Plus-size fat-sion designers… pay attention

Posted in Uncategorized on 27/03/2017 by molliemoogle

Dear Plus-size Designers.

We need to have a chat.

A looooong chat. About my inability to find plain shirts. Specifically, plain, button-down, long-sleeved shirts.

Fuck, just corporate wear in general that isn’t a fucking tunic, an off-the-shoulder, a low-cut, a crop-top, bell-sleeved, sleeveless, or horrifically patterned.

Really. Just a plain, white (or blue, grey, or black) button-down shirt. Hell, if you had a white shirt, I could probably deal with a thin-striped shirt, as long as it was a fucking button-down, long-sleeved shirt. Preferably cotton, or linen.

Tunics, I hate. Patterns, I hate. What I want: A. Plain. Button. Down. Shirt. In. Nine. Different. Colours. If I find a shirt that I like, that fits well, and is in more than one colour, I’ll buy five. I don’t care if you have a marled raspberry surprise colour… as long as you also have the basics: white, grey, blue, black, and red.

Is there something wrong with you? Do you not realise that this is a fucking staple of a corporate wardrobe, or any wardrobe for that matter?

burberry-brit-basic-button-down-blouse-white-b

All I want for Christmas is a white button down shirt. Srsly.

Do a Google Image search for “white button down shirt” and you get a metric shit-tonne of hits- designer shirts through to cheap Walmart shirts.

Guess what? They’re all for skinny women. I have nothing against skinny women. One day, I will be one too and I will have all the white button down shirts I can fit in my closet. But until that day comes, I will have to put up with shit like this (and if you didn’t click on the link, it’s an image search for “women white button down shirt plus size”.. the results are disappointingly, er, skinny).

I think, maybe, I should chuck in my job and find a way to learn to draw, because I could open a plus-sized corporate wear store that includes wardrobe staples: a plain white button down shirt for starters.

Because you’re not fucking doing it, are you?

Yeah, I’m pissed off. Some of us want to go a little higher on the corporate ladder than others and we don’t want to do it in a shitty-patterned, sleeveless, and SHAPELESS tunic.

And guess what? Plus-size women have body shapes, too.

What, you think I’d let you off the hook for the REALLY shitty way you design clothes? I don’t have a box for a body; I have a fucking body that (believe it or not) is almost hourglass shaped. I’ve got a few more bumps there than the average hourglass, but I have wide shoulders, a more-tucked in waist, and I have hips. Just like other, skinnier women. Kudos to Torrid for giving us young and young-at-heart plus-sized girls a bit of variety with trendy stuff that’s somewhat fitted, but they’re not going nearly far enough. In fact, they’re a bit *too* fitted in some styles.

And the rest of you designer assholes need to shape up– I’m not old. You’re asking me, a thirty-something woman who wants to dress for corporate success to dress like a 70-year-old nanna with some of these clothes.

Yeah, fuck you.

So, let’s recap a few wardrobe basics:

  • a white button down shirt. Fitted or not. I like a little bit of fit, but not too much.
  • a little black dress that *isn’t* sleeveless. No, not a t-shirt dress, and not one that is asymmetrical. Fuck you.
  • a blazer- navy blue or black. I’d also like some colour options here: grey, maybe a pretty chocolate brown.
  • some basic t-shirts, long and short-sleeved, crew and V-neck in plain colours. Again, patterns are alright, if you also give us the option of having some plain colours in there. Not all of us like patterned shit.
  • a few nice pencil skirts, and some pants in various cuts (wide-leg, skinny, straight, etc) in plain colours– and preferably plain colours.

Most other wardrobe staples are one-sized: handbags, sunnies, shoes, make-up, so don’t waste your time there.

But give us plus-sized girls the basics. Don’t funk it up. Don’t ruffle it up. Don’t make it shapeless. You’re doing us a disservice.

Now, get to work on my shirt.

 

Signed

A pissed-off fat woman.

