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.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More about me.

Morning all! Just remember to shoot with any questions you feel like asking me this week. :-)

Also, I've won another award! Unfortunately I won't be able to pass it on just yet. (I have a major project due in the near future.) I will, however, do so as soon as I can.

OK... On to the post. :-)

Today I'll answer a few more me-related questions.

Nancy asked:

Do you have a major in school or are you just getting some required classes done?

And The Golden Eagle Asked:

When did you really start to write and consider yourself a writer?

What do you enjoy most about fencing?
What do you think is a defining characteristic about yourself?
Do you enjoy meeting new people?

Thanks so much for asking these questions, guys.

Do I have a major?

Technically I'm majoring in Investment Management, although I'm currently more concerned with finishing the subjects and getting the credits. I realized last year already that I would never enjoy working as an Investment Manager. 

The hours are much too long, given that I won't be able to see the job as the passion of my life. Plus I've heard about too many Investment Managers that got stroked at or just before the age of forty due to the endless stress of trying to predict the Stock Markets, when any good stock market's motions are essentially chaotic. 

When did you really start to write and consider yourself a writer? 

Well... I can't really remember exactly when I started. See, my Grandmother is a published writer and has been in the business for almost forty years. So I've seen writing as a possible thing for me to do since I became aware of what she does for a living. 

I think I was nine when I wrote my first poem. I wanted to finish an anthology at that time (nothing wrong with my ambition, eh?), but got distracted by dolls and playing with my cousin. For some reason, I didn't do well with writing essays for school. 

Still, when I was about eleven, it occurred to me to ask my Gran how to write. I got my first distinction for an essay and never looked back. In fact, I started to complain to my Gran that the word limits given for the essays were much too short. I'd done this quite a few day, until my Gran suggested that I should maybe write a book. 

I blew the idea off, but in December 2001, about two weeks before my thirteenth birthday, my first character walked into my head and wouldn't go away. So I started a novel about her instead. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I let it go. But by then I considered myself a writer and I was waiting for my next inspiration to strike. 

What do I really enjoy about Fencing? 

Oh many things. Number one would be the history associated with it. Fencing goes back to young nobles training for duels. Contrary to common belief, people didn't actually use fencing to duel - fencing was MUCH too regulated. Yes, there are rules to duels, but the fighting was allowed to be quite dirty - especially if the
duels were to the death. Anyway, sparring with rapiers and sabres were considered martial arts. 

Fencing, on the other hand, was considered one of the Arts along with music, dancing and (I think) sculpture.

Even in modern times, fencing is steeped in old traditions. For example, if you lose without honor and throw a tantrum, you can be banned from the rest of the competition. Same goes for failing to salute your opponent, or saluting your opponent with your mask on. When we finish fencing, we shake hands with our opponents, but always with the non-weapon hand. It goes back to duelling (in this case to first blood), when shaking the free hand with your own was considered a sign of goodwill. Of course, it also freed up the weapons hand to slaughter the beast if he tries to hurt you.

The other thing I love about fencing (it came a close second) is the fact that my adrenaline starts pumping the moment the mask covers my face. I get to change who I am from a cultured normal(ish) person to a cultured but lethal person. Just like in my writing, I get into a zone. It doesn't happen often, but the zone is where I can hit the opponent the moment s/he makes a move that opens up a target - purely on reflex.

Needless to say, fencing is a great stress and anger relief. There is something incredibly calming about hitting something (or someone) while only doing it with a percentage of the force you could have used. (You can get red cards for brutality if you injure your opponent).

There are many things I love about fencing, but I'll move to the next question before I start waxing lyrical about it.

What is the defining characteristic of myself?

Oooh... this is a tricky one. I have many characteristics that take turns as needed to define who I am in a given situation. 

Currently, though, the characteristic that takes up a large part of who I am is the fact that I'm permanently in a state of motion. If I'm not, I am incredibly frustrated with where I am and what I'm doing. 

I always want to learn more and do something new and different. I can only settle in a given place for a few years. Stellenbosch is a wonderful place, but half way through last, my wanderlust came back to stay. It might or might not have triggered my I-DON'T-WANT-TO-DO-THIS!!! phase. After all, there's nothing that reminds one that you're doing the wrong thing as realizing that you're in the wrong place. 

But you can imagine how I'm feeling eighteen months later. I'm fighting really hard not to count down the days to the end of my studies. That's also a big reason I want the job at Qatar. I want so badly to go somewhere new.

Do I enjoy meeting new people? 

Oh yes I love it. Can't really explain why, though. I guess it's because I'm largely an extrovert. I can talk to people about almost anything, and I love hearing their thoughts and feelings about things. 

I do, however, have very high defenses. So although I meet a lot of people that I will easily go out with, or enjoy meals with etc. and who remember me enough to greet me when we bump into each other, I have precisely four close friends. I basically stack people I know/meet into a hierarchy e.g. Close friends, Friends, Friendly Acquaintances and Acquaintances. So I'm friendly with everyone, but I'm friends with just a few. I just think that it's a lot better to maintain a few close friendships that are worth it rather than to waste time on shallow ties.

