Saturday, 30 November 2013

Final day on all those November challenges

I managed 32 ideas in PiBoIdMo and some of those are multiple ideas for a series on a theme.

and I managed more than 30 sketches which I have displayed gallery style all over my own bedroom walls. I am going to continue my daily sketching simply as a meditation each day. I feel so calm and content when I sketch.

my 50/30 challenge is only 5000 words from crossing the finish line and I have been very pleased with the way the story has developed. I love the characters and i have made my beta readers laugh and cry so I think I am on the right track

and my Nano tally skidded across the finish line last night for the original novel and the two combined novels have taken me to 95000 words. I will be over the 100000 this evening and I feel incredibly satisfied with myself and the novels. The hard work of tidying and rearranging is yet to come and finding where to send the manuscripts is a job for another day but today I am simply going to finish the last 5000 to stand on the podium of my own challenge win. I have learned so many things from this month and my learning curve will continue as I launch my way into my new career.

Friday, 29 November 2013

the twenty-ninth day

Today is the twenty-ninth day of a few thirty day challenges, NanoWriMo in which I still need to have 14000 words by close of business tomorrow, PiBoIdMo and I have one more idea to come up with, SkaDaMo which is my early morning sanity meditation and one day of sketching to go and RWA which is aligned with NaNo. It has been an enormous challenge to reach this point and after breakfast, which sits beside me here, I will launch into a 7,000 word spree today. My bed is made, my teeth are brushed, the car is at the mechanics for whatever it is that is being fixed and I am ready. Anyone who foolishly approached my door in the next 48 hours had best be wearing cast iron armor. Wish me luck, cheer me to the finish line and pick me up off the floor at the end. :) 100k here I come.

wow what a month.
ideas and words pouring out of my fingertips like smarties from an open bag

904022 words at the end of the day.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

PD'ed out and Ability day.

Today I spent listening to some passionate presenters on the various strategies for assisting people with disabilities to reach their optimum quality of life. There were pyramids and triangles and graphs, sensory toys and online gadgets, things that pinged and things that rattled, microphones which were off, on, too soft or too loud and a lot of sitting. The audience was terrific, the best behaved I have seen in a long time except for one who would not stop whispering and played on the ipad. The morning tea was paltry and I wonder why they bothered, I would have suggested participants pop down to the canteen on the ground floor rather than put out an embarrassment. You can take the girl out of the kitchen but the kitchen stays entrenched. I sometimes think I have stainless steel in my veins.
There is a national celebration of disability day next week and somehow the wording of that bothers me. I am all in favour of celebrating anyone reaching milestones if they have put in the hard work but fundamentally we don't give the gold medals to the last person in the race. No one would choose to be disabled or celebrate being disabled I don't think. Celebrating ,'ability' day might be better. Celebrating the hard work people with disabilities put in to achieve what may seem little increments but are really giant treasured moments, celebrate parents and carers and other advocates everywhere who have put in enormous amounts of time and effort to ensure that people with disabilities are treated with dignity and their human rights respected. Let's celebrate that. Let's celebrate that since the disability act was gazetted it became illegal for teachers and medical people or any other service to discriminate against a person with a disability. Lets celebrate the amazing changes in how early intervention can vastly improve a persons quality of life and let's celebrate care and love and tolerance and learning, understanding and education and celebrate the valuable contribution people make to enrich our society no matter what their abilities are.


My PiBoIdMo idea today was to do with washing machines. As I tried to fall asleep last night listening to the machine in its agitated state, a poem started to form in my head all tumbling and spinning around and around so I got up and wrote it down. :)

Oh one of my skadamo sketches has gone into a published work. How exciting is that. I am excited anyway.

