I had an interesting idea for a blog post in the middle of the night and didn’t write it down. So I forgot.

Instead I will tell you one thing:

There was a five legged huntsman in the house last night with the longest legs I have ever seen on a spider.



Every now and then you read something and it inspires. Sometimes it inspires you to do something for the betterment of the world, sometimes to make a change for yourself.

One of the the changes I’ve wanted to make to myself is to waste less money. I don’t have money to spend, but I want to be one of those freaky frugal people you see on the television (okay, so not that bad because I’m not going to start reusing wipes to save a penny or two. Ew).

Recently I came across this article. It is an excerpt from a book by a woman who “didn’t spend anything for a year”. Of course she spent some money, on things like food and eating out every now and then. In fact, she seemed to spend a lot, but that’t not the point. The point is, it is still inspiring.

I haven’t read the book, but I would like to. It’s been a few days since I’ve read the article but I continue to waste money. I think perhaps I should keep a blog about this sort of thing, but it wouldn’t be very interesting. Most of the articles talk about how to save $5000 a year, or pay off $10,000 of debt in two years. I don’t earn $5000 to save!

Again, I’ve lost the plot of where I am going. I need to get this blog into order. Go read the article. That’s it.

Job Searching

It’s Wednesday again and I have nothing interesting to say, again. So I thought I would talk about this morning.

I’m looking for a job. Pretty much any job. I would prefer to be a writer (or work at a bookstore), but that’s a long, slow process that generally doesn’t involve a lot of money. So I need a job that pays.

This morning I was to have an interview. I had to fill in a series of questionnaires and I knew before I had even gotten through that I wouldn’t be getting the job. You see, I have joint issues. What’s causing my joint issues? I don’t know, that’s just what the doctors call it. Kind of like, ‘you’ve got joint problems, suck it up’.

One of my issues is my lower back. I had a fall when I was seventeen and it has hurt since then. A couple of years go it got worse (I fell off a unicycle…). When I did a health check for another job my back was an issue. There’s this test you do where you lift a weight and you’re supposed to get a certain level of weight. While my back wasn’t hurting at the time I couldn’t lift anywhere near half the weights that I was supposed to. He even gave me a second chance. They asked if I was able to lift heavy weights on the questionnaire.

My joints for the most part won’t affect my ability to work, except in heavy labor jobs, but it still stops people from wanting to hire me.

Then there’s my achilles tendon. It’s only been a problem for three years, and shouldn’t really be a problem, but until I found the doctor with I’m with, doctor’s standard response to my swollen achilles, the one that hurt so much for twelve months that I couldn’t wear shoes because it hurt that much to touch it, was ‘it’ll get better by itself’. They seemed to assume that because I had been hit by a trolley it would heal itself.

Eventually, after twelve months when it was finally starting to feel better, I got an ultrasound. There were two small tears in my tendon. They had scarred because I walked on them when I shouldn’t have been. Now I’m stuck with it. There’s a constant lump on the tendon, occasionally it swells up, and some days it hurts. There’s nothing to do about it.

Of course none of this would be a problem if I could get a job as a receptionist or in a supermarket, or SOMEONE GIVE ME A JOB.

Or buy my books for millions of dollars. And then I can keep writing.


New Years Habits

At the beginning of the year I decided on a series of habits that I was going to get into. They’re normal things, like making sure I keep the house clean, I eat well, exercise daily.

One of the habits was blogging once a week on a Wednesday. I thought that would give me enough time to come up with something interesting to say, only I thought yesterday was Tuesday when it was in fact Wednesday, and I didn’t post. Nor had I really come up with something interesting to say.

Perhaps I could talk about how reading across the continents one of the things I’ve realised is that the Asian countries I have read so far are the most different in style to English books I normally read.

Or I could talk about forming new habits and new years resolutions. We’re two weeks into the new year, so it may be too late for that post. Of course, this is a personal blog, written with the intention of becoming a platform for promoting my writing (once a month, on the last day of the month, in theory if I remember, I will post a short story), so I can write what I want.

