Monday, 27 February 2012

Learning to Write

So this semester I have enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Professional Writing & Publishing. Sounds interesting huh? It is, no really! I'm only doing one unit at a time, as a full time work load, and trying to work on a novel, contribute to AW and keep up with multiple other personal commitments, I don't think any more would be doable. I started last night, and did the whole week's worth of study/watching lectures etc. in an hour. No, I'm not super smart (I wish!) it was just introductory week so it was pretty straightforward.

It got me thinking though, and this is only in lecture one, how uneducated I've been in the whole writing field. The way the lecturer discussed writing as a representation, how what we write is accountable and that we write for subjects (be it our self or others) opened a whole new world for me. She actually pinpointed an issue that affected me exactly just last week (check it out here) about how we represent others - and the example she chose was how to represent the aborigines of Australia in a fiction text. This problem had only recently plagued me and I was instantly intrigued for the remainder of the semester.

I just, had no idea how naive I was about the role of the writer in our world!

Have any of you had a rude shock moment about writing, what it means to be a writer and who we are accountable to and responsible for? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Word of the Week: Surreptitious!

Mmm surreptitious. It tastes so deliciously cunning on the tongue doesn't it? I love the sexy way the word can me muttered or whispered.

My little sister committed many an act surreptitiously in our youth in order to place blame on me, or escape blame entirely. This word is perfect for that :)

sur·rep·ti·tious

[sur-uhp-tish-uhs]
adjective
1.
obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret orunauthorized; clandestinea surreptitious glance.
2.
acting in a stealthy way.
3.
obtained by subreption; subreptitious.











Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

This book in the sequel to 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins and can be found on my reading list.

The review for this book (and the third in the series) has been a long time coming. I read it about a week after finishing the first book and then read the third immediately on from that. That's pretty much the only way to read them. The first book really does 'finish' so you can leave some time between reading that and the second. However when you've finished the second, I can promise you'll need to read the last book straight away. I was lucky enough to have both on hand at the same time and I actually put down book two, as I picked up book three!

So here are my thoughts on 'Catching Fire'. ***SPOILER ALERT***

source

This book is basically another Hunger Games. While the plot (the fact that our main characters are thrust back into the arena) is a do-over of the first book, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, it was a shock to both the victors (Peeta & Katniss) and the reader. It could easily stand on it's own in terms of plot and story. We're introduced to new characters, including several of the previous victors of the Hunger Games.

The story is fantastic and fast-moving, keeping you page turning right until the very end. Which, let's face it, wasn't an end at all, it was almost as if Collins had written to a point said 'That's enough for novel length' and chopped it to start number three from there. I don't mind a good cliffhanger, don't get me wrong, however it felt like in this case, there was no resolution after the climax. In fact, the novel was cut off at the climax... leaving you scrambling to get your hands on book three just to read the resolution. I guess this could be a good thing, but in my opinion it could have included a small resolution to say the least.

I don't know how I could split them up more differently so I can't complain, however I felt some kind of resolution at the end of the book would've benefited the novel. All in all, an intriguing read and I still loved following the story. I've actually purchased myself a copy of the first book, and as soon as money allows, intend on purchasing books two and three.

A great read I'd recommend to anyone that enjoys a fast-paced, page turning read that leaves them on the edge of their seat - especially at the end.

Three and a half out of five (would've scored higher if the ending wasn't so abrupt).



Tuesday, 21 February 2012

February Blog Chain! Prompt: Second Chances

Hi all! Welcome to all of you from Absolute Write, and all of you that aren't :) This post is part of the February Blog Chain on Absolute Write. At the end of my post you'll find a list of the other participants and links to their blogs - be sure to check them out and comment! This month, the topic is Second Chances. I wandered the internet looking for inspiration and came up with a page of quotes - this is the result of one of those quotes...

I sat on the couch as I watched little Ollie unwrapping his birthday gifts with glee. I smiled, cradling the warm mug of coffee in my hands, remembering a time when birthdays hadn't been such a joyful experience.

