rosesthingamajig

Things Written Down.

Editor’s Note

The editor of Tales From The Forest (one Rose Fortune) couldn’t resist this particular theme. This is a story titled Where Monsters Live, and it should really live with the rest of the creatu…

Source: Editor’s Note

OneWord: Writing Prompts of a Type

http://www.oneword.com/ – one word, and 60 seconds.

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Snowball

Not a snowball’s chance in hell, as the saying goes. I feel like we overlook the more important question of, how did the snowball get there? Are we discussing an ice demon in the underworld? Can precipitation die? Does snow have a soul?

I just think we’re not thinking this thing through.
Should someone rescue the snowball?

Abundant

There are many things abundant in life. But they tend to be the worse things in life.
Environmental damage is abundant. Poverty is abundant. People are abundant, but not quite abundant enough to solve the first two.

Buddha

There’s no more enlightenment for anyone. The silence is gone.
There is no more sitting under a bonsai and breathing in the quiet. Cars go by.

2016 Reading Challenge – 2/4 Progress Report

June 4th and I’m 1/2 done, so still on target. The books, the reviews:

Make 2016 your best reading year yet with this reading challenge. It’s simple and doable, but provides the structure you need to approach your reading list with intention in 2016.

 

A Book Chosen For You By Your Spouse/Partner/Sibling/Child/BFF

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North. This book is tremendous, and impressive, and intricate. The writing style is primarily in the first person and addressed to the second person, which feels like a strange place to start and is not my favourite writing technique. That said, this is the best example of first-person narration / second-person address I’ve ever read. Claire North does lovely things with this structure.

Harry August is born in 1919, and dies in 1989. Then he’s born again, in 1919. He’s reborn to the same family, at the same time, in the same way, and remembers exactly his entire first life. This is an endless cycle for Harry – the book follows Harry through his lives, erratically switching from fourth life to eleventh to third. Chronology means little when a man lives perpetually.

I’d class this as a very good book if it simply followed Harry as he struggled through all his different lives, going to war and studying and travelling. I’d class it a great book for its dealings with Harry in mental asylums, wondering if he’s insane and being tortured for information for ‘the greater good.’ But this book needed a real antagonist and a looming threat, and Harry August delivers exactly that. The threat – and I’ll tell you because the blurb gives it away – is that the world is ending. Of course it is ending at some unknown point in the future as it always has, but suddenly the the end of the world is getting closer. Harry is not the only person with this ability, and the world is ending because someone is getting ambitious.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, from its writing style to its character setups, and most importantly to the level of careful deliberation that has gone into mapping out fifteen entire lifetimes for one man, the people he interacts with again and again, and a mysterious shadow organisation called The Cronus Club. The writer names Harry August and his kind ‘ouroborans,’ and true to the idea of the book, the ending informs the beginning. The highest praise I can really give is this: it is the only time I have ever begun to re-read a book almost the same minute I finished it.

A Book You’ve Already Read At Least Once

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. If you haven’t read Guards! Guards! you should do so. You should read all the Discworld books, and starting with this one is not a bad idea. The Night Watch is one of the greatest and most entertaining ensemble casts in the Discworld series, and this one properly introduces Vimes, Nobby, Colon and Carrot as the guards who police Ankh-Morpork. They usually do so quietly – without causing a fuss – and mainly just let people go about their business. No need to go looking for trouble after all. The arrival of the very literal Carrot, who has read all the rules and guidelines and assumes all should be followed, prompts a change in tone for the Night Watch. There are also dragons, magic and an orangutan who is very protective of his library. I read it years ago, and it just gets better upon re-reading.

A Book That Intimidates You

or Ship of Theseus, by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst. You might love it, or you might end up with a migraine. But it’s certainly unique. Please see a random page from this book.

DSC_0082

So, this book tells the story of Jen and Eric, who meet on paper when she picks up his book in the library. They both tumble into a world of jointly researching an author named VM Straka (the writer of the book within the book) who, it’s speculated, was writing under a pseudonym and whose real identity was never revealed. Surprisingly, this simple/innocent sounding field of research is strewn with threats and espionage so Jen and Eric have to work together in secret – in the margins of this book. Way to go to Doug Dorst and J.J.Abrams for writing essentially 2 books and melding them into one. I’ll admit though, I skimmed the plain text and devoured the colour-coded conversation instead. The code is as follows: you have to read the black/blue notes first, all the way to the end of the book. Then go back and read the green/orange, all the way to the end of the book. Then go back and read the purple/red, all the way to the end. Finally, read all the black/black notes. Those are the final ones.

It’s difficult to only read the relevant colours, but if you read them in the wrong order, you’ll end up ahead of yourself. Also, the book is full of newspaper clippings and postcards and notes and letters, which should only be read at certain points in the story. But good luck figuring that out – it’s really a roulette game of, open it, start reading, and if it doesn’t make sense beside the last thing you read on that particular page, put it back and try again with the next colour.

It’s a lovely book in terms of both content and form, and I do think it was worth the effort to finish it. Not many books engender such a sense of accomplishment on the last page.

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Book Challenge courtesy of: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2016-reading-challenge/

What I’ve Been Up To: Tales From The Forest

So I started a magazine.

https://talesfromtheforest.net/

Issue #1 of Tales From The Forest is available right there ^^^ and it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. The issues are all themed, #1 being Twisted Tales and Torn Mythologies. 

Submissions are open now for Issue #2, Where Monsters Live. I would recommend following this magazine because, if I may say so myself, the art and the writing we’re receiving is absolutely excellent.

 

 

2016 Reading Challenge – 1/4 Progress Report

March 10th and I’m 1/4 done, so this is pretty much on track. The books, the reviews:

Make 2016 your best reading year yet with this reading challenge. It’s simple and doable, but provides the structure you need to approach your reading list with intention in 2016.

A Book You Can Finish In A Day

Light Boxes, by Shane Jones. This is short, and light, and peculiar. It can be finished in a day because it’s entrancing, and hard to physically put down once you start it. I found Light Boxes tucked away in my local bookshop, looking for all the world like the writer had self-published it and then snuck into the shop with it just to hide it away with all the other bigger books. It looks like someone’s labour of love, too odd and small to be published by any major publishing company but all the more charming for that. It makes complete sense that this book had an initial run of 500-600 copies with a particular publisher, and getting picked up by Penguin later based on massive cult success. The book is too short to explain the plot – it’s hard to condense it further than the book itself does. Suffice it to say, this is a strange one. The villain in this book is February. The month for us is a villainous endless season in Light Boxes, and he, personified, bans all things that can fly. It’s more grim than you’d expect, but exactly as strange as it sounds. Highly recommend. You can read it in a day.

A Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. Not many books possess the power to make me cry. I don’t often cry at films, I more rarely cry with a book. I picked up A Man Called Ove in an airport last July. I put it back down because my reading pile was too big, but thought to myself, I must remember that. I belong to a book club on Facebook, and several people mentioned A Man Called Ove. Oh yes, I remembered, I wanted to read that. Eventually someone said, “this book is on sale on Amazon” and I thought, right, I’ll have that. The book is about a man called Ove, obviously enough. He’s an old man who finds himself surrounded by men in suits who try to take things away from him, surrounded by idiots who can’t reverse a trailer, surrounded by troublemakers who he’s certain are just out to rob the neighbourhood, and surrounded by imbeciles who don’t pay enough attention to the neighbourhood association rules. He seems on the surface to be one of the most obnoxious and pedantic people you could come across, but this book, from only a couple of chapters in, makes you love this character and entirely sympathise with all of his outlandish opinions. The book opens with Ove attempting to buy an iPad and eventually brings you back to this scene with an entirely different perspective. Have tissues.

A Book Published Before You Were Born

For Esme, With Love and Squalor, by JD Salinger. This book opens with a short story that stunned me enough to put down the book. This is my measure of a great short story. It’s in parts hilarious, in parts tragic, in parts considerate, in parts philosophical. Certainly though, JD Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye is a fantastic book, but he is an underrated short story writer as well as a great novelist. Definitely worth reading.

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Book Challenge courtesy of: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2016-reading-challenge/

OneWord: writing prompts of a kind

http://www.oneword.com/ – one word, and 60 seconds.

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Monster

Monsters live under your bed, of course. Established fact.

But try to show some sympathy – this is actually due to the otherworldly housing crisis. There’s a complex political system at work in mirrors, and coincidentally it mirrors ours.

