Saturday, December 10, 2011


As I'm writing this, I am making a mad attempt to begin my next manuscript.

I am stumped after twelve words.

For any writing that isn't in the same vein as Catcher in the Rye, trying to structure it is about as challenging as trying to climb a wall without any hands. I know what I want to say in my head, but the difficulty comes in trying to convert my thoughts to words on paper. It's not something that's new to me - whenever I've had to do writing for school, uni or other things it usually takes me a while to kick into gear and get what I want to write down.

I have tried different things in an attempt to get me to write - summarise what I want to write down, jumping around to different scenes and chapters and trying to write them first, leave it for a while and come back to it later - but there are still times (like now) where it feels like I've hit a brick wall.

I'll still try and get something down on paper today, if only so I have something to work with, but it does feel like a royal pain when you've hit a block on the first scene.

For everyone out there in writing land, how do you get through writers' block?

In the meantime, I'm going to have some lunch. My lovely Municipal Liaison just got served hers and the smell is too tempting to pass up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Requiem for a Broken Dream

Whilst I didn't finish my NaNoWriMo novel this year, people were rather interested in my writing. Thus, I have decided to acquiesce to requests that I provide samples of my writing for all to enjoy (or vomit over). Some of the excerpts are examples of absolutely godawful writing, whilst others aren't so bad. Keep in mind that I was using November to reacquaint myself with my writing style, so take things with a grain of salt and you shan't be disappointed :).

(also, keep in mind that this is only a draft, and has not been reviewed or edited. You have been warned)


I spent the rest of the afternoon sprawled out on the lounge in my boxes drawing various people. Some people have strange obsessions with porn, dolls, and/or staring at people on the street untilt he become uncomfortable and ask you if you need help with anything. My obsession is with drawing people. Sometimes they're people I've seen previously on the street, while at other times they are whatever comes into my mind.The person on my paper was one of the latter. It was a woman wearing a blood-red evening gown, sans sleeves. I let it flow to her ankles, but left her barefoot. she wore a couple of large black bangles on her wrists, and her nails were the same shade as her dress.

Moving towards the top of the page, an oval face was set on top of an elegant, swanlike neck. Her eyes were a blue so pale it was almost grey, and her hair was a spill of auburn curls.

Once I had finished the drawing, I sat up and looked at it for a while. Although she was only someone from my mind, there was something about her that bore an uncanny resemblance to the girl in my dreams. Her wide eyes seemed tormented, like a lost soul wandering the darkness of a mind not quite unlike my own. Her feet were bare like the girl's too, although I have no idea why I didn't draw her with shoes. With a jacket and some high heels maybe, she could've passed for an actress or a high-class call girl. However, the way I had actually drawn her suggested a mix of fragility and power that I had never seen in anybody before.

It perplexed me - normally when I draw people I take great pleasure in finding their greatest characteristics and twisting them to the point where their selves were far darker than they actually seemed to be. Even the people in my mind often came out like a Tim Burton-esque transformation into darker, more sadistic individuals.

I put my book down and went to make myself a cup of coffee. I needed a break from where I was going.
After a coffee, I came back to the book and started drawing more people. Successful businessmen, children playing at a park, prostitutes...all took on the same tormented visage that seemed to silently scream something at me. It was as though I was in a dream, and the people in my book were parading in front of me.
I closed my eyes.

"Isn't it a bit early for you to be sleeping?"

I opened my eyes again, and as sure as night follows day I was back in the room with the girl. There was no furniture this time, and the walls were completely bare.

The girl giggled. "I see you're a bit lost."

Lost was the understatement of the century. I felt like I had been wrenched from one nightmare and thrown into another. My throat felt like I was drowning in milk, and I was shaking all over.

"I see."

The girl walked over to one of the walls and stared at it. "You seem to hate people. Why?" I didn't respond. The girl walked over to me and stared up at me. She seemed a lot shorter than I remembered her to be. "Do you hate me?" I shook my head.

She stared at me for a while then, as though I was a subject at the zoo to be studied. I grew uncomfortable at her staring at me, but I felt like I couldn't move.

Eventually, she took a step back from me. "Why are you dead?"

I was perplexed. "I'm not dead though."

She smiled and turned back to the wall. "You should wake up. You haven't eaten dinner yet." With that, she walked through the wall and disappeared. It looked strange seeing her walk through the wall. You would expect to see her fade into the wall like a ghost, melt into it, have it shimmer like water - you know, what you see in the movies. However, it was completely different to that. It was like an optical illusion where someone was walking into a closed door, but walked through as though it was open.

I blinked, and I was back on the lonuge.

Once chicken salad later, and I was sitting on the lounge staring at the TV like a mindless zombie. While looking at the people on the screen, I tried to picture them as though I had drawn them in my book, but every single one of them took on that same tormented look that the characters drew earlier. I don't know why they were all looking like it.

At one point, someone on the TV said, "I am a destroyer of dreams and harbinger of souls." That sounded so much like me at that moment in time, I shivered.


Thank god for weekends.I awoke feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck. After taking a shower and padding naked into the lounge room, I flicked on the TV and decided to watch some cartoons (I have the maturity of a hormonal teenage girl if you haven't figured that out by now).

After consuming a healthy breakfast of fried spam, poached eggs and bacon, I slipped on a pair of shorts and a nondescript t-shirt and gave Drake a call. I decided that Barbara was right and I should try to be more supportive of him.

It took a few rings for Drake to pick up the phone. He sounded slightly groggy. "Hello?"

"It's me, Reid."

"Reid? Why the fuck have you gotta wake me up at this hour man?"

"I wanted to talk. Are you free?"

There was a muffled argument on the phone. Clearly Drake wasn't being exactly responsible with his newfound medical knowledge.

"Not today. Can we talk tonight?"

I was the slightest bit pissed off at that. Even though I knew what Barb said yesterday rang true as a church bell, it was still difficult to deal with someone like Drake. "Sure. Where do you want to go?"

"The Velvet Lounge?"

I groaned loudly into the phone. Drake laughed. "So is that a yes?"

I sighed. "Fine. I'll see you when you decide to get your whore ass in there."

Drake laughed. "Sure thing."

After hanging up, I headed into the bedroom and turned on my computer. It had been a while since I'd been on last, and like most women if you didn't engage with them regularly you tend to get lost in the wave of things said and done quite quickly.

A quick look at Facebook confirmed this. There were that many updates from people that even scrolling through it looked like it would take at least an hour to get through everything. Instead, I made a quick status update of 'Still alive. Glad to see everyone loves me' and turned my computer off.

I spent the rest of the day being a good little housewife and cleaning up the place. Among my notable achievements was rescuing the Kingdom of Stacked Plates from the furry green monsters invading their land, and making my way through Clothes Country to the Land of Clean Floors.

By mid-afternoon I was feeling a little sleepy, and clearly didn't want to go tonight. However, if I'm nothing else I'm a stubborn little son of a bitch, and having committed to tonight I wasn't about to back out. I ended up taking a shower and popping a couple of caffeine pills in an attempt to get myself through the night without passing out (which would be a Very Bad Thing™).