That's it from me today, but those were my last questions, so please feel free to add some more. They can literally be about anything. Have a great day all!

Monday, October 18, 2010

South Africa

Morning all!

So sorry that I didn't post yesterday, but my PC decided that I should not be able to blog at all on Sundays. Sigh.

Anyway, Jen, you are more than welcome to ask some fun questions.

I decided to rather use the questions as blog topics, but I need a few more (even silly ones) for me to blog about them all week.

Since Nevets's and Colene's questions fell into the same theme, I decided to answer both of them today.

Nevets asked:

1) Best and worst thing about living in South Africa?
2) Is there anything distinctly South African about what you write? If so, what?

Colene asked:

1) I work for a South African family and they're always telling me about how bad traffic is there, is driving always such a pain?
2) Is it scary (because it sounds scary there.)

A word of advice: For those of you that would rather not see the bad side, rather stop on question number three. I didn't pull punches on number four. I know that this isn't particularly celebratory of me, but the question was asked and I would insult the memory of thousands if I shied away from it.

I knew from the moment that I read these questions that there are no short answers to them. What few people understand about South Africa (henceforth referred to as RSA) is that we are actually a very complicated nation. Reason number one for this is our history. Reason number two is the fact that we are a nation consisting of at least eleven nations - and all of us don't really get along with each other. Reason number three is that RSA itself is quite big and varied - so much so that even people from within the same nations but from different regions don't really understand each other. I think one can compare it to the difference between Northern Italians and Southern Italians or, say... the Union vs the Confederacy before the Civil War.

In fact, in the 1800's, thousands of Afrikaner farmers and their families moved into the at that time untamed North to escape their British colonists. They established two separate countries. This community actually functioned quite well - except for the fact that they basically intruded onto the Native people's (e.g. the Xhosa, Sotho's and Zulu's) land. (I'd say that the move at that time was at a smaller scale similar to the migration West in the U.S.). Point is that neither the settlers nor the natives were happy with each other's presence on what each considered to be their land. And these feelings were left to escalate for more or less a century until we were saddled with the mother of all Snafu's. Namely: Apartheid.

I'm not really going to go into all of it, since I believe that we have moved well and truly past that and since certain segments believe that as a White person, I am supposed to apologize for something that happened at a time that I was a) NOT BORN or b) too young to have anything to do with it - with every reference to this chapter in our history, so I'd much rather just glance past it, if it's all the same to everyone.

Still. I think you guys have enough of an idea as to our background to understand why we as a nation are where we are. I could go on and on about this, but I might get round to ranting, and you might get bored. SO I'll just rather move on to the questions.

The best and worst thing about living in South Africa?

Well, there are many great things about living here. One of the best would be our geography. Our climate tends to be gorgeous. Most of the year, the sun shines. Although it does snow, the blizzards tend to be limited to be limited to mountain tops. We rarely get earthquakes,  and when we do, the tend to be mild. I don't think we've ever been hit by a cyclone - although I think there has been two sizable tornado's (I think they were F-3) and one smallish tsunami. When the Boxing Day tsunami hit, I think that seven people died, because our tides were higher than usual. So overall we're pretty safe from Mother Nature's extreme moods. We get in the Cape areas is a wind that literally blows you off your feet - but that only happens every five or so years - and floods, since it rains a lot in the winter and the towns tend to be built in valleys. 

Another geography related plus is the Stunning scenery. Most of you will know about the beauty of Table Mountain. In my opinion, that is probably only the fifth most beautiful place in the Western Cape only. And there are a wide variety of climates. We have cold oceans and warm oceans. We have tropics and deserts.We have pretty much every single climate in between. So I could spend years travelling through South Africa and I'll still be surprised. 

The worst thing in South Africa will be covered in the second part of Colene's question. 

Is there anything distinctly South African about what you write? 

I used to think not, since I write mainly fantasy and romances. Although, I'd like to one day write a novel set in a) the Great Trek which I mentioned above or b) the Boer War. But I'm not so sure that it will find a widely appreciative market.

Still, I realized that certain things that come from my experiences living in South Africa make their way into my writing. For example, I'm pretty good at describing fear for reasons described below. I don't know if that counts though, since I'm sure you can get similar experiences elsewhere. 

Is traffic really that bad?

Well... that depends on where you are. If you're in the countryside, then no. But even as I say that, I have to qualify that it also depends on which province you're in. For example in the Free State - where I was born - your number one concern would be dodging the numerous and deep potholes and ruts made by the millions of trucks that drive through. This is in part due to the fact that infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate and that the cross country trains either don't run or aren't reliable. Why? Because people steal the copper wire in order to illegally connect to the power grid. I kid you not. Or... they sell the wire as scrap since they have no other way to make money. 

Traffic is a lot worse in the cities, since for as far as I noticed, they only started with a reliable and safe public transport system in the 2000s. Of course, most workers must travel into the cities from the suburbs and so we tend to get lovely snarl ups at about seven in the morning to about nine and from five in the evening until everyone manages to get home. 

Is it scary? 

Once again, that depends on where you live. Things are pretty tame in the Western Cape countryside, but there are certain places in Cape Town that you don't go to after a certain time. Gang violence is rampant in the poor sections of our cities, same as everywhere else. But in the Western Cape, you're pretty safe for as long as you are not stupid. For example, going into some of the informal settlements at twelve at night is... well... pretty brain dead. 

Things are a lot worse in the other parts though. Johannesburg and Pretoria are infamous throughout the world for the rampant crime. 

But then there is something going on in the Free State and other rural areas that is kept very hush hush. I guess some of you are aware of the crisis in Zimbabwe in 2000 where hundreds of farmers were killed. So I guess that you will have an idea as to the scope of the situation when I say that murders of that nature has been taking place since the late seventies early eighties. Sure, a lot of those early casualties could be considered casualties of war. But they have grown in intensity in the nineties and has gone on unhindered. And then the government made a law to limit the amount of fire-arms in South Africa. Great idea in theory. Not the best of ideas when the people with traceable firearms and therefore the only people getting sent to jail and getting slapped with huge fines, are those that had been en regle before the laws were made. So the murderous psychopaths get pretty much free run. Especially since the Commando - the rural civilian guard armed and trained by the army - has been forced to disband. Couple this with the fact that we already don't have enough cops and that most civilians don't trust those that are there...

We have a freaking problem. But it's much easier to consider instituting a media tribunal to limit what the press may or may not write about. You know man, hide the problem. Heaven forbid that we should fix it. Think I'm lying? Try researching how many farmers and /or their family members have been killed in South Africa. Any number above a thousand in total is buried deeply. No one knows how many people have been killed. But if it has actually been five hundred per year for the past twenty years, it wouldn't shock me at all. There isn't a farmer or farmer's family that doesn't know a farmer and/or his family that has been murdered. I know about ten families touched in some way by farm attacks. I know of children orphaned because they were lucky enough to hide under their beds when they heard their parents scream...

Maybe it's because I grew up in the Free State farmer's community, but I consider it to border on State Sanctioned Genocide. To many of our boys being killed while trespassing on farms? Let's take away the farmer's defences. If some have to audacity to keep legal firearms, let's put those that kill trespassers away for life. Let's conveniently forget that said trespassers were armed and had trespassed with intention to do harm.

Let's allow our boys to attack and maim that old white bastard (Incidentally I was eight when I heard him screaming and begging for mercy. There were two attackers. One tortured the septuagenarian while the other kept the two way radio's button in so that every one on the circuit could hear it. My parents taught me to shoot that weekend.) Let them stitch his eyes closed and pour boiling water over him. After all. He's part of the Old Guard.

Let fear and hatred and bitterness permeate the communities that supply us with food. If they clear out from the land they've been working for generations, we can give them to the families of those very people that killed the farmer and/or his families.

We can do everything we want.

As long as we don't let the tourists know...

F*cking scary. Isn't it?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today was one of those days.

Hey all. Just a reminder that I still need some questions and blog topics for next week's celebrations!

Sorry that I posted so late, but today, a day that I wanted to write four thousand words, I wrote nothing except for my CV and application forms.

So many things fell in the way, but at least I did a lot of other things I wanted to do. For example I got to do some decent exercise. I got my fully updated and well-written (if I say so myself) CV done. I also filled out applications at Etihat and Emirates Airways for in case Qatar Airways don't work out.

At least I did manage to finish my character interviews. The scary thing is that something came up in the interviews that is going to complicate things. A lot.

At least it is going to make for some interesting writing. Now I just have to get round to writing. Which is why this is quite a short post. I reeeally want to get to write tonight.

So I bid you good night.

Maybe tomorrow I'll let you know how my writing went.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good to be back.

Morning all1. Just a reminder that I need you guys to hit me with blog topics and/or questions by Sunday. You can just leave them in the comments section.

Then I want to apologize for the fact that I haven't passed on my award yet. I will get to it ASAP.

Oh and I just want to remind you guys to check out the News page. I have linked to some awesome competitions.

That done, I can move on to my new post.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Qatar Airways inviting me to take part in their recruitment campaign in Cape Town. Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled. It was exactly what I needed to bounce back after the test.

Now, some people might think my excitement strange. After all, Cabin Crew member is pretty much a waitress. Yes... BUT they work up in the air, get to see the world and get quite well paid in Rand (our local currency) terms - tax free, I might add. There is also the fact that I can finally escape the boredom of my course and get to have a bit more of an adventure. I have considered the less than ideal things, for example, flying frequently, working long hours, moving to Qatar etc., but the fact remains that this is an opportunity I would hate to miss. So everyone please just cross fingers and toes that I'll get the job.

The only thing that gets me a bit down is that I have no idea how working for them will affect my writing. On the other hand, I can't really forgo a real adventure for those only happening in my mind.

On the topic of writing, I decided to get my butt into a chair this weekend and write. I actually have two writing jobs. One will be my project, which by a twist of fate and the fortuitous fact that our group leader's surname falls in the last half of the alphabet now only needs to be handed in on Thursday. The other will be my novel. I'm going to take some time today to finish my character interviews. Tomorrow I want to do an experiment.

