On re-reading

I’m re-reading my all-time-favourite novel again at the moment: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas. I’m not entirely sure why I love it so much, just that I do. And each time I read it, I find more and more to love.

Take, for example, this segment:

“The two friends sat down to dinner; but as they were eating, Albert could not refrain from pointing out the marked difference between the respective merits of Signor Pastrini’s cook and the one employed by the Count of Monte Cristo; and indeed, honesty obliged Franz to confess, despite the reservations he still seemed to have on the subject of the count, that the comparison was not to the advantage of Signor Pastrini’s chef.” (p. 401)

and this, four pages later:

“The two friends did not presume to repay the count for the luncheon he had given them: it would have been poor jest to offer him, in exchange for his excellent table, the very mediocre fare that made up Signor Pastrini’s table d’hote. They said as much openly and he accepted their excuses with evident appreciation of their thoughtfulness.” (p. 405)

What gorgeous writing! Wouldn’t you agree? That first sentence, in particular, is 73 words long!!!

And have a fantastic, literary week yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Review: WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers

As a Reider – a commenter on (literary agent extraordinaire) Janet Reid’s blog – I was fortunate enough to hear about this book, WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers.

Now, I’ve read numbers of titles on ‘how to write and sell your book’, ranging from Stephen King’s ON WRITING to Chuck Wendig’s THE KICK-ASS WRITER. These particular two have stood out to me as the two ends of a spectrum, and many, many, MANY other titles within that spectrum have inspired me and encouraged me in my whole ‘get-your-butt-in-your-chair-and-get-your-novel-finished’ aspirations.

Not since reading Catherine Deveny’s USE YOUR WORDS though, have I read a more down-to-earth ‘just write, and finish what you write’ philosophy espoused so clearly. And it’s exactly what I (in my current “I can’t do this” frame of mind) needed to hear. And the footnotes! Hilarious!

Jeff’s wit sparkles, and I laughed aloud throughout each of the 20 chapters. The first ten chapters – on writing – were more applicable to me than the second – on selling – however now I’m in the winding down chapters, drafting Book 6 of a 7 book series, I can see that the latter half of his book may indeed become more important to me in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

As Jeff Somers is a client of Janet Reid’s, and as I am an unashamed Reider familiar with her take on literary agenting, it was not only a pleasing confirmation to note that her own views are firmly held by her client, but that the ‘inside jokes’ he made, were ones I am also (partly) familiar with. I smiled, I laughed, I took copious notes, and the fact that emblazoned across the back cover demanded that I:

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WRITE!

YES, YOU: WRITE!

made me smile every time I picked it up. [Because even though the blurb insisted I write, the premise behind actually being able to read the hard-cover book I’d been given for my birthday (thanks, Mum!) was that I needed to stop what I was doing – even if my current activity were writing – if I was to read the book!]

But it was worth it. Worth missing out on the writing time. Because it’s a great book. And it you’re an unpublished writer – or even a published one, come to that – you’d find this a good read. And if you missed clicking on that link at the top, it’s here again now if you wanted to buy it directly from Jeff Somers’ blog.

And have a great week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

 

 

A ‘Laggard’ but wishing I weren’t…

What feels like aeons ago but only because of my life-sleep balance, back when I was studying marketing, I discovered the ‘Diffusion of innovations’ theory first espoused by Everett Rogers in 1962. It seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spreads.

First up are the ‘innovators’ (roughly 2.5% of society) who, when first aware of the new idea, embrace it.

Second come the ‘early adopters’ (13.5%) who jump on the bandwagon once they know there’s a bandwagon.

Thirdly, the ‘early majority’ (34%) who jump aboard; followed by the fourth category, unsurprisingly labelled the ‘late majority’ (also 34%), who agree to join in after knowing about the idea and deliberating for some time.

And finally, the laggards also adopt the idea, either after significant refusal, or without realising that they have adopted it.

