...

You know, in September, I thought I'm the kind of person that saw scary situations, took a deep breath and walked straight into the thick of them. Well... I did. I was warned about Economics, wasn't I? And I saw all my options, feared boredom and picked the worst possible option for a person seeking a sure degree.


See... My mom and I actually talked about these things. She also tackles the most impossible projects ever. Sometimes she wins, sometimes she doesn't. Either way, she did something that no-one else dared. I tend to do that too. Me? I either win huge or get spanked to within an inch of my life. So badly that I suspend making choices as to my next project until the sting goes away. Then, I guess because no one remembers the feeling of pain, I put myself through it again.

What wire is loose in my head that I would actually put myself through all this nonsense? Adrenaline addiction? Masochism? Too much optimism?

Bahahaha! No.

In fact, my Gran often comments that she's glad she doesn't have to move through life with my bleak world view. Actually, I'm not bleak, but that's another story.

No. Rather, the common trait shared between my mother and me would be the Jack Russel syndrome.

Ever noticed that Jack Russels will fight dogs twenty times their size for dominance? Sometimes they beat Rottweilers and Great Danes to become top dogs. Sometimes they get eaten, give the big dogs indigestion and get spat out again.

That's us all over. We have NO sense of size. There's something wrong with the part of the brain that says: "Girl, you're picking the wrong fight. Tuck tail, turn around. Run." Nope.

I used to think that studying Actuarial Science would be a technicality before I got to earn my way to retirement.

I believed right up to four hours before my economics exam that I had my studies under control.

The former very nearly destroyed me. (A tip for parents: Unless your child likes being punished, loves not having contact with humans and has a sense of self preservation, DO NOT let them consider that career. EVER.) 

I refuse to let the latter hurt me as much. But I'm licking my wounds before taking on the next big dog in my way. 

Which is why I'm waiting until Monday to decide. I really don't want to set myself up so soon. The scrapes I got still burn and itch. 

Any advice for me? How are you doing? Anyone else with scope issues? How do you deal with it?  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Ever been worried about doing or telling someone something?

Well, as some of you might know... I've been working really hard to get together the guts to tell my mom about my economics.

Yesterday we were driving and spoke about completely other things and studying somehow came up. Before I knew what was happening, I blurted out that my economics were well beyond salvage now. To my surprise, it didn't turn into our customary fight, but rather we started speaking about why I was struggling to study the work required. 

For those of you that were wondering, think four old family Bibles. In essays. With the succession of essays having nothing to do with each other. And most of the essays have a lack of coherence. The authors clearly never learnt that the intro needs to involve the topic, or that the body needs to involve the intro. Or that the conclusion must have something to do with the essay they had written.

Sorry. I really get angry that we are marked strictly on the form and structure of any essays we write, but are then forced to sit through work that is far below that standard, just because the writer of that essay has a M or a PHD tagged to his degree.

I know that they know more than I do, but it does not cancel out the fact that 75% of them need an editor.

Oh. And while I'm this hideously off topic, wouldn't it be nice if our lecturers actually read what they selected? That way, they would notice that what they give us in a way of information, does not correspond to the lectures...

"Read tomorrow's essay before class,"  they say.
And then forget to mention which of the essays happen to be the ones that need to be read. I was not aware that economics students need to attend Paranormal Studies 148: Telepathics.

Phew. Aaaaaanyway... I pretty much went into that rant yesterday, and I assume my mother got what I meant. Well... She commented as follows...

"So you always think that you're above average. Are you saying no-one passed?"

My reply:

"No, but I estimate that about 80% of the class sat through the course at least twice." Which is a valid point to make. Our average third year subjects have around 200-250 students enrolled. Economics: 600-800. Hmm...

And that was that. My secret is out. I still have my head...

Kidding. My mother is seriously an awesome woman. Just the fact that she took the news this calmly attests to it. We just don't always understand each other the way we'd like to. It is the curse of being in a stubborn family. We take a point, form an opinion and stick with it until the time that someone can change our opinions. And that means conflict.

