Good Sex?

Dec. 1st, 2010 10:16 pm
blacklilly: (Ero ero ero)
Whatever happened to the days where I used to be able to discuss books all the time?  I need to get a job in a bookshop again, and move to Texas and live with [ profile] jennarose who was always good for book chat.

The Guardian and I may be on the same page with regards to the good sex/bad sex thing.  Of course, they have a huge readership and don't have to resort to trying to goad people on Facebook into taking the time to read what they're saying.  Has anyone else noticed that people just don't READ things anymore?  Emails, notes, blogs etc.  Have you even read this far into my burblings, fair reader??

Last of the 13 hour work days today, as high school has finished until January.  Am deliberating going to find some company at the bar, or staying here and lack of readership????

Seeing as no one is paying attention by the fourth paragraph (and congrats to those who held on this long) I should tell you that I have begun work on a novel which has been floating about my head for a year or so.  Strangely, it is requiring a huge amount of pre-planning, which is not something I've ever really had to do with stories before.  It's closely plotted and I've been using an excellent program called Scrivener to help me structure things out.  Rather than putting things down into notebooks, I'm making notecards on the virtual corkboard.  I can then rearrange them, add sub-categories and name each section.  Each card provides a short synopsis of the scene, which I can then write directly into the program.  Should I need to rearrange the scenes, I can just pull the notecards about and the text will re-organize itself.  I've never been a fan of writing straight into the computer, but so far this thing is so user-intuitive that I'm yet to get frustrated with it.  Anyway, I'm midway through plotting the thing out, and have just reached the "crisis" in the second-act.  Where it goes from here, I'm still trying to work out...  I can also tell you that it is called "The Hanging Forest", until something better comes along.

What I like most about this is that all my thoughts at the moment are taken up with it, which makes the morning train journeys on packed commuter trains all the more bearable.

I was gonna do the Japan Meme, but currently I'm at a loss for over- or under-rated things about Japan.  Except for the men, who are, so far,  totally over-rated.
blacklilly: (Default)

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Based on a short story.

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Based on a blog entry.

As seen on [ profile] hils LJ.

Twonnet 1

Jun. 1st, 2009 10:35 am
blacklilly: (Ero ero ero)
So, these past two weeks I've been twittering.  In iambic pentameter.  I made a sonnet.  Here it is:

Popcorn slips sequins between my teeth
Budweiser fizzes an ocean rustle.
Will insomnia let me slip beneath
The tide of sleep, and no longer bustle
About, and throw from corners of my head
Images and half-thought shadows that in
Early morning hours fade out to red,
Sun-sick swollen eyelids, force-fed with sin.
4.30am the crows were screaming
Fighting for plums in the nectar-sagged trees.
Sleepless hunger makes toast for the eating,
The rain calls refreshment and sleep for me.
Just got caught in a downpour on my
bike,whilst exercising my old SLR.

Yesterday it seems I was convinced that "SLR" and "my" rhyme.

Anyway, it's all good practice.  Right.  Time to dry my hair.

blacklilly: (Default)
After three birthday beers at the bar last night I got home, leaped into bed at 11.30pm and opened my notebook.  45 minutes later I was still going, which must be a record writing session after the consumption of alcohol, which normally only leads to despond and sleep.  I was working on the story about the guy who looks like he may not turn out to be quite as irritating as a Murakami-man.  Anyway, I'm a firm believer in not jinxing things by talking about them, so I should shut up.

Later, a few quick musings on Joe Hill's "20th Century Ghosts", which must be one of the most pleasing short-story collections I've read in ages.

Here, why don't you just look at my icon for a bit?  I am......

blacklilly: (Default)
I am stupidly stupidly stupidly addicted to Supernatural.  I will have to stop myself watching it, just so that I don't finish the whole of Season 2 in one week.  And look, I even have an icon. 

My attempt to got to bed early last night failed when I got a story image in my head and then other things kept coming out of my head after it, and it all turned into a story outline, with a Murakami-esqe main character (for which read pathetic male) who I may actually want to stamp on repeatedly, or chuck down a well.  In fact, I might do that...  So all I have to do now is write it, but I'm still meant to be working on an SF story I promised a student, but which I haven't figured out entirely yet.

