NaNoWriMo : Where I Possibly Upset A Few Folk By Calling Them Tampons.

Write what you know.

It’s a piece of advice that crops up time and time again, and yet it bears repeating despite being so incredibly obvious.
Met an interesting woman behind the counter at the local chemist? Voila! You have your rambunctious Madam at Ye Olde House of Ill Repute and Clap Ointment Emporium. The spotty teenager who has the shelf-stacking job at the supermarket around the corner? He’s Patient Zero, fresh off the first commercial space flight ready to infect the Southern Hemisphere with a rather nasty epidermis-melting plague that rapidly decimates the human population. Except the Australians, obviously, cos they’re a hardy bunch.

Literally anyone can be lifted from reality, moulded by your requirements, and utilised to make you a crap load of cash. Some woman once met a hairy biker with a passion for urban horticulture down the pub, and decided a few years later to write about him in a bunch of books, and named him Hagrid. That turned out pretty well for her, so it’s good enough for me.

So the plan is:
1) Go out.
2) Meet interesting people.
3) Steal them.
4) Do a bit of writing.
5) Sit back, count money, move to tax haven.

Except…

I’m an introvert with social anxiety issues.
I kid you not.
I don’t really seem the type, do I? But like it or not, writing about what I know would end up being a 100,000 word monologue on the latest exploits going down in my fish tank.(The harlequins are a rather pleasant shade of pink, much like a freshly boiled prawn. Whenever I sit, nose pressed against the aquarium glass, I can’t help but wonder as they dart around exactly what they’d taste like dipped in cocktail sauce. In case you were wondering.)
It’s hard to write about people when you generally prefer to avoid them. I didn’t always.I dimly recall social interaction in my distant past, but what can I say? People can be bastards and I’d rather have a nice evening in with cats. And by “evening” I mean “rest of my life”.

People, to me, are like energy tampons. Some are heavy-duty and you just know from looking at them that they’re gonna suck and suck, others are moderately absorbent and you can hold out a bit longer. My Hubby, bless, is more of a pantyliner. He can be around all day and sometimes I need him, and sometimes I don’t, but he’s reliable enough to not potentially give me Toxic Shock Syndrome ( which, incidentally, comes second in the list of most embarrassing ways to die, directly after “death by much too large object being placed up your own bottom”) . He also doesn’t take it personally if I sneeze and accidentally pee on him… but I digress…

So what do you write about when you have to “write what you know”?

Day 3 : The enlightening self-help book.

Whilst I may seem to be the glowing poster girl for mental health, I am in fact just a smidgen mental. I flit playfully between “slightly eccentric” and “within spitting distance of psychotic”, but I’m largely just a big ol’ pain in my own arse, and that’s kept me out of the local nuthouse. Sadly, a lot of Borderliners can’t say the same. The stats for self harm and suicide are pretty depressing. We’re a damaged bunch and often a lot of hard work all round. I like to think I’m worth the effort, though the voice in my head says otherwise. ( The voice is me, by the way, not Jesus or Satan. I’m not *that* barking. But I do go on and on, one long derisory load of bull that makes me want to slam my head in the fridge occasionally ).

What life-changing advice could I possibly offer?
Here’s what I came up with :

1) You are not your diagnosis. All is not black or white ( though your nature may be screaming at you to see it that way ), and this is just a part of what you are. It’s no more you than that cracking pair of jugs you’ve got, or that genius IQ, or the propensity to ingrowing toenails, or that ability to roll your tongue. Those are you too, but they shouldn’t define you either. It’s not something to be ashamed of, you didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to let the cheese slide right off your cracker, it just is what it is.

2) It’s vital to have a happy place, physically and mentally, and I’d heartily recommend sensory aids. Mine are:
a) My cats. My cats are freakin’ awesome. They’re just regular cats who do regular cat stuff ( nap, leave fur everywhere, vomit under the sofa ), but who *like me best*. Being followed around the house makes me feel like some sort of cat whisperer guru. You just can’t buy that sort of self-esteem boost.
b) Ice cream. It’s a cliché , but it works. Not that cheap nasty crap though. Buy the stuff that cost 4 times the price and that you have to hide at the back of the freezer behind the frozen spinach to keep the kids from eating it. If they want some they can just bloody well go buy their own. Freeloaders.
c) My dressing gown. It’s fluffy, huge, and it loves me. When I’m at my worst I’ll even go to bed in it, like some sort of onesie security blanket. Hubby hates it and says that it occasionally smells like a dead dog, but he’s just jealous of what we have.
d) My filofax and stationery. So I like to stick pretty stickers of frogs on stuff… don’t judge me! My extensive selection of washi tape doesn’t, and neither should you.
e) The sound of rain, and sitting on the beach. It’s probably a white noise thing, but it’s soothing in a way that medication isn’t. Not that I’m anti medication. If that works for you, then by all means take those babies and do it without feeling like some sort of life failure. People in pain take painkillers, same for you. Just a different drug.
Some people include photos of their kids, I don’t. Instead I include pictures that my kids have drawn for me. The distinction is very clear. The photos are a cause of stress when I’m already pushed to the max because it tricks me into thinking that I’m letting these kids down. Pictures that they’ve made for me, however, highlight that I’m doing ok. In them everyone is always smiling and Mama is always pictured biggest with a heart for a face and lots of kisses. Apart from the one where I’m depicted as a big ball wearing a bra. Not quite sure how to take that one, but I make sure not to walk around in my underwear anymore, just in case. Which, ironically, brings me to my last point …

