17 December 2009

The Hoary Pollywog: Continued

The hoary pollywog's story began here, so please read it first.


...

The hoary pollywog moved toward the surface. He knew it was night, not by the absence of light, for the pond was often dark at the depths he lurked, but by the absence of noise. His disproportional legs kicked, unsuccessfully attempting to aide his flight, For flight it was, a long and tiresome flight, the outcome of which lay in the future, undetermined, and though a matter of concern for the hoary pollywog, uncared about.

For the hoary polllywog, having since come to the conclusion that justice was a word not in the dictionary when it came to him and his plight, had decided that he must himself venture to the surface and see. See the paradise that awaited him when he grew, as all frogs must, to maturity.

Deep in his heart, the hoary pollywog knew that he would never mature, he would die the way he lived, small and shrunken and deformed, with a slithery body and legs that stuck out at the sides, silly ornaments useless at everything but making a fool out of him. He knew that his gills would fail him in his moment of truth, that he would die, unless, and he told himself this unless, though he didn't admit anything else, the world above could include him, he could be made for it.

The hoary pollywog sensed weeds sliding across his black back, and shuddered internally. The sensation reminded him of his horrid deformities and too small body. He could see, and feel, the surface above him, though he had not reached it yet.

He looked up, seeing the orb that was the moon, a blurry feature whose beauty would soon be revealed to his wondering eyes. Steeling his determination, for he was determined he would not be timid and slip back into the water, breathe through wretched fills again and wallow in depression, he kicked his legs.

He found a slight grip on a pebble in the water, and thrust himself from it. He flew into the air, above the water, marvelling at the airiness, the darkness, the stars.

He landed with a slight *plop* on soft grass. The blades of grass seemed as though a comforting throne, fit for a king, someone who belonged. He took and deep breath.

He gasped. He couldn't breath. He shook his head, his eyes going blurry.

No!

He would not die without having seen the moon. No. He flipped to his side. He craned his head. He flopped around the grass. The blades of grass, caressing moments before, seemed as though swords. They sliced into his back. He felt light-headed.

He wished to see the moon. To be in the water. Any fate but this. Dying, alone, shrouded in night. He wished that he could take just one more breath, see the moon, be deformed. Anything but this.

However, mused the sky, would such a wish be ill-granted? The hoary pollywog would perhaps just go back to sulking and complaining.

The sky sighed. The wish would be granted.

A breeze stole through the trees toward the hoary pollywog. It whispered among leaves and rustled branches.

The hoary pollywog looked up. He felt the breeze. No longer a breeze, the wind gushed toward him.

He prepared to die. He looked upwards. Clouds greeted him.

The moon had been hidden all along.

The clouds moved across the sky, flung backwards as though opposite poles.

He saw it. The moon, gleaming above him.

He sighed. What bliss, to die as the moon shone upon him, bathed in silver light. He closed his eyes.

The wind puffed one last time, and with a slight whoosh, the hoary pollywog was blown into the water.

He took a breath. He lived.

But most of all, he remembered. The moon.

The Hoary Pollywog




Word generator: hoary pollywog. (I did an adjective and a noun to make it more interesting)

The hoary pollywog was the wisest of the group, having somehow wandered astray on the road of growth and so carried within his small darting body a superior brain, far superior even to those of the eldest and esteemed frogs, while being eternally trapped in his adolescent body. He seemed to be condescending to those just hatched, even those who had swum for their whole lives and were just beginning to emerge triumphant above the surface of the water. But perhaps he was resentful of their ability to grow and leave the water, no longer entrapped in it's suffocating depths, so it must seem to him.

It must be said that while the hoary pollywog was by far the eldest - and so had no reason or desire to associate himself with those younger and more naive than himself - he did not fail to offer advice, though often cynical and bitter. However, no matter if it was asked for or not (which asked for it often was, general opinion being that someone who had survived so long without being killed, albeit a someone who was stunted in growth, was very knowledgeable in the ways of living undisturbed), the answer was delivered in such a harsh and rude way, though admittedly, at least answered at all, that it was never heeded by the foolish tadpoles.

Which is why the hoary pollywog had seen so many moons (be it a large silver droplet hanging somewhere in the blurry space above the water or the spherical orb holding a rabbit that those of the frogs who cared to venture back to the pollywog (being thoroughly bored above the surface) told of with great reverence) go by with less and less of the small tadpoles, and fewer more of the medium tadpoles, and fewer still of the large tadpoles, and of course those who survived to be frogs hardly returned at all, so their fates were left to the be imagined by the unfortunate youngsters whose minds worked up worse and worse deaths each night.

The hoary pollywog knew that although his life was unfortunate, he still lived. He ate, and breathed, and even had company (though maybe not enjoyable or polite company it was). Yet, something gnawed at his heart.

He had never seen the surface. He sat, watching the tadpoles grow legs and leave, hearing the slight splash of water running off their backs as they rose from the water like monsters, the silence at dawn, and the noise at midday. He saw them leave, and he never saw them return, and so he had come to the conclusion (helped in part by the sparse one or two which had returned, if only to laugh at him) that above the surface, it was one of two ways. It was either a living hell where as soon as one left the water, one was immersed into a panicked world of hiding from predatory birds and watching one's back day and night; or it was a paradise, an oasis of peace where one had as much food as one could hope for and mates running everywhere, with not a rival in sight.

He had chosen to believe, inevitably, that the world above must be a paradise, for what reason could there possibly be of keeping him below the water whilst all his fellows were free, other than to deprive him of this great joy, as some sadistic joke from the heavens?

to be continued...


From wikipedia:
The name "tadpole" is from Middle English taddepol, made up of the elements tadde, "toad", and pol, "head" (modern English "poll"). Similarly, "polliwog" and "pollywiggle" are from Middle English polwigle, made up of the same pol and wiglen, "to wiggle".
Tadpoles are young amphibians that live in the water. As a tadpole matures, it most commonly metamorphosizes by gradually growing limbs (usually the legs first, followed by the arms) and then (most commonly in the case of frogs) outwardly absorbing its tail by apoptosis.Lungs develop around the time of leg development, and tadpoles late in development will often be found near the surface of the water, where they breathe air. During the final stages of external metamorphosis, the tadpole's mouth changes from a small, enclosed mouth at the front of the head to a large mouth the same width as the head. The intestines shorten to make way for the new diet.

13 December 2009

Christmas Crones

I just used a random word generator, which is actually cool if you can't think of anything to blog (or write) about.
The word is glockenspiel, which I figured was some sort of doppelgänger or something of that nature, wizened, wrinkled and witchy maybe. However, I was surprised to find that it was a musical instrument, rather like a xylophone.
Well, you learn something new every day (it's the old ting I forget that I worry about...such as that 'h'). The Germans do come up with some cool words, especially short ones that express complicated ideas (check out these cool German words; Schadenfreude and Verschlimmbesserung).

Two wizened crones crouched on a peak.
They squatted in between goat droppings and rocks.
Goats wove their paths around them, hardly noting the two.
They sat, and it seemed for eternity they never moved.
Then one twitched an eyebrow.
Suddenly, the other knew it was time.
Standing, she opened her mouth and wailed.
The goats ran hastily away from the racket, calling to the others as they rushed.
But the first took from her pocket a golden hammer.
And the second pulled from her cloak a glockenspiel.
The first drew up the hammer...
...the second wailed and screamed and the sound echoed through the mountains.
With a soft *ping* the hammer fell upon the glockenspiel.
The note trickled through the hills.
The goats twitched their ears and turned.
Slowly, slowly, but then faster, faster,
they began to walk toward the crones.
They ran toward them.
And the crones reached into their pockets and drew out food.
They scattered it across the ground.
The goats gobbled it.
A feast for Christmas.

03 December 2009

December and the Snowflake

It's December, the whimsical month of snow flurries and ice skating.
For some of us.
Here, well, it hardly ever snows. Ever.
So I thought I would send a friendly snowflake to have a little discussion with December.


