Of Mice and Lamps

I know you don’t actually need a designated place to write, to well, .. err WRITE, but it sure is fun to have a home office for the creative part of yourself. Not that I have such a thing yet, but the plans are there. We are going to build an office in the garden! A Garden Office! The idea alone fills me with joy and happy thoughts. The garden isn’t huge which means the trampoline has to go (sorry kids, they don’t know this yet) and we have to save money (because garden offices cost money, ha-ha! Who’d have thought) So in about two years it’s going to be there.

So future-me is going to buy actual houseplants! (my cats are hairy destroyers, my dog is learning fast). And a piano, so I can pretend to learn how to play it. I’m collecting stuff to put in my office. I already have an old-fashioned typewriter, a yet to be big collection of storytiles and now, I also have mice lamps.

Look!

On writing: I’ve dipped a toe in querying and I’ve to say the experience so far is not what I expected. The agents I queried (the responding ones) were nice or formal and didn’t leave me with an uncomfortable feeling after rejecting the project I was querying. So thank you agents, for being kind and professional people.

Also I started a middle grade, because those are fun. Currently writing a story about a boy who wants to train pigeons.

Hope you are well! And if you’re querying or writing: YOU GOT THIS (even if you don’t think you do, you do).

Passion Panic

I’m on a reading-about-finding-your-passion spree.

So far I’ve read: UNWRAPPING YOUR PASSION by Karen Putz, THE CROSSROADS OF SHOULD AND MUST by Elle Luna, re-read THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by GRETCHEN RUBIN, and THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho (because I love it).

Funny thing is, I already know my passion (spoiler: it’s writing). I think I just need to hear people tell me it’s not always easy. Writing a single page can be daunting, and even the idea of putting one sentence to paper is potentially terrifying at times.

In case you need to hear this: just because something doesn’t come easy or not always feels like a joyful endeavor, doesn’t mean it’s not what you’re supposed to do. Whether it’s baking, cooking writing, building a website, raising your kids, {fill in the blank}  if you put just a fraction of your heart in it, it’s worth it.

Here’s a photo of my puppy 🙂

Five Years

How do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years ago I started this website, age 33, armed with dreams of being a published writer, head full of story, heart full of hope. Now I’m 38, and five years have passed, and the only thing that’s on my mind is: WHERE THE HELL DID THOSE YEARS GO? 2016 WAS LAST YEAR, 2017 WAS LAST YEAR, 2018 WAS LAST YEAR, 2019 WAS YESTERDAY, 2020 DIDNOT HAPPEN.

But optimistic as I am, I renewed my domain name, because I like having a corner of the Internet where I can scream about years that flashed by. The dreams are the same, the hope still intact, the only thing I’ve to figure out is how to stop time from slipping through my fingers.

I hope you are well 🙂

a thin thread is still a thread

This month has been remarkable in a lot of ways.

There’s a silver lining being woven through the fabric of the world as we speak. Yes a virus is sweeping over the world,  dangerous and scary, possibly deadly and certainly unpredictable. But there’s a magical counter movement humankind is making in response. A lot of people reach out, are nicer, are more connected even though they’re distancing.

In a weird way it makes me feel proud of people I don’t know.

I hope you are safe, wherever you are.

 

 

Tea Please

I have a tea reader in my story, no leaf reader mind you, but someone who dissects tea bags and talks about the decision you are about to make. Because you can only go to a reader of tea if you really can’t make up your mind. Before entering you need to pass the coin thrower, another barrier. He will toss for you and if your dilemma is solved with choosing heads or tails, you won’t get to see the Tea Reader.

(fiction) Should I pick this major?

(fiction) Should I kill my nephew?

(me, just now) What the hell am I suppose to do with my day job, I’m panicking over here. Quit? Switch careers? Go work in a grocery store?

Sometimes I wish my fictional characters were real and came to the rescue.

 

For the love of BRACKETS

I have a new found love. Brackets!

Brackets come in four shapes but I particularly favor the curly ones. { … }

My new draft swarms with them. I read a blogpost {forgot where} where this was given as a writing tip to gain and keep momentum.

Don’t know what to say? -> brackets

Need cool name but can’t come up with one ->

Have no clue what a rhinoceros eats? ->

The even better, additional tip was to put a not often used word in the brackets so you can find it easily when using Ctrl F.

