Sunday, June 03, 2007

No, I'm not dead


A friend of mine lightly complained, well, ok, more like commented, that I hadn't blogged for a while (hi Scott. So, answer, then, or I'll never blog again :-P And I am going to say, you're one to talk, Mister-haven't-blogged-since-August).

'Tis true.

Well, 'tis sort of true. My online persona's been blogging a LOT.

Stories and stuff that I wouldn't want my grandmother to read. ;-)

Also been going through some... stuff. Not all bad stuff, but stuff, anyway.

Friends getting married, others getting engaged. Woo hoo! Yay, and congrats to all.

But anyway, I'm not dead. Feel free to drop me a line.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New Clarionite

There are a few unreasonable bosses out there. *sigh*

Liz Adkins has, unfortunately, had to pull out of Clarion this time around, so Ben Maulbeck (USA) has consented to come along. Congratulations, Ben!

We're in the swing of finalising details for the 2007 Clarion South workshop: soon enough, I'll have a list of blogs of students who will be blogging their experience this time around.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Procrastination goddess

thy name is Heather.

Back when I did EnVision in 2003, I stayed with Peter and Karin, who graciously put me up so that it was actually possible for me to go, amazing, wonderful couple that they are. During this time, Peter coined the phrase "goddess of professional procrastination."

He had good reason. I was supposed to be working on my ms and spent an hour filing up water bottles instead.

Must be back at it, 'cos I'm blogging a lot.

I am going to say in my defence that blogging is, in fact, writing. I edit as I go, even (bet you can't tell. Although, if I didn't all of my sentences would look like this: The quick brownm foc jumped oevr tah laszu dogs. Really).

So, in honour of my not being able to get any further on my book(s) right now and allowing my subconscious to boil while I concentrate on other things, may I present the "Which Tarot Card are you?" meme, link cadged from Lee Battersby's blog.

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Erhm. Ok, then. Procrastination Empress?? Actually, there was a question that I vacillated on the questions, where I seriously had to toss a coin to choose. Do I like "creative pursuits" or "reading, literature and writing" more? Umm... writing is a creative pursuit so chose that one.

The alternative was:

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Whatever. These are silly things anyway.

Must go and mop the floor or something. Then I'll... uh... yeah. Work.

Oh, bollocks....

Yeah, I know cricket season's only just started, but I'm already gosh-awful shyted with The Ashes, so thought I'd have a look at what The saints are doing in their pre-season.

You know, as you do, if you prefer AFL to cricket.


Hamill Undergoes Arthroscope

As reported last week, St Kilda forward Aaron Hamill experienced some soreness in his right knee last week as the Saints commenced their pre-season training.

After further surgical opinion Aaron Hamill has undergone an arthroscope on his right knee for further assessment.


St Kilda has confirmed that star forward Aaron Hamill has undergone arthroscopic knee surgery.

The 29-year old experienced soreness in his right knee last week as the Saints commenced pre-season training and after seeking medical advice, opted for the procedure.

Hamill was restricted to just nine games for St. Kilda this year including the club's 18-point loss to Melbourne in the first week of the finals.

His 2006 season was punctuated by an arthroscopy which saw him miss 13 games after rupturing his posterior cruciate ligament against Geelong in round seven.

It has been a continuation of injury woes for Hamill who only played 12 games the previous year after suffering a similar leg injury.

Nerf, nerf, nerf, nerf, nerf. Sigh.

This team has to be the unluckiest team in human history when it comes to injuries (or, you could argue there's something wrong with their nutrition, physiotherapy or training regimes, but I'm not going to do that because I have no idea whether that's the problem).

Be afraid...

as my wonderful friend would say...

Cainer has this to say yesterday a/m:

Cap: Your Weekend: In some countries there is no democracy. Despots and dictators dispose of all who oppose them. Courtrooms, if they exist at all, do not mete out justice. Biased judges hear fabricated evidence and make prejudiced decisions based on expedience. How far do you have to travel in order to enter such territory? Not far. Close your eyes. Look within. See the ruler of your inner kingdom. Must you quake before this cruel tyrant? No. Hold a revolution and install a benign government at long last.

A-hem. Yeah. Oooo-kay.

And for the record, Nic:

Cancer: Your Weekend: Let more water pass under the bridge. Let more traffic go through the tunnel. Let the big hand pass the little hand a few more times. I know how frustrating it must be to turn to your forecast seeking news of imminent liberation, merely to be told that you ought to wait. I am not, I promise, trying to fob you off with a platitude. Your astrological outlook is truly inspiring. Later this weekend there really will be something to celebrate. The cavalry is riding to your rescue as fast as possible.

Afraid, see.

Hang on, just need to put the horses away. I have to go and be revolting.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Editing Blues & Nostalgia

I was gently but royally told off yesterday, and very rightly so, I should add, for being negative on myself, or rather, my writing.

