writing

Tread light

Tread light on our Earth
Six billion footsteps at once
Make a violent sound

Forgetting.

In my skull’s bleak depths

Memories cling like leeches

One by one, I peel

The Witching Hour

As the night thickens
My thoughts come heavy as mud
I wade for morning

Sixteen.

The shape of my future will be wide and brilliant

I will sail a boat into the blazing sunset

I’ll knock coconuts from the tops of tropical trees

There will be a possibility with my name on it

I’ll find that secret place where trains sleep

and run like a madman along the tracks

follow all the lost balloons into space

I’ll fall in love

and break his heart

There’ll be no redemption for such acts of extravagance

No ponderable punishment for such deeds

I’ll be a connoisseur, a cognizant, a conspirator, conjurer and the closing act

This I’ll do

tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow and tomorrow upon tomorrow upon tomorrow

until my days run together in one blinding streak of light

until I’m top o’ the world

breathing the stratosphere

toes can’t touch the bottom

I’ll reach up and scratch my name on the sky with a piece of chalk

This I’ll make

the vast and splendid shape of my future

I’ll not grow old.

On to Month Two of Hermit Life!

dukeswindsor

I have officially been a bum for a month.

In the past week, I have:

  • slept a lot
  • brunched at Dukes Windsor, apparently one of the best coffee places in Melbourne (the cappuccino was yum; steak sandwich also yum)
  • guiltily played soccer. I played an outdoor game on Sunday—the second-last game for the season; I couldn’t resist!—and collected three bruises and a good bit of swelling around the injured ankle
  • felt majorly down and crippled due to injury and pain, and secretly loathed my GP for telling me to rest
  • binge-watched Korra season 3 (review forthcoming!)

How goes the writing, you ask? It’s up and down. By the end of three weeks I’d reached 20,000 words and I was past the tenth chapter. Then, last week, the most horrible of horribles happened: I hit a lull. I’d sit down at my desk and be overwhelmed with restlessness and frustration. Everything I wrote seemed forced. Doubts surfaced about the validity of my story–it’s ridiculously light-hearted, it doesn’t deal with any important themes, it’s not serious, it’s gratuitous and artificial and anachronistic and just way too far-fetched.

Anxiously, I took a long break over the weekend. I returned to the draft with some trepidation yesterday afternoon and was relieved to find that my passion for the story had returned! I rewrote Chapter 8, and plodded on with Chapter 12 at a slower, steadier rate, empowered by melodic drum & bass tunes and a sneaky little bit of Ariana Grande ft. Zedd (the video clip has a scrolling intro, aliens and boob rockets—how could I not like it?!).

Speaking of music, I have to gush about a song. I am madly in love with this tune. I was walking down the street listening to it and I almost leapt up and punched the air like a crazy kickboxer. It was extremely difficult to resist the urge. (I sort of did a little punch, inconspicuously.)

 

It’s a remix of Chromeo’s Lost on the Way Home by Mat Zo, and it’s the most perfectly bizarre mash-up of genres. A drum & bass remix of an electro-funk song? The result: bouncy liquid goodness. The intro is a little wacky, but give it a shot!

If you’re not a fan of drum & bass, the original is pretty smooth stuff, too.

Also, if you’re a fan of EDM and want a great way to support a good cause and get something back at the same time, check out Bass for Autism Vol. 2.

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One thing I struggled with towards the end of this month is working from home. Contrary to all my declarations about being a hermit, I’m actually someone who can’t stand being cooped up all day. I’m quite restless. I can’t sit still for more than half an hour; I start getting an urge to stand up and walk around. Even watching a full-length movie in a theatre is pushing my limit of sitting still, and when the credits roll I can’t wait to hop up and stretch. So, sitting in front of a computer for many hours a day is physically challenging. Towards evening, my body feels sloth-like and my eyes feel fried.

I’ve tried to work around this in several ways: making sure I take a rest break at least every hour, going for walks, changing it up by writing in a cafe or public place. But I’ll have to think of something more. I used to be able to play soccer nearly every day, but sadly that’s not something I can do at the moment.

Overall, it’s been a fun and relaxing first month of full-time writing, with some unpredictable challenges. I’m excited to see where my second month of writing takes me.

Week 3 of Hermit Life + Game Review: To the Moon

Reading: Before Watchmen – Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair
Listening: Owsey & Resotone – Broke My Promise & Stared to the Sea; Klingande – Jubel
Watching: Elementary, Parks & Recreation, Korra, eagerly awaiting the Twelfth Doctor…

I’m in my third week of writing life!

I’ve written about 15,000 words of a first draft—some of it I’m happy with, some of it I know I’ll need to rewrite later. I’m also revelling in my newfound freedom with all the joy and abandon of a pig in a bog. I’ve been watching stuff, reading stuff, studying stuff and, when my introverted side is entirely sated, crawling out of my hole to achieve social connection.

hot star chicken

Over the weekend, I tried fancy pizza and gelato in Fitzroy. I explored the fowl wonders of Melbourne (my friend organised a city-roaming, chicken-eating adventure) and devoured chicken cooked in Taiwanese, Chinese and Korean fashions. I also played too much soccer, after chugging Nurofen last week and luring myself into a false sense of recovery. After unusual amounts of physical activity on Sunday, and a game on Monday, my ankle is killing me, but not as much as the fact that I have so much time to play, but my body isn’t physically allowing me to do so :(

So today I am resigned to being a couch potato. Whilst I am sedentary, I thought I’d do a quick review of the indie adventure point-and-click game, To the Moon. This game came highly commended to me several months ago by my dear friend Frank. I’m not at all a gamer, so bear in mind that I have zero qualification or authority to write this review. That being said, it’s a lovely, short introduction to the gaming world for a non-gamer, or for anyone who likes a good story.