3) Yes, you can still be a parent. Whilst a lot of Borderliners are the product of bad parenting themselves, you can step up and procreate without fearing for the sanity of your offspring. You’ll need a supportive partner. You’ll need to take turns and sometimes you’ll have to be absent whilst you go stroke your dressing gown behind a locked bedroom door. And you will, on occasion, stumble. But guess what? “Normal” parents do that too. It’ll be fine. Have faith in yourself, it’s half the battle.

OK, so maybe just a short book then. Less time reading, more time on working on it and taking it easier on yourself. I can live with that.

Tomorrow I may take a bash at erotica. At the very least that should do my viewing stats the world of good.

NaNoWriMo : The One Where, Against All Odds, I Haven’t Given Up Yet.

Today’s suggested genre is Western.
Western western western.
I’m just letting that sink in, because I hate westerns. Western books , western films, western tv series. Urgh. Though if it’s any help at all I really like horses. Not riding them, mind, cos those beasts are way too big for my liking. I refuse to mount anything larger than a sofa cushion. ( And cos I’m a nice girl I resisted the temptation to type “my Husband” in that last sentence ). However, I love the look of horses. I just don’t like the idea of the dirty, testosterone-pumped chaps-wearing cattle-hasslers that ride them. No offense to my probably non-existent cowboy readership… I’m sure you’re very nice and don’t have a spittoon full of sludge in your living room at all.
At a push I’d have to say that any interest I may have in the genre would purely be in the indigenous people, who …in the biggest instance of “surely you’ve got to be taking the piss” irony of all time… were often referred to as “savages”.
Yeah, I’m not touching that one with a 10 foot pole, thanks.
However, “Western” is my submitted suggestion, and writers don’t always get to write about what they want to. For some it’s a job rather than a calling from your deity of choice, so you just have to suck it up and put on your big girl panties.
Western.
Western western western.

Hold on one second…. is “Western” a genre at all? I’m not just saying that because I’d really like to sashay my way out of this one, it’s a genuine question. A western where the handsome hero saves the farm-owning widow from the dastardly black-suited property tycoon is a romance, surely? The western where the mistrustful cowpoke is nursed back to health after his horse bolts and proceeds to slam him face first into a suspiciously large but well hidden boulder by the tribe of exotic loincloth-wearing natives and he becomes one of their clan is a drama, isn’t it? The western with a lot of Jewish people in it? A Mel Brooks screenplay.

So, for the sake of argument I’ll make mine a western in the style of fiction. That’s nice and non-specific.

Day 2 : Western

It would start with a glorious introduction to the beauty of the Wild and Almost-Entirely-Not-Screwed-Up West. There would be grandiose descriptions of sweeping plains, leisurely sauntering wildebeest casually chewing as tumbleweed do what tumbleweed do best ie: exit stage left. As a side note, did you know that “tumbleweed” isn’t one particular plant, but in fact it could be any number of plants that have dried up and taken to tumbling around in a random fashion? I didn’t. I feel like my IQ has gone up 3 points just for knowing that fact, and for extra have-a-cookieness I get a shiny sticker for having done research! Writers do a lot of research, and as such I feel I am one step closer to my goal now. Hurrah!

Enter our plucky heroine, who isn’t seeking to avenge the murder of her parents on the ol’ homestead, and neither is she part of a travelling caravan of settlers looking for the right patch of green to settle down and raise some young’uns. She’s a regular gal with a regular life in a regular dusty town who just happens to be trotting around her neighbourhood on her below-average height horse.

She meets a native man who, amazingly, doesn’t even attempt to take the top of her head off, and in return she doesn’t run screaming to the local posse and end up being responsible for the deaths of his entire village. There’s possibly some light flirtation but it never goes anywhere. I’ve read Romeo and Juliet, and seen West Side Story, and In-Laws are a tricky enough thing to manage at the best of time, let alone when firearms are involved.

They meet up, purely by chance, now and then over the years, each learning to speak a bit of the other’s language. She meets a nice farmer-type and settles down. He finds his partner and they raise a family. It’s all good, everyone’s happy.
Alas, sadness attack! Plucky Heroine become Sickly Heroine and croaks. There are tears. And more tumbleweed, cos I’m really diggin’ that stuff now.
Native man attends funeral, weapon-carrying townsfolk act in typical weapon-carrying fashion. Husband steps in front of him, acting as a shield, and it becomes apparent that Recently Deceased Heroine told Nice Farmer Husband all about her friend and Native Man finally realises how much their friendship was worth. Warm fuzzy feelings abound.

