Friday, August 30, 2013

FFF 14.2

Alright, I got home at 5:45pm, now it's 5:57. I think this is the fastest one written yet...

200 words:

I knew it would be an ugly morning when the smell of scotch was stronger than the smell of coffee. 

My boss was holding the mug, which doubled the ugliness factor, then tripled it, considering it was Friday, and the numbers from last quarter would be in by now.

Was I about to get fired?

She sipped her coffee, both hands wrapped around the black ceramic mug, long red painted nails tapping out the intimate rhythm of an unknown song. I wiped my palms on my pants and straightened my tie.

“Eddie, I want you to take a look at your client list and tell me why you’re here.” She parks a sheet of heavy-gauge paper with embossed edges on the desk.

I glance down the list of names, only first names, of course, scrawled in her sharp, confident calligraphy. Beside them are dollar figures. Dollar figures that look a little too low.

“I’ve invested in you, and your career. Contacts to give your eyes a touch of green, and the personal trainer to sculpt those biceps. They’re not here for conversation, they’re here to spend money, so let them. More champagne, Eddie. Get them drinking the good stuff.”

Flash Fiction Friday 14.0

Friday again, where did this week disappear to?

From Sunday until mid-Wednesday I'm going to be offline entirely as I can't get internet hooked up until then.

So, what's the line for today?

I knew it would be an ugly morning when the smell of scotch was stronger than the smell of coffee.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Joys of clutter & moving

So, it's been a crazy day... someone finally showed up to buy my desk, and my parents were over helping me pack all my art and some books, but since I thought they were coming tomorrow instead of today... madness ensued.

Since my desk is gone, I've been shuffling furniture around, and I needed to sign papers to put the witch's hut (in Victoria) up for sale, this is my current computer space:

Do you feel a little sick?

Here's a closer look:

That is my big mac, my laptop, my backup drive, my scanner, my new printer (bought today just for the purpose of getting these documents signed), a pack of paper, a surge protected power bar, and all the setup documents/cds for the scanner & printer all crammed onto a 3' x 4' table. My iPhone, iPod, 2 flash drives, and a few other random things are also there somewhere...

BUT, the documents have been printed, signed, scanned, emailed.

...and now I think I need a glass of wine. Or two.

By the way, I completely hate clutter. I like clean/streamlined, without shelves full of dust-collectors. Even my bookshelves have glass doors to keep everything clean & put away, so when moving, with furniture pulled out, things stacked everywhere, etc, I get a little manic with everything so cluttery.

Oh, and since you've hung around to read this far... here's a great picture I snapped of Berkeley late last night when I was crashed out on the sofa. Doesn't he look both evil and lordly?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The odd thing about being pinched for time

I got home less than 10 minutes ago, and I'm heading out again as soon as I post this...

When deadlines are hanging over my head, I tend to commit to more things than I need to, as if I'm trying to pack something into every single moment.

Like, the sudden impulse to check out the SIWC, today it's been something else... well, since last night actually.

I've been absolutely consumed with the desire to draw and/or paint.

Luckily (for my own sanity), all my painting supplies are packed up/stored, but my pencils, light table, and animation supplies are all here, easily accessible.

I wonder why I have this impulse to take on even more commitments when I'm tight on time...

Perhaps it's because drawing is a stress-outlet...

Perhaps because drawing is an acceptable form of procrastination/escape...

Perhaps I'm just a complete masochist at heart...

Perhaps it's because a writing buddy recently send me a couple of links to artist sites...

Or perhaps, in the chaotic state of mid-move-mid-divorce-mid-separation-agreement-limbo, I'm seeking stability, a familiar place to rest.

...whatever it is, tomorrow when I start to actually pack boxes, my art supplies are going in first to remove any temptation ;)

How about you guys? What are you like with deadlines/stress/etc? Do you settle in and attack systematically, problem by problem, or do you spin around until you're so wound up, you're nearly insane?

Okay, got to scoot out for walkies with Eva now... then I've got more errands to run.