Lots of it.

But there isn't a woman out there that I love and respect more than her. It's just that our opinions about the direction of my life tend to differ.


To think that I've been ranting about coherence. I think I covered three topics in one composition...

Academia here I come! 


How are you doing? Who finished their NaNo's? Any stories of telling someone something scary? How did it turn out?  

Friday, November 26, 2010

The post where I apologize for the lack of an inner filter...

Hey all!


I don't even want to read what I had written yesterday.

Very very sorry for that.

I've been suppressing my feelings for some now (almost two weeks), so I guess it kind of exploded the first time I decided to write about any strong feelings I've been having, despite the fact that those feelings had nothing to do with what I was suppressing. Maybe it's because I SUCK at emotional suppression.  

Anyway. I just realized that I was very rude yesterday, so, may I wish my US readers a belated Happy Thanksgiving?

Hope you all had a great time with your families.

How are you doing?



Thursday, November 25, 2010

The post where I wrote what I didn't want to say.

Don't worry. I'm not going to rant.

It's more of a venting...

Fact is that I'm ten days away from my last exam. I wish I could say last exam ever, but since I don't know if that is the case, I decided to rather not be the die-hard optimist. Anyway...

That's not what I want to go into. I'll go into it when I'm really really back. Right now I'm more of a I'm hiding out from my other responsibilities back. Which is why I must keep this post short.

If I write too much, things are going to come out that would serve me better tightly caged. So...

Sometimes I hate thinking. In stead of making things clearer, thinking muddles everything up. Like worrying about what happens next.

There. See? I did it again. I freaking can't stop. It's like trying to stop a runaway train with a penny.

Right now, not thinking is taking so much concentration that I can't really think about anything else.

Not a good state in which to find myself when I have to finish my exams.

Not that it matters. Since my economics happened again. This time slightly differently, but with the exact same effect. Well... not exactly the same. I got two poems (I think) out of it. In two languages.

Did I get a degree out of it?

A most emphatic no. See... when you write your predicate test in October and suddenly draw a complete blank (and I do mean complete) remaining calm to get through the work with a miraculous second chance just isn't as possible as people seem to think. I studied for five weeks this time. I gave up my NaNo aspirations in order to get through the work. I did everything I could. 

I kept myself together admirably if I say so myself, even when I knew I wasn't nearly prepared enough to feel good about writing. I sat down and turned the page. 

And... Nothing. Not a single solitary thing registered. I sat through an hour and a half out of three, trying to recall what I knew. I wrote two poems just to calm down enough to think. Nothing... Actually I think I wrote the poems just to create noise. It felt strange to be the only person in the room except the invigilator that wasn't writing. 

In some sort bleak irony, that was the first time in months that my mind went completely quiet. 

Not that peaceful, calming quiet with running water and laughing children in the distance. I'm talking about that eerie roaring silence you get after a bomb went off close by. 

I think that I wrote "Sorry" in the answer sheet.


I can't remember. 

Oh my word I wasn't even going to write about this. I was going to mope fore a bit about how I can't study because I want to write, but can't write because I need to study. Something like that. But I guess this had to get out.

I haven't told anyone yet. Everyone is assuming that there is hope, but refusing to talk about it. No one except for me, and now you, know how badly it really went. I just can't deal with telling them. Maybe I'm a coward now.

Still... I feel a lot better now. It isn't ruling my thoughts as much as before. So I can maybe pull myself together enough to get through the next ten days or so until I can face up to what I had allowed to happen to me and to the repercussions of it all.

But not right now. Now, I have to knuckle down and finish what I can.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NaNo day 23 (BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) (Oh and check out the brilliant idiot- i.e. me- proof fondant recipe at the bottom)

Hey all.

Not really back yet. Just wanted to say thank you so very much for dropping by, joining and commenting. Your support and sympathy really help. :-)

I decided to rather forget NaNo for this year and rather aim for some BEEEEEEEEG writing sessions in December. Who knows? Maybe, with nothing better/different to do, I might actually manage to hit 100k in thirty days.