To the Moon was designed by Kan “Reives” Gao and released in November 2011. It’ s a simple, 2D point-and-click role playing game that tells the story of an old man named Johnny who, on his deathbed, contacts Sigmund Corp, an agency that has the technology to implant artificial memories in a person’s mind. Johnny has an inexplicable wish to go to the moon, and two doctors arrive at his house to delve back into his memories and fulfil Johnny’s wish. As they explore Johnny’s past, an intriguing story emerges surround his late wife, River, and Johnny’s childhood.

Playing To the Moon is really more like reading an animated novel or watching an interactive movie than playing a game. I didn’t really feel like I had become a gamer through this four-hour experience! The story is sweet, clever, poignant and had a good amount of unpredictability. I appreciated how every character had a personality, especially the Drs Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts, who had some hilariously entertaining dialogue between them.

Although the graphics are pretty basic, they are cute and also pleasantly eerie at different points in the story. The gameplay, I have to say, was frustrating and slow at some points. Wandering around multiple scenes to collect various hidden ‘mementos’ became repetitive and frustrating, particularly as I just wanted to find out what happened next in the story.

I guess that goes to show that although the story is a little soppy, it definitely did fascinate me, perplex me and leave me wanting to play more every time we took a break. The thing that really completes this game is the beautiful, evocative soundtrack. The threads of For River that float through the game really highlight, to me, the tenderness of the tale and the attention to detail.

A clever, emotional story with an interesting science-fiction premise that can be played through in about four hours.

Day Three (or really, day two), + Book Review: Ender’s Game – The Graphic Novel

Reading: Before Watchmen – Nite Owl/Dr Manhattan
Listening: CMA – Caught In Our Thoughts
Watching: BBC’s Wonders of the Universe; waiting for the other half to have free time so we can catch up on Korra and Elementary
Playing: Nothing over the past few days

Day Three of my six month journey of writing! Or technically, day two…because yesterday I had a job interview and didn’t achieve much in between that and physiotherapy and outdoor soccer training. So yesterday will be one of my “weekend” days and I’ll work a full day on Saturday or Sunday to make up for it.

What difficulties have I encountered so far?

1. Waking up

I always have difficulty with this. Especially in winter. I suspect my body is somewhat related to a polar bear, because I tend to adopt hibernation behaviours in cold weather. I’m pretty sure, if you left me to it, I could sleep three-quarters of the day away. Unfortunately I’m not one of those lucky people who are able to thrive on a few hours of sleep (and now it seems there’s a genetic association for it!) though I really wish I was. Imagine the productivity! In fact, my utter inability to function without adequate sleep has definitely been a factor, amongst other things, in pushing me away from specialties such as Emergency Medicine and surgery.

Despite my love of the bed, I am actually a morning person and achieve the most before 12 noon. So, the alarm has been going off at 7.30am.

2. The Melbourne cold

I haven’t yet got so sick of my house that I have had to relocate to a cafe or library. But the downside is that my house is freezing. My weapons of defense? Fluffy pink socks and a trusty beanie.

IMG_20140806_115729 IMG_20140806_115646

3. The afternoon slump

Hits around 2pm. I yawn and can think of nothing but a pillow against my cheek. My techniques for handling the slump so far have included switching activities—for example, switch from story-outlining to blogging; doing 10 push-ups (the most I can achieve); going for a short walk.

4. Facebook

Hasn’t been as much of a problem yet as I’d feared. Will update if this changes.

On to the book review!

ender's game

Yesterday I finished the graphic novel adaptation of Ender’s Game, scripted by Christopher Yost and artwork by Pasqual Ferry. It’s a collection of Ender’s Game: Battle School #1-5 and Command School #1-5, which basically covers the events of the original novel by Orson Scott Card: An impending second war looms between humans and their enemies, the bug-like alien Formics. To prepare for this, the army is seeking the most gifted child to mould into a deadly commander. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is taken to Battle School in the hope that he can become this commander.

The graphic novel is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the book, covering all the main events in a condensed way. It’s a great introduction to the story if you’re new to Ender’s Game, and also an enjoyable alternative medium if you’re already a fan. There isn’t anything new or surprising.

The art style is clean and futuristic. Ferry’s linework conveys movement fluidly. The colours are sombre and evocative of the gloomy interiors of the spaceships. The Battle Room scenes are well illustrated and fun to flick through.

Overall, the graphic novel conveys the main emotions of the book fairly well, though the resolution seemed rushed and only offered a superficial skimming-over of Ender’s reaction to the final battle. I also feel as though they left out a major part of the ending.

A quick and easy graphic novel read that can be a great introduction to a controversial science fiction classic.

Happy hump day, everyone!