Friday, August 23, 2013

FFF 13.2

Alrighty, I found a couple minutes to type something out, and I played off a familiar creep-tastic theme/idea from this previous FFF, and (to a lesser extent) this one too.

...and after you read this, you will understand why I don't write romance...

200 words for your enjoyment:

No one ever said it was easy to love a god. I think it’s because humans and gods love by different standards, so it’s more difficult to understand each other.

While humans like kissing, touching, gifts, and kind words, some gods love through prayer, or meditation, others by music, dance, painted bodies, and incense. Some gods want grand temples and statuary, mosaics, or ephemeral offerings of food and flowers. Those relationships could probably work, with effort, but I think it would be harder if a god only loved through self-flagellation, war, destruction, or suicide.

The god I love resides in a tree.

I don’t know if it’s male or female, or if that even matters. I know it loves me from the kind sound of wind through its branches, the caressing touch of its leaves on my skin, and the gift of cherry blossoms in the spring.

In return, I feed the one I love with my words, with my touch, and with the gifts I bury deep in the soil. When I kiss its rough bark with my lips, and breathe the scents of growing life and decomposition, I know we have connected, that our love is real.

Flash Fiction Friday 13.0

Happy Friday the 13th!! (well, in flash fiction, anyways...). 13 is my favourite number, so I will try to take a little more care with this one today ;) ...though I'm still sticking to the 20 minute maximum. Busy day for me today, so not quite sure when I'll have mine up.

So, what line do I have for you today?

No one ever said it was easy to love a god.

...and Alcar, you have special permission to change the word "love" to "eat", 'cause you know how much I love Charlie ;)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Writer's Conferences the way, in all my moving-insanity, somehow I've gotten it into my head that attending the SIWC this year might be a grand idea...

Has anyone been to this one, or any other writing conferences?

Care to share some thoughts?

Was it worth it?


Scary bits?



I really do feel like I've been fighting in a war the past couple of weeks.

Don't they say that the three most stressful things in life are death, divorce, and moving?

If so, considering the last 2 years have been overloaded by death, it only makes sense that this summer should be taken up by the other two.

Good news is, things are progressing, and I'm moving on September 1st. The next 10 days are going to be pretty full with painting the new place, doing some minor renovations (moving a high-mounted cabinet in the kitchen, installing another one, sealing/drywalling a closet and building in shelves, replacing the floating bathroom sink with a new cabinet/sink combo + faucet, etc), and packing up all my stuff. Oh, and I still have to call someone to install screens so Berkeley can't escape...

Other good news, my knee is almost healed up :) I've been able to do some light jogging in the last couple of days, which means Eva is a little less crazy, and I'm sleeping a little better.

I decided to move early so (hopefully) I can get up to the cabin for a week in early September to chill-out/relax after all this craziness.

...and of course swim before the lake gets too cold :)

Flash Fiction Friday will continue as usual, but otherwise, I think I'm going to be goin' dark until the move is over and done with.

Thank you for your continued patience, and I hope you'll give me the gift of something fun to read on Fridays :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

FFF 12.2

Well, here's my swiftly written flash fiction piece, enjoy! I hope there aren't any major spelling/etc mistakes as I didn't edit this one... 10 minutes, I think?

She held a gun to my head, and asked one question.

“Crown Royal, or JD?”


She spun the gun by its trigger guard, holstered it, and pulled out another. I raised my glass, and she shot once, twice, hitting the inside rim at just the right angle so the alcohol swirled 180 degrees before mixing into the Coke.

Paul slapped my back. “I told you this place was great. Check out the lights.” Gold plated AK-47’s hung on the walls, stocks polished, and camo-patterned shades over red and white LED bulbs. The floor was untreated pine, and the booths and chairs padded with army-green canvas.

The bartender was holding up her next customer, the eerily realistic gun pressed to his forehead, her voice husky enough to frighten, just a little. She wasn’t wearing especially tight clothes, or a low neckline with a push-up bra. She wasn’t decked out in leather, or brimming with aggressive feminine sexuality, but she didn’t need it. That voice, and those eyes. They sold it. Sold her. Even though I’d known the gun was fake, in that moment, I really believed I was going to die.