Padding my way naked to the wardrobe, I mulled over what to wear for the night. I wanted to dress stylish enough so I didn't feel even less confident about myself than I normally did, but didn't want to stand out like a lamb in a flock of hungry wolves. It was one of those first world problems that really shouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that peoples' self-consciousness can grow to the point where it consumes you over the most trivial of issues.

Eventually deciding on a set of skinny black jeans, black shirt and blue flanelette shirt (left open), I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was a tumbled mess of black, and the beard was at the point where it looked feral. The bags under my eyes weren't quite so bad today, but I still looked like I had better days.
After a quick shave so I looked at least somewhat presentable, I made my way on the train into the city and the ominously-named Velvet Lounge.

It had been a good long while since I last walked into that place, and now I remembered why. After greeting the bouncer on the way in (who was a huge Samoan guy that I hadn't seen before), I was hit with a wave of sweaty, barely clothed bodies mixed with alcohol and heat. Seriously, didn't the owner think about adding a bit of air conditioning into the place?

Well, considering I know the owner quite well, I already knew the answer to that.

Whilst there weren't a lot of heads that turned my direction when I first entered, the ones that did made me feel like fresh meat being eyed up by a hungry animal. The room was cavernous, which added to the feeling of being trapped in a cage with a horde of hungry lions.

I made my way past the table exhibit, which marched off either side of me along the walls like a row of cats hunting in the shadows. In the middle of the club, past the free-ranging predators on the dance floor, stood the feeding booth for the animals. Serving radioactive coloured drinks to the punters was a girl in a short red dress carrying a riding crop for her circus of underwear-wearing animals.

She wasn't paying attention to me as I made my way up to the bar. Taking a quick glance along the side I could see, I didn't recognise any of the scantily clad, crotch stuffed (although one guy certainly didn't need it) men pulling drinks behind the bar. After pulling a drink for some thirsty gazelle that was all glitter and no pants, she made her way across to the opposite corner of the bar, straight past me.

I put on my most innocent smile (which looked like a fifteen year old who was about to tell a guy she screwed that she was underage and about to call the police), turned to her, and said "Vagina not very moist tonight?"
She turned, face as red as the fire she looked about to breathe on the disgusting individual who said that. When she saw my face though, you could see the fire becoming harmless.

"Only because cunts like you aren't worth my time."

She grinned then, like the evil little bitch she was. An evil little bitch that I loved like a dysfunctional wife in a bearded relationship, but an evil little bitch nonetheless.

I jumped over the counter and gave her a hug. "Where the fuck have you been Reid? I haven't seen you in months" she said in the middle of crushing my ribcage.

Rachael was The Velvet Lounge's owner. With long brown hair, brown eyes and a slender build, she often didn't stand out in a crowd unless she was wearing one of her incredibly tacky bright dresses and skirts. She was one of those people who you'd say hi to on the street and then forget five minutes later even if you walked straight past her again.

For those in here though, you knew who she was. Moreso, you respected her.

Case in point: After I hugged her, one of the scantily clad barmen (whose stuffed crotch looked like he had three testicles) tapped Rachael on the shoulder and whispered something into her ear. I followed Rachael's eyes across to the dancefloor, where a couple of guys had graduated from 'bump and grind' to 'slip and slide'. The top hadn't done a bad job of hiding what he was doing - the jeans were still up arond his waist, belt buckled, and was making it look like he was dancing with the guy. The little guy however, gave it away like a poorly shot infomercial. His shorts were around his waist (even though he managed to keep his crotch covered), his belt unbuckled, and panting like a dog in a desert. If he shoved his ass any further into the guy behind him, it's likely it would disappear into some strange other dimension.

If you were the owner of a nightclub and saw this happening, would you:
A. Walk up to them and threaten to boot them out of the club if they don't immediately stop.
B. Call over security and have them escort them to the fuck room out back.
C. Grab your giant purple dildo, storm over there and beat the living daylights in them until they got the message.

For those that said A, we cannot be friends. While it is a professionally correct option, clearly you are too much of a drag.

For those that said B, we could be friends, but it is not the most correct option. I'll give you half a mark if you chose this, and an additional quarter mark if you decided to follow them out back like a Peeping Tom on viagra.

However, for the mistress of The Velvet Lounge, nothing sends a loud, clear message like an eighteen inch neon purple dildo of death. Reaching under the bar for the sex toy aptly named Cassanova, she leapt over the bar, stormed over to the fornicating couple on the dance floor, and proceeded to belt them over the head. For those who haven't been whacked over the head with eighteen inches of gel, it hurts .

After getting their attention and pointing to the door, Rachael came back over this side of the bar.

"I see Cass is still getting plenty of mileage in the Lounge" I said, grinning.

Rachael nodded. "When you get fags hot, sweaty and full of alochol, sooner or later somebody is going to make things hang out."

"Is Drake around at all?" I asked.

"Yeah, he's upstairs, why do you ask?" She responded, with an ever so slight quizzical look on her face. By 'ever so slight' I mean 'looks like a duck trying to solve the Da Vinci Code'. Rachael was very abrupt and straight to the point usually - and didn't tolerate any beating around the bush.

"Has he told you anything recently?" I tried to tread lightly around the situation, even though Drake had been a dick to me. It wasn't my place to disclose his status, and I knew that if Rachael felt I was hiding something that she would jump on me like Kirstie Alley on a Christmas turkey.

Rachael looked at me intensely. "No, he hasn't said a word. What should he have told me?"

I was cornered. When Rachael wants something, heaven have mercy on the poor soul she will inevitably mow down on the way to getting it. There was a reason The Velvet Lounge had remained open long after all the other gay spots had migrated to a strip further away from the centre of the city.

"Honestly, you need to talk to him about this one. I'm not trying to back away from this, but it's not my place to say."

Rachael smirked.

Fuck. I blew it.

Rachael tilted her head in the direction of the spiral staircase that wrapped itself around the centre of the bar like an Egyptian pole dancer.

"He's up in the VIP area. He had a real dopey look on his face when he came in, but I left him alone. Now that I've talked to you though, I'll make sure to grill him when you leave."

I rolled my eyes. "Thanks Rach, you're my best friend" I said dryly.


I thought about it for a while, even though I didn't like it. He did have a point though - if there was a guarantee I was going to die I should be preparing the will, putting money aside for the funeral, things like that.

"You know, I should" I said (at least, insofar as I hadn't had enough time to formulate an appropriate response as to why I shouldn't), "However, I'm simply content to float on the sea that is life until the currents decide they want to pull me under."

He seemed to enjoy the awkwardly philosophical answer. I have to admit I felt like a Confucian fraud in formulating a response like that. He seemed to be pleased by it though. "Dude, it's awesome that you're not caring about dying! It's like, you're a totally free spirit or something."

"I'm about as free as I want to be. I don't take crap from people, and I make sure I'm always doing what I want to do."