Full-time Writing

Posted in Ramblings, writing on 12/01/2017 by molliemoogle

I’ve just finished reading an article in Writer’s Digest about being a writer with a full-time job.

Yeah, that’s hard. It’s doing all your work, plus more work when you get home—although the work at home is much more like play-time, than work. You can relax, unwind, put your characters through Hell, and edit that really shitty paragraph you wrote two days ago and have been wondering if it was really you that wrote that shitty paragraph.

And most of the other articles I’ve read would ask writers to get up early in the morning and write before they have to get ready for work.

 

mrs-brown

People write at 5:30am? Srsly?

 

In the old house, I took 5:30am for what it actually was: a time I should be asleep. But, now that my commute is nearly an hour both ways (2 hours return), I’ve got to get up at 5:30 in the morning to get myself prepared for work, and leave the house by 6:45 to get to my desk at 7:45am.

Could I get up earlier? Possibly, but that means sacrificing sleep, and/or going to bed earlier, which probably won’t happen, one, because sleep is really important and I need the 7-9 hours a night, and two, because I’ve got a metric craptonne of scheduling issues.

Not to mention that I really like being relaxed when I write. I want to take my time and I don’t want to rush or be rushed. I want to let the words flow. I want to take 5 minutes to find out how countries spied on each other in 295BC or what a real good whisky smells like. I like going on Youtube, looking for interesting bits of history or philosophy that I can add into my novel.

As a side note, I inevitably get lost while watching Youtube videos, and it looks a lot like this:

5:53pm: Go in, search for, and watch one video on the Battle of Sentinum. Note that Publius Decius devoted himself/sacrificed himself and galvanised the Roman army. Use this as a template for Sarah’s character when she sacrifices herself to save her husband.

10:48am: I belong to the Church of the Fuck Box, and pledge an eternal bond of servitude to my Lord and Saviour, the Demon God Dumplin. I also know how to talk to giraffes.

 

dumplin

Dumplin can talk to giraffes too… from the FUCK BOX!

 

It’s no secret that I can’t brain in the morning. I’m lucky I can turn off my alarm and that only requires one button to push. Imagine pushing heaps?

Night is my time to write.

I take a few minutes while the mince is browning or the pancakes are cooking to write 100 words. I don’t have kids, and don’t watch television. PlusOne and I retire to our respective computers before and after dinner (we don’t eat in front of the computer or the television if there’s something on). I write, and he does… stuff, like quoting The Big Lebowski ad infinitum and looking at BBQ pitmaster videos.

I have always found solace in the night. It’s quieter, but it also has its own sounds, smells, and tastes. A hot drink at 3pm doesn’t taste nearly as good as a hot drink at 10pm. It’s comforting, quiet, and relaxing. The insects buzz, and the birds cease chirping. Wood snaps in the fire place. A wristwatch ticks in the stillness. Stars dot the sky, like someone poked holes in a black piece of paper. Nychtophile (love of the night) and scotophile (love of the darkness) describe me pretty well. Pluviophile (love of the rain) is another. Selenophile (love of the moon) is yet another. Rain on the roof in the middle of the night is one of nature’s symphonies; it’s loud and euphonious, and makes me feel calm.

To me, the night is sitting on the porch in the dark, sipping hot chocolate, and listening to the sounds of the night while wrapped in the blanket my mom crocheted for me. It’s also the sound of my fingers flying over the keyboard, and spinning tales of… whatever I’m writing at the time.

Ideally, though, you want what ultimately works for you. All we need is a consistent writing routine and whether you’re a night person or a morning person is irrelevant. Studies show that creativity happens at any time your mind is quiet and free from distractions, which is why you get good ideas in the shower. Some of my best ideas happen when I’ve got zero distractions: folding clothes, doing the dishes, and showering. During the day, I tend to be completely out of my creative zone (with few exceptions). I have things to do, work to get done, paper to file, emails to write, phones to answer. There’s very little time for creativity and idea generation. So, I wait till I get home and for the sun to go down. That’s when I truly feel alive.

What do you find is the best time to write?