I lifted my hand, making like I was brushing a strand of hair from my forehead, but that wasn’t it at all. The imprint of the barrel had faded, but there was still a lingering sensation on my skin. I slugged back the rum and Coke in two swallows, and watched for my chance to order another.

Bang, bang, bang. Customers lined up at the bar shot dead in a moment, just like me. Fear, adrenaline, alcohol, war, and sex.

Even without Paul, I’d be back.

Flash Fiction Friday 12.0

How are you all this fine, Friday morning?

It's overcast here in Vancouver, and cooler, so I'm feeling great! (seriously, I am such a wimp when it comes to heat...)

Mine, for sure, won't go up until much later today, since I'm heading over to meet the *roomie* after I scarf some breakfast and walk the dog. We're going to figure out everything we want to do to the place... and then perhaps head out and get some of the supplies.

...I'll have to head home in the afternoon for more walkies with Eva, but the planetarium tonight is showing the movie 'The Fifth Element', and since that's one of my favourite movies, I'm going to see the 9pm showing with some friends.

Any fun plans this weekend?

Here's the sentence for today, enjoy!

She held a gun to my head, and asked one question.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


No, that isn't a swear word in a foreign language...

It's where I might be moving to.

...after looking, and looking, and looking for several weeks, I may have found a new place.

My lease is up mid-October, and I don't want to stay there because: 1) obscenely expensive rent prices, and 2) it's the condo the soon-to-ex picked out/signed the lease on. I still can't sleep here.

Now, it's been really tricky finding somewhere I want. First of all, I did want to stay downtown... but, either the rent is astronomical, or they don't allow pets. Or they only allow ONE pet... and there's no way I'm choosing between Eva and Berkeley just to stay downtown.

The other thing I've been looking for is... I want a roommate. I've lived on my own since January... and I don't like it. See, I'm a pretty social person. Not that I constantly want to hang out with crowds of people... but it's so much nicer to eat dinner with someone, listen to music, hang out in the evening just chatting over a glass of wine/etc.

And if I want to go away... it's nice to know that someone will water my plants, right?

Now, the apartment I might be moving to is kindof a dive (so, just like the witch's hut, but without the ivy-ridden-acreage and herds of aggressive deer...), mostly 'cause the building is from the early 50's (so, no appliances other than a stove), but it has high ceilings, original wooden floors, we're allowed to renovate... and I have renovated a couple houses and a couple apartments in the last few years. I enjoy it. This place would be a fun project.

...and the girl who lives there is awesome :) Like, insta-bond where, within 30 seconds, you just know you'd be cool sharing space together :) We've been texting back and forth since I dropped by to see the place this afternoon.

Despite the fact that it is not downtown, Kitsilano is a really great place to live. West 4th is pretty much one huge long street of shops, so everything is within walking distance, especially most of the cool independent restaurants in the lower mainland. It's super safe, lots of people barely lock their doors, crime is minimal, it's right across the water from downtown... you could probably walk there in 20-30 minutes if you were motivated. Also, Kits' entire waterfront is a huge park:

Check that out... from Hadden Park in the east, all the way to the west, which turns into UBC. UBC refers to the University of British Columbia, and the extensive endowment lands it's set on, which has amazing trails throughout the Pacific Spirit Park if you like to run/walk/bike through old second-growth forest. 

The entire waterfront is all park & beach, and see the little red 'A'? I would be a very short 6 block walk (so, like 5 minutes) to all that. (For those interested, the upper right corner is downtown Vancouver, see the little words 'Coal Harbour'? That's where I live now)

(Kits is technically: east/west from Burrard street, that yellow N/S road on the far right, to Alma street, which is mid-map, and goes as far south as W. 16th)

 There are... kilometres of beach/grass/etc of open space for me and Eva to run around in, and it's all dog friendly. How happy would my little beagle be with that?

I have to admit I haven't made my final decision on this yet. I'm waiting to hear back on a couple things... but this is a very big transition for me. I've never done the roommate thing before... never really lived on my own before (other than the last few months)... never lived in this part of the city before... but I think it'll be a good thing., I might be spending the next couple of weeks painting, putting up tile in the kitchen, replacing light fixtures, installing cupboards/shelves, etc. which seems fun in and of itself :) ...I wouldn't move in until September 1st, probably, after all the reno stuff is done.

This will be move #11 in just over 10 years...

I feel... excited. Which is 180 degrees away from the sick-anxiety/stress that's been keeping me awake for so long.

Excited is good. It's been a really, really long time... :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

FFF 11.2

Mine turned out a little less like a story this time...

Here are my 200 words, please excuse any spelling/auto-correct errors as I am typing on my phone:

No matter what they say about happily-ever-afters, fairy tales are always tragedies. Sure, the youngest son always gets the girl, and the cursed princess always goes free, but what about everyone else? All the other princes usually die horrible deaths trying to slay the giant or ogre. Brothers who were not smart enough to solve the riddle are humiliated, and both sisters and step-sisters of the girl who marries the prince fall into ruin. Sometimes the king or queen is already dead, or dying from a mysterious wasting illness, or they can only have one child, so the fate of the kingdom rests on a single soul.

And those are the cleaned up fairytale versions. You don't really want to know what happened with Little Red Riding-hood, or Sleeping Beauty hidden away in her tower. Jack the giant killer wasn't exactly a hero, and Tom Thumb wasn't noble or stalwart. Kings and princes raped innocent girls, and queens and mothers killed children and ate their flesh.

Sure, sometimes there's a happily-ever-after waiting at the end of every tale filled with deceit, violence, selfishness, and debauchery.

Maybe that's the real lesson of fairytales. To find happiness within the anarchy.

Flash Fiction Friday 11

Wow, 11. I do love-me some prime numbers, though my favourite prime is (of course) 13.

I did something spontaneous yesterday... My family is up at the cabin this week -> parents, sister, nephew, and some friends of the family who go up with them every year -> so, a full house. I haven't been up with everyone for about 12 years, but yesterday, I threw the pets in the car and drove up. The weather is too nice, and my apartment is too hot, even with the new a/c going 24/7.

So, you'll get a lovely FFF written on my phone again. That isn't new... what IS new, is that I'm going to be trying to secretively type this up without anyone noticing. Yeah, I'm still a closeted writer to most people I know, though I did recently *come out* to my sister :)

Today's sentence is slightly influenced by Julie Dao's post from last week.

Happy writing to you all, and have a fabulous weekend!

No matter what they say about happily-ever-afters, fairytales are always tragedies.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Yeah, not a word, I know :) Blogger is spectacularly dedicated to pointing out made-up words (or dyslexic-errors), with delightful persistent red-idiot-squiggles. (can you tell I'm half-asleep while writing this?)

A few weeks ago I was out with a friend, eating Brazilian food & listening to some sweet Brazilian jazz*, and during the course of the evening, I realized something.

I have very few things I'm passionate about, other than writing.

Sure, there are lots of things I like, or have liked, but it's on a casual scale. With music, I enjoy it, but I'm not about to commit a lot of time and money so that I'd be able to play it, or enjoy it, at a higher, or professional level. I played piano up to grade 10 of Royal Conservatory, I played jazz, I played in competitions, but I didn't love it. I enjoyed it, then I enjoyed moving on and learning something else.

One of the reasons I enjoy meeting new people, is so I can hear about everything they like, and why they like it, because then I can indirectly understand the virtues of something I'm currently unfamiliar with.

Also, I hold very few strong convictions, other than I think it's horribly wrong to discriminate, or treat someone else badly, for almost any reason. Respecting others is pretty much the only rule I refuse to bend on, and I'm willing to take any amount of flack, or a few bullets, to uphold that.**

The reason for having so few convictions is probably due to reading so much philosophy in my formative years. Very early, I understood that we, as humans, know very little in the grand scheme of things, and things we think we know now, could easily be disproved 5, 10, 100 years in the future.***

Even the basis we build our sciences on are founded on theories, which aren't actually proven.****

When people around me have strong ideas about the world, or about what's right or wrong, I'll often choose to argue the opposing view, even if I don't believe it, simply to get a better understanding of what others believe and why.