I want to see exactly how long it takes me to write four thousand words. Knowing this will be pretty vital to my chances at succeeding at NaNoWriMo. As some of you know, I have to write around three thousand words a day in the second half of November if I am to have any hope of hitting the fifty thousand mark by the end. I need to know how long it will take to write that amount so that I can see if there is any hope of juggling NaNo with my exams. If I can write 750 words a day before my exams are done, I make NaNo a lot easier when I can write more. But I have to know. So I also want to see how much I can write in an hour.

There is also the fact that (if at all) I will be writing my Economics on 19 November now. So the noose on my NaNo hopes is tightening even more. But as always, my exams will come first.

What about you? Any big things falling in the way of your NaNo? How are you preparing for it? What else is going on in your life?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We made it!

Morning all!

I got a bit of a beating from my economics yesterday (which is why I was absent) and am not quite up to capacity at the moment, so today will be admin related. Sorry for this, I promise that I'll be back on previous form by tomorrow...

I nearly screamed when I opened my account today.

We made it!

Thank every single one of you so much for following and bringing this blog to life. Every single one of you is beyond awesome!

So... As of next week we will be celebrating. But how the week will work depends all on the response from you guys.

I am going to need as many questions as you guys want to ask. They can be easy or hard. My challenge will be to answer them as honestly as possible. But (and I know that people of such great taste needn't even read this request) please keep it clean. 

Then, I need Ms. L.T. Elliot to please let me know if it's OK for me to use her name in a composition - since she is my lucky 100th follower. Incidentally, for those of you that don't know, her blog, Dreams of Quill and Ink is stunning, so please head over there and check it out.

Finally, I would like some post topics please. Yes, you the follower get to tell me what I have to write about. I would just love to see what comes out of this exercise, so please please hit me with them.

I can't wait to see what happens next week.

Then... By some interesting twist of fate, I won this award at just the right time...

Thanks so much Quinn!

The rules of the awards are as follows:

Thank the person that gave me the award. (Done :-P)

List ten things that I love... Oooh let me see. In no particular order.

1) Chocolate
2) Chocolate mousse
3) Chocolate cake
4) Chocolate flavored milk.
5) Chocolate cookies. Any type will do.
6) Hot chocolate.
7) Hot chocolate that cooled down.
8) Chocolate flavored ice-cream.
9) Fererro Rocher and Lindt chocolates - which are in a league all of their own.
10) Melted chocolate.


And finally, I have to pass the award on to up to six people. At this point, I will have to leave you in suspense, for the same reason as all the other awards (my PC chooses to freeze solid). I will have the list up on the My Awards Page later today, though. So keep an eye out. :-)

Lastly, I just want to draw your attention to the News Page above. I promise there won't be too much creepy and depressing stuff (a la Albino hunting and poaching) on there. It's just a short list of things that happened or are happening that I struggle to fit into the blog posts, or that come to my attention after I've posted. So I'll be plugging blog fests, events and other blogs there. I'll drop in the random personal news item in, but I'm trying not to make it too much about me. It's basically intended to be a quick info list that links to other pages.

You are welcome to submit items for the News. Just send the news (preferably a short summery) and links to mishagericke(at)gmail(dot)com, with News in the tag line.

That's all folks. Be back tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh the humanity!

Morning all,

Just want to say welcome to all  the new followers. Just two more and we hit 100!

When we do (depending on when this happens), we're going to do things a little differently from the usual.

Firstly, you can ask me any questions and I'll try my best to answer them honestly. But please keep it clean. It feels silly to write this, since if you joined this blog, you must have impeccable taste. ;-P

Then I will hold a draw where the winner can pick the topic for a blog post.

And... I will use the 100th follower's name as a character in a short story or poem or some other form of creative writing.

If you have any other suggestions for what else we can do to celebrate, please leave me a comment. :-)

On to the post... (I'm going to try to keep it calm and civilized, but be warned that my fuse has been lit... and that it isn't exactly long.)

Today I'm feeling a little upset with humanity.

Actually, forget a little. I'm pretty ticked off with humanity.

The sad thing is that this has not been triggered by the fact that some South African Veterinarians have been largely responsible for the spate of rhino poaching. Or the fact that in certain African countries, Albino humans are forced to live in hiding because they are hunted for body parts. (I kid you not.)

These things always make me wonder about this topic, but they weren't what raised my ire.

I am upset, because I was forced to join a group, otherwise I can't hand in the group project. Incedentally, if I ever meet the person that instated group projects in the afterlife, he's going to suffer and eternity. After all... I'm creative. And I'm going to have a LOT of time...

Anyway... Said group took my details and said they would contact me a few days later. I didn't take theirs because of the fact that a) I had no cell phone b) by some evil twist of fate I had nothing to write on/with c) He was going to contact me so I could just reply.

It is now a month later, and due date is next week. Think I'm going to be contacted? Doubtful highly doubtful. Very likely they bumped into a buddy that needed a group and decided to shift me out.

This does not upset me as much as the fact that they didn't bother to let me know.

When I raged about this to my room mate last night, she commented that I should have prepared for this, since it's much easier to replace one person than an entire group. But I think she misses the point.

That bastard (and I apologize to all other bastards for the insult) could still have taken me into account enough to let me know. I would have done it. I can't see why other people are incapable of a little bit of common courtesy.

