Catching Up on Emails (Or, a bunch of interesting links).

Hi.

So, the past couple of weeks has been sort of busy – going to the Australian Open last Thursday, barbeque with friends Saturday, seeing a new cousin Sunday, fireworks Monday, and various other summer-type things contributing to general laziness.

As a consequence, I’ve “fallen behind” in things – I haven’t done any story-writing for a while (eep, damn and blast it!) and also, my email inbox has become steadily more cluttered. Guess which one I solved first, and which took most of the day, thus turning a possible post about writing into something completely different?

That’s right, emails. I hate having unread emails in the inbox. I suppose it’s my own unacknowledged version of FOMO.
I also am a bit fussy about what I open on my phone/ iPod touch compared to computer, given a lot of my emails now have links to websites. So, today’s clear-up day, sitting on the computer, scrolling through, checking to see what petitions etc. I need to sign, or articles to read, and share.

Mmm, articles. Here’s a bunch from the Australian Independent Media Network – with the ludicrous events occurring in Australian politics now….:

http://theaimn.com/think-carefully-queensland/ – for all those in QLD heading to the polls this weekend.

http://theaimn.com/take-public-service-politics/ – most of our elected MPs are not public servants but politicians. This should change.

http://theaimn.com/visionaries/ – see above; there are none, really, in government (federally; not sure about state yet) who have futuristic vision about what we should be. It’s all just economics and harsh policies. ;(

http://theaimn.com/hands-off-common-wealth/ – they’ve got the keys to the house, the car and all the goods, and they’re only sharing with their mates; the rest of us can stay out.

http://theaimn.com/makes-no-difference/ – don’t bother turfing out Abbott; it’s still going to be the same mantra, and a one-term government.

http://theaimn.com/murdochs-machiavellian-manoeuvres/ – The paternalistic sexist mogul is throwing Credlin (a Woman) to the wolves, in the hope that saves Abbott (the Macho-Man). Sigh.

http://theaimn.com/knew-abbott-back/ – once a paternalistic tosser, always a paternalistic tosser…

http://theaimn.com/death-salesman-metaphorically-speaking/ – Salesmanship politics.

http://theaimn.com/tony-abbott-succeeded-getting-us-focus-whats-unimportant/ – We’re again focusing on some of the lesser things; though at least this time it wasn’t quite “deliberate”. E.g. Blathering over a kighthood, instead of one of the number of “reforms” the government has been trying to push through… Don’t forget the big picture.

http://theaimn.com/life-imitating-art/ – globally, where has our humanity gone?

http://theaimn.com/double-standards-west-terrorism/ – in the West, we are a bunch of hypocrites.

http://theaimn.com/machine-still-kills/ – and we need to be careful; freedom of speech is not the same as respect.

http://theaimn.com/equality-citizenship/ – the right to work as a right of citizenship. “Demand” economics, not “supply” economics.

http://theaimn.com/australian-identity-advancing-waltzing/ – is Jan 26th the right day for national celebration? What’s the significance, anyway?

http://theaimn.com/csiro-missing-climate-change-data/ – an article was published highlighting reports showing how bad things are going to be in the future regarding climate (especially in Australia); but within a week, the reference links used from the CSIRO were removed….

I promise that next time I write here, I’ll talk more about my progress on on my stories. We-ell, with a bit of fluff thrown in. Bring on Saturday, is all I’ll say for now.

Flash Fiction Friday – Courthouse Edition

I want more. Great story. Loved the way the characters were “drawn”, and the twist at the end.

Angela Cavanaugh

As I sit and type, I am on a computer in the courthouse, waiting to find out if I’m going to be called as a juror or not.  It’s pretty great that they provide computers, otherwise, I’d be bored out of my mind.

***

Aaron took his seat along side the defendant as the trial was called to order.  He straightened his tie and tried to ignore the fact that his client was one hundred percent guilty.  

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The 4 biggest reasons why inequality is bad for society

Really interesting, simple analysis of why we need to tackle inequality.

ideas.ted.com

QWA-category-Inequality

It’s safe to say that economic inequality bothers us. But why? Harvard philosopher T. M. Scanlon offers four reasons we should tackle — and fix — the problem.

The great inequality of income and wealth in the world, and within the United States, is deeply troubling. It seems, even to many of us who benefit from this inequality, that something should be done to reduce or eliminate it. But why should we think this? What are the strongest reasons for trying to bring about greater equality of income and wealth?

One obvious reason for redistributing resources from the rich to the poor is simply that this is a way of making the poor better off. In his TED Talk on “effective altruism,” Peter Singer advances powerful reasons of this kind for voluntary redistribution: Many people in the world are poor, and the improvement in their lives that richer people can bring…

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Take Time to Think, in More Ways than One

http://hellogiggles.com/take-time-to-think
(The above is supposed to be a “pressed” link, but I don’t think it’s working.)

We all need to take time to think. Whether that be quiet reflection through, say, meditation, or writing in a journal or something; or active, like, I don’t know, yoga?

Everyone also needs to learn their own vices regarding this, and then act on them. Mine is/ are: a distinct lack of awareness about things, often; and difficulty in taking the initiative – I like being told what to do.

But I’m supposed to be an adult…so I need to find ways to be more aware, and less “accidentally self-centred”.

I’m a very compassionate and considerate person, but I don’t always translate thought to action regarding “helping out” – most noticeably with my family. 😦

Thoughts? Does anyone have any ideas on how to become more self-aware and such? I need help. :/

Finally, a bit about my Writing

I’ve always wanted to be an author – a real, published one.

I started talking quite young. When I was still a toddler, I’m told I used to make up stories and tell them to myself in my cot, when I should have been sleeping. My parents tried to get record of this, but the recording device failed.

That tradition of telling stories to myself has continued, even to this day. It’s how I daydream, a lot of the time. In primary school, I got into a habit of telling these stories using other authors’ stories that I liked. (I didn’t know until a few years ago that this was called “fanfiction”.) Again, a lot hasn’t been written down – it’s mostly all in my head, with a few exceptions.

Also during this time, I wrote little snippets of “original fiction” story ideas down. I used an old book to write down story titles as they came into my head; and used a few old notebook/ diary things to write down paragraphs or pages of words about this or that.

I didn’t usually get beyond a few pages before being distracted by another idea, although there were a few stories completed using a software program called, “Storybook Weaver”. Then, on a fateful day in year six (? I think), I wrote two A5 pages worth of words of a story. I left it for a while, as I often do. When I was clearing out the space under my bed a few months later, I found it, and became interested again.

Over the next few years, from years seven to nine of high school, I wrote like mad in the little pink book, taking it everywhere with me. In between classes, I wrote. On fundraiser days at school, I wrote. At home, I wrote.
In Year Nine, I was forced to switch to a computer when the notebook ran out of pages. For the next year and a half (ish), I ate lunch with my friends outside the library, then dashed in armed with the pink book and my trusty USB. Every lunchtime I could, I’d write. And write. And write.

In the meantime, I also found time to write out another story, a little novella based on a particularly vivid dream. As well as do other things. In the early stages, with the pink book, I supplemented the writing by acting out scenes with Lego. This explains why the original ideas for several characters look the way they do, as well as how I managed to realise there was more than one book’s worth of potential here.

Finally, it was done. The first draft (or second), anyway. Then I began editing. But not exactly enough. By the end of Year Eleven, I was beginning to realise that the book (and potential series that was unfolding in my minds’ eye) needed work. Lots of it. A lot of the writing was dated. Concepts were there, but I hadn’t given them enough detail, and the overall story was a bit too simplistic and fanfiction-like. Groan!