I am off to try and add 5000 words to my novels.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Dr Who Doctor Who 50th anniversary

Tonight I watched the 50th Anniversary special of Dr Who. Thankyou Toby Whithouse.
The appearance of Tom Baker had me sobbing for an hour. I have to stop typing to blow my nose and cry some more. Dr Who was the most influential thing of my childhood and now in this decade of my life has been brilliant. The new writers have taken something so fundamental to the shaping of who I am and treated it with respect and dignity and lots of fun. The new string of actors have brought The Doctor to my children in a manner I eminently approve of. Giving Sarah Jane her own show, having the Brigadier's daughter follow in his footsteps and the hundred million little details that make the whole thing continued magic. Thank you each and every one of the producers, directors, writers (especially the writers), actors and all the cast and crew.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

cheering me on

Goldilocks is 40122 plus Mirrors is 32447 equals my tally at the end of this day being 72569 and my fingertips have pins and needles. If you can dream it, if you want it badly enough, if it is really what you want to do then just do it. If you don't believe in you, surround yourself with people who do believe in you and will hold you up until you believe in you and then keep trying. If you don't make it this time, so what, come back again and again until you do.


Sunday is a day of rest...nah not for me, Sunday is get a whole lot of words on the page so i can meet the deadline. I am not yet back above the line so today is the catch up day. I managed to write five and a half thousand words yesterday and had visitors and went out to the supermarket and dropped in on a friend so today if I lock the door and pretend i am not here I may be able to match that. I hope so.

Today my picture book idea is about being unaware of the world around us. I am thinking of a fairy tale I read when I was young about a princess who rejects all the beautiful real creatures in favour of clockwork ones and is lured in her silk gown into a pigsty for a clockwork toy. The story hints at an attitude more true now than it has ever been. My sketch today is called Oblivious for obvious reasons.

and now it is time for a cup of tea and a fruit smoothie to start the day with.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Yesterday is history,who knows what there is going to be when we meet again...

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed....anyway it was a flat day yesterday and I felt like I achieved nothing of import. I did feel a grief for the death of two trees in my yard. One because wood borers had killed it, burrowing deep. I had watched it slowly dying over the past several years not knowing what to do to prevent its demise and yesterday the tree loppers came along and sliced through the branches and trunk with their variety of chainsaws then turn the stump to sawdust. The chipper came and turned the branches piled high on the front lawn, into tiny flakes of wood. The other tree had already been decimated when the house was built and was relegated to a mere stump, albeit a vigorously healthy stump which keeps putting out shoots to the chagrin of my neighbour. I am all in favour of the stump being vigorous. However the neighbour won this round by lopping off all the offending branches and sending them to the chipper with the branches from the bigger tree. I am planning to replace both trees with three more and deciding what I want to put in there. The tree loppers wanted to take out all my big trees and I felt very angry at the stupidity and shortsightedness of such a suggestion. One of them suggested I put in a nice shrub. I wanted to respond more aggressively to that suggestion but managed to contain myself.Sadly, no matter what I plant I will be unlikely to see it in full canopied glory, shading the house and providing shelter for cicadas and birds. A tree is a lifetime commitment.

Sometimes I feel we are all angry selfish babies and it is "All about me".

Today is a better day. Today I had a beautiful fruit salad for breakfast and then set about doing some drawing and getting my blog back on track after neglecting it yesterday. I only managed a meagre 400 words on my novels so today I will dedicate time and effort to building my word count. It is a better day today and I will have momentous results from a more positive attitude.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Later the same day...

Today as I watched young people making giant scones and murdering dough and then cleaning up after themselves and while I waited for a lass to make me a hot chocolate I decided I should draw something and one girl said "hey draw a lizard" so I did, not realising she had her inspirations from a poster of a lizard made entirely from legumes. I like that legume lizard but mine is a line lizard.

Later in the day while listening to young people bemoan their fate, in having to be stuck in 'skewl', I came up with a picture book idea for grown ups. It is a bit sarcastic and tongue in cheek irony. 'I don't wanna go to skewl' plays on that joke where the mother is trying desperately to get her son out of bed and tells him he must go and he responds with 'but everybody hates me, the kids hate me, the teachers hate me, even the cleaner hates me. Give me one good reason why I should go to school?" and his mother replies "You are the principal!". On the world scale our kids have an incredibly easy school life and the boundaries which they cannot cross have almost disappeared. The children who don't wish to learn simply don't, to they frustration of classroom teachers and the chagrin of those students who do wish to learn and have their learning constantly interrupted. We have no class rankings except in year 12 and minimal challenge or incentive for our students to do any more than the absolute minimum required to warm a seat for thirteen years. It amazes me how Australians are able to hold their own or lead the feild in so many things around the world with the lax schooling we all ooze through. So I am thinking of a picture book to encapsulate SKEWL as I have experienced it, as a child, as a parent, as a homeschooling parent and as an employee. Should be fun. I have also reached the 30k mark on both novels. Only 40k to go to the finish line on November the thirtieth.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Paper and Ink