The Villains Among Us

Posted in Uncategorized on 22/07/2016 by molliemoogle

I love anything to do with Phantom of the Opera: the original book by Gaston LeRoux, Susan Kay’s Phantom, the multiple (really good) fanfictions, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical, and the number of movies made. There was something special there about the Opera Ghost: he was a villain, but he was relatable. He was a genius, a madman, an architect, a builder, a composer, a magician, an illusionist, a ventriloquist, and passionate about music.

Rawr. Intellect is sexy.

One of my favourite memories as a kid was watching a made-for-TV movie based on The Phantom of the Opera, with Terri Polo and Charles Dance.

charles dance

Charles Dance was and still is an absolute, balls-to-the-wall, badass honey. Don’t care he’s older than my dad; I’d totally get with that.

I always cheered for the Phantom to get together with Christine. She was made for him. I mean, they were real soulmates. Instead, she ran off with Raoul, the most useless fop in the history of literature, in a fit of puppy love. You win some, you lose some. I’d like to add that Charles Dance and Gerard Butler make all my fangirl fantasies come to life.

*lets her mind wander for a moment* Oh yeah… bow chicka wow wow!

The Phantom is the quintessential, perfect villain. He’s the hero in his own world. An intelligent, disfigured man we can sympathise with and until we meet Raoul, we want him to get the girl. He’s been working with Christine on her voice, he’s brought her fame, and he loves her. He wants her. And, to a point, she loves him. As the story goes on, we realise that he’s not all he’s cracked up to be: he’s assassinated people, murdered others, drove some to insanity, tortured, and kidnapped people. But, when you look at what he’s been through and what he’s done, the sympathy is there. We pity him. We feel sorry for him, and at the end, when he lets Christine and Raoul go, he’s redeemed. What I loved about the 2003 movie is the end, where an elderly Raoul sees the ring and the rose on Christine’s grave. It gets me every time.

Villains are the negative feelings in each of us, just more stylised, more over the top. Thematic questions in literature often address questions and conflicts which are open-ended, resist a simple or single answer, or are controversial and/or thought-provoking: chaos, civilisation, identity, creation, freedom, adversity, illusion, reality, language, love, nature, the world, time, happiness, relationships, truths, beliefs… I could go on. Villains reflect the negative side of these themes and we as humans also have the negative side of these themes sitting in us all the time.

Which brings me to what I wanted to put up here: imagining a villain. Who is my villain in my stories? With Simon and Sarah, there are two antagonistic forces: Brice (Sarah’s psycho ex-boyfriend), and Rosaire (Simon’s prickly mother). In some cases, Brice crosses over to be Simon’s antagonist. Likewise, Simon’s mother crosses over to be Sarah’s.

I wanted to share a little about the antagonist in a previous story I began and then abandoned. I mentioned it briefly in my last post. The whole concept and premise behind this story was that I wanted to go away from the typical romance genre (the couple getting together and the action plot comes second to the romance) into something darker and grittier with romantic elements coming second to the action.

As a summary, a young assassin has agreed to take on a debt from a feared warlord during a time of severe gangland tensions. The warlord sees an opportunity to use the young assassin in more ways than one. The question is who’s going to come out on top after the dust settles?

I wrote an origin flash (small snippets from someone’s backstory) to define how they came to be the way they are. The character is Olin Misutani, the corrupt governor who wants the underworld for himself.

Olin Misutani (origin): Age 12.
Olin: Papa?
Papa: *is dead*
Olin: Papa!

Age 15:
Random Kid #1: Your dad’s dead. He deserved it.
O: Shut up.
RK #2: My dad says your dad should have died a long time ago.
O: Shut up!
RK #1 & #2: Your dad is dead! Your dad is dead!

Age 24:
Announcer: Misutani Olin is one of several new councillors for the city of Tokyo. He holds a master’s degree in political science. Aside from running on a platform of housing and benefit reform, as well as strengthening the penal system, Misutani is mostly seen as a voice of moderation in a city plagued by deep governance scandals.