Wouldn't that be something?

Anyway... I have a lot to share and tell, but it just feels like it will be a rushed/emotional mess if I start now. But I promise to be back to my compulsive posting self in December. Feel free to expect my return around the fourth or fifth (my exams finish on the third).  I'll also start dropping in on your blogs again at that time.

I really miss you all! 

How are you doing? Any finished WiP's? Any NaNo's won yet? What's up in your corner of the world? Any other news? 

Oooh ooh ooh. Before I sign off. I leave you with this beauty of a reward/treat/consolation.

Unfortunately it will be in metric, since I'm too lazy for conversions.
(From Mariete van der Vyfer's new recipe book, but I changed the method slightly so that I could enjoy the process...)

Melted chocolate tart (Or, by my name: Delightfully easy fondants.)
200 grams 80% or above dark chocolate
125 grams butter (Yes. BUTTER)
6 separated eggs
1/4 cup of sugar

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (that's 392 degrees Fahrenheit. see? I can be nice)
Step 2: Spread something like butter or margarine or non-stick spray over the inside of a small but deep cake-pan, or 6 to 10 oven-proof dessert moulds depending on the size. I prefer the latter, but please don't use muffin moulds unless they're deep.
Step 3: Mix the yolks and sugar
Step 4: Melt the chocolate and butter together in a fire-proof glass bowl over boiling water. This is the fun part since you get to watch the butter and chocolate turn into a smooth, creamy liquid. Siiigh.
Step 5: beat the egg whites until stiff (Sorry if this sounds weird, but the recipe is in another language.)
Step 6: Mix results from steps 3 and 4
Step 7: Carefully fold the egg whites into the above mixture. Make sure that everything is well blended.
Step 8: Pour the mixture into the prepared dish(es) and put into the oven. Be careful not to fill the dish to the brim, since the mixture does expand in the heat.

Now this is where you need to take a bit of a gamble, since the time left in can be a bit of a gamble, but here's a rough guide for you to guesstimate:

Cake pan: 20 minutes (cover with foil after the first ten minutes to prevent drying out.)
6 moulds: 12 minutes
10 moulds (what I got, since my moulds were a bit small.): 8 minutes

Basically, the smaller the volume, the less time in the oven.

Step 9: They will be soft and sticky when you take them out, but the outside hardens as the fondant cools. When they are cool enough to touch and stable at the bottom, turn the moulds over. The fondants should drop out without much trouble. I strongly suggest you serve them/it with vanilla ice cream.

Step 10: Break through the soft crust and relish the soft, gooey centre bursting forth.

Enjoy! ;-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNo day 15

Oh... dear.

Well, maybe I should start a little more brightly. After all, I could have been abducted by aliens (I wasn't) or I could have been in traction with both my arms suspended (I'm not). Instead, I'm here, sighing my head off, because I haven't written a thing since the last time I posted.

Yes. Ten days ago.

NaNo is looking pretty bleak right now. So much so that I don't want to log in to the website for fear of being completely demoralized.

So, what have I been doing?

That cruel bitch of a mistress, namely Economics. I'm sure that you remember that I'm writing my exam on the nineteenth. I also have another one (Property investment) on Thursday. So... Not quite sure if I'll get round to writing until Saturday.

And if I do, I doubt it will approach the amounts needed to make the goal.

Sigh... Oh well. I knew it was going to be very difficult, so it's no use being disappointed. At least  I tried. Maybe I'll do it next year.

Or even December.

How's your NaNo going?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNo Days 4 and 5

Hey all,

Just wanted to post a quick update before going to sleep.

Thursday's NaNo went quite well. I finished 1908 words. But then I cleverly went and typed in 1980 words into the word count on the NaNo page.

Day five was another story. I don't remember if I mentioned that my family and I are moving house. If I didn't, sorry!

