Friday, July 28, 2006

two shirt sleeves waving as we go by

Got Dinosaur?

Everybody, this is Morris. Morris, this is everybody. Morris will be accompanying me on my travels, acting as stand in for a garden gnome as a projection of myself. Being as I'm going to be the one taking the picture 90% of the time, Morris will be my stage double. You can see the likeness, yes?

This is it, kids. I have packed for the last time, and remove enough stuff that I might need, but will make do without, that there is now space to spare. Most excellent.

I don't know how much internet access there is in the mountains (not much, methinks), and even whilst in civilsation, I'm not going to put a lot of priority on sitting in front of a computer. I'll check in when I can though. If for any reason you need to contact me, use the email address on the right there. I'll check it at some stage. Those of you who might need my number, have my number. Let's hope it works. (Miiru, you've already given me yours. Twit. :P)

I'd take a photo and blow you all a big sloppy kiss, except I'm busting out a coldsore. Yes. I KNOW.

I'm flying out tomorrow at noon. Don't break the world while I'm gone.

<3 Sir Tessa

Hey, you've reached Sir Tessa's journal, not Sir Tessa herself. She can't come to the internets right now, so please leave a message after the yo. Byeeee!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Untitled (Working Title)

I hate packing. Not that I haven't said that before.

I have packed one and a half times, and tomorrow, I'll take everything out, and pack again. Why? Because that's just the way I ween out all the things I won't need, but have shoved in "just in case". "Just in case" is the bane of my life right now. I know I can ween out one of those windcheaters - heat wave and all that. Cold nights I can deal with via the sensible application of layers.

Shit. I keep thinking of all this stuff I need to leave room for. Like thongs (that's flip-flops, NOT underwear). Craaaaap. I forgot all about them. And books. Shit. I've limited myself to two, which, considering how many I could take, is a mighty effort and triumph on my part. Except I suspect one of those books has been packed away, and I'm going to have to break my back to find it. Wait! I tell a lie. It is merely behind other books. Most excellent. At any time now, I will stop browsing the panelist list to see who ELSE is going. Closing the

Right now, I've swung away from "zomg excited squee!" to "zomg what have I got myself into?" something I did last time as well. Imagine how I'll be next year, when venturing to a country whose language I do not speak (but the food will be so good).

Despite having done only three and a bit nights of nightshift, my sleeping pattern is still severely fubar. I wake up at 4am, go back to sleep at 8am, and this happens no matter when I go to bed. Guh.

You know what scares me the most? The 17 hour flight. Having to wait 4 hours in LAX suffering from motion sickness. That's some very special misery, waiting for me right there.

One of the things that perks me up is the thought of venturing out of the hotel in Seattle and seeing a mountain. At least, I assume there's a mountain to see. Google images indicated as much. A BIG one.

Don't ask me what my thing with mountains is.

Of COURSE, now that I shall be away from my computer for a month, I've had the great urge to write. Three novels. The one I'm currently working on, it's accidental sequal and another totally unrelated have all had thinking breakthroughs in the last week. Ah, timing.

Again, tell me what I've forgotten.

Going to watch some TV now. Calm my nerves.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fuck. This. Horse. Shit.

I don't deal well with being sick, because it's very rare that I am. Headaches, I know exactly where I stand with them. They're horrible, but old hat. However, when the rest of me decides to go wrong, my coping mechanisms go to pieces.

Nightshift has the added bonus of taking my depression, which is normally passive, and amplifying it x 100. PMS has nothing on nightshift.

So in the past couple of days, I've randomly burst into tears three times and been unable to stop, I've had one single on-going tension headache, permanent nausea, aching muscles and bones, and I had to come home at 2 in the morning on Saturday. I was so wrecked I couldn't hold my head up; I was resting my head on my hand, and typing with the other hand. My body was that stressed out my period came two weeks early, and now I can't eat.

I've had bad nightshifts, but not THIS bad.

Suffice to say, I'm pretty fucking miserable. The third bout of tears was an hour ago, because I went to the doctor, and he was rude and didn't give a fuck, and I couldn't handle that.

And now for some sleight of hand; Yunyu's new album is now available at earshot and will soon be available at cdbaby. Her film clip for Lenore's Song can be seen here and it is awesome.

This is all the typing I can handle right now. I have to go concentrate on not vomiting.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Learning Sometimes Sucks

Discovery: Stress-induced periods suck.

1. Periods suck in general.

2. Unexpected periods, say, two weeks before you're due, suck even more.

3. The shit you have to go through to actually inflict a stress-induced period on yourself makes the period itself about as incidental as a side salad.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Answer To That Question I Didn't Mean To Ask

I need to stop posting at 1am. I need to stay up till 4am at the very least. Can't see that happening. Not without some random don juan climing in my window and keeping me awake, and let's be honest, if any one were to try and climb in my window now, they'd get a hockey stick in the face before they could say "Mon amie! I'm here to be your love pony!" And then I wouldn't be able to go on my trip, because I'd be in the remand centre, waiting for my court hearing, and trying to not get shanked by some scary butch woman's shiv.

The answer is: yes.

The question was "Am I writing because I write? Just as couples stay together because they're together and it hasn't occurred to them to go their separate ways."

All the workshops I've attended, all the little introductions I've had to adlib, I've said the same thing. I never started writing. I just never stopped. It's something I've always done, it's always been the larger part of my identity, and so trying to imagine myself as 'not a writer' is a bit like trying to imagine myself as 'not female'. Its fundamental in just that way.