The End.

I’m feeling good about this and I feel that I’ve learned a few valuable lessons, and not just about flora and fauna.
I’ve learned that it really does help if you write about what you love, cos otherwise it’s like being constipated and trying to pass a cantaloupe. Having enthusiasm and being able to genuinely transmit that to the reader really makes all the difference.
It’s so hard to write something that hasn’t been written a hundred times before, and with that in mind the vision you have in your head is *everything*.
I’ve also learned the importance of research. Can you imagine the shame of writing my novel only to be globally scorned by tumbleweed experts for my ignorance of all things dry weed related? It would make a mockery of everything! And folks really do focus on those sort of details, cos nothing makes a smartypants happier that being able to ridicule text that is out there for all to see. It’s part of the reason why the internet is so popular and swarming with folk that really could do with a good hard clip around the ear.

And on to Day 3. Are we having fun yet?

NaNoWriMo : Writing Novel Make Brain Hurt.

I’m pretty sure that anyone who has ever put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and written anything has at some point had someone say to them “Wow… you should totally write a book!” and if you like writing it’s a pretty good bet that you’ve given it some thought. Sure, why not? After all, you’ve read some ropey old novels in your time, surely you can do better than that…. So you sit down and you start.
Then you make some coffee.
Then you think about it a bit.
And finally you give up the idea and go get a “proper” job, because who’d have thought it… flowing narrative makes your brain hurt.
Every now and then the prospect nudges you again, and you entertain it, but much like an uncomfortable visit by your Aunty Edna and 2 unlikable cousins, you usher it out of the door at the end of the night and go to bed, leaving a random scattering of dry roasted peanuts on the sofa and 87 dirty mugs containing dribbles of tea in the sink.
Writing is hard for most people ( except in Finland, according to the BBC, who tell us that 1 in 10 people have a published novel there. What the…?! Finnish tv must be appalling. )and unless you’re channelling the spirit of Tolkien it’s something that’s going to take a lot of chocolate to get through.

I’m going to write a novel this month.
Well, maybe a novella.
Entirely more likely, a long-ish pamphlet.
Certainly more than a paragraph.

Great idea, huh?
All I need is a plot. And a genre. And inspiration. Stamina. Tea.

I gave my genre a lot of thought, and got absolutely nowhere. I knew very well what I couldn’t do… anything historically accurate, for starters, and asking friends for their input yielded a range of suggestions, most of which were extremely well-intentioned and moderately useless. This exercise taught me 3 things… 1) most people either don’t read, or don’t know the difference between “plot” and “genre”, 2) Everyone in the universe seems to have a plot floating around their head… except me. And 3) People will suggest EVERYTHING under the sun. Except porn. They’ll read it, no matter how dire it is, but they won’t suggest it.

So what’s a girl to do?

Try it all, that’s what. Hopefully at the end I’ll have written, if not a novel, maybe a novel lite. Or just a rough outline… that would work too. Day by day, word by word, inching my way across the narrow ledge of literacy, clinging to the rusting drain pipe of inspiration, hoping not to nose-dive to a squishy death of crapness. It’s a plan.

Day 1 – Sci-Fi.

“Of course, it wasn’t the first time I’d killed my husband. In fact, it’s not even the first time this week, and I really wouldn’t put it past myself to off him again a few times next month, depending on how plain annoying he gets.” is how I’d start my epic of modest proportions. I like the idea of being able to mercilessly beat about the head an annoying spouse on a regular basis without repercussions, and with an extensive array of blunt instruments. Anyone who’s ever been married for any length of time and has had a heavy frying pan in one hand knows what I’m talking about. Except those goodie goodie “nice people”. I’d fryin’ pan them too.
Then… they come back to life, good as new. Hurrah! No harm done! See, I’m not a kitchen utensil-weilding psychopath! Do I call them zombies or something more PC, like The Un-Expired? I like the ring of The Unperishables, but it does tend to make them sound like something you pop in the donation basket during harvest festival.
“We love the macaroni, 5 tins of beans and the packet of pork casserole mix, but we’re going to have to say ‘no’ to the re-animated corpse of your next door neighbour…sorry.”
And then there’s the issue of how did it all start? “Zombie Apocalypse” is such an over-used phrase and I’m more inclined to start small. There wouldn’t be any global nuclear catastrophe that brought back the recently expired, no genetically engineered virus that escapes a laboratory by hitching a ride on a accommodating monkey.
No… my global pandemic would stem from a dodgy burger from a unsanitary kebab van in Uxbridge. Never underestimate the shocking ramifications of expired mayonnaise.