"Happy 12th Birthday Elsie" I whispered to myself. I pushed open the door of my mother's room to see her before school. The stench of white liquor and vomit filled my nose as I picked my way to her bed. She was passed out, again. Her hair was a tangled mess, and her face sallow and wrinkled.
"Mama," I whispered. "Mama, I'm going to school." She grunted from the pillow in reply. I sighed and picked up her spew bucket, emptying it in the laundry trough and washing it out before bringing it back to place beside her bed. As I closed the door I saw her roll over and fill the freshly emptied bucket with the contents of her stomach. 'Lucky I got it back in time' I thought to myself as I set off for school.



Ollie squealed in delight at the bright yellow tonka truck he'd recently unwrapped. His soft, small hands grasped the edges of the tray as he lifted the toy and stumbled over to me on legs that wouldn't move fast enough for his excitement. I set down my coffee and giggled, reaching down to lift him onto my knee. He fit perfectly there.
"Thanks Mama!" he smiled as he dropped the toy on the couch and wrapped his tiny arms around my neck. I whispered a reply as I breathed in his tiny baby scent. His innocence. I'd let him keep it as long as I could, in replace of mine, ripped away too young.

"Come here," Mum grunted from her chair in the kitchen. I hesitated, I didn't like being to near her when she was this lucid. She made a quick motion with her hand for me to hurry to her side. I cautiously approached her and she pulled me against her.
"Give your Mum a cuddle. You should cuddle me more." she said into my hair. I held back the urge to retch. Mum hadn't showered since the last time I'd gotten her into it totally smashed. That had been last week sometime. She stunk of stale alcohol and cigarette smoke, and I dared not ask, but I assumed at some point she'd also soiled herself. When at last she released me from her embrace, she shakily stood, bracing herself on the chair, and made her way back to her bed, lighting a cigarette on the way.


My memories of motherly hugs weren't all that joyful either. James walked in with his early morning coffee, eyes still groggy. He smiled sheepishly through bleary eyes and came over to sit next to Ollie and I. Ollie lunged from my knee to his, almost spilling James' coffee in his enthusiasm.
"Morning Daddy! Happy Birthday!" James and I both laughed.
"It's your birthday little man." James said, still smiling.
"I know." he said. James and I shared a look of contentment at the little guy's sweet gesture.

We finished unwrapping presents and made pancakes for breakfast. I hadn't even had pancakes until I was 14, when a friend of mine invited me for a sleepover. They were delicious. It wasn't until I had my own home that I'd had them again, but since then, I'd made them every Sunday, without fail. If I was out or away, I ordered them. Sunday was pancake day. This morning's were strawberry. I still remembered the scent of the lady that came to talk to me when I was 14. She smelled like strawberries.

"Elsie, is your mum... sick, a lot of the time?" The strange woman asked. I didn't like her, her nose was always scrunched. I knew it wasn't beautifully scented in here, but she could pretend. Jeez. Maybe it's because she's used to smelling beautiful all the time, like strawberries. 
"Sometimes," I mumbled in reply. The woman started making furious notes on her pad.
"Is she here now?"
"Yes, but she can't see you, she's not ready for company." The lady got up. I got up faster.
"You can't see her." I repeated. How dumb was this woman? I found out she wasn't dumb, not even rude, just determined. 



She marched through our house to Mum's room. I shrank behind her as she pushed open the door to reveal the filth that lived there. Mum sat up and started yelling at her. She yelled until the lady left, who was all the while scratching away at her notepad with that damn pen. That was a bad day. I shouldn't have upset Mum so much, she threw her empty bottle at me, smashing it against the wall when I ducked. I still got some in my foot. It was ok, she didn't get out of bed, so I closed the door and went to fix up my bleeding foot in the kitchen.


After breakfast we took the tonka truck, the new waterslide and cricket set outside and played in the back yard. Setting up the slide took forever. I scooped Ollie up and took him to the waterslide we'd just finished assembling. He squealed with delight as I lay him face down and pushed him down the slippery yellow surface. He fell off halfway, giggling the whole while as James came in to grasp him around the belly and fly him through the air like an airplane. I watched my two boys giggling and running around on the lawn and smiled. So what if my mother had been a terrible one. I didn't want to contact her now, and I doubt she would even still be alive if I did. I might have had a crappy parent-child relationship with her, but this was my second chance at a good parent-child relationship. And I wouldn't screw it up.