Age 29:
Announcer: The final results are in: Misutani- 4 votes. Ranjit: 7 votes. Amanpour: 2 votes. Congratulations to Sandeep Ranjit.

Age 41:
Ranjit: It is with deep regret today that I must resign my post as governor of Japan and councillor to the Four Nations’ Council. My health, as of late, has been very poor and I find that I cannot perform the duties and requirements of my office any longer. A vote among the councillors has been passed and it is my great honour to announce that Misutani Olin has been chosen by the Four Nations’ Council as the next governor of Japan.

Age 43:
O: I don’t like liars.
Lau Huan: Yes, Sir.
O: The man lied to me. He said he wasn’t working for Saito. Take him, his wife, and his son out back. Shoot them.
LH: Yes, Sir.
O: Make sure you dump them at Saito’s club in plain view of the patrons. And when you’re done, tell him “kubi o aratte matteiru”.
LH: Wash his neck?
O: He’ll understand.

So, what do you think? Do you write your villain as the hero in his own story, or do you let his villainy take him wherever he wants to go?

I Think My Writing Sucks

Posted in Uncategorized on 15/07/2016 by molliemoogle

If you’re a writer, the thought goes through your head more times than you’d care to count. It’s a tough passion to have. It’s compelling. It’s terrifying. You love it. You hate it. You write screeds of words. You write two words and throw fifty away. It’s perfect. It’s crap.

Some days, it’s harder to get words down on the screen/paper than you want to admit. It’s a creative block, where nothing you want to write comes out. And those words are on the tip of your tongue too. But, you stare at the screen/paper and… it’s just not there, and you think “I cannot word today; I has the dumbz”.

The Write Practice is one of my favourite blogs to follow, because they give you deliberate practice. Practice to help get you out of that rut you’re in, or practice to look at things differently, or practice to move you to the next level.

The post today was on problems with the writing process, and the practice today was to read a piece of writing you’ve struggled with and left unfinished. then, write the experience of leaving this piece. How are you going to change what you’ve done?

My piece was my 2014 NaNoWriMo piece: Tale from the Tokyo Underworld, about a singer in a band and his deal with the yakuza to pay back a debt. There were so many different versions of this story that were all abandoned: the singer (Drystan) was not just a singer, but also a hitman. In another version, he was a vigilante and lived on the streets. In yet another, he was just a go-fer in his aunt’s accounting firm. At various points, he could manipulate souls, create life, shapeshift, was genetically modified, and was trained in black-ops.

I liked my yakuza boss, Saito. Modelled on Asami Ryuuichi from the Viewfinder manga series and Kabu from the Bi no Isu manga, he was suave, sexy, and very dangerous. I really liked my  lead singer, Drystan. He wasn’t modelled on anyone in particular; he’s more of an amalgamation of characters, both in manga and in movies.

But the problem wasn’t with the characters. The problem was the plot. To be frank, there wasn’t one. No concept. No premise. Nothing that would make me as a reader want to pick up the story and read it.

So, this is my deliberate practice today, my love letter to Tale from the Tokyo Underworld:

It hurt to leave you. Really hurt. But it just wasn’t working. It seriously wasn’t you; it was me. It was all me. I didn’t tell you what I wanted or needed from you, and that is my fault. You were one of the first I really fell in love with. I tried so many different ways to imagine you in different situations: in danger, in love, in more danger, laughing, crying, hurting, angry, but I just didn’t understand what I needed or wanted.

You had no premise, no concept, or even high concept- just a bunch of attempted starts and stops, edits, changes, and scraps. I even wrote an ending, but it didn’t work. None of it worked. I had an idea. That’s all I had, an idea.

And I still think it’s a good one, even if it is done to death: a boy with superpowers, a chosen one, the boy messiah that will come and save them all. But from what? From who? A bad guy who wants to start a war? This is beginning to sound familiar.

But you’re NOT Harry Potter. Not even close. You’re you. You’re more than Harry Potter; you’re an erotic dystopian urban fantasy: super powers, a country on the brink of a second civil war, a mafia-backed contract, and an unlikely pairing of two lonely souls. Right now, you’re a mere idea floating in a sea of other ideas that get partially written then forgotten because there is no map. No structure, no story, no theory to help prop you up and give you a second life. Once I figure out the concept and premise, I can return to you. I can come back. I want to make you better, strong, clearer, more thoughtful, and packed with more action and romance. Because I still believe in you. I still believe that this is a good idea. I still believe that I can save you from drowning in a sea of good ideas, but no concept or premise.

Give me time, my darling. Give me time to get those premises and concepts in my head and I promise, one day, I will return to you, ready to sit down, figure out who you are, and finally tell your story.

So, what’s this concept and premise thing I’m talking about? KM Weiland wrote not one but two articles on what concept and premise are.

Concept is simply the barebones of a story. The idea.

Two people fall in love. A woman fights aliens. That’s it.

There’s high concept, which delves a little further, asking what makes your concept unique and interesting to your readers.

  • Two people fall in love? A woman claming to be one man’s fiancee falls in love with his brother (While You Were Sleeping)
  • A woman fights aliens? A genetic clone teams up with mercenaries to survive an alien she gave birth to (Alien: Resurrection)

A premise though, is the flesh of the concept. It’s the specifics. The 6 questions: who (protagonist), what (opponent and his goal), when (the current situation the protagonist is in), where (the protagonist’s reactions to the disaster leads them into conflict), why (does the protagonist want this objective), and how (the disaster destroys the protagonists world).

In paragraph form: The protagonist is in his current situation wanting his objective. But, the opponent flips him into a disaster, which puts the protagonist into a conflict with the opponent.

To stay with the two examples above:

While You Were Sleeping: Orphaned Lucy (protagonist) collects tickets at the train station (situation) and the highlight of her day is seeing the handsome Peter (objective). After claiming to be Peter’s fiancee after he’s hospitalised (disaster), and his brother Jack (opponent) becomes suspicious of Lucy’s lies, Lucy does what she can to hide the real truth (conflict).

Alien Resurrection: Genetic clone (situation) Ellen Ripley (protagonist) has been resurrected by the Company to harvest an alien embryo (objective). But when the alien (opponent) in the ship frees itself (disaster), it’s up to Ripley and a team of mercenaries to stop them before they crashland on Earth and destroy humankind (conflict).

So, there you have it. The difference between a concept and a premise. Whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, it helps to know what direction you want to go in. You want to go from A to B with some progressive complications and conflict along the way. I think for pantsers, this may be as detailed as you want to get. For plotters, this gives you the bones plus the meat for a more detailed outline.

By the way, the Alien franchise is amazing. I can’t really pick any one of the Alien pentology as the best, because I honestly liked them all. Alien 3 had Charles Dance (and who wouldn’t want to snuggle up next to him in that role?). Aliens has Ripley using a powerloader and it’s badass. Prometheus had an awesome scene with the medical surgery pod. Alien:Resurrection had fun, flirty, dangerous Ripley. And nothing really can compare to the original Alien (save the cat; always save the cat). Alien vs Predator… that’s a different ball of wax.

Ripley_and_Jonesy

The look of a cat who is eternally grateful for the badassery of Ellen Ripley

Diamond Polishing

Posted in writing with tags , , , on 28/06/2016 by molliemoogle

I’ve been thinking a lot about the world around me, where I fit in to it, my habits, hang-ups, likes, and dislikes, and how I plan to bring what joy and happiness I have to the world.

HAHA. Just kidding. I’ve been writing. Or, rather, I haven’t been writing. Call it wilful procrastination, call it writer’s block, or call it just a bump in the road, but it is what it is: I haven’t been writing.

I hit one of those brick walls, where I looked at my manuscript and thought “what the hell is this hot mess?” but then, I had to wonder, what actually constitutes a hot mess? What is it about this particular part that qualifies as “a hot mess”? Does it ramble or go nowhere? Does it not reveal character, plot, or both? Does it have inconsistencies (kind of a moot point)? Is it a hot mess because it’s not finished or is it a hot mess because it’s not polished?