Mortgages aren’t so important since monsters tend to wander, but leasing shadows is getting more and more difficult for small monstering families. Bogeymen are the worst landlords, and rents are at an all-time high for dilapidated corners and creaky attics.

OneWord – writing prompts of a sort

Writing prompts can be hit and miss for me. Oneword just has a word a day, and gives you that word and 60 seconds in which to create something.

http://www.oneword.com/

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Worthwhile

To be fair, to me, to him, how could you say that something is worthwhile and something else isn’t? It’s essentially down to perception. That’s how we ended up with a priceless heirloom forked over to St. Vincent’s along with a stack of unread paperbacks and a pair of shoes that didn’t quite fit, while he stared helplessly at a €12.50 china teapot from Penneys.

Confident

I don’t want to be confident. It seems like more trouble than it’s worth. The best seat in the house is the one with a view, not the one closest to the microphone.

Rural

Rural means you can see the stars in the night sky, without a hint of smog. Rural means getting a lift to school in the back of a trailer. Rural means knowing your neighbours. Rural means your neighbours knowing you.

And rural means safety, because crime rates are lower. And rural means terror, because country roads are long and winding.

Resolutions, 2016

First and foremost:

Updating my blog. I’ve already done it. That’s one resolution done before January even starts, so I’m doing pretty well!

That said, please immediately lower your expectations for any further resolutions.

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Second, and one I’m quite optimistic about:

http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2016-reading-challenge/

I’ll try to update accordingly as I go along.

1 is a book published ‘this year’ so I want an early January novel. This will likely be the very next China Mieville book, or the next Catherynne M. Valente Fairyland book – I understand they both have books coming in January.

is a book you’ve been meaning to read. I’ve just ordered A Man Called Ove online, based on picking it up and putting it down in several different shops and one airport. That’s covered.

Books 2 & 4-12 are unknown and unplanned at the moment.

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Third is all about my job. I was recently promoted to a supervisory position, so I need to learn how to supervise. That will probably take all of 2016.

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Fourth is all about my writing. More words and such.

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Fifth is all about getting away. Travelling somewhere, somewhere and somewhere else. (suggestions welcome, Europe preferred for cost and convenience)

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Sixth is to watch some of the must-be-watched films on my list. I’ve never seen The Godfather. My family will not tolerate this behaviour much longer.

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Seventh is to learn a language. Fix up my Deutsch or my Gaeilge, or start from scratch on a whole new teanga.

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And that’s a start.

 

 

Tour

Having some technical issues with my computer, so I had to test out my keyboard in Microsoft Word. Apparently this is how I test systems.

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Dear Sir or Madam,

 

Thank you for your interest in joining our murder mystery Tour de France.

The entrance fee is €250 per person, and you must provide your own bicycle and make your own way to the Alps. If this is amenable to the rest of your troupe, please confirm by return of post.

Looking forward to seeing you atop a mountain peak in July 2016.

 

Best regards,

Rose Thingamajig

(possible victim, possible murderer, possible winner of the Tour de France 2016)

 

No, Computer.

Context: I have at least a dozen notebooks and post-its with scribbles everywhere. I find it easier to jot notes and ideas down on a page or in a notebook on the move, but then I try to do most of my writing on an actual computer. I haven’t done much of either lately, so here’s a short piece I jotted down in Microsoft Word about some problems I have with Microsoft Word.

 

No, Computer.

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No, computer. we can’t be friends.

The backspace button is too eager

And that just presents challenges.

And “Delete” – just means I get to

Retract my words in two directions

Instead of one.

*

I never cross out lines in pen.

Me and biros get along fine,

Mainly due to the sense of shame

In a strikethrough and starting again

Three lines down with the same beginning

Just recently scrapped seven words in.

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Fonts are the devil. That’s another thing.

My handwriting comes in one default style:

That is, handwriting.

Cursive if I’m feeling fancy,

Scrawl if I’m feeling hurried.

Block capitals if I’m YELLING AT YOU.

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So how should I produce a thing of meaning?

When the first fifteen minutes of sitting

Down to a screen involve a heated debate

With myself on the merits of Arial Narrow or Arial.

My computer has twenty-seven fonts

That start with the letter A.

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This might have been a charming note in blue biro

On the torn out pages of a notebook.

No, computer, we can’t be friends.

You have too much to offer & I haven’t enough time

To construct art and design poetry

While also saying anything of worth.

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