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Christianity family anecdotes Life More about me Random thoughts Writing

When stuff goes pear-shaped

I remember one of my godfathers once asked me to choose a present for myself. I was about 8, and we were in the local newsagent.

I looked for a long time, finally bringing him the thickest compendium of Garfield comics I could find, which he bought without hesitation. Afterward, he questioned my choice. “I was only able to choose one gift,” I explained, “so I wanted to make sure that the gift I chose would last me a long time.”

That’s me. I’m a thinker; a planner. I’m the person who always has to know what is going to happen, WAY ahead of schedule, so I can plan for it. That photo next to ‘control freak’ in the dictionary? That’s me.

Well, it used to be, anyway. I’m learning to relax a lot more. God working in me and all that, maybe?

Case in point: this blog.

Last week. No blog post.

Whoops! Monday morning came; Monday morning went; all 24 hours worth of Monday disappeared… and no new words appeared here.

And it was completely human error. Mine.

Thees last couple of weeks have been busy ones, you know? As in, three-cherubs-underfoot-EVERY-SINGLE-DAY-and-no-time-to-stop-and-think-and-realise-exactly-what-day-it-is-today kind of busy.

Hence Tuesday evening, when I went to watch the Monday TV show I’d taped the night before, I realised that I’d been a day behind. No TV show taped. And also, no blog post published. It wasn’t even written! It hadn’t even been thought about!!!

Cue panicked screaming, running around the house, arms flailing, et cetera – for a whole 20 seconds.

And then I thought, ‘You know what? These things happen. It’ll be okay.’

Decibel levels reduced to within nationally appropriate safety standards, my arms stopped flailing, my heartbeat slowed again, my mind ceased racing, and the cherubs whose presence had caused the upset to routine in the first place, chalked the episode up to yet-another-example-of-Mummy-being-crazy, sighed, and returned to watching old episodes of Pokemon I’d recorded for them. (Yes. Record their programs, not mine. Go figure.)

Stuff had gone pear-shaped, and little ol’ control-freak me was going to… be okay with that.

I’d realised that no amount of panicked screaming and arm-flailing was going to change the situation. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” seems appropriate to quote here, but actually, it was a tweet that same day that hit the nail on the head for me, instead.

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So often I allow stuff over which I have no control, to trip me up. Do you do the same? But although the idea of ‘stumbling over something that lies behind us’, is ludicrous… how often do we do it?

If we can’t change the past, then let it lie. Don’t dwell on it; forget about it inasmuch as it is able to be forgotten (obviously, consequences will out and all that).

But, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t want to be the person on her deathbed at the end of her life, saying ‘I regret spending all that time worrying’. Especially when it’s worry over things I can’t do anything at all about.

[Aside: It may be trite, but I believe that worry is simply an unsaid prayer.]

So my advice, when stuff goes pear-shaped? Do something about it, if you can. And if not, then don’t sweat it. In the long run, it’ll probably be small stuff anyway.

Well, that’s my take on it. Your thoughts?

And have a great week, dear reader!

-KRidwyn

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Random thoughts Writing

On support groups

I’m not a ‘social’ kind of girl. I used to be, back when I was 19, 20. But I haven’t been for quite some time now. Rather, I’m the stereotypical introvert – happiest in my own company, without the pressures of expectations, protocols, and others’ opinions weighing on me.

So as you can imagine, I’m not big on ‘support groups’. Meeting regularly with people is not something I particularly enjoy dong it. Church on a weekly basis fills my quota more than sufficiently.

And I’m also a member of my local Writer’s Group, and have blogged about them before.

But in the last several months, I’ve also found myself a couple of online places where writers meet over a virtual water-cooler. And I must admit, I’m surprising myself with how much I am enjoying the online support of people I’ve never met in real life but with whom, online, I frequently converse!

One of these places is lovingly referred to as ‘The Reef’. We follow the blog of Literary Guru and Agent Extraordinaire, Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary Management. [Edit: as of August 14, 2016, Her Sharkliness is now Agent-Wrangler Extraordinaire at New Leaf Literary.] We comment on her topics – or also on our own; we enter her Flash Fiction contests, some of us are exiled to Carkoon for misbehaviour: it’s a truly exceptional group of people and I’m incredibly inspired by their talents and honoured to be considered one of them.

A second, slightly more local group, is the friends who I race with every Wednesday evening, Brisbane time. The Writing Races are hosted by Australian Writers Marketplace Online and are run through Facebook. One captain helps racers keep track of time, but we race against ourselves. Whether its word count increases on current works in progress, or decreases through revision, editing or re-writing stages, it’s great fun to have the company for an hour, knowing that people all around the country are doing exactly what you’re doing at that point in time. The sense of camaraderie is palpable. And I love that.

There’s also my wonderful family, colleagues at work, the Celtic group that the three cherubs and I are part of – all in all, I’m glad God designed us to share our lives with each other. Community sure is one magnificent idea. And that from the introvert sitting in front of her computer right now, enjoying the opportunities that present right from this little blog of mine.