So that's that! It is a bit left-field (sorry about that!). Be sure to check out the blog posts below!

Participants and posts:
Turndog-Millionaire - http://turndog-millionaire.com/ (link to this month's post)
orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month's post)
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
magicmint - http://www.loneswing.com/ (link to this month's post)
Tomspy77 - http://thomaswillamspychalski.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
LilGreenBookworm - http://themayhemofwritingsahm-style.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
LiterateParakeet - http://lesliesillusions.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
AFord - http://af12.webs.com/ (link to this month's post)
writingismypassion - http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
SuzanneSeese - http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
Bogna - http://bemaslanka.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
kiwiviktor81 - http://storygenerator.net/ (link to this month's post)
randi.lee - http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
areteus - http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
Domoviye - http://working-in-china.com/ (link to this month's post)
pyrosama - http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
Nissie - http://www.paperheroes.net/ (link to this month's post)
in_one - http://quirkythomas.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
sambgood - http://www.samanthabagood.com/ (link to this month's post)



Monday, 20 February 2012

My Ideal Writing Space

So, as I'm a renter, I move around a lot and can't make any permanent changes to a house I live in. This is both a blessing and a curse - it stops me spending money (on a house that's not even mine!) but it makes it really hard to organize and set up a writing nook to call my own.

This is why I've decided to start planning to organize a space that is transportable that way, I can take it from house to house! Below I've created a style tile of some of the moveable things my ideal writing space will include;











These office items are FANTASTIC and they're all from Officeworks.
I want a monochrome theme... as you can see.


And this is why I want them;
1. Canvas Print - I love this print, it is simple and brings a sense of inspiration to the table on those nights where my brain pen seems to be out of ink.

2. This is just pretty (I know I'm such a girl aren't I?) but it would be really hand to keep all the scraps I cut out for inspiration - pictures from magazines etc.

3. This would be my powerhouse of sorting a novel, I like to keep my characters, plot, setting and other elements separate, at the moment I have them in their own yellow envelopes, but these boxes would let me put whole books and such in there. The different sizes are great because I have way more information on characters than setting etc.

4. The chair I use at the computer desk now, is just one from the dining room and it's crappy and boring. I would love a vibrant red chair to bring a bit of life to the room, but I also want it to be super comfortable (and I've sat on these in-store! Super comfy!).

5. This file would be where I keep all my other 'loose paper' stuff for my book, so if I see something that doesn't quite fit into one of the boxes - that's where it would go. Have to keep things organised! I'd also be keeping my exercise book that I do all my planning and jotting down in, in here too!

6. Memo block? They're awesome aren't they? Great for scribbling down ideas and keeping thoughts together - the only other thing I need to go with this is a corkboard to stab all those memos to... I'm working on it - promise!

7. Now I need a doc tray to put all those pesky papers in, since my writing space is also my office (kinda) I need this to put all the mail & bills that I will need to go through, to sort out later.

8. I love this idea of a shelving system. I like square things and boxes so this is great! I would keep most things on here, like the magazine file, black boxes and stuff. I'd also like to keep all my inspirational novels close by - you never know when you'll need to refer to that awesome scene in that novel you just loved.

It will be my personal challenge to try and create this office look with CHEAP items, so making my own magazine files and other things where I can. If and when (hoping for when!) I complete this challenge, I shall post letting you all know a breakdown of the budget for your info!

What is your dream writing space like? Organised? Cluttered? Let me know!

JP xx



Sunday, 19 February 2012

Developing Character Depth

So I made the decision to scrap my first working novel. It was 25,000 words in, and while that sounds like nothing to a lot of you accomplished writers out there... it was loads for me! So now I'm trying to dream up a new story. I've decided I want to create deep, likable, realistic and interesting characters first (just trying a different approach) and today my post will share with you what I've learned along the way. I've also included a couple of downloadable free pdfs that have lists that will come in handy with character development (I think).

I've done a fair bit of internet research in my search for a relatable character (is relatable even a word?). The basic structure that I came up with (and love) is below;

Flaws:
All characters need to have flaws, they can be huge (necrophilia - ok that's a strech) or minor (can't sleep without whiskey, bites their nails etc.) but basically, they need flaws. If they don't have any, the can become too perfect and readers will be turned off by their total immunity to all things bad.