I am a bit of a believer in the self-fulfilling prophecy. In that, if you believe you can't do something, well, duh, you won't do it. Having said that, I had a Heather moment the other day (for which I will blame the void & dark moon heading into Sagg) where I decided that my writing, once and for all, sucked. And voiced it on my YON group.

I am not a person who says "this is bad writing" when I don't believe it is (likewise, if I say to someone, "this is good", I am not blowing sunshine up your arse, I really mean it and believe it). I honestly looked at it and wondered what the hell I was doing.

I was not being fair on myself, and I know it (and knew it), but still. I had another look at the first 3 chapters of The Beth Book and noticed just about everything that was wrong with it, and honestly went into panic mode, mostly because I'm sending it off to an agent who's requested it soonish and, well, performance anxiety, I think.

Something new and different for me. Panic = Heather? Nope.

Something not new and different for me: decide what I'm doing is crap. Etc etc,. Blah blah blah. Nothing very different from what most writers have to deal with internally from time to time (and time to time to time).

I'm fortunate, though, to have a few people in my life (notably on the YON group lately) who will bring me up short when I do this (and let's face it, every time a writer screams "crap! I'm writing garbage!" it is an honest cry for help. And there's nothing wrong with that, actually. We all need support I think. Some of us *cough*me*cough* are just reluctant to ask for it).

But, as was pointed out to me, every time we say, "I am bad at this" we become a little more so. Quantum physics proves that our thoughts can have an affect (possibly minute but definitely measurable) on the people around us, so what more can a negative internal dialogue do to ourselves? Turns out I keep forgetting that, as we can have a negative self-fulfiller, we can also do the positive. I am very good at wishing good for others and seeing it happen, not so much when it comes to me.

I had Beth put it this way in the book: "I don't hope for stuff. I will either do something or I won't. That is all." That's pretty much where I stand, as well. either something will happen, or it won't. I had already decided, a long time ago, that this would happen. I have learned to ignore my internal voice, so I guess I've forgotten how powerful it can be. So, while I'm deciding that something will haoppen, my internals are botching it up.

I sometimes wonder where it's coming from, but the fear is definitely there (yes, Nic, and I'm actually feeling it this time, not just intellectualising it


If it is bad, and it doesn't get published, then I improve my craft and try again, either with another edit of this book or another book. If it does get published and I earn a royalty from it, then who cares what "everyone" (except those who are actually publishing and/or buying the book) thinks?

And since when have I ever worried about whether something is possible or not? I am the person who, while everyone was telling me that it was stupid/impossible/dangerous to even contemplate having one VBAC, went on to have 5, and at home, too. I'd always been the person who just quietly did things while everyone was telling me that it couldn't be done.

What is so different this time? What is it I'm so afraid of? Why am I trying so hard to make excuses for myself, when I've already decided this will happen?

I forced myself to look very closely at this today rather than fobbing it off this time (I'm way too busy for self-aggrandisement, generally). I am very reluctant to "sell" myself (something every writer has to do). I think part of it is that I have been trained since toddlerhood not to be "arrogant" -- although this was more noticably drummed into me (literally) during my marriage by someone who didn't understand the difference between arrogance and self-belief. As a result, I think I have actually lost the ability to know whether I'm being arrogant or confident (although no trouble seeing the difference in other people). I am naturally very self critical, and my marriage made that tendancy stronger. The same tendency with the writing: I can see "good" or "needs improvement" in other people's stuff but have vast difficulties seeing the good in my own.

I thought I was past that. Obviously not. But, as Louise is fond of saying, writing is cheaper than a psychologist. It's all fodder for the grist. Material for the blog. Mill for the... whatever. I know what I mean.

Meanwhile, I've decided to try writing a couple of the next projects at once. It's the only way to do it right now. Too much happening in my head, and if I don't get it out, the top is likely to blow right off.

So I guess my next writer-development step is learning the difference between constructive self-editing and unrealistic expectation of ability: you know, learning to tell the difference between what is really bad and what is just a result of my own boredom or self-crit. Telling the difference, for me, is very difficult. Is this actually worthwhile or am I blowing sunshine up my own arse? Is this "bit of prose" actually very good or is this one of those times I need to cut due to author "look how clever I am" intrusion?

So, on other matters, there was a 20-year high school reunion a couple of weekends ago that I missed, unfortunately, despite plans to be there (long story best left unsaid). That's Yr 10, btw, not Yr 12. I regret it now, looks like it was a lot of fun. If you stumble onto this blog, feel free to drop me a line: bethgael AT mail2rose dot com

So, now I'm off to write. And to chastise the sneaky little voices that keep loudly proclaiming that I need to get over myself and do something more sensible-like. And to encorage that still, small voice that has already travelled forward in time and seen what I know will happen.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

So, November

I wrote the wrong date on a bank withdrawal slip the other day.

The day was correct, but I wrote the "8" instead of the "11" for November.