My word is KROKODIL {Dutch for crocodile, and seeing I’m writing in English, the only KROKODILs are in between brackets}

Here are some real draft examples 😊

Elle falls into the embrace, into the smell of fire and {krokodil something ridiculously cool}.

The Emergency room of the station. { krokodil, add things that would be standing there}.

I thought it was a pretty cool writing  trick tip. { krokodil you can end a post better than this Irene}

 

Time Loop

I open my eyes. The day stretches before me like an unwritten text. I do the breakfast-thing, the taking-the-kids-to-school-thing and drive to work like I do every Monday. Once I’m there, I try to shake the feeling of dread holding my thoughts prisoner as I set out to do my work. My stomach demands food every hour because it knows my mind is bored. I do the calls, the documents, the appointments, forcing positivity and reality in my brain. (My job is okay, it pays good money and I don’t really hate it). More than once I think about writing, snippets of text fly through my brain and I wave them away. “Now, is not the time,” I say to myself. Knowing well enough, that NOW is all there is. When the day is done, I drive home to do the grocery thing- the cooking thing- the kids to bed thing and collapse on a chair to dive into Netflix or Prime, after which I go to bed.

Flash forward One week

I open my eyes. The day stretches before me like an unwritten text. I do the breakfast-thing, the taking-the-kids-to-school-thing and drive to work like I do every Monday. Once I’m there, I try

 Well, you know what’s going to happen. I do the same thing I did the week before. My writing dream hunts me, keeps fluttering in my brain but I stay away from it. Barely touching it. A line from Stephen King’s On writing is on repeat in my head. HOW MANY RERUNS OF ER CAN YOU WATCH.

The answer is (shamefully): a lot.

A lot of days flash by, turning into weeks, into months. Into a Time Loop, a prison of sorts I built for myself.

2020 is going to be the year I build myself another time loop. A time loop filled with words, color and story.

Hamster Pages & otherwise brilliant ideas

The new year is just around the corner, 2019 swooshed by in a blink. I’ve named 2020 the year of the Twin swan and I’m really looking forward to it. So when this month of saying goodbye to the old year (& other festivities) is over we’re stepping into a magic year.

And what better way to celebrate than getting yourself a new bullet journal!

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(I love Tigerrrrrs)

See: year of the Twin Swan for A Reason (first page in shiny new bullet journal).

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Pretty n’est pas? (French for “isn’t it?”)

I already formulated some goals I want to work towards, and SURPRISE, a lot of them are writing goals. Finish two stories, query novel before my birthday, get rejected, to name a few. I set aside room in my journal for agent research and otherwise brilliant ideas and marked the pages with Maki and Hamster washi tape because I need all the encouragement I can get.

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Have a happy month!

Life’s a Prompt

I was unsure what to write on my blog, but words came anyway. Hooray for words coming out of nowhere! It’s a little bit funny that I have no ideas to blog about, but have zero trouble thinking up story ideas. They are everywhere, because life’s a prompt. Just this week:

  • My friend’s cat ate a bunch of LEGO blocks which were perfectly recognizable on the X-ray. It was not a suicide attempt, we think. (picture book: Sad Cat went back to bed)
  • I was tinkering in my shiny new bullet journal for 2020 and realized a Swan-drawing is a two, so next year is the Year of the Twin-Swan, meaning double magic, of course. (Mulan meets The swan princess in this fantasy middle grade).
  • My youngest turned 9 and got a metal-detector for his birthday. We discovered a buried space ship in our tiny garden. It can also be a pipe, but that’s less cool, so it isn’t. (middle grade! Dad thinks it’s a pipe, but Simon knows it’s not)
  • I went to an art –reading and discovered a break-up letter can be a work of art. Also: there have been many women who were artists and were forgotten by history (or ignored). What if there’s a secret society they belong to and they secretly recruit new talented female artists. (Ya, contemporary mystery. Da Vinci code drenched in paint.)
  • I baked a lot of cupcakes and a drip cake which looked awesome, but transformed everyone at the party into the nine year old version of themselves. It turned out to be a cool party, but who is going to tell them the party is over? (creepy creepy MG)

See? Ideas are the easy part.