Likes/Dislikes:
These are necessary so that your character will have personality, in my scrapped book, my characters didn't have a clearly defined set of likes and dislikes (in my head, let alone the novel) and so they came across as pretty flat. The great thing about this part, is that anything that could be a like, could also be a dislike - so there's that...

Mannerisms:
All characters need to have at least one thing that is uniquely them, so they might pick their nails, lick their lips or (and weirdly this is my favourite) they might click their mouth when they're thinking things through (weird I know). This introduces a part of the character that is just them - just like normal people have things that they do that help define them.

With these three topics I began to build my MC. All I knew about her before this was that she was going to be a female MC... that's literally it - also she was going to be brunette. So from here, I cut up a piece of paper into lots of little pieces and wrote a whole bunch of flaws out, a whole bunch of likes/dislikes and a whole bunch of mannerisms. Then I played around with what I wanted my character to have (I also colour coded so I could easily distinguish which were the flaws, likes/dislikes or mannerisms). At the end of this post I've included a link to where you can download a free pdf of these characteristics to cut out and use for yourself (aren't I nice!?).

This is a (pretty crappy quality sorry!) quick look at the 'flaws' printable!


I had to google a whole bunch of different things I could use for each topic to write them down, and to save you the trouble of doing the same I decided to compile them into printable and cut-outable sheets (there are a few far out things on there, but we gotta have some fun eh?).

With these things picked out, I could begin to really shape my character. It was still difficult without a story idea, or world to put her in but it was a totally different approach to starting a story and I really enjoyed creating her. From there I really began to picture my character and could more easily sculpt her out of the inky black goop in the back of my mind.

You can find those free printables in the following links for flaws, likes & dislikes and mannerisms.

I hope that they help you in creating your character - let me know if this post helped at all, and I wish you all the best of luck! I'll keep you updated as I learn!

JP xx

Word of the Week: Loquacious

I adore this word! It means to be talkative or wordy. First off, it's evolved from the Latin word loqui (to speak) and interestingly enough has a negative aspect. For example, Hermione in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' describes Victor Krum as 'not particularly loquacious,". This example shows us how this word is used... negatively.

If you're looking for a positive way to describe someone as 'wordy' you can always use the word 'eloquent' which is also derived from 'loqui'. So there you go! I love that about it first off, that the Latin word was developed in two senses to make two words that mean basically the same thing, but each with their own positive or negative light. Super cool in my books. The dictionary definition is below!

lo·qua·cious

  [loh-kwey-shuhs]  Show IPA
adjective
1.
talking or tending to talk much or freely; talkative;chattering; babbling; garrulous: a loquacious dinner guest.
2.
characterized by excessive talk; wordy: easily the mostloquacious play of the season.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Guest Post: Epistolary Writing