And I feel like I’m a laggard – but not intentionally. Rather, it’s lack of time which has meant that I only recently – after hearing all the hype about first the book, and then the subsequent movie – bought myself THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins, and found the time to read it, too.

And whoa; I’m so glad I did! It intrigued me from the first page and I found it incredibly difficult to put down; the last book I felt this way about was GRAEVALE by Lynette Noni and that was explainable – it’s Book 4 in her Medoran Chronicles, so I already have history with her writing.

But this one? THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN? Read it if you can; if you haven’t yet.

It’s worth it!

And have a great week, dear Reader!

KRidwyn

Sipping from the saucer #27

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: “The LORD has blessed me so much, my cup is overflowing (taken from Psalm 23) and I’m sipping from the saucer.”

I like the visual, so I’m using it here, in this month-long blogging challenge focusing on the blessings God has poured out on me.

And now, blessing #27: the books Mum ordered for my birthday – which arrived in time for her to bring when she came to stay on Monday just gone 🙂

I’m partway through WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers – laughing my way through, more accurately. It’s a great read, and I’m learning about the writing craft at the same time, so a twofer and I like that 🙂

And what with the holidays officially starting this afternoon, and my (meant to be) being on minimal movement in an upright position… having a second brand new book to look forward to is a wonderful thing!

Here’s wishing you a blessed day too, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

Failing Challenges…

So I’m pretty up for a challenge, no matter the occasion. (Not sure what that says about me, but oh well…)

So at the end of 2016, when I completed my Goodreads challenge (2 books a week, meaning 104 books in the challenge, and I read 107) – I thought to myself, “No sweat! Let’s try for 3 books a week in 2017!”

Dumb move.

Really, really dumb.

I went back to full time teaching in January – but decided to not take that fact into account.

Whoops!

So here I am now, Monday the 11th of December, and there’s 20 days left to get the remainder of my challenge books read. 156 books in the challenge. 63 books read. Leaving 93 books to go.

Yup. That’s doable. Between 4-5 books per day…

Perhaps…

Wish me luck, dear Reader! (At least I’ve got access to well over a hundred Middle Grade books I’ve never read…)

And have a great week!

– KRidwyn

Being true to yourself

I read an autobiography the other week: FREEDOM FROM FRED by Anna Magdalene Handley. Anna goes to my church; I’ve known her for some time now. She’s an amazing woman, with an incredible life story… but the line that hit me most was this:

 

Deep inside is our truest expression: the more we pretend the more we die.

 

I love, love, LOVE this idea. So much so, I shared it with my 100+ students this morning at school.

Why? Because they’re teenagers, most susceptible (and not succeeding in dealing with) peer pressure.

I have kids who, in my office and in a one-to-one conversation, will be in tears with how they ‘want to change, want to do the right thing, want to focus on their schoolwork and be the kid their Mum/Dad wants them to be’ – and it’s genuine.

Then they walk out, and within five minutes, they’re back with their friends, invisible mask firmly in place, and are being the exact same person that they don’t want to be anymore.

Interestingly, when I was telling them this story this morning, there was silence. You could hear a pin drop. They knew I was talking to them, as individuals, they could identify themselves in my story, and they were being convicted in the talking.

Then I mentioned how, back a millennia or so ago, when I realised that *I* could drop my invisible mask and just be myself, that my friends just accepted me for who I was anyway. And just being myself was SO much easier! I didn’t have to use up all my energy trying to be someone else, trying to remember what I was meant to be like at home, as opposed to at school, or in whatever situations I found myself in. I could just be me.

And how freeing was that!

Being true to yourself.  Hard sometimes – but worth it.

 

Have a great week, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

Looking forward

I’m looking forward to these school holidays. I haven’t had a break since first accepting this job, back in mid-November. So I’m ready for a break. And it’s a decent one. Two weeks.
I’m looking forward to writing again, more regularly and less haphazardly than I’ve been able to this year. I’m looking forward to gardening, to making a dent in my TBR pile, to spend time with my cherubs and with my husband and walking on the beach, praising my God.

