Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Writers Block: My self imposed Maze of Madness

Procrastination. Fear. Distractions. Lack of support. Excuses….Life. 

i have been working on a full length YA novel for the past 10 months, ‘Something Pink’, and have only made it to 87 000 words (or 3 quarters of the way through the actual story for those who don’t like to focus on word count). The first 50 000 words got put down in one hell of a shotgun month, but since have been so edited (read: huge chunks deleted due to the fact that they were utter and complete CRAP) that they barely exist as they first came out anymore. Since then i have been struggling to finish the story and round things up in a neat little 100 000 word package.

It's just not happening.

i have read so many articles on writers block, on the novelists volatile relationship with her books, on how when where why HOW people manage to finish, or not finish as the case may be. And i have been through ALL of it.

i hate my book one day, feel ok’ish about it the next, wish my characters would just die already (even tho this book is not that kind of novel) and hate hate HATE my writing style by the end of every chapter!

Its almost like my bad back. i wake up feeling alright, but by the end of the day am in so much pain i just want to give it all up.

i have had dreams where my completely fictional character comes to life, conversations with people where i found myself thinking what my character would have said, waged war on my excessive use of the exclamation mark only to keep doing it (!!!) and even mused about how to make the bad guy ‘gooder’ and the good guy ‘badder’ as i don’t think either of them are believable, even though they are both based on real life people.

i have discovered that when i read at night, i write better the next day. But when i watch series or movies with Husband, the next day its as if my brain has been sucked out by some inspiration-feeding alien being and i go all pod-person on myself. i have figured out that if i get up and go to gym first thing it gets my juices going and my brain cogs seem to turn right, but then start to get lost in the process of gym and only get down to writing after lunch time! i have found that when i set myself a solid ‘baby-steps’ deadline, a small one, it invariably works out.

But then after i have reached said deadline (50 000 words, 65 000 words, 80 000 words….kind of like a service plan for a car…) the world around me with its home renovations, gym, climbing the mountain, blogging, seeing friends, piano, cooking, shoes, Husband and all his cuteness, making gifts/cards, arranging parties/family events, self doubt issues, bad spelling, the cats, reading, watching just one more episode, planning, cleaning, back-breaking furnature rearranging, etc etc! just takes over and i never get back to it!

Until the next deadline.

i have made a myriad of excuses not to write, sat staring at a blank computer ‘Word’ window for ages with nothing, and then written like a demon possessed, all in one week! And i have changed soooo much of the book 'for the better' only to realize it kills another plot in the story and i have to back track and start over. i am wading through a puzzle of spun webs and even though i am the creator, am so lost in my own maze!

And all this for a light hearted, soft-cover sort of easy read that will probably take my readers a single afternoon to finish when i actually DO publish!? Really?!?

And of course, then i will have a good day and everything just works out – i kick up a flurry of words in a whirlwind of story telling, but when the dust settles the next day, the doom settles in again with it. And the thing goes from being called ‘the book’ to ‘the F#*%&$ing book!’ (i borrowed this from another writer i once heard say the exact same thing...dont remember her name...dont know if she ever did finish...) Which means its time to procrastinate, make shiny excuses, go for a run, start the dinner, browse over 108 different options of light switches/bathroom tiles/wood-stain tones for the house, watch some Gilmore Girls while sewing up that hem i've been meaning to get to, and hide away from my laptop again.


i even went to a herbalist who was going to align my thingymabobs, fix my mineral whatchemacallits, and open the channels of creativity with her spun sugar water. (Ok i actually love the herbalist and LOVE the treatments and it has made a big difference in my mood if nothing else, so i am just being facetious for the sake of this post. Sorry Herbalist! Love you and your snake oils too!)

But yesterday i read a blog post by a friend, fellow novelist and someone i look up to in the world of word writing (and who’s first published work ‘When the Sea is Rising Red’ will be available in 2012) and everything just clicked into place! She captured a moment in a writers life so beautifully that i HAD to read it 5 times over. And then again to Husband when he got home after work. Particularly this part:

"See, I have this book. I kinda like it, but not enough. Or rather, I used to like it but now I’m scared of writing it because it isn’t perfect, and it’s dumb, and everyone will laugh at me because it’s shite. (It’s also first draft and unfinished, so shite by default, but I have never let things like logic bother me)."

Thank you Cat. i have been inspired to keep at it, as i am not the only one feeling this way and if you, a freshly successful writer, can have peanut butter and jam moments, then i think i might just be able to buck up and finish after all J

So my new deadline starts today (i work well with deadlines) i have given myself two weeks to complete the full 100 000 words, with or without edit writing. This is my promise to myself, to you and to the general blogsphere e-world out there.

Wish me luck!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Yellow Balloon

i had a Hello Kitty moment today which filled me with all kinds of warm happy fuzzys and i just HAD to share it!

But first, some background.

Husband and i have a little Street Urchin. Not an actual urchin, but a person of the human variety. He spends most of his time between the main road of Green Point and jail (which he always announces with such clear nonchalance it shocks my prissy little upper-middle-class socks right off every time…) 

He is always around (unless he is in jail for a fortnight or a month of course) when Husband and i go down to our local store-corner, which conveniently includes a woolies food, dvd store, clicks pharmacy, CNA, laundry mat, party shop, lingerie store, sushi joint and 711 all in walking distance from our secret secure parking location. This means i usually go about 3 to 4 times a week on my daily errands, and at least once more on a weekend with Husband. We always have a little chat when ever we see our Urchin and give him something, whether it be a pie and coke, a chip and sausage stuffed sub, a R5 coin or a R100 bill.

We named him Street Urchin partly because of its somewhat ‘vintage’ appeal, but mostly because the air down on our shop corner always smells of the sea, and on particularly wet wintery days you hear the waves crashing and feel like you actually are under the ocean! So the association really is just coincidental-on-purpose.

Anyhow, he is quite a character and bursting with charisma, so we have ‘adopted’ him as our little Street Urchin and are always on the look out for him when down at the woolies or dvd store etc.

Well today, after spotting our Urchin running across the road, waving his arms wildly at me, i pulled over and (illegally) stopped my car to scratch around for something to give him. When i rolled down my window (mechanically – with a button – you get the idea) he presented me with a yellow balloon! He told me that today he doesn’t want anything from me but rather wants to give me something. The thing is, the balloon was somewhat deflated and muggy looking, so when i laughed and asked about it, he said ‘Well i haven’t seen you for a few days’. 


Though i did have to toss it as soon as i got home to avoid another hoarder relapse... (see my previous post 'Rules of a Hoarder' for the full story:

But my face was practically in spasms from all the smiling i did to myself all the way home.

Amazing what a slightly flaccid yellow balloon can do J

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

i Have a Headache in my Head

For the past 2 and a bit weeks, my back has been misbehaving something terrible. The physio is working with me and my revolting spinal joints, but i have still spent many sleepless nights recently related to back pain.

Poor me!

While lying there (uncomfortably as it were), a poem i wrote a few years ago kept going round and round in my brain. It was a poem written in a similar situation: in the early hours one morning after a few sleep deprived days. The poem may be all about my headache at the time, but the sentiment is still the same, and i think it captures what i'm going through now with my back simply and beautifully. It's called...

i Have a Headache in my Head

i have a headache in my head
and how my headache aches!

It aches all day
It aches all night

And keeps me wide awake!

i've had this headache in my head
for several aching days

i've taken pops,
i've taken pills

i've pop'd and pill'd
right to my fill

i'll have to keep on taking

 My headache goes away :)

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The one about red bathrooms and Japanese rocks

Husband and I are currently renovating our home, which means SO much more than just special cupboard space for shoes! It means that I have the opportunity to let my mind go wild with possibilities, and come up with Cherry-Blossom designer tit-bits in my own home that are going to thrill my every day home space living for years and years to come!


It also means I have to tone down my incessant magnetic pull towards glitter and fluff, and seriously ‘consider’ Husbands input too. OK fine. He can have a masculine wood clad study and wine cellar. I’ll give him that. But nothing is free, dear Husband. NOTHING.

You see, I fancy myself a bit of a ‘not-just-a-pretty-face’ type, and thus I choose my battles. When its a boring blue bathroom he wants, I give in. 

But not before making a HUGE AND UNBUDGING song&dance case for a solid red bathroom first!

I don’t only want to feel like there is a brightness to the room, I’m talking Communist China! Blood red bath, red basin, red shower, red vanity, red tiles, red rails, red toilet, red floor, red mat, red soap, red towels! I want to go in and feel that I have gone back in time and crossed the Berlin Wall. I want red tiles floor to roof and I want them REDDER THAN RED! 

And then just when Husband thinks he’s going to have to either build a whole extra bathroom on the house JUST so I can have the red thing I am insisting on, I do a 180 and tell him, ‘Ok honey, you can have your blue bathroom.’

And like a loaded casino slot machine, I sit back and watch the brownie points roll in by the gazillions! KA-CHING! J Yes, i’m incorrigible.

So we aren’t getting a redder than red bathroom, but I am getting my Japanese theme yoga garden complete with reflexology stone path and leopard tree shade corner! Do you see how it works?

Anyhow, while doing my research looking up patterns and paths and histories and heritages, I stumbled upon this little gem. Now I ask you, is it just me or is this not just really really funny?

(below extract taken from the website called Japanese Gardens for North Americans:

"Used in a garden, a rock may be:
1.   a shumisen - or Mt. Sumeru, is the center of the world of Buddhist cosmology. It is a sacred mountain, somewhat like Mt. Olympus, the summit of which is the dwelling place of Taishakuten, one of the 12 guardian dieties.
2.   a horaisan - the legendary Japan inhabited by cranes, tortoises, and covered in pines, peaches and plums, all symbolic of exceptional longevity and paradise
3.   a particular island scene
4.   any mountain.

Or it may be just a rock"

AAHhahaha! That gave me a good laugh. Ah, life is good J (If its just me, then I promise to cut down on the caffeine and get out more…)

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

To have Child or not to have Child...

Before reading this, i urge all mothers, fathers, adoptive parents or anyone who has ever entertained the idea of having kids to please keep an open mind. These are thoughts revolving around the constant questioning we all seem to get about having children. i am not judging ANYONE ELSES reasons for having children or not having children, and i am most certainly not making any personal judgements about anyone i know. Other than myself of course. This is my very personal opinion for myself and my own little family unit (consisting of 2 – me and Husband)

The last 10 years of my life in a nutshell: Single? Boyfriend. Engaged? Married...BABIES???

To the baby-cryers, i say GIVE ME THE WORLD!

Let me explain. As a teen, the hot question my friends always asked was ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’. Then when i, oh-joy-oh-joy, HAD said boyfriend, fast forward to my 20’s and the same people switched to ‘When are you getting married?’. Looking around, i noticed it wasn’t only me being slowly but surely edged towards the alter, but that most peeps in their late 20’s early 30’s are bombarded with the same question. No matter how long you have been in a relationship for, no matter where in life you are, no matter how healthy your relationship is, no matter how much you may or may not even like your partner! Fortunately for me, i was HEAD OVER HEELS in love with mine, and so the move towards marriage wasn’t so much an edging forward as an apocalyptic gallop! (with poor Husband en tow)

And so, come 31, i found myself blissfully skipping down that proverbial white-laced isle. However, no soon as the words ‘I Do’ were uttered, the peer line of questioning changed in one lightning-bolt flash to ‘When are you having babies?’

Really people? The honeymoon isn’t even cold yet!

 While studying marketing, my lecturer once made quite a controversial statement. He said that the greatest invention of the 20th Century was The Pill. Reasoning that this little happy bundle of white was what revolutionized the women’s movement, what allowed for women to start choosing a career before a family, planning a life, actually DOING something before pushing out the next generation…basically having cake and eating it…i could not help but agree with him. Before that, being knocked-up was HIGHLY synonymous with being female and shagging – weather married or not. And being one who had made a solemn promise to myself (and to my wonderful late Grandmother) that i would get married for love and not a fetus, i put all my faith in those little white pills…and maybe a few other forms of birth control for good measure. (i am fully pro-life and a firm believer in prevention rather than cure, so Planned Parenthood to me is just that: Planned Parenthood. Not 'Oh-Crap-We’re-Pregnant-Because-We-Were-Too-Stupid/Lazy-To-Use-A-Condom-Lets-Just-Kill-The-Thing-Off-Quickly')

Now that i am freshly betrothed, that hardly means that i suddenly need to get busy with a bun in the oven, does it? No my friends, i have STUFF to do! And if that means waiting 2 more years before 3am feeds and 7 dirty diaper changes a night, well, that’s simply my prerogative.

i have been called selfish for this. i have even been cautioned that i may no longer be able to have babies when i finally get round to it (even though i fully intend to start at around 33, so really people, what’s all the fuss about?). All i can say is that if that is the case, then so be it. i will then be able to face myself in the mirror for not adding to the worlds already out-of-control population growth, and will adopt instead. 

