Pieces of me – In The Spirit

After a few conversations about things from In The Spirit that other people had memories of, I thought it might be fun to do a little series on the bits of me that are present in my work.

While my stories are all pure fiction, I like to pepper them with things I’ve come across throughout my life. It tickles my fancy no end, and I love it when friends or family read stuff and go “Oh, I remember that”. Write what you know, right?

So to kick things off, here are a few:

Buttons is Gran’s elderly cat in my novella, and it was also the name of the first cat I remember having. Unlike the smoochy Buttons in the book, my Buttons was a snobby thing that more often than not would scratch you if you tried to touch her. She had her favourites who were normally safe, but 90% of people were not on that list. I opted to use the name because while she could be a mean cat, I loved her to bits.

The black paint and glow in the dark stars mentioned in the book were borrowed from one of my very best friends, and the friend who has known me longer than any other friend. Leisha and I met on the beach when we were toddlers, and reconnected much later in form three. I can’t remember the specific reason why her parents let her decorate that way in our mid-teens, but I can remember the glee we all had over it! It seems to be a fairly widespread compromise – you can’t have this thing you really want/love, but you CAN redecorate your room.

IMG_20141207_092125235 (2)The wooden Christmas ornaments that Alyssa hangs on her tree and recalls playing with are ones we had on our tree in my childhood. Actually, Mum gave them to me a few years ago when she was doing a clean-out. My children played with them a lot last Christmas and that poor drummer boy did indeed get broken. RIP drummer boy.

As much as my stories contain a lot of speculative elements, what I really wanted to do with my Kotahi Bay series was evoke what smallish town New Zealand life can be like. To blend the mundane and the fantastical in a way which shows how magic is part of our lives, even when we don’t see it for what it is.

If you’ve read the book and there was something in it that reflected something for you I’d love to hear it, and if you’re a writer and want to share some things from your own work that are pieces of you, please feel free to join in! I know Leigh is planning on it. I’ll be posting one of these for each of my releases.

So I lied…

I was up just after 6am with the kids, and while they watched some holiday cartoons and we waited for the rest of the household to wake, I read some of my short stories….

There has been one lingering unfinished for quite some time now, and it’s got a Christmas theme to it, so I couldn’t HELP myself. I had to check it out.

Oh, it makes me smile. It really does. I MUST finish this story. It has so much of me in it, so much I can relate to.

‘On the first day of Christmas…’ The carol rattled around in her head as she leaned over her sleeping husband. It was the 13th of December and it had been seven months and five days since she’d had more than 3 hours sleep in a row.

Sleep deprivation makes you a little crazy, Sandra had heard. But this made perfect sense.

She knew that Rob would get drunk at the Christmas party. Knew that he would tumble into bed in the early hours of the morning, without a thought as to whether he would wake her with his sickly sweet rum breath.

Knew that it would be the perfect opportunity.

Oh yes, I can’t wait to finish it. My own little not so pleasant Christmas tale.

Happy Festive Season!

Whatever your beliefs, whatever your traditions, I hope that this time of the year is wonderful for you.

For me it’s all about family. I was so anti Christmas until I had kids of my own – and they changed Christmas the way they changed everything else. I love that. I them more for it. I love how they have given me back so much of my life, returned all the good memories of things like Christmas, and blotted out all the bad ones.

For the first time in about six years I’ll not be spending Christmas day with my biological family. I thought I’d be more sad about that, but I’m actually really excited to be spending it with the in-laws this time around. It’s a relief to feel this positively about  it – normally us going away means I’ve had to find someone to dog sit Kali and her giving me those big brown puppy dog eyes she does so well, resulting in me feeling guilty and worried about her the entire time we’re away.

I guess that was her Christmas gift to me.

Anyway, I hope that your holiday season is filled with love and laughter, with good company and good food, with rest and relaxation.

Have a good one folks!

Solids!

Natalie is getting close to that magical 6 month mark, and despite my telling everyone that we weren’t going to start solids until after the Christmas trip, I’ve gone ahead and done it anyways.

The girl is ready! It’s quite different this time around though, because Lauren really wasn’t interested in food at all until she hit about 9 months. At that age she went straight to finger foods. Natalie looks like she’d rather do that too, but she’s just too little yet, so we’re starting off with rice cereal and pear puree.

Messy, but fun! She seems fine with the flavors and hopefully it will all go smoothly. I’m very much a ‘take it as it comes’ kind of Mum, so am applying no pressure to the situation, she’ll advance in her own time.