This is my 'teddies at the races' original pencil sketch scanned on 'documents-colour-300dpi'

This is the same picture but scanned 'documents-black and white- 300dpi'

and this is a print copy of the teddies from the original drawing but I have touched it up with an o.6 medium fine liner. The background is almost non existent in this one.

The things I am learning this year are astounding. How to put widgets in my blog, how to scan, how to upload and crop and do all sorts of digital things to my images, I am even learning about paper quality and that not all whites are white. None of this is new of course but even when I studied as soon as the course was over, if I wasn't using the knowledge it slipped from my conscious awareness. Now I am back in the swing and upgrading my artistic toolbox by learning about digital art. I am a long way from competent but I am sure I will achieve a good grasp of the rudimentary skills. So now I know why some pictures have scanned as grey and some clear, I know why someone said "Your ink needs work" and how I need my fine liners to highlight the pencil work so they can come out on the blog or other online sites and look clear and bright.

So Many ideas for piboidmo. I am going to continue this morning routine when November is over. I like thinking up ideas and doing sketches each day. It is good for my inner innards.

Now on to some sprinting.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Tuesday all the way...19th day of all those 'mo's

So today had a lot of bugs in it which brings me to my picture book idea for today. I want to explore the life of a particular insect which I quite love and which is part of my childhood. I think this elusive bug needs a bit more publicity and I would like children to know about it. I like insects and don't like using pesticides. I remember a story from my childhood about farmers complaining about birds which ate a bit of fruit and so they killed them or netted off their crops to stop the birds and then the insects came in droves and ruined the crops so the farmers poisoned the insects and so on and so forth until the whole cycle was destroyed. It had a strong impact on me. I want to write a story about the beauty of insects rather than a doom and gloom one. I think kids would be just as likely to be environmentally responsible because they love ad want to protect a thing. I am thinking about the nutritional value of locusts and the bad publicity they have had for far too long. I think locusts are natures way of providing food after a long spell of harsh weather but typical of humans we destroy what nature provides rather than embrace it.

Now on to my nanowrimo and rwa words which need to move on up.

Monday, 18 November 2013

15th 16th 17th 18th and home again

Well what a good weekend I have spent and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Now I have to sort my health routines out. It is late so my spelling is less than idea and my ideas are stream of consiousness but I am setting the alarm for 6am and already planning to walk with the kidlings. Time to add the fitness into the daily overall plans. I had four good ideas over the past few days for my PiBoIdMo and kept up with my SkaDaMo sketches but I fell behind on my word tally for NaNoWriMo and RWA so back to the keyboard and my routines. Fortunately I had my 50k+ midway point already behind me. Onwards to the next 50k and the finish line in two short weeks. I can do it!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

surprises and support

Here we are Izzy and I in Melbourne and I am logging in to blog at 11.24pm. I have done my SkaDaMo sketches each day and my PiBoIdMo idea and although my word count is not high, I have written some more to my historical back story and I read it out to an appreciative audience who all yelled at me because there wasn't enough story and saying things like "Rude word to you" or "But what happens to such and such a character?" which is all very positive.

The trip to Melbourne is exhausting. I think a 3 1/2 hour trip is too long because I am not fit enough. If I am intending to travel in the not too distant future I need to put the same determination into getting fit as I am now putting into writing daily. My nephew bought one of my sons all the way to Warrnambool then drove me back to Melbourne so he had driven for 7 hours.