This must be the first writing post I've made in a while.  It always goes in fits and starts, it seems, and then I go off with one for a while, and then I get worn out.  The last one is still in pieces on top of my kotatsu at the moment - where I was using the Burroughs "cut-up" method to create a bit of excitement and confusion - mainly in myself.

On which note, I should tidy up the pigsty.

blacklilly: (Default)
...this week has involved:

Vegan lunch (yes, I could eat everything on the menu!)

Lunch on the 68th floor of the Landmark Tower, Yokohama. A FREE lunch too.  With sake.

Another Holga roll finished and ready to develop.
Losing my last nose-ring, breaking my only pair of work-friendly shoes, and losing 100yen to the vending machine at work.
An Alice in Chains album for 200yen, plus 5 hours spent trawling music and books shops around Shibuya.
Discovering that I've been bellydancing to the Venetian Snares this term, which in my book ranks highly on the "frickin' cool" factor.
Wondering if I should attempt to write diaries in the style of Anais Nin.


Sep. 17th, 2008 08:46 am
blacklilly: (Default)
I gave a short story to one of my students a couple of weeks ago, and he quite enjoyed it. He asked if I normally wrote SF, to which I replied that I couldn't really pin down what I usually wrote because it has elements of everything in it. So he requested me to write him an SF story. He mentioned liking Paol Anderson's Ganymede books, which I've never read (the front cover of the SF Masterworks series always put me off). Anyway, it got me thinking about Ganymede, which ties in with something else I was writing, connected to Jupiter.

I need a magazine which accepts 5000+ word stories on a slightly SF theme. I sent the story off to one in England but they didn't want it. So it needs to go somewhere else. Ideas anyone?

I'm gonna look at Moleskine artwork until it's time to go swimming...
blacklilly: (Default)
I'm listening to NPR at work. Most of the time I can block out the nattering, but there is currently an English guy on there and I find his voice thoroughly distracting. It must be the novelty. I'm trying to keep warm whilst waiting for one of my students to turn up (she probably isn't coming).

So I was browsing the Guardian books site, and found this article. I used to go to university with Susan Fletcher. We edited the fiction and poetry section of "Point Shirley" the lit magazine. And she was kind enough to offer me a place to sleep when I had my interview at the UEA. It's wonderful to hear that her second novel (at the age of 28) is nominated for an award (the first one won the Whitbread First Novel Award).Yet, its also a little bit bitter on my part as, well, I'm jealous. Or rather, I started thinking, when did I become such a waste of space? But these thoughts should not be dwelt on. I can only blame myself for most of it (and Andrew Motion a little bit). I will have to keep working at it. Amusing how I can always turn other people's success into a reflection upon myself, ne?
blacklilly: (Default)
Yesterday Joe asked me if I would doing the "novel in a month thing". "Naniraimo" is what I heard and I replied: "What does that mean?" thinking he was speaking of some Japanese festival I had no idea about. And then it clicked.

But no, I'm not. I haven't prepared and I seriously doubt I could churn out 50,000 words in a month. Well, I could but the thought of re-writing 50,000 words of the resulting drivel it would undoubtedly be is more than I can stomach.

However, I do endeavour to finish writing this blasted PT story and send off the finished one (from a couple of months ago) to a magazine. Readers of the latter are most welcome. So maybe I should get my writing groove on...

I was going to upload some photos this morning, but it's 9am and I must do something more constructive.
blacklilly: (Default)
Goddammit, I hate it when I'm writing and yet my brain is not cooperating. It's almost worst than not writing anything at all. A while ago I wrote a story based around an early Porcupine Tree song. I guess this is a bit like writing from dreams - the imagery is good but there's nothing there. So I've been mulling this over for the past few weeks, wondering where it's going to go. Yesterday I sat down for 15 minutes before work and scribbled out three opening paragraphs. Nothing there, but this morning when I looked at them again and came up with a whole plot, motivation etc thinger and created a creepy mountain town to set it all in. This morning's efforts I'm quite pleased with, but as for this evening's efforts, I've lost the (metaphorical) plot again. I just seem to be telling the story, but not actually writing it. So, back to where I left off this morning. Still, that's 750 words, which is a good writing day.

In other news I've had two particularly vivid dreams these last two nights. Wednesday night saw me having to give a talk about Stephen Fry's "The Ode Less Travelled", so I spent most of my time worrying because I hadn't finished the book and didn't know how to go about explaining the mathematics of a sestina. To add to the panic, Stephen Fry turned up in the bookshop cafe I was giving the talk in and was signing autographs for the Japanese shop staff.

