Shaily answered my questions! And the answers are ace. 🙂
A quote from it:
One of my frequent dream destinations is an ancient temple on a mountain. Not sure what deity or what religion…but it calls to me. It is dark, mysterious and beyond time. I only get to see it from a distance though. Every time, I spend all my time trying to reach it–walking up the mountain road, sometimes trying to persuade my companions that it is worth it but failing, sometimes stuck in the small colorful market that falls in the way wasting precious hours, and sometimes climbing up and down a maze of overpopulated stairs.
She also writes great short stories, sometimes sad, often beautiful, and posts fascinating nature from India, so have a wander through her blog. You won’t regret it.
For anyone else who fancies answering some questions about their writing, here they are:
Do your dreams ever give you inspiration for stories? If so can you describe one that has?
Do you feel comfortable writing characters of other races/ genders or with extreme experiences you’ve never had? What are your no go areas for characters?
Have you ever written anything that you wouldn’t write now? What was it and what’s changed?
How about a genre? Do you always stick to the same one? Is there a genre you’d like to work in, but don’t know how?
If you’ve written a novel, what was your method? did you plan it all out beforehand with flow charts and lists? Or did you have a vague idea of what would happen and just start writing?
Ok so, I think I’m pushing the scary-seed theme a bit beyond it’s ability to terrify, so this will be the last post on the subject until either a Triffid flower forms or it starts releasing toxic gas and I find lots of dead flies scattered around it.
For anyone who missed the hooha, here are my previous blogs on the subject:
Ahem. So the photo above shows the seedlings poking up from the mysterious Chinese seeds that I received. They look pretty much like normal seedlings. Those are just the seed leaves poking up, so I’ll have to wait a bit to see the true leaves and maybe work out what they are. No dead flies yet.
Ever since I had that messed up accident a thousand bloody years ago I’ve had anxiety. I think it’s as much a habit now as anything. My body just acts like something terrible is happening, no matter how untrue that is. Even taking a rest, my back tenses up as if I’m about to lift weights. If my hands aren’t active, I’ll pick and bite at my fingers until they bleed. And much as I try, I can’t stop gritting my teeth. Ever.
At one point I caused a huge lump to appear on my jaw from clenching my teeth and until recently I had pretty much constant pain in my back/shoulders except for when working (I actually avoided time off because I’d wind up in too much pain.)
However, I’m not writing this to complain, I promise, more to share two things that have helped me recently, and might also be an answer to stress for some others out there. I’m not totally fixed, but they’ve definitely helped.
The first is yoga, which I’ve tried many times before and never liked. I think the difference this time is:
doing it on my own so I’m not worrying about if I’m any good, instead just concentrating on my body and how it feels.
even doing yoga at home, I’d do it in a foolishly small space. Now I do it in a bigger room where I can actually spread out a bit (I do still end up hitting the sofa or kicking the wall quite often, but it’s a definite improvement.)
using videos of someone who doesn’t irritate me and deals specifically with the problems I have with my back. The videos are by Yogini Melbourne. She is soothing, detailed in what she says, and manages to give simple options for those of us who have a tendency to fall over. She also provides plenty of time to have a little rest, especially at the beginning of a video. When I don’t feel like doing anything active, I tell myself it’ll be an excuse to have a little lie down, which is a great incentive.
The other thing I’ve started doing is playing with worry beads and it stops me biting my fingers, which means I no longer get so tense. I started with a broken bracelet a few weeks ago, putting it back together as a string (the bottom one in the photo.) Then today I made the top two. With the middle one I went all out and added a spring and then some different sized cogs and nuts that I had, which makes it a bit like a baby’s rattle, a step up from worry beads. I figure the top and bottom beads are for general distraction, but the rattle is for more complex thought. Like Sherlock and his three-pipe problems, I sometimes have worry-rattle problems.
Now these are intense times, so I hope none of you are too stressed. But if you get anxious what are your ways of dealing with it?
I’ve been a bit shoddy posting recently, and I’m sure that many of you have been wondering: What about those mysterious Chinese seeds? Did they turn out to be Triffids?
Well there have been a few new revelations about the seeds, so I’m going to put an article up for any of you who’ve been wondering. There have actually been a few articles posted, mostly saying OH MY GOD, WHAT ARE THESE! WHERE HAVE THEY COME FROM? WHAT DO THEY WANT? DON’T PLANT THEM, WHATEVER YOU DO! A few countries have received them now: Canada, US, Australia, Ireland and UK – all English speaking countries, no idea if that’s significant.
One detail in the article is that the seeds come from Vanuatu as well as China, which aren’t two countries I think of as being connected. The article suggests we ‘avoid planting the seeds’ which is pleasantly mild, so I won’t set fire to the pot on my windowsill yet. It seems there are a few different species in the packets. Bamboo would have been nice and I like a Petunia, but I don’t think mine are either, so they may still be Triffids. It’s still unknown as to why the seeds have been sent – although the ‘brushing’ scam is mostly likely. Apparently the US are having an investigation and China are helping.
Last week the heat turned my brain to porridge and shriveled all the plants to dust. I didn’t post because I was too grumpy.
But now it’s cooler, greyer and my brain got impatient because I haven’t been on a proper adventure into London since lockdown began. So off I went.
I’ve been studying tunnels and catacombs under London recently and came across a place called Leake Street. This is a tunnel going under the platforms of Waterloo station, where graffiti is legal. It sounded like the kind of place I should know about, so I assumed I must have been there and forgotten. I was wrong.
I went today, I’ve never been before and it was ace, but a tiny bit creepy early in the morning.
You could see history in the walls. Layers of images piled up expressing rage, sadness, disgust and joy with life. Lots of current events (of course plenty of covid comment) and delight in colour and shapes.
Author’s note: This story was inspired by a post by Petra Jacobs about the Mysterious Magical Death-Weed Seedson her site Inkbiotic, and the follow up discussions in her comments section.
It was the perfect plot. In the nursery itself, I could see it unfolding in my mind’s eye, as I bought the seeds of the exotic plant–an anniversary gift for my wife of 7 years–a gardening-enthusiast with a huge Greenhouse full of other exotic plants.
This one’s a quick-growing African vine with bright red-green leaves. It is no secret that all plants are sensitive to the moods and emotions of people around it. This plant took this sensitivity to another level. It used it as a defence mechanism against anyone who intended to hurt it–it strangles them.
Imagine my wife approaching this vine with a pair of clippers to chop off errant leaves…
I was dead heading roses (does any gardener actually like roses? They’re shitty, fussy, spiky plants) and I stepped back and felt my foot slip into a slight hole. I walked back and looked down to see twenty or so bees come tumbling out of the hole. I was ready to run, ready for the stings, but nothing.
None of them stung me. Not a one!
They were a bit smaller than usual honey bees. At first I thought they might be hover flies, which mimic wasps, but have no sting, but they were too fluffy. My boss reckoned they might be leaf-cutter bees, which are awesome fellas.
In fact I have a theory that now many of the usual bee species are becoming extinct, leaf cutter bees (and other less common ones) are increasing in numbers to fill the space. Look out for small , neat semi-circular holes missing in leaves – that’s the leaf cutter bee.
OR alternatively, I am now Queen of the bees and none shall sting me. It is true I once stood in a swarm of killer bees (I think) and didn’t get stung. Unfortunately everything else is still attacking me and a colleague asked if I’d been bitten by a wolf because of the huge red and purple bruise that came up on my leg after getting stung by something that wasn’t a bee.
And these are the kind of rambling thoughts that gardeners have.
I planted some of my mysterious Chinese seeds today (post about them here) – the ones that have newspapers like the Express all in a flap (I wonder if Express journalists are as hysterical as their headlines, or if they just see every situation as potential clickbait).
But it seems I’m too late, because I posted up that I’d sowed them on my work Whatsapp and it turns out my boss got some of the seeds too. And she sowed them ages ago! And they grew! And they’re peas! Peas!
Now I have an all encompassing hatred of peas, little green bastards. So I take back anything reasonable I said about China. This is an invasion! They are evil geniuses! They want to ruin all dinners with pea juice (because that is the evil of peas), so that we become hungry and grumpy and subduing us will be easy. I know I’m going to have trouble convincing others of this plot. Logically it may not make sense, but in my heart, I know the truth.