Ah yes, the end of the semester is nigh. With it brings multiple major assignments and final exams to look forward to. Lately I have had to make good use of every spare moment I have, what with my last two assignments worth 30% of my total marks and the loose-end tying-up portion of my novel-writing and a poor sick friend who’s been out of commission for a week and half.

And of course this weekend, I celebrated, in advance, my 24th birthday which will be this coming Wednesday. I had a lovely dinner with my friends at a Nepalese restaurant in North Adelaide and was nearly made to dance by the owner of the establishment. One of my friends, being of keen observational skills, stopped the progression and let me slink back (not so gracefully) to the table. Or possibly he just saw the sheer terror on my face at the unwelcome prospect of having to boogie in the middle of the restaurant with a dozen strangers watching on… Thanks, Squid, for not forcing me. ūüôā As I said today, I do not have an inner rhythm…

So the one-liner of my blog is “The¬†blog of a writer and live-hard romantic”. Why a “live-hard romantic”, you might wonder. Does it perhaps mean that this writer lives life on the edge, partying hard and fast like tomorrow would be the end of civilisation as we know it? Not quite, my loyal followers. It has more to do with my oldest rule in life – my belief that you have to grasp life by the horns and not be afraid of rejection. Carpe diem, in the words of Quintus Horatius Flaccus. Putting it in my own words, I do not want to have to contemplate the imaginary and dreaded “what if” scenario. I have witnessed too much regret in the lives of those dearest to me because they would not or could not put themselves out there. In order to get different results, you have to do the unexpected, even if it is foreign and scary to you. I’ve trialed this several times with mixed results but upon reflection, I realised you can’t do it half-arsed. You can’t do the same old thing, perform it differently and expect results either. If you want to do something completely out of the blue, you have to do it with commitment and not just with one leg in. And that is why I call myself the live-hard romantic because instead of being an inflexible, stubborn die-hard, I aim to be adaptable but am always, and forever, a romantic.

This morning I was accused of having no imagination. Oh my lovely acquaintance clad in grey, you have no idea… or perhaps you have favoured forgetfulness for a reason, since I’m quite sure we have covered this topic in our conversations prior. My problem is not a lack of imagination but rather an over-vivid one that never ceases to produce theoretical situations that I have no power to breathe life into. If I had less of an overactive imagination, my life would have been much much simpler and pain-free…

On a more optimistic note, my first draft of Tongue Tied is very close to completion! To think that I’ve written 38,000 words since January, all inspired by a person very dear to me, is enough to render me speechless.

It’s always a bit of a surprise to me when a friend comes up to me and says something like, “I expect my copy [of On the Edge of Consciousness] to arrive in next few weeks.” It’s even nicer when it’s your somewhat-significant other who tells you that, especially when you think they’ve simply forgotten about it.¬†A few weeks ago, one of my closest friends, while flipping through the collection, asked me which my favourite piece of work in the collection was. I told her that it was without a doubt, Sleeping Sisters.

You see, I had an image in my mind when I first started that poem – a photograph of a group of people standing under a wire frame arch that would have been covered in flowers, had it been spring. The wintry sky was grey, perhaps a tad dreary, but it sparked a seed of inspiration. Once the first two lines were written, it was clear to me that although the initial source of inspiration was a picture, the style of writing would be evoked by my favourite singer, Neko Case. In fact, other Case fans would be able to spot certain nuggets, little phrases that appeared in her songs. The “warble of a magpie” and “a hint of the sun” are a couple of examples. To be honest, I didn’t really know where I was headed with it. It started with that garden arch, then moved indoors to an abandoned house, later focusing on a playground in the distance that was visible from a window in the house. The ending was as much a surprise to me as I imagine it would be to any of my readers. I think my intense fascination with the ocean is apparent in the ending. In fact, I have an obsession for most water bodies that borders on the morbid – this stems from an unpleasant swimming/drowning experience in my childhood. In the last three lines, there’s admiration, love and fear, a yearning to be closer to something you cannot really conquer.

More to come. Stay tuned!