But of course, Year Twelve loomed. (Eep!) As a promise to my parents, I put aside all writing “distractions” for a year. After that was over (and there’s a whole other blog post about things there!) I had to juggle starting uni with my new plans for the story. I tried to do more research this time, but still plunged headlong into things when I got the chance. The book is getting a makeover; I’m rewriting it from scratch. But when I started doing that properly last year, had I really sorted everything out? NO.

So back to the drawing board I went. I’m a planster in terms of story writing – I can write scenes as they come to me out of the blue, but I need a good plan first. If I’m not happy with the plan, it slows me down. Now, I think I’ve finally got a plan I can be happy with. So it’s off to work I go. 🙂

My time to write has been – over the past year – on the train from my hometown to Melbourne (and vice versa), where i go for uni. An hour plus vline journey, where you just have to sit there, is quite productive I’ve found. Then I use the metro to catch up on reading.

Right now, my story is looking maybe four-ish books long. A trilogy, plus a fourth (and maybe fifth) book. The trilogy is quite planned. The other(s) are ideas right now, but given they’re last I have a buffer. Yes, I write chronologically. I can’t help it – things have to be linear that way. Even if I do go back and make the timeline wibbly-wobbly now and again.

The title of the series is, potentially, The Lily Chronicles. It has some futuristic, sci-fi type elements, and maybe a touch of fantasy – though right now I’m not sure how much. It also is a bit of a political….I’m not sure if “thriller” is the right word? Ah well. A bit of terror/ war stuff too, but much less than its simplistic beginnings did. It focuses mainly on a young woman, and her companions. Their choices, and things.

(I think this is one of my longest original posts. I suppose I like telling my story.)

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

Cartoon credit: David Pope.

So, I just wanted to give my own thoughts on what occurred last week.

Those men were criminals who happened to identify with Islam, their own twisted view of it anyway.
They were also idiots. As we’ve all seen over this past week, the only thing their actions have done is stirred people up in defence. It hasn’t cowed them or anything.

Plenty of people have examined what they wanted, what it means, etc.

The thing is: we’re stirred up and debating free speech and such cos the men went in with guns blazing. We’re so stirred up because of this that in some cases we risk losing sight of other things.

What other things? Well. An example of what I mean can be found in last year’s debate in Australia about “Section 18C”. It protects against discrimination based on “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”, and makes it an offense to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” another.
Some people, in the wake of the tragedy, have tried to yell, “Free speech for all, whatever is said – down with 18C!”
But that’s just conflating things and blurring issues together. Free speech is never truly free – it is about privledge. The question being, who has the most? That’s why Australia has 18 C; because free speech is not hate speech.

Why, why, why do extremists always attack with guns?

Personally, I hate mockery humour. But that doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be allowed to publish it. That people should be killed for daring to poke fun. FFS, they were journalists – cartoonists!

The issue of free speech needs to be discussed. Using words, not weapons, dammit. For it’s only by discussing things that we’re able to attempt to understand each other. Like that old song – “if you don’t listen, you’re never gonna learn”; or something like that. The alternative, violence, will never solve anything. After all, it always ends in tears.

Links I found useful:

 jhttp://www.onbeing.org/blog/9-points-to-ponder-on-the-paris-shooting-and-charlie-hebdo/7193

As well as: various The Age articles – the comment section has had some great stuff.

Milestones and Doubt

Accidentally Inspired

I think I finished my second pass at the first edit last night. I say “I think” because I’m feeling a tremendous urge to throw out all the rewrites that I’ve completed over the past six weeks or so, and in fact to toss the entire document in my computer’s recycle bin. Which would, technically, put me back in the re-writing process, although more at the even-before-the-starting-point-of-square-one point than at the fixing-what’s-wrong-with-it point.

I’m pretty sure this draft is worse than the first. Tsunamis of doubt about the changes I’ve made are pummeling the coastline of my confidence in this project. I thought last night about how bizarre and awkward it felt writing the necessary changes into the end of the book. Then I thought for even longer about going back and deleting all my new changes and reverting to the first draft I finished with in July. Then I…

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