Jealousy Leads to a New Discovery

My obsession with knitting subsided with the arrival of spring. I hate knitting in warmer weather, because my hands are hot and sweaty. It’s not a nice experience.

However, when the knitting stopped, I didn’t have anything to replace it and I missed my very early mornings of creativity. I attempted to read, but quickly gave that up as a bad choice when my eyes refused to stop watering. I tried taking the mini-laptop with me again, but had the same problem (which is a shame because there’s so much I could have done in the hours of travelling). I took to just sitting and staring out the window, which makes for a very long trip.

Then, one morning, a crowd of young people boarded the train. Laden with heavy looking backpacks, with a bedroll strapped to the top, they were obviously excited about the trek they were about to undertake. They kept to themselves, but found it difficult to contain the joy of being let loose in the world. The volume of their chatter increased, and then increased some more.

I understood their happiness, but for me (and the many other passengers sitting around them) it was just another work day. Just another boring trip, followed by another boring day at work, followed by yet another boring trip to get home again. What did we have to be excited about? Why should we have to bear witness to their excitement? Of course, it was pure jealousy that moved me to dig into my own backpack and bring out my iPod…and the earphones!

I never listen to music. And that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve always found music to be annoying, distracting. If I do have to suffer it, the volume is usually so low that only I know it’s playing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “it’s not worth it if you can’t hear it”. But I listened on that day. For the first time, I joined the “music plugged directly into the head” crowd. It was foreign to me. My ears were a little sore when I got to work, because they are not used to being invaded like that. But – and here’s the interesting bit – I enjoyed it! I let the music wrap around me, so that the noise of the group diminished, and found myself in a likeable cocoon.

When I arrived home that night and told G what I’d done, he actually looked at me with concern. He was more than shocked. He loves music. He listens to music, of all types, all the time (with earphones when I’m around). I guess he thought something was wrong with me. It’s more likely he thought the something that was wrong with me, had finally turned right. Anyway, at my request, he loaded some of his albums onto my iPod. I had listened to the small selection I already had on there and now I had to find out what I liked and didn’t like. Where was I to start? I had no idea, so I let G decide instead.

For a week, I boarded the train, plugged the music in and listened. I listened to pop, rock, folk, instrumental, soul, celtic and even some rap. I listened to music from the 50’s and 60’s right through to modern day hits. I rarely touched the “forward” button and I would arrive home each day and tell G which ones I liked the most. He would take my iPod and make some changes – delete some, add some others. By the end of the week, I found myself not turning the music off when I reached my workplace station. I’d walk to work with the music still pumping. When I arrived at work, the first time, with the earphones still plugged in, my work colleagues gave me strange looks but said nothing. Everyone knows what I’m like with music.

I’ve discovered that listening to music on the train is a great way of filtering out idiots. I’ve discovered that I like all types of music, except heavy metal. I’ve discovered that the music I listened to before sounds totally different through earphones – better! I’ve discovered that, like anything, the body adjusts and my ears no longer worry about the inevitable invasion.

I like music! I can hardly believe it myself, so I can only imagine how hard it is for everyone who knows me personally to accept this sudden change in me.

And where ever those young people are, I really do hope they are having as much fun as they envisioned that morning, on the train.

Purpose Opens the Door to Creativity

Yes, I’m still alive and kicking. I’ve just been buried in “company” stuff. Surprisingly, there’s been no stress along the way, like I expected. I put that down to adopting the “slow and steady wins the race” attitude I took on before I started this adventure.

I have received ISBN numbers and will shortly apply for a CiP entry for the first book that is to be published. At present, I’m seeking out prices for getting books printed in Australia and then I’ll decide which route to take and then the finer details can be worked out.

A logo has been chosen and the website is done, but I won’t put it online until certain details are confirmed. I am extremely pleased with how it turned out. It’s like nothing I’ve coded in the past and was a satisfying challenge.

The “secret project”, which was lost in that accident a few weeks ago, has been started again from scratch. Losing all that work might not have been such a bad thing after all, because what I have redone has turned out to be better! Again, I have to work out some of the finer details before taking it to the next step.

And, finally, I did something impulsive. I submitted one of my manuscripts to a competition. I’m a member of Out West Writers, which means I receive emails on a regular basis telling me about up coming writing events. Sometimes the event is an Out West author’s book release, book signing or other success. Sometimes it’s news about local book awards, workshops or seminars. On this occasion, the email disclosed information about a competition leading to a large sum of prize money and certain publication for the winner. One link lead to another and I found myself at the publisher’s website. Browsing their catalogue, I realised I have a completed manuscript that is in line with the books I was viewing on the website. Over the next ten days, I read the manuscript carefully and made minute changes before submitting it to the competition. No decisions will be made until (at least) February 2011, but I have plenty to occupy me between now and then.

Things may be quiet on the blog front right now, but I’ve done more writing related things since the beginning of September than I have in the last year or so. All I needed was purpose.

Portable Software for USB Drives

Writers are always looking for new ways to write and here’s another option for you.  Buy a USB drive and then head over to PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB drives.

You can download portable Open Office so that you always have a word processor at your finger tips, no matter what computer you are using.

You can download portable Firefox so you always have access to all your favourite internet places.

You can even download portable Thunderbird so you can access email easily.

Then, all you have to do is add your writing folder to the drive and you’re set to write. . .any time, any place (as long as there’s a computer available).

And there’s plenty of other portable apps to search through too. All are free to download and use. Nothing illegal about it.