Hey all you beautiful people from around the interwebs, today I have a guest post from fellow Absolute Write member Diane Carlisle. I've been lucky to converse with Diane over the last couple of days and come up with a topic for today's posting - epistolary writing! 
Diane Carlisle is a software developer and the author of Are We There Yet?, a blog which focuses primarily on making progress, whether in her own life, her writing career or in the fast growing industry we know as technology.
She's here today to share her opinion on the topic of epistolary form. We ask her, does it work? And if so, where and when? 
When asked to post as a guest on the topic of epistolary writing, first, I looked it up because I wanted to be sure that I understood the topic. Come to find out, I understand the topic very well; I just wasn’t familiar with the term. Shows how long I’ve been out of academia.
As an avid reader of everything from genre to literary and creative non-fiction titles, I bring my enthusiasm to this post. But, as a gaming veteran with over 20 years of experience, I also bring a bit of a twist to it as well.
Epistolary story-telling takes the reader on a journey into the world of the journalist via back-story. The journalist might present letters, diary entries, and a number of other evidentiary documents that will help unfold the story or produce what we might alternatively recognize as plot points in fiction.
There are two examples I’d like to share, one where this form works and another where it doesn’t. In all attempts to write with this technique in mind, whether you should or shouldn’t is up to you, but in all cases, be sure that you realize these stories have already occurred. The epistolary form is the technique used to resurface the story. That’s what gives it that nostalgic feel, if that’s what you’re going for; it gives us those slices of life with missing chunks.
In role-playing games, this works because books (documents) discovered during game-play give the player some back-story and introduce them to the wonderful world of [insert name of the fantastical game within which you find yourself]. Also, the discovery of scrolls, letters, and ancient prose help guide the player along their journey and at the same time enrich the game-play with a mystical ambiance, thereby increasing the effectiveness of immersion. This works and is very useful when implemented in small doses to further a story or to flesh out your world.
If you ever have a chance to play Myst, a game developed by Cyan, Inc. in 1993, you will see a similar technique which I enjoyed very much. Peppered throughout this game are blatant inserts of the epistolary form, whether video logs or written notes. Each phase of the unfolding story is met with inter-linking journal pages which leave clues as to what happened along the way. It is truly a magical experience.
What happens when this technique is used in complete novels? Personally, I don’t like it. It’s too passive and boring for my taste. But it can be done beautifully when done well. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, written in the epistolary form, is one if you enjoy horror fiction and the melodramatic feel of the spoken word in your head. To me, it sounds “somber” because I can’t think of any other word to use to describe how I feel when I start reading any words that remind me of, “Dear Diary.” See what I mean?
I also don’t expect to read dialogue if a work is truly to be a creation entirely in the epistolary form. Why would anyone write a dialogue scene in a letter? To me it doesn’t make sense and so the story is entirely misdirected.
So what about your reading or gaming experiences? Do you have any likes or dislikes toward this form of story-telling?
I love Diane's take on this topic. Why? Not only did she show us what epistolary writing is and define it's parameters, she also gave us an example of where it worked and where it didn't, and brought in a new aspect - gaming- to show us a better example.

Thanks Diane for your fantastic input, I feel lucky to have you as a guest on my blog! Be sure to check out Diane's blog 'Are We There Yet?'.

JP xx

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A conversation with my thirty-years-younger self?

I recently read a blog I follow that mentioned the writing exercise of laying out a scene where you are speaking to yourself, thirty years ago. Unfortunately I'd be negatively aged at about 10, so I'm afraid that isn't going to fly..

However I thought I'd speak to myself 7 years ago. At thirteen I was just starting year nine (I was put up a year, god only knows why, I wasn't that bright!) and lonely, picked on and feeling awfully sad and sorry for myself. I would like to have known that it got better - lots better. So this is it! Get ready to meet 13 year old JulzPerri! (Sorry it's all dialogue but there really isn't much of a scene to set or describe!)

I approach the girl sitting alone on the bench by the lockers. As she looks up to see who it is, her face lights up with recognition, then a second later, confusion.


"But you're..."

"Yep." I reply. Her face is still pockmarked with the last remnants of late chickenpox.

"How?"

"Beats me."

"Hm." she goes silent for a moment, "What are you doing now? Do you have friends?"

"Yeah a few, good ones, mostly those that you'll meet here."

"You're kidding me right? Everyone here is mean to me. Except the people that don't want to get involved, and other kids like me."

"Everyone? Don't worry, it'll change. This sounds awful, but at the moment you're your own worst enemy, it's not long though and you'll start making friends."

"Yeah I know I'm a bit of a loser. I don't know what to do about it though, I was born like this."

"Nah, it gets better."

"When do I move out of home?"

"Geez you're thinking about that already? When you're 17. It's sudden, you don't really plan it just is kind of offered to you, and you take them up on it."

"Cool. What do you do?"

"I work for Dad still, I did a couple of years of accounting, but now I do reception in his new office."

"He has a new office?"

"Yeah, it's pretty cool, I'm there by myself most of the time."

"Cool. So how do I stop being me then?"

I laugh at her question. "Don't stop being you, you just change, like everyone does."

"Oh!" She jumps suddenly, "Do you have a boyfriend?"

"Yes..." I start, trying to be careful with this question.

"Who is it?"

"His name is Nic"

"I only know Nic Parker* - he's in the 'cool' group though. Do you remember him? He's going out with Kylie*."

"Sure I remember him, I live with him." I say cheekily as I smile at her.