Yesterday, my nephew had been built up to believe we were coming to his sister's welcome home party being held on his birthday. He was disappointed that all his friends were busy on his birthday so he could not go to any alternate venue to celebrate. As the day progressed, more and more people turned up for the welcome home and said such things as 'oh is it your birthday too?' and then finally all his friends turned up en masse and everyone yelled 'surprise'. It was such fun. two parties in one and lots of people celebrating and sharing food and love. The noises swirled around me as I sat on my sister's rocking chair just to the edge of the festivities and I fell asleep. In the middle of the day, in the middle of a party amongst strangers and not so strangers, I fell asleep.

Later in the evening I went to a lovely lady's home with her L plate driving son scaring 47 years off my life. Luckily I intend living to 121 so the extra 47 years would have taken me to 168. We had delicious food and lots of company talking about all sorts of interesting things. One of the things I found in the conversation was the assumption that the things done in the small town they were all from were things exclusive to that small town. Everyone there was from the same area of a country not Australia and they were reminiscing about the past and their various connections and I began to remember conversations I had listened to with other groups of people from different countries and they all say the same things. The sentimental view of a place seen through the filters of time and distance give it a glamour it probably doesn't have in reality or didn't have even when they were there. When a group from the same place gets together they gloss over the reasons they left there in the first place and forget to discuss why they 'got out' so eagerly and what attracted them to another place. What was it that they needed from the new place? I have a new friend who is lonely here in Australia because she hasn't yet formed the friendship networks like those she left behind. It is hard to break into new groups and sometimes easier to seek out people who have the past in common but not always a beneficial choice. Being in a new place can make life very difficult and lonely. Having moved so many times in my life I attached sentimental values to the place I spent most of my childhood. Recently I have questioned that sentiment since there were more negative memories associated with the place than positive ones and I wondered why I would consider it 'home'. I have come to understand it is the environment more than the relationships that I most appreciate in that place. The trees, mountains and river and the scent of those is what I miss most.
Everywhere I have lived I have met wonderful and interesting people from all the lands on earth and all walks of life and the stories I hear from them are both individual and the same. We are all simply people trying to live our lives the best way we can and hopefully along the way we can find a few like minded individuals we can add to our chosen family.

Today I went with my sister and niece up into the Dandenong ranges to a community activity to support a young man who wishes to attend an overseas trip with his school next year. Clothing and bric a brac, art and food were for sale by donation. Everyone was sharing a huge pot of chai and talking about life and peace and the world and stopping corporate giants stomping on their lives. They spoke of giving young people an opportunity to experience community and to let them know they are not alone struggling with this fast paced crazy world of ours. I purchased a fedora and a clown suit and a red cardigan for my daughter. The people were like a living rainbow. There was a weathered man who painted and had lived in Arnem land for a while, a lady in her late sixties dressed in polka dots and orange who busks in the city with her friend the clown, a woman trying on clothes and giving a bit of a fashion parade, a young artistic girl making lovely notebooks, teenage boys and a lady with vivid red hair, another with layers of clothing in greens and browns, a woman with snow white hair and a peace filled face, older, younger, and children all smiling and talking and laughing and trying on clothes and donating their time and goods and energy to help. It was simply nourishing on every level. I had tea and waffles made for me and came back to my sister's house feeling peaceful and content.

It is almost midnight now and I need to go to bed shortly. I will upload my weekend pictures once I get home tomorrow. A new week and another 25k to write and more wonderful opportunities to pursue all start in the morning but right now it is time to sleep.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Birthday Parties

