Tuesday, 19 June 2012

For Sylvia

Gotta love the internet. While sifting through droves of sugary-sweet tweets and bitterly dry blog posts, i found this quote by Sylvia Plath today.

She was an amazing writer, someone who really could dive deep into the mirkiest of her creative waters, and i truly respect her for that. My Grandmother told me once that to be all the people I wanted to be growing up, i would only ever need be a writer. i could only have become a writer. i think i understand what Sylvia was saying when she wrote this in her diary:

"I love people. Every body. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love’s not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be every one, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I’ll ever have. And you can not regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time…"

It's really hard to believe, reading this, that she would eventually kill herself. 

Having a quiet moment for her today.

Love and cherished
Cherry Blossom

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cherry Blossom's Quickie Cures for Writers Block

NOW HEAR THIS. i was inspired by all the blogs i have read about this dark and despairing thing...here are my Quickie Cures too.

1. EXPLORE. i have heard it said: To be a well rounded person you should do at least one thing you wouldn’t normally do every day. i would like to expand on that and say: To be a well rounded writer person, you should do at least one thing you wouldn’t normally do every day, read at least 5 non-news articles about anything (i use ‘StumbleUpon’ – fabulous app for reading random stuff!) every day, and talk to at least one person (other than those you live with…e.g. Husband) about something for more than 5 minutes every day. Oh, but still read the news and still talk to Husband. Of course. 

Being a writer means spending a lot of time alone and sometimes that can isolate you. You become a frozen little popsicle of social awkwardness and as cute and pretty as you are, you have the ability to cause brain-freeze all by yourself. So branch out a little. Walk the dog and try to strike up a conversation in the park with a fellow dog walker. Speak to the girl you see every other day at gym who uses the same make of drinking bottle you do, i don’t know, be creative! Chat to the lady at the till when you are buying your milk. Smile at strangers and when that beggar asks for some money, just do it. R2 wont kill you. But then ASK HIM HOW HE IS TODAY? And be genuinely willing to listen to his answer. Be a rugby player...Stop, Pause, Engage! Basically, be an open human being, open to communication and connections with other human beings, and engage with them. This is one place where i do have to give kudo’s to smokers…they have this down to an art!

2. DRINK TEA. Coffee gets the creative juices going, but tea gets the happy juices flowing. It’s soothing and ‘nice’, and whereas my grandmother told me NEVER to use the word 'nice', i like it. Tea is nice. i feel nice when i drink tea (Sorry Granny, no disrespect. Love you!)

3. BE READING. Weather you are the kind who likes to read one book at a time or many all in one go, it’s important to be reading, and be reading A LOT. You should be reading your favorite genre for inspiration, the genre you are writing in for expertise, and a genre you don’t normally read (see point 1. again) for broadening your writing horizons. Don’t be watching series (all the time). Don’t be hating. BE READING, yo!

4. (Duh) WRITE. If you don’t write, you will never write. You need to write anything and everything all the time. i’m not talking about single-sentence punch outs on social media platforms – that is NOT writing. You need to write about stuff. Write for yourself. Write for others. Write for the neighbors dog that keeps you up at night with its yapping and you are giving it a final written warning. ("Dear Dog. You have crossed your Last Life Line...") Write a blog. Write to your grandmother. Write an Ode to the Tea-cozy. ("Dear Tea Cozy. Shall i compare thee to a fluffy winters sock?") Write a memory trying to capture every colour, every sound. If you are a good girl, write in your diary. If you are a bad girl, write to Penthouse. Write some crazy idea’s. Write a silly poem. Write out your favorite recipe. Write as if you are a 5 year old. Write as if you are a 50 year old. Write about others writing. Heck, if it’s a really bad day and you are completely enveloped in a self-destructive dooms-day cloud and the world is just pissing you off, write about how much you hate everybody! Write the bitchiest thing you can…but then delete it quickly (these things have a way of worming themselves out when you DO NOT want them to!) Or write yourself happy again. i found this gorgeous little thing online called WrittenKitten. Basically, you write 100 words, and a pic of a cute fluffy kitty pops up. For another 100 words, you get another pic. i know i know, its random and useless and who the hell cares anyway? But it’s cute and works as an exercise. What ever you choose, which ever way you want to go – just write. Write damnit, WRITE!!! 

Oh, and when all else fails, play piano.

That is all.

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Ding Dong, the WHAT is dead?!

(WARNING: This is not a happy blog post. i’m pissed off. Very pissed off. Woke up on a cold rainy day and there's no hot water in the geezer pissed off! Grrrrr)

This morning, over my usual giant pink cup of coffee, i made the mistake of clicking on a blog post re-tweated on my flipboard before rubbing the make-up-residue sleep out of my eyes. My punishment was to read yet another rant by some hater that ‘Chick Lit’ is dead. This statement baffles me. i do not understand people who, when they don’t like something, call it dead. Rock is dead; Tell that to Korn, or Steven Tyler who just never says die or Keith Richards who i’m pretty sure never will die. Cassette tapes are dead; Tell that to Nigeria. 
Advertising is dead; Really? Tell that to my Apple MacBook, iPad, iPod and iPhone – all purchased with the sub-conscious burning desire to be as cool and confident and creative as the subliminal messages suggested to me, hell, deeply ingrained into me over all those years of watching Sex and the City. Elvis is dead; (ok, gotta agree with that one…) God is dead; TELL THAT TO MY MOTHER! The Printed Word is dead; Oh just shut the fluff up and go back to your wii or what ever it is you losers do with your time now.

Here’s a lesson in good manners and general socially acceptable and amiable behavior by Cherry Blossom: When you don’t like something, say “This is not to my taste”, not “Chick lit is dead”. You may not enjoy reading it, but you are one little (probably horribly morbid, boring, self obsessed and oh-so-drab) person. There are 7 billion people on this planet, and amongst them, yes, i think its safe to say that there are still chick lit fans who find chick lit to be very much alive. HUGE numbers of chick lit fans in fact. Gaggles and flocks and clusters of droves of schools of chick lit fans. Myself being one of them.

But let me not get ahead of myself here. i do understand where some of the hating is coming from as i too have had the misfortune to read a few of those chick lit books that would put anyone off. Truly awful instances of (and total embarrassments to) my favorite genre. But lets remember that there are many examples in this world of good versions and bad versions of EVERYTHING. You can get a great cup of coffee (VIDA, Nespresso), and you can get something dark and liquidy-like with floating black lumps and a slight scum? round the rim of the mug. You can get Mom’s home roasted chicken with thick steaming gravy and crispy golden potatoes, and you can get a soggy chicken burger with putrid dripping chips at a non-disclosed establishment. There are gorgeous red-heads and, well, the rest of us. You get lovely genuine blondes and real bitches, fabulous brunettes and color-blind, anti-human-hygiene specimens , princes and frogs. And you get good books, and bad books in ALL genre's.

When i say ‘Chick Lit’ and talk about aspiring to write in the genre, i am NOT talking about soppy romance novels. i'm referring to books such as Anne of Green Gables, The Devil Wears Prada, Emma, Twenties Girl, Far From The Madding Crowd and Confessions of a Shopaholic. My definition may not fit in with the usual norm, but when i say Chick Lit, i mean literature that takes a real woman, real life, interesting characters, the ridiculousness of every day that we are on this planet and smooshes it all into a light hearted account that makes you want to laugh, cry, rave about and sometimes throw things. But mostly laugh. 

It’s the book that leaves a character in your heart because you really feel where they were coming from by the end of it, even if you are nothing like them at all, and they actually don’t exist. (Have you ever cried at the end of a book because you realize you are going to miss the fictional character in it? i have.) It’s the book that makes you root for the little people. The one you find yourself snorting out loud to, mortifying yourself, while sitting in public places waiting for modes of transportation. It’s the one that leaves you with a sense of happiness that something in this life turned out well, and general warm fuzzies thanks to all the laughing. And it is the Charles Dickens of genius constructed characterizations – where the situation IS just that darn funny because you KNOW people EXACTLY like that, and secretly laugh at them behind their backs all the time.

 Or maybe its just me.

 So if you don’t like chick lit and one day post on your haters blog about my new book, to you i say: You are simply not my target market. (oh, and do the world a favor, grow up, stop taking yourself so seriously, and at least TRY to get a sense of humor.)

But i guess no one is perfect. i’m a writer after all, and sometimes come hell or high water i simply can’t construct a sentence (or blog post) to say what i am trying to say. Heck, i can’t even spell! (Thank the lucky-Buddha for spellcheck and literary editors!)

But at least i have good manners.

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom