Saturday, June 26, 2010

creative blue balls

i'm super jetlaggy (again) and half asleep, and about an hour ago i was snoozing, listening to music (i don't even remember what, but it must have been something very deep and evocative or some shit). and i get ideas... actually, i get the feeling i've got a really really good one, but i'm too sleepy to grab hold of it, and then the song changes, and then my idea is ripped away and i'm left feeling all cranky and unsatisfied. and now that i'm almost, sort of awake, i keep getting these moments where i think i might be remembering, but if i try to grab the idea it disappears. i have this anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach that might be the jet lag, or it might be the kids' fault, but i think it's this missing idea, nagging, gnawing, tapping me on the shoulder and then when i turn around it isn't there.

so close... sigh.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


for the past 5 years, at least, all my social interactions (that haven't revolved around my kids) have revolved around knitting. i'm used to talking to people about knitting and having them 'get' me. well last night at a social event for writers, i had a shocking realization: non-knitters really do find knitting kind of insane.

last week, when my writing buddy started mocking the knitting, I thought it might just be him- that he was just closed-minded, or more likely that he got a kick out of teasing me (hi Jay!) but i think it's not just him. people think knitting is weird. who knew?

last night a man compared me to his 100 year old grandmother sitting in her rocking chair, waiting for death. naturally, i took offence. this was followed by the classic "why can't you just buy socks" line. to which i pulled out my socks to show him how so-much-cooler they were than storebought socks. (he wasn't impressed. also shocking.)

then he joked that i should write a novel about knitting, and i shouted "done and fucking done!" (we were probably both a little drunk and argumentative... i also told him not to fuck with the lady with the pointy sticks...)

all in all, it was a very fun night.

so for the first time in a long time i was the weirdest person in the room because of my knitting (this doesn't imply i haven't been the weirdest in the room for other reasons...not by a long shot). i'm not sure how i feel about this. i've never laboured under the illusion that i'm normal- hell, who wants to be normal?- but i didn't think sticks and string would be what made me so strange.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

i lied

i just deleted a whole blog post- something i said i wouldn't do.

why? because i don't want anyone calling me up or emailing me asking me if i've gone off the deep end. i haven't, for the record.

i am a good writer. i'm actually a very good writer, and if that makes me sound conceited, then so be it.

i have to strike a balance between writing what i want to write, and writing what i need to write. i need to get stuff out of my head, so i write. i want to make an impact on people, so i write. i'm ridiculously anxious about sharing my writing, but when i get positive feedback, it makes me so damn happy. and when i get negative feedback it just pushes me to do better. (and sometimes makes me cry a bit- but mostly it's the 'do better' part).

right now, most of what i write is depressing. i don't know why. maybe it's just the headspace i'm in. but my best stuff, some of my favourite stuff, is the depressing stuff. the happy stuff just doesn't do it for me. my own full manuscript, the one i've been obsessing over since november, is at its best (in my opinion) in the depressing parts. my husband disagrees, of course, but then he doesn't do depressing. i suppose that's a good thing. a balancing thing.

said husband is watching star trek: enterprise at this very moment, a fact that makes him very happy, and me sort of depressed. what does that tell you?

Monday, June 14, 2010

it just occurred to me

i'm leaving town again in ten days. i feel like i just barely got back (wait, i did just barely get back). i'm still jet lagged. if you fly halfway back to where you were when you're still jet lagged, does that negate the jet lag at all?

as a bonus, the next trip includes my husband and kids, which is great because i love them and all, but equally crappy because we'll have two jet lagged parents and a couple of jet lagged kids. joy.

i got a message from a knitting friend who knows i'm a writer about a flash fiction workshop in town this evening. very last minute, but i think i'm going to go. it sounds like fun.

the problem with this last minute stuff is, usually it's in central or thereabouts (basically downtown Hong Kong on the main island) which is easily an hour from where i live. so i really have to have a few hours warning if i want to do this sort of thing. today i think i had just enough warning (the fact that my husband is so awesome that he's willing to come home early to watch the boys helps immensely. i owe this dude hardcore. i'm making a list).

last time i tried to go to a writing event in central, i ended up at a closed bar, completely missing a sign on the door saying that they had moved to the bar next door, and so i spent two hours total on a bus for nothing except a bruised ego and a major case of 'i'm a fucking moron'. any bets on whether i'll make it to this one in one piece, on time, and without embarrassing myself?

don't worry, i wouldn't bet on me either.