If you think I'm over-reacting, think again. Last year I failed a subject because half the group decided to leave an entire term before hand-in of a massive project and kindly informed us of this only a week before the due date.

Then there are other things like people thinking that ethics can ever replace morality.

That it's very clever to not have promises written on paper because then they can back out of it.

That it's OK to be disrespectful to other people as long as they are beneath their station.

And on... And on... And on...

At what stage did humanity lose its sense of honor? When did our word lose its worth? Why can someone do anything they like as long as they are not the one being disadvantaged? When did people become such hypocrites?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weathering Storms

In my life, storms are usually of my own creation.

I tend to put a lot onto my plate, and then leave everything so late that all hell breaks loose while the deadline looms ever closer.

Sad thing is that I don't know how else to function. As I explained yesterday, my performance is a lot lower is I have less or no pressure. I can't understand it.

But instead of trying to solve this (which would be useless to try as it would require a personality change) I rather find ways in which to ride out the storm. The most important ways to do this is as follows:

1)   I order things according to urgency and importance. So if something isn't important, and it stands in the way of me doing something that is, I'll wave to the deadline as it passes me by. If I look up from whatever it is that I'm doing at that stage. That's why I haven't been writing recently. And why I will not be setting goals for my writing in NaNoWriMo. My degree is now my primary - and I can almost say soul - concern. Anything that takes too much time, gets postponed until further notice. As sad as it makes me, blogging is included here as well. I might not have time to blog while my huge Economics test approaches. So I have to apologize once again for the fact that I won't be able to read as many of your blogs as I would like.

2)   I say no. This one is quite close to the above, but it's a little different. This has to to with killing a distraction before it is born. When riding out storms, you can't take your eyes off the deadline in question. So no side-lines. But knowing when to say no is difficult for two reasons. Sometimes what looks like extra work is actually a new opportunity. In those cases it's usually a good idea to say yes. Then there are very clever people that word a request as an obligation. So very very smart. But not if they do it to a person they know is capable of doing the same. I received a list from sports admin about a list of documents they need me to deliver on the day of my test, so... as annoyed as I was by this, I opened the attachment and got even more annoyed. Eighty percent of the list was for things that involve next year. So I sent back a very civil letter apologizing profusely for the fact that I have a life and that I have to pay attention to my studies... and that this nonsense is NO LONGER MY RESPONSIBILITY. And I will only hand in the things on my list that carries over from my tenure as Chairperson. Not a page more. And then I will hand it in late too, due to rule number one above.

Maybe this makes me a harsh, selfish, mean... etc. person. But if I can't prioritize, the storms will catch up with me. And that dear friends, is a much greater concern to me than what others might think when I refuse to dance to their tunes.

How do you deal with storms in your life?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I joined NaNo.

Oooooh boy.

Yesterday I went in search of my exam schedule and found that I am writing two subjects in October, and two in November. And those two are on the tenth and the thirteenth. Which means that I theoretically have time for NaNo.

So... I went to the sight and signed up. Since then, I have debated my own sanity. See. I seriously might have a big screw loose. One of the great weaknesses of who I am is the following: if I'm not pressured, I don't perform. Which means that at least on some level, part of me is always trying to balance on the edge of a knife with her eyes closed.

It's rather strange really. I know that I am greatly increasing the odds of things going badly, but I always feel pulled to living on that edge.

But, over the years, I have learnt tricks that make dealing with pressure a little better. Such as cataloging what needs to be done and doing things in order of urgency and importance.

Which is why I thought NaNo might not be a bad idea. My writing usually fails me when I don't have classes and tests to worry about and I thought that NaNo might just be the kick I need to get into the habit. After all. I want to finish my first draft of Doorways in December. It's in a genre in which 100k words are the norm. If I can get into the habit of writing a few thousand words every day, I will be able to finish it. (I decided to pick up the story from where I stopped and finish as many words of Doorways as possible.)

BUT. I have a much bigger priority to finish my degree this year. Financially and emotionally, I can't afford another year of doing something that kills my soul little bits at a time. So. I WILL pass all of my subjects. I WILL get my degree. Anything that gets in the way of this will be sidelined until I'm finished.

This includes NaNo. I really want to reach 50k, but I am not betting my degree on it. So I will start on November 1. I will write whatever bits I can whenever I can between studying. I will devote the first Saturday to writing as much as I can. Hopefully I'll hit enough words to stay on track. The Saturday after that, I will be writing my last exam. I'll rest on Sunday, and start NaNo'ing in earnest on the fifteenth.

This is where my performance capacity comes in. I'll have to catch up big time if I want to win. I need to at least write about 3300 words per day. I say at least, because I'm actually aiming for 4k. Insane? Maybe. This is by far not even close to the limit of what I can write on a given day. But every day for two weeks?

Watch this space and find out...

Who else is NaNo'ing this year? Any alternative strategies for me to follow? Anyone else think I'm certifiable? I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

On my beautiful Saturday off

Before I start, I just want to say that I'll get the awards page up later today.

Oh and, any suggestions for the blog's 100 followers celebrations are more than welcome. Just leave a comment or e-mail me at: mishagericke(at)gmail(dot)com.