The first few days after the initial infection would be modest and largely ignored, presenting as it did as “a bit of a nasty cold”. “Nasty” in this case would be largely relative, with the women mostly shrugging it off and going about their business, and the men retiring to the sofa with a wet flannel on their foreheads and sporadically whimpering. Nobody is any the wiser until one of the infected falls under a bus on the way to Boots for some Night Nurse, gets pureed, and who’s head sits on the curb complaining about how the hell it’s supposed to hold it’s beer now. Cue screaming, arm-waving in the air, and possibly some over-the-top military involvement because the military seem to do “over-the-top” so well.
Eventually these sort of shenanigans become commonplace, and death becomes something that now comes with a multitude of temporary options. Life just goes on as normal( except for the inexplicable rise in sales of frying pans amongst women with anger issues ), and the most grievous inconvenience of the whole situation is having to learn how to correctly spell “apocalypse”.

Unsurprisingly there are several pros and cons to the recurrently undead situation. For example, those providing funeral services got very grumpy at the slump in sales, however the air freshener guys were over the moon… It turns out that those clinging to existence by the thinnest of threads aren’t always minty fresh. In other respects though, the infected and resurrected aren’t that much different from anyone else. Sure, there will be a few hundred that’ll swear blind that they’re Jesus, but that randomly happens anyway. People are peculiar. The comedic value of several bearded non-corpses in sandals scrapping it out in a supermarket is an opportunity that can’t be missed. A narrative about Jesus 1 beating Jesus 2 about the head with a sliced Hovis is just too tempting, and has the possibility of potentially upsetting some overly sensitive Christians. A smattering of controversy never hurt anyone’s novel, though admittedly it did put a damper on Salman Rushdie’s picnics in the park for a while.

My Un-deadies wouldn’t be those shambling rag-wearing grey-hued mumblers, and neither would they be rabid red-eyed jet-fueled brain-munchers, they would be just like you and I. They’d face discrimination, losing out their employment to those with a pulse. Mothers would yank their dribbling offspring away from those whose only real difference is a slight greyness of skin tone and modest amount of visible necrosis. And there would be pathos… because who has never felt themselves to be an outsider, to be unwanted. Of course, not everyone will come back because not everyone will have been infected. There will be those who are desperate for what they see as a ticket to eternal life and will do whatever they can to infect themselves ( Zombie : “Will you QUIT licking me ?!?” ) and those who are really ticked off at having come back , who turn to insane sports as a means to fill their long days. #ExtremeDeading becomes a trend on Twitter and Instagram becomes flooded with rainbow-hued photos of the recurrently deceased hurling themselves off skyscrapers. Accordingly, iPhone release the iPlummet, the first phone guaranteed to survive high velocity impact.

Alas, the story draws to an end, as does the infection. Eventually everyone who has ever been contaminated in any way has finally passed, and the world returns to normal. There will be attempts to replicate the cause, because there will always be those for whom enough is never enough, but largely the earth’s population is left with a renewed feeling of “Carpe Diem” that hasn’t been experienced on such a scale since “Dead Poet’s Society” was released on DVD.

The End.

Of course, it needs to be fleshed out, but it’s a starting point. And as everyone knows, starting is the hardest part. Except for the middle. And the end.
If you want to buy this fabulous concept and turn it into a film I’m open to offers. In fact, at this stage I’d probably even be willing to sell all rights for a nice sandwich because it’s lunchtime and being a writer makes you extra hungry. I’m very glad I kept that in mind and, knowing I was going to do this, bought 2 pairs of trousers with a larger waistline yesterday. See, I did my prep work! I’m halfway there already….

Duck Tales

Today I bonded with a duck.

I had planned to write about today’s daily prompt like a good little blogger… but a duck, man… a freakin’ duck! Duck trumps blog prompt, sorry.

I was on my way to pick up my two youngest from school, the journey of which consists of a walk around the school moat to the front gate. Now, I know without asking that a few people are going to have the phrase “Moat ?!? Your kids go to Hogwarts?” go through their heads, but alas…no. I can think of many many things I would not encourage in my children ( especially Brandon ) and magic is one of them. Well, maybe Lily would be ok… but Brandon? He’s more of a Voldemort Lite. So I’m shuffling along, dragging my ass in the way that a mother who knows her free minutes of day are due to be over any moment does, when I look towards the little moat at the sound of a tiny splash.

And there she is, speed-waddling in my direction. She’s not looking angry or scared, but there’s a definite hint of determination, so I stop walking so I don’t startle her as I’m expecting my new best bud to pick up some tasty morsel off the grass and be on her way. Didn’t happen. Instead she strolled up to me like we’d known each other forever and I’d raised her from an egg and tapped me lightly on the foot. It wasn’t a snippy “Nice feet, I’m gonna eat those” assault, it was more of a fist-bump “S’up?” moment. Given the choice I’d have stood there all day and spent time with my new avian chum, but assorted children were spewing forth from the school gates and experience has shown me that kids aren’t always at their nicest around wild animals, so I just said a polite “Hello!” and walked away.She returned to her important moat-based activities out of harms reach and I caught up with my dumbfounded Hubby who’s only words were “What, are you the Duck Whisperer now??”

I love nature, it provides balance in my life. As a born introvert, people are one long drain on my energy. It’s not like I dislike them, I just don’t like being around them. For instance, I have some great friends that I truly care about, which is only made better by the fact they live over the other side of the world. I can talk to them allllllllll day and not have to make eye contact or share a sofa with them once. Epic Introvert Win.