Ah, there’s the rub. It’s not polished. There are edits that can be made to help with economy of language, showing and not telling, and clarity. So, maybe what I’m writing isn’t so much a hot mess as it is unpolished (and incidentally, unfinished).

For me, part of getting over that brick wall is to just put myself out there. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone doesn’t like what I’ve written? Big deal. The world isn’t going to end because Bob the Troll happens to think my manuscript reads like it was written by a teenage fanfic writer trying to Mary Sue herself into a story with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.

As an aside, I’ve got a massive crush on both Tom Hiddleston and Loki- Mr Hiddleston is a real gentleman; Loki is a seductive bad boy.

loki

That smile. That evil, wicked, naughty, come-hither smile. Rawr.

 

*Ahem*

The world will continue its orbit around the sun and spin on its axis. It won’t end if someone doesn’t like what I’ve written or if I mess up in any way.

The following excerpt is from my current (untitled) work in progress. Romance writers call this the “meet cute” obligatory scene, where the love birds meet each other for the first time. There’s supposed to be a spark between them. With this story, I want to spin those obligatory scenes on their heads—so there’s not so much a spark as an accidental bonfire.

 

Simon hit the up button for the elevator in the lobby. The numbers showed that it was coming down from the sixth floor. He checked his watch. One-twenty. He had nearly another hour to find something else for lunch.

The lunch he had with Marcus Price and Takeshi Hiroto from Xeno Investment Partners could only be described as a disaster: dry, overcooked, bad service, and none of their lunches came out at the same time. Next time, he would take them to Tarragon, an incredible hole-in-the-wall Italian place on Twenty-Fifth Street. Or maybe Cinnamon, the Sri Lankan restaurant his friend and neighbour Kalidasa owned.

The elevator dinged open and several of James’s legal team walked out, not recognising him as they laughed their way through the lobby to the bustling lunchtime street outside. He stepped in and hit the button for the thirtieth floor, making a mental note to ask Indra to call Kalidasa.

“Please, hold the elevator!”

Racing toward him was an attractive young woman with pink hair, a green tartan mini skirt and spiked black boots over fishnet stockings. She didn’t work for him, did she? Still, she was attractive in a punk-rock, gothic way; she would certainly make an interesting diversion for an hour or two in a grungy hotel room.

Two bags, full of some kind of take-out, bounced up and down in her hand and a back pack jiggled from side to side. He pressed the open door button, more out of curiosity than anything else.

“Oh, shit, thank you so much,” she said, out of breath. She offered him a sweet smile. Up close, she was even prettier, but her piercings made him wonder how on earth she would ever be able to hold down a job. “Can you please press nineteen?”

He nearly gagged on the revolting smell of some form of meat covered in gelatinous gravy. How did people eat that stuff? Did they really think it was authentic ethnic food?

However, when the young woman flipped her hair over her shoulder, releasing a floral, oriental perfume, it beguiled him, overriding the smell of the monstrosity that people dared to call ethnic. He savoured it for a moment. Quite a sophisticated scent for someone so young. How old was she? She couldn’t have been any older than twenty, twenty-two at a stretch.

“Are you in the right elevator?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she said, drawing it out. “My dad works here.”

Simon looked her up and down, wondering if she chose the clothing because she identified with the subculture or if it was just a personal choice. He guessed the latter, but she was cute enough to pull it off. “Just making sure; the mall is a couple of blocks over.”

She rolled her eyes and huffed. “Like I haven’t heard that one before. I’m surprising my dad with lunch; not that you give two shits.”

The floor ticked over to five. If she took out the metal in her nose, eyebrows, and tongue, and covered up her tattoos, she might land a good job one day. She probably hadn’t thought about the repercussions of having needles poked through and ink staining her skin when she got them done. It was all about the here and now with kids her age. It must have been nice to be so carefree.