December: I am the best of all the months. I am cold and frosty and windy. I make people hunch up in their jackets. I force them to hurry inside and not come out.
Snowflake: I am dainty and white and when I fall, everything is silence. When I come flitting, floating, everyone runs outside. I wrap loving blankets around the trees' twiggy shoulders.
December: I howl frosty winds through the trees and make their branches snap off and thump onto the ground.
Snowflake: I am different, unique, unlike all those of my kind. Children clap their hands and stick out their tongues and twirl around to snatch me in fun from the sky.
December: And then you melt from their grasp, giving them a short burst of happiness only to tear it away. I stay for as long as they'll have me, and longer. Every year I am the same, and every year people look at the calendar in suspense, waiting for me. Me!
Snowflake: People look toward the icy gates of December with apprehension. They envision red noses and purple fingers and toes.
December: That is true, I give them what they wish for.
Snowflake: They do not wish for December! They hate you! They despise you! And the only reason they suffer through your tortuously short days is for Christmas. Yes, Christmas!
December: They suffer through Christmas knowing that I am almost leaving! They sob and wail at my departure!
Snowflake: They throw parties! Parties to welcome January. Parties to cast you out, parties to celebrate seeing the end of you for a blissful eleven months!
December: You are lying! You spite me! You despicable thing!
Snowflake: Those who have seen me wish for me again and again. They marvel at my glittering facets, my diamond features. Everyone has known you. Few like you.
December: Ah, Snowflake, you have not played your game as skilfully as I have. See here, the southern hemisphere. You cannot bother me here.
Snowflake: You are wrong, my dear December. Quite wrong. See look, we are here, both of us.
December: You have failed to notice your melting limbs. Your "glittering facets" are nothing, you are dripping into water.
Snowflake:
December: See, my foolish foe, you have no more words. You cannot speak to defend your infantile actions and childish words.
Snowflake:
December: Snowflake, what's this? You wish to return to the northern hemisphere, where you can live once more? Well no can do, I'm afraid. It's vacation time here, and I have a hankering for balmy skies and smooth seas.
Snowflake: 
December: Well, you'll have to take it up with June. I'm off-duty.

10 November 2009

The Best Lesson

The easiest lesson learned is one that is is self-taught.

How do you learn something? I mean really well and truly.
Well for me there are two ways.
Painful ways.
They both have to do with experience.
That's right, experience. You have to experience something to know.
Fine and dandy if you're told the pan's hot. Well yes, but maybe you don't believe it. So...you go check. Youch! It is hot. That's what I mean by experience. You have experienced the heat of the pan for yourself, therefore you know it's hot.
And will you ever forget that pans on the stove are usually hot? Not likely.
Another example...you like to ride your bicycle. After a few days, you realise that the footpaths near your house are extremely bumpy. And you get sore. Then you have a stroke of genius! Stand up on the bumps so you don't absorb the impact. Yay!
You rush home to tell your folks. You excitedly pour out the story. Then your dad says 'I told you that ages ago.' And so he did. Why didn't you remember? Because it wasn't important. Why wasn't it important? Because it wasn't relevant. You will always remember to do that because you taught it to yourself, no matter how many times you were told before.
The other way to learn it; embarrassment. Say your teacher calls on you in class. You don't know the answer. The teacher then spends half an hour lecturing the class on studying. Are you likely to forget that answer? Well, maybe. But if the teacher then calls on you a second time, days later and you still don't know the answer...You've been embarrassed twice (it only works for some people! Some might not get embarrassed and end up having a laugh instead, it depends on the person. Then again, someone might do both). Do you really want the experience of being embarrassed again? For me, it takes being embarrassed three times, then I know it. Really well. Really really well.
I suppose a third way could be added; endless recitation. But that's no fun, and could be forgotten. Learning things that interest you are good as well, because if it's interesting, you'll remember it, right?

04 November 2009

Novel? Short Story, More Like

Well, I have to fess up. Oh yes, I haven't been posting all right. But oh no, it was NOT because of NaNoWriMo.
Well there, I've said it.
Truth is, I have the attention span of a five-year old. Maybe less. And well...NaNoWriMo is too much like work. That's not saying I didn't try (I did for two days at least). And I'm not saying I've given up. After all, there are still 21 days left in November.
I'm just saying...I didn't realise it before, but I write short stories because that is as much as I can take. Time wise. Sure sure, other people with busier schedules can make time. But well, I can't just write. I haven't got the discipline. When I write it just flows out. Which is awesome, great, fantastic...and only happens rarely. Which is why I write rarely.
Actually, I haven't a problem getting published. The problem is having stories written to send in. Now that I think about it, that's not really a problem. In fact I should be happy I can get published.
I did write part of a novel once. About a year ago, two years? It was around 40,000 words I believe (and not finished). I wrote it in longhand, and had typed about half of it, and the word count was 20k. I didn't like it, so decided to discard it (maybe to come back later though.)
I can't force myself to write, though I think if I got some prompts (prompt books) it would be better. I know I could be a better writer if I tried harder.
That was what NaNoWriMo was for me, a way to establish a better writing routine and improve my writing in the process.
Now I really should get back to it...tomorrow :D

01 November 2009

NaNoWriMo

Well actually, fifteen thousand words is quite small. It sounds big when you first say it, but then if you think about it...it's only five hundred words a day.
Today I wrote 787, in just over an hour. Pretty good I think.
I am considering going sans internet for the month for NaNoWiMo...wish me luck!
And don't be surprised if I disappear for a month.

31 October 2009

NaNoWriMo

That is of course, National Novel Writing Month(link for the one I'm entering, one for adults is different, but a link should be near).
I had never ever heard of this, but am glad I found it from Ashley Ladd's blog, Happily Ever After. Well not found it, but heard of it.
I entered it, and set my goal at 15,000 in thirty days. I know that sounds like a lot, well it does to me, but it's not. The common goal, and the one for adults, is 50,000 words. While I'm sure some people could do that with their eyes half-open; myself, having no experience of this sort of thing, decided to start small, but aspirational at the same time.
So yes, I will keep you posted on my progress. I am really excited!
I wish I had had more time to prepare, as uh, today is the 31 of October, and the contest starts 1 November. That's just...1 hour 37 minutes and 40 seconds away, the website has just informed me.
Well, I hope I get a lot of good things out of this; including much of a novel, better writing habits, new ideas, and hopefully a little certificate that says "You Did It!"
I can't wait!
Roll on tomorrow!

BTW, Happy Halloween, Last Day of October, and Day Before the First Day of November

30 October 2009

Paper-Making

I was researching how to make paper at home, as I have always loved the look and feel of it, and love crafty things.
I am excited to try it, but I am missing a few ingredients...notably the frame. And a blender, which put together could be said to be two of the most important things needed for paper-making, besides the recycled paper or plant fibres of course.
I found quite a few good sites simply by searching "how to make your own paper" in a Google search.
The best sites I found are here:
  • Most of them said pretty much the same thing, such as these two, which give step-by-step instructions. This one was good as it listed the types of paper you could use, while this one used more readily available ingredients.
  • I liked this one, from wikihow, as it included a video, although I didn't watch it. It also had helpful pictures.
  • Those pictures were likely stolen from here, which was extremely fascinating on the history of paper. I would recommend reading it before you get started, just to have an overview of paper.
  • However, this set of images from Flickr had proved to be the most informative and easy to follow set of instructions. It had a picture for every step, along with helpful notes. A very good job, B_Zedan.
I really want to make some of this paper, then bind it in a book.

28 October 2009

Twitter

I am now on Twitter! I have seven tweets. I told DD.

Me - "I now have seven tweets!"
DD -"Tweets?"
ME -"That's right...I am now on Twitter." *sighs melodramatically*
DD - "..."
Me - "I'm into shameless self-promotion."
DD - "That's good for a writer to have."
Me - "Yes, but NO One, and I mean no one reads my blog, or my twitter, or even knows me!"
DD - "I guess it's more like shameful self-promotion, then."

Yes, I guess it is.
Oh well.

In Remembrance of - That Thing I Forgot

Someone said that if something is important enough, you'll remember it. So don't bother to write it down.
I sort if agree.
See, the problem is, fine, if it's important I'll remember it, and if it's not I'll forget it. Fine and dandy.
But see, the problem is, sometimes I don't remember it, BUT I remember that I forgot something. Then I am mad that I didn't write it down.
A paradox of sorts, and very annoying.

25 October 2009

Earring Tree


I made this a while ago, but thought I would share it.
It is an earring tree. Basically it is a stick stuck into a glass yoghurt container.
We found the stick as we traipsed the bog on a hike. DD pronounced it Sticky, and proceeded to carry it reverently for the remainder of the hike, even going back for it when it was left behind.










I loved the shape of it and thought it should be used for something. It was perfect for storing my earrings.

23 October 2009

Kilarney-Day Two

Man, were the beds comfortable!

We went to bed quite late. The beds were amazingly comfortable. There were actually loads of rooms. Well, the kitchen and dining, sitting w/ fire, two bathrooms, and four bedrooms. One bedroom down stairs, another downstairs, en suite, but with an outer door as well (to the bathroom). Also there was another bedroom upstairs, with a real wardrobe - by real, I mean built in to the room, something awfully rare in Ireland. Also, the bedroom I slept in, which was in a loft, overlooking the sitting room. Really cool!
After we got up, we ate breakfast - microwave-porridge with bits of ginger cookies and some tea (in the porridge). Then we had our sandwiches made, very interestingly, I must add. They had jam, crunchy and creamy peanut butter, Nutella, banana, and then muesli sprinkled on top. Delicious! (Yes, no lie)
We were going to the park again, the national park, that is. The deer were suspiciously absent, but some passer-by said they had jumped the fence to go to another pasture!?
We planned to go to Ross Castle. There was a path to it, as well as other paths around it we planned to take. It wasn't that long of a walk.
There were many interesting opportunities to photograph things. I have a photo of ducks, crows, trees, mushrooms, berries, and a really cool pond that was part of an old copper mine. It was green! (Because of the copper, of course)
We ate lunch as it began to rain on the shore of a lake looking at the mountains as the fog rolled in. Really gorgeous...
We had to go back shortly though. There were some crows perched on a signpost, and I got some really good shots of them, as well as of some nearby swans and some moored boats. I also snapped a few pictures of the horse-drawn carts.
We went inside the cathedral lastly, as we went back to the car. It was lovely inside! It was huge, all made of stone, and had television screens so everyone could see the priest! It reminded me a bit of an American mega-church.
I took some prayer cards, printed with some of the scenes from the stained glass inside.
Hopefully we will be returning to Killarney, as it was just beautiful. So many things to do. The national park, for instance, would be perfect for a cycle.

22 October 2009

Kilarney- Day One

I realised in yesterday's post that I never actually mentioned Killarney.

It was fun. First, well, we arrived, then we sat around talking a bit. When the light was almost surrendering its glory - well it wasn't quite yet actually - we set off. We thought we would go to the Gap, a valley in the mountains. Its proper name is the Gap of Dunloe. We couldn't climb it or anything, as it was late. However, we walked to a suitable location to photograph it and did so. It was really beautiful, in much a different way than the rugged, hash beauty of the Burren and Connemara. It had more of a soft beauty, shown off by the calm air and tree-covered slopes.
We then went to the National Park, after a small stop at Kate Hearney's cottage to use the toilet.

We went to to see the deer, although the church we parked near was St Mary's Cathedral. It had beautiful architecture from the outside, and looked nice later, at dusk, as it was lit.

The deer were amazing. They were fenced off in their own area, and so were mildly timid, but not excessively. I took many photos, and a few videos. They were deer-calling (sort of like cat-calling, but with deer) and the sound echoed through the park and the mountains nearby. There was a male chasing a female around, and a number of males fighting (head-butting). The males also had big racks, and were moulting I could see from the somewhat blurry pictures.

Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries or I could have taken more picture.

That was about all we did the first day. (Forgive me if I shortened it a bit because I am tired of sitting and typing)

19 October 2009

Cuisle



We went to Kilarney this weekend. It was really great. We only had the end of Saturday and start of Sunday, as Saturday we had to stop in Limerick to pick up the Cuisle Award.
It was very stressful in Limerick. Apparently the one thing (one of the things) the family has trouble with is directions.

Try having ONE person look up the directions on Google maps, then give those to ANOTHER person, who has to shout them out as fast as possible to avoid missing turns, and then doesn't clarify that the last turn was the WRONG turn, so now the directions don't work. Then try the fact that we hadn't eaten anything for hours, and only two of us had EVER been in the city before (twice). And the fact that the woman on the phone, telling DD and MM where it was located said to DD St. Dominic's Church, and to MM St. John's Church, when it was actually at St Mary's church.

Well, it was to start at eleven, and we arrived in Limerick at ten...and got to the place at five to eleven. The worst was the one way streets and SOME of us not knowing their directions well enough (wasn't me!*cough*).

Anyway, it was really cool. It was a refurbished chapel, and looked really amazing inside. It was the perfect size for an open-plan house.

I did get a slight surprise, because I had to read out my poem. Astonishingly, I had been afraid of that, then asked DD, "Do you think they will ask me to read it?" He said "Oh, no, I talked to her on the phone, it didn't sound anything like that." Well it was, and I had never read it out before. AT ALL.
MM and DD said I read it nicely. More importantly, so did one of the judges. (Parental loyalty and all that)

And turns out that highly commended is actually really good, as there were submissions from across the country (Cork to Antrim!).
It made me wish that I had tried harder though. Maybe I could've made first in my age category.
And I felt bad that me, who had written a poem for English, didn't like it, then saw the award THE NIGHT BEFORE and sent it off, made fourth (first, second, third, then highly commended, so fourth is pretty much correct). What about all the people who spent days on their poem, only to not even place?

Well, next year I WILL get first. I will try. Trying is always the key, I think. (Not 'doing your best', making an effort, and believing.)

And don't anyone get discouraged by MY success. After all, even if you can't compete with my glory, aspiring to second place is just as good. (Kidding obviously)(hopefully you found it obvious)

13 October 2009

Can One be Too imaginative?

Yes, I do think there is such thing as being too imaginative.

In fact, sometimes it is a curse, in my opinion. Say, when you get a cut, and you imagine the blood flowing from your heart faster and faster to gush out of the cut. Or you are taking your pulse and you can imagine it too well... It made me wonder what people used to think in the medieval ages when they believed the blood sat still in the body, and did not circulate. What did they think their pulse was, then?

Anyway, why I said all that is because sometimes a good imagination can cloud your judgement. Say you really really love a story. Everyone else hates it. Why do you love it? Because with your imagination, you can see what it could be, what it would look like with grammatical correction. Or is it because no matter how bad the writing, you can still picture the scenes and characters because of your imagination, while others simply cannot?

Is it a blessing or a curse to have a good imagination? In most cases, I think a blessing.

On another note, that poem I didn't have time to enter? Well I lied. I entered last minute.

And... got a phone call today saying I had gotten a 'commendable job' award. Awesome considering I wrote the poem for an English class, and sent it off lickety-split.
Maybe if I had tried I could have won...bittersweet.

That poem: this one.

12 October 2009

Books and Macchia

I read a lot. I suppose that is an understatement. Why? Well when we moved to Ireland, we had to clean out boxes of books. Most of my books were never thrown out, traded in, recycled, or anything of the sort.
Well we found hundreds of books. Hundreds.

Between the time I learned to read and the time I was twelve, I had read a few thousand books.

And where did they all go, you ask? To a very good cause. Namely a boy in the local high-school. They were collecting books and every book you brought in gave you extra credit.
He was failing.
He probably ended up with an A.

Today's word of the day is macchia.

macchia
noun
  1. A shrub-land biota in Mediterranean countries, typically consisting of densely-growing evergreen shrubs.
I had never heard of it.

09 October 2009

Teachers

I considered blogging about not blogging the last two days, but blogging about not blogging hardly counts as blogging, right?

I happen to like most teachers I have had. That is because they like me, and give me good marks, and would let me get away with murder *cough*. I don't like teachers that don't like me however. Last week, my art teacher said that the subject matter I choose to draw (a light switch) was too plain; in others words, the composition sucked (she says draw what's in front of you, puts me facing a wall, and then blames me).
But this week, every time I finish a drawing, she says 'wow,' 'that's really good,' 'excellent job,' 'brilliant,' or something to that effect. So I like her.
My history teacher on the other hand...

Today's word is

fa·er·ie
1. A tiny, mischievous, imaginary being; a fairy.

I know everyone knows that word. I love the way it is spelled faerie instead of fairy.

It's so - medieval.

06 October 2009

T is for Tuesday and T is For....

T is for torpid, which I looked up especially as I had nothing else, because I was lazy.

torpid
Adjective
sluggish or dull

I admit I was torpid regarding today's post, but at least it got posted.


And yes, I do realise I have contradicted my "long meaningful posts over short" declaration.

However, what good is long when short and sweet do the job?

05 October 2009

M for Monday, M for Materteral

Today's word of the day is materteral.

materteral- of or resembling an aunt, pertaining to or in the manner of an aunt.

Some background on materteral (from here).

Both "materteral" and "materterine" are derived from Latin matertera, "maternal aunt" (compare the derivation of "avuncular" from Latin avunculus "maternal uncle").
Paternal aunts are not etymologically neglected; however, in Latin, your father's sister was called "amita" which, after changing [m] to [n] and losing a couple of vowels along the way, has ended up as English "aunt."


A visit to the family house in Wicklow never fails to include many materteral cheek-pinching.

04 October 2009

S for Sunday, S for Sesquipedalian

I think a word of the day would be cool, and could give me incentive to blog more often (anything that works...). I find it funny that "blog" is apparently not a word. While it isn't realllly a word, I think for a program for posting on a BLOG, blog should be a word!

Anyway, Sunday's word is sesquipedalian.

sesquipedalian
(sess'-kwi-ped-ay'-lee-un) adj. 1: having many syllables 2: given to or characterized by the use of long words.
It's ironic that a really long word word would be given to describe a really long word with many syllables, or the use of those words.

The word sesquipedalian is very sesquipedalian said my sesquipedalian friend.

03 October 2009

Background on DD- This Says it All

DD has had many lapses in sanity.
Today, as we sat down to eat pancakes, he reached for the teapot, and was ready to pour it onto his pancakes. Then he realised it wasn't actually syrup.
He then informed me that not only had he attempted to put bleach instead of soap in the wash again, he had also attempted to put in milk!
Reminds me of the time he opened a tin of cat food and put it on the cutting board, only to remember that he wanted to chop an ONION.

02 October 2009

The Most Human of Actions

No, not betrayal, though I am sure that ranks highly.

The most human of actions, to me, is the yawn. Such a simple action, so common, and contagious. When I see someone yawn, it is like I become them for a moment, and know exactly, precisely, how they are feeling. It is like that yawn has forged a connection between me and them, and it is very deep.
When I see the meanest of teachers, of men, of anyone, yawn, they become different. So hard to describe, but it is like they are innocent, small, childlike.
Even when someone of authority, say, the Pope, yawns, it is so human, that it astounds me.
I tend to place figures of authority on pillars, not pedestals, just pillars, because they are higher than everyone, not just me, not anyone in particular, society as a whole.
But when they yawn in the presence of others, one is hit with the shocking realisation that they are human too.
We are all the same race.
Human.


Sometimes that can be forgotten, overlooked. Remember it.

30 September 2009

London

I am still on a sort of high from being shortlisted, and am excited to see if I will be going to London; Did you know London is three times as large as New York?
Also, London has twice as many people as the whole of Ireland does, and one-fifth of the population of Great Britain.

29 September 2009

NEWS,NEWS,NEWS :)

Almost fifty posts!
Anyway, short note (yeah, right) on Castlecomer; me and MM, that is to say, MM and I, went to a cafe to have some tea, as we had gotten up before the sun (*gasp*), and were tired.
We went to a really nice little cafe called The Lime Tree cafe. Tea and toast was only three euro total!
MM said that sometimes tea can be five Euro just for tea. Anyways, the cafe was soo cute, it had these cute little curtains, and the chairs were so comfortable. I had forgotten how comfortable wooden chairs with proper backs can be after the disaster called our kitchen table/chair set. So, we ordered, and wow, I just really like the place, you know? Kind of hard to describe...it was nice.

Then, we went to the writers' workshop(s). Met some really cool people: Siofra, Jessica, Becky, and Jade. They all knew each other and were from Castlecomer, but were really nice and welcoming.

Finally the NEWS NEWS NEWS; my story, the one I mentioned here, has been short-listed for Take a Break's Fiction Feast Young Writer of the Year Award.
Check out the awesome prizes that you missed out on

27 September 2009

Mistake

I am a bit disappointed atm, because a poetry competition I thought I still had time to enter, turns out needs to have all entries received by post tomorrow. So missed that one unfortunately. Just goes to show that things can creep up on you.

26 September 2009

Castlecomer Workshop

I am ashamed to say I have only been to one other workshop in my life. That is, besides this one.

It wasn't really a workshop exactly. It was a workshop spread over two weekends that you brought a story too, and then worked on.
Well, after days of trying to convince my friends to come with me, and having three or four decline right after being asked, I still went. I was nervous, as I didn't know anyone, and my mum wouldn't be there. (This was a few years ago, okay?!)
So, the workshop didn't go too well and needless to say, I did not go again to the follow-up workshop the following week.
Well recently, my Religion/C.S.P.E. teacher told us this story;

A man was walking along the road, and came upon another man.
"How are the people in the next town, then?" the man asked.
The first man said, "How are the people in the town you just came from?"

The second man said, "Oh, they were lovely, they
were kind, they were good people."
The first man then replied "So you will find the people in the next town."
They both went on their way.
Presently, the first man came upon a third man.
"How is the town you've just been in?" asked the third man.
"Well how is the town you came from?" asked the first man.
"Horrible," he replied. "The people were nasty, and greedy and rude," he grumbled.
"Then so will you find the people in the next town," replied the first man.

The moral? The way that you come into a situation influences how the situation turns out. If you expect a bad workshop, it will be a bad workshop.
I expected a bad workshop the first time, as no one I knew would be there, and it was a bad workshop. I glared at people, and didn't speak to them, and kept to myself. And they stayed away from me, and I was miserable.

But this time, I was determined to pull it off. You never actually have to be happy, or outgoing, just a good actress.
I smiled, and laughed, and talked with everyone there, and it was great! It was the best experience, and so refreshing to meet others who are interested in writing, as none of my other friends are.
So, I will definitely be going to more workshops, and even if they are bad, I can draw on this good experience, and know that all workshops can't be bad, even if three out of four are.
Yes, I definitely enjoyed it. It ran for two hours, from half ten to half twelve, and at the end, Roisin Meany, the workshop person (what is the correct word here?), said "ten minutes left" and everyone gasped in astonishment, because we thought maybe it had been a half hour at the most. All enjoyed it, and we will be back next year.
(This post has a tone of MM in it)

25 September 2009

Blackberries and Photos


I have finally figured out how to re-size an image so that I can post it, and it will be reasonably sized in the post.
Now I will be adding images to my previous posts as well as starting to put them in new posts. In my opinion, a blog without pictures can be boring, and pictures help give you a"picture" of the author. I am not a hypocrite, I haven't been able to size the pictures correctly to post them until now.
I thought I would use one of my favourite pictures, taken recently, featuring some of the blackberries we picked. We froze then to be used at a later date, and when that date came, they looked beautiful.
They were frosted with little crystals of ice, and looked magical. I was surprised, as they had been frozen in a Tupperware-ish container.
Just another one of those things that are so beautiful and intricate upon closer examination.