 Anyway, the furniture and private effects were delivered at 07h30 in the morning. The rest of the day was spent rearranging furniture. We haven't even started to unpack. That has been left until today.

The reason why I am even awake at all is because I felt the urge to get my words down for NaNo. I didn't do it strictly on time. 00h15 to be exact, but by the time I was done, I had written the 92 words to compensate for yesterday's mistake, as well as 1975 words towards day 5. Not bad if I say so myself.

I guess that my body got tired faster than my mind. But I must say that I'm now bushed. So I bid you all good night.

P.S. Please let me know how you're doing at life and at NaNo. :-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNo Day 3

Morning all.

I know that it's day 4 already, but since my day 4 has hardly started, I thought that I'd just recap yesterday.

For those of you that hasn't guessed, I'll be somewhat NaNo minded until the end of November. Still, I will try to make things a bit more interesting for those of you that aren't NaNo'ing.

Yesterday marked the arrival of the contractors. Which meant that this was more or less the symphony I've been hearing all day:

BANG!!! Bowow BOWOWOWOWOWOW! Bowow. Bow. Wow. BANG! Bowow BOOOOOOWOOOOO Bowowowowowow Bowowow...

For hours. Needless to say, economics was pretty much out of the question. So, since writing takes up amazingly little of my concentration, I decided to write as much as I can between the bangs and the barks. Later I found two pigeon chicks on our patio. I suspect the contractors scared them and they toppled the nest out. It looks like it will be OK though. My mom and I made a nest with newspaper and a basket, and their mother has been in it, so I assume they'll be fed. Now the thing will be to keep the cats away from them.  

Anyway, back to my writing... I ended up with some interesting things. Callan's complication didn't go away. I'm not really going to go into it, but let me just say that his name is Quinlan and he isn't going anywhere in the near future. *grins evilly*

Interestingly, Ward and James's friendship has started changing looong before I thought it would. I used to think that the change would come towards the end of the novel, or even the beginning of the second one. (Yes this beast of an epic has between two and four siblings.) Instead... they surprised me yet again.

It's leaving me a bit bewildered, but after thinking about it for a while, I realised that it improves the story if this change shows early on, rather than just towards the end. On the other hand, it throws a complication of the large story arch, since the change is happening too early for me to put what I saw in the right place. 

There's also the fact that I can see Doorways's Bigbad working behind the scenes, but I can't seem to get the bastard to show up to the story. An introduction would be great about now. After all, I'm a quarter of the way through the story. 

But... I am actually contemplating the idea that the Bigbad has already been introduced. The introduction was short, but it's there... Hmm... I actually like the idea, but it would significantly change the story. More pondering needed there. 

Oh I almost forgot! I got 3015 words done yesterday! *does happy dance* So I'm at almost seven thousand words for NaNo.  I doubt that I'll get that much done for today though, since I have to catch up on my economics reading. But who knows? I might actually get this book done, after all...

What about you? For those of you who have been NaNo'ing, how is it going? Anything interesting pop up in your writing yet? For those of you that aren't, what are you keeping yourselves busy with? How is it going?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo day 2.

Sigh... to do something that isn't either economics or NaNo related. So heavenly.

When I write, I'm worrying about economics. When I study, I'm thinking about writing.

Still, I'm slowly getting ahead of schedule with Doorways. (I'm about 400 words ahead of their daily goals.) So if I manage to write at my current rate, I will have gained a day by next week. I may get more writing done this weekend though, but I haven't decided if I will make my weekend writing-only, or studying-only.

Choices... Choices...

Especially when I consider that both will leave me more or less equally exhausted.

I'm at this stage still wringing the words out of my muse. I get them down, but the effort involved is rather tiring. When I'm not wringing, I'm cramming portions of my economics into my head. Will I be more efficient doing only the one, or the other?

Yes... but I might also kill myself in the process.

Then there's also the fact that something very strange happened in James and Ward's story, while a complete stranger appeared in Callan's. Oh the joys of pantsing.