But nature, it’s like Anti-People. Everything that social interaction drains from me nature rejuvenates. My mind clears and I can take big breaths and level out. It’s like some sort of meditation, but with extra smiling and conversations with wildlife. When I say I was excited at the duck encounter I wasn’t just kidding, it felt like nature strolled up to me, put it’s arm around my shoulder, and said “Yeah, people suck don’t they? They just don’t understand us huh?” When I think of all the places I’d love to see in the world humans just don’t feature. They are places of epic beauty and reflection, natural shrines of silence and comfortable solitude ( except the tiny little voice in the back of my head that says “If you ever win the lottery were heading to VEGAS baby, ooooh yeah” ). When I think of emigrating I think of rural areas in Canada, where the scenery is stunning, the townsfolk are limited but renowned for their politeness, and the chances of finding a moose on your wooden veranda one morning are pretty reasonable. ( A moose. A MOOSE. You’ve seen how excited I got about the duck, can you imagine how I’d feel about a MOOSE? I’d wee my pants at the magnificence of it all, even if it started eating my expensive veranda furniture that I bought from my extensive Vegas winnings ).

So yet again I appear to have answered the Daily Prompt entirely by accident ( Lie : I’m actually an incredibly intelligent writer who manufactures it to seem like pure luck *ahem* ), because when the prompt asks me “a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?” my answer would be “Nature speaks to me by not speaking to me. Where it is in abundance, that’s where I want to be.” It doesn’t indulge in pleasantries that neither of us have any interest in, it just comes right up and taps me on the foot, and then waddles off ,it’s connection made.

That’s just duckin’ awesome.

I’m not here, ignore me.

I haven’t been around for quite a while. In fact, I haven’t been around since my single annual post that usually consists of the phrase “I haven’t been around for quite a while”. This has been occurring with enough regularity to have the phrase engraved on my tombstone ( which is moderately amusing when I think about it ). There are reasons. Madness. Facebook. Plushie brains. The usual. But none of which are interesting enough to share, let alone write about.

A month ago I decided to wipe this blog. You probably didn’t notice, but don’t beat yourself up about it… you were busy. The reasons for this were twofold.
1) People told me I was a good writer and should write a book or something. This, naturally, terrified me. Suddenly I became incapable of stringing sentences together in any coherent fashion whatsoever. Success..? What the heck was I supposed to do with that?? I instantly sought other avenues where failure was a sure thing. And you know what?? There’s LOADS of them. I was potentially guaranteed to be bloody useless at a new something for a very long time indeed. Ahhh… there was my comfort zone. Rather annoyingly I became moderately successful at a few of those things too, but I nipped those in the bud before anyone else noticed. *phew*
2) I got an email from my ex where, amongst other things, he mentioned one of my blog entries. Which coincidentally was about something he did that was rather silly that made him look like a bit of a lemon. Suddenly it dawned on me. This blog isn’t under my name, it’s under my professional online name.
What sort of moron has a private blog under the same name that they earn a living under?
(I’ll leave you to imagine me sheepishly raising my right hand at this point.)
Yup.
It’s through sheer good luck rather than any semblance of intelligence that I’ve never bitched about the industry I work in or the folk that inhabit the same particular swamp. But I could have. And if my ex can find me, anyone else can.
So I toyed with starting up a new blog, but my muse was nowhere to be found. He’s probably in Switzerland or something, living an entirely new identity under the witness protection program… so I just settled for deleting all my content.
“Hold on one sec, you loon,” I hear you say “But I can see what you’ve written. It’s right there…look.”
Well yes, I changed my mind this morning and re-imported the whole damn thing.
Why?
Rarasaur, that’s why. Or more accurately *this post*. Rara seems to be struggling a bit with the same issue. However, she’s more “get up and go” than me, and I usually have to resort to some serious industrial grade self-bribery to get anything done. For instance, for writing this I am rewarding myself with a KitKat Chunky. I introduced this reward system as a feeble attempt at self-encouragement, which has worked up to a point. The point being that my chocolate consumption has shot up 600%, which equates to a 20% increase of bodily mass. To put it bluntly, in return for being a good and focussed girl I rewarded myself with a 15% bigger arse. Considering the fact there’s already plenty of junk in this trunk this side effect hasn’t turned out to be terribly motivating. Yesterday I bought myself a huge bunch of fresh carrots with the intention of rewarding myself with crunchy carrot sticks and healthy dip. Last night I moved them to the end of the kitchen and ate the entire dip with half a family-size bag of Doritos.
Nevertheless, here I am, and I’m hoping to get back into the Daily Prompt.
I will, however, continue to ignore their handy tips on better blogging and building a healthy following because that’s a little too much like achieving something for my liking… and success? That’s something I shall be avoiding like carrots.