Author spotlight

My interview was released yesterday! I’d actually cleanly forgotten about it till this morning at Muay Thai training. How exciting! Please click on¬†Janet’s Author Spotlight¬†to read what the very well written Morgen Bailey had to share about me.

Feelings and your heart – do you fight them to make better choices or do you follow them and take what history has taught you are the wrong chances?

Today I had to struggle to make what my friend called a “cerebral” choice. I have always very much been one to put myself out there in order to pursue what I want, even if sometimes it ends somewhat unsatisfyingly. I believe that making the wrong choices sets you up to be appreciative when something good comes along. As people, we have all – to some degree – taken the plunge, taken a chance for something we believe in, sometimes to our own detriment. My choices have always been set so deeply in “the pattern” that I don’t know how to make any other choices. I’ve come to revel in the pain and the twin pleasure that comes as part and parcel of “the pattern”. But inevitably, what is rotten cannot survive and must fall away to allow for new and better things. And so now I stand (figuratively), trying my darnedest to make a good solid choice for future Janet, trying to choose what I believe is the “right” choice, the sensible one, even though my heart yells at me and tells me that I really want “the pattern” instead. It rages in its cage, wanting out but dare I remove the padlock I have placed on it?

Ultimately, the question that underlies my internal dilemma is whether I go for what I want now or what I should want in 5 years. Like a magpie, my head is turned by flashy objects. I remind myself that beauty which exists on the surface will come to fade, that the shiniest penny will eventually dull with age. Once again, Einstein’s definition of insanity mocks me as I consider returning to the pattern…

Thanks to the fantastic work of my editor, I have now secured a spot on Morgen Bailey’s Author Spotlights! It’s scheduled to be released on the 28th of April at 7am UK time (3.30pm Adelaide time). In the interview, I’ll be introduced as a person and a writer. Be sure to check¬†Author Spotlights¬†for my interview this Sunday!

If you’re all wondering about my progress on Tongue Tied, I’m happy to announce that I’ve hit 32,000 words. On Tuesday morning, I woke up and had such a strong urge to write about sexy things that I couldn’t concentrate on Tongue Tied. I simply had to allow myself to be sidetracked, the result of which is a nearly complete short story titled Right and Wrong. It has been fun writing Right and Wrong even if it meant sacrificing two days of work on Tongue Tied. Usually the work I produce is very telling of my obsession at said time, and I don’t even mean the genre of writing, it may be something as insignificant as a wristband or a little phrase that appears in my writing. But there you have it. My work is like snapshots of my life, I think. Reading it brings back all the memories of that particular time in my life. Better than photos because for me, it’s the feelings that matter.

When things start falling into place, everything is new and exciting. For the first time in a very long while, my optimism is growing again. On the 16th of April, I was published. All those emotions I experienced over the past few years, the little triumphs and heartbreaks, the little moments of perfection, the beautiful pieces of inspiration, have now been formalised and are available to those who care to share in my past.

My greatest pleasure would of course be seeing my novel, Tongue Tied (or whatever it may be called in the future) in print but this is a momentous week, nonetheless. My first source of inspiration would be my father. The man is a veritable Jack-of-all-trades, having worked in many industries throughout his life. He has been an interpreter, a bus driver, a food business owner, a teacher and many more other things. I’ve definitely inherited his love of dabbling. My second source of inspiration would be my former partner who taught me that you should never be afraid to pursue your dreams. My third source of inspiration are my Krav Maga and Muay Thai trainers who believe that everyone has limitless potential and that we are all capable of great things. They push and inspire me every day to do better than I did the day before. My fourth source of inspiration are my closest and dearest friends who put up with my little insecurities and motivate me and rejuvenate my spirits. It is you who have made my life the wonderful thing it has turned into. My life is amazing because of the gems I surround myself with. Thank you.