I’m needing this break. Man alive, but I’m ready.

Roll on school holidays!

And have a great day, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

R is for ‘rainband’

Yes, that’s the correct word. No, not ‘rainbow’, but ‘rainband’.

So what is it? I hear you ask.

[Great question! she replies, grinning widely.]

According to my Macquarie Dictionary, a rainband (noun) is a dark band in the solar spectrum, due to water-vapour in the atmosphere.

Huh!

Ten minutes ago, I never knew this word existed. But sitting here at my messy desk, dictionary on my lap and curiosity in my mind, I’ve just discovered that something I’m sure I’ve seen many times in my life before, boasts its very own name.

Well, that makes sense. Most things are named, aren’t they? That’s how we can communicate about them. It reminds me that the Eskimos have many words (apparently!) describing ice and snow – as opposed to the two I would commonly use.

It’s a pretty cool feeling, discovering words. I wonder if I could somehow be influential into making them more popular. Or would my usage of these words I’d newly discovered just be taken as bragging? Would I be seen to be preening with my new-found knowledge?

And does that even matter?

Only one way to find out, I guess…

Have a great day, dear Reader! And look out for a rainbands 🙂

— KRidwyn

[Image of rainband courtesy Wikipedia, retrieved 1 May, 2017]

On New Year’s resolutions…

I posted a few weeks back about one of my 2016 resolutions: to read through the Bible throughout the course of the year.

Well, I did that 😀

 

I must admit, it’s been a few years *cough decades* since I’ve actually kept a New Year’s resolution, so I shan’t be brave and recount my 2017 resolutions here for you now.

I’m just going to share one of my favourite images with you all: fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Every New Year’s Eve, I wake up the kids at 11.50pm and we watch Sydney’s fireworks on TV. We love it. I love the hope that comes with the new year, the thoughts of the journey ahead with all its innumerable possibilities. The world is our oyster, and all that jazz.

Here’s hoping that the resolutions you make are ones you can keep too, dear reader!

And Happy New Year 😀

KRidwyn

CC image courtesy miquitos on Flickr

Challenge completed!

It’s that time of year again; Christmas ends, we brave the end-of-year shopping frenzy, and we reflect on the past 12 months with a mixture of pride and regret. Some of us make plans for 2017; think up some resolutions for the New Year.

That was me, twelve months ago.

I decided that I needed to read through the Bible in 2017. I worked it out: if I could read four chapters every day, I’d make it, with a couple of weeks or so to spare.

I even drove myself to the Christian bookstore that’s kind of close-ish, wandered the aisles, and bought myself a brand new Bible, which I started reading on January 1st.

The challenge went well until around March, where I missed a few days. Routines changed, and I broke the four-chapters-a-day record I was keeping with myself. I picked up the reading again as soon as I could, and read a few chapters extra for a while, just to ensure that I’d still make it by December 31st.

And guess what? I did it!

(Although to be fair, the title of the blogpost was probably a bit of a spoiler for how the challenge went. Whoops! My bad…)

I finished last week. No, not all chapters were read from my shiny new Bible, but the vast majority of them were. It’s funny, that thing about routines. When they change, and you get a new routine, and it works better than the old routine did? But then you feel guilty because of how you’d committed to the old routine or whatever?

Anyway, I read quite a few of the New Testament letters on my Bible app on my phone, where I’d read a chapter in between reps. It worked, so why not?! And I’d often quickly read them again in my ‘new’ Bible when I got home, or the following day, anyway. I liked the versatility of my phone, but the solid feeling of the physical Bible in my hands even more 🙂

But no matter how it happened, it did. I started in Genesis and finished in Revelation… and I’m thinking about doing it again in 2018. Not in the same order though. Not back-to-front order either. I’m not sure what order yet; but I have the rest of December to figure it out.

Anyway, here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas season, wherever you are, and have a wonderful week this week!

Yours,

KRidwyn

CC image courtesy One Day Closer on Flickr