Life’s what you make it. ( Reader discretion advised, scenes of debauchery and mild dribbling )

Before we get started I’d like to take the opportunity to slap Daily Prompt’s hand for recycling one of this week’s prompts from over on Plinky. Not only is this downright lazy, but it means that I’ll have to come up with a lengthier WordPress alternative, and I’m just not a 2 ideas kinda gal. I’m more of a half-an-idea and a whole lot of padding sort of gal. Anything above and beyond will take a lot more processing time, so I’ll pop it on the back-burner and come back to it should anything arise. And hopefully by then it won’t have been so long that I’ve burnt a hole in the bottom of the pan. Nothing worse than charred blog post scrapings.

So on to today’s prompt:
“Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.”

When I first read this something popped into my mind that I haven’t thought about for a long, long time.
Imagine a 20 something yr old me. I’m at a party, and we’re all pretty much enjoying the whole no mortgage, no kids, no limit on the amount of alcohol we can consume thing. After a rather lengthy mutual booze-a-thon by most concerned we hit Introspective O’Clock. Probably somewhere around 2 or 3am. And we’re the sort of friends who like to sit around and talk about life. Like art or philosophy… the usual pretentious waffle that 20 something’s spout so well.
One of our group is very. very. VERY. drunk, and he’s reached that stage where he’s putting ‘meaningful’ tracks on the stereo and singing along loudly to his captive audience. Some songs we’re all singing along to, some of the more obscure ones we’re just nodding at in some kind of “I’d really like to go home now, but I have no idea where I live” stupor.
Then he suddenly grabs a bottle of whisky, says “This track is for YOU Winona Ryder”, takes a huge swig, and puts on “Wayne County & The Electric Chairs – F*** Off (1978)”. There’s a long awkward silence as he sings along to the words ” If you don’t wanna f*** me baby, Baby, f*** off.” And he’s rocking like a wino with a full bladder. And pouting. It was gut-twistingly awful.
Once the track had finished, including the floor show of him waving the bottle around and sneering, we all felt it was our duty to empathise with his pain of rejection by falling about laughing and mocking him for half an hour.
He sulked and went to bed. On the carpet, as it turns out, because the long haul up to his bedroom one flight of stairs up was frankly more than he was capable of.

I was with that guy for 8 years.

Says a lot for my taste in men, huh?

But anyway… back to the prompt.
I’m one of those people who’s always hearing a song and instantly identifying with it. I re-suffered terrible teen angst in my 30s back when Linkin Park first started releasing singles. Break-up songs? They totally *get* me! So I have a huge spread of musical tastes to cover my many varied emotional needs, and none are more me than any other.
But I have to choose.

So I have chosen this… because life really *is* what you make it.
It was released in the mid 80′s, which was a time of huge emotional upheaval for me. Not only was puberty kicking my arse, but my parent’s marriage was winding down, and I was starting to make the common mistake of dating people I didn’t like that much because of my growing fear of abandonment. I was lost.
I didn’t see the merits of the song’s message back then, the young usually don’t, because they’re in the war zone and often  shell-shocked and confused. But I do now. I hope to pass this message on to my children, but I fear they are doomed to learn it the hard way… the same as the rest of us.
My life isn’t perfect for having learned this lesson, but I know the truth of it and that’s a step in the right direction. One day I will have the courage to take my life by the lapels and shake it until it’s good and fabulous… but until then there’s always the little victories. It’s all good. Eventually. If you make it so.

Oooh, ooh, ooooh! And as for the previous prompt:
“What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world?”
I’d like to think that at some point during this blog you smiled. For some, a smile is a small victory… for others it’s a huge mountain of wonderfulness. Either way,Yay!. If life is what you make it, then I just made yours a little bit better. How brilliant is that ?

I don’t want your stinkin’ lemonade!

You know those chirpy people who say things like “When life gives you lemons…!” and then stare at you all cheery, gloriously tickled 87 different shades of pink that they know the end of that saying… they know *you* know the end of that saying… and they got to be 200% extra smug for 50% of the effort ?

Yeah, I hate them. OK, maybe ‘hate’ is a bit strong. Maybe ‘want to push down a small flight of stairs’ would be better. Or ‘would like to sneak laxatives at the start of a very long exam to’. Or even ‘want to YouTube them walking around with the back of her skirt tucked into the top of her not-getting-lucky-any-time-soon knickers’. You get the idea.
To me the whole lemon thing just rubs me up the wrong way.

1) Lemons. Really ? Well Life can toss me a basket of whatever citrus it may feel like, but the resulting pulpy mess is still going to blow if Life doesn’t throw in a few bags of sugar too. Do I see sugar? No, I do not. So in effect, what exactly is Life up to here? It’s setting me up for a fall, that’s what it’s doing. It’s pandering to the entrepreneurial spirit by slyly suggesting a potential Lemonade Empire, knowing full well that my first customer is going to spit that lemonade back in my face, crushing my dreams in one steady stream of spittle. Oh, the humiliation.

2) Nothing in life is free, except flatulence. The lemons are probably tax deductible or something, and Life is just using me to screw over the tax people. I’m an accomplice to its deception. Life is making me a criminal, and I didn’t even get a beachfront property in the Bahamas out of it. What exactly did I get? Yup… shitty sour lemonade which nobody is going to drink, and I’ll just end up having to toss it down the sink AND do the extra washing up.