I’ve just found out that On the Edge of Consciousness is also available in paperback. Please click here to view a sample or better yet – order a copy!¬†http://www.amazon.com/On-Edge-Consciousness-Poetry-adults/dp/0987461451/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1366159829&sr=8-13&keywords=on+the+edge+of+consciousness

Today is the day I can call myself an author with pride. My first ever to be published book, a collection of my finest poems, can be found on Amazon. Please support a struggling writer by clicking on the links below:

For the paperback: http://www.amazon.com/On-Edge-Consciousness-Poetry-adults/dp/0987461451/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1366159829&sr=8-13&keywords=on+the+edge+of+consciousness

For the ebook: http://www.amazon.com/On-The-Edge-Consciousness-ebook/dp/B00CCYPDPY/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1366074683&sr=8-8&keywords=edge+of+consciousness

On the Edge of Consciousness

Poetry for young adults.
An eclectic mix of poems on love, loss, fear, nature, urbanism, globalism and mother nature.
Get in touch with yourself and with nature.

This will be my first published collection and will be available on Amazon soon as an e-book. Target release date: 10th April 2013.

Every now and then, we all like to take a little trip down Nostalgia Boulevard, window-shop on Reminiscence Road and finally arrive at Remembrance Court. Criticise social media sites as much as you like, it doesn’t change the fact that it enables you to view your life in snapshots and captions at the click of a button (or a tap on the trackpad). If you’re lucky, your wall of personal history will show a minimum amount of mind-boggling stupidity and embarrassing behaviour. And if you’re ever luckier, it will show you your development as a human being and how much you have grown as the years have passed you by.
All my social networking profile told me was that I was unusually adept at keeping my crippling neuroses private and that I had a tendency to post too many photos (albeit not drunken ones). It certainly didn’t betray my various little quirks that make me the unique (ha-ha) human being that I undoubtedly am.

As far as life goes, I like to think I take it seriously enough that several years down the track, upon looking back, I won’t have to cover my face in shame and ask myself what I was doing. But at the same time, I have enough down time reserved that I won’t suddenly crack and take a chainsaw to my neigbourhood.

26,000 words into my book, I am still enjoying the writing process as I tend to work on the sections that interest me and then double back to the parts that eventually intrigue me. I started writing in January and for the first three weeks, I was churning out a 1000 words a day, only to experience a sort of lethargic passivity for the month. My original plan had been to continue the trend of productivity I had experienced and finish the book before my semester began. But now I find myself juggling university work, actual work, writing and my martial arts training. I’ve been asked how I squeeze it all in and whether it affects my social life. Luckily for me, the people I know well and like are the people I attend classes with and the people I train with. And so my revised deadline for this book is 4th of June, a day before the day of my birth, What a glorious day it will be this year – having completed my first draft I fully intend to launch my quarter-life crisis with a vengeance. What is this quarter-life crisis, you ask? Well, operating on the law of averages, the average woman in Australia lives up to 84 years of age. Assuming everyone is familiar with the concept of a mid-life crisis, I developed the theory that we ought to implement a quarter-life crisis, just to shake things up in our early twenties. Bearing in mind that I am nearly 3 years late for my quarter-life crisis, I plan to celebrate my birthday with a phase of over-the-top clothing, a complete image overhaul, and an insanely unsustainable lifestyle. The obligatory flashy car and mistress are elements I shall skip as I neither have the funds for a new set of wheels nor am that way inclined.

I have to admit that indulging my rambling tendencies has been utterly medicinal. Stay posted for my next update!

Inspired by my favourite martial art (Muay Thai) and one of my favourite African beastie (no prizes for guessing right though). Enjoy.

Oh, little meerkat standing tall

Bruised eyes and speckled fur bristling

Like a fighter, you stand on the balls of your feet

Tireless, indomitable and ever vigilant

Bark, little meerkat standing tall

Let your voice echo across the plain

For your warning call and several inches of sand are the only things

Between death and the crimson sunset

Scamper, little meerkat, for your burrow

Quick! Let the little bright-eyed ones scurry in

The distant shadow beckons with a renting cry

Making a bid for its own survival

Breathe, little meerkat, for you’re safe

In this harsh gritty landscape you call home

Neither the heat nor the predator will claim you today

With a loving eye, you will be watched over

And when the sun clambers over the land at dawn

Put on your gloves and stand tall

For the battle against the elements

Never ceases in the boxing ring of life

   

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