I do like the stranger, although, he further complicates her life when she really doesn't need it.

Wait... why am I complaining about that? Complications are good... Complications give me stuff to write about... Hopefully.

How is your NaNo going so far? And please leave your user names so that I can buddy you. :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNo Day!

Hey all!

Just want to say thanks and welcome to everyone that followed recently. You guys are really awesome.


Thanks to everyone that gave advice about what I should write. I decided that Doorways is the best thing to write.

Even if it means that I don't win... Sigh. Did I mention before how much I hate losing?

Aaaaanyway... Today is the first day of NaNo, and the goal is 1667 words (which means mine will hover at around 1800-2000 words. But... I have to write those words in four hours or less today.

I won't be studying this morning, not due to NaNo, but due to the fact that we moved yesterday and my cat was less than amused, and so proceeded to keep me awake most of last night. If I had two hours of continuous sleep that would be a lot.

This pretty much explains the style (or lack of it) of today's post. Keeping my thoughts in order is a little impossible. But for some reason, exhaustion tends to open my writing up, so...

Today's plan will be...

1) Finish today's post
2) Shower and get ready to go.
3) Drive to Cape Town (my brother is writing his last twelfth grade exams today)
4) Write in car while waiting 3 hours for him to finish.
5) Drive home.
6) Sleep.
7) If possible study.

Still, I'm pretty sure that the plan may change. Exhaustion does that to me.

Anyhow. Who's starting NaNo today?

What are your plans/strategies to get it done? What are your word goals?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo doubts.

I wonder...

I've been struggling recently with writing Doorways, for the simple reason that I don't know what to write. I have tried writing through it, but I just don't seem to be able to write more than a few hundred words at a time. Nowhere near the amount I need to write if I am to have hope of NaNo success.

It's come to the point where I have been so desperate to write something that I went back to my Western. Results? About five thousand words in two days. Which means that if I can write a bit less than that every day between my studies, I would be able to actually finish 50k by month end. 

But I want to finish the darned book. 

On the other hand, my exams have been rerouted in such a way that I'm starting on 18 November and finishing in December. So I don't have time to struggle with every single word I have to pen down. 

After all, I have to write 1200 every day and actually get round to studying. Kidding. 

Studying is currently my biggest priority, but I have no problem with writing a little every day. But at this stage Doorways is taking me around five hours to write six hundred words. Five hours that I do not have. 

So... as I am writing this, I come to the realization that I will get a lot more done if I relax on my finishing Doorways by year-end goal. If I add 50k words to the Western, I pretty much finish it. I could actually start refining the story and launch into my second draft. There will be a lot of work to it, yes. But I will actually have finished one of my stories.

But my heart lies with Doorways...

But if I can't pick up my productivity to the point where I can finish 1200 words in two and a half hours, I'm going to shelve it until December, which means that I won't finish it until it is finished. (Which at the rate it's currently going, might be next December. Maybe.)

Sigh... choices.

What would you do in a situation like this? Follow your head or follow your heart? 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boo-fest... For something very different, keep reading after the ghost count.

So sorry for being late. But I remembered just now that I promised Quinn I'd take part in the Boo-fest if my schedule opened up.

It did -spectacularly, I might add - so here I am.

BUT. As the heading says, something different is down there in the last half of the blog. So sceptics and people inclined to thing I might be slightly insane might want to stop around the eighth paragraph. You have been warned.

I don't think I've ever not believed in ghosts. In fact. I can't say that I've ever not believed in anything paranormal. Oh yes, this comes with lots of teasing - even from my father who is a full blown sceptic in all things generally considered dead. But if both your grandmothers have seen ghosts (my writing Gran has seen several including an interesting one I might tell you about.), your mother have seen ghosts and everyone (except your father) has independently been convinced even once (at the same time) that you're living in a haunted house, it seems a whole lot stupider not to believe them.

So... our count so far...