He eyed up what I was wearing then. Admittedly, what I was wearing was more appealing than his faded brown cargo pants and black band t-shirt (it was so faded that I couldn't exactly identify which one it was). "Is that why you're wearing that?" he asked.

"Yeah. I felt like looking good today, so i decided to wear a suit to work."

"So why the white dude?" He asked. "Looks like you're going to a wedding or a funeral or something, not to a freakin' job."

"Because I felt like it. I don't see the point of conforming to society's expectations." I responded. It was bullshit, but he seemed to appreciate it. He nodded knowingly, like a philosophy lecturer to a crop of pigheaded students. "You're right dude" he responded, "Nobody should have to conform to The Man. He's up there you know, watching all of us." He pointed to the roof, but I'm guessing he meant up in the sky. "They got sattelites you know. America, China, Russia, they all got ways of watching all of us. Every time you pick your nose, bump into someone on the street, jerk off on the beach, they're always watching!"

I wasn't exactly certain that people masturbated on the beach, but it really wasn't something I wanted to to think about.

"I think the government has more interesting things to do than be a voyeur for the goings-on of random people walking down the street. Because, y'know, they have other countries to spy on."

"Good point." He said. "I suppose we're insignificant in the greater scheme of things, right dude?"

"I suppose it depends on how you define 'insigificant'." I felt like an imposter talking philosophy, and I was half-expecting someone to snort in disgust at me as though I was an arrogant dick. "Are you insigificant in the eyes of a greater power, or insignificant in the eyes of the people you interact with? In that case, are you living your life with purpose, or are you living life for the sake of being alive?"

He toyed with his hands then, as though he was expecting to see a ring on his finger. He started muttering to himself then, and as much as I tried I couldn't make out anything he was saying. I looked up to one of the men travelling to work sitting across to me, and he shook his head in dismay, as though he was sorry for having to put up with the creature sitting next to me. Strangely enough though, LSD junkie did remind me a little of Gollumn from Lord of the Rings .

He looked up abruptly, as though he was slapped awake after falling asleep in some woman's breasts. "Sorry dude, they were talking to me."

"They?" I hadn't the slightest clue as to who 'they' are.

"The midichlorians. The freakin' force dude."

I can't believe what I was hearing. Here I thought the acid had given him some sort of sagely powers, and now he had to go and change topic to fucking Star Wars. I was not impressed.

"Don't worry about me dude. I know I'm hearing things." I can't believe he was lucid enough to actually understand that. I'm not so sure he was actually on LSD anymore. "It's just nice to know that you've got someone to talk to y'know? Like you dude. You've sat here and talked to me, and that's a good thing. I love you man."

I decided to be nice and smile. When I didn't say anything, he continued, "The midichlorians, they've been with me for as long as I can remember." I decided not to interject by correcting him in that they had only been with him for as long as he has been taking drugs. "They help me dude. They help guide me the right way in life. They won't make me a jedi, but that's okay. I love them dude, and they love me."

He was really big on the love stuff.

"What matters dude is that I've got someone to talk to. You can't go through life like a loner, y'know?"

I nodded. "You can't. I'm glad for the people I have in my life, even those who drive me absolutely insane."

That was mostly true. I was still quite happy to show up to work this morning and discover Jerry resigned, and I still wouldn't mind slapping the ever-present smirk off Carol's face, but most people I was happy to have. Even if they drove me insane. Pricks.

The train began to rumble to a stop then. The guy stood up, took a pill out of one of his pants pockets, and shoved his hand down the pack of his pants. Just before he got off the train, he looked at me and said, "Dude, next time you take drugs, take them as a suppository. Works way better than if you swallow them." He got off the train them.

I leaned back and made the most of the piece that was the remainder of my train trip. I hope the rest of work is as interesting as this train trip has been.


After getting out of the shower, I padded barefoot and naked into my bedroom and checked the clock.

9:30am. I was supposed to be at work half an hour ago.

Fuck me. I can't seem to get a break lately.

Sighing, I doggedly covered myself with a pair of faded jeans and a tight black t-shirt. If I was going to have to go into work today, I might as well piss off Jerry by attempting to look professional.

I decided to take the bus in today to drag it out a little longer. If I was going to be late, I might as well be really late. There was a good chance I was going to end up fired in any case considering I hadn't turned up to work the previous two days, so it wasn't like Jerry didn't have a good excuse to.

The trip into the city wasn't a half-bad sightseeing expedition, mostly because the suburbs had changed significantly since I had last visited them. A lot of places were run-down, especially the suburban commercial and industrial districts. What were once family-owned manufacturing businesses were replaced with dilapadated buildings, and the houses had the signature living room on the front verandah that signified housing commission specials.

At one of the stops, some woman garbed in fine-cut clothes got on the bus and sat across from me. You know those clothes that look like they were custom-cut from the catwalks of Milan? One of those types.

Immediately upon sitting down, she wrinkled her nose. "Have you had a shower this morning?"

Not a good way to kick off a conversation.

"No, I haven't" I said. I had, but if this bitch I had never met before was wanting to give me shit from the outset, then I was going to give her shit for it.

She snorted at my response. I had a feeling this was going to be a particularly enjoyable conversation.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Scribblings #1


At least, I think that's what her name was.

I was at my favourite hangout the night before, a seedy dump known as the Queen and Sword. The missus had come home from work in a really foul mood, and I didn't want to be around for any of it. Her work had exploded in the Christmas rush, and she was having to field complaints more often than a fat man eats chocolate. Considering how fat the bitch was, she probably was eating chocolate in between handling complaints.

But this isn't about her. This is all about me.

Like I said, I was at the Queen and Sword, sitting at my regular place at the bar. The guys all liked me, although lately they've been looking at me differently. I konw why - it's because they think I'm becoming a depressive drunkard. I mean, maybe that has a little truth to it - I was going through at least a hundred pounds a week - but it was worth so I didn't deal with that bitch of a wife.

Oh yeah, I said this wasn't about her didn't I? I really need to stop talking about the bitch.

Anyway, I was nursing my fifth or sixth pint of the evening - I can't remember exactly how many it had been at that point. The pub had all the regulars: Bazza with his eyepatch throwing darts and groping any woman dumb enough to move within arm's reach of him, Darryl with his sleeves and pierced nose and eyebrows, Charlie the bartender with grey hair and bowtie, and all the other pricks I couldn't care less remembering. The pub always had shit entertainment, so it surprised me when this gorgeous bird with huge tits walked through the door with a couple of the pub boys flanking her and up to the stage.
I think my heart skipped a beat. Blonde hair, green eyes, with a healthy bit of meat on her. Not enough meat to fill a butcher, but enough to make things interesting.

She got behind a keyboard - the place wasn't big enough for a real piano - and belted out a few chords. Nothing flashy, just checking to see if all the equipment was working. One of the boys tapped the mic and introduced her. I couldn't hear too well because i was focusing on the glass in front of me, but I caught a 'Joy' somethingorother.