Last night's dream was most clearly influenced by [ profile] greygirlbeast's story "In the Water Works" from American Supernatural Tales which I picked up in Nagoya on Sunday. I was forcing myself out of the bookshop as I passed it, and almost put it back down until I clocked the story as one I hadn't read. The dream was about people who had to enter an alternate reality once they reached a certain age (different for each person). I clearly recall the end of the dream where a teenage boy is being attacked by black tentacles coming out from beneath his bed and bookcase. He locks himself in the wardrobe, but there is a struggle inside and the doors swing back open to reveal an empty space, only ruffled clothes hanging there.

Which reminds me, wasn't there some kids film about creatures that came out from under your bed and dragged you into some kind of demon world? I have a clear image of someone being dragged underneath their bed...

I also read David J Schow's "Last Call For the Sons of Shock" which I was mightily amused by, and Joyce Carol Oates' "Demon" which was odd, and then grisly. Excellent Halloween reading material.

Australia pics can be seen soon...
blacklilly: (Default)
Last night I wrote 16 lines of iambic pentameter as part of my "Ode" homework. I haven't totted up my score yet but the points system is amusing:

5 points for trochaic or pyrrhic substitutions
2 points for emjambment
2 points for feminine endings

At 11pm last night I worked out that the score for my first line was 19 points. Looking at that now would mean I had to have at least 3 substitutions, an emjambment and a feminine ending. With all those substitutions does it still remain iambic? Hmm, maybe I'll recalculate that one.

Full score later when I work it all out. I have to beat Stephen Fry's 106 points and still have something passable.
blacklilly: (Default)
For years Gideon would play Porcupine Tree albums when we were listening to music, or just doing the washing up. I couldn't stand them. I used to turn them off because certain albums (particularly Metanoia) drove me round the bend. Then, maybe 18 months ago I copied the entire PT catalogue onto my iTunes and after skipping PT songs when they played I finally just let them play through. Then Deadwing was released and my view of them began to change. I know, I know, I fell prey to their most commercial effort so far, but what it did do is make me go back through the old stuff.

I now have a minor obsession with them, so much so that the story I wrote yesterday was inspired by a very strange track on PT's very first album called "Space Transmission". It gives me the creeps if I listen to it late at night. The story was also aided by listening to "Dark Matter" and "Light Mass Prayers" from the Signify album and Ghosts on Magnetic Tape, which is a drone-style album from one of Steve Wilson's other projects, Bass Communion. I had them on repeat while I was writing the first draft version on Monday. The story went places yesterday I had no conscious plans for, which is always nice, and makes me wonder where these things come from.

In other writing news I had a story and a poem rejected from a magazine earlier this week, which did not aid the bad mood. Anyway, I emailed my friend B, who read them before they went off, and mentioned how I have a tendency to see the bad side of all these things. She came back with this:

I have been saying to myself lately that the world is full of people who like to tell you what you can't do. Sometimes its ourselves too!

Bollocks to them!
blacklilly: (Default)
I`ve been reading Andrew Waterhouse's two collections this week and decided to look up his obituary. Browsing through Google I came across "The Poetry Library", which makes back issues of poetry magazines available on line. To my surprise I`m in there - Issue 8 of Dream Catcher. I think this poem also won an award, though I can`t remember which one, or when.

I haven't read that poem in years so it was a little weird reading old stuff, especially as I'm writing poetry again after what must be nearly four years.


Jul. 31st, 2007 09:10 am
blacklilly: (Default)
I've finished a new story, clocking in at about 5200 words. Now to find somewhere to send it...
blacklilly: (Default)
I dyed my hair yesterday. It's a woody red colour now, though not quite what I had in mind. Nice though. That took 6 hours out of the day as it was a henna dye requiring much cleaning and sitting about. So I didn't leave the apartment. I did my Japanese homework and vacuumed. I wrote a letter, and even researched options for the future (the FUTURE! Arrrgh!) MA - England, Canada, the US. I looked at Bennington College, which has to be one of the more interesting colleges I've read about. The creative writing course, though, looks extremely difficult to get on to. However, I spent the early hours of this morning musing about what needs to be done, so I shan't discount it yet.

