Thursday, November 27, 2008

It has begun ...

The Christmas shopping, that is.

Well, technically, I haven't yet started mine. But I ventured out to my local shopping mall this morning with Child #3, to purchase some filler gifts for Child #1's upcoming birthday, and it seemed as if the words "credit crunch" had never been uttered. The ocean of dazed shoppers! The assault of Christmas "musak" upon my ears!  The smell of burning plastic as credit cards were swiped at the speed of light!

Ok, it wasn't that bad  -  I didn't curl into the fetal position in the middle of K-mart. But gift shopping is a chore for me at the best of times; Christmas shopping is like digging trenches in the Siberian salt mines. 
I guess it's because my kids are definitely past the age where playing with the wrapping paper and box is the best part of receiving gifts -  now, what gifts to give them is the question that does my head in, as there is a veritable  plethora of crap available for kids these days. And the adults for whom I must buy are not any easier; they're either (a) fussy as hell, (b) already have everything that opens and shuts, or (c) a scary combination of both.
What to do, to ease my Christmas shopping panic? Well, the one place in which I can happily, blissfully, shop for hours on end, is a book store. Funny about that. (g) So I've made an executive decision - books will feature heavily, if not exclusively, on my gift list this year, for kids and adults alike. Broaden their minds, do my small bit to ease the publishing industry's financial woes, and leave me with all my hair in tact. 
Sounds like a plan!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

9000 words

That's my word count so far this November, and I'm absolutely amazed - in a good way! Ok, it's small change compared to what other writers are able to pump out, but for me it's a freakin' avalanche of words. And it's got me wondering ... what's up? How is this possible?

Well, there are many answers to these questions. A few jump to mind immediately:- 

- I've been writing for a good two years now, and all that practice is starting to pay off. The words come easier than they did during the hair-pulling extravaganzas of my early writing days. 

- My youngest child is off at kindergarten several hours each week now, which means more writing time for mum. 

- And after employing the trusty index card method (and thanks to Claire for that!), plus re-doing my rough-as-guts synopsis a couple of months back, I've finally got the bones of this story worked out. Which, for this firmly linear writer, makes all the difference. I know where I'm going with this tale, and it stops me veering off into the wilderness (but this doesn't mean that I don't have many surprise detours and developments - I do, with each and every scene I write, which I absolutely love.)

So, ok. Some good reasons for my productivity increase. But I think it goes deeper than that. 

In fact, I know it does. 

See, about three months ago, when my youngest turned 4, it hit me that I had one year left before she started school, after which my days between 9am and 3pm would become child-free. Mine, to do with as I pleased. As much as the thought of sitting on my arse reading all day has its appeal, I knew I'd go bonkers staying home doing nothing more productive than emptying the dishwasher and vacuuming the cat. I knew that come August 2009, I'd need to find me some bona fide employment; to keep me sane, to feel like I was contributing to the world in some small way. 

This scared the living daylights out of me. I've been home with the kids for ten years now - it'll be eleven by the time Child # 3 starts school. What to do? I'm so out of the loop of the law that if I went back to that, I'd be sued for malpractice within a week. And other options are thin on the ground; with DH's job taking him away from the home front on a very regular basis, I need something that fits in school hours and allows me to be home for the kids.

So I took a deep breath and thought - time to get serious about this writing.

 Do you want to be a writer, a real, proper, earn-your-bread-through-your-words, writer? Well, do ya, punk? (g)

I said yes. And that's when I decided to start treating my writing like a job.

I vowed to write every day (I'm sticking to this mostly, bar DH's 40th birthday celebrations -I'm no Stephen King, cannot write with a hangover.)

I vowed to set myself a daily word count to meet, as opposed to just blithely saying "Oh, I'll write for a hour or so ..." (thanks to the brilliant Ms Vicki Pettersson for that piece of advice; and thanks to the wonderful M:A gals for keeping me to that particular goal this month.)

I vowed to let alone my opening chapters and avert my eyes from them until revisions (and boy, was that hard but so bloody liberating!)