"No way! I end up with Nic Parker!?"

"Yeah, and he gets hotter too," I say tongue in cheek.

"He already is hot." she seems confused.

"Hun, you have no idea," I say as I wink at her. "It takes a while though, you won't even talk to him at school I don't think."

"Oh." she grows quiet. "Well, do you, or me I guess, do you save yourself til marriage?"

"Haha, like I'm going to tell you all about that!"

"But I'm you!"

"Nice try." I keep smiling, she returns the smile. "It gets better love, soon too."

"Good." We smile at each other for a few minutes before the scene begins to fade.

*Names have been changed to protect identities (sounds stupid I know but it is what it is).

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Would you be friends with you?

Here's an idea for a writing exercise today. Write yourself a letter. Address it to yourself, write as yourself and write to yourself. Don't however write like this...

"I don't know why I just took out the garbage the day after rubbish collection. It was a bit rainy earlier so maybe that's why I did it today." as in, don't write like it's a journal, write because you're writing TO yourself and not for yourself. Plus, that was a damn boring example - sorry about that.

Feel free to link to your letter to yourself in the comments, I'd be interested to read your letters! Here's mine...

Hey Julz,


How's life been? There's not really been much happening here except work and home, work and home. I had a great night on Valentines with B (because N & A are both away) so we just ate chocolate, popcorn, delicious chicken kebabs, drank red wine and watched bollywood romances! It was a great night! What'd you end up doing for Valentines? I know that N's away so did you get upto something lovely as well or did you take the 'cry-into-my-wine' route? Both are great!


Well N is going to be uncontactable (it's a word ok!) for the next ten days. Yesterday was the first night without him and I'm actually doing ok, not like I thought. I imagine it will hit me, not being able to text or talk but we've done it before, and for longer too! It takes something like this, not even being able to call when he's away, for me to really realise how much I miss him. I bet you miss your lover too, he's in the same boat isn't he?


I heard you went to a wedding not long ago, so did I! It was fantastic, beautiful people and a great night. Lover & I were put on the odds & ends table but that's where I love to be! We had the best time, we were even seated with the photographer, so it was great to meet him! I recently went to a funeral for someone I went to school with a few years ago. I think you were there too, but I didn't see you afterwards. I didn't go to the wake. I hadn't spoken to him in three years so I figured that would be best left for the people closest to him. Did you go?


Anyway it's getting late, and there are creepy cockroaches to set some bombs on (they're disgusting little f*ckers aren't they?). Take care my lovely, and let me know if you ever want to catch up while our lover's are away to have some girly fun!


Love & Hugs,

Julz xx



There you have it! Have a go at writing to yourself, link to it in the comments, I'd love to read it - if I get a few I might pop the links in the bottom of this post!

JP xx



Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pinteresting Owls

Ok so I have an owl obsession, it's not something I try to hide - I love it! They're so wise but at the same time so caayooot! Today's pinterest post is going to be of all the beautiful owl related things I found while perusing the pinboards.

Are you obsessed with an animal? Thing? Cupcakes, frogs or thimbles do it for you? Enjoy!


Really cute owl themed birthday card! Love!

Adorable little owl pendant!

Beautiful.

Owl cupcake too delicious to eat!

Delicious looking owl brekki! (sorry about the quality it was a tiny pic!)

Cutest baby owl!
Love this beautiful owl drawing!

To end, a beautiful tattoo :)
I love owls :) I love, love, love 'em! Share your obsessions with me! Let me know what you want to be posted at the next pinteresting theme in the comments and I'll make that the theme of one of my next pinteresting posts :)

JP xx

Monday, 13 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Hey hey! It's the day of love! And boy do I love sharing with you guys! Today lover is 4000km away (I have no idea how many miles that is) but the plus side is that I get extra time to organise his present! Our 3 year anniversary is next week too, so he misses both but hey, watcha gonna do?

This is what I'm currently working on...




And my inspiration can be found here. It's an envelope journal, except that it won't be a journal so much as a sort of scrapbook. In the pockets I'll seal photos, love notes and cards with what I love about him on them. I'll be sure to upload the labels I made to slip into pockets and stick onto pages when I've got it all sorted. Boy oh boy will that be a post full to the BRIM with information!