3) I don’t want to make lemonade, and even if I did my kitchen probably contravenes a whole bunch of health code regulations. Serving lemonade would probably just resort in an instant shutdown by some beady-eyed health inspector, the resulting disgrace making me local pariah. Neighbours will throw rotten produce at me. Knowing my luck it’ll probably be bloody lemons too. Irish Cream liqueur is what I want to make. Life needs to be handing me whisky.

As for that super-perky optimism… well, I don’t *want* to slap you upside the head, but I will if needs be. I’d consider it my civic duty. You have NO right pimping your lemons around here under the thin guise of a life lesson.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t got it in for optimists. Or pessimists. Or mists of any sort really.
In the oft-quoted scenario I don’t see the glass half full or half empty. I’m a realist. I see a glass totally devoid of any liquid, with the contents slowly seeping into my white sofa. Possibly the fact I have two 6 yr olds might cloud my judgement, granted. And yes… “a white sofa…with kids…? Are you insane ?!”. I’ve heard it many many times, and all I can say in response is “Hey, chocolate milk is the new black.”

So… what *do* you say to me in a ‘silver lining’ capacity?
“Hey, there’s a 50% chance of things being less crappy tomorrow. Here… have a bar of chocolate and go back to bed” will do just fine.
Or “They’re all morons anyway, just ignore then. By the way, your arse looks spectacular in jogging bottoms.”
Or best of all “You’re fabulous. Here’s a cup of tea. I made it with milk because we’re out of lemons.”

 

Word-mangling like a boss.

Way, way back when I first started fooling around with the grubby little man-whore that is Facebook ( It’s not a love affair, there’s nothing meaningful in our trysts, it just drags me into the stationery cupboard , uses me for its own devices, and completely prevents me from getting any work done ) one of the very first things I laughed at and re-posted was a list. You may well have seen it knocking about online, but for those that haven’t…this is it:

“The Washington Post’s Style Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are this year’s winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.

[And the pick of the literature:]

18. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

…. all of which I still think are superb 4 years later. My particular favourite is #18 which I occasionally use, mumbled under my breath, in social situations where such creatures freely roam.
I wish I’d thought of any of them. I’d be triple espresso smug with a squirt of whipped smug on top. Alas, no.
But you can probably see why this sprang to mind when faced with today’s Daily Prompt. So without further ado, here are my efforts :

Lickorich allspurts – The act of sucking up to someone with a vast fortune that culminates in a sudden climactic financial deposit.

Piesmograph – Electrical apparatus used to measure how much my stomach rumbles in response to the promise of pastry.

Pomfetti – the tiny little bits of coloured paper Brits like to throw at Australian weddings.

Hawkward – the very close scrutiny you get from your partner when you bring up the name of an attractive colleague from work during conversation.

This prompt hurt my head.

Repulsion. There might possibly be a bit of swearing at the end.

One of the things I like most about the Daily Prompt is that it gives me the opportunity to really think about a subject I wouldn’t otherwise bother with, and every now and then it gives me some sort of insight into myself that probably would have eluded me otherwise. This is usually a good thing, or I’d probably not be quite so keen on it. Nobody would be particularly thrilled to sign up for blogging prompts and suddenly find themselves realising that they have a deeply repressed urge to stalk the neighbourhood in the wee small hours skinning the local cats. That would just suck.

Today’s prompt was one such eye-opener.

“Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.”

Firstly, I had to look up “puff piece”. I gathered from context a rough idea, but if I’m going to write about something I think the least I can do is make the effort to look it up for an accurate description. And yes, admittedly, there was a very small part of me that was slightly disappointed it wasn’t a porn industry term… cos that would have been kinda fun for WordPress. Ho hum, maybe next time.

Then, knowing what I was aiming for I looked carefully at the wording. And that’s when I had my glowing moment of self revelation.

Repulsion. That’s kinda strong. And I just don’t feel it.

I have things that I hate, things that make me angry, things that sicken me, lots of things that have horrified me… but complete repulsion? Nah, not really.
It’s not like I’ve lived a particularly sheltered life. I’ve seen stuff. More stuff than I should have really, but I’m a curious gal with an internet connection..it happens. But repulsion… true repulsion… that’s pretty big.

That’s not to say that there aren’t such huge things out there, because there are… However, I’m guessing that WordPress are pushing for amusing or insightful pieces about nasal mucus, spiders, or midget clown porn.

OK, possibly not the last one.

What they aren’t expecting is glowing commendations on the merits of , for example, paedophilia. You just…can’t. And if you can I’d really rather you go away and quit reading my blog. A quick skim through my blog search engine stats will reveal I’m pretty big with the perverts, but consider the line drawn. ( As an aside… if you really want to up your page views include the phrase “lesbian catholic schoolgirls” in your posts. It’s my number one page-draw, which makes me wonder exactly whether people who ended up on here continued to read, or just got very frustrated that the post where that phrase featured didn’t actually have any such action… red hot or otherwise. Suckerrrrs. )

So, we’re looking for a subject that’s a bit icky, but not utterly abhorrent, that I can waffle about briefly…and I’m drawing a blank.And what do I do when I’m grasping for inspiration? Facebook. Dear Sweet Facebook And It’s Assorted Internet Freaks Who Usually Have An Opinion On Everything.