Even though I was nursing the glass in front of me, it was impossible not to be caught up in the siren's song. As the waves of her melody washed over me, I was lifted up and carried off to a magical land where I didn't have to worry about a damn thing.

And it was amazing.

I spun around on my barstool and watched her entranced, taking occasional sips from my glass at intervals like clockwork. She looked angelic as she spun, dove and weaved through her set. Even the bikers that always occupied a table in the corner were silent while she made her magic.

As she moved from song to song, I automatically called for more drinks. I don't even remember asking for them really, although I remember drinking them. At the time I didn't really care, because I was fixated entirely on her.

At some point late in the night she finished her set, to rapturous applause and whistles. I did my best to clap too, although at that point I had lost track of how many pints I had downed. I had pretty much lost track of the exact sequence of events that occured after that. I was starting to feel fatigued from the alochol, and all I was thinking about doing was heading home and passing out in the loungeroom so I wouldn't have to climb into bed with the bitch and hear her nag about why I'd been out drinking all night again. If the fat bloody cow listened to herself she'd know bloody damn well why!

Anyway, I think I remember her giving me a kiss on the cheek on the way out, like she did to the old bartender. After a little while I decided to head out too, since I didn't have any more money anyways. I found her bent over the bonnet of her van around the side of the pub, looking at the engine or something.

She was wearing a short little dress with nothing on underneath. Must've been chilly on her bum in the cold London night. Anyways, I called out to her and waved hello, and she turned around and waved. She said something about going in somewhere nice and warm.

I ambled up to her, wanting to get a bit friendly with her. I remember going on about her needing to be somewhere nice and warm too, and her going on about she's already got something nice and warm behind her. She was sounding incredibly saucy.

We spoke like that for a while, then she waved at me and said something about if I needed anything she'd be more than happy to help out. Then she turned around and went back to her engine, little bum in the air.

Well, considering the way I was feeling and the way she was showing, she could certainly give me a helping hand all right.

I unzipped my pants and came up behind her, peeking over her shoulder as I did so. She was looking intently at the radiator fluid, which was up way too high. I wrapped my arms around her and whispered into her ear what I wanted. She melted at hearing what I wanted to do with her. I was a little surprised that she was so willing. Maybe she hadn't had a hard cock up her in a few years, I dunno.

Anyway, I gave her a good hard shagging with her bent over the car, while she was moaning all the while. She was moaning pretty loudly too, which really got me going. I always loved a bitch who wasn't afraid to show she liked it, unlike my fat at home. 

Afterwards, I must've passed out because I woke up in a jail cell at some cop shop. My cock wasn't hanging out of my pants, so I must've buttoned it up at some point. I still remember how delicious that bird was though.

She was completely worth the shit I'd have to deal with when I get home to my bitch of a wife.

This was a piece written for Sunday Scribblings, a blog site for writers. Every week they put up a word, and you create a piece of writing inspired by that word. This will be the first of hopefully a long and happy line of scribblings!

P.S. Chris, I'll put excerpts from my NaNo novel in my next post. Promise :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm A Junkie

It is currently 5am on the 1st December that I am writing this, and I have a major urge like I should be writing at this ungodly hour (which is why I suppose I'm writing this now). It presses on me like a cheap whore, and I have to resist the urge. As much as I'd love to write, I need to force myself to take a break lest I find myself burnt out.

I once heard writing described as a 'state of being'. It hasn't been until I've done NaNo that I understand how true that is. When the words have been flowing, it feels like I'm in two worlds - the world in my novel, and this world. It's like looking into an aquarium in a way, except you can make the fish play underwater soccer with a rock picked up from the bottom of the aquarium.

The ability to have complete control of a story is an incredibly seductive one. Essentially, you have the power to make the characters do anything you want them to. The novel The Night Circus was created out of the mind of an author whose characters she decided to ship off somewhere interesting because they were too boring. As a result, a living, breathing setting full of whimsy to draw you in was born. The greatest settings are those that you can see yourself becoming lost in - The Seventh Tower, The Infernal Devices and Dune to name a few.

When I write, often I will stare into space for extended periods of time. While it looks strange to observers, my mind frequently takes me into the world of the characters I sculpt. I walk with them, talk with them, and we discuss things like hopes and fears, dreams for life, even what they had for breakfast. It's my way of being able to discover what makes my characters tick, and what parts of their persona best represent them. It means that as a side-effect I write a lot slower than I should be (I struggle to hit 5000 words a day), but I feel that my settings and characters are more genuine as a result.

I know I'm not the most coherent writer when I create my initial drafts (which makes editing a nightmare most of the time), but I like to think I make up for it in my ability to be able to connect to the audience. Looking back on my own writing, often I'm in disbelief at how awful the words I put down are. And yet, at the time I don't really care, as I'm playing out a story that's wanting to be told. While I'm telling that story, it's as much a part of my life as eating, showering and doing the laundry. Currently I feel like I'm lost in a way, because there's no story that I'm trying to tell. Still, it will only be a couple of weeks before I get back into the swing of things.

Maybe it's a good thing I wasn't working in November. I feel like I might have needed to call in a couple of days 'writing'.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This is where I shall end my NaNo journey for 2011.

For those who haven't participated before, trying to write 50000 words in 30 days is a tall ask. It equates to 1667 words every day of the month. If you want to try and leave yourself a buffer, you're looking at roughly 2000 words. For some people, this is an easy feat - the words come easily, and there's always something for characters to do. For others, it's about as painful as trying to push out a uni assignment every day of the year, albeit nowhere near as boring.

For me, flying by the seat of my pants without any planning whatsoever made the pursuit incredibly difficult. I found my stride somewhere around day 19, but a few days where I hadn't had any opportunity to write quickly knocked the goal far out of reach.

Reflecting on the month that has passed, I've learned an incredible amount and gained some wonderful friends in the process. I now have a finger on the pulse of the Brisbane writing scene, and inroads into becoming a professional writer. Whilst I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be, I know how to get there now. I also learned a lot about my own writing abilities over the month, especially now I've honed my writing and gotten back into the swing of things. I suppose if I had to put down to it, my two greatest challenges are developing my technique for writing dialogue, and developing a way to write in third person that I'm comfortable with. I'm comfortable writing in first-person, but I also know it isn't the most common perspective people write from.

To Mel, Tara, Sean, Steph, Bianca, Shantell, Ray, Winnie and everyone else who I met along the way (and I'm really, really sorry if I forgot anyone, but I promise I was thinking about you!), thanks for making NaNo 2011 an absolute blast! I'll definitely be back next year (with Nancy!), and I definitely won't be leaving ausnano while people are still poking around on there. I'd also like to thank Tristan for putting up with me this past month. He's had to make some sacrifices and put up with my antics on some days while I put myself through the ringer, and I am incredibly grateful for it.

As for me, I'm going to spend a couple of weeks off before getting back to it with a vengeance.

