This is a blog about my obsessions, whatever they may be.

May 31, 2010



Leo Babauta:

The No. 1 Creativity Habit

In a word: solitude.

Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.

Of course, there are lots of ways to find this solitude.
Via @ThereseWalsh.


Only when one is alone can one find quiet. Silence.

Without which, you cannot truly hear or see or feel. Take your pick.

The story you want to tell cannot reveal itself to you until you are ready to listen.


This ties in with the idea of deliberate practice, or whatever you want to call it.

It is easier to write, to practice the musical instrument of your choice, to draw, to sculpt, you name it, when you are alone.

But people are not the only distractions. The internet, for instance, now that nearly every writer seems to work mostly from a computer. Twitter is a useful tool, to be certain, but it could just as easily have been called Distraction Central.


I consider the distractions to be separate from the procrastinations.

The procrastinations are things you do to avoid seeking out that solitude. Cleaning seems to be rather popular, which I don't understand, but I suppose if you're desperately avoiding something, cleaning's probably better than TV.

I admit my favorite procrastination is reading, as I always have a crazy amount of reading to catch up on anyway.


Either way, there are things out there that try to prevent us from reaching that space.

The trick is to rise above it. Because it is necessary.

Sheer, desperate desire helps, though it can also hinder.

It's easy enough to lock yourself into a room. It's much harder to find true solitude, to find the space where you can create.

Sometimes, one can go crazy trying to find that space, and yet, without that space, we'd probably be crazier.

May 29, 2010


30k. Whoot!


Actually, 31k.

May 28, 2010


I hate getting ahead of myself, I really do.

Now I have to go back and stitch things back up together.

I can't believe I forgot such a major plotline. Bah.


This will probably jinx me but I have not forgotten to refer to myself as Emily rather than anything else for awhile.


I hate writing action scenes.

I really really do.

I told @redrobinreader I'd attempt some fancy paper art with sharp objects and paper silk. I may make a model and people cut-outs and see where that takes me. But anyway, I've skipped the rest of the action scenes, and will write the pivotal scene so I can continue on.

That should take me past 30k!

May 27, 2010

Quilts 1700-2010


First, I want to say this isn't as well-written or as in depth as it should be.

But then, I didn't plan on procrastinating this quite this long either.


Quilts commemorate stuff. That seemed to be a central theme of the exhibit anyway.


The other central theme is that Quilts tell a story. I guess Paperback Writer had it right.

The story about the quilt the V&A commissioned from prisoners at a British museum, in particular, stands out. It has finer stitches that I could achieve, I am almost ashamed to say.


I really want Diana Harrison's Box I and II.

Gail Baxter writes and has pictures of them.


On Twitter, I mocked the idea that a Scripture quilt could protect one from illness.

But now I look at it in a different way.

A handmade quilt as protection. As something to snuggle up under. It's a different kind of protection, for one's heart and soul, but protection all the same.


I don't normally go for the ones that try to make a statement about the world, but I really liked Stockwell's money quilt.

It is called A Chinese Dream, and here's what the artist has to say about it:
I’ve stitched and crafted almost 1000 Chinese money notes into a
patterned, quilted map of the world. Like most of my work the piece
refers to trade, ecology, the present economic crisis and the shifting
global economy. For me personally it’s a beautiful, hand-made quilt
stemming from a tradition of women recycling old clothes, passing on
keepsakes and sharing in a familial process that transcends generations.
Ironically the ritual processes involved in making a quilt seem to
counter the crassness of money and consumerism.


There's more stuff at the Victoria & Albert Museum page for the exhibit here.

Thanks to Jacqueline Holdsworth of Needleprint for the recommendation!


Despite my love of geometries, quilting never really interested me. Too much effort -- like making thousands of little stitches on linen isn't effort... 

But now I really want to learn flat quilting. Go figure.

May 25, 2010


I really should write up the Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition I went to at the Victoria & Albert.


I've never felt this defeated.

Not even with my novels, not even the ones that I have consigned to a place so deep, that they may never see the light of day.

I can't even bring myself to think about it any more.


Writing was never an escape for me, not the way it seems to have been for so many of my fellow writers.

It was just something I did. I wanted to be a writer, enough to earn the discipline.

Now it feels like all I have left, and I don't even know how I got here.

May 24, 2010



Or why so many writers/artists are addicted to one thing or another.


As I write this, I have just finish somewhat more than a third of a bottle of wine.

I currently weigh little more than 40kg, 6.3 stone or 89 pounds.

One third of a bottle of wine is quite a lot for me. My record stands at three-quarters, but I weighed at least 5-6 -- and probably more -- kilograms then.


The conversation went...

Guy: Wait a minute! If the both of you had a small glass, then it must mean she's had something like three-quarters of the bottle!

Me: Yup! I'm feeling really happy right now!


Today's the first day in many, many days that I've felt like I could breathe.

Just breathe, and not worry about anything else. I feel almost weightless, and I haven't felt like this in I-don't-know-how-long.


I know it's a slippery path I'm on, the path to addiction.

But some days, I just can't help myself.

May 20, 2010


I am alive.

I think I want to be alive, but I am uncertain as to whether this is absolutely the case.


I have not been on my laptop since Sunday afternoon.

I do not think I've ever been away from my laptop quite this long.

Or from a novel that was going this well.


I'm reading through Hurricane Forever again, before I pick up my metaphorical pen. I may need to cut what I have of the last scene I have on file, but that's acceptable.


What's rather less acceptable is my magnum opus.

I had to switch Books II and III around, and change the ending off Book I somewhat.

Which basically means I need to cut somebody completely out of Hurricane Forever as well as the corresponding plotlines.


May 13, 2010


Thinking of getting this blog done up right. Talking to Parajunkee Designs. If you have any other suggestions, please do let me know.

Incidentally, I am now at Posterous.

There will be different content over there for the foreseeable future.


I'm writing about 2 pages -- about 500 words a day. Since the start of May, which means a nice 7k or so.

The next few days will be slow. I'm writing a rousing declaration of war. Note to self: Bush II must have made some speeches about the War on Terror, and I must study them to see what he did right/wrong at some point. Probably should consider Churchill and a few others too.


I'm playing EchoBazaar. Possibly the greatest waste of time on Earth, but I need to sorta disappear from a few places online and therefore I need a new obsession.

May 12, 2010



I refuse to call it writer's block.

But I do experience periods of time that I call unwriting.

During those periods, I simply do not write.

Hence, unwriting.

They aren’t a lot of fun. I have had 'Write every day' bopped into my head every day since I began six years ago -- OMG six years ago!


There is a TED video in which Elizabeth Gilbert says it is freeing to acknowledge a higher power in your creative work. 

And I guess in a way, it's true.

But all things are best in moderation. 


Sarah Monette:

Treating writer's block as (1) monolithic and (2) reified--I have WRITER'S BLOCK! Woe! Woe is me for I cannot write!--only makes it harder to figure out what the problem is. It also feeds into a number of toxic myths about writing, which we may call either Shelley's Revenge or the Hemingway Trap, depending on whether we want to see it as yet another hangover of Romanticism or as the thing that killed Hemingway. But the idea that creativity controls the writer--which is EXACTLY the idea behind the pernicious anthropomorphism of The
Muse--cannot help but lead to mystification and reification of writer's block, turning it from a problem into an insurmountable, career-ending disaster.

I'm personally inclined to agree with Ms Monette -- she of the Mirador quartet -- as opposed to Ms Gilbert.

I've been a more consistent writer since I gave up the idea of having a Muse -- which I took to ridiculous heights involving multiple neuroses in my late teens.


I try, as much as I can, to consider the time spent away from writing to be an investment.

Time to find mind fodder for your under mind and time for your under mind to chew through that mind fodder.

It's hard, when you're struggling and especially when you're facing a deadline.

Sitting there and banging your head on the wall isn't always a solution either. It's right in front of you, mocking you. If anything, it's a waste of time, and worse, I suspect it sometimes makes things worse.  


The guilt, the self-recrimination...that's the worst, isn't it?

I suck. I'm such a terrible writer. Why do I even bother? This is such a waste of time!

But here's the thing: it's only a waste of time if you quit, and if you quit, you will always be a terrible writer.

May 10, 2010


Word by word, Hurricane Forever becomes increasingly...I hesitate to use the term political, but that's as good a word as any.


I need a new name for my 'race.' Talk about a giant pain in the ass.


I've begun working the first of the reproduction samplers I plan to stitch in red, henceforth known as The Girls in Red.

Meet Miss Rhoda Morley.

It is the biggest Bristol reproduction sampler I've seen anywhere, which I did not know when it became the first and only Bristol sampler that I have fallen in love with.

She will hopefully soon have companions Miss Metta Putfarckens and Miss Eliza Trusted.

May 09, 2010


Hurricane Forever has 5 sections.

I've just now completed the second one.


I'm trying to work out what I'm going to do next.

The third section was always the most squishy one. I have an idea of what happens. The title of the novel -- the real title and not my 'Trying To Be Funny' title -- comes from the concept of the third section.