And I want to ... no, WILL have this SFD done by then end of April 2009. 

I'm still scared. But at least these days, when I head to the study, I tell my DH I'm "off to write", rather than "I'll be doing some typing now", as I used to say. (g) This is serious business, after all.

So, there it is. 

Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Library, Thailand

So, my dream holiday would involve a month ... or two ... or three, in Paris. 

But a close second would be The Library Resort in Thailand. White sand and loads of books .... 


What more could a gal want?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grumpy Old Women vs Road Rage

In a few short hours, I will turn 37.

I have been with my DH for 18 years. I have friends I can say I have known for 10 years, 15 years, and a handful who have known all my dirty little secrets for 25. Ample evidence of my impending dotage, you say.

But it was a near rumble in the carpark of my local supermarket last month that really brought home my advanced age.

I'd just finished the weekly flagellation that is grocery shopping with Child # 3, my 4 year old. Loaded her, and the mountain of crap that my family of five consumes each week, into the 4-WD people mover. Cranked the beast into life, chucked it into reverse - only  to be blocked in by the pimped-up, bitumen-scraping, doof-doof music mobile that screeched to a halt behind me.

The window of the offending vehicle slid down, revealing its barely adult, male, driver who sported enough bling to burn out my retinas, and his similarly attired side-kick. They looked REALLY pissed. They looked, in fact, like two enraged bull ants. They began yelling - not at me, but at a guy who'd just pulled into a parking space two along from mine - Captain Solo, I shall call him.

The bull ants and Captain Solo proceeded to engage in a heated debate, right there in the Woolworths car park.

First topic - who cut off whom back out on the roadway, and therefore deserved to die;

Second topic - who should depart post haste to their country of origin, the bull ants being of Italian extraction, Captain Solo looking kinda Chinese.

Thus it went, for a minute or two. Captain Solo, even though out-numbered, would not back down. To the bull ants, this was akin to a slight aganst their (barely-there) manhood. They leapt from their car and swarmed towards the Captain.

This is when I got grumpy. Serious, eye-rolling, "I-don't-fucking-believe-this" grumpy. 

This did NOT happen in my sleepy little suburb. 

This did NOT happen in the presence of my four-year-old.

This did NOT happen when I had frozen goods slowly thawing out in my car!

I clicked on the central locking (hey, the red-mist was not that thick that I didn't remember to do that), opened my window, and yelled like the mother-of-three that I am:

"You had all better settle down, RIGHT NOW, or I'm calling the cops! We don't need this shit around here. Bugger off and go home!"

Not so eloquent - but it did the trick.

The piano player stopped mid-tune. Tumbleweeds rolled on by. Several pairs of eyes swivelled my way.

The bull ants stopped and gaped.  Then dropped their eyes to their shoes.

"Sorry," they mumbled. Then jumped back in their car and peeled out of the carpark.

And since I once was a lawyer, didn't I just follow them down the road for a few kilometers, just to make sure they really were outta there, and to take down their number plate. (g)

Never would I have done this in my 20s. But I'm a realist. I know it was not a show of heroism. I was just plain cranky. But as I get older, I see that cranky has its place. Maybe it's the fact that the older you get, the less time you have on your side. You just don't have the tolerance for crap that you once would have had. 

I don't know.

But I tell you, it felt damn good to scare off two punks simply by impersonating their mothers. (vbg)


Sunday, November 2, 2008

High Tea

I just had a wonderful Sunday arvo.
My oldest and best friends, Bec and Kristen, kidnapped me and took me out for High Tea as an early birthday present, at Newmans, a gorgeous camellia and azalea nursery (and ok, we skipped the tea and drank pink bubbles but still ...)  Two fabulous gals, who, after all the little scones and sandwiches with the crusts cut off,  took me shopping and convinced me to buy a dress I never would have -  and damn, isn't my DH glad they did (g).
Lovely to do something out of the norm. 
And just be a girly girl, for a few hours.