This time, I'm gonna kick some literary ass.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let There Be Writing

As I write this, there are nine days left of NaNoWriMo. For me to successfully complete it, I will need to write 3500 words every day from now until the end of the month. No easy feat, let me assure you.

I am a hair's breadth from tossing the novel out the window. After abandoning my initial idea and running with whatever my mind constructed, I am at the point where I simply don't care what happens to the characters I have lovingly crafted. I identified it as more of a literary exercise than a publishable endeavour a couple of weeks ago, and it has gotten to the point where it feels more of a chore than something I am keenly interested in doing. For those who have actually read my writing previously, you'll know that my strongest writing is writing where my emotions have bled into the words I have typed. It is for this reason that I am tempted to abandon my novel, but nonetheless I will try and grit my teeth and grind my way out to 50k.

If I don't complete my novel, will this all have been a waste of time? Not in the least. I have several plans for stories I can write in the pipeline, and there are avenues available to me to get published. It won't be easy, especially if I plan on completely changing my studies and landing a decent job in the meantime. However, this is what I want to do for a living.

My passion for writing has been reignited. Big time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On Purpose

I know this blog has been dead for a while, but I feel now's a good time to revive it. I promise I'll do my best to keep this updated more regularly than I have been.

For those who haven't been keeping tabs on me of late, it has been a little over 12 months since I stopped seeing my psychologist. I'm now living in Brisbane, between jobs, and up until recently have had zero idea what direction my life was going to take.

For those who have followed a path similar to mine, walking away from a degree you thought was certain to give you a stable career that you enjoyed is a really big deal. When I first went to Charles Sturt University to begin my teaching degree in 2007, I thought that at the end of my four years I'd end up working as a teacher of some description, that I would continue to do until I found something related that I would then enjoy to avoid burning myself out. However, the events of 2009 left me completely burned out, with the spark of teaching thoroughly extinguished. Since then, I have been left to figure out what path I should take.

For those mature-aged students who had the drive to chug themselves back through uni to get another degree, I tip my hat to you. It takes a pretty big pair of balls to drag yourself through that.

Personally, I could not put myself back through uni in the foreseeable future. I tried doing a subject this semester, but I hit a wall after the fourth week and couldn't commit myself to it. I'm not 100% certain what's stopping me, but even working with my psychologist we couldn't break it.

Since then, I've tried to get myself back on my feet, find a stable job and get myself to the point where I can find what I'm happy doing, and then go at it like a bull in a china shop.

Enter NaNoWriMo.

For those unfamiliar with it, National Novel Writing Month is four weeks of nothing but writing badly, giggling incessantly over cups of coffee, and having a great amount of fun and frustration at trying to put 50000 words down in a coherent fashion. This year I decided to tackle it for the first time. During my teenage years I had started a number of novels covering a broad range of genres (fantasy, speculative fiction, mystery), but have always lost motivation once the story gets going. I signed up for NaNo on the premise that I would find the motivation and support to drive a novel in full. Have I been successful thus far? Not exactly. However, what I have gained from the exercise (even though I'm only 9 days into it) has been of far greater benefit to myself than anything else in my memory.

Over the years, writing has been a mainstay of my life, usually floating somewhere just beyond the edge of my periphery. Up until year 11, there were points in my life where my writing ability shone through, but it wasn't ever something I seriously considered becoming involved in. In hindsight, I have no idea why. After one auspicious creative writing task in year 11 that had my high school's English department commending me on how far my writing had come, I began to consider myself as half-decent writer. Mostly, my writing has been very narrow in scope - dark speculative fiction in first-person POV that more often than not involves less-than-sane characters and nonexistent plot lines.

Having started (and restarted) my NaNo novel, I've discovered that I find it challenging to weave plots and create scenes for extended periods of time before my imagination gets the better of me (for those who've seen me write in progress, it usually involves lots of getting up and walking around randomly like a complete wanker). However, I am more or less completely comfortable with being able to just knock back words on a page (like this very blog post!). I think...that my challenge is to find a style of writing that suits my way of thinking, and build on it to the point where I can make the most use of it. I could happily spend the rest of my days writing I think if I can manage this.

If I want to write for a career, there are a few options that I can see myself safely doing:

1. Children's Literature Teaching/Workshops/Textbook Writing

Realisticly, this would best line up with my current education. To achieve this, I would need to first become a published author and/or complete my degree (although shift my subjects to a greater emphasis on English teaching). Once I achieve that, then I can start working with kids on their writing.

Would these be immensely rewarding? Yes. Would I be happy doing it for a very long time? Absolutely. Would I be able to get into it? Maybe. For me to complete my degree, I need to overcome whatever block is preventing me from doing my studies and go whole hog at completing it (preferably whist writing alongside it). From there, I should be able to find somewhere in the field I can snuggle myself into.

2. Video Game Scriptwriting

For those that don't know, I'm a massive geek. That's all you need to know. :P

On a more serious note though, being a huge gamer this would be one field that I would be very, very interested in. I feel strongly that the gaming industry is more concerned about pushing out a compelling story in favor of pretty graphics (something that I'm sure I"ll be writing a lot more about in the future), and I know that I can write a compelling story. Considering that scriptwriting is primarily about dialogue, this is one area I have a keen interest in.

It is the getting into the industry however, that is difficult. Australia doesn't have many game developers, and the biggest ones are hotly contested. I would need to seriously work on my skills in order to get myself with a company that would take me seriously. From there, I feel I could do well if I dedicated myself completely to the craft.

3. Technical Writing

This is one that has only recently shown up on my radar, courtesy of one of the wonderful ladies that I've met NaNoing (for those who NaNo, she's one of my Municipal Liaisons). Writing documentation and the like is something I know I can develop skills in (I've done stuff related to it in other endeavours), but the biggest question hanging over it is whether I have the skills initially to get myself off the ground. I can't say my last job was exactly spectacular for giving me self-confidence in my ability to pick up skills, but I'm at least willing to give it a solid go.

This one I'll probably mull over in-depth, as I want to be sure that I'm not going to flounder like a fish in water if I do decide to go for it.

4. Full-Time Author

This would be the...stereotypical path. Could I do it? Absolutely. Contrary to what some people believe I actually have a lot to say, and I could easily fill up the next X years doing nothing but write. To get there, I would first need to write something amazing (which is easy, right? :P), find an agent/editor to tell me it's not crap, and then successfully pitch it to a publisher. There may or may not be a hell of a lot more behind it, as this is an area I only have just started to lift the lid on.

However, this path would also be challenging for me (at least initially). I'm not someone who can simply sit and write thousands of lines every day of the year - I need some time to just chill out from my thoughts sometimes. I would need to jigger my way of thinking (and writing) to make sure I could sustain what I would need to do to be successful in this area. That being said, once I start getting published there are a range of other things I could jump into, but depends on me being able to get that book published.

So, what do I do?

The honest answer - I don't know. There's a lot to mull over, and a lot of avenues to explore. However, what I do know is that for the first time in god knows how long I have some direction in where I would like to end up.