Maybe I could live blog this episode of Travelers, a show which last season I loved and binged but this season am having trouble getting into (I think it’s because at the moment I’m more into the dark thrillers, especially the English shows, and the lifestyle home channel). They are talking about placental abruption on the show at the moment, which I had. I had to have an emergency c-section.

Or, I could leave it at this, because as usual I am rambling. So, if someone reads this, unlikely, I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Reading Challenge

One of the most common bits of advice authors give out when asked how to become a good writer is that you should be reading. You should read a lot. Now, I’ve never understood people who like to write but hate to read, but they exist. I love to read. I read at least one book a week. The more I write the less I read, but that’s because the time is being swapped about.

This year I’ve challenged myself to take a world tour of books. I want to read 52 books from 52 different countries. I would like to spread the love evenly between the continents, except for Australia of course. Australia, England, and the US are not included. NZ I’ve kept on the list because I haven’t read many books from there.

The love is starting with Scandinavia, which feels like a bit of a cheat. Unfortunately  my library only has three of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s books, all of which I’ve read, so I won’t be using him to fill the Swedish slot.

I’ll keep updating where I’ve traveled to on this blog.

What, if any, are your reading challenges?

Metoclopramide & Akinesia

The last couple of months have been rough. Actually, it’s been a rough few years, but I’m focusing on the last two months specifically for this post, as it relates to writing.

A couple of months ago I started getting heart palpitations. I’ve always had them but on this specific day they just kept coming and coming. It felt as though my heart had skipped a beat, then come back extra hard. Like it was fluttering around in my chest. Like it was clogging up.

Needless to say, I panicked.

After wearing a holter monitor for twenty four hours, it turns out that I get around fifty of these a day. But so do most people. Lots of people getting them and don’t feel them. I was just feeling them.

It took me some time to believe them when they told me that. When my chest starts hurting I have to remind myself that it’s normal, that it’s anxiety also. And costochondritis (inflammation of the joints in the chest). Sometimes that can be hard.

During this time I started taking a medication. One of the common side effects of it is nausea, so I started taking metoclopramide. For the next two weeks I got worse and worse. My anxiety was through the roof. I was restless. I had no appetite and was eating around 1000kj a day (about 300 calories).

It got so bad that I couldn’t sit still. I would sit and have to stand up. I would stand and have to sit down. Think of days when you’re restless and multiply that by one hundred. I couldn’t deal with it.

I ended up going up to the hospital because I was losing my mind.

Turns out that this restlessness was a side effect of the metoclopramide. Akinesia. The doctor said to stop taking it right away. After eight hours it started easing off. After about five or so days the last of the effects wore off.

Thousands of people take it every single day and it doesn’t do this to them.

Thinking back there were early signs, but they were all ignored. Like my eye twitching. Not my eyelid, my actual eye. I couldn’t focus on anything because it jittered around. Or the twitches I kept getting could have been another sign. The constant tension in all my muscles. The grinding of my teeth until I broke one also. It was pretty awful.

I didn’t write for that month. For the first two weeks I watched every single episode of Will & Grace. Then after that I couldn’t even watch television. I spent all my time trying to not walk around in circles.

I do wonder how it was missed. I know that it isn’t a common side effect, but it is a known one. According to the internet, in the US they have to have a warning about it on the box. My box didn’t even come with a pamphlet. If it had I might have caught it earlier.

Maybe it would have gone undiagnosed if I hadn’t talked to a doctor who had seen someone else have the exact same reaction the day before.

I don’t know how to end this post. I just knew that I had to write, so I did. And now I think I have to do the dishes, even if I don’t want to. Then I should write!

The Writer’s Platform

Since deciding to become a proper author – and by that I mean trying to get published/self publishing, I’ve done some research. There’s a lot to learn, especially if I’m going to self-publish, but one of the things which transcends both methods is the need for a writing platform, especially in social media. This makes sense in modern society, but there is one problem – I am really bad at social media. This blog included!