The young woman shifted the back pack up her shoulder and turned away from him, and he took a moment to look at her from the back. Shapely legs. Nice backside. A little too punk for his tastes, but all women looked the same once their clothes were off.

He stared at the tattoo on her arm for a moment, amazed at the intricate artwork. It covered most of it and it crept up and around her arm like an ink-stained vine before it disappeared under her white shirt’s short sleeves. Two brightly coloured hummingbirds fluttered next to some kind of red and yellow flowers near her upper arm. How far underneath her shirt did it go? All the way to her back? Her chest?

Floor ten.

“Your tattoo looks like it hurt, Little Hummingbird.”

She glanced over her shoulder and her blonde and pink hair fell in front of her eyes. It was a siren’s call. Seductive. Elegant.

“The shading was a bitch. Luckily, I don’t mind pain.”

That piqued his curiosity. She liked pain? If she wanted pain, he was the man to give it to her. Jessa had never complained, but the kind of game he played with her was a very watered down version of what he enjoyed. Cries. Shrieks. The crack of a flogger or a whip over bare skin. His blood ran hot for the young woman in front of him. What kind of pain did she like?

What would she look like with her hands tied to a bar above her head, her legs spread wide, her sex dripping, waiting, quivering, and oh-so ready for him?

“I don’t mind it either,” he whispered in her ear.

“Ew. Fuck off and die, James Bond,” she ground out.

He moved back a step. “You wound me. I’d like to think I was more M than James Bond.”

The elevator stopped and settled, its doors sliding open with a ding.

“Finally,” she breathed out.

Simon smiled. “Nice talking to you, Little Hummingbird.”

She turned and flipped him the bird with the take-out sliding up her arm. “Eat a dick, pervert,” she said as the doors slid closed.

Kick self-doubt in the balls

Posted in Ramblings, writing with tags , , , , on 21/04/2016 by molliemoogle

Another writing practice from The Write Practice: Out of 7 lies writers tell themselves, take one that bothers you and write about it for 15 minutes.

Lie #4: Even if you try your best, you’ll never write as well as/be successful as [insert author name here].

kick fear

Found this gem on pinterest. So much truth.

Even before I got into the writing game, I was a reader. A voracious reader. Once I get going, I can finish one book and pick up the next and the one after that and five books later, I’ve finished my binge and can return to normal life for a couple of days. Lather, rinse, repeat about 3-4 times per month.

Except, when I started writing, I would look at a sentence and think “this isn’t like [insert name here]; it’s crap”. And I’d do that all the time: “My writing isn’t like Stephen King’s, or Christine Feehan, or Cherise Sinclair. I won’t be the next Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett; why do I even bother?”

Self-doubt serves no one. Those authors started out the same as me. Putting one word in front of the other, looking ahead and telling themselves they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t write like William Faulkner or Hemmingway. But, they’ve written some of my favourite books and found their unique author voice.

At some point, we all had to learn how to write.

Some have just been doing it for a lot longer than me and by now, they should be good at it.

I tell my karate students that I started out not knowing a front punch from a reverse punch, or even what an axe kick was, and now I’m the one teaching them what it is. You have to start from white belt to get to black belt.

I know I’ll never write like Cherise Sinclair or Stephen King. I’m not them. I’m me. I will write what I want, how I want, when I want, and with help and guidance, I’ll be a good author, maybe even a ten-years-in-the-making bestselling author.

But, in the meantime, I’ve learned that to kick self-doubt to the curb, I had to have passion for what I did. Passion is having a very strong feeling about a person or a thing, an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something. I was (maybe still am) lucky to have a fantastic mentor who taught me about passion: have the spirit, find a way, concentrate on what you want, be determined, and form guiding principles to get there. All that will lead to your own path.

Telling yourself that you’ll never be [insert writer here] deflates that passion.

This is probably one of the most destructive lies that writers can tell themselves. And given that I believe I’m a strong, independent person who’s fairly self-aware, I’m rather surprised that this continues to pop into my head. I cannot compare my first draft of anything to someone’s finished product. I’m not a fraud; I’m not an imposter. I’m me. I have my own way that I’ve forged myself. It’s like coming to the end of a road and being told “you can go your own way now”. Once you’ve developed your fundamentals and understand how to apply them, you can make your own path, say things with your own voice, and write just as well as Faulkner or Hemmingway or Cherise Sinclair.

The Reservist’s Wife and Deeper Questions

Posted in Uncategorized on 15/04/2016 by molliemoogle

PlusOne is in the reserves, which means that occasionally, he goes away for a week or two or three at a time and does reserves stuff. I think it has something to do with carving off a piece of meat from an animal they killed with their bare hands, skewering the meat on a stick, cooking it over the camp fire, and showing off their manly beards are and hairy chests.

Pardon me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard. Because beards. Manly beards. Big fuck-off beards.

beard-facts

RESPECT THE BEARD!!

 

While he’s been away this week doing manly things, I’ve been doing things of my own, like staving off loneliness (bar a night out for a literary trivia quiz).

He knows that I get lonely and I’m pretty sure he gets lonely, but he’s a guy and emotions aren’t really his forte, just like every other Kiwi bloke. Not that I mind; I’ve had enough emotional outbursts and meltdowns for the two of us.

We’ve talked about it and while it sounds like I’m complaining, I am and I’m not. His reservist training gives him meaning and purpose. I can see the changes this secret masculine training imparts. I can see the confidence increase. I can see the pride in his eye, my eyes, and in the eyes of all those who know him. It gives me a certain satisfaction to see him learning things about the wider world through this training.

Who the hell am I to tell him he can’t go? These bouts of loneliness are expected. I can only relate what it’s like on my side. I don’t have kids, but I have pets; I have nothing to keep me busy, other than my martial arts classes and my writing.

He was on shift when we were first married and the nights were a bit lonely. Okay, really lonely. I was a young woman on her own with no family (except her in-laws) and no friends in a foreign country. I wasn’t coping well. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten over that, but really, no.

Loneliness is an emotion and state of being that leaves my head dry and my body hollow; it’s like being in that time between autumn and winter: the leaves are dying, the branches break, and the Southerly wind chills to the bone. It’s like being autumn.

Loneliness has dulled my senses. The pizza I had for dinner, despite having about an inch of cheese on it, had no flavour. The chicken I had the night before smelled amazing when I got home from Auckland, but I don’t remember the taste. However, the hot and spicy ribs PlusOne and I shared the other week left my mouth tingling a little while later. I haven’t been able to get warm at night (despite the autumn chill in the air), nor do I feel like there’s something or someone protecting me, keeping me safe. I’m a feminist, but deep down I need PlusOne’s presence. I can absolutely protect myself, but it’s just that other presence that’s soothing.

And I’ll tell you, that presence feels like the finest silk on my soul.

The evenings this week have stretched out like black holes: time and space seem to stretch and stop, never fully reaching that event horizon and yet, they still cross it. Night comes, sleep not so much, and then the alarm goes off quietly. Another day. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

The dog (a Mama’s boy, apparently—I’m not sure what I did to deserve that) has been sitting near Dad’s desk, his nose on the floor, his front feet spread out, and his ears perking up at every noise. The cats just go on their daily lives, as long as they get fed and have a bowl of water, then no dramas.

I have wondered what it would be like if I was widowed. The grief would always be there, but how long would the loneliness last? Until I found someone? Does that hole ever go away? And how connected and inter-connected are grief and loneliness? Humans are social creatures and, despite the differences between introverts and extroverts, we all want and need contact. Which makes me wonder—what happens when we crave the interaction and not receive it? How much do we revert to primal instinct to just survive? Or do we push past it and into insanity, or into some other state of being?

But I’m only on my own for a few days this week. PlusOne will be home later today. I’m looking forward to feeling warm and whole, like summer, and snuggling into his presence like a warm blanket.