Book Review: Insomnia

Insomnia (Special Limited Edition)

Insomnia by Stephen King

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My parents always told me “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” so I guess I’m going to have to keep this short and sweet, even though I’ll be breaking the golden rule.

I didn’t like Insomnia. The concept was great, but the author waffled on and on and on until I lost all connection with the characters and story. In the end, I just didn’t care what happened to any of them and found myself skimming over paragraphs just to get to the end faster.

I’ve read other Stephen King books and enjoyed them a lot, but not this one. Total waste of time.

Lost, but Not Found

After the much needed break, I have returned home to resume normal activities. The Kayelle Press website is progressing surprisingly well. I’m pleased with the look of it. I’m not so pleased with the few dozen logos I’ve made, but I’m a writer not a graphic artist, so there are no surprises there. I’ll keep trying.

Along with the website, I’m also planning other projects (which are top secret, at the moment). However, all the work I had done on one of these projects has been lost. Every single part of it. Gone!

How? That’s the embarrassing part. Prior to going away, I clearly remember deleting everything from a flash drive I was using. The folder was on that flash drive. I neglected to make a backup copy. I hadn’t transferred the folder onto my laptop or my external drive. I never emailed the documents to myself like I usually do. The folder on the flash drive was the only copy I had. As you can imagine, I’m more than a little angry at myself for being so careless. I have searched high and low for copies of what I had, but they don’t exist. I knew that before I started looking, but I searched anyway. I have to start again. *sigh*

I have no-one to blame but myself. Next time, I’ll be more careful. Have you done a backup lately?

Blast from the Past

Everyone needs a break from the usual routine. It helps clear the mind and liven the spirit. I’m presently on two weeks annual leave (just started the second week). The weather has been perfect and I feel nicely rested and happy after a few days on the coast.

We visited the south coast of New South Wales. As you can see from the photo, it was the first time our dog has seen the ocean and he was “eager” to escape the terrible invasion of fast-moving water monsters. But no matter how fast they attacked, he was faster! He didn’t even get his paws wet. Whilst he wasn’t keen on the ocean, he loved the sand and was willing to play and fetch and run berserk in the warm sun. We had a wonderful time.

We used to live on the south coast, so we know the area well. However, we haven’t returned since we left the area ten years ago. I was keen to see how much it had changed and I was even keener to find out how I felt about returning there. Of course, changes are inevitable. There are wider roads, in places. There are more shops, in town and spreading further out into the countryside. There was more traffic, everywhere. But mostly the old haunt was the same. I didn’t feel nostalgic and I didn’t feel a sense of wishing I’d never left the area. In fact, I felt nothing for the place at all and that surprised me a great deal. My boys did their growing up there and they did most of their schooling there. We went on many camping trips. We spent most of the summer on the beach, or fishing, or bush walking, or bike riding. We enjoyed archery, boating, body boarding, walking along the rocks. We spent most Christmases eating cold roast turkey, beef and salad sitting in fold-up chairs, under sun umbrellas, on the beach, with a sea breeze messing with our sun-scorched hair. My memories include lots of blue sky, warm days, cool breezes and tolerable nights. Yet I have no wish to return to that. I sound mad as a hatter, but realise that I’ve let go of that time. The woman in those memories no longer exists. I’ve moved on and now must focus on the future. And only now, as I write this post, do I realise that.

We had a wonderful few days on the coast. We revisited, we made new memories and we came home feeling happy and content. What can possibly be better than that?

Kayelle Press

Over the years I’ve said many things, believed (wholeheartedly) other things, and changed my mind countless times. I’m not ashamed of this, because it’s life and it’s all about freedom of choice and making decisions with the information available to us at the time.

Publishing my own books has been a controversial topic during this time. It’s something I was dead against. It’s something that I would not entertain, not in the slightest. Why? I believed getting published the traditional way was the ONLY way. It’s that simple!

But that was then, when technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today. That was when the internet was still foreign ground to many, including me. Now, things are different. Times have changed. I have changed. Getting published the traditional way isn’t as important to me. Yes, it would be nice. It would be validating in a way that I cannot imagine. Yet when I ponder this thought, I think that is the only reason I’ve been set against publishing myself. I wanted an editor of a huge (I don’t mean a big, I mean HUGE) publishing house to tell me that I am worthy. It’s not going to happen.

You might read that and think I have no confidence in my ability…and sometimes that is true. But the main reason I don’t think it’s going to happen is because the big, and the huge, publishing houses are going to feel pressured by a more direct media – the power of the internet – and this will bring about even more changes in the publishing industry.

Don’t get me wrong. Those big publishers will still do fine because they will continue to publish the big names. But where does that leave the new and up-and-coming authors? How will they (we) ever get recognised?

There are so many options available. It’s a shame to sit back and continue to dream the impossible dream. With this in mind, I’ve decided to take control of my writing life and take a chance in life. As of 1 September 2010, I have an official, registered business name and I will publish my own books. When I’ve learned the ropes, I may even venture into publishing other people’s books too. (That will be decided at a later date, although I do already have an idea swirling around my busy mind.) It will be hard work. It will be stressful at times. And it will also be rewarding as I see my small press grow from the efforts and sweat I am willing to put into it.

I’m pleased to announce the official website of Kayelle Press (pronounced K L without a pause). The website is less than a day old and is currently in the early stages of construction. However, if you enter your email address you will be one of the first to receive an official notification when the website is launched.

This is an exciting time for me. I hope you’ll join me on the journey. 😀