And for that, I know that I can find a sense of purpose for myself again.

Also, any comments would be greatly appreciated. I like comments <3

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Dog's Lament

I know it's been a while since my last blog post :(

While this blog post will be short and sweet, I want people to take away from it that things underneath the surface of the water may be entirely different to what you see from above it. Here is some food for thought:

I wish someone would tell me
What it is that I've done wrong.
Why do I have to stay chained up and left alone so long?
They seemed so glad to have me,
When I came home as a pup.
There were so many things we'd do,
While I was growing up.
The master said he'd train me,
As a companion and a friend.
The mistress said she'd never fear
To be alone again.
The children said they'd feed me,
And brush me every day.
They'd play with me and walk me,
If only I would stay.
But now the master hasn't time,
The mistress says I shed.
She doesn't want me in the house, not even to be fed.
The children never walk me,
They always say, "Not now."
I wish that I could please them.
Won't someone tell me how?
All I had you see was love.
I wish they would explain.
Why they said they wanted mine,
And left it on a chain. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Good Things in Life

The world we live in often demands many things of us. Gotta get a good education so we can go to a good university and end up with a good job. We have to get a girlfriend/boyfriend, look good, socialize, be a shoulder to cry on, break up, make up, save money to go on holidays, blow our savings on that great pair of jeans...the list goes on and on. Sometimes the tangled web that is the world we live in can feel overwhelming to people. If you believe the stats, the rates of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses is skyrocketing. God knows I've fallen victim to it, and I know plenty of my friends have too.

Often, when I'm feeling overwhelmed/anxious/depressed/etc. I disappear into my own world and ignore what's going on around me. It's my way of processing everything going on around me at the time. I also tend to disappear into my own world after I spend time helping other people - not because it's draining on me but because I try to understand why people do what they do. However, I've begun to learn that if you're spending all of your time focused on something that you miss what's going on around you. Sometimes it's good just to take a step back from things and live for the moment.

A few years ago I was teaching at a catholic school in Kelso, on the edge of Bathurst. I attended a staff development day that was focused on taking care of yourself mentally. Although there are some people who think teaching is a 'bludge job', it actually involves far more work than people see. Even in the classroom, being able to teach effectively requires you to juggle multiple tasks, think on the fly and manage 20-30 children who can go from angel to hell-raiser in the blink of an eye. It really is important to just be able to take that time out for yourself.

One of the tools that we were given that day is to take time out to simply 'exist'. For an hour or so a day, we were told to just take time out and relax. It might be reading a book, going for a walk, having a bath...what matters is that you're taking the time out for you to feel good. I've started to realise how important this is - if you're always taking the time out for everyone else, then sooner or later you're going to be running low emotionally.

For me, it's about rediscovering that youthful wonder about life. Like when you first discovered chocolate fudge brownies, or swinging around on the clothesline in the backyard. I don't think it's so much the big things in life that make life good, but the little things. A few days ago, a friend of mine told me his visa application was improved so he could move to Australia to be with his loved one. He was so excited and bouncing off the walls...I couldn't help but smile about it. Even seeing snow at the first time on campus put a smile on my face. It's these little things that I find make life that little bit spicier.

A wise person once told me that life is about finding the balance between what you need to do and what you want to do. Hopefully some people can come away reading this with an idea about how to add a little happiness to their own lives :).

Monday, February 28, 2011

Taking Lives

Having been floating around the media for the last year or so, the debate regarding euthanasia is one that is both sensitive and polarising. While politicians rant about this on the floor of parliament, it has stirred some emotions in the general public also - my mother once told me that killing yourself is selfish because you leave so much pain behind.

The question is - would you still be so certain when faced with the decision yourself?

Inevitably, there will be people who befall tragedy - car crashes, accidents at work and even old age can take away measures of mobility and freedom in a person. It may come in the form of mental illness, comas, paralysis, and yet they can all have a huge impact on a person's quality of life. When they realise what's happened, sometimes they can spiral into the depths of depression - especially if they've become wheelchair-bound and realise that many of the things they're used to doing they can no longer do independently or at all. Then, there's the psychologists and support groups who attempt to embrace them and get them off on their new path with head held high and a new lust for life.

For some groups such as the elderly, this isn't so much an option. The prospect of losing a loved one that they've had side by side with them for decades is haunting, hanging over them like dark clouds before a thunderstorm. Life without their loved one can often feel worse than the threat of death regarding their own lives. Likewise with cancer patients; while there are times where it seems that there is a chance of them besting cancer, all too often the end result is an end to their life - and sometimes it can be an almightily painful one at that.

Envision for a moment then, that your loved one was suffering terminal cancer. They may only have one month to live, or maybe a year. Regardless though, you know that they will die soon, too soon. You know that all attempts to defeat the cancer have failed, and you know that their final months will be marked with great pain.

The question I ask is - if they asked you to help them die, would you?

For many people, they would say no without thinking twice. Others could find themselves with an internal battle over it, with their love for the other person weighing against the person's desires. We all know what it is like to lose a loved one (whether it be through death or a broken relationship) - the seeming loss of light, the almost wrenching pain as the brain tries to wean itself off the loved person that seems to enhance each and every thing we do.

In the end, we may decide to help that person, or we may decide to have no part in it. In some cases, we may decide to get other people to intervene, whether it be to merely preserve life or to 'knock some sense into the fool' as one person I know called it when broached with the topic. In any case, the decision is one that will inevitably weigh heavily on a person's conscience, without any situation seemingly being a positive one.

How may people then, truly act on the person's wishes? How many have the fortitude to see past their own instincts and desires and do what is truly in the best interest of the person? In many countries around the world euthanasia is still considered illegal (and it some cases, tantamount to murder), while suicide itself no longer is. The irony in this is delicious - euthanasia itself refers to suicide to relieve pain and suffering. How can you possibly draw a line between taking your life to relieve suffering and doing so because of mental illness? At some point, the line becomes blurred - and yet lawmakers don't seem to realise exactly how indistinct those lines actually are. Are they actually arguing against suicide? If so, you can't have it both ways - either legalise suicide or don't. Are they arguing against physician-assisted suicide? If so, they need to debate on that.

Life is something I hold in very high regard - one of the strongest motivators behind my life philosophy. And yet, I've been scoffed at for also being in favor of abortion, in favor of euthanasia and also in favor of assisted suicide if the need be. While life is precious, quality of life is also. This is something that is a very complex issue, and with many avenues conflicts of personal ethics and philosophies the further you dig deep. One such area was in regard of personal freedoms. Originally, I considered it hypocritical that Western countries in particular all too often toot their horns about how democracy is right and about how freedom is held above all else, and yet they still hold on to seemingly selfish laws about issues such as giving a person the freedom to die. And yet, that comesinto my own conflict about my own philosophy regarding abortion. I completely believe that if a parent or parents don't feel that they are capable of appropriately raising a child in this world, then they should abort it. Yet in saying this, I'm disregarding a child's freedom to challenge the world they've been brought up in and create their own excellent quality of life, even if they aren't able to make a decision regarding ending their own life yet. This is only one dilemma that carries with it such a web of ethical and philosophical conflicts, and as a people if we are to move forward regarding this we need to better understand the reasons behind these issues in the first place.