ETA: one piece? check. on time? check. without embarrassing myself? eh, jury's still out...

Friday, June 11, 2010

recipe for a perfect friday night

start in the afternoon, with a good 4 hours of knitting, with five fantastic friends. try not to fall asleep on the oh-so-comfy couches. stay hydrated, and mainline something caffeinated.

fizzy pink stuff, calamari, bruschetta (hold the olives, though) and laughing a lot, sitting in a ridiculously comfy booth.

tram ride up to the peak. okay, in all fairness, i could have skipped this out- the buildings and trees were at a 45 degree angle to the car. it felt wrong. distracted by stories of fingernails falling off (thanks again, Anna!) but still, i don't need to travel sideways up a mountain ever again.

dinner on the peak, including much too much wine, fancy cocktails (mine had coconut- yum), delicious food, and boozy hot chocolate for dessert (it actually didn't occur to me at first that hot chocolate with baileys and frangelico was alcoholic, which speaks volumes about my state of mind at that point...)

minibus down the mountain (yeah, i could've skipped that too. fucking psycho minibus drivers. at least i remembered to put on my seatbelt...eventually)

longest taxi ride home ever. how i managed to stay awake i'll never know.

get home, and get a second wind. perfect timing...

blog. because i'm awake already, why not ramble for the masses (or, the three people who actually read this...)

sleep should come next. right?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

startling priority shift

for my trip to TO, i packed everything into a small suitcase, then packed that small suitcase into a medium suitcase. the reasoning being, i would be able to bring stuff back with me (namely yarn) without having to worry about having things not fit.

well, first of all, i still barely managed to fit everything in- i actually had to leave a few books behind, but they weren't ones i was going to read soon anyway. second, while unpacking today, it occurred to me that the smaller suitcase was filled almost exclusively with, not yarn, but books. really? since when did i become so damned interested in reading? maybe around the time i started writing like a maniac? hmm.

in fairness, about three of them were knitting books, and there were some knitting magazines in there too. and two knit-lit books. but still, what the hell has happened to me that i didn't manage to fill my entire spare suitcase with yarn?

i guess that's what July will be for.

you know you're jet-lagged when...

-your five-year-old is wearing a pretzel on his face like a pair of glasses, and you're nearly on the floor in hysterics.

-it takes you twenty minutes to write the above sentence.

i may just edit this post and add more as they occur.

fucking hell.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

back home

hong kong has decided to welcome me back with pouring rain and thunderstorms. nothing like riding in a plane while lightning flashes around you to get the adrenaline pumping.

the next few days are going to be an experiment in how truly jet-lagged i can be and still parent effectively. any bets? it's 8am (meaning it feels like 8pm) and i feel completely fucking upside down right now. i'm not terribly hopeful.

wish me luck!

Monday, June 07, 2010

WIPs in time out

i've decided i've way overthunk my two WIPs. over-outlined, over-worked, but i'm still not actually writing the damn stories, i'm kind of tiptoeing around them, and i'm pissing myself off.

i'm putting them in time out for a while. i want to get them back to the point where they were just really awesome ideas so that i can write them without stressing about the specifics, the details. details are for editing, but i have to write the damn thing first.

i'm thinking about writing a few more shorts. i'm getting some good ideas... not a lot.

i want to get my query/synopsis figured out for my current MS. once i'm done that, i'll feel a lot better about my writing situation i think...i hope...

Saturday, June 05, 2010


two days ago, i dug up a paragraph that i wrote about two years ago and started to fiddle with it. it was something i came up with using an online story spinner (like a prompt generator, basically). it wasn't like it was good or anything, but it was the start of a story that was potentially interesting.

yesterday i finished the story. 5000 words, which is sort of an average for general short fiction, i think (actually, i think there's a pretty significant range in short fic, like from 500 to 20K words).

i'm almost positive that the story is actually good, too. of course i'm biased towards my own work, who isn't? but i've re-read it and edited it a bit, and i'm mostly happy with it.

i'm going to get a few people to read it who aren't me and who have no reason to like it and no reason to lie if it sucks. then we'll see.

this is the first short story i've written since high school. i really hope i've improved since then...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

writing for myself

i've never been good a journaling. i kept diaries as a kid, but i always got bored of them. when i started writing again, i figured out why.

i'm a great big attention whore.

i like to write for an audience. i like to write as if someone might read it someday. if you know me, you know i like to talk. i can talk for hours, for days, and never run out of stuff to say. now i can write like that too. it's not always interesting, and in fact, it's probably usually not at all interesting, but i like to put it out there, whatever it is.

i don't have any illusions that i have a ton of people reading this blog. and most of my readers used to be my knitter friends, and since i'm not talking about knitting much, i doubt they're interested anymore. i don't really care, because it's out there. it's public for anyone who wants to read it, for anyone who knows me, or anyone who doesn't.

i don't put personal crap up here. i mean, i have my kids names, my husband's name, my name's probably down there somewhere. people know where i live, more or less (hey, come stalk me in Hong Kong!) but i don't put the really deep shit on here, the stuff that matters. the stuff that hurts.

but apparently i still need to write the stuff that hurts, even if i don't share it. i was tempted to share it, but then i read it over and i started bawling, so no, not going to post that.

things are mostly good. things are often great.

things aren't always great. and that's okay. that's life.

i'd rather write for you guys (all two of you). writing for myself doesn't work as well, because if i can't share it, i still feel like it's all in me. it's on paper (well, computer screen, but same diff.) but it's still only mine.

maybe someday i'll blog about the hard stuff. and then nobody will want to read it. huh.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

need to gush about knitters a bit

Whenever i'm in TO, when i was visiting from Kingston, and now that i'm visiting from Hong Kong, I go to knitting groups. I don't feel sane if i can't go out and knit with people. I can knit at home, alone, in front of the tv, or while talking to my parents, my husband, my kids, but it's just not the same as talking to other knitters. i have two regular groups in Hong Kong that meet weekly, one that meets monthly. all three groups are made up of different people. i think i'm the only one who regularly attends all three. they're all different people, all fantastic.

in Kingston, i had two regular groups. there were more i couldn't get to every week, the one at the LYS for example. when I was visiting last week, just for two days, i went to two knit nights. it was just obvious that i had to do that. that's what you do. (also, i was staying with a friend who is a knitter, so that made it easy). there is overlap in these groups. people show up where they can, when they can. i got to see several old knitting friends, and it felt like almost no time had passed.

in TO, there is one group i go to whenever i'm here. there are others in town, and at least one other that i try to go to semi-regularly, but the one i go to on tuesday nights is a must. now, you have to understand that i have never lived in TO as an adult, certainly never lived here as a knitter. I was born and raised here, but moved away when i was 19. i've only ever been here in my adulthood as a 'visitor'. i've never felt like a visitor though. this will always be home. and the weekly group, the one i only ever got to attend when i was visiting, over holidays mostly, in the summer, is one more thing that makes me feel like this is home. i show up two weeks ago, nobody was expecting me, nobody knew i'd be home. every single person i knew was happy to see me. They were friendly and cheerful, asked about Hong Kong, about my kids. and we got down to knitting, and again, it was like i had never left.

this is one of those things that is awesome about knitting, about knitters. we see each other on a regular schedule, like clockwork. often, you only see these people at knit night. it's a once-a-week relationship (sometimes twice). for me, it was maybe five or six times a year, just for the last two years, really. and yet, i talk to people, we talk about our lives, about our families, births, deaths, work, school, no topic is off the table. it's almost effortless. when you've got knitting in your hands, all your differences are irrelevant. i talk to people a decade younger than me or more, i talk to people old enough to be my mother, or my grandmother. doesn't make a difference. we always find a common thread (if you'll pardon the pun).

and it's not just the regular people that you connect with. just tonight i talked to three people i had never met before, one of whom is a fellow expat. you don't expect to meet someone and immediately have a great connection with them- i mean, i'm sure it happens sometimes, but not on a regular basis, not on a weekly basis. but apparently with knitting, you can.

knitting groups keep me sane. they kept me sane when i moved to Hong Kong- i've made fantastic friends there already, i never would have found them without knitting. they've kept me sane here, while i'm visiting my parents but still desperately missing my husband and kids. i don't know what i'd do without them.

to sum up- knitters are awesome. they're a special type of person, and i don't know what makes them so great, but if we could figure it out and bottle it, we'd make a fucking fortune.