I think I just rambled, Life, Story Time

[Story Time] repercussions of daydreaming

When I was a youngling, I daydreamed excessively; in my dreams I was extremely clever and I had secrets – world-changing, mind-blowing secrets. I could give the best, most convincing comebacks, break into sudden ninja skillz, and do daring deeds that would leave grown men gaping in my wake.

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I’d do all of this without repercussions. One doesn’t really think of real world consequences when you’re in a delicious daydream, fixing a tragic moment of fallibility in your life.

Par example, when my family was introduced to a new church; instead of retreating into my blue coat when the microphone was shoved in my face and whispering my name …

… it would go a little differently. The pastor would ask my name. I’d stand straight and tall. ‘You want my name?’ my attitude would say. ‘THIS IS MY NAME!!!’ and at the end of the aisle, the church doors would slam open, and in would pour an entire troop of animals enough to make a zookeeper weep.

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like this. but with lions. and giraffes. and maybe an elephant?

It’s important to note that my daydream was conspicuously absent of:

  1. animal droppings
  2. outraged animal rights activists.
  3. the screams of horror from churchgoers who just wanted to hear some preaching (was that too much to ask?!!)

When you’ve spent half your life with your nose in a book and your head in the clouds, your sense of proportion, social settings, and – alas, to my cost – brain-to-mouth filter sometimes malfunctions.

Take my last, most monumental gaffe, for instance. I’ll share it here. You can probably feel the echoes of my disbelief from where you’re sitting.

LAST MONUMENTAL SOCIAL GAFFE:

I can’t remember the mood I was in when I turned up to my driving test, but it must have been quite something.

My examiner reminded me of a TV character and I really quite liked him – he sort of set you at ease. I didn’t do quite the same service to him.

He introduced himself pleasantly with a ‘My name is N—, what can I call you?’

Usually, I would have said my name and included a nice and pleasant: ‘nice to meet you.” Usually, I managed to function as an adult. That day, I did not.

I didn’t say my name. I didn’t plead for a pass. Oh no. My brain saw OPPORTUNITY written across the sky in big, multicoloured letters.

It saw opportunity. It took that opportunity. I opened my mouth:

You may call me Lord and Supreme Dictator of the Universe

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Nowadays, I try to rein myself in a little; try to fix the ol’brain-to-mouth filter. Be a little mature. Realise you can’t just blurt anything out – even if you think it’s the pinnacle of humour. This works sometimes. But now and again, every so often, if a customer asks how my day has gone, I find myself answering:

“Well … the zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened yet, so it’s been pretty good, thank you.”

(They often seem bemused. I, on the other hand, am always enormously impressed that I – a bookworm – can pronounce ‘apocalypse’ correctly.)

I think I just rambled, Life

the bookworm’s guide to makeup

*** Warning: This Post is Novel Length ***

According to YouTube, you must have mountains of products and more skill than Da Vinci himself just to complete a ‘simple and everyday’ makeup look.

I do not claim to be good at makeup. I am a bookworm and I’ve always had a fear that too much makeup would make me look like a clown. However, I am now happy with what I do and wish to help you navigate the treacherous waters of the beauty world.

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allofitIngredients:

Concealer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, and lipstick

brushes to apply eyeshadow and blush, fingers

courage

a clean face

Chapter One // In Which The Black Bags Disappear

The average Bookworm can often read into the wee hours of the morning. How can she combat the dire side effects? It’s quite simple. Honesty is all very well, but black bags? The Bookworm can hide it. As she hid – and devoured – those books underneath her covers when the lights were out.

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The Bookworm mustn’t feel the need to draw triangles, squares, or complex and bewildering mathematical formulas underneath her eyes. She should take a finger, put concealer on that finger and apply it. (The finger should preferably be her own). She should continue until the black bags are subdued.

eyelinerChapter Two // How The Thing Is Done With The Thing

The eyeliner should be gently applied to the waterline. The Bookworm uses her eyeballs to read, so caution should be taken. The eyeliner is not a sword, she is not a Viking, and her waterline is no monastery full of monks.

BACK UP PLAN: If the Bookworm does poke her eye out, she is reminded that audiobooks are popular nowadays.

A NOTE: The fabled ‘cat’ look, while it looks fabulous, requires plenty of practice. Without this, the liquid eyeliner will be wielded in an attempt to look like a magnificent cat, and the result will resemble a panda. A depressed panda.

eyeshadowChapter Three // Her Eyes Were Shadowed. Literally

The author used to go for the blue or green look. She was under the impression that it complimented her eyes. Today, she goes for the more neutral colours. Four of them, in fact. She likes to live dangerously.