Old Habits Die...Hard

Okay, that's supposed to mean it's hard to overcome bad habits...but what about it being hard to keep up good habits?
Like, oh, I don't know...posting?
Anyway, my old (and brief, let me add) habit of actually writing down ideas pertaining to the blog when I thought of them...died.
But, it has been resurrected by myself cleverly putting a notebook and pen once again beside my bed. (Did I mention I also killed it in the first place?)

Well, I had a brilliant idea for a story (I never use brilliant to describe any thing but my stories...good or bad thing?).
Sending it off to Writer's Forum just as soon as it's written, and scaring up some free advertising at the same time. But that's what occurred to me just now... if I say on the blog, I'm going to get free advertising...
Maybe they will figure out what I am doing, and not publish the blog link. Maybe they won't wise up to it, but rather will go to the blog to check it out...and find my confession of trying to get free advertising!
Anyway, I don't really mind if they don't print the link, I will just comment on others' blogs to publicise.

21 September 2009

Dashing Their Way Into Our Hearts?

Are we using the dash correctly? Or, more specifically, are you? I know I'm not. I just read this article about the dash. Well, to be cruelly honest, I had a topic to write about, then promptly forgot, but I saw a link to an article about the dash on my Google home page, so decided to talk about it. That doesn't mean it doesn't also have relevance to normal topics as well.
Well, I have to say, I learned quite a bit in the article, not least how to actually make a dash in Microsoft Word. Be forewarned: a dash is NOT a hyphen. Most keyboards don't actually have the ability to make a dash. The key after 9 makes a (-) hyphen, not a dash. There are two types of dashes, the "n" dash and the "m" dash. These are so called because of the amount of space they take up. In order to make a "n" dash in word, simply put a hyphen in between spaces: "Sam - even though she fears them terribly - went to the doctor with me today." Note the spaces. This autmaticaicallly changes the hyphen to a dash in word. To make an "M" dash, do not put spaces. "Sam—even though she fears them terribly—went to the doctor with me today." Notice there are no spaces. This makes a longer dash, of course.
I have a feeling that this is totally debatable, so I wouldn't say the use of dashes/hyphens is too much to be worried about. I would worry more about the actual writing bit.

20 September 2009

Sunday

To be honest, I was going to say something, wrote it, found it stupid, and then deleted it. So, I don't really have any idea what to say.
I finished my story, well mostly. I have to let it sit a bit, then edit more.
And I wrote a poem for English class, which was okay, but I don't enjoy my teacher's style of teaching. She seems to like set structure; and while I appreciate that others might not be as poetically inclined as I, it was a letdown to have to write about something, in a set structure, that I really did not want to write about. I just noticed that I write long sentences when I have strong emotions about something.
So, the poem was about our favourite person in the world, using similes and metaphors likening them to our favourite things (favourite drink, food, place, emotion, colour, etc.). Yes, well, I couldn't think of a favourite person, and when I choose DD (for lack of better), the poem sounded off somehow. So I wrote it about my (dead) cat. And well, I don't like it.
That's all. :)

19 September 2009

September, September, September

Astonishingly, I have not blogged in ages. Well not astonishingly, quite normal and unamazing in fact, I should say.
Personally, I love pancakes. DD recently obtained a really good from-scratch recipe, and it has turned out beautifully. The key is sugar in the batter, something I have never done before. Well, usually we have them with berries (frozen usually, but last week we picked some blackberries off the side of the road!!). However, we didn't have berries. Well myself being the genius I am,-oh, excuse me, I forgot...it was MM's idea actually, she went picking in the fridge and found some jam. Blackcurrant-not good on toast because it is full of bits *shudder*. However, heat it up, and you get....blackcurrant syrup! That's right, syrup! And what a cheaper option than buying the fruit syrups in the shop, and a better tasting one too.
Not that I should be blogging about food in a writer's blog, but it's better than the alternative of not blogging at all.
Oh, so I should think of something writing related to blog about, should I? (Just in case you are wondering, I actually am talking to myself, there is no one in the room with me.) Well, I am going to two literary festivals next weekend. Luckily, I get Friday off to prepare. But honestly, what idiot decided to have all the literary festivals in the country on the same day?! So, I am going to the Castlecomer(link needs internet explorer to work) lit fest, then one in Athlone, for MM to write an article on it. So, should be nice and busy.
I am going to one of Rois
ín Meany's workshops in Castlecomer. I am writing a story for Writers Forum at the moment, and I do mean at the moment, Word is open in the other window now. First things first, after I post this I have to go back over all the other posts and make sure there is nothing incriminating or embarrassing, so I can promote the blog with no fear. And by the time anyone other than me reads this (MM and DD admitted they lied when they said they read it!), they will never know what it said before. Mmwahahahaha!

30 August 2009

Been a long time...

Oops. It's been so long I've forgotten my password and sign in! Oh the pressure I'll be having from WOW. She's crashed for the night and it's about my turn but if I don't post I'll be in bad trouble.

So....

Strolled today for half hour, in the fog, hoping for inspiration. It was stirring but it's been a laid back weekend. Back into journalism. Jeeze is it great to be back writing, interviewing people. The ideas do just flow into fiction too. It's nice to once again sit at the computer and have the ideas just fly. It's about time too as lots of upcoming possibilities to get that work out there. So for any of you writers, ensure you keep sending out. No matter what it is. Heard a great interview with Irish writer Colum McCann on RTE Lyric, I think it was, this past Friday - Art Zone. Had to grab this quote as it is how I write. It's my way of journeying whilst writing/mining for nuggets and more.

"The dirty little secret of writing is you don't always know where you're going," Colum McCann, RTE Art Zone interview Aug. 2009.

That's the part I love about the writing process. You can start out one way and end up miles away from it. Or, the person you once thought was the one telling the story wasn't. It's another character within. Oh, the twists and turns....



Enjoy and happy writing...

27 August 2009

Poems vs. Prose

In my personal opinion, poems are prose. At least to me. I mean, I write poems, and people say they are good, and they have been published. But really? All I am writing is a paragraph. I just break up the lines in odd places, to make the poem look creative, and free-style.
Then there are rhyming poems. I write them too. I think rhyming poems should be funny, because when a poem has rhyme and rhythm, humour just feels right in it. So, yeah, peoms are an art form. I'm not saying they aren't. And I'm not saying not they aren't hard to write. Poets are often perfectionists, in my opinion, who edit a poem so no one can tell it was edited, and maybe no one can see all the literary devices and all that were used, but everyone (mostly) can appreciate it none the less.
Sometimes I just think people read too much into a poem. There was one I wrote, about a ship in a storm, and a fiddler. We had been asked to write a simile-poem comparing two dissimilar objects, like the poem (I can't remember the name, and I Googled the content, but once again, couldn't find it), about a woman in a wheelchair and how her fingers were like a pianist's fingers, so graceful.
Anyway, I wrote a rhyming poem, which I quite liked, and was about a ship in a storm, and a fiddler, and the beat of the music matched the strength of the waves... Anyway, a girl told me she really enjoyed it because she thought it was ingenious how "the ship and the fiddler were both being controlled by the waves" and I stood there, kind of hanging my mouth open, thinking, 'Oh? That's what it's about. Huh.'
Because I wasn't really thinking anything much when I wrote it, just trying out lines to see if they fit, and rhymed and all. So then, I was thinking, is that true with all poems? Or is it unique to mine? And maybe that theme of the controlling waves was the true theme, and I subconsciously added it to the poem. Hmmm.

