Saturday, 31 October 2009

Can't blog now. NaNo-ing.

Not that I expect everyone to hunch over their computers until I publish each new post, but you might want to lower your expectations still further. NaNoWriMo starts in under two hours and my insides are beginning to clench and churn and froth in a panic reminiscent of that horrid night-before-exams belated cramming I put myself through every year of uni.

I've been trying to figure out a mildly humourous way to finish this post, but I just don't have the energy or the brain power to spare. With ninety minutes to go, I kind of need to save that stuff for things like, oh you know, COMING UP WITH A PLOT TO SUSTAIN ME THROUGH 50,000 WORDS!!! I have no plot, no title, only one character, and a few vague, disjointed ideas that are floating about in my empty, echoing skull, as insubstantial as gossamer and about as difficult to weave into something that could be loosely defined as a novel. With the usual disclaimer about maintaining perspective in the knowledge of multiple, vastly more important global issues, I'm feeling rather sorry for myself.

See you on the other side of November, if I don't come here to cry about it before.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Looking on the Bright Side

Or: My Weekend

1) The trauma of being covered in someone else’s pooh is usually short-lived.

2) Based on current progress, it should only take me another hundred hours to finish my job application. But when I do, I’m told I’m a shoo-in!

3) A painful injection in the arm can often be somewhat of a relief – particularly when one has impaled one’s foot on a rusty nail.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Because I’m puerile and can’t resist

My sweet little three year-old, Master Lonie, has been learning about the planets.

“Does Uranus have a ring around it?” he wondered.

Yes, my son. Yes.

The Sound of Abusic

Well, our new team member arrived and she seems quite normal. Knowing how important it was for her to feel welcome and accepted, we slipped a frog in her pocket and a pine cone on her chair. Perhaps next week, if it all works out well between her and the handsome sea-captain, we'll skive off work and hike over the mountain to freedom.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Meat Product Roulette

I have to get up in about five hours, but I can’t fall asleep. The reason I can’t fall asleep is because I feel anxious. The reason I feel anxious is because a new colleague is arriving at work tomorrow.

I used to be pleased and excited when new colleagues arrived; we’re a small team with more to do than we can usually handle, and it was always nice to know our burdens would be lessened by the arrival of another doughty, meat-wise worker. Yes, I used to be pleased, until Delicate Flower turned out to be, well, a delicate flower, who then blossomed into a bat-pooh crazy flower. I used to be excited until Padawan revealed his true colours as an incorrigible, arrogant upstart. I used to be optimistic until Gimme was found to be the sort of ‘worker’ that can only ever be referred to in ironic quotation marks.

Now I feel the worms of dread eating at my stomach. What will be wrong with this woman? Bossiness has been suggested by one. I’m betting on fussy anal-retentive behaviour to the point of neuroticism, manifesting in an intense dislike of everything related to my desk.

But, one never knows. Maybe, just maybe, this one will be normal, likeable, hardworking. What are the odds we get four duds in a row?

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Insanity Returns

It does seem somewhat strange that someone incapable of posting even one blog entry last month would seriously entertain the idea of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month – next month, to be exact. A perfectly rational conclusion that one might draw is that I am, in fact, insane, but it would be a ho-hum old-hat perfectly rational conclusion, because everybody already knows I’m crazy as a loon.

Are thoughts of NaNoWriMo meant to distract me – in ways only a self-destructive procrastinator can devise – from more important things on my plate, such as completing a very important job application (due frightfully soon and with frightfully little actually done), or the small matter of trying not to be such a godawful mother of the kind therapists dream of while rubbing their hands with glee? Probably.

Am I making less and less sense as this post goes on? YES! It is LATE! And I am TIRED! But that, my friends, is what NaNo is all about, n’est-ce pas? One must accustom oneself to such things.

While I technically ‘won’ NaNoWriMo last year (ie: I completed a 50,000 word novel), I considered it somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory, accompanied as it was by demoralising realisations that my writing was rife with purple prose, Mary Sues and eye-rolling stream-of-consciousness narrative that would no doubt have bored the pants off anyone had I been silly enough to let them read it. Of course, my NaNo novel was written with quantity rather than quality in mind, but still, one hopes to see evidence of phenomenal talent in all of one’s endeavours and is understandably downcast when abundant evidence to the contrary is presented instead.