The key is self-awareness; to understand the conflicts and unravel them we must first understand why we think what we think and do what we do. I don't believe there are enough people who do that in the world sadly.

However, why should we forbid something that we ourselves cannot give reason to forbid it in the first place?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Price of Altruism

Although I didn't expect to be writing about this so soon, sometimes the timing of certain events isn't quite so...eloquent. Tonight, I helped a suicidal person gain clarity on some of the issues plaguing him, and (hopefully) set them on the path back to truly living life. Sometimes, the greatest deeds are those that go unnoticed.

A forewarning - this blog post will be full-on and uncensored. Some people may see this as intense, depressing, and/or a myriad of other nice and not-so-nice things. I'm writing this so that people can understand why I have made some of the choices I have made, and that so people can hopefully discover a greater appreciation for those who live to help others.

This is about the night I saved a life.

It was two years ago. I was in my third year of university and I was teaching out of town. I ended up staying with a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless). We fell out of touch up until a few days before I started, and I only found out shortly before I started that it was because his parents had recently separated. While I was uncomfortable with the idea of jumping in on his life with something like that just happening, by the same token I would have been left with a lot of difficulty getting to/from where I was teaching. So, I went and stayed with him.

The first week and a half or so was pretty good. I serttled into the school I was at pretty comfortably (although I didn't do a lot of teaching because of assessments and events), things were clicking well where I was staying, and I was looking forward to really making the most of the five weeks I had. It wasn't until the end of the second week that things started to go downhill.

The first blow came from my mate's father. I don't know all the details, but things between them had deteriorated to the point where we were both kicked out of his house (it was in his father's name, so yeah). We were given two afternoons to move everything out of his house. We ended up having to live out of his mother's loungeroom (and to this day I wish I actually told her how much I appreciated her taking me in when she barely knew me and had no obligation to do so), and managed to get everything out of the house. This was difficult for my mate - I don't know what was going through his head at the time, but I know he needed a hug on at least one occasion.

The second blow was was from my supervisor. I was part of a research project at the university - part of which involved a evaluation of a live lesson (for my uni mates, this was Julie Lancaster's project - I was doing a differentiated lesson). The lesson itself was complex in the method of delivery. At the end of the lesson, the researcher appladued me for taking on what was ultimately a difficult lesson, and feedback on the whole was positive. My supervisor however had different ideas. This was the first full lesson she had observed - prior to that point I had either casual teachers supervising me or I had the class to myself. Ultimately, she put me as 'At Risk', and pushed me off on another supervisor who proceeded to treat me as the special case. It was crushing - I was more or less going completely back to basics and wasting my time on things that weren't doing anything except damaging my self-efficacy. It was difficult for me to work with a new class, but nonetheless I managed to balance it.

The third happened on a weekend. I had done the weekend back home for an event that I didn't end up attending for personal reasons. It was a Saturday night I headed back to where I was staying, and I discovered that it was a night of partying because close friends of my mate were down from Queensland, and it was the first time he'd seen them in ages.

The night went well until words were exchanged and egos were set alight. Then it all went downhill.

I wasn't in the room at the time when it all went down, but I was there for the fallout.  It started with my mate and another person there, but it eventually grew to involve my mate's ex-gf. When you have three people with volatile tempers going off at the same time, it's bound to end badly.

This went on for well over an hour. Eventually, my mate's ex-gf ended up storming outside angry at my mate, my mate was getting aggressive with everyone, and the third person was ready to get violent with anyone (including me when I tried to step in and get everyone to back off).

The next events I remember vividly, as would anyone who has done what I did that night.

At one point, my mate's ex-gf was out the front by herself, quite depressed and upset. She asked me to go back inside and get her keys. Not finding them, I returned outside to find out she had disappeared. Telling my mate, we agreed to split up and search surrounding streets for her. I returned home after combing the streets and not finding her. He didn't.

I don't know what happened between them, but I'm reasonably certain he had either found her or contacted her. After being unable to get into contact with him via phone, a family friend who had stuck around after the blowup got in the car with me and we drove around searching for him. Unable to find him, we had just returned home when the family friend got a message on her phone from my mate. To paraphrase, it said "Please tell my daughter I love her and I'm sorry."

After calling the police and getting them around, my mate called me. He was on the train tracks, and was going to jump in front of the next train heading past. I spent the next few hours in a desperate attempt to try and get him to come around, while also trying to keep the police updated with information and everyone that was awake calm. We had the highway blocked off, and all trains cancelled. It was like a balancing act - the police were trying to get me to push him for information about where he was, but I also knew that it wasn't safe to do so because of how he was mentally. There were also several times he hung up on me, where I was left without any idea of whether I had any effect on him and where I simply had to hope.

Eventually, he called me and told me where he was. I went and picked him up, and after a short detour we ended up at the police station. There, I was given custody of him. I could not let him out of my sight, and was responsible for his wellbeing. At the time, I was only 20. To have that kind of responsibility for anyone can be challenging. I can only imagine what another person my age then would've done when given that choice. For me, that choice was always about what was in my mate's best interests. I had not slept, and it was the morning after before we left the police station. I had no sleep, but I was still repairing the damage from the night before the next day.

Looking back on that night, I can still feel what I was going through - the ever-present fear that I couldn't save a suicidal friend, the empathetic pain that numerous people were feeling behind the fight, the anxiety that every time he hung up was the last I would hear from him. These were all things I had to process after the event, and while trying to handle everything else going on at the time too. That's when things started to go downhill.

First it was his random leavings in the night (for reasons I won't go into here). These were kicks in the gut for me, especially when I woke up the next morning to find him gone and couldn't get into contact with him. Then it was the whole saga with his less-than-stable ex wanting back in on him and their child's life. I was trapped in a fishbowl - I had everything going on around me and had nobody to lean back on. I couldn't lean back on my mate even if he was better because I didn't know how much of his behaviour was him genuinely more positive and how much was a mask.

Breaking point came midway through the fourth week. The night before some sort of blow-up between my mate and his father resulted in me spending half the night disassembling things and shipping them back to his old house. This came at a cost of me preparing what I needed to prepare to teach the following morning. I walked into work that day with a feeling of dread, as I felt really bad for not being prepared even with extenuating circumstances having occured. Informing my supervisor of what happened, I was given a lecture on how everyone goes through hard phases and a spiel on another teacher who had to battle cancer.

That was where I broke. I was completely emotionally drained, I had little sleep and I was feeling worthless. I ended up walking out of where I was teaching that day. A week later, I left where I was staying, and a month later my mate and his ex-gf got back together and moved up to Queensland.