It’s amazing how quickly time is passing. I can hardly believe that it was almost 6 months ago she arrived – so much has changed since then, and while life is still in a state of semi-chaos, we’re working our way towards a regular pattern to the day.

In other news, I’m on track to finish Mocha Nihilism in a couple days time which makes me feel so fantastic. It’s been way too long since I finished anything longer than a short story!

I’m very much looking forward to some down time in the coming weeks, looking forward to the return of the sun as well (it’s meant to come back for Christmas!). Things are looking good folks, looking good indeed.

School hols again

I can’t believe it’s summer holidays already. I’ve known it was coming for a long time but it’s actually here now and I feel so unprepared! Six weeks of three kids home. Funnily enough, I don’t think this will mean my writing takes a hit – if anything, I might get MORE done than I have been.

I’ve been planning with a few friends, jotting down ideas for things to do starting January (everyone is so busy these last days before Christmas, and then we’re away for a week), so as long as I can make it through til the end of the year, we should be okay :-)

Summer IS here, though it’s raining (we need it, I’m not complaining!), and with my new office in the works it means I’ll be able to watch the kids playing on the trampoline/swing/sandpit and still get some work done. The older two are finally getting to an age where a lot of the time they will actually play nicely together, or just play around each other. So until Natalie is on the move, we should have a period of relative peace. A bliss.

Anyway, I am still working away on Mocha Nihilism. I had really wanted it done by Christmas so that I could give it to some friends as a present, but that’s not on the cards now. I have the last part of it to rewrite still, and then some revision/editing/polishing before I’ll be ready to let others read it. I have finally hit my stride with it again, after two weeks of ups and downs emotionally over Kali.

Aside from that, I’ve also started planning for Delaney’s novel. I purchased a new notebook, just for her, and have written a focusing statement for the book to try and pin down the angles I need to think about. I’m really excited about it, and grateful to my writing buddies for giving me new ways of looking at things too, and for being interested in the story and character.

Also, I’m in the process of shifting everything in the house around. We’re moving our bedroom into the office, the little girls will have our bedroom as theirs, and my desk/computer will be taking up space in the porch as my office. I’m SO excited to have a space just for me :-) Hubby’s computer will be in our room, which is fine. Not ideal, but it’s really the only place there will be room!

I love having tasks on the go. I love even more knowing that I’ll have some time to complete them in the coming month. The new year will see new routines, a new way of living, and hopefully more time for everything that’s really important.

Fingers crossed!

Say what?

No, it can’t be a month til Christmas Eve, it just can’t. There has to be more than a week left in November, surely! What’s happening to time?

I feel like hiding under the covers until it’s 2011, because otherwise there is just too much to do.

I still have to get the Christmas shopping done. There are a million things around the house that need organizing (gardens, mess/clutter, fence, arg!). I am meant to have this novella done before Christmas, and then there is the new novel I had penciled in to begin in December.

Gosh, December is so close now…

It’s going to take a miracle to get through that list. But I’ll be giving it my best shot. I need to clear some of the junk out of my life so that 2011 starts off well. I don’t typically do New Years resolutions, but I do like to start the year with things in order.

What about you? What needs doing before 2011 hits? Got any resolutions or goals for it?

Taking a break – yesterdays post, so kinda old news

I’m worn out. I’ve burnt all my reserves and I have nothing left. I’m getting by day to day and am thankful that Hubby is off work until next week to help out with the girls.

Christmas is tiring, streams of visitors are exhausting and I just have nothing spare to give – at this point it’s even a struggle to remain patient and loving in the middle of the night with a sick child.

So I’ve not written in… a week I think? I have no intention of writing anything for the rest of the year (thankfully it’s only a few days). I’ve got nothing to draw on right now so it’s an impossibility for me. I need to build some energy back up, I need to rest enough so that I can feel things properly again and then maybe some words will come to me.

I’m hoping that a new idea will grab me soon, seeing as Tama has conned me into signing up for the New Year Novella. I need a quick hit, a rush of writing adrenaline, a shot of literary crack to get me started, which means tackling something fresh and something to do with coffee (it’s becoming a tradition that my New Year Novella’s all intersect at the same coffee shop, it’s a fun thing to do!).

At this point in yesterdays post I was about to say I was going to go and have a sleep or read my book but my Mum called and we had a massive chat and I began to feel a whole lot better about a number of things. Mum’s are awesome for many reasons, one of the really big ones is for being able to see solutions to problems that you can’t seem to find your way out of. Manageable solutions that you know you can achieve even if it’s not going to be easy to change the necessary habits. So thanks Mum! You rock and I love you to bits, I don’t know where I would be without you.