I tried to encapsulate the disappointment in a December post which, ironically, or perhaps portentously, I never finished. It began:

“And…exhale. Ease hands out of the clawed typing mitts they have stiffened into. Confront the draft of your very first novel and despair.

It’s surprising to me how little my actual experience of NaNoWriMo resembles the experience I imagined. On one hand, I wasn’t nearly so busy writing as I expected. Of course, that’s a good thing since I have plenty of other responsibilities which are more than enough to fill my day (especially since Mr. Lonie decided to nick off interstate for four weeks of costume balls and Sunday drives, nominally known as ‘work’). Besides, I quickly discovered that two hours a session was as much as I could mentally handle, and one session a day was as much as I could temporally afford.

It was also somewhat easier to…”

To what? I can’t even remember how I meant to conclude that interrupted thought. To spew forth crap from my crappy little brain, I expect.

So anyway, wish me luck. No, not with the novel – with finding a plot for the novel.

Yes, I know. I’m doomed.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


I knew she was dead before the phone call came.

It’s not that I have premonitive powers, it’s just that, while ambling about my office building minding the Department’s business, thoughts of my friend intruded persistently into my mundane musings, unbidden and apropos of nothing. It was then I knew that she was gone.

Three days later it was more with dread than shock that I accepted the phone and heard the words, delivered with so much gentleness and compassion, which confirmed my awful suspicions. She had died the day before my sudden inspiration.

At the wake, speaking to her mother who was so kind and so gracious even in the midst of her own grief, I told her how the inexorable thought of Mel had come to me that day. She smiled and grasped my hand and said I’d given her a wonderful thing.

The sceptical among you may deride or pity me for my foolish notion of messages from beyond the veil. You may argue that such things as an afterlife or spiritual communication simply do not exist. What you describe is just one of those millions of coincidences the gullible and the ignorant choose to interpret as fate or divine intervention or evidence to support their own crackpot theories, you may say.

So you thought about someone you know, those more willing to believe in unexplained sympathetic links may respond, brows furrowed over my assumption. So what? If every person who popped unexpectedly into our minds were to die, the global population would be decimated!

Regardless of your opinion on the possibility, I’m sure you’ve all noticed the glaring illogicality of my story. Why on earth would you conclude she was dead? you will think. And if you thought so, then why the hell didn’t you call her? Why did you do nothing for days until her poor brother had to ring you with the terrible news?

I can’t bring myself to articulate the answers to these questions, to see them in black and white, to release them into the ether whence I will never be able to recall them. In truth, I’m not completely sure of the answers myself, although I don’t deny that they involve a lot of shame on my part. I’ve known her for over 15 years and I never stopped being her friend, but I was obviously a crappy one. I don’t ask for forgiveness or absolution for my part in her death, because I know I deserve none.

The point is, she sent me a sign she was gone. I also, as I’ve written before, bought my Babo after (so it makes me smile to think) she arranged for him to appear in front of me, on sale. Scoff if you please, wonder how a disaffected Catholic or any intelligent, rational person can believe in that sort of thing if you must, but the truth is it gave me comfort and it gave her anguished mother comfort to know she was still present in some form even after her body was no more than an empty vessel. I’m not the type to fall prey to charlatans claiming to pass on messages from departed loved ones (for a fee), I’ve not joined some strange cult encouraging me to drink their tainted cordial, so where’s the harm?

Of course, a fleeting visitation does not ease all the sorrow of a friend gone before her time. Not long after the funeral, I wrote to her family. This is fucked up. Depression is the Devil and you were all robbed, is what I wanted to say, and I knew they’d understand exactly what I meant without further explanation. But that’s not the sort of thing one writes on a card for a 31st birthday that will never be celebrated. Instead, I settled for a lame sentiment expressing their continued position in my thoughts and prayers, and hoped they’d know I was sincere.

It’s been more than six months now, and the constant burden of sorrow is lighter. I take this as both a blessing and a token of my unworthiness. But I know she forgives me for neglecting to call, to write. I know she understands I never forsook our friendship. I know because, as strayed from the flock as I am, I still believe in a heaven, and in that heaven one is free of the base instincts and unbecoming motivations of us mortals on earth. There is no anger, no accusation, and no disappointment in the failings of others. She wasn’t like that anyway – her mother told me how she thought of me fondly even at the end. Most of all, I know what I say is true because, a few days ago as I cried over her needless death, I felt a touch on my shoulder from a hand that wasn’t there.