The concept being distinct from the plot because I am terribly, terribly complicated.


I have a suspicion I may have to read the 9/11 Commission Report for this. Now, ladies and gentleman, that's what I call dedication to my art.

May 08, 2010


I am uncertain as to whether I'm madder at my body or my mind right now.


I'm taking a trip back in time in Hurricane Forever.

It's kind of nice. I think I'm going to have another one of those 'OH! So that's why....' moments after I finish.


I'm thinking of taking another trip back in time.

I have a few vignettes that happen before my magnum opus's timeline. I'm thinking of expanding them with a more erotic flavor.

I blame Nadia Lee for erotic flavor bit.


I'm moving my stuff to DropBox. For one reason or another but primarily because Ovi Files kept giving me fits. :P Do sign up via my link so we both get an extra 250mb, though why I need the extra space, I don't know.


I have started Sampler Cove's Thriller.

If you don't click on the link, here's the verse on the sampler:
Moonlight casts an eerie glow
in shadows terror hides
Searching for the haunted souls
On wicked wings she rides
It is definitely not what I planned to start this month, but I did kit it up completely from stash. I used up the remaining Spyro Aida I had, and the floss is from the mountain of silk I ordered with a bunch of pals a few months back, which is quite the accomplishment. More so than actually starting it.

May 07, 2010



Karen Knows Best:
I know that authors should really write what they love, but what if what they love doesn’t sell? It’s ok if money isn’t an issue for said author, but what if, as in Sharon’s case, it is? Should she really be expected to stick to her principles, and keep churning out inter-racial romances, that have a limited audience in the market place?
I don't have much patience for this kind of talk.

The way I see it, you can starve, or you can get a job that will feed you.

It is that simple.


All that crap about principles? Is just crap.

If you're that hungry, you'll do anything to be fed.

I don't know about you, but I'd say that writing the type of book that will sell and sell well is better than having to find a non-writing job for most writers*.

It is a risk. The new book in that hot new genre might not sell. Frankly, I would judge the probability that it will not be as good as the author's previous work to be quite high too. Talent and craft is no substitute for heart**.


Shiloh Walker later said in the comments that it's not about principles, it's about business.

I agree, and it makes me want to shoot people when they say stuff like they wish they could be paid to sit at home all day and write. Who's going to pay them, I don't know.


I've taken flack before because I don't have the kind of background that will make me understand.

For goodness sake! You're studying economics!

I'll never forget seeing that 'screamed' across a chat room a few years back.

But that was a conscious decision I made. I don't want to be one of those writers who, ten-fifteen years down the road, have no money and need to raise funds for medical treatment.

I read a very select few author blogs. Do you know how many cries for help I have read about in the past few years? Enough to be sure that I never ever want to be at the mercy of strangers.


What bugs me the most is how some writers seem to take pride in the fact that they are living in a little hovel, starving for their art.

Somehow, it seems to make them think that they are 'truer' to their art, because they are sacrificing.

And I suppose they are.

But the idea that you're going to write better because you living hand-to-mouth in an awful little apartment...

*opens the window and screams*

* I make this point because I would personally rather find a non-writing job.

** My favorite example of this is Tina St. John, whose historicals are far better than the vampire novels she has published as Lara Adrian.

I am uncertain as to whether I'm madder at my body or my mind right now.


I'm taking a trip back in time in Hurricane Forever.

It's kind of nice. I think I'm going to have another one of those 'OH! So that's why....' moments after I finish.


I'm thinking of taking another trip back in time.

I have a few vignettes that happen before my magnum opus's timeline. I'm thinking of expanding them with a more erotic flavor.

I blame Nadia Lee for erotic flavor bit.


Also, I'm moving my stuff to DropBox. For one reason or another but primarily because Ovi Files kept giving me fits. :P

May 04, 2010


I've updated my synopsis some. Re-worked some key points.

I think the storyline could work as things stand, but I'm sure things will change.


I've just hit the 20k mark, which is a nice little milestone.

In terms of plot, I'm just about hit the meat of the book. Which will be nice because I haven't gotten this far before with a first draft. Which is a more significant milestone, if you ask me.


It's May. I need to contemplate The Year of Starts again. Thinking of starting Rhoda Morley, unless I get my act together enough to find a decent pair of scissors in this house to cut the fabric for Metta Putfarckens.

I hardly stitched last month. I doubt this month will be much better.


The war of being is not going so well.

Sometimes I wish I could take out a piece of my psyche, swap it out for a better, less dented version made of titanium that will not rust or corrode and is sturdy enough to take a few hits.