26 August 2009

Fiji Water

Taken by Magpie372


Earlier I was looking at 'Today on Aol,' and happened to see a story about Fiji Water. I just had to look, as I had had a hilarious experience regarding Fiji water before.
I kept seeing Fiji Water in the stores and, because of its odd shape, happened to notice it often. I actually bought it once, but it tasted horrible. I suppose it was because it was mineral water. It tasted like someone had ground up a few stones into powder and mixed it in so you couldn't see it.
Its shape really does stand out, being a rectangle. The only other bottle I've seen shaped like that contained - well let me share the story first.
So I was eating lunch in school, and saw this girl a few tables over drinking Fiji Water - like I said, I notice it a lot because of its odd shape. Anyway, lunch ended, and everyone walked down the hallway to return to their classrooms. That same girl happened to have the classroom across from mine, so we were near to each other. Well, her teacher was walking outside the classroom, and she sees the bottle.
'What's that?' she asks, trying to sound innocent, but I knew what she was thinking.
'It's Fiji Water' the girl said, and of course explained the whole extra-minerals, good-for-you sort of stuff.
Her teacher seemed pretty relieved.
Why? Well obviously she had had the same thought I had when I first saw it. The bottle sure looks like a bottle of vodka.

25 August 2009

Blogging

I had a post planned and even began to write it, but then realised I shouldn't. It is ten past eleven, and I am getting up at six.
So tomorrow I will post it, entitled Fiji Water.
I wanted to make this short note as I am making an effort to keep this blog daily. So, what is it now? Well, it is interesting I shall say. I think that with more effort I could blog every day and not just about stupid things and fluff either.
MM has not posted again in a while, and there was a long period where I didn't either. I amn't pressuring her too much as she just doesn't enjoy it.
I only started the blog in the first place because I read in a magazine that it is good for a writer to have good promotional skills, etc. And a blog is a really good way to ensure people like your writing, plus it gives you publicity, blah blah blah. I didn't think I would like blogging, but I do, immensely.
And that is all I will post, because, though I want to post more, I am so tired my eyes can't stay open.

24 August 2009

Blue, Pink, and Yellow (And Rubber Bands)

I was just looking at my foot, and I felt something odd on my sock. It was a rubber band. It is, however, a mystery as to how it got there. In my mind, there are two options. One; I stepped on it. I don't feel that this is true, as the rubber band is practically glued to the sock. Two; DD tried to wash the pair of socks, and had a mishap somewhere along the line. Yep, I have a huge feeling that is the correct one.
Just recently I came into the kitchen (location of washer, dryer, and fridge), and he was there, trying to open a large bottle. The door of the washer was open, and I understood he was about to start a wash. "I can't get the soap open!" he said, frantically twisting the cap. Just as he looked down and read "apply pressure and twist clockwise," and was about to open the bottle and pour it in, I realised the awful truth. "Stop, that's bleach!" I yelled. Luckily he did stop, and the clothes were saved. He insists, and I am prone to agree, that he is just not cut out for housework.
This led us to another discussion about what exactly 'cut out for' means. I am of the mindset that it has something to do with paper dolls. DD said, "If you cut out a fireman, you can't expect him to be good at housework, can you? Only fighting fires."
I am personally fascinated with the origins of expressions, idioms, phrases and some words.
Threshold, for instance, has its roots in the fifteen hundreds, when floors were covered in thresh(straw). This was cleaned out every so often, and had the bonus of soaking up spills of all sorts. Anyway, what with people walking in and out, the thresh tended to gravitate toward the doorway, and fall outside. What to do? Well, put up a board across the door at floor level to keep the thresh in, effectively, a "threshold".
Now to today's REAL topic; baby clothes. They are blue for a boy, pink for a girl, and yellow for a we-don't know-yet or a we-aren't-telling. But what about all the other colours? There are so many. I noticed this when my aunt asked MM and I to buy some ribbon for a baby blanket she was making. They had the cutest one that said "tiny hands, tiny feet" with little pictures of little footprints and hands all along. Well they only had it in three colours: blue, yellow, and pink. Why? What about tomboys? What about boys who like pink, and girls who like blue? And how would you like it if your baby blanket was yellow? Oh, well they didn't even know what sex I was, or they wanted to stay 'neutral' when choosing clothes for me.
Then I thought maybe it's so people can tell what the baby is. Sometimes it's hard right away. So people who see a pink blanket know it's a girl, and people who see a blue blanket know it's a boy, and people who see a yellow blanket ask. And if you have twins, you can tell them apart by their blankets. So maybe it is a good thing. However, one has to ask, why baby blue? What about baby pink and baby yellow?

23 August 2009

Crosswords, Vocabulary, and Ideas

I have a few comments to make about the title of this post. Firstly: things are better in threes, aren't they? Say, chocolate bars. But maybe not trips to the dentist. (Shouldn't have said that. Haven't been in a long time, and the guilt!). I think I read somewhere that titles should be three words. Or maybe that was for articles? And the words should be (alliterated?). That is, the phrase should be alliteration. It attracts the reader because usually the three words describe the content of the piece very well, and occasionally have the added bonus of being humorous.
Secondly, I have a comment to make about the "extra" comma before the 'and'. I personally feel that that comma should be included. Since I already mentioned how I like to write dialogue the exact way it is said, I say the same with lists. Not putting that comma is like saying 'bananas' and then as an afterthought, not even in the same sentence, 'oranges and apples.' (Bananas is one of those stumper words that I can never spell. Surprisingly, I read that one of the most commonly mispelt words is not actually "mispelt" itself, but rather "doughnut.") I have had two teachers in the same year; one said her pet hate was to not have pupils put in that comma. Then I handed up an essay to the other. The thing she marked wrong? That comma. Grr. And I got a 99%, rather than the deserved 100%.
Thirdly, the actual content of the post (Yay! Finally). Okay. Starting from... the last word. Ideas. I seem to come up with an awful lot of ideas of things to blog about while in bed, trying to fall asleep. So...what to do? Well, last night I wrote down the two ideas I had. (Guess what they were? Crosswords and...*I run to check the notebook* baby clothes. Okay, bye bye baby clothes. But anyway...crosswords.) And then, today I am blogging about them. So 'hey' I thought. If I write down these ideas, then maybe the blog really will go daily. (It's like it's a newspaper. A weekly at the moment.)
Crosswords; I happen to do a lot. I rather like them. They expand your vocabulary (Yes, that is the other topic). I get mine from here. They may be rather hard. Not difficult, I mean bite-your-lip-and-growl "I knew that was the @#$%^ answer, but why didn't they say 32 down was two words?"-annoying. Actually, I don't find that personally true. That's MM and DD's department. They go ballistic when that happens. Which it often does. So...anyway. The crosswords aren't high quality, the clues/answers are repeated, and they don't say how many letters are in the answer, or how many words the answer is. But there is a new crossword every day, a print function, and if you miss a day, there is the archive.
Lastly, vocabulary. I like expanding my vocabulary. However, I find it annoying when people don't understand the words I use. Likewise, I find it annoying when people use words I don't understand. So, there is no way to win except to know your synonyms and antonyms well, and always make an effort to expand your vocabulary.
Hopefully next post will be tomorrow. Subject already determined: baby clothes.
-Aoife
P.S. MM post again.

12 August 2009

Twitter Before His Time

What fascinates people about Twitter anyway? I think it's because humans are a nosy species. We want to know every detail of somebody else's life but have a definite idea that our own should be kept private.

With the fascination over the tiny details of somebody else's life, people can be grateful for what they "are not." And I put quotations because really, if they are that desperate to figure out what is not wrong with them, there must be a heck of a lot that is.
In fact, they only truthful statement one can make on twitter is; I'm typing my tweet right now.