Full body apparitions: Three. (or four or five) My dad's mother once, twice by my gran the writer and two possibles by me. I say possibles because I saw them, went on with what I was doing and then double-took. Once I was half way between sleep and awake, but I'm pretty sure she was real since we were told the legend of the ghost residing in the residence after the dream. She wore what I saw in my dream and she died in the room beyond the room she entered by. Still. I've never been sure.

Shadows: multiple. Particularly noteworthy are a black spot moving around a sitting room of a friend's house when my mother was in high school. It moved randomly, occurred regularly and have been seen by several people at the same time at several occasions. Another one is a shadow man seen by my mother and my brother in the same room of a house we wanted to buy. Power of suggestion? They were both freaked out and told me this separately over the course of a week. The kicker was that I didn't tell either of them what the other said until he had left. They didn't want to tell each other 1) because he was afraid of being ridiculed and 2) because she didn't want to scare him. Final shadow of note is the one that always passed beneath my door with grunts and heavy breathing and the sounds of light switches... I always knew it was my grandfather... until my cousin and I (who were sharing the room at the time) saw it again - two years after he had passed away. It turns out that my cousin (who had taken my room after I moved out) saw it every night too, but never thought of it since it never occurred to her that shadows could also be ghosts. When we told our gran about this, she burst out laughing and told us that it is believed by the local Sotho population that the house is haunted by an old gentleman. So I assume my confusion was natural. This is also the only haunting that I experienced that didn't give me a single creepy feeling. If ever there has been a benign house ghost... that gentleman was it.

Poltergeists: Me and my mother at the same time, but I was a baby. This was in my other Grandmother's bedroom. She got hit with it very often until she had moved out. My one cousin sleeps on the floor quite often because he gets tired of being shoved out of bed by nothing.

Demons: One demon, seen by both my mother and grandmother. And... I'll get to this later. Maybe.

Omens: My mother was in hospital the night before the c-section delivery of her twins. She woke up when she felt a someone walking into the room. She saw a woman who had drawn the curtains of the window and was staring at the town's lights below (the hospital is built on a hill). My mother demanded what she was doing there, but the woman just nonchalantly looked at her over her shoulder and said: "Hah. And you think you're going to raise twins." My mother launched over to the light switch, but when the light was on, she was gone. Sadly, my mother gave birth to Siamese twins who died four days later. She was never even allowed to see them.

Angels: Many experiences, but as far as I have been told, I'm the only one that have seen them. One when I was little in a house I knew was haunted by something that scared the bejeebies out of me. Once again I was in a sleep like state, so I can't really confirm. The other, on the other hand, made its way across my living room in right in front of my eyes - quite leisurely I might add. No doubt there.

There's actually a long story behind this. But lets settle to say I'm a bit more in tuned with the realm people like to believe doesn't exist than is normal.

No dears. I'm quite serious and for all my insanity, I am not delirious. Also, I am not a medium, psychic or in by any stretch of the imagination satanistic. I'm am blessed with what is referred to in the Bible as the Gift of Discernment of Spirits. Basically, the sensitivity to thing that can't be seen. It's just one of a list of gifts. Other Christians can pray for people to be healed, can speak in tongues, can prophecy etc.

Me? I am aware of things that can most of the time not be described as a picnic by any stretch of the imagination. Which is why I went to the seminar I mentioned before. I needed to find someone who understands. Fortunately I did, but neither of us understands a lot of it, simply due to the fact that it seems to be quite rare - or else people rarely want to use it. I would not blame people for this. It does get a bit of a downer when you look at people and see someone in the clutches you would rather not have them be in. Still, there's little I can do except for praying. I mean. Imagine the conversation that would follow if I actually approached the person. Not pretty. 

But I digress. All this hit me earlier this year when it was pointed out to me by a real person that I did not know previously that I can be seen there, so my hiding from what I know is out there is pretty pointless. My hiding comes from something different altogether, but 1) I'm writing this at eleven at night and 2) I still prefer to not think of it. Which is why despite the earlier promise, I decided to rather not expand on it.