Right. On to the post. :-)

Today I decided to give myself a day off. Yes, I have a MASSIVE economics test on Wednesday, but after two straight days of tests, I think I deserve a bit of a break. (I know that some of you that are at University are subjected to entire weeks of the stuff, but hey. I worked my almost scrawny little butt off these past two days. So humour me. ;-) )

I woke up at nine. I boiled two eggs for breakfast. I had devotionals. I ate. I got a call from the new fencing Chairperson that he wants my advice. So I'm meeting him at three. It's almost eleven now and I haven't even touched a book or my writing. 

Time really does fly. 

Still, I have four hours between now and seeing the Chairperson, so after I checked out some blogs, I might just get to finish my character interviews. Finally. And then, since it is an absolutely wonderful day to be outside, I plan to take me and Doorways to the Botanical Gardens for a few hours of fresh air. 

After the past week, I really feel like I'm getting cabin fever. I have to get out. Hmm... In fact. I might go to the Botanical Gardens even sooner. I don't know. I'm not really much of a planner. I pants through my life as much as I do through my books. I used to plot, but you can read some of my earlier posts to see how that turned out. I'm not linking to said posts for a purpose. They are a tad morose and depressing, and because my day is so happy and open, I'm not going to put that kind of damper on anyone else's day. The posts are, however, a must for those of you who wish for a bit more insight into who I am and why.

Anyway. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to write today. I want to write Doorways, but it feels as if Madame Muse isn't feeling it. But you know what? It's weekend. I'll let her play and see what happens. Maybe something great. I will let you know.

Then... This might sound strange, but NaNoWriMo is screaming at me to sign up. But I know that my exams are in that time. So I've been wondering. Any of you NaNo veterans? What is it really like to take part? Will you seriously suggest I give it a skip this year? Or do you think I'll be OK if I joined in?

What are your plans for today?

Friday, October 8, 2010

So? I changed my mind.

Ladies and gents, I have twenty minutes to write this down before getting back to my books, so sorry if I'm a bit hurried. (I will try to get to the posts I missed by Sunday, as well as finally giving away the award...)

Perhaps I will post something better later tonight, but I won't guarantee it. Investment Management 344 is like a Dementor. It sucks out my soul when I write it. (Ha! Bet you thought I'd never throw in a Harry Potter reference. I used to be quite the fangirl. And the simile was just too good to pass up.)

So... If I am absent, please don't be too worried, I'll just be busy picking myself off the floor with a spatula.

Anyway. When we hit fifty followers, I said that the next stop was 100. I never imagined that that would happen only a few weeks later. We're currently at 91 and so need only nine more. I wonder how quickly they will come.

But I've been thinking, we should be doing something to celebrate. Something different from my everyday ramblings. I unfortunately can't really do prizes, since one, I'm a student and have no money and two, I'm pretty much in a country where I will have to ship whatever it is off to a foreign country.

So... what to do? Well... I'm thinking that as soon as we hit 100 followers, I open the floor to you. You can ask me anything and I'll try to answer as honestly as possible. And, perhaps, I can hold a draw where the winner gets to give me a topic to write about in the blog.

Does that seem like a plan? If not, let me know. If you have a better plan, I really want to hear it. Any comments and/suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I have returned (mostly) alive.

Good evening all. It's now 22:30 CAT and I'm back. I would have been back sooner, but everyone I knew stopped me on the way to my car. (That's what I love about my university. Most of the people are so friendly.) And then I got a craving for decadence, so I went in search of good decaf coffee and then (with some effort) cream.

Why not? I wrote a test. I've been very good on my diet. And my diet allows decaf cappuccino's with cream in limited amounts. Hmmm... Just quickly making it.

Aaahhh now I feel human.

I just want to thank to all of you that left me your good wishes. It was wonderful reading them. (Yes. I read them every time I felt demoralized during my studies.)

Then I just want to let you know that tomorrow's post will only come along more or less this time too, since I have yet another test to write tomorrow night.

So I'm sort of stuck with a dilemma. I know what I'm going to do this weekend. I might go see a movie. Or I might take out a DVD. But I will definitely let my muse blow off some steam.

Thing is, she's tapping her foot right now. I'm not really that tired, but I can't help wondering whether I'll hate myself in the morning if I indulge her. She has this way of taking over all of my thoughts. One of those "give them an inch" kind of muses. I'm worried that if I start writing now, I won't be able to concentrate tomorrow.

Usually I can do both, but tomorrow is going to be intense. I can't juggle my thoughts.

So almost every part of me is screaming to let it go and sleep. Almost.

Another part is begging me to do something creative.

I wonder... 

I have exactly an hour before I absolutely HAVE to be asleep. What to do... what to do...

What do you all do when you suddenly have an hour free? What if your muse is begging you to write, but you know that it's a bad idea?

Be back soon.

Morning all, due to circumstances only marginally within my control, I will only be able to blog after ten o'clock tonight CAT. 

Please pray for me because the test I write tonight is a huge one. 



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On my muse's stellar personality.

Good morning all. Just a few arrangements before I post.

