books

2017: Good byes and fresh starts, books, and parenting

It’s a warm Thursday afternoon in the middle of the summer school holidays. The sun is shining, the cicadas are chirping, and I’m listening to classical music.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 Days 5,6,7

It’s Day 7 of NaNoWriMo here in Melbourne, Australia. What started out as a sunny spring day is now clouding over, as a north wind blows warm pollen-heavy air across the hills and into my sinuses. God bless the inventor of antihistamines.

I just noticed that the NaNoWriMo widget at the bottom of my WordPress blog is not refreshing. So far I have updated my word count every day and my current validated word count is sitting on 12,046 words. I am a full day ahead of the NaNo race against the calendar.

At this point, while I don’t want to over-inflate my sense of self-confidence, I am doing a far better job this year than in the previous three years. (more…)

NaNoWriMo 2016

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I awoke this morning to find that the crazy storm that ripped through Melbourne last night knocked the neighbours’ conifer tree over, and it fell right through one of their cars before landing halfway across the fence. The State Emergency Service cleaned up most of it last night, but it wasn’t until I opened the curtains this morning that I realised the top quarter of the tree has taken up residence right on top of our landlords’ nicely landscaped garden. I’ve sent off the photos and emails to the agents who manage the property and am awaiting their advice. But I don’t want to spend the whole day anxiously ruminating and time is running out for my NaNo plans. Normally by October I want, at the very least, a vague plot for my NaNoWriMo story. I already have the Hallowe’en decorations out and no workable story yet. Hopefully the looming pressure of the self-imposed deadline will fire up my creative gears.

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What I’ve Been Reading Online

Taking a mental break from NaNoWriMo

AUSTRALIAN CULTURE

  • These women had every right to be safe.’ – Short obituaries to some of the many Australian women murdered by their partners in 2015. Destroy The Joint keeps a tally on the violent deaths of women in Australia. It’s horrendously sad and, as an Aussie woman, bloody terrifying. If it were a virus killing off Australians at a rate of 1 or 2 every week there’d surely be money spent on research to combat it.

SCIENCE AND FAITH

  • A seminary student visits the Creation Museum. – I found this interesting for a variety of reasons. I am grateful for people who take the time to question the opinions of young earth creationism (YEC), not because they’re picking a fight (I hate conflict…) but because they’re raising really important questions. After I got married to a former-YEC true believer I was strongly discouraged from following my personal interests in science – particularly my fascination with astronomy and the evolution of dinosaurs – because it conflicted with his and his family’s views on Genesis. Fifteen years later I find myself trying to re-learn science, and deconstruct the worldview that so heavily influenced my understanding of science for a decade. This Petto and Godfrey book was a great overview of the issues involved and I found it really helpful.

RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

POSITIVE BITS ON RELIGION (Trying to balance it out because I don’t want this to always be a negative, angsty blog.)

  • The World Community for Christian Meditation – How grateful I am for encountering contemplative Christianity. What a lifesaver for my faith that has become.
  • I love this quote from Pope Francis: “The disease of a lugubrious face. Those glum and dour persons who think that to be serious
    we have to put on a face of melancholy and severity, and treat others – especially those we consider our inferiors – with rigour, brusqueness and arrogance. In fact, a show of severity and sterile pessimism are frequently symptoms of fear and insecurity. An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident!” – I have brought these words to mind several times since I read them. I must meditate on them more deeply.

ART

NaNoWriMo Journal 2015: 12

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The next three days are going to be busy. It’s 10.30 am now, and ideally by 3 pm this afternoon I will have 36,666 words, at least, to compensate for the busyness of the upcoming weekend. It’s not particularly realistic for me to aim for 6,100+ words in a single day, though, and so I will just have to do what I can. I’ve strapped up my wrist because it’s starting to hurt from typing and I really don’t want to injure myself.

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19 November 2015 – bandaging my wrists, to give them greater support while typing for long amounts of time, is easier said than done in a household run by cats.

I had a stressful start to the day. After moments like that it’s exceedingly difficult to rein in my anxiety and calm down enough to get through the day. It’s even harder to then sit down and look at my Scrivener session target knowing that I need another 6,000 words in the next few hours!

My story is, thankfully, proving relatively “easy” to write. Oh yes, in true mid-NaNoWriMo form I’m looking at it like it’s possibly the worst book ever written (then I recall the time I read Moon People, which takes pride of place on my bookshelf, and I can say with confidence it’s at least on a par with that book, and that book is mighty popular), but the story and its characters are many times more interesting than my Nano 2014 story. That’s positive. I see a lot of potential in this story and I think it deserves a second draft attempt once Nano is finished.

Meanwhile, I’m finding new and creative ways to procrastinate writing, and I don’t just mean my obvious increase in WordPress usage of late.. Last night I amused myself making diptych portraits of my Anglo-Ukrainian husband with images of historically notable Eastern Slavic people who had the same hairline and similar facial hair to him. I’m not sure he found it that funny but the important thing is that it made me laugh.

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This guy is Fyodor Pirotsky, Ukrainian electrical engineer and inventor of the electric tram. Those of you who know my husband will note not just the freakish physical resemblance but the fact that The Husband is also an electrical engineer of Ukrainian heritage who works in the tram and train industry. Image source: Wikipedia.

Current word count: 30,916 / 50,000 words

Today’s writing soundtrack: Nothing… Just the birds singing outside and the cats snoozing by the window. I found this list of Australian suburban birds and their songs quite interesting. We get a lot the birds listed around here: wagtails, wattle birds, cockatoos, galahs, blackbirds, doves, magpie-larks, corellas, magpies, ravens, wrens and more. I love how their songs subtly change throughout the seasons. Right now there’s a huge flock of rainbow lorikeets screeching outside my window.