I was left to pick up the pieces and to try to reassemble myself. My mate cut off all contact with me shortly after moving, and didn't reestablish contact with me until a few weeks ago. My studies suffered, and ultimately I left the degree I was in. To this day I still don't know what I mean to my mate, whether I was simply someone in the right place at the right time, or if he really did care about me (although his mother said I was an angel sent by God). I was left completely emotionally trained, and I had to try and pick up the pieces myself. I was left to fight what I was feeling alone, and what stung the most was that I felt like the person whose life I saved didn't really give a damn about me. And yet, I had to live with that. This is the true price of altruism.

Given the same scenario, I would make the same decision in a heartbeat. Not because I know the outcome or because it's what people see as the right thing to do, but because I want to give someone a chance at life. What defines me as a person is nothing more than a deep-seated drive to help people - nothing more, nothing less. However, this comes at a cost. When you are giving so much to the people around you, often you aren't getting back what you're putting in. You become emotionally drained, and over time you can feel more and more stressed out and wound up trying to handle everything going on around you.

I won't lie - the events that happened in those weeks have left wounds that I'm still trying to heal from today. What people need to understand about anyone who gives a lot to other people is that they themselves can be fighting a lot of battles - just because they're helping you oesn't mean that you shouldn't make it known to them that you're there for them too. I wish it was a lesson I learned earlier. I am a tormented soul - there are demons so dark that it pains me to just think about them. There have been countless times where I've needed a hug and never gotten one, and there have been countless times where I've reached out to help someone only to be left baring wounds. These are things other people don't see, but they're the battles that take the greatest toll on me. Despite this, if anyone is in need I will always throw everything aside and do what I can to help them, even if it comes at a price.

Tonight, I gave someone guidance to stop considering taking their life and instead learn to live life again. Sometimes I wonder if other people put more or less thought into helping others, whether they put themselves before others and whether they need ulterior motives to act in such a way. The world we live in is becoming increasingly grey, and what people see as the right thing to do is become increasingly subjective. There are people out there who have been brought up in broken families and broken homes, people who have everything material but nothing emotional.

For some people, the gift of life is the greatest thing you can give them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

30 Days, 30 Memories

One week ago I decided to jump in on the 30 Day Song Challenge. It wasn't to brag about my taste in music (which admittedly has been described by several people as 'awful'), nor to seek attention. I joined it as an avenue to express myself.

Sometimes the most innocent things can have roots that run much deeper. Take for example a girl who buys a copy of The Big Issue on her way to work every month. To passersby, it looks like she' simply helping out a guy on the street. Perhaps she's a 'philanthropist', or perhaps 'she simply wants to help out those less fortunate'. Others around her might see her as simply a good person.

Consider for a moment then, that perhaps she was only homeless herself six months ago, three months ago, last month. She might be buying a magazine from her brother or sister. Maybe she herself is on the brink of being homeless once again. There are many battles that a person faces that the rest of the world is blind to seeing - this is why I place so much importance on being open and friendly to other people; you never know what battles they are facing.

Sometimes, the battles a person faces cause them to become withdrawn. While internalizing everything can be a good coping mechanism for coming to terms with whatever they are trying to deal with, it also makes it more difficult for other people to understand what's going on and thus give them the support they need. It is these deepest moments of personal reflection and understanding that it is most important for one to express themselves so that people can understand where they're coming from. If I'm being honest to myself, the reason I started this blog was to be able to express myself, not for glory or self-glorification or any kind of attention seeking.

For the 30 day song challenge, it's become a very...reflective exercise for me. Therapeutic in a way I suppose. Music for me is a genre where I can connect emotionally to the world around me - particularly through the lyrics. From this first week alone I've walked through some of my happiest moments, as well as my darkest ones.

These are my songs from the first seven days of the challenge:

Day 01 - Your faovurite song

Emilie Autumn - Opheliac

This is the song that first got me hooked on EA. She is a spectacular artist, being able to broach serious personal challenges such as bipolar disorder, rape and depression with dark humor and a lyrics that are raw and poignant.

Opheliac is one of those songs that manages to combine intense lyrics with an almost sadistically playful melody. The overall effect is something that reminds me of a chucky doll - cute on the surface but hiding something so much more sinister beneath.

Day 02 - Your least favourite song

Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

Unfortunately, I wish I could say that there was some hidden meaning behind choosing this song. There isn't though - I just hate listening to it :P. If I was to put more into this I could probably choose a Pink song for reminding me about my ex, but that's neither here nor there.

Day 03 - A song that makes you happy

Daft Punk - Technologic

I'm very much a thinker - although you can't always see it, I spend a lot of time contemplating a range of things. One of the most important things I've learned is that sometimes you just have to put everything to one side and spend time doing nothing other than existing.

For me, this song represents that. There's no intense, thought-provoking lyrics. There is no soul-resonating melody, or muse-like vocals. No, there's nothing else other than a catchy tune. Sometimes, that's all we need.

Day 04 - A song that makes you sad

Evergrey - Broken Wings

This was a difficult day to find an appropriate song for, because 'sad' to me is a very generic emotion that often can be better described. In the end, I could think of a song that managed to fulfill 'sad'. Angry, hurt, envious, wistful, isolated, despairing...but not sad.

This song for me is a very strong reminder of the price I've paid in giving my all in being there for other people and helping them when they're doing it tough. There have been a number of people in my life who have just leeched from me time and time again, but haven't been there for me when I've needed it. This kind of one-way street is something I'm working hard to try and change. The price of altruism is a great one, and you can't always give everything to everyone when they need you - sometimes, you need people around you who are willing to be there for you when you're doing it tough. I haven't found that network of people yet, but I'm still trying.

Day 05 - A song that reminds you of someone

Emilie Autumn - Shalott

Danny Danny Danny, what a clusterfuck of a life you had when I jumped smack bang in the middle of it.  Although you're an extrovert, a party animal and many other things besides, this song reminds me so much of you when you were doing it tough. While you always have on this macho, alpha-male facade, deep down you're a rather sensitive guy. You need to think less about how other people see you and just do what makes you happy.

Day 06 - A song that reminds you of somewhere

Epica - Solitary Ground (Remix)

For this day, I went with a more metaphorical somewhere rather than a physical one. For those who've noticed me become absent-minded and withdrawn, when things are tough I often disappear into the depths of my own mind. ALthough it's difficult to explain, somewhere in there is a place where I feel secure despite what's going on around me - an eye to a storm if you will.

The reason why I went with the remixed version of this song is because it tends to match that real tempest I feel when a lot of things are coming down on me at once.

Day - 07 - A song that reminds you of a certain event

Nightwish - Nemo

One day two years ago, I saved a life. It was a series of events that ultimately caused me to walk away from where I was teaching, my university degree, and so much more. It left me a shadow of myself, and a whole lot of other things besides.

I feel the time to tell this story is coming soon. For now though, it's not yet right.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


So, quite possibly against my better judgement I've decided to start blogging things.

What's going to be contained in this here blog? Good question. Me, I'm a thinker. Why not share it I suppose? :)

And yeah, I suck at intros, so enjoy :)