Firstly, welcome to my blog to all the new followers! I hope you enjoy what I write :-)

Secondly, my follower list was so nice as to scramble you guys, so I am having a little trouble tracing all of you back to your blogs. So please, if you're a new follower with a blog, and I don't pitch up in your follower list, please leave me a link to your blog.

Thirdly, my awards page will unfortunately have to wait until I've finished writing my test. I apparently need a better Internet connection for me to find all of the links, so I'll go to a campus computer lab on Saturday. Thank you all for understanding.

That done, on to my post.

I really think my muse is out to get me. At the very least, she doesn't like me as much as she ought.

She throws me into the deepest doldrums for months, or leave me without words right when I need her or want her to help. She's also nowhere to be seen when I have time to write.

Oh no. She'll kick my subconscious on mornings right before a big test. Or she'll start buzzing around my head while I have to focus on something else. Something like... say... studying for two tests on two consecutive tests.

Why, I ask myself often, does she do this to me? It's cruel. Making me want to write so much that it hurts, then leaving me just as I pick up my pen.

It's so unfair.

She always chooses the worst moments to hit me with an idea. Like in class, or in conversation with others.

For example:

Friend: My mother died last week. (Muse strikes in: three... two... one...)
Me: Awesome!
Friend: What?! My mother died! 
Me: Yes yes I know. But that works in my story. I'll let my MC's mother die. Great for character growth... Do you mind if I use it? (friend walks away forever.)

For those of you that are severely worried about me, this hasn't really happened - yet. But I can see my muse doing exactly that. She is that dark and twisted.

But then, it doesn't really help to complain. She's not going to change her ways for a mere mortal like me. All I can hope to do is finish my book and hope that she gets replaced in time for the next one. Still. If she doesn't, I still would keep her right here with me.

For all of her moods and quirks, she does give me awesome stuff to write - when the mood strikes her. And when I write, I'm very happy.

If only she could be a bit nicer to me....

What's your muse like? Do you have a muse? How do you cope with him/her being contrary?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Interesting thoughts.

So... meeting that guy got me thinking. Yes ladies and gents. The fates has thrown us together twice more since his last mention. Talk about twisted humor.  

Well... he got me thinking a lot. In fact, that's yet another thought added to the others that's nudging me a few steps closer to insanity. 

However, since I'm a (pretty much) grown woman, I'm going to forgo crying on your shoulders about him.

Let me just say that I'm more than a little irritated with myself. See, I know that going near him will be a very bad idea, but the more I realize this, the more I feel the pull to stop worrying about it and just go get him. But really. Given who I am and where I want to be going, it's a reaallly bad idea. Still...

See? Pa-freaking-thetic.

I'm a rational person. Hell, I'm pretty sure I could rationalize murder if I wanted to give it a shot. But I've been brought down hard by a pair of beautiful and sad brown eyes. Sigh.

There is one good thing to all this though. What I'm going through is very close to something that one of my characters has to go through. You see, he knows from the beginning that he's incredibly attracted to someone, but instead sees this a threat to his carefully laid plans. So this whole internal struggle must be roiling within him too. Especially because he hasn't a hope of avoiding her.

All in all good stuff. I just hope I can write it well so that it doesn't feel like he's moping all the time. Because he so isn't a moper.

Therefore, looking at the bright side, I can get a non-moper's perspective on the I-can't-have-him/her blues. Sadly, it isn't really much of a compensation. But it's something that should pay off in the long run.

Talk about suffering for your art. ;-P

Do you also use bad experiences when you write? How? Do you copy scenarios or do you only try to remember the emotions and replicate them? Either way, do tell...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Back to life again!

Ladies and gents, I feel awesome!

Despite having felt like a wrung out sponge yesterday, I felt like I needed to drag my carcass to church. So I did and experience one of the BEST church services I have EVER attended. So today I feel energized and ready for everything.

I'm still struggling with the awards page, but I'll try to have it figured out by tomorrow evening.

Also, I want to welcome all of the new followers and thanks for following. I hope you all enjoy it here. :-)

I'm going to have to keep this post short and sweet, since I have to get to class. Very sorry if this feels a little rushed, but there's nothing I can do about that. I can't blog later, since I have to get back to my studies.

So... my experiences this weekend got me thinking about writing. I loved this weekend, but it was so incredibly tiring. My energy and emotions felt so drained that I couldn't even think about touching a text book. Let alone studying.

I find that the same happens with my writing. I absolutely positively love getting into the zone, and when I get there, I see unrivaled productivity in my writing. When I'm there, I can write a quarter of a book in a single sitting.

But after that, I can't write at all. I feel tired and drained and as if my words have vanished. I sometimes feel as if I can't even blog properly after I got out of the zone. I don't even feel like writing.

So I just don't. Then before I know it, my muse will beckon me again and I will start writing little bits at a time until I'm back to writing torrents of words again.

Have any of you experienced this? How do you write? Do you ever get into a zone? Do you also get after-effects?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday update

Morning all! I just want to ask that you all check out my awards page later this week. I have fifteen people that need to get their awards but my computer keeps freezing every time I try to pick them. Sigh... 