Writing is the comfortable option. The easy option. I know writing. I can even kid myself that I've acquired one of the first few levels of skill and technical knowledge. I'll never be great, but I can aim for good.

Which can't be too different from settling for second best.

Because there are alternatives, sharking around the edges. They lean against walls with a thumb hooked in their jeans, showing of their sexier than thou hipbones, and giving me 'come get it' eyes.

I could write...

...or I could draw.

This isn't as new as it sounds. Drawing was a large part of my life as well, for a good while there. I doodled on everything in highschool, did pretty well in my art subjects, and made the greatest birthday cards ever. I don't know where the drawing went. It just...slipped away while I wasn't looking.

I want to draw. I want to be great at drawing. If I'm honest with myself, and I'll let myself be honest with myself, I want to draw so I can draw my stories. I should be writing comics instead. The accustations of writing too visually and too video game-like are regular visitors.

Part of me wants to turn away from words and catch the world with lines instead. Teach myself a new way of seeing things. A new way of catching stories. A new challenge.

Another part of my thinks this is just...excuses. To give up before I get anywhere. I think I'm afraid of success.

Don't take that statement as arrogance, it isn't intended that way. Failure doesn't daunt me. If I fail, there's anger and disappointment and my god, I throw myself at it again till the damn thing is conquered. But success? That's a scary thought. I aim for success. While I keep my expectations realistic, I don't see the point of chasing a dream unless it's a really big fucking dream. I'm trying to catch the sun with my own two hands. I'll probably fail, but I might...

I think it was Clarion that trigged this. There were too many compliments. People were paying attention to my fun little ditties, and suddenly they weren't little anymore.

A couple of weeks back I dreamed that Daikaiju 2 was finally published. I walked into a bookstore and there it was, big and garish on the shelf. At first I was delighted; at last! After two years of waiting, the story was in print. But then, as I stood there holding the book and staring at the table of contents, the implications of publication started to sink in. People were going to read it. Oh yes, people were going to read my story, and some of them might like it, and some of them might dismiss it, but gods, people were going to read it. The story wasn't mine anymore.

I woke up feeling anxious and mildly panicked. The book isn't even out yet. I can't be the only writer afraid of publication. But hey, I am. It's taken me a while to admit this. On an intellectual level, I'm laughing. I'm afraid of the very dream I'm chasing, but then, maybe the best dreams are the ones that frighten you.

I don't want to be good at a lot of things. I don't want to drift from medium to medium in my life, and master none of them. I want to master something. I want to be able to say, without a doubt, 'hell yes I'm good, and this many people agree." I want to catch the sun, this sun, with my own two hands.

And I will.

When I stop sabotaging myself.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Spartacus - Howard Fast

That cover is incorrect. The gladiators were made to fight naked, and Varinia is blond. Nor, I might add, does Kirk Douglas look like a sheep. Several times throughout the book, Spartacus is described as having a face like a sheep. I've yet to figure out exactly what is meant by that.

I enjoy all the books I read, but it has been a long time since a book left me utterly heart-broken and bereft simply because I finished it. Perhaps I read too much, too fast, too lightly. Perhaps I'm becoming immune to books - now there's a frightening thought. But Spartacus left me wandering around the house, grieving, because I will never be able to read this book for the first time ever again.

It isn't true to say this is Spartacus's story, but the story around Spartacus. It unfolds after his rebellion has been crushed, he has been slain, and the Appian Way is lined with crucifixions, an example of what happens to those who dare defy the might of Rome. What we see is the rammifications of Spartacus's actions on the Roman world, in terms of its society and politics. Through the eyes of a noble born youth, the general who finally defeated Spartacus, and the senator who saw what the slave uprising might trigger, the reader is given insight into what Spartacus represented.

He is only portrayed in the light of legend, as no one knows what sort of man he was. They talk about stories they'd hear, ponder on rumour and fact, and will never understand Spartacus, because they are free people who believe that it is the natural law for some to rule, and some to obey.

While they were busy trying to get inside Spartacus's head, I was putting all my effort into trying to get into theirs. The Roman mind is a strange thing, and while they couldn't fathom how Spartacus had the means, will, intelligence to do what he did, I couldn't fathom how they couldn't see it coming. It took a lot of work, but they presented their justification for slavery, and on such a scale. Something to do with a total disregard for life; the Romans appeared to be in love with death, courting it where ever and when ever; with their gladiator games, the many campaigns they waged, their politics and schemes and terrible, terrible terrible diets (tit lark tongue pastries?). They go to such great lengths to distract themselves from life, not unlike the current world.

The slave is afforded none of these distractions, and can do nothing but lay down and die, or live, and live.

There is a passage, which of course I can't find now, which described why the slaves defeated the romans so many times; they would not be defeated because they could not afford to be. They weren't fighting for land - they had no land to run to, no place to retreat, no safe haven. They fought for their lives, and so they fought with their lives. Because there was no other path open to them.

It was interesting to watch the story change focus, from being on Spartacus, to his wife, Varinia. Spartacus was doomed from the beginning, and although his ripples would last for ages, he, his comrades, and the slaves contempory to him were consigned to misery. That close in, it's hard to see the change. But Varinia was hope, and it is comfort to know hope lives on.

Fairtrax, hanging on a cross, said "I will return and I will be millions."

Verdict: Brilliant. Mind-catching. Wonderfully written, with fantastic characters and such wonderful passages. I should have marked down everything I wanted to quote. I grieved to finish this book. I wasn't ready to leave yet.