Of course, that would be August, wouldn't it. Which is about where I am with the year. 3 months behind. Good grief.

Funnily enough, the teller didn't notice either. Guess she's in the same boat as I.

Busy. My daughter has/ has had a plethora of choir-related commitments (she's in 2, the National one and a school one) and my # 3 son is graduating Yr 7 (end of primary school, for those southerly). Drama plays coming up, too, for #'s 1 & 5. And the regular cricket games continue, too.

I am also supposed to be in Christmas head, and plan-for-next-schoolyear head. That's a bit rude, I think, considering I haven't finished with this year yet *grin*

So far, I have been Very bad, and have not continued with the Next Book. I have a feeling that if I don't start on it soon, I will get into the same slumpy hiatus from last time. I have gone back to the gym, though: almost as painful a return as returning to writing was after a break. Apparently, I'm very co-ordinated, however. :-D

It's almost enough to make me want to sit and watch Buffy DVDs all day.

Or Xena, perhaps.

hehe. Almost.

I once read a writing book where the author commented that having too much freedom could be inhibiting. She was talking about the concept of having a teacher set a writing exercise that was something along the lines of "write whatever you like," and how hard it as to get started from that; how it's easier if someone says something like (this is my example not hers): "imagine a pond. There is a small gnome sitting on one bank, and a fuglehorn on the other. The pond has some mysterious ripples on it. What happens next?"

In my case, I've found the freedom to write inhibiting. I have too many ideas and no time, and settling down to "just one" is proving to be stifling to the point where I freeze and do nothing. That won't last, of course.

So, my plan is to do something that's usually anathema to me, writing-wise: plan. Take each begun project and get it planned out a bit, for story arcs, etc. The one that hums me the most, I'll begin. All going well. The only other alternative is to try to write them all at once, but that usually ends up with my head in "blue screen of death" mode after a while. It'd be OK if they were short stories but sustaining 5 novels at once is not something I've tried.

I can imagine the result, though. Can you say, "lunatic?"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No lurking allowed.... ;-)

Say Hi. You know who you are... :-P

OK, it's been a while since I've had a meme, so here we go:

The Greek Mythology Personality Test (do I really want to know?? You know, 'cos these things are just, like, so accurate, babe).

The Oracle
33% Extroversion, 100% Intuition, 44% Emotiveness, 57% Perceptiveness
Heuristic, detached, and analytical to a fualt, you are most like The Oracle. You are able to tackle any subject with a fine toothed comb, and you possess an ability to pinpoint nuances and shades of meaning that other people do not have and cannot understand. Accomplishment and realization of ideas are, for you, secondary to the rigorous exploration of ideas and questions -- you are, first and foremost, a theorist. You hate authority, convention, tradition, and under no circumstances do you accept a leadership role (although, you will gladly advise leadership when they're going astray, whether they want you to or not). Abstraction and generalities are your interests, details and particulars are usually inconsequential and uninteresting. You excel at language, mathematics and philosophy.

You are typically easy-going and non-confrontational until someone violates one of the very few principles that you deem sacred, at which point you can fly into a rage. Although you possess a much greater understanding of process and systems than the people around you, you are always conscious of the possibility that you've missed something or made a mistake. You don't tend to become attached to particular theories, and will immediately discard mistaken notions once they're revealed to be incorrect (but you don't tolerate iconoclasts who try to discredit validated theories through the use of fallacies and bad data). Despite being outwardly humble, you probably think of yourself as being smarter than most other people. That's because you are. In fact, in your dealings with people your understanding of their motives is so expansive that you know what they're going to say before they say it, and in world affairs, you usually know what is going to take place before it actually does. This ability would make you unbeatable in debates if only you were a little less pensive about your own conclusions, and a little more outgoing.

Famous people like you: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John McWhorter, Ramanujan, Marie Curie, Kurt Godel
Stay clear of: Apollo, Icarus, Hermes, Aphrodite
Seek out: Atlas, Prometheus, Daedalus

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 99% on Extroversion

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You scored higher than 99% on Intuition

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You scored higher than 99% on Emotiveness

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You scored higher than 99% on Perceptiveness
Link: The Greek Mythology Personality Test written by Aleph_Nine on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Yeah. Whatever...

My favourite question:

7. Odysseus gives you a nice big wooden horse as a peace offering because you're totally kicking his ass. You:

Think that's awesome. Best respect. Kiss da ice.
Immediately suspect something.

I mean, duh.

But why, oh why, would he give me a wooden horse for kicking his donkey? I dunna geddit, folks. :-P I mean, forget the horse, just call me Penelope Bean (sorry, random in-joke).

There's an excellent ad for a congestion mediaction atm that plays on the Greek Horse. It's funny. "Yeah. *sniff* Just pulld the thing in and I'll deal with it in the morningk."

Monday, November 06, 2006

It is finished


Now, onto Book # 2.