So yesterday left me feeling both excited and drained and unfortunately my energy levels are yet to return to previous levels. This means that I'm falling back to an update for Sunday.

Diet-wise, the wheels have well and truly come off this week, so I decided not to weigh myself until next week. Otherwise I know I'm going to become demoralized and beat myself up about it. I just never want food to rule my life, so if I want to cheat, I cheat, but then I will go to extremes to prevent the regret that follows it.

Writing-wise I'm quite inactive due to my study schedule, but I am taking a few breaks here and there to chat with Gawain.

In other news, my mom flew to Italy yesterday (which is making me jealous) and is due to land in Milan sometime soon. I hope she remembers to let me know when she arrived.

I also saw that guy again. Sigh. Someone Up There has a very perverse sense of humor.

Anyway, sorry for this bland and boring post, but right now I'm just pulling in as much energy as I can get...

What's news at your end?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sorry for my absence, but I think it was worth it...

Evening all, I must apologize for not posting earlier today, but that Church workshop I mentioned a few days ago was today and I only just got back.

How did it go?

Hmm... how to answer that question...

I'd say... moderately to very well. Depending on what aspect we're talking about.

I met some great new people and got some extra assurance from the Big Man Himself.

I also got to experience some of his Power rushing through me. It's strange I guess. Many people get drunk with the Holy Spirit. But me? I get hit by it with the force of a wrecking ball.

Not that I mind. It's a rush no one can understand until they've been through it.

There were only two things that bothered me though. One was that I spent most of the day running up against some invisible wall. The wall 's gone now - after all, nothing withstands a wrecking ball of the scale I'm thinking - but a small part of me just isn't happy with what I managed to achieve today. Sigh.

The other is that of the Gifts of the Spirit that were discussed, mine got very little attention. It's not the Pastor's fault, but I'm still stuck with an acute sense of loneliness. He did, however, promise to put me in contact with someone who has the same Gift as me, so I'm holding my fingers crossed that this is the case.

Anyway, I guess that a lot of you will be thinking: "This girl has lost her mind!" Ladies and gents, I have not yet even begun.

But out of respect for the various faiths followed by people reading this blog, I am going to stop right here. If any of you are interested in knowing more about what's up in my travels with God or just want to chat and/or ask questions, you are more than welcome to contact me at mishagericke (at) gmail (dot) com. 

God Bless

Friday, October 1, 2010

Today I felt like blogging about something writerly.

Yes, I finally tired about writing about my life and how weird it is at the moment.

So I decided to write something about being a writer.

And then realized that my weird life is a writer's life and so it qualifies.

So I decided to write about writing.

And ran into a dead end.

OK... let me think...

Right. Here we go...

Certain songs always make me want to write. Other songs just remind me of my character so much that it feels like they're kicking my subconscious to remind me to write about them.

Yes, I know it's still early, but I woke up and pressed play to Muse.

And I must say that I love them. Their music is so emotional. Their lyrics are poetic - which is becoming rarer and rarer in these modern times.

It's also perfect that their songs seem to have been written for Darrion. (No, he doesn't sing in a falsetto.) But he tends to think about things that are themes in their songs. And of course, if you want to hear the most BAD-ASS song ever (and I'll be disappointed that you haven't heard it yet.), get Yes Please now. I'll give you a few minutes to enjoy...

With my homage to Muse out of the way. Let me move on to 30 Seconds to Mars. Their new CD This Is War always feels epic when I listen to it. (I'm so proud that I'm yet to mention that Jared Leto is the hottest male ever to grace guy-liner.) Oops. Moving on swiftly and with style... Kings and Queens is probably the song that sums Doorways up. It's all about potential, dreams and fighting for what you believe in. 

In the beginning, Callan is avoiding relationships with everyone. And then something happens... But I'm not going to spoil the story for you. But just because of her mixed feelings about love and relationships, her song is Love is Only a Feeling by the Darkness. There's another song, sung by the Veronicas that becomes her song as the story progresses, but due to the fact that some might catch on to what will happen, I'll leave that one up to your imagination. 

Gawain gets another Muse song called Unintended. It's one of their more relaxed songs, but that's not the reason why I picked it. See... Gawain, the cynical puppet master and person reader is going to run into his worst nightmare - someone he just can't understand. 

James's story is all about being pushed to leave a legacy, which is why Linkin Park's Leave Out All the Rest is his song. 

Another one of their songs, With You is another Bad-ass song. It sounds like a soundtrack to the relationship between the three first mentioned characters. They might not get along very well, but they're sticking together no matter what someone is throwing their way. 

And last but far from least, Ward. He's going through the same training as his best friend, James, but he's the one that changes the most from it - with as yet unknown effects on their friendship. A song that perfectly captures this is Right Before Your Eyes by Hoobastank. 

Those are far from the only songs that I listen to when writing. In fact, every character has a sound track at least three hours long that tracks their progress through the major plot points. Listening to music and thinking who it reminds me of and why is one of the ways that I get to know them. I also just pick songs that give me certain feelings, like joy or sadness - even fear and anger, so that I can easily summon up the emotions when I have to write difficult scenes. 

How do you get to know your characters? Do you also use music? If you do, what songs do you love and why?