Dabbling is advised for the Bookworm. Fun ought to be had. One can always erase one’s mistakes. The author hides the fact that her hand-eye coordination hasn’t improved since her toddler years by using the lighter colours to erase the wandering effects of the darker bronze.

de-wandsChapter Four // Wafting Spider’s Legs

Apparently, the Bookworm shouldn’t keep one wand of mascara for too long. It’s considered unhealthy. Unfortunately, the author ignores this sage advice and keeps one old mascara, and one semi-old mascara. She thinks it makes a difference. What is health when one’s eyelashes flutter like beautiful feathers in a spring breeze?

Step one: apply the thickest wand first, and – here the Bookworm is given a bit of advice from Doctor Who himself – DON’T BLINK. The Bookworm’s bootiful makeup will be ruined and she will either have to:

a) do difficult and complex damage control

or

b) pretend she was going for the ‘random bit of black on eyelid’ look the whole time.

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Step two: use the other wand next. This is logic. Pure and simple.

Step three: the Bookworm should stop before her eyelashes resemble spider’s legs. If they do, the Bookworm must pretend that she meant them to resemble spider’s legs. Spiders are part of nature and nature is beautiful. Her eyelashes are beautiful, beautiful spider’s legs.

blush2Chapter Five // The Permanent, Yet Charming, Blush

Blushing, in novels, is often considered cute. Blushing, in real life, is an evil, awkward and embarrassing thing. As a human who can turn red enough to make a tomato jealous, the author hates blushing. However, she slaps blush on her face. To be contrary is to be human.

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The Bookworm mustn’t apply over apply. The ‘oh, yes, I am not a pale hermit but am a charming person with a youthful glow’ effect is wanted. The Bookworm is not trying to convince everyone that yes, she has seen the sun recently and ‘look at this – my fabulous sunburn’.

lipstickChapter Six // The Accidentally Painted Tea Cup

The Tea Drinking Bookworm’s relationship with lipstick is a disappointing one. It’s not it, it’s her. Drinking a lot of tea is generally a deterrent to lipstick longevity. At work, however, the Tea Drinking Bookworm should give herself leave to wear a little of it.

Lipstick should be applied carefully. If the lipstick is red, the Bookworm is given leave to pretend she is a femme fatel. A mirror, or a companion, should be used to check whether any lipstick has stained her teeth.

The End

If the Bookworm wishes to branch out into foundation and highlighter and eyebrow colouring and who knows what else, she ought to do so. Experimentation can be marvelous fun.

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think of it as reading a new genre

The author will be over here, trying not to poke her eye out with a mascara wand, and being pleasantly surprised at how little she resembles a clown. A panda? Sometimes. A clown? Never.

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I think I just rambled, Life, On Writing

resolutions that we can keep

This evening, I’m feeling a little weary. I’m a people person. I love people. I like people. I find people fascinating. In small doses. Eight hours of them? Non-stop? I run out. Like a battery prone to coughing fits and accidental slips of tongue.

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But that’s not the point of this post. (There is a point). The point of this post is to belatedly discuss resolutions. I could sum up the whole post in one sentence, but, as I enjoy explaining things at length, I’m going to stretch it out into an entire post.

*maniacal laughter interrupted by coughing fit*

Last year, I wrote a post about the classic books I wanted to read that year. I read two of them: King Solomon’s Mines and The Three Musketeers. Two out of six is not successful. It is awful and no good. I’m not impressed with myself. To be frank, I’m disappointed in two things.

two disappointing disappointments:

  1. my lack of motivation
  2. my delusion that ‘heh, one month left in the year is plenty of time to read THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PAGES’

This year, to be disgustingly optimistic is not my objective. Nope. I’m going to be depressingly realistic. I know me. And I know that I am often optimistic and wildly unrealistic. Just look at my to do lists – they are as missing of ticks as my future cat will be. (That sounded better in my head.)

I think we all would do better if we set achievable goals. Now, if you’re one of those sickeningly optimistic and motivated people who set goals as high as Everest AND MEET EVERY SINGLE WHITE CHOCOLATE LOVIN’ ONE OF THEM, I am not talking to you. I’m sure I would like you if I met you (hi!) and would only envy you a teeny-weeny bit, but I’m addressing people who suffer from goalfailuretitus.

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thaaat would be me. i’m addressing me

By ‘set achievable goals’, I mean the sort of goals that you know you can do. Sure, stretch yourself a bit (AND RISK PULLING A MUSCLE WHY DON’T YOU) but don’t over do it. There is a difference between saying ‘I’m going to swim thirty lengths at the swimming pool’ and announcing ‘I’m going to swim across the English Channel. Nay. THE INDIAN OCEAN!’