When I'm finished (I haven't quite filled all the pages with my love just yet) I'll post a 'How-to' tutorial and step-by-step pics of my progress... including the mistake(s) I made :).

How are you celebrating valentines? Later today, after work, I'm heading out to a mate's place (her boyfriend flew out yesterday for work, so is a bazillion miles away too) and we're going to eat chocolate, drink wine and watch girly movies. So I am very much looking forward to that!

What do you do for valentines? Do you think the day sucks? Are you a valentine lover? I still haven't decided!
Loves JP xx

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Word of the week: precarious!

Hey hey hey! It's Monday, and you know what that means? Word of the week! Today I've selected the word precarious. It is just so nice to say!

Here is the definition to start;

pre·car·i·ous

[pri-kair-ee-uhs] Show IPA adjective
1. dependent on circumstances beyond one's control; uncertain; unstable; insecure: a precarious livelihood.
2. dependent on the will or pleasure of another; liable to be withdrawn or lost at the will of another: He held a precarious tenure under an arbitrary administration.
3. exposed to or involving danger; dangerous; perilous; risky: the precarious life of an underseas diver.
4. having insufficient, little, or no foundation: a precarious assumption.

And now a short history. The word precarious - as defined above - is often meant to mean 'rickety' or some kind of physical instability. Interestingly enough this isn't what the word originally meant, only 100 short years ago. The latin word precarius actually means 'given as a favour' so originally, precarious meant more along the lines of 'depending on a favour' rather than the physical instability that it is now used to describe.

There you go! A short history on the word precarious!

Here is a tiny flash fiction piece I wrote using the word as a prompt;

I sat and watched as he tiptoed over the rocks to the end of the groyne. I could hear the water lapping gently against the coffee rock as I saw his feet curl around the surest footholds he could find. He was almost at the end, fishing rod swinging around in his hands. Before he reached the point, a low rumbling began and the rocks began to shift under his feet. I heard him yell in shock. I jumped from my lazed positiong on the jetty and dove into the water towards the now tumbling wall of rock. I wish I could have swum faster. With no regard for my own safety I kept splashing towards the rockfall, heavy boulders smashing into the surface of the ocean to sink to the bottom.


  When I finally reached it, the tumbling had ceased and only a few small stones continued to trickle into the water. I tread the water frantically as I searched for his small body. I couldn't find him anywhere. I screamed his name. Over and over. I mustered what sense I could and dived underwater. I ran out of breath before I saw anything. I surfaced, took a burning breath of air and dove under again. Then I saw it, a small childs hand protuding from under one of the larger boulders. I screamed underwater, the salty fluid filling my mouth and lungs.

Enjoy lovely ones! Send in your requests for word of the week! :D JPxx

Lovely Snail Mail and a Writing Buddy! (of sorts)

So a few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to my old high school teacher. I've written about 1/4 - 1/3 of my novel now and wrote to her appealing for feedback and support. She always encouraged me in school and worked on a poem with me for months that I was writing for the peace prize in year 12.

Well, today I got a reply!



Basically, I asked if she was too busy to read through scraps of my novel. Bits and pieces rather than the novel as a whole (as a teacher I imagined she'd be super busy marking tests and assignments and such). The reply was fantastic! She said that she is now deputy, she remembers me (yay! It's been three years!), and that she'd love to read through bits and pieces of my writing because as deputy, she doesn't have much marking to do.

I wrote to her not expecting a willing reader or even a reply if she was too busy (and I sent it to the school, because I don't know her address :p) but this was a fantastic outcome! She sent me her email and is keen to help out :D I'm so excited to have someone on board to help through my writing with me! She also shared her background in creative writing, where she was lucky enough to be tutored by Elizabeth Jolley & Tim Winton! Cool eh?

I just wanted to share with you all this fantastic progress in my writing life! Share with me the great moments in your writing journey, when did you first find someone interested in your work? What is the most compelling moment of your journey that has defined you as a writer? I'm so curious!

Loves, hugs and a bazillion good wishes! J Pxx

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Organisation Motivation!

