Friday, March 22, 2013
Writing and frogs and stuff
My gorgeous friend Brandee -- a dear soul I met during #reverb12 and with whom I have become fast friends over twitter -- tagged me with this rather delightful little questionnaire.
She also sent me the most exquisite letter, complete with hand drawn picture of the sweetest little girl (who looks not unlike my daughter, tell the truth) that arrived in yesterday's mail.
Both of these facts remind me just how much richer my life has been, particularly through the connections I have made, since launching my blog and developing a life online. Which, I suspect, is the perfect place from which to respond to these questions.
Thank you, dear Brandee.
So, without further ado:
1) Tell me about your writing process. Do you plan out what you’re writing or sit down and do it? What was the greatest surprise about this writing process for you?
It's pretty unglamorous and there's no great mystery to it. Two days a week, I take my daughter to kindergarten, then I come home and write. I am not allowed to get up from my desk and do other things (or sit and fritter away the hours on the internet) until I have written at least 1,000 words.
According to Australian writer Toni Jordan, writers fall into two categories: plotters and pantsers. The distinction has been capably explained here. Allow me to confess I am a pantser. When I sit at my desk on my writing days, I have a vague idea of what is going to happen next -- and idea of the direction/resolution of the plot overall -- but otherwise submit to my muse.
The greatest surprise for me, day after day, is that this seems to work.
May I also add as a postscript: I worked for sixteen years in the one organisation to earn long service leave, often in jobs that I absolutely detested and all but broke my spirit. I'm on that leave now and this is the only way I have space and time to write. I also needed to wait until my daughter was old enough to attend kindergarten! In addition, I have put a number of support mechanisms in place to ensure that I am constantly guided towards healthy creative, emotional and physical wellbeing.
My friend Phil (also a writer) once told me that she'd heard that the writer's life required a mentor, an income and a deadline. I am living proof that this is true.
2) What was your worst job? (It doesn’t have to be about writing.) Why? What did you learn from it?
I once spent a day dressed in a massive pink bear suit, standing outside a Melbourne city toy store attempting to entice small children to drag their parents inside. It was over 30 degrees Celsius outside and at least 40 degrees Celsius inside the suit. The bear's head weighed probably more than I did at the time. It had a metal frame that sat on my skull and made my neck ache. I could barely see out of the bear's eyes, partly because they were black mesh and partly because I was crying my eyes out.
I learnt that, even under all those circumstances, even with teenagers jumping on my back where I couldn't see them or trying to push me over, even with a deep pit of anxiety eating away at my insides (that had nothing to do with the job), and even though no one could see my face... whenever I waved at a little kid I would automatically smile.
I only did performed this job that one day. The experience was too unpleasant. And the proprietors never paid me. They subsequently went bust. Perhaps I wish them well.
3) If you knew that tonight would be your last meal for a week, what would you eat?
Mmmm... probably an entire chocolate cake. Sad but true. (But oh so very delicious!)
Then again, I made my own granola for the very first time yesterday. And my own almond milk! And the end result was pretty dang amazing. So I could probably chow down on the entire lot and that would leave me feeling quite satisfied and nourished for the week. Though I'm not really sure whether that's just because it's nasty and nutritious, or whether I still can't believe that I made it.
4) How do you feel about frogs?
In this, I defer to Vali:
Image credit: Rudi Rappold
5) Where is your favourite place to chill out and why?
A toss up between Paris and New York City. Neither of these places are particularly "chilled" per se. But whenever we go there ("we" being my husband, my daughter and I) we sure know how to have a good time. We eat, we walk, we shop, we visit museums, we drink, we walk some more, we laze, and we generally enjoy our lives, ourselves and each other.
NOW it behoves me to tag three friends, in the hopes that they will share their views on writing, work, food and frogs! I am so curious to know what these gorgeous literary lasses have to say:
Until next time... bisous.