To tackle this I’ve decided to dedicate an hour each day to the Social Media Hour, where I tweet something, I read other people’s tweets and interact with them, sometimes blog. Now, I’m perfectly happy to scroll through the bottomless pit that is twitter for hours on end, but it is the interacting part that I am terrible at. I don’t want to interact with people just to push my platform. No one else wants that either. When someone tweets something, posts on Facebook, writes a blog post, it’s about them. Interacting with them just to promote myself is selfish, and it makes this so much harder.

So I don’t. I still spend an hour on social media, but I only interact if I am genuine. I’m more than happy to like a bunch of posts/tweets, because it is the easiest way to interact, to say ‘I see you and I like what you’re putting out’. Replying though, that’s much harder.

Over the last couple of years, since someone said something that resonated with me, I keep my opinion to myself (at least on line). Sometimes I will read a blog post and I will construct a reply and then I won’t post it because I think “does this really add to the conversation?” or “does anyone really need to know this?”. There’s variations, but normally the response is ‘no’, so I keep my trap shut.

Part of this building a platform means occasionally ignoring that voice and posting it, like this post, or perhaps trying to actually have something interesting to add.

The one thing that has come out of this Social Media Hour is that I’ve encountered a lot of interesting tweets and posts that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Now, I should write and edit my novel, not write a blog post no one will read. At least this is a constructive part of my platform!

The Writer and Self Doubt

One look on Twitter is enough to know that a lot, if not most, authors struggle with self doubt. I’m one of them.

When I am in the midst of the first draft, when the story is flowing onto the screen, all self doubt is put aside. But then there are days when the ideas are stuck, when I have an idea but I don’t think I have the talent to tell it. Worst – when I am editing. I still love the story, but I question every sentence and word.

Self doubt manifests itself in me as fatigue. I will be feeling up to the task of writing, but the moment I sit before the computer my brain becomes lead. Fatigue winds itself through my blood until I lay my head down or step away.

I know what it is and I know that all I have to do is power through it, tell myself it doesn’t matter, but some days I just can’t. Some days I shut down the computer and watch the cooking channel instead.


On a side note there are other things that cause fatigue in me – cola, coffee, and chocolate. The two things they all have in common is clearly caffeine and sugar, so perhaps I should avoid them, but screw that. Actually, I don’t drink coffee because if I do I know that within thirty minutes I will need a nap. This has nothing to do with anything, except that I just drank cola and now I’m tired and I should be editing.

First Rejection

When I decided to send my writing out to publishers and the likes I knew that I would be facing rejection. In my dreams I imagined they would all be like “this is totally awesome and we’ve got to have it” but, you know, reality.

As far as rejections go, it was a nice one to have first because it was really friendly. It softened the blow a little. I won’t name names. I sent out to this publisher because after a little research (though clearly not enough into their catalogues) I learned they were one of the ones that authors like to work for/with. They have a really good reputation. The way they handle rejections goes a way to confirm that for me.

I don’t think there is much more I can say on this. Getting rejected still sucks, though at least the first one is out of the way. I’ve got the shakes a little (that could be sugar withdrawal because I just went on a diet), but that’s it.

I suppose there is one big difference to how I feel about this now to how I felt about rejection once upon a time – I write because I love to. Even if I never get traditionally published I can still write.

For now I am going to stomp around the house until I find something full of sugar and caffeine, then complain because I can’t have it.

The Lights of Crooked Corner

On the morning of March 3, the people of Crooked Corner woke believing that it was going to be a day like any other.

Hannah Woolcroft was the first person to spot the lights in the sky. She was standing in her backyard, enjoying the cool and the quiet of the pre-dawn. She woke at four thirty every morning, so she could have time to herself, the only time alone she would get for the rest of the day. Her husband would be out of bed in an hour, their children a hour after that. She would spend those hours running around, preparing breakfasts and lunches, rarely having a moment to stop and sip her own cold coffee.