I also looked at flight prices for a Xmas visit home... which clearly isn't going to be affordable. My Mum pretty much said: " Why bother coming home? We'll only piss you off." Quite true, but I want to see the cats and sort out the remnants of my life in my bedroom. And see my friends, most importantly. And eat fish and chips. And mum toast.

I was woken in the middle hours of the morning by thunder. The cool thing about being inbetween two mountain ranges is that you are in a kind of bowl, which makes thunder sound that much more spooky.I'm also on the corner of the apartments which means I get hammered by rain on three sides - also spooky in the middle of the night. It's just starting to let up, which I hope means I can go shopping as I'm woefully low on food, having not been shopping for two weeks in a bid to save money.

Other things to do today:

1) 1pm Japanese lesson
2) Return my Xfiles DVDs to Tsutaya
3) Do some writing
4) Clean the bathroom and toilet (oh joy!)
5) Work on my "teaching vocabulary" project. I have to put a presentation together for the end of August.

With the story I'm presently working on, I've started recording sections on my laptop and playing them back. Why I never did this before I don't know. Reading the story out is something I do, but actually playing it back is quite good fun (and no comments about loving the sound of my own voice!). If I can figure out how to do it, I'll upload one as a podcast for you to listen to.

Yesterday I also watched episodes 1 of "Death Note" and "Azumanga Daioh". Currently I like AD better than DN, because I think Osaka is stupidly cute. I shall have to get me another Moleskine so I can scrawl "Death Note" across the cover in a blatantly unoriginal fashion.

I noticed that the pictures of my bike on Flickr have had more views than any other pictures. So shall I upload some pictures from the end of my holiday in May? Wanna see them? Comment if you do.
blacklilly: (Default)
Most Monday nights I often wonder where my weekend had gone. Very often I indulge in a great deal of sleeping. This is good and not so good, as it counts in my book as procrastination.

This weekend, however, I have something to account for the passing of time. Yesterday, I went to a craft fair in Komagane with one of my students, Keiko. There were hundreds of stalls selling glass, ceramics, jewellery, clothes, textiles, and one animal welfare stall with three of the cutest ginger kittens I've ever seen. I wanted to eat them up!

One of the highlights of this, was actually getting of Ina. It's nice to see what's beyond all those menacing roads I choose not to risk my life walking along. Views such as these are examples:

I bought some green glass jewellery and a cat shaped incense burner. After that Keiko took me to a Sri Lankan restuarant which also has a shop so I could stock up on curry goodies, and on to a very cheap farm shop run by "anarchists". I didn't get a chance to go into just what kind of anarchists they were as we were distracted by some very cute baby goats:

On the subject of which, (anarchists, that is) I've finally found out what the noise is all about some mornings. A few times a week I am seranaded by the pomp and circumstance of imperialist music and unintelligable babblings from the annoying political campaign vans running around Ina. I found out that I live very near to the "Communist" HQ. The "Fascists" like to come down and park outside the communist building extolling the evils of their red ways, whilst profusely apologising to the surrounding residents for the inconvenience caused. Strangely polite for fascists, me thinks. Anyway, being a non-fascist, I'm siding with the commies as they don't wake me up in the morning.

In other news, I sent off a poem and story (another version of "Exit") to a magazine. We'll see about that one in a few months. I also watched Donnie Darko and Pan's Labyrinth this weekend. I was booing like a big girl at the end of both of them. Something's obviously wrong with me.
blacklilly: (Default)
I've spent the afternoon and evening working on the story and the poem. The story is finished (for the moment)- clocking in at 1600 words or so, and the poem is in its fourth draft at 20 lines. It's nice to be working on poems again after so long. I like the action of paring them back and back again, like boiling down a sauce until it's thick and glossy. I wouldn't go so far as to say this is glossy, but the analogy is true of the good stuff.

I wanted to write up tales from my holidays, but I've put these two pieces as a priority, so the tales will have to wait. Rather than bore you with a blow by blow account, I'm going to flick through the notes I have, write up some more (I didn't get anywhere near enough chances to write while I was in Tokyo and Kyoto) and then give you the best of, along with a selection of pictures (there are over 100 in total).

I cooked curry yesterday for my new manager and the Japanese teacher at school. It was pumpkin, potato and chickpea curry, which initially hit you with a the sweetness of the pumpkin and then followed up with a good dose of chilli. Until two weeks ago I hadn't had a curry for over six months. I was in the restaurant sweating, and afterwards got a proper curry high. Great it was, and I even had the company of Shizuko (my student from London) too. I'll be doing it all over again in a couple of weeks with one of my current students.