Because you, dear blog reader, are the ‘support group’ I get to thank right now. Here, in this space that WordPress kindly allowed me to create, I want to thank you for taking the time to read. To lurk. To comment. To think of me, and honour me with your presence, and your willingness to spend your time reading the externalisation of my thoughts. I appreciate it more than you know.

Thank you, dear reader. And have a marvellous day today!

— KRidwyn

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family anecdotes More about me my novel-in-progress Random thoughts Writing

What makes an effort worthwhile?

Last Saturday was a fairly momentous day for me.

IMG_1907I finished the first draft of my third book. And then I went and performed on my harp in public – for the first time.

But although both of those were momentous for me, their impact on others is negligible.

I typed ‘THE END’ on JUSTINE BROWNING AND THE YETI SOLUTION at 5.17pm, then packed up my three cherubs and we headed off to an evening performance with the Moreton Celtic Fiddle Club, which we’re all part of. Miss11, Miss8 and I play violin; Mr7 and I play recorder; and I also play harp. Different instruments for different songs, I hasten to add, hopefully before images of Dick Van Dyke in MARY POPPINS are stuck in your head… whoops… sorry!

Anywho, I’ve been learning harp for just over five months now. I’m a music teacher, and I’ve been playing instruments for three and a half decades, but harp is BY FAR the most difficult I’ve ever learned. Saturday’s was my first performance, and as scary as it was? It’s been and gone and the others will all be easier.

Likewise, my book. The first time I typed THE END, on May 10 2015, it was exhilarating. Typing it for a second time on May 10 of this year was just as brilliant, if not more exciting because I’d proven to myself that last year’s book wasn’t just a fluke. Typing it for the third time, two days ago, made me realise, ‘Hey, I can do this. This is a thing, now.’ And that’s an incredibly fantabulous realisation to make!!! Especially seeing as I can see how my writing is improving substantially with each and every book. It may not be getting ‘easier’ but it’s certainly getting ‘better’ 🙂

Although, (and I’m thinking about Saturday again now) for each of these two events, I also stepped back from myself and said, ‘So what?’

I played my harp piece as background music during a celebratory meal – the group that had booked us to play for them, were marking 30 years existence. So people were eating and drinking, talking and laughing – and maybe a handful were watching; listening; paying attention. Not that I was playing for their attention… but the thought hit me: ‘few care’. And no more than a couple would have given any thought to the efforts I had gone to, to learn the harp and play the song for their enjoyment.

Likewise, my stories. I’d like to think they’ll be published one day. [Please Lord, before my 45th birthday!] but even if they are, only a mere handful of readers may possibly think about the effort that I put into creating the book.

And that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that this is the way life is, and even if I wanted to change this, it’ll never happen.

No, my point is: what is it that makes these efforts of mine – any effort, by anybody, really – worthwhile?

Was I playing solely for my listeners’ enjoyment? Do I write solely for my future possible readers?

In part, yes. But to be downright honest about this – only a little part.

So what makes my efforts worthwhile? My own feelings about what I’ve accomplished. My own emotions about what my future could look like.

And if that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is 🙂

Have a great week, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

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#blogjune Blogging challenges my novel-in-progress Reading Scribblings Writing

30 must-read books – #28

As an aspiring writer, I’m interested in world-building. And Iain M. Banks does this brilliantly.

#bj27I first read The Player of Games twenty-odd years ago. So yes, I was young(er) and more impressionable, but man oh man did this ever make an impression! The world-building is magnificent. Superlative. Masterful. And the story’s not too shabby either 🙂

Have you read this, or any of his other work? Would you agree?

And have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

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#blogjune Blogging challenges Reading Writing

30 must-read books – #27

And from spies and courtroom dramas… to dystopian YA? Sure… why not?

I love Veronica Roth’s take on our future. Her writing style, too. And it’s impossible to divorce Theo James’ looks from the character of Four now… but really, who would want to?#bj28 #bj28aI should also mention here that I quite liked Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy. Far more than Dashner’s Maze Runner take on it all – but then again, I really really REALLY don’t like zombies. (Here are my thoughts on Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom trilogy, which is the only zombie treatment to date that I’ve found bearable.)

But Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant? Fantastic work. *Spoiler alert* Of course Tris had to die. And although her death took me by surprise; it was obvious in hindsight.

And that made purchasing and devouring ‘Four‘ all the sweeter.

And with *that* thought; I’m gone 🙂

See you tomorrow, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

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#blogjune Blogging challenges Reading Writing

30 must-read books – #24

So I finished my first novel early in 2015 and then thought, ‘Okay – what next?’

Well, next for me was Google (d’uh!) and discovering Delilah S. Dawson’s post on Chuck Wendig’s blog. And through that, this:

#bj24

Thank you, Delilah!