I put lover on a plane today. We had beers at our mates place down south last night so got up nice and early (read 5:30am!) and hit the road for the trek to the city. Lover is such a worrier - we got to the airport two and a half hours early! Yeah, like I said, he's a worrier.

With that much time to kill, we headed into the departure lounge bookstore and lover settled on a fishing magazine, and I ended up with the latest issue of Home Ideas magazine. Yay! I was flipping through, making notes here and there about what I did and didn't like until I hit the middle of the mag. 'An Organised Oasis'. Yup... pretty much fell in love with the next few pages. They features this great entryway storage system by 'elfa' from Howards Storage World... love...

Unfortunately this beautiful setup will set you back around $2982.85 Australian. Yeah... not in many people's budget that, and there is a LOT of storage per person just for the entrance. I'd prefer something like this in my wardrobe. Speaking of which...



Love lovity love. This is what I'll have one day, in my huuuuge wardrobe in the house I build with lover! Anyone else about ready to keel over in happiness?

The rest of the article basically went on about elfa storage - which we all know is beautiful and a smidge pricey (ok a lot pricey).. so I'll leave it at that. But boy oh boy do I love a good motivational magazine to get the organizing ideas stirring in my brain!

Any of you lovely people have elfa? Is it easy enough to put together?

JP xx

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Somber Pinterest Post

I lost a friend not long ago. He was a beautiful man that unfortunately succumbed to the relentless onslaught of cancer he was forced to live with. His spirit, was the purest of any that I've known. He gave and gave. He was only 20 years old.

He was a member of the volunteer fire brigade, was awarded volunteer of the year in our state capital, gave up his love of soapbox racing so that his sister could join pony club, and shaped his whole life around how to improve the lives of others. He kept this up even when he got sick. He loved the colour blue, and at his funeral it was requested that blue be worn. It was beautiful to see all the people wearing his favourite colour. Today's pinterest post will be in his honour. Of all things pure and wonderful like Cody. May he rest in peace, rejoicing in heaven.
















Rest in peace Cody. There were a lot of beautiful people that loved you.

Have any of you experience loss? Have you lost anyone that was just too young? Share with me in the comments.

JP xx




Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Letter from Pickle

A couple of weeks ago I posted a letter I wrote to Pickle. You can find it here if you're interested. I never sent the letter, it was almost imaginary. This is my imaginary reply from him. If you read the first letter, you'll understand why it's so brief.

Julz,


I read all of your letter. I'm not really good at this, but it was nice. I did know everything you said, but it was nice to hear it, well read it. 


You don't need to try harder when I'm upset. I don't even know what I want you to do, just being there is fine. I don't get sad often, so I wouldn't worry about it.


I hate being apart too. It sucks that we have to be, with everything that is going on, but one day we'll be together and that's why we're doing this. I love you.


Pickle xx

Even when I'm writing as him, and he's not saying the words, I know he'll still be trying to comfort me - shown in the second paragraph. I do love him.

Feel free to critique or comment :)

JP xx

Precious Pinterest Preoccupation & Perusing!

Ok so I know I've been a bit slow on the uptake with this one, but I've finally joined pinterest and am newly addicted! Yay for beautiful things to drool over all day... might need a new keyboard...

I love perusing all the beautiful things on there, delicious food, beautiful photos and fantastic crafts and DIYs that make me want to get going on several projects at once!

Here are some beautiful pinteresting photos that I have to share with all you beautiful people. Some sparked my imagination and some just left me gasping with my jaw on the desk!
Isn't this cute! A beautiful idea for Valentines Day (fast approaching!)



I want to make these for all my friends!

Isn't this beautiful? It makes me want to take up quilling! LOVE!


This ruffled DIY lampshade? LOVE IT! Definitely going to have a go!

Isn't this a great idea to spice up what would be a boring bookshelf?

This DIY bookshelf is awesome! I want one!

I heart this spot so much! Look at all that beautiful neat storage, it's so beautiful!

I LOVE owls. It's a sickness really. This pendant is SO CUTE! Love it  :)


So there are the most wonderful things from my first pinterest foray! I think I'm going to have to make pinterest a weekly segment :) it truly is a beautiful place to just look and exclaim and be inspired! Share your pinterest loves with me!

JP xx