Once her children were off to school and her husband off to work, it would be time for her to head off to her own job. The next nine hours, including her lunch break because they seemed to have forgotten what that meant where she worked, would be spent running errands around the hospital, cleaning up other people’s messes and taking complaints from anyone who thought that because she wore a uniform she would have a clue what happened around there.

Hannah was considering all of this, wondering how bad it would be of her if she crushed some of his sleeping tablets into his after dinner drink, when the light appeared. One moment the light was there and then it wasn’t. As it first approached she didn’t give it much thought. She had seen many falling stars in her morning retreat, but this one was different. Instead of burning up in half a moment, it streaked across the sky, bright, white and silent, getting bigger with each second. As it rushed overhead, the sound of the rushing air squeezing in around her, the autumn leaves lifting off the ground and blowing across the yard. The silence that followed was also the silence that came with the snow; absolute and at once terrifying and peaceful.

She rushed inside to tell her husband, rousing him from his sleep. He grunted his disbelief at her, pushing her away with a violent shove that sent her crashing to the floor and bruised her hip for the next week. Later, when the whole town talked about the lights, he would tell the others he had believed her all along. Eventually, the more that he told the story, it would change to him standing there right beside her, the first to catch a glimpse.

Soon after that other people began to see the lights. A trucker heading out to work, coffee in hand, leaned forward against his steering wheel as he spotted the first light racing above him. Instead of crashing to the ground in a shower of sparks and debris, it dipped and turned back towards the town like a practised dancer. The trucker slammed on his brakes, unsure of his state of mind. A young athlete, working her way through college, was out for a morning run when the same light that the trucker saw flashed by her in an instant, bringing her to an abrupt halt. She pulled her earphones out in time to hear the rushing wind that tugged her forward, the tinny sound of the music from her headphones washed away.

Jackson Pullman, a thirty year old man who hated his job, stood on the roof of the station with his phone in his hand, telling the people of Crooked Corner about the light dancing above their town. As he spoke a second light joined the first. It was a little smaller, feistier, he told them. “Look outside for yourselves”, he insisted to the few people that were still listening to him. “They’re dancing.” And to most people that is what it looked like. The two orbs circled one another, swing close to the ground, kissing each other briefly as they close in on one another.

Like Jackson Pullman, Rudy Fuller was standing on a roof. From up there at the school on the hill he could make out most of the town. He was the first to see the third light join the other two. Before long the new lights, one brighter and one small than the others there were half a dozen lights dancing in the sky, playing out a tango that kept the whole town in awe. They rose and they dipped, sometimes coming so close to Rudy on his rooftop their warmth brushed his skin, the buzz they made rattling his bones.

At first all Rudy could do was stand and stare at it, wonder at it. This, he knew, would be a once in a lifetime chance. No sooner had he decided to go down and have a closer look at it than the second one landed. One of the few people who hadn’t caught on to the buzz about town, a kid dressed for school, went running into the field.

Canasta Grillo, Rudy Fuller’s least favourite student, had been so busy looking at his feet as he walked to school he had never noticed the lights flying over his head. If he had heard, which he hadn’t, he would have thought it was a plane, or a car, or even a bird. He was too busy wondering how he was going to make dinner out of a loaf of stale bread and mouldy cheese to have seen them, until he walked into the school grounds and the third one was zipping by, circling the school and him.

Canasta and Rudy came around different corners of the gymnasium simultaneously as the last of the lights landed in the centre of the field. Rudy saw Canasta, and with instant revulsion wished that it had been any other kid. If he had to share this with anyone else he wouldn’t have chosen him. For a flash he considered telling him to stay away because they didn’t know what they were, but in a moment of unusual kindness he changed his mind. He turned back and kept running towards the lights, hoping to get there first. He wanted to be able to say he was the first.

The little orbs hummed and they buzzed, the sounds not uniform but a seemingly a conversation that neither Canasta nor Rudy understood. They looked at each other, the only moment in their lives they two of them would understand the other, and smiled.

Canasta first caught the sirens as they pulled up outside of the school. The hair on the back of his neck bristled, his body prepared to go into flight. There was no way they could blame him for this, surely.

He turned back to the lights and it didn’t really matter to him what they thought about him, so long as he could look at them a little longer nothing else mattered very much. Whatever happened after today he would always have this.

Officer Juan Rogers was the first official to arrive. He outran his partner by a half minute, shouting orders at Canasta and Rudy to move away from the lights. He didn’t know what they were but he didn’t want civilians getting too close. They ignored his orders and kept getting closer, stopping only as the lights began to morph into a series of strange shapes.

When they had first landed the lights were orbs, but as the crowd watched on, the light faded in an out, and the balls morphed in and out of shapes too quickly to be caught. Officer Rogers stopped running, stopped barking orders, and stood beside Canasta as the lights took on different forms.

The nearest one, the smallest, one moment looked like it was about to become a rabbit, then the next it was a blob again, before trying to take on the shape of a face. Later, when they went through Officer Cullum’s chest camera footage, the only shape that anyone could ever agree on was that at one point it looked a lot like Benny Goodman.

Soon half the town was standing on the lawn of the school, pushing at each other to get a better view. The town’s few local news reporters, and a few of the more resourceful of the townsfolk, had climbed up to the roof of the school where an hour earlier Rudy had been standing. From there they watched as the crowd swarmed, undulating almost the same way as the orbs. Half of the people down still wore their pyjamas, their hair unbrushed and their plans for their days forgotten. Everyone wanted to get near them, have their moment with the lights. They wanted to say they had been there and seen them.

Those closest to the lights took a step backwards and the crowd surged outwards . People at the outer most edge couldn’t see what was happening but they sensed the alarm that rippled through the crowd, picking up on it and pulling back a little farther.

The panic didn’t last long. The single large blob of light, twisted about itself as molten glass, the light inside burning brighter and brighter until all of a sudden the town of Crooked Corner was awash with a white light. Their skin tingled as it touched them all, and for a single moment in time every single person in Crooked Corner knew their neighbour, knew themselves better than they ever would again. Every atom in their body tingled with a queer warmth when asked later most people described as love.

The light withdrew, the orb twisting about itself before finally settling into a single shape. It took on the form of a woman, tall and lean, with long flowing hair and delicate hands. There was not one person in that crowd who looked upon her who didn’t think that she was beautiful.

Officer Rogers, who with three of his fellow officers had managed to stop people from doing anything too stupid, not because they were very good at their job but because most of them were too afraid to actually do anything, took a step forward. The words of his great grandmother came to him for the first time since his childhood, her prayers playing through his memories.

Without warning the light melted, changing back into six blobs, their light fading in and out as they rounded themselves back into orbs. Officer Rogers let his hand fall by his side. Those watching said that right until the final moment her was smiling. They circled him, slowly at first, then faster and faster until nothing remained but a blur. Some said they caught glimpses of Rogers, others said that they only the curtain of light that surrounded him. Camera footage was inconclusive.

And then they were gone, along with Officer Rogers. The first one darted into the air, followed by the second, and then one by one the others until the place where the woman, the angel, the ball of light, had been standing was nothing but grass and silence.

The crowd stood around staring at the spot for a good while waiting for them to come back. They stared up into the sky, waiting, until one by one, the crowd drifted away. Only a few stragglers remained, the last of the police force milling around waiting around for answers or trying to come up with what they would tell Roger’s wife. Eventually even they went home.

On March 4, Hannah Woolcroft stood in the pre-dawn light of her back yard, waiting for the lights to come back. She wasn’t alone this time. She was joined by her husband and her children, and by the sounds of the voices of a few thousand other people waiting in their own yards for one more glimpse, one more moment in that light.