The reason I bring this up is DD has told me the story of a man who "tweeted," by writing (longhand) in a journal exactly what he was doing at the moment (which is as impossible as twitter. I'm writing in my journal right now...)
His name was ... Anthropologists thought it would make a great tool to show how people lived in his time (to be read in the future, of course). However the ordinary public was sharp as nails and said it wasn't a true example because to do that in the first place one had to be insane. (Views have slightly changed, no?)

EDIT: DD and I both searched the web, but couldn't find hide nor hair of the man. His name or anything about him. There was nothing.

05 August 2009

CSI For the Muse

Heard CSIireland.com is coming to Dublin! What a fab opportunity to check out crime scene investigations. Perfect for a short story or two. WOW isn't too thrilled! I'm amazed at the thoughts of the entire process of checking it out. Well, I plan on seeing it and participating. May be totally grossed out but will have those creative juices going ape. Have emptied the Spiddal Library, one of the best around with a fab librarian who's always got her eye out on a good read for you. And, she knows what your interests are. How neat to go in and find there's a stash ready and waiting - that your reading interests have been on her mind and she's been collecting steadily. Mind you myself and WOW will soon have read about every book there if we keep going as we are. Well, gotta head to check out some of those good reads. So, perhaps I've made WOW happy now with a posting! :)

03 August 2009

Bank Holiday

Today is the August bank holiday.
Irish people seem to like holidays. Whether or not this holiday ever had a purpose beside getting off work, I don't know. Now it is just the "August bank holiday."
That certainly wouldn't happen in America. Every holiday there has a specific purpose though not many people are really aware of the purpose in great depth.
MM has finally posted again, as you may have noticed. She is getting better at posting.
Always a good word for me, I have noticed! She wants a deadline... So if by seven o' clock each evening, if she hasn't posted and has no good reason why, I will pester her.
That may not sound like a threat, but coming from me...It is. DD knows well, as I have been bothering him whilst he is playing his online poker. He could never play at a real table, because he makes odd noises of delight and disgust when he loses/wins.
He has just won a tournament. He wins a grand total of...five cents($). He requests that I mention he thinks he "will soon become a grand master at poker" like he "is currently a grand master at computers."

Right now I cannot get the tune 'On Top of Old Smokey' out of my head. Of course, after singing it, both DD and MM have it stuck in their heads as well. DD is whistling it now.

"I amaze myself!" DD shouts. He then does a little dance saying; "Go me! Go me!"
That's why he can't play poker at a real table. "I just won ten cents! First place in both tournaments I played!"
*sigh*

02 August 2009

Ballinderreen Walk & Workshop

I'm under severe pressure from the WOW. Jeeze a deadline would be much easier. I just don't get this blogging thing and it doesn't really thrill me the same way it does WOW. Spent the day walking around a farm in Ballinderreen and it was a fab day. A bunch of us writers met, many thanks to our host and poet, Miceal Kearney who opened his home and farm to us all. And, even built us a shelter should the rain pour down as was expected! Miceal's poems, from the ones I read, are vibrant with outdoor, farm life. You can see the Oak, Hazel and Ash trees, feel their movements in the winds or glistening in the moon or sunlight. Thanks too to Brendan, Lisa and John who shared their creative work as we sat on the hewn tree bark chairs Miceal made for the occasion. You'd never have known we didn't all know each other. The connection was quick and worshop feedback right on the button: focused, professional and encouraging. So, if you're looking for a walk and workshop event in Galway anytime in the autumn, Miceal is hoping to host one again. Keep an eye out and ensure you've got your wellies, rain gear and manuscripts on hand. In the meantime, KEEP WRITING!

August Already

It's August already!
I haven't been posting, but I have a good reason why. I have decided that it is only worth posting if I have something worthwhile to say.
That means no more really short posts daily, rather longer ones less frequently. The 'daily' blog has now become just a figurehead name.
MM has not posted, though every time she is on the computer I remind her. I can't see what she finds wrong with it, though she is insisting it is "generational."
However, DD makes a very good point when he says there are lots of people posting who are of all ages.
I am happy at the moment because my story was published in Writer's Forum magazine, and my horoscope for August says to 'focus on the things that are going well and stop self-doubt', which I am prone to do. So I will focus on the writing, as that is obviously going very well. I just need a new story to send out.

If the next post is by me, and not MM, there will be trouble.

26 July 2009

Pronoun-Free Sunday

Hard to believe it's Sunday already!
Speaking of it's, DD and I were discussing the use of pronouns today. Try talking for even two minutes without pronouns.
The concept of speaking without pronouns is really hard, Aoife thinks.
Translation: It's really hard, I think.

Did you know Irish has about thirteen irregular verbs? Difficult, right?
English has one hundred eighty!

Even the smallest thing can turn into something amazing, if you only take the time to look at it. Say, how many people have wondered what does 'the' actually mean, and have looked in the dictionary to find that the definition is over a page long?
Pick something you take for granted, something that has always been there, and always will be there, take a closer look, and be amazed!

Ways to access creativity

Accessing that creative part of yourself often takes some quiet time. At least for me it does. And so, I journeyed to the Coral Beach here in Galway to start it rolling. The smash of the waves against the rocks, roiling sea foam and the air whipping against your face is enough to awaken anything. Even the dead. I need those trips into self, the quiet time to slough off the daily grind and get me into my zone. Now, I can enjoy the slap of the rain against the windows here and think of the Bog Man character lurking in my mind. He's taking shape as my stories often do. A little composting time and then it'll be time to spew. Time to get his story on the page. So I leave to go staring at the beating rain and welcome the Bog Man's visit. Be back.

21 July 2009

Tuesday

Wow, my titles are pathetic. The last two have been respectively 'Monday' and 'Tuesday.'
I have had an interesting relationship with water. When I was younger (in Maine) we had a well and the tap water was good. I would drink it often, and enjoy it too.
The well, which was hand dug and only twenty feet deep, had metal pipes. One rusted through and leaked, so water pressure was ix-nay, but taste was alright.
Eventually a new well was dug. By machinery this time, and very deep. However, the taste of the water was yuck.
So we started buying seltzer from the shop. Just fizzy water. H2O plus CO2, no flavourings.
And we drunk that for, oh, years. Then we moved here, to Ireland.
Tap water still gross, but we buy unflavoured fizzy water. I however, soon grew tired of that. I now drink only Galway Springs Bottled Water, as far as water goes. The thing with seltzer is that it goes flat, and then has a fuzzy taste. Water doesn't. Also, water isn't so bad warm, but seltzer is.
So, that's my history with water.

MM has posted-count it- ONCE! She obviously needs to look in a dictionary under 'daily.' I actually heard her typing up a storm, and thought she might be posting, but no.
Post again MM! Once is not enough.

20 July 2009

Beginner Blog

Phew, I've been fighting this and now there's no going back. The Wee One won't let me. WO feels her name sucks. Guess I'll rethink some more. But nah, like WO. Maybe it's Wee One now Woman. WOW! Now I'll bet she'd like that one. Yeah, so here I am trying to think of what I'd like to write about. Is anything bothering me... la di dah. I'm thinking this is pathetic but WOW feels some of hers might have been too. For some reason blogging seems like much more personal. Like it's my own personal diary and I'm not sure I want to share some of that. Funny thing is though, I won't have any problem were it to come to personal essays etc. Now WOW has begun to edit me. Tit for Tat and excuse the cliche! We've both been there, done that. Maybe this is enough for a first blog and I'll increase as the days go on. So, see ya. MM

Monday

Today is Monday (duh!).
My index finger is in extreme pain because I was attempting to sew bottle tabs onto my rucksack and had no thimble. The needle went under the nail on both my index finger and thumb, so I peck (specialised form of typing; involves two fingers on opposite hands/one finger exclusively used to 'peck' at the keys) with my middle finger.
MM has (finally) kept her promise and I am about to show her how to post to the blog.