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This year, I’m giving myself goals that I know are possible for me to achieve. Yes, some of them are a little bit of a stretch, but these are my goals, darn it, I’ve got to let a tiny pinch of optimism creep through.

my thirty lengths* at the swimming pool:

  1. Read a Dickens. Just one. Survive it.
  2. Read Lorna Doone.
  3. Finish The Library Lass (that’s a working title. honest)
  4. Publish Sandwiches
  5. Work on The Salt Pun (also a working title. a brilliant working title)

*I’m not actually going to be swimming thirty lengths. The very thought leaves me limp with exhaustion.

And so, to conclude, to sum up, to finish, to end, to wind up, to wrap up etc etc etc:

set achievable goals

(or don’t. Set wildly unrealistic ones. Aim for the moon. Try and try and you never know, with enough elbow grease and will power, you just might make it. I’ll be here, with my two classics read, cheering you on)

happy reading!

Books, I think I just rambled, Life, On Writing, Uncategorized

how to avoid distractions and write

Disclaimer: I do not promise the following to be logical. I wrote it with an empty tea-cup beside me. Its slogan is Live, Laugh, and Love but how does one do that without tea? More importantly, how does one write a coherent blog post without this elixir?


I come home from work and survey my domain with a critical eye. I decide to tidy and then write. Neither happens. I’ve decided to give up that first step. Yes, my room suffers, but I’m sure that it’s a good move. I’ve now a more peaceful mind and more time to devote to my writing. However, distractions are many and my resistance is weak.

things i class as distractions:

  1. Reading
  2. Cleaning (mostly when I need to write) (this cleaning doesn’t extend to my own bedroom)
  3. Stoopid Things On The Internet
  4. Writing this post
  5. Work (so I’m not a starving distracted writer)

By the time Christmas week arrived, I was convinced that I – and I alone – had invented long shifts that had to be worked day after day after day. To my disgust, the pity party had to be cancelled. It turns out that this is the norm of the working world.

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My pity party rudely halted, I could at least use the situation as an excuse. It was masterful and goes as follows …

my masterful reason for not writing:

Work requires time to unwind from. At least one or three hours. By the time I am unwound, I need to sleep. To go to work again. So therefore, in no way could I possibly write a single word. There isn’t time.

I, for one, could see no logical holes in my reasoning. (I’m certain you can’t either.) However, using this logic, I am forced to face three hard choices in order for my writing to flourish:

  1. I must give up work and write in blissful hunger and happiness (sans car, savings, clothing, and books)
  2. I must drastically decrease my working hours and budget (less use of car, less savings, and fewer books)
  3. I must find a happy medium between working and writing (sans unwinding time)

Right now, I’m taking option three. Writing is a part of me. Like my tailbone or unibrow. (Ha. I kid. I don’t have a unibrow. Or do I?!!!) And I am willing to make sacrifices for it.

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cue inspirational gif.

So, my ‘unwinding’ time will cease to be and I will be an adult and write my novels and sort my bookshelves and go to work and do all sorts of responsible things.

Q: So, how DO you avoid distractions and write? (Because, honestly, the above is no answer at all. In fact, I’d say you waffled a fair bit.)

A: I’m sure that priorities and list making and Pinterest boards make up part of the answer, but – to be brief – I think the ultimate answer is thus:

Sacrifices. Must. Be. Made.

If you want to keep your unibrow writing alive and ticking, you have to make sacrifices; give up going to the cinema or haunting bookshops or reading those reviews. These things have their place. But so does your writing. So sacrifice. It will be worth it.

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side note: remember to maintain relationships with humans. those are important too.

But, what do I know? I’m just a writer writing poorly concealed non-advice advice posts to solidify good intentions. And to be a beacon of help and hope to the rest of the writing world, of course. *cough*

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happy new year, my friends!

I think I just rambled, podcast

podcast // unhappy ever afters

I’ve been rather busy recently, and the script that I had started for this episode is gathering dust as a draft. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment to have everything together – a script with interesting, thoughtful content, for example – I thought: I’m just going to wing it. 

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It wasn’t the worst of my ideas, but the rather incoherent enthusiasm that followed certainly proved that it wasn’t one of my best, either. I apologise in advance.

Sometimes books let you down. Sometimes you just need to ramble incoherently about them. [Found Treasure by Grace Livingston Hill. The Mark of the Horse-Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff. Villette by Charlotte Brontë]

post on villette // podcast site