Well, that was helpful.

*sigh*

Here goes….

Dog shit… it’s brilliant!! No really, I know what you’re thinking ” public menace, irresponsible pet owners, scraping your shoes on the curb for half an hour before you can go into your own house, all the charm of fish paste & cauliflower cheese mixed in a big bowl with a side serving of cat vomit *wince*..” but hear me out.
Have you ever considered it’s excellence in the field of crime prevention? One huge steaming pile and everyone’s going to be walking *around* your neighbourhood instead of through it. No noisy kids, no car thefts. No pedestrians of any sort really.
And you know what? The bigger the better! Smaller dollops acting as fertiliser for oft-neglected sidwalk greenery… larger megadumps are an eco-system in their own right.
Stand behind a pile in case of a nuclear blast for full protection!
Climb inside a mountain of the stuff for insulation in case of a sudden ice age!
Form it into bricks, allow it to harden, and fashion it into a second residence. Don’t let the fact it shot out of a dog’s arse dissuade you from building your own property portfolio.
Dog shit. It’s low in calories, and brown is slimming. Acquire some today.

 

Vital advice, especially if you’re prone to putting things into your bottom.

Advice is easy. Anybody can give it, and there’s no quality control system in place to filter the life-enhancing gems from the plain stupid Captain Obvious stuff. I, for example, have a broad spectrum of advice of varying usefulness on the tip of my tongue should anyone come asking.
Try me, go on.

  • Don’t buy a dress size down with a view to slimming into it, you won’t. Embrace your beautiful outer insulation and just get something in a size that isn’t going to cut off your circulation from the hips down and strip you of your dignity.
  • Don’t rob banks. It increases your chances of multiple unplanned holes in your body, and most banks these days don’t contain any actual money anyway.
  • Don’t give away your virginity too easily. Religious beliefs aside, it’s a rite of passage that deserves thought… cos Lord knows you’ll think back on it in the future. I know someone who lost her virginity in a car park bent over a shopping trolley. That’s a heart-warming tale for the grandchildren.
  • Don’t stick things up your bottom when there is even the slimmest possibility they won’t come out. I have absolutely nothing against folk who want to anally insert items of their choice per se but I’ve worked in a hospital. 9 times out of 10 when you see a small huddle of doctors around an x-ray screen they’re looking at holiday snaps from someone who’s using their rectum as a storage facility.

And so on.

However, I feel for advice to reach it’s maximum usefulness it has to apply to all, and not everyone is going to “slip in the shower and end up with a bottle of “Head & Shoulders” inserted. Mr or Ms Average need to read it, nod, and realise they might just have dodged a bullet for having done so ( which admittedly would apply in the bank robbing example ). I also strongly feel that advice only reaches it’s full potential when it comes from real personal experience… and I’ll leave you to work out which of the above that applies to in my case. No clues.

So what is it that I’m going to share with you in response to today’s Daily Prompt? Well, it’s common sense really. Sadly, however, common sense often flies out of the window on this one… but I think it bears repeating.

Do not, no matter how tempting, get involved with someone who is married to somebody else.

I’ve been there, and the life lesson it taught me was this “You’re great, but you’re just not that great. If he cheated on her to be with you, you can bet your life savings ( literally, in my case ) that he will cheat on you to be with someone else.
I know it’s tempting. Temptation always comes in the most wonderful of lickable packages, but keep your tongue in your mouth… and your mouth only … and you’ll be fine. There are people who cheat, and there are people who don’t. And really, is that all you’re worth?
People fall in love with the wrong people all the time ( Holy cow, I could write a book on that one ), but if you take a step back and garner some perspective you will see it for what it is.

Is their relationship working ?   Yes : Avoid.     No : Proceed to next question.
Are they separating?               No : Avoid       Yes : Proceed to next question.
Are they separated?                No : Avoid       Yes : Proceed to next question.
Are they a huge festering boil of unresolved issues, and prone to unrelentingly talking about their ex?                                        Yes : Avoid      No : Proceed to next question.
Are you just drawn to that which isn’t yours?      Yes : Avoid       No : Proceed to next question.
Wouldn’t life just be easier to find yourself someone who will be yours alone from day 1, because adulterers have a lack of respect that doesn’t change just because you’re a great guy / girl ? Yes : Yes. Proceed with life.       No : No. Just..no.

It’s not easy. Sometimes life conspires to screw you over like that. But take heart in the fact that every now and then someone will leave a relationship that isn’t working and tie up their loose ends before moving on. Those sort of people won’t leave you behind the local supermarket with your knickers around your ankles, which is always a bonus when relationships are so dreadfully tricky in the first place.