16 July 2009

Stupidity

Tuesday was particularly stormy and I thought up the start of a good poem whilst riding my bike.
Being the genius I was, I had no pen and paper. That was stupid.
So I thought up the brilliant idea of using the recorder on my mobile and recording my voice saying the poem. So I spoke into my mobile as I cycled. All was fine (if a little on the precarious side).
Then I cycled down a road to the shore. By this time the storm had moved overhead, virtually stranding me.
What are the three things you should avoid in a storm? Tall things (a monument of a cross), metal (my bicycle), and water (the sea). I was near all three!
After a while, I realised how stupid I had been again. I could have just entered the poem into a text!

Endeavour

The shuttle Endeavour launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:03 yesterday evening on its STS-127 mission. Here in Ireland that was 11:03. After taking just about twenty minutes to cross the Atlantic ocean, it was visible overhead. It passed through our skies at about 11:20. I could see that it had two lights, one higher and one lower a little and to the right. It was going at an incredible speed (17,000 kph)! The sky was partially cloudy though and it was obscured after a short period.
But brilliant all the same. And, with Endeavour set to be decommissioned in 2010, a once in a lifetime experience.

MM, seriously, post or I will think up a horrifying punishment.

14 July 2009

Motivation

 I have serious motivation problems.Seriously. I do. Any quick fixes? Well I have a quote that helps a bit. 'Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done'. -Robert A. Heinlein. Except it sounds better without the theoretically. Just 'every task is impossible until it's done,' works for me.
I'm seem to be going overboard on the links, because I only just figured out how to use them. I felt so stupid! I asked DD to help me, and I went to edit a post, and he said 'what's this button?' And of course, right on the toolbar, an 'add link' button. I could have screamed. But I'm just glad I (DD) figured it out.
Toodles,
-Aoife

13 July 2009

Update

Okay, I have forgotten to write yesterday and Saturday's post was pathetic (and hence deleted).
On Saturday, we had guests so I went to sleep at one o' clock in the morning.
Next day we got up at six. We took a three hour bus ride to Dublin, where we walked to Eason's on O'Connell street to use the toilet (and ended up buying some books).

Then we walked to the National Museum and walked around for three or four hours until it closed. It had lots of interesting things, including a hanging clock that dangled for three floors.
We walked to Arnott's basement (and bought some things), then we walked to Heuston Station and caught a bus back. I was so tired and annoyed by the time I returned home (eleven) - yet still determined to keep up the 'daily' blog - that I wrote as much as I could while leaning over the piles of boxes we had transferred onto the floor so the guests would have room to sleep on the bed. Whew!
Then yesterday, my annoying parents let me sleep in until one o'clock pm! Do you ever feel like your whole day is wasted when you get up late? Like the world has been going on for hours without you? I do. That's why I was so annoyed at waking up late.
After that, I went for a cycle with DD (Dear Dad. Those are not my father's initials, unlike with MM) until ten past five. Then MM got home from the food shop, and I helped unpack the food and put it away.
Then I sat and watched television. Did you know your brain is less active watching television then when you are sleeping? Scientific fact according to DD, who is in the know. Just yesterday I told him he had the "opposite of insomnia" because he fell asleep too much, and the know-it-all says "well actually the term is "narcolepsy". Sheesh, like I need an overload of pointless facts! (Actually I love pointless facts. That's why I love Stumbleupon. If you don't have it, get it).
On the subject of exclamation marks (of which this post is slightly in excess of), they are becoming more acceptable in society. That is to say, in prose. According to Writing Magazine (August 2009), an exclamation mark was acceptable only if put in every one and one half books, but now it is okay if there are more.
The last story I penned had many exclamation marks. That is because the character was an over-the-top shouting-for-no-reason type of guy.
I an fond of writing things down exactly how they are said. I mean exactly. If someone emphasizes a word, I put it in bold. I want to really show exactly how people talk. However, MM says the exclamation is implied by the dialogue itself. Alright, fine. Maaaybe that's so. Still, I feel like a person reading the story should be able to turn it into a play with minimal effort. Which totally discredits the intellect of the reader. *sigh*
Anyway, that's all folks. (for now)
P.S. MM, get on the ball! Post something!

10 July 2009

Failure

I recall something in the name of this blog with a "d"... 
Oh yeah! Daily! Since I FORGOT to post yesterday, that means this blog is no longer daily!
But I must protest, MM. You have not posted one single LETTER to this blog. And while my life was totally and utterly boring yesterday, yours probably wasn't!
BTW, I did show MM how to post and how to sign in, and all that. Yesterday she even showed quite a bit of interest in posting. But she didn't. Why?

On Wednesday I came up with an awesome idea for a story. But I can't say what, because ideas aren't copyrighted (sorry, but that's how it is).
I have (not) been keeping up with competitions, though. (Actually, let me check them out now)
I use this website, and look under competitions. These are mostly for the UK and Ireland.
I would like to enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year, but that's for the UK. What about the Usbourne Young Writers Award? No, that's for the UK too.
Grrr...

08 July 2009

O2 Troubles

I have an O2 phone. This fact has given many people the cause to laugh and give advice. The first ever laugh was when MM and I walked into the O2 store to buy a phone. 

-Sales assistant: How may I help you?
-MM: I want to buy a phone.
-Sales assistant: Okay, we have Samsung, Nokia... 
-MM: I just want an O2 phone. 
-Sales assistant: *snigger* (in a very explanatory and patient tone) Yes, well all our phones work on O2. (Thinking - this is an O2 store!)
My friends tell me I have chosen the wrong provider. Up until last week I couldn't have cared less, to be honest. It's cheap enough, and all I need my phone for is emergencies.
However, whilst MM was topping up on-line (she hadn't quite got the gist of it, that could be why it all fell apart) she typed in the wrong access code. You only get two tries and then you get locked out of your cards, and so you can't top up.
Which is exactly what happened. So we called the customer service line and got a new access code. As of today we are still locked out of the cards, though.
So I signed into my account (rather than my father's, which is the one we normally top up out of) and accidentally used the wrong access code...and got locked out of my cards as well!
I'm beginning to lean toward Meteor...

06 July 2009

Writing is Like A Battlefield

I am just listening to a song on the radio, 'Battlefield' by Jordin Sparks. Some of the lyrics were '...love is like a battle field...' It got me thinking.
I think writing is like a battlefield (or just a battle), in more ways than one. First of all, for me, writing is an uphill struggle. That is, I have huge problems getting started (but when I do start I'm usually fine).
I just need a trigger. My latest story just came to me when I was looking at a 'Fiction Square' from Writers Forum magazine. I wasn't following the instructions though, I was just skimming it for cool words. The ones I liked were "walking stick," "canal," and "thunder". I came up with a brilliant (I thought it was brilliant) story about an old hobo fishing in a canal during a thunderstorm.
So my problem is... I would like to do more writing, but sometimes I just can't.
I look for great story "stirrers" as MM calls them. Or writing exercises. One thing to do is randomly look at photos on Flickr, and write a story about what is happening in the photo (photos with people in them usually work best, although objects can be interesting too). My sixth grade teacher had us do an exercise like that once. I got a picture of some birch trees bending down toward a stream and I wrote a story about a giant who squashed them.
MM had an exercise at the Force 12 workshop she went to recently. They did the same thing with pictures. Some people got the same picture but their stories were drastically different, so don't be too worried about someone else using the same photo as you. MM got a photo of a young girl holding a baby. She wrote about a fourteen-year old mother.
There are lots of ways to inspire stories; eavesdrop (a personal favourite), turn to a random page in a dictionary and pick the first word, look outside the window for five minutes and then write about what you saw, and there is even one where you pick two numbers - a page number and word number - and use the closest book to you.