This book is EXACTLY what I needed at that moment in time. (She also suggested On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – both of which I read as well, and both of which were excellent… and yet, this one makes my top 30. Yeh, I know. Go figure, huh?) Yes, this book is on screenwriting – but it’s the structuring, the categorising of plotlines, the suggestions for what to do when facing character problems or plot problems (or even industry problems) that made this one a shoe-in for me.

No, I’m not planning on trying my hand at scriptwriting any time soon. Pipe-dream, maybe – but there’s WAY too much on my plate at the moment to consider it. Nevertheless, this book makes my Top 30 due to its overall usefulness. (So there!)

(Oh, and I’d thoroughly recommend Delilah’s post linked above, if you’re interested. And her blog. And Chuck’s blog… and even his The Kick-Ass Writer too; if you can handle the ‘naughty language’…)

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

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#blogjune Blogging challenges my novel-in-progress Reading Scribblings Writing

30 must-read books – #23

The countdown is on! There’s just seven days left of #blogjune and I still have SO MANY titles I want to include in my blogposts this month!

Solution: I’m resorting to cheating again. (LOL)

And I’ve decided to go with ‘miscellaneous’ for these final posts, because there’s no way I can fit everything I want to include in, otherwise.

So… continuing with ‘non-fiction’ for the next day or so, here’s a couple of MUST READS for those ‘writer’ readers who visit:

#bj23a

#bj23b

and

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across Mary Kole’s incredible book Writing Irresistible KidLit – but I am SO immensely glad I did! In the short time since I discovered its existence, it has seriously become like my ‘writing Bible’. No joke.

And the second is like it. This one came via 2015 Christmas season recommendation from the QOTKU herself, literary guru Janet Reid, on her blog. Thank you, Janet! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Writers, if you haven’t already, buy this book 🙂

And stay tuned for tomorrow; there’s one more non fiction title before a return to fiction for the remainder of #blogjune. (And yes, it’s another writing one – yay!)

Have a fantastic day, dear reader!
— KRidwyn

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#blogjune Blogging challenges Random thoughts Reading Review Writing

30 must-read books – #12

Book #12 continues the fantasy genre for this week’s #blogjune posts. The Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer, is my ‘go-to’ example of magical races surviving undetected on modern-day Earth.

#bj13a

In a similar vein, of course, are the more-well-known Harry Potter and Twilight series’.

#bj13b #bj13c

 

 

 

 

 

But as much as the Rowling and Meyer series’ are extremely well-written, I prefer the wit of the Colfer series. I found the mix of criminal masterminds with LEP Recon rather clever. Or perhaps it’s just the intricacies of the dwarf digestive system that amuses me.

Have you ever read them? What did you think?

And, as always, have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

 

 

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#blogjune Blogging challenges Life Reading Review Writing

30 must-read books – #9

I can’t remember my first time reading Obernewtyn – I think I may have been twelve or thirteen at the time? I recall I’d recently read Robert C. O’Brien’s Z for Zachariah – and preferred the Carmody story immensely. The ones that followed, just as much.

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Fast forward to 2015. Carmody finished the series! And seriously, reading the final sentence of Book 7, decades later and what felt like hundreds of thousands of hours of time spent with these characters? It was TOTALLY worth it.

Because of ALL my reading, every single book I have ever read, THIS SERIES has the final sentence to end all final sentences.

You don’t see it coming.

But when it does, it’s PERFECT!

(And yes, I’m well aware I’ve used excessive capitalisation in this post. And you know what? I don’t regret it. Whenever I write a final sentence now, I think of hers. That sentence of hers is my penultimate example. Trust me – if you’ve read the series from beginning to end – you’ll agree with me!)

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

 

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#blogjune Blogging challenges momentous events More about me Reading Writing

30 must-read books – #7

Today’s my birthday. I’m 42. And I’m finishing these first seven ‘literary’ books with these two I discovered in the Garden City public library, three decades ago. I fell head over heels in love with the writing; with the story; with the characters. To me, the exquisite expression of the ideas in these novels, was perfection!

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Then they were returned, and life got busy. But the stories remained with me.

Fast forward a couple of decades. An older-me wants to read the stories again. But the passage of time has rendered me ignorant of the titles and author. And typing ‘dragon story’ into a google search would be fruitless. I give up.

Fast forward again, to mid-2015. Even-older-me has finished writing JUSTINE BROWNING #1 and is preparing to query agents, and reading similar novels to perhaps use as comparison titles. A PLAGUE OF UNICORNS by Jane Yolen strikes me as exquisite writing – so much so that when I see a copy of her novel A SENDING OF DRAGONS for sale, I purchase it to enjoy more of her writing.

I only make it through two and half pages before recognition hits.

This is Book Three in the series I read and fell in love with as a child! I hadn’t read it at the time, as it wasn’t published back then, but I’d found what I was seeking – the author, and the titles of the first two books!

And you know the best part of this story? My Miss11 has just bought me these two books as her birthday present to me. I’m so blessed!

Have a fantastic day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn