Writing Wednesday: Just Be Writing

Just Be Writing, Kristin Cashore, writers

As the end of November nears, NaNoWriMo is almost finished once again for this year. I thought it would be timely then to put up a little graphic of author Kristin Cashore’s wise words to those who might be feeling discouraged and as though they might not meet their 50,000 word quota. Cashore, who is the author of some of the most beautiful and spirited books I’ve ever read like Graceling and Fire, comments that the fastest she has written 50,000 words is probably eight months – and this is something she does full-time! She finally caps her comments with this little bit of advice that all writers could take to heart: “Just be writing. That’s all that matters if you are a writer: that you are writing.”

And that is very true.

A Reason for Being: Chapter Six

Point of Negation, A reason for being, death to stock photos

Chapter Six

Meredith opened her eyes to find the apartment flooded with early-morning light.

She lifted her head. She was on the couch, her body curled against Tyler. His arms were wrapped around her, his jacket between them to prevent the wards burning into her back. Her body was stiff and cramped, her head and wrist ached, and her skin where she had accidentally or intentionally brushed against the wards last night was sore and sensitive. But she felt happy, almost content, for the first time in a long time.

It was a happiness which vanished the moment she twisted to look at Tyler’s sleeping face. Slowly, she sat up and the jacket slipped a little to reveal the mess of ink and scarification below, causing her to inhale sharply. She wondered if she would ever get used to the sight of him.

Meredith sat for a moment or two in contemplation of the sleeping magician. Then she squared her shoulders and reached for her clothes.

She took off the moment she hit the pavement. What few people were out at this hour turned to stare at the sight of her, bare of foot, with her dress wrinkled and out of shape, hair a mess, face and wrist cut and bandaged. She didn’t pay them any attention.

East Angel Square wasn’t too far from the house she had inherited from her uncle, though it was in a decidedly better class of neighbourhood. Meredith brushed her teeth and took a quick shower, scrubbing the bloodstains off her skin. She threw on a T-shirt and shorts, tied on her sneakers, and tossed a few things into a backpack. Pausing only to snatch a gulp of water from the kitchen sink, she left the house and she ran.

 *

She ran through the old laundry district of Black Moore and past the Saturday brunch-takers sitting under the pastel canopies of Quince Row’s cafes. Pigeons scattered out of her way as she raced across the Artists’ Square in Curruvane; her footsteps echoed through Gasoline Centre, now deserted except for one or two all-nighters clinging to the walls and looking rather worse for wear. She crossed Sky Kelp Bridge and kept going down the highway until billboards, gas stations, and diners gave way to open countryside. By mid-afternoon, she was running down a rough trail, over rolling green slopes and under trees heavy with late-summer blossoms, pausing intermittently to catch her breath, to rest a moment, for a quick drink of water or to eat an apple, but other than that she did not stop running.

Sometime during the afternoon, she grew aware of her knees and ankles screaming at her, of her body stiff and starting to cramp up, but she sucked in huge gulps of air through her mouth and forced herself on, not stopping until she was beside the wide blue-grey waters of the Nenya River where, without breaking stride, she kicked off her shoes and shrugged off her backpack and threw herself into the water with a yell.

She spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, allowing the current to take hold of her and drift her along until at last she pulled herself onto the bank and collapsed under the cherry blossom trees. She turned her head and watched the waters swirl by, the crests of the gentle waves highlighted in gold and pink and violet in the evening light.

The river breeze cooled her face and dried her hair and clothes as she looked up at the sky. At sunset and sunrise, the sky took on so many startling hues. Once, when she was little, Meredith had tried describing the colours in her mind, but there were so many shades, some of which she swore were colours no one had ever named. There was a drift of cloud, a pale pink-coral with a tinge of lavender mixed in its palette. Over there, closer to the setting sun, the sky was a burnished orange-gold with touches of creamy yellow. The river reeds were olive-brown with a hint of dull gold where they caught the setting light.

At last, with a sigh, she stood and pulled on her shoes. She turned back the way she had come.

She did not run all the way back to town. Instead, she hitched a lift from a passing friend who demanded to know what she was doing running down the side of the highway, but failing that, began to talk at her about the parties lined up for next weekend. Meredith joined in with her usual animation – anything to keep busy, to keep her mind off her thoughts – but she was relieved when they got back to Berninski in record time. She said goodbye and sped silently through the dark streets, her feet slowing only when she reached East Angel Square and recognised the figure sitting on the steps outside number 183.

He raised his head and she saw the light leap into his eyes. At the same time, his body tensed, as if he was afraid she might take off once more. “I thought you’d run away again.”

Meredith sighed and looked at her feet, which were most likely going to kill her the next day. “I did run away. But – I guess there’s really nowhere else left to go.”

She came to sit beside him. Heat rose off her cooling skin; sweat ran down her face and caused her eyes to sting.

The moon was rising. Somewhere nearby, a lone cricket chirped a light, melodious song.

He said softly, “I’m happy you came back.”

“What are we doing, Tyler?” she asked. “Where are we gonna go from here?”

He hesitated. “Well, I do have a kind-of plan for what happens next …”

She looked at him as if he were crazy. “You have a kind-of plan? One which doesn’t involve my killing you, or vice versa?”

“More or less,” he said lightly. “Really, I think you should appreciate me just a little bit more. There aren’t too many guys willing to risk their lives to stick with the woman they love.”

She snorted. “There aren’t too many idiots in the world, that’s why.”

He laughed softly and put his hand over hers. She didn’t pull away.

“So,” she finally said, “what’s this brilliant plan of yours?”

Recipe: Frittata

Fritatta, vegetarian, feta, basil

I’ve been watching the original Broadway version of Into the Woods on the weekend ahead of the upcoming movie version starring Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick. A workmate of mine who loves musicals even more than I do loaned me the DVD a while back when he heard I had never seen it, telling me I would love it. Well, it took me a while to get around to watching it but I did and it was amazing! It was so sweet and funny and sometimes sad. My two favourite songs from the show? Agony and No One is Alone. I can’t wait now for the movie version, especially to see what they’ll do with the setting of the woods and the characters’ outfits. Though the original Broadway version was amazing, it was staged some years ago and I’d love to see what the costumes will look like in the updated movie version!

While having my lazy weekend, I was tempted to not bother with cooking and just turn to the old college staple of instant noodles for lunch. But I didn’t really want to have something unhealthy after being relatively good last week with my eating habits and I thought I’d rustle round the fridge for something fresh and quick that I could cook up easily.

I ended up making this vegetarian frittata out of ingredients I had on hand and it turned out to be really quick and delicious! Fresh is always better than processed instant meals :) The only thing that wasn’t exactly fresh was the frozen veggie mix, but nutritionists have always said frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh ones, if not even more packed with nutrients as they are snap freeze right after being picked and blanched, and anyway any veggies are way better than none!

Vegetarian Frittata:

Ingredients:

  • A few handfuls of frozen vegetable mix, thawed (I used a mix of corn, capsicum and peas and blanch them for a minute or two in a bowl filled with boiling water straight from the kettle to thaw quickly)
  • Four eggs
  • Paprika
  • Cracked pepper
  • A few cubes of feta
  • A handful of fresh basil

Directions:

Crack eggs into a bowl and beat to combine. Add the frozen vegetables and season with paprika and cracked pepper.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the egg mixture. Let cook until the eggs are cooked and set.

Slid the frittata onto a plate. Crumble the feta over the top of the frittata and garnish with the basil. Serve and enjoy!

Monday Motivation: “Everything Will Be All Right in the End.”

Everything Will Be All Right In the End, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, positivity

Week in Training (November 17th to 23rd)

Outdoor healthy lunch, The Collective Hub, green juice, The Market Juicery, watermelon, salad

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone’s having a great weekend!

While the rest of the country has been experiencing a hot week, Perth has been quite cool this week. I’m grateful for this as I’m still not looking forward to the summer heat!

Thanks to the coolness of the weather, I was able to head out for a few more runs this week. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Kayla Itsines’ BBG program and how they tone up the body in just a few short workouts. However, because I’m so used to incorporating running in my workouts, I just didn’t feel like the recommended power walks for cardio were enough for me. (Side note: in the Kayla Itsines BBG 1.0, I incorporated a mix of running and swimming instead of the power walks. I was curious to know if just the walks alone would be enough so I decided to try just sticking to the recommended LISS – low intensity steady state cardio – in the first few weeks of the BBG 2.0). READ MORE

Three Priorities

Three Daily Priorities

It seems to me that the one thing everyone wishes for is more time. More time to get work done, more time to exercise, more time to spend with friends and family, more time to get our hair done, the laundry done, to clean and fix the car, to do boring household chores like buy new light globes and clean the fridge, to do little Pinterest projects and to prepare nutritious, healthy, clean meals. We’re always so busy, we always don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything we want done, why can’t we have more time??!!?!?

I myself suffer from time management issues. “I’m too busy!” I always find myself hollering at J. “I don’t have enough time for [insert chore/social commitment/appointment/errands/whatever/life in general]. I need more time!!!”

And in fact, trying to fit in work, exercise, prepping and cooking healthy meals, dates with friends, quality time with J, writing, blogging, housework and a good night’s sleep in the space of 24 hours is simply not working for me. Simply. Not. Working.

That is, until I discovered this. The Magical Three Priorities. READ MORE

Recipe: Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

I forced myself up extra early this morning to get in a run before the temperature began to rise and it was too hot to do anything. I’m not a morning person and it’s always a bit of a drag forcing myself out of bed when I could really be sleeping in for another couple of hours. But once I was out, hitting the pavement with a cool breeze coming off the river, I was so glad I made myself do it! Now I’m demolishing a breakfast burrito with some chopped strawberries on the side while typing this post and listening to Mark Ronson’s new song, Uptown Funk, featuring Bruno Mars! Hot damn! The funk is on! I’m loving the high energy of the song – it just totally suits the endorphins high i’m still experiencing from my run :)

Whenever I listen to Mark Ronson songs, I’m always thinking big boom boxes, funky Converse sneakers, big neon 80s-style earrings and those 90s school jackets with white stripes down the sleeves. Fun and funky!

Now onto the breakfast burrito! READ MORE

A Reason for Being: Chapter Five

Point of Negation, A reason for being, death to stock photos

Chapter Five

 Fifteen months earlier.

 The first time Meredith laid eyes on Tyler, she had been running. Always running.

She had been running on a beach, back and forth across the five-mile stretch of shore. It was early morning, humid and grey, and the weather was not good. The waves crashed on the shore with a certain stormy vengeance, Neptune’s message to mere mortals that he wasn’t too pleased with the damage they had inflicted upon his underwater kingdom with their oil spills and chemical dumps, a warning that one day soon he would rise up and unleash his fury and drown the world with his dissatisfaction.

She was beginning her final lap when he strolled down to the beach, wearing an olive green T-shirt and board shorts, bare of foot. He had a dog with him, a German shepherd, prancing and barking, delighted to be out on this wild, windy day.

He’d smiled at her as she sprinted past. She had managed a sort of grimace, being too out of breath to do anything but concentrate on running, on not breaking her stride, her rhythm. Meredith’s kind of run was a run so fast, it didn’t leave much room to think of anything else.

He was still there with his dog when she returned, her feet slowing because she had almost reached the end of her run. She ran past them, and allowed her feet to turn and guide her, not to the Guesthouse, but into the ocean. Being on the beach, she had chosen to run barefoot, and soon she was standing knee-deep in the water, sweat running down her face and neck and arms. Waves crashed against her legs, pelting her T-shirt and shorts and threatening to send her tumbling back.

“It’s good in the water, isn’t it?”

She whipped around at the voice. READ MORE

Writing Wednesday: A Self-Respecting Artist

A self-respecting artist - Tchaikovsky

It’s more than halfway through NaNoWriMo! Time to get to work!

Book Review: Station Eleven

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Station Eleven has got to be one of my top reads for 2014. It’s a beautifully written book set in a post-apocalyptic United States some years after the pandemic known as the Georgian Flu has wiped out most of humanity as we know it. The story follows a handful of survivors, including a wandering tribe of actors and musicians who make their way between various settlements, risking all sorts of dangers in order to perform works of Shakespeare for what is left of humankind. READ MORE