Belief in something that can't be proven, that fascinates me, just as the theory of gravity is fascinating. We know it exists, because we see how it affects us. Many very smart people have created theories, Einstein, Newton, etc, but we don't truly know how and why it works the way it does.

Now, I already knew that about myself... what hit me the other night was the understanding that my extremely malleable world-view is probably why the only thing I do have passion for is writing (and reading).

Because I'm not locked down, I can freely explore a wide range of characters. I can be a thousand different people, with a thousand different sets of beliefs, and know that in the moment of living within a particular character's skin, I will hold true to those convictions. Then, when the moment is over, I can slip into someone else.

It's the magic of words, of stories.

Unlike movies, where you're watching what's going on, with a story, you live it (or you do in well-written books :p).

Writing is slow at this particular moment, but for Project #6, it's certainly been interesting trying to live in Donovan's head and hold true to what he believes, even though it opposes my singular never-bend-this-principle of treating others with respect.

Perhaps it's okay because I'm trying to treat his convictions with respect, even though I don't agree with them.*****

Okay, that's enough weird self-analysis for one day...

Come back tomorrow for another Flash Fiction Friday!

* It's okay for me to be biased, my favourite cousin plays bass in the band ;)

** Not literal bullets, of course, but sometimes the figurative ones are more painful.

*** Humour my imprecise retelling: There's the old story about a friend of Socrates asking the oracle of Delphi if there was anyone smarter than Socrates, and the oracle said no. When her answer got back to Socrates, he laughed, and then investigated other people he thought were smarter than he was, and in the end, he said something along the lines of, "Other men claim that they know a lot, while they really know only a little, I on the other hand only know that I know nothing."

**** I trust no one is going to nitpick this, as I hope it's obvious I'm simplifying for the sake of making a point, not stating an absolute.

***** Yes, I'm aware I sound like a crazy person, since Donovan is a fictional character

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

English language = :-(

Why does the english language get a sad face?

Well, mostly 'cause someone who likes to laugh at me, almost as much as I like to laugh at myself, sent me this today:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

FYI, they obviously forgot about bow/bow, and a few others, but it's still fun :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reading + writing?

I've seen many times online how people say they don't read while they're writing for fear of (unconsciously) adopting pieces of what they're reading, including the voice/style of another author.

Now, I don't read while writing... but it has nothing to do with fear. I just suck at multitasking, and am not afraid to admit it ;)

Writing takes up too much brain space to allow for much of anything else (yes, yes, here's the spot to insert/comment/send me dumb-blonde jokes), and when I'm in writing-mode, the dog needs to perform a pretty remarkable tango to snap me out of that writing-mode and remind me of the fact that she isn't actually capable of using indoor plumbing.

When I first read (several years ago) about being afraid of adopting other writers' style/voice/etc, my reaction was... "Seriously?"

Because that just doesn't compute...

But then I kept hearing/reading the same thing.

I think it would take a lot of work to write in a voice other than my own... to change my style, to merge/meld with another. Maybe I'm just lazy? Maybe my dyslexic-brain can't switch gears to a new track? Sure, I can draw in any number of different styles, but I like my own. I like the lines and shapes my pencil automatically follows when I'm sketching/doodling. Writing my own voice/style is just as easy. I don't think, I just do.

But what do you guys think?

To you, is this a legitimate fear, and if so, why/how?

I get that, when you analyze something you like, how you can use it as a tool to *improve* your own writing, but I wouldn't consider that *adopting*. I'd call that learning. That's how/why I can draw in so many different styles. You analyze, you learn, you re-create, you move on and integrate it into your own thing.

Yup, I totally thought those sharp Anime/Manga styled noses from the 80's & 90's were ridiculous until I figured out *why* they're drawn that way.