Next week I should get a big load of overtime payment, so I plan on buying a bike (of the foot-powered variety) to go on weekend adventures now the weather has perked up. There have been some very impressive thunderstorms, and it's not even the rainy season, which has me both looking forward to some spectacular lightning shows, and a little concerned at my proximity to the river...
blacklilly: (Default)
I actually did the writing I said I was going to do for once. Further in the creative direction I also bought myself some watercolour pencils and a sketchbook and started doodling mandalas, which have become a recent interest of mine that I had the pleasure of indulging whilst in Koyasan (more on that another time).
Read more... )


May. 12th, 2007 12:57 am
blacklilly: (Default)
Yesterday was my day off between travelling around and going back to work today. I had intended to stay in bed late, read a book, and then crawl out at some point and get food. But it turned out I had more energy than I thought as I sprang out of bed and hurtled round the supermarket, then walked into town to drop some manju and mochi gifts off at school. I picked up my copy of "Year Zero" which had arrived in my absence and ran back home. In between all this I also did my laundry and had it all folded nicely away by 5 o'clock.

So I decided that it would be a really good idea to rewrite my story "Exit", the one I mentioned in a previous post about having taken a year to write. I rewrote it in the first person. 2000 words in I wanted to throttle not only the narrator, but myself as well. I cooked dinner and then watched episodes 19, 20 and 21 of "Heroes", before going back to the story and shaking my head at it.

Yasuko dropped over my plants and the new 14 hole DMs I bought in Tokyo, and I played with the o-mi-ya-ge I bought for people's birthday's whilst on holiday. Eventually I called it a night and forced myself to turn the computer off.

So I sat in bed playing with the really cool kaleidoscope I bought in Nagano and thought about the story, wrote down some new ideas, and will attempt to write something a little different tomorrow. I'm getting really quite fed up with the damned thing now. It has been following me about for over a year now and I have expended far too many words on it.

Back to work today. My brain is not in gear, but I hope the very long rest from teaching will inject some new energy into things. Tonight we have Yasuko's leaving party. And then I have two more days off. Hurrah.
blacklilly: (Default)
This weekend, so far, has been a particularly productive one.

Saturday night saw us go out with a group of students for what they called the "High Calorie Party". This involved going to one of the more expensive yaki-niku restaurants in town, eating meat and drinking beer. Well, I ate, vegetables, salad, tofu and kimchi, and drank beer. Afterwards we went to a huge snack bar where I avoided being the first one to sing karaoke for once (the night's songs included: S.O.S -ABBA, Angel - Eurythmics, and Stay - Lisa Loeb). During my rendition of Angel I was brought to near hysterics by the sight of one of the my students and the other NET grooving along to the song in an Austin Powers stylee.

On Sunday morning I got up at 9am, made tea and toast for Saori, who had stayed over, and then staggered back to bed until 1pm. Then, after waking myself up and eating, I sat down and wrote a short story. It's been popping into my head repeatedly recently and I started making further notes on it last week. Yesterday it wanted to come out, so down I sat and it wrote itself. I have the final section to work on today and then that's the first draft done. It's quite an interesting story for me as it is written in the present tense, not something I usually do, and it's written backwards, so the start is at the end, again, not something I usually do. I found that I automatically slip into writing in the past tense so I very often had to stop myself and change sentences. It gives the story much more sense of immediacy, which is what I want for this one - a sense of confusion, that you don't understand what is happening until the very end. Then to work on the next draft and type it up.

After that I watched the "Devil's Rejects" and started downloading "Pan's Labyrinth".

[On an aside, I blasted my way through all 18 episodes of "Heroes" and and now can't wait to see the next ones. Why, oh why didn't I pace myself, as I was warned about the season break! Next to download is the second series of "Life on Mars" which is about the only show I've been missing from England.]

So far today I've been swimming, after having to shake off dreams about flying around England in a Mini Cooper (which was excellent fun) and watching motorcycle races across the Arctic. I now need to do some shopping, work on the story, do some Japanese practice and head out to meet my private student. And may I add that my student and I meet in family restaurants and cafes, NOT his apartment, and that he was passed on to me by his previous teacher who vouched for his sanity. So don't worry.


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