My daughter loved her birthday parties. No sooner was one over than she was planning the next and I am sure she has some big plans up her sleeves for the next few. My job is to make them happen in a memorable way with food and decorations and invitations and of course entertainment. Parents all over the world do this, some in big ways some in small ways but all of them celebrating the significance of their child in their life. Parties are a logistical nightmare. When my daughter and her friends reached their late single digits and had just slipped into doubles (10 and 11) I decided that the girls and a smattering of boys could do the party themselves. Under careful supervision, instead of party games, the children made the party food. The cake, the icing, the jelly, the sausage rolls and fairy floss(cotton candy/cotton floss) and even the cordial. They cutup fruit and made sandwiches and were allowed to use the knives and blender and the oven. Aprons were found to cover party clothes and hair tied back and one or two chef's hats were dusted off from my former career and oh what a lot of fun they had. They had to clean up too and that became a party game just as much as nay other. There was nary a crumb to be seen at the end of the party and the children went home with the spoils they had made themselves.The children are now teenagers and they still talk about the cooking parties. They are all mad keen TV chef fans and so my PiBoIdMo is about cooking for kids as is today's hasty sketch for SkaDaMo in fine liner.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

I'm spinning around

Lets talk dot painting and pointilism a bit later on and also today's PIBoIdMo but right now it is back to work.

It is later and the day has slipped by with surveys and mathematics, English, science and art, lost pencils, stolen keys, found trees, rude boys and odd weather. A typical day really.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

How to cut a coin in half

Today's PiBoIdMo idea stemmed from a dream I awoke from in which a teenage girl was visiting elderly relatives with her younger siblings. The uncle was encouraging the children to be inquisitive and rowdy and the older sister was trying to keep them in line. The uncle admonished her for being too straight laced and constrained and she retorted that she too would love to let loose and run around yelling and leaping but her needs did not outweigh her responsibility to keep the others safe or the neighbours rights to live quietly. It was an interesting debate between the two and the rest was irrelevant but I think I should mention the pregnant man and the clash between other siblings in the city(my dreams are often vivid and weird).
So then my dream wandered to a centrelink scene with some person screaming at the person working there that they had rights and the worker holding up a five cent coin and saying 'should I cut this in half and give it to you? This is legal tender and on this side there is a small animal and it represents your rights, your right to all the things you are yelling about but not once do you turn the coin around and look at the head of the monarch on this side. This side represents responsibility. It is a two sided coin. If I cut it in half it is no longer legal tender. Did I mention my dreams were weird? The worker went on to give quite a lecture on rights AND responsibilities. I woke up thinking about Baa Baa Rainbow sheep, which some thick witted fool decided was more appropriate than baa baa black sheep because a black sheep was racist or some moronic interpretation of the old nursery rhyme. A sheep is a sheep. In times past the wool of a black sheep was highly prized over that of white sheep. It is a sheep. A black sheep just as the nursery rhyme depicts. Then people decided they wanted red and purple and pink and green wool so the white wool became more prevalent because it can be dyed. Funny how fashion changes things. Now the only rainbow sheep that might exist is in a twisted ditty, because scientists haven't worked out how to pre-dye the wool unless we go back to black sheep and so there isn't one. A rain bow sheep - there isn't one! Except in that idiotic changed song that kids are being forced to sing in case they might misconstrue a sheep as a racist icon. How ridiculous. Why not talk to the kids about counting and sheep and historical context and fashion instead of pretending there is something racist about it? Why not be a responsible adult and talk to kids about lots of things. Enrich their world instead of restricting it.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

the twefth of November and I am late to the keys

I woke with the alarm and ignored it as I did the next and the next and finally dragged my groggy self out of bed nad into the shower. I should not have stayed up last night to knock out that extra fifteen hundred words so I didn't blog and I didn't sit happily in the early morning sunlight and I didn't sketch at all until much later in the day. Still it was an interesting day. I gave a talk to a year 7 class about being a writer. The boys all wanted to know about how much money a writer makes and the girls lit up only when we talked about that directionally challenged group of boys. The teacher seemed to think it was a good talk. I covered such aspects as collaborating on covers and time frames, rejections and of course JK Rowling and Harry Potter.
I talked about observing . recording . remembering . and reading copious amounts. The boys were quite engnged once we talked about games and I told them I had been asked to write the storyline for a game. reading out loud to them was a bit daunting, there was no feedback at all. I feel it would have been much easier to link my device to the smart board and scrolled through my blog with bright colours and pretty pictures. Next time.

My PiBoIdMo and Skadamo are here: Odd things and the interesting ability of some people to have an encyclopedic knowledge on a particular subject.