(for a little insight into my views on overpopulation:,64511.asp )

But as for being selfish? We are all selfish to an extent, and isn't the need to have a baby to fulfill some motherly instinct, just as selfish as my need to wait? You are doing what YOU want to do, just like me. And there is nothing wrong with either of those paths.

However, my path has taught me something i can't keep to myself anymore. A few years ago, before i met Husband, life wasn’t so good for me. i was going through a really hard time, a series of BAD relationships, a stagnant career that infuriated me when i put all my heart and soul into my work only to be given a pat on the back and chump-change as a reward (while the bosses sat back getting fatter and richer off all my efforts), and i was just not coping. i found that during those years, all i wanted was a baby. i YEARNED for a baby. Fortunately my dedication to my higher self and staying true to the promise to myself and Granny stopped me from just going and getting myself pregnant, but if it wasn’t for that, i swear there were times when this irrational thought gripped me, like being possessed, and suddenly procreation was the only thing in the world! Like a mommy zombie with a one track mind: Must have baby. MUUUST HAAAAVE BAAAABBBYYYY!!!

Then i met Husband. He showed me a new life. He gave me new things to experience, new worlds to enjoy, new chewy bits of original thought and personal view and experimentitive living to dive into! (No, dude, i’m not talking about drugs...) He gave me new things to get excited about and new idea’s to go to town with. And suddenly, i wasn’t so desperate to have that baby anymore. Not just yet. It was almost as if the shift in me was because i didn’t have nothing else anymore, so now i didn’t desperately want that kid, like, YESTERDAY. 

Now that i am married, i will change my promise from 'getting married for love not a fetus', to 'having a baby because i really want to, not because i have nothing else to do'. i'm sad to say it, but i look at the world around me and i see that a lot of women only get pregnant because they have nothing else, or they just dont get encouraged to think further than that. Some women have even admitted to me that they got pregnant because they can't do anything else. It’s a major flaw in society, and it is a sad sad reality. But instead of us all stopping and saying, “Wait a minute? The greatest invention of the 20th century could possibly be The Pill and it is available to us all right on our doorsteps and we women have so much more to give so lets just do that for a while instead of becoming pod-people and making more babies like drones!”

We rather say, “So, when are you having babies?” while nursing the subject of our lost hopes and diminished dreams.

For a little more lightheartedness in this department, watch this video: 

Yes i do want to be a mother one day, but i am still young. i have so much i want to do and see and accomplish, and if i stop and think about it seriously, having a child now would get in the way of all that. i hope more young 15 - 20something year old women will follow in my footsteps and reach for their amazingness before they fast foward through their independance only to wake up one day feeling trapped and cheated. It sounds like a terrible thing to say, that you can’t follow your dreams if you get pregnant (and i’m only saying it as bluntly as that for effect) but something has to give. i don’t REALLY believe babies destroy your dreams. But i do believe that some dreams come easier if you have had a few extra adult years to yourself, and if there isn’t an ankle-biter strapped to your side demanding all your attention, no matter HOW perfect and adorable it is.

Lets face it, if you are going to be a mother, do it right. i want to give my child the best possible chance in the world. Give them all my love, my focus, my nurturing nature, my energy, my power! What kind of a mother WOULDN’T want to give her child everything? And so i would like to first get my 'selfishness' out of the way before i shift focus make the best darn kid i possibly could. Just like so many of my friends who have become mothers, who i watch in awe and admire.

To end off here, let me just say that everything has a time and a place – and my time just hasn’t come yet. (P.S. Dear Murphy – please don’t go tampering with my birth control tonight to prove a point. i’ll be ever so grateful if you just let this one slide. Thank you)

Love, lust and fairy star-dust
Cherry Blossom