Saturday, 19 October 2013

To NaNo or Not to NaNo

I'm in two minds about whether to attempt NaNoWriMo this year: 50,000 words in 30 days during November.  Last year when I attempted I was doing really well until somebody stole my laptop.  I didn't lose as much work as I thought, but I did lose my NaNo draft from that year, which was quite depressing.  This year I'd be starting from (almost) scratch again on the same story.

NaNoWriMo is really good for creating a terrible first draft.  It isn't good if you want to create a semi-decent first draft.  I hear it's better to go into the month with an outline of your work and a good idea of what you want to write, but I have been struggling with my outline.


Perhaps I should flip a coin :/

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Foggy Brain

Being sick is not conducive to creativity.  My brain feels very foggy. Every time I get out my outline I just end up staring at the page, my mind a blank.  Perhaps this story is better with a loose outline anyway, and the story will come out organically instead.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Art of Shallow Breathing

The art of shallow breathing
Is to restrict the air
To a small cup's width
Lest you stir the beasts
Couched deep below.

They are formless,
Angry monsters.
Heavy and lazy.
They feel like mist
And strangulation.

Dare to let go,
Or even forget,
And fill those neglected spaces;
They will trap the blood
To your head.

Clenched tight,
Until you return again
To that old technique,
Perfected over years,
Of shallow breathing.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

Earlier this week I said to a friend who is taking time off work: 'I'm so jealous, wish I had the week off'', or something along those lines.  What do you know, I've spent the days following off from work alright, only I've been in bed with a chest infection. Be careful what you wish for indeed.
Curse you Fate for listening in on my private conversation!!

I am using this time (when not sleeping or struggling to breathe) to start thinking about writing the outline for a new book I'm working on.  I haven't had the pleasure of writing an outline in years, I've just been editing my novel for so long.  But since I submitted my manuscript for some professional editing a couple of days ago, I'm able to take a much needed break from that particular work.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Whinging About Deadlines

This is how I feel about Sunday night writing deadlines:




Brought to you by the Institute of Procrastination.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

On to Number 2

Now that I am enlightened by Philip K. Dick's storytelling style, I'm moving onto fantasy in the form of #86 Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series.  Book one is called Furies of Calderon.  I haven't heard much about it ... apart from all the raving my friends have been doing over the series.


I have previously read Jim Butcher's Storm Front which was okay.  It's a kind of fantasy/hard boiled detective series which is apparently supposed to be amazing from the second book, Fool Moon, onwards.  I haven't got around to reading more from that series, known as the 'Dresden Files', despite my fiance frequently berating me over the issue.

Usually I like the fact that fantasy books come in multiples - it means the experience keeps going and going.  But for this Top 100 Challenge I'm a little less enthusiastic about it, looking at the long list.  So in terms of whether I'm going to read the whole 6 books in the series of Codex Alera, I'm going to wait and see how long it takes me to read the first one and whether I enjoy it.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Top 100 Review #1 - Book 21 - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

For the first book of my Top 100 Challenge I read Philip K. Dick's science-fiction novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?



It took me a while to get through since I've been so busy lately, but the book is actually quite short at under 200 pages in the version I read.  Although published in the 60's, the language is still very readable.  I imagine this is probably because it was published for the masses rather than as a literary work.  With some books I have encountered from that era, the narrative style can be a little jarring in comparison to modern writing.  I did not have that problem with this book at all.

The main plot of the book follows bounty hunter Rick Deckard's mission to 'retire' a number of androids - a total of 6 who have come to Earth from Mars illegally.  It is not fully explained to the reader why the androids must be killed, that is, why it is illegal for them to be on Earth, until quite late in the book.  I found this confusing at first, as I felt like I was missing important information.  I suppose I immediately felt sympathy for the androids and therefore wanted to know why they had to be put to death rather than just deported.  However the late reveal was probably done to mirror Deckard's initial nonchalance in terms of his task at hand -  the reasons aren't important, it is simply his job.  

Eventually Deckard does start to rethink his mission, and this reflects the major theme of the question - the value of life.  The way in which the author has made animals the most valuable commodity in a post-apocalyptic society where animals and the environment have barely survived, creates a good juxtaposition to the protagonist questioning the value of the androids' lives.  This is a particularly difficult thesis as the androids are almost identical to humans, except that they lack empathy.  It can be so difficult to tell an android apart from a human that it can only be verified 100% via certain methods, such as a bone marrow analysis.

I did feel that the androids were far too easy for Deckard to kill.  Perhaps this was done on purpose, to show that the androids really are very close to humans.  But I felt that, as this is fiction, I wanted a little more action.  A little more cat and mouse.  After all, the pop cultural understanding of robots is that they are generally very strong and faster than humans.  From memory, I think Blade Runner delivered a bit more of that, at least when Harrison Ford is trying to take out the final two androids.  So perhaps part of my expectations came from my memory of the movie.  This sense of action-deficiency was the basis for my first mini-challenge, being a rewrite of one of the scenes in which Deckard kills an android.

I was quite surprised by how effected I was by the scene where the android Pris cuts the legs off a spider.  I'm not a big fan of spiders.  I probably don't hate them as much as I hate cockroaches but I am scared of them nonetheless.  Therefore you would think that I wouldn't care about somebody 'dismembering' a spider.   I suppose it's the way in which it was done - Isidore, a human, is in anguish because spiders are very valuable and he feels bad for the spider.  Pris decides to cut its legs off because she doesn't understand why it has 8 legs.  Figuring it only needs 4, she casually snips the legs off with clippers.  Later when the spider just sits there after being disfigured, another android puts a flame near it to make it move.  It made me very uncomfortable to read.  I suppose this for me was one of the most memorable scenes of the book, because it reflects the themes of life and empathy.
 
Yikes! Well if I've learned something from this book it's that I'm not an android because geez ... look how freaking terrifying this thing is.

There are a lot of other things that I could go into in terms of analysing the book, on which I'm sure there have been many essays written, but suffice it to say I would certainly recommend it to anybody who enjoys science fiction and/or possibly even detective fiction.  Overall I was quite satisfied with the book and it's a shame there aren't more Philip K. Dick novels on the list as I quite enjoyed his pulpy-yet-somewhat-literary style.  I think I will pick a fantasy novel next to mix it up.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Focused Writing

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com

Sadly, this was me yesterday on my day off.  Between writers group, working out, and falling asleep at the keyboard, I really felt like I had an unproductive writing day.  I also blame YouTube.  Curse you YouTube!!

Monday, 23 September 2013

50 Facts About Me -- Part II

Continued from Part I ...

11. My favourite sport to play is field hockey, although I haven't played since high school.

12. I am neither a cat nor a dog person - I love both equally.
Apparently the feeling is not mutual.

13. I really like painting my nails and have been experimenting lately with different nail art brushes.  After all, It doesn't matter what you look like, you can always have glamorous nails.

14. I've never broken a bone.

15. I get jealous of the people at my work who get paid to do creative things.

16. I never leave the house without a pen in my bag. 

17. I'm terrified of balloons popping, especially when they pippity-pop all over my vulnerable flesh.
Image (c) Tim Zim 2006
The guy popping a balloon in his own face is INSANE in my book.

18. I fantasise about driving different kinds of vehicles like giant trucks and space ships.  Must be the sci-fi fan in me.

19. Although I have worked in television for over 5 years, I rarely watch any TV.
Image (c) farlukar 2009
Ok, my TV doesn't look this bad, I still use it to watch DVDs.

20. I've read Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn about five times.

To be continued ...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Synopsis Woes

Today I am tackling the synopsis for my urban fantasy manuscript.  The process is much more difficult than one would expect.  Trying to decide what to put in and what to leave out while ensuring that it doesn't go over the one-page standard length is proving to be a difficult task.  This is particularly true when the story has many subplots and elements to keep track of.  

The way this story is constructed is very much like detective or crime fiction, in that the protagonist has to 'figure out' what's really going on.  Trying to remember what the main character is supposed to and is not supposed to know at any given point can be tricky when you are a non-sequential drafter like myself (i.e. I didn't write the story from start to finish).  

Similarly, how much of what's going on do I reveal in the synopsis?  Do I need to include the fact that someone put a dead bird in the protagonist's desk?  Do I need to describe her mother's illness, despite the fact that she only appears in the first two chapters?

We practiced doing a synopsis for my major project (the same manuscript actually) during final semester of university.  I am thankful for this, as I have something to work from, but the perfectionist in me is making life very difficult today.  

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Dog-Ears

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com

I used to be very anal about the condition of my books.  I barely opened them all the way so as to maintain their 'newness'.  These days I am a bit more laid back as I realised that if a book gets very damaged, I can always go out and buy a new one (assuming it's not a special edition or signed copy, that is).

I imagine after November I will have more time to write than I do now.  I've decided I will have to seriously consider what extra-curricular activities I engage in next year so I don't get so overloaded like I am now, considering my two careers (writing, full time lawyering, musical rehearsals twice a week, writing group once a fortnight, plus other ad hoc writing projects).  My social life has definitely been suffering over the past few months.  

On the plus side, I've almost finished book 1 of my Top 100 Challenge.  Review to come!! 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

In the Night Garden

Things have been crazy busy lately.  I’ve had about 4 or 5 writing projects due within the space of about a week.  I even took the week off work as annual leave so that I could properly dedicate myself to my various projects.  I have noticed that this time of year is generally when a lot of writing competitions and awards are due for submission. One of my fears when my writing degree was coming to an end was that my writing would just taper off.  That’s one of the reasons I joined a writing group through the NSW Writers’ Centre, so at the very least I would be doing something writing-related once a fortnight.  Gladly there are no signs that anything is going to be tapering off in the near future.  The good news is, the busy period is already starting to pay off. 

A couple of the women I graduated with have launched their own website called Tabula Rasa which publishes a variety of prose and poetry.  It’s looking quite good and I’m very proud of them – it’s great to see peers having success they’ve worked hard for.  They recently curated an art installation as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival for the In the Night Garden event.  It essentially looked like a writer’s desk and on a blank, open book was projected a number of works.  It was great to see one of my flash fiction pieces projected, lighting up the pages.  The illumination gave the works an almost three-dimensional, powerful effect in the darkness, the light spilling onto the desk as well.

The In the Night Garden is a surreal-feeling event, with most of the artworks being somehow lit in creative ways.  I expected it to be in one building but was surprised to find it spilling into the backstreets.  It was very popular and having the event at night just adds an extra excitement to the air.  I really enjoyed going and will definitely go again next year.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Synopsis



Something to look forward to this week - trying to wrangle my full synopsis into an acceptable one page document.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Mini-Challenge #1 - Rewrite

I read the following passage (from the first book of my Top 100 Challenge) and felt that something was missing.  The fight seemed to instigate to quickly.  I also didn't feel there was enough of a logical sequence of the main character (Rick Deckard) realising that Kadalyi was in fact the android he'd been hunting, Polokov.  I also couldn't find a reference to Deckard activating the sine wave.  Possibly I missed it, but I guess I felt there was a pacing issue.

So just for fun, I decided to rewrite the section (my attempt is in blue font below), trying to retain similar prose. I’ve repeated the original text beneath my version for comparison. 

Looking at my rewrite, I'm not sure if I accomplished what I intended.  What do you think?
Rewrite
‘Mr Deckard?’ the man asked with a Slavic accent.  ‘The bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department?’  The empty taxi rose, and the Russian watched it go, absently.  ‘I’m Sandor Kadalyi,’ the man said, and opened the car door to squeeze in beside Rick.
As he shook hands with Kadalyi, Rick noticed that the WPO representative carried an unusual type of laser tube, a subform which he had never seen before.
‘Oh, this?’ Kadalyi said.  ‘Interesting, isn’t it?’  He tugged it from his belt holster.  ‘I got this on Mars.’
‘I thought I knew every handgun made,’ Rick said.  ‘Even those manufactured at and for use in the colonies.’
‘We made this ourselves,’ Kadalayi said, beaming like a Slavic Santa, his ruddy face inscribed with pride.  ‘You like it?  What is different about it, functionally, is – here, take it.’  He passed the gun over to Rick, who inspected it expertly, by way of years of experience.
‘How does it differ functionally?’ Rick asked.  He couldn’t tell.
‘Press the trigger.’
Aiming upward, out the window of the car, Rick squeezed the trigger of the weapon.  Nothing happened; no beam emerged.  Puzzled, he turned to Kadalyi.
‘The triggering circuit,’ Kadalyi said cheerfully, ‘isn’t attached.  It remains with me.  You see?’ He opened his hands, revealed a tiny unit.  ‘And I can also direct it, within certain limits.  Irrespective of where it’s aimed.’
Rick returned the man’s smile, but felt somewhat uncomfortable.  There was something about Kadalyi’s accent that seemed odd.
‘Ingenious, no?’ Kadalyi said, then held his hand out to take the gun back.  Rick leaned forward to pass him the weapon, and as he did he slipped his left hand into his coat pocket, triggering the device inside.
The Russian smiled down at the gun in his hand, slotted the circuit back in, then pointed it at Rick’s face. 
‘I don’t even have to aim it like this to kill you, but old habits die hard.’
Rick shook his head slowly.
‘You’re not Kadalyi.  You’re Polokov,’ he said without humour.  ‘Why didn’t you just shoot me the moment you got in?’
Polokov shrugged with his eyebrows.
‘There’s nobody around now.  I can easily make my escape.  Again.’  He laughed.  ‘You bounty hunters are all the same.  Stupid and slow.’
‘I wouldn’t be so sure about that,’ Rick said.
‘Oh really?’ Polokov said and pulled the trigger.
The gun failed to go off.   Polokov fired again with no response.  He frowned down at the weapon. 
‘What …?’
Rick punched Polokov.
‘Sine wave, genius.  Phases out laser emanation into harmless light.’
Polokov swung, latching onto Rick’s neck before he could even blink.
‘Looks like I’ll just have to break your pencil neck instead,’ he said.
The android’s hands felt like an industrial clamp, crushing his throat so hard his eyes began watering.  Rick tried to yank Polokov’s arms downwards and away from his neck, but Polokov's grip held firm.  Rick could feel his head swimming, a blackness beginning to creep around the edge of his vision.
Struggling, Rick reached into his jacket pocket, felt the cool metal of the gun in his shoulder holster, and pulled the trigger.  The android’s face exploded inwards as the bullet tore itself through the circuitry and out the other end, shattering the car window.  
Lucky shot.
The death grip loosened, but was still firmly clamped around his throat.  It took Rick a good five minutes to peel the hands away, finger by finger, leaving him coughing and gasping for air.

Original
‘Mr Deckard?’ the man asked with a Slavic accent.  ‘The bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department?’  The empty taxi rose, and the Russian watched it go, absently.  ‘I’m Sandor Kadalyi,’ the man said, and opened the car door to squeeze in beside Rick.
As he shook hands with Kadalyi, Rick noticed that the WPO representative carried an unusual type of laser tube, a subform which he had never seen before.
‘Oh, this?’ Kadalyi said.  ‘Interesting, isn’t it?’  He tugged it from his belt holster.  ‘I got this on Mars.’
‘I thought I knew every handgun made,’ Rick said.  ‘Even those manufactured at and for use in the colonies.’
‘We made this ourselves,’ Kadalayi said, beaming like a Slavic Santa, his ruddy face inscribed with pride.  ‘You like it?  What is different about it, functionally, is – here, take it.’  He passed the gun over to Rick, who inspected it expertly, by way of years of experience.
‘How does it differ functionally?’ Rick asked.  He couldn’t tell.
‘Press the trigger.’
Aiming upward, out the window of the car, Rick squeezed the trigger of the weapon.  Nothing happened; no beam emerged.  Puzzled, he turned to Kadalyi.
‘The triggering circuit,’ Kadalyi said cheerfully, ‘isn’t attached.  It remains with me.  You see?’ He opened his hands, revealed a tiny unit.  ‘And I can also direct it, within certain limits.  Irrespective of where it’s aimed.’
‘You’re not Polokov, you’re Kadalyi,’ Rick said.
‘Don’t you mean that the other way around?  You’re a bit confused.’
‘I mean you’re Polokov, the android; you’re not from the Soviet police.’ Rick, with his toe, pressed the emergency button on the floor of his car.
‘Why won’t my laser tube fire?’ Kadalyi-Polokov said, switching on and off the miniaturized triggering and aiming device which he held in the palm of his hand.
‘A sine wave,’ Rick said.  ‘That phases out laser emanation and spreads the beam into ordinary light.’
‘Then I’ll have to break your pencil neck.’  The android dropped the device and, with a snarl, grabbed with both hands for Rick’s throat.
As the android’s hands sank into his throat Rick fired his regulation issue old-style pistol from its shoulder holster; the .38 magnum slug struck the android in the head and its brain box burst.  The Nexus-6 unit which operated it blew into pieces, a raging, mad wind which carried throughout the car.  Bits of it, like the radioactive dust itself, whirled down on Rick.  The retired remains of the android rocked back, collided with the car door, bounced off and struck heavily against him; he found himself struggling to shove the twitching remnants of the android away.
Shakily, he at last reached for the car phone, called in to the Hall of Justice.  ‘Shall I make my report?’ he said.  ‘Tell Harry Bryant that I got Polokov.’

Friday, 30 August 2013

Between Inhabited Worlds

"Now that her initial fear had diminished, something else had begun to emerge from her.  Something more strange.  And, he thought, deplorable.  A coldness.  Like, he thought, a breath from the vacuum between inhabited worlds, in fact from nowhere: it was not what she did or said but what she did not do and say."

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? - Philip K. Dick


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Creative Coffee

Today I had a nostalgic lunch with a friend on our lunch break.  We went to a Thai restaurant near where our old work used to be in North Sydney. 

It was kind of sad being there.  I used to think the North Sydney office – at the top of a hill and a 10 minute walk from the shops – was in a bad location.  But by contrast, the new office is in the middle of a semi-industrial area, we’re in open plan, have no access to windows and barely any natural light. 

I think what makes it worse is that we didn’t have a choice: our old company was being wound up and all the operations transferred to a larger one.  We were lucky to be offered jobs.

But all that aside, I also took the opportunity today to get a snap of this cafe menu.  I hadn't been there in months, so I'm glad they still had it up.  It's a creative description of coffees that I just had to share: the Chocolate and Chocolate Hazelnut ones in particular.

Who knew chocolate had a soul?

I thought it was great that someone took a hum-drum task like writing a cafe menu and gave it a little creative flair.  Good on you, anonymous menu writer.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Shouldn't You Be Baking?

It’s a question I’ve asked myself a few times over the past week or so.  Almost completely unrelated to me actually making chocolate chip cookies from a refrigerated tube of cookie dough.  Rather it’s in response to the completion of a stressful project, and the sudden lull afterwards.
I used to experience a similar feeling at university, particularly following the completion of end of semester exams.  After such an intense period of study and stress, in which I was scrambling to get things done, having them always at the back of my mind, there followed a sudden influx of free time.  But instead of enjoying this newfound opportunity to engage in frivolous pastimes, my brain would react differently.  Shouldn’t you be baking?  I.e. shouldn’t you be studying?
The question comes from what some refer to as the ‘golden age’ of The Simpsons (around seasons 5 and 6), in an episode called ‘Fear of Flying’.  It’s probably one of my favourite episodes because really, who can’t relate to a fear of flying? (Even if it is only a little, healthy amount of fear) Marge is having a bit of a breakdown caused by anxiety over her fear of flying.  As a result, she starts behaving in a number of unusual, uncharacteristic ways, including baking at all hours of the night.  One night, Homer is awoken by the sound of banging and leans out the window to see Marge on the roof in her night gown and slippers, fixing tiles on the roof.  To this he responds by calling up to her:

It’s that feeling that’s almost like guilt, that I should be working, that the things I am doing to relax are inherently wrong because my brain has become used to that intense pace.  A kind of inverse version of procrastination.  
I suppose in a day or so I’m sure it’ll go away once the growing fear of my next deadline kicks in.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Biting Anorexia

I picked this book up for $1 at a remainder shop and boy, am I glad I didn’t pay much more.  It’s not that Lucy Howard-Taylor is a bad writer – I don’t think, truly, that she is – it’s just that this is a bad book.  There are parts where Lucy’s writing talent shines through – particularly in the poetry sections – but those are overshadowed by the inane teenage whinging and lack of real narrative cohesion.

“I am writing from the bedroom: my solitary life punctuated by annoying family members.  They just won’t leave me alone.”

The only reason I read the whole thing was because I wanted to review it – otherwise I probably would have stopped before I was even halfway through.

The first part of the book takes place when Lucy is in high school and is a series of short memories interspersed with diary entries.  Later at university she continues to provide diary-like entries.  Here is where I think Lucy really let herself down: by including diary entries from when she was a teenager.  A lot of girls keep a diary when they’re a teenager.  I had one too and let me tell you, it is very embarrassing and something I would hesitate to show my partner let alone have published.  I can understand that she wanted to show what it was like, what she was really thinking at the time, but a bit of distance and editing will come a long way.  As a teenager you obsess over stupid things, things that in the long run don’t matter.  We didn’t need to hear about all these things.  For instance, she falls in love with someone she meets over the internet, but this eventually fails – we aren’t exactly told why.  This little story didn’t add anything to the overall narrative, and the book probably would have been better if it was taken out.  There didn’t really seem to be any real ramifications – it was just something that was happening in her life at the time.

The fact that we weren’t really told what happened is another thing that irked me.  At once Lucy is open about her eating disorder and reveals very personal things about herself.  Yet at the same time, she guards her privacy.  The decision to reveal some things but not others is very frustrating.  For example, would it really matter if she told us the names of her friends? I don’t think so.  We can probably work out who they are from the names in the acknowledgements anyway.  How about using pseudonyms instead?  It gets very confusing reading A– did this and L– did that all the time.  It further contributes to the lack of characterisation and narrative.

If I met Lucy, I would probably suggest she read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.  She seems like a smart girl, and some of her poetry and prose is very beautiful, but she doesn’t know how to write a satisfying non-fiction piece.  I read Portia de Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness – also about anorexia – which is a much better work.  In de Rossi’s book, we get a sense at the end that the character has gone on a journey, and we are given reasons why.  Instead we are left to guess at Lucy’s motivations, and it’s never really explained what helped her to move on and what happens to her love interests.  For example, at the end of the book, Lucy gives advice to readers who have an eating disorder, yet merely two pages prior she is still going on about how she considers herself ‘a flob’ (which I guess means fat).  Further, during the last chapter I was still getting new information about the character and thinking, oh, so that’s how she helped herself recover.  Or, that’s interesting, she never mentioned walking around the block a million times.  The final chapter is not the place where one should be revealing new information about a character.  Because like it or not, Lucy is the character in her own book, and she has not given herself a proper character arch.

The poetry in the book is really the best part.  I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better had she written the entire narrative through poems.  She seems to be able to convey a lot more that way.  It would also enable her to keep her privacy without feeling like she’s divulging too much to the reader.

“The darkness is sulking.
I poke it with my pen.
It cringes and crawls into a corner
Leaving greasy grey footprints.
Letters cuddle the nib and glue as one
Into crooked meaning;
Lone words
That dissolve in leaden circles
Lob into shadow and seldom return.
But
Sometimes,
… they do
Another jab,
Another prod,
Another wheezing pink pit.
A stab in the back
A blinding fissure in black –
… I win.”

The rich, privileged girl (one from the north shore of Sydney who went to a private girls school and studied arts/law at Sydney University, mind you) with an eating disorder can’t really get any more clich├ęd. I found there were a few sections in the book that sound rather pretentious.  For example, having an author’s note at the back explaining that ‘anoretic’ is the proper noun is, to me, like assuming that the reader is dumber than she is.  Personally if I didn’t know what a word meant, I would probably look it up, but it’s almost here in a defensive manner – no, it’s not a typo, it’s the correct usage.  If she was worried about how she would look as a writer, that is the least of her worries.

I can only review this book from the perspective of somebody who isn’t a teenager with an eating disorder, so I cannot say whether it truly achieves its purpose: helping those with anorexia/bulimia to overcome their disorder.  I’d say the last few pages of the chapter ‘The Light’ is where it is most effective as she actually speaks about how she recovers.  It’s too bad she wasn’t able to intersperse this throughout the book.

Unfortunately, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book.  If I wanted to recommend a book about anorexia, I would suggest Portia de Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness.  If Lucy were to write a book on poetry, I suspect that it would be fantastic.

Friday, 16 August 2013

And so it begins...

What better time to break the ice on my Top 100 challenge than when I am laid up in bed with a cold for days?

And so, in no particular order (other than the fact that it's on loan from a friend) I am beginning with ...

#21 - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Here I am, pondering the title question.

I remember being in English class - I think it was year 11 - when all the students from both classes had been called together to announce the next unit of study (I went to a small-ish high school, only about 50 people in my year, so there were only 2 classes).  Our English teachers informed us that for the next few weeks, all the girls would go together in one classroom to study Jane Austin's Emma and the movie Clueless, while all the boys would study the book Brave New World and the movie Blade Runner.  'What kind of BS is this?' I thought to myself.  I put my hand up.  'Do I have to study Emma and Clueless?' I asked.  I could think of nothing more tedious than having to read Jane Austin.  Why did the boys get to study the cool stuff?  'No, you can go with the boys.'  I was pleasantly surprised.  I had expected to be forced into the Emma/Clueless class.  So thankfully they allowed me to spend the next few weeks in the boys' class studying Aldous Huxley and Blade Runner.  I was the only girl - or boy - who asked to switch classes and I still don't regret my decision!

So that's how I came to know the movie Blade Runner, which I hear is based on this book, but differs somewhat.  Although I've not seen the movie for 10 years, from what I remember, I wonder if the title should be 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Unicorns?'  I guess I'm about to find out.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

50 Facts About Me -- Part I

I've been seeing a lot of Youtube videos with the '50 Facts About Me' tag and thought it would be pretty fun to transfer the same idea to Our Daily Prose.  So here goes Part 1...

1. My name - Jannali - is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning 'moon'.

2. I am quite literally allergic to stress.  If I stress too much I break out into hives!!

3. I made it to diploma level flute before stopping lessons to focus on my writing.

4. My favourite tea is Twinnings Irish Breakfast tea.
Image (c) Alexandre Dulaunoy 2008
Mmmmm tea.
5. I can sing an E6.

6. I am currently obsessed with Park Bom of 2ne1.
Image (c) the.angrycamel from Singapore, Singapore

7. I love the colour purple so much I asked for an amethyst instead of a diamond engagement ring.

8. For a time I went by Jannali Harrison ... long story.

9. I like to tell people my favourite food is spanikopita, but it's really hot chips.
Image (c) Indirect Heat 2010
Spanikopita just sounds like a more sophisticated favourite food.

10. I have nightmares about tsunamis.

To be continued ...