Anyway. Well... I decided to stop hiding and promptly got hit by something beyond your wildest imaginings. But, for fear of being too vague, here's an analogy what fits quite well. Imagine this, if you have not been exposed to anything of this nature. 1) You have placed yourself in a bullet proof room. 2) A huge bomb is set off right next to it. 3) The blast didn't get through to you, but you sure as hell felt it.

Not fun when the attack is relentless for about four hours. One of which was an economics lecture. And due to my sensitivity to it, I got treated to every freaking second of it. Finally I asked God to protect me, at which point I was told that I had been surrounded by angels - even though I had been protected before.

I still felt the attacks though, but I felt a lot more at peace about them. Still part of me wondered if I imagined what I heard. At which point I looked up and saw Mr. Angel sauntering past.

Still, things can get pretty creepy. For example, I also have someone haunting my dreams. And my general impression is that he isn't exactly a nice someone. Note. Someone. Not something.

I'd have your generically random dream. It would be vivid and raucous and would hardly ever make any sense.

And then - as if someone had cut the film running in my head - everything would stop and go very quiet. I would be in my room and he would be staring down on me watching me sleep. The thing about him that gets to me, though, is that he never actually does anything. He just stands at the corner of my bed and stares. I used to wake up almost instantly and freak out. But then I realized that a) he can't hurt me and/or b) he doesn't want to.

I'm pretty sure that option a) is the thing, but whether or not b) is actually a factor bothers me when I'm awake. Because if b) is true... why in the name of all that is holy does he hang around staring at me while I sleep? Why, if he doesn't seem to be a nice guy (and instinct says he's as strong as any of the culprits that hit my defenses every now and then) does he come back night after night just to look at me?

I mean... once is weird. Twice is a weird coincidence. Four times can be seen as recurring. But he's been coming by since March. If he doesn't make his presence known in some way or the other at least once a fortnight, part of me wonders where he is. And no. My subconscious wondering don't summon him. He comes and goes as he pleases. In fact, if I don't wake up when I see him, he'll stare, I'll stare, he'll stare some more and then he will just not be there. He doesn't vanish, he doesn't walk out. I'll just realize that he isn't there any more, turn around and go back to dreams per usual as if they hadn't been interrupted.

Thing is.. Last Friday, I think he did a walk by while I was showering. He didn't peek or anything. I just saw someone move past through the shower curtain, did a double take and followed his silhouette moving across it. Oh and... the window in my bathroom gets no light, so shadows aren't just coincidental. Curiously, I wasn't freaked out as much as ticked off. I mean... I was showering! Where is his sense of decorum?

Tss... but then it wouldn't fit with his not quite nice persona either.

Anyway... before I start to really freak you out by turning this into a novel, I'll stop now.

I'd love to hear from you all about this. Ever ran into ghosts? Sceptic? I don't mind, but I'd like to know why. I won't argue with you on this though.

Anyone else had someone walk into their dreams that you instinctively know is actually more human than the normal dream fodder? If so... How did you handle him/her?

If you have a ghost story to share, please do!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A short announcement

Hey all, firstly I want to thank all of the people that decided to follow.

Then, I want to say very sorry, but I decided to take a bit of a break from blogging for the rest of the week and potentially for the week after that as well. I just need to get back to myself again.

And finally, I want to send a huge thank you to all of you that prayed for me. Me economics is sorted out now. :-D

See you all on Monday two weeks from now.



Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Update

Hey all! Sorry for my extended absence. I wish I could promise that it won't happen again, but I'm heading into my final exams.

I'm not quite into creative writing mode yet, so we're back to a bare-bones update.

Firstly, thanks very much for all your good wishes. I felt very special when I read them. Unfortunately I didn't get the job, but reading that you guys and girls cared really made me feel better.

I'm still waiting to hear about my economics exam, which has now effectively changed the way I can write my exams. Basically my exams could very likely end in December. Needless to say that I'm seeing my NaNo hopes and my dreams of actually finishing my MS this year crumbling to dust. I'm still going to write every day in study breaks though. But I don't know if I'll make any of the above mentioned goals.