A little while ago, I kinda ranted about 'kick-ass-female-characters' because I read 6 books within a couple of days where the lead female characters were near carbon-copies of each other. Does that mean any of those authors were *adopting* from each other? Or from an earlier book?

If every story has been already told a thousand times, and all that makes us interesting is our own, unique take on the tired, regurgitated plots & character archetypes, then where do you think the line is?

Do you read while you write? If you don't, why?

Friday, August 2, 2013

I do foolish things

Since I mentioned earlier today that I did a foolish thing, I've had a couple people email and ask what the heck it was...

...and since it's a pretty funny story...

You know what a split-wood fence is, right? Something like this:

Well, there's one around the off-leash dog park. The strips of oddly-hewn wood are approximately 4-5" wide, 8-10 feet in length, and not a single one is a flat surface, some have up to a 45 degree slope.

Can you see where this is going?

Now look at this picture:

You all know I love Vibram Five-Fingers, right? The shoe in the middle is a Merrell Vapour Glove, the bare-foot experience, but has a hard sole to take the pounding from asphalt, cement, etc. The shoe on the right is a Merrell Pace Glove, another barefoot shoe, but meant for soft dirt/trails/etc... so you can see how the rubber has worn away to nothing (because I was using it on the seawall) where the ball of the foot strikes. See that vaguely squarish shape where the green has worn away? That's hard, slick plastic.

Well, since Sunday, I've not just been walking the narrow/rickety split-wood fence... I've been running on it.

But I've been running it with my Five-Fingers, or my Vapour Gloves.

Guess what happens when you're running/jumping in about 3' strides, but you're wearing shoes where the rubber/tread has worn down to nothing, and you're used to shoes that stick/grip.

Yup. So, I'm re-familiarizing myself with the acronym RICE, and have taped my knee up pretty good.

Too bad KT Tape does nothing for the spectacular bruising I have on my other leg, hip, back, & shoulder. After all, I did fall/roll off a 4' tall fence while running at full speed ;)

I've had three people shake their heads and laugh at me when I told them what happened... They've all said, "only you..."

And, sigh, yeah. I have to admit that's probably true.

By the way, I entirely blame the fact that I have ridiculously small feet for my height... I'm 5'9", and wear a size 6.

FFF 10.2

There's a nice, warm drizzle outside, and you know how much I love the rain ;)

Funny how the more I write these flash fiction pieces, the less I end up editing. My first draft was 218 words, I fleshed it out to 263, then I re-wrote a line and cut out a couple extra words to make it 250:

It was nearly morning. The moon was an overturned bowl shaking the last drops of milky starlight into the silkscreen washed sky. Tomorrow it would be a waning crescent on its way to a new moon. Funny how a lightless night, after the moon has been extinguished, is when it’s thought to be reborn.
I flicked my lighter, the tiny sunspot of manufactured light as fast and ephemeral as a single heartbeat. My thumb pulsed, keeping time with sparks and the sharp scent of flint. Not the same as gunpowder, but close.
The lights were still off in the house, doors and windows latched for the night.
She’d be out soon. She ran every morning for an hour, her Belgian shepherd, Kali, keeping a loping pace at her side.
Flick, spark, burn, wait.
A razor gap of black widened as she opened the front door in the dark. In a pink sports-bra and knee-length shorts, she bent to tug the laces of her shoes tight. She took a few minutes to stretch, her hamstrings first, then planted her hands on the door and leaned into an almost-kneel to target the tendons in her calves and feet.
I checked the holster straps, ran my hand over the butt of my 9mm. 
She took off jogging, and I let her get half-a-block away before I followed. In this light, I didn’t want to be seen.
It was time to do my job.
I would keep her safe.

Flash Fiction Friday 10.0

Wow, I really can't believe I've maintained 10 Fridays in a row...

It rained a little last night, which cleared some of the heat from the air :)

Another short sentence for today, but this time I'm not near-delerious from insomnia. I'm going to take Eva out, and write mine up when I get back.

I did a... very foolish thing yesterday and busted up my knee, so short walkies for the next few days :)

It was nearly morning.