Emotionally I'm a little on edge, which is one big reason why I decided to take a postponement on my exam that was due tomorrow. I was supposed to have started studying on Monday last, but life's and university's little interruptions got in the way. Usually this wouldn't bother me. After all, I can get a pass on an afternoon's studying. But then... I can get a lovely round number 0 too. So, since I have choice on this, I decided to rather not take the gamble. Not when my head isn't on as straight as it was two weeks ago.

I really can't deal with studying and my now new found uncertainty in myself at the same time. It's like trying to read a book (a somewhat boring one, I might add) and having something scream in your ear just before you manage to get into it.

I don't know why, or what it is, but something this weekend really hurt my soul. Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that I brushed aside for later that came back when I was dealing with the disappointment of not even making round two interviews on my dream job. Maybe I'm just tired. Sitting in a queue from 09h00 to 16h30 can do that to you if what's at the end of the queue might determine your foreseeable future.

Either way I'm taking today (and maybe tomorrow morning) to center myself. Problem is that I've never been particularly good at this. But I have to try, because the cost of not trying is just a little too much for me. Usually I write when I start feeling down, but I'm beyond that now to the point where I'm in too bad a place to pick up a pen. 

I really hope that I feel a bit better by tomorrow. 

Do any of you get hit hard by the "downs" at bad times? How do you get out of them?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sorry :-S

Hey all.

Sorry I didn't post yesterday, but some university stuff came up that I still have to finish sorting out today.

I will try to be back later, but I might be away from any Internet access.

Then of course, I won't be posting this weekend due to the CV drop off and my exam. I'm really going to have to move if I'm going to get through my prescribed work.

Please wish me luck. And those of you that do, please pray for me that 1) I get the Qatar Airways job and 2) That I can sort out my economics stuff, which has now blown up to epic proportions.

Thanks all for understanding.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More about my Gran

Hey all!

Sorry for the late post. I'm still running around like a mad person trying to do everything that everybody suddenly expects of me. :-/ Anyway...

Welcome and thank you to all of the new followers. I hope you all enjoy the blog.

Finally, I have won two more awards, which I will get to as soon as possible as well as the one that I have not forgotten, but have been unable to get to. Thanks so much for my awards. They really brighten up my day.

Oh wait. Really finally. Sorry for my silence recently on your blogs, but I haven't been able to read as many of them as I would like to.

With that said, one to the new post.

I've gotten many requests to tell you more about my Gran, so I'm left wondering where I would begin.


She was born at the start of WWII, and still remembers how her mother cried on VE day.

For a large part, she's the one that triggered my love for our history, with stories of the Boer War and the Great Trek.

She's the one that taught me how to bake cookies. And paint beautifully.

She's the one that would always see the absolute best in everything I do. Makes her a pathetic critic, but a genius at encouragement.

She's the one that pointed me to writing.

I love her so very much. She's a great lady. She's one of the people I know who has the most faith in God. In a way, she was pretty involved in me meeting Him when I was young.

I say "in a way" because the Holy Spirit tends to be pretty directly involved in these things.

What else can I say?

Almost forty years ago, school teacher asked her to write a book for her first grade class. That book was published and translated to English (she wrote in Afrikaans). She's been writing ever since.

She knows some of our most famous authors personally and sometimes publishes with them in anthologies. But every time she points out how nice one is, I tend to be surprised, since she never name drops. In fact, few people know that she is an author, simply because she just doesn't tell them.

She's cursed with my inability to be understood by others, although she is much more resigned to it than I am. Maybe it came with age. Or maybe because she is much more patient than I am.

I'm hoping she makes it to the birth of my children one day. She was such a great part in my life that I fear that her absence would really be sad.

So that's bits of her. She's actually a lot more, but for some reason, I struggle to find the words. Maybe because she is so much more to me than my words can describe.