NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 18

I’ve managed to get some writing time for this story, mainly to keep continuity as it’s quite often lost when stretching it over a long period of time.

For a long time I always knew how the story would end, it was probably one of the few that I’ve written that had an ending in mind. Now, that’s all up in the air.

What had brought on the change of heart? It might be one of the hazards of being a pantser, which when I took to the notion I would finish it come this NaNoWriMo, and when I didn’t, realised something was fundamentally wrong.

Not with the story, but just how it would end, which for Marigold, will always be the same, but for the realm. The thing is, the deeper you dig into a story, the more people who are affected, and the different points of view, and variations on the story from kingdom to kingdom, the more the resolution is affected.

What’s good for one might not be the same for another, and once there are new variables, new people, now wishes are taken into account, the more impossible the job is. And especially for a young princess who just came of age, and had no experience of a world beyond her own orbit.

In a way it reflects the world on my eldest granddaughter, for whom it was written, and her life has changed as much momentously as had Marigold’s. Different people, different ages, different times, that transition from wide eyed child to difficult teenager wasn’t as hard as I remembered it, but then things were different when I was young.

And perhaps more telling, not a princess either.

For the word counters, another 4,258 words this session, for a total of 144,369.

The end of another month

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

Well, I’m not exactly having fun, but time is going past very quickly, and I suspect this is more to do with getting old, accelerating after turning 65.

This month I’ve been spending time finally trying to complete the YA fantasy story that I started over seven years ago. I had hoped to finish it last NANOWRIMO, but it was a bigger task than I estimated.

Then, I had expected it to be written in under 100,000 words, and last update, I’d crossed the 140,000 mark, and there’s still about 20 chapters to go.

It simply means there’s going to be a monumental editing excercise, in several months time. If I get it finished. I’m hoping that it will be finished by my eldest granddaughters 18th birthday as it is being written for her.

That means, concentrating on this, everything else has been put on the backburner, which is a disappointment because I have another two books not very far away from finally being published.

I have published a few more inspiration maybe stories, and several episodes of the episodic stories, but these had been written earlier, and no I will have to spend some time writing more for publishing next month.

If only there were more hours in a day, more days in a week, and more weeks in a month!

What will happen in the future?

I don’t think anyone can predict the future, not any more, and definitely now it is a distinct possibility that someone can create a virus that will in essence shut down the whole world, and quite possibly destroy it

This is patenetly clear after the recent troubles with COVID 19 and although a remedy has been found, it is not a perfect solution, or a means or eradicating it. It has shown that while we might be able to combat one version of it, it’s the mutations that will throw up questions about ever getting back to some sort of normal.

And that begs the question, what is, or was, normal?

It’s been a year, or more, and I think we’ve forgotten. What we have discovered, though, is the disparate states of the various nations and ethnic groups, and how they have fared in the wake of the pandemic.

It has highlighted systemic problems the world over, problems that have always been there but simmering below the surface. Problems that could be resolved, but perhaps will not.

But as a first world nation, we have not been immune to external forces, forces that have tried to break us while reeling from the ravaging of a virus that was brought here, and through no fault of our own.

But from the outset, we seem have been in a different bubble here.

I will admit that I live in a country with about 26 million people whereas the United States has about 330 million, there is a significant difference in numbers, whereas the US is only 1.3 times larger in size.

All this means that the US has a much larger problem in containing the COVID 19 virus, and probably why, down here, we are having a lot more success in getting the infection rates under control.

One thing we have all learned in the last month or so, is that lock downs, such as those hated by, and rallied against in the US, do actually work when you have much less population to deal with. This is why the actions taken by smaller populated countries such as Australia and New Zealand have been so successful.

Yes, we have had outbreaks, but it has been proved these can be contained. We have rigidly been adhering to the science, and the advice of our medical specialists without political interference, to keep the infection rates down.

Yes, we have limited freedom, but nearly everyone, except those from overseas who came here as immigrants and refuse to accept any form of ‘control’, have adhered to the medical based requests. Those that don’t, those that have railed against the rules, they are predominantly people who have come here from other countries.

I’m happy for anyone to come here, and get away from whatever horrors they leave behind, but only on the condition they leave those horrors behind, and try in some small way to assimilate with us, without having to give up there cultural and religious beliefs. When they use that as an excuse for their bad behaviour, they should be sent home. Obviously, this country isn’t good enough for them.

We are an island, so it is much easier to guard our borders. No one can get into this country without going through quarantine, and that try to lie their way in are promptly returned on the next plane out. We cannot leave without a valid reason, and if we do, when we come back, we have to spend a fortnight in quarantine, guarded by the defence force personnel.

For countries like the US, it is so much harder to maintain borders. There will be problems in the future with travellers coming from overseas, especially if the science behind the vaccines being touted doesn’t stand up to a very high standard. I suspect that anyone claiming to have a vaccine and using it as an excuse to re-enable overseas travel will find their pleas falling on deaf ears.

That’s because, as we are learning, vaccines are not infallible, there will be transmission, and not eveyone will be willing to have a vaccine, so even here, as anywhere else, we will not be rid of the scourge for a long time. Travel might be possible, but who will want to take a risk going to anothwr country where it’s not completely under control?

I guess, at this time of our lives, our chance to see the rest of the world is over, and that it’s time to tour our own country.

Whether we live long and prosper, well, that’s a story for another day.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 17

I’ve managed to get some writing time for this story, mainly to keep continuity as it’s quite often lost when stretching it over a long period of time.

For a long time I always knew how the story would end, it was probably one of the few that I’ve written that had an ending in mind.

Of course, as the story proceeds, some of the plotline will change, sometimes caused by the character almost writing their own story, or it is dictated by events that you may not have foreseen at the beginning.

It’s a bit like life itself. You can chart a course that you might think will be where you are headed, and then an unforeseen event will turn everything on it’s head.

Stories are like that. One minute you are hurtling towards the end, everything about to be tied up into a neat bow.

The other day I had a brainstorm, you know, the sort that comes out of left field, and leaves you either elated or shattered.

I’m not sure what I’m thinking right now, only that the end will be different, and better. Much, much better.

For the word counters, another 3,490 words this session, for a total of 141,111.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 16

I’ve managed to get some writing time for this story, mainly to keep continuity as it’s quite often lost when stretching it over a long period of time.

One of the parts I’ve been working on lately had been difficult to write, to say the least, and there have been about seven attempts to get it right.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

I’ve been reading up on the way stories told over time change. I think these types of stories are called Chinese Whispers. That got me to thinking about the whole legend itself, and the fact that it would be different in each of the kingdoms in the realm, simply because each would cast their own hero.

And since it was a story that was rarely committed to paper, the oral retelling would always have the tellers stamp upon it. If it were me reciting the story, the saviour would be a boy. Since the story was mostly related to children by their mothers, the saviour was, and always be a girl.

This morning when mulling over some completely different problems, the end, a different one to that I was contemplating, came into my head, and, in fitting with the nature of how the legend was passed on, it will be completely unexpected.

Also, for the ending, there will be an epic face off, one that has be brewing for hundreds of years.

For the word counters, another 4,200 words this session, for a total of 137,621.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 15

It’s a while since the last report, but the story in moving along, albeit at a slower pace.

I’m working on the last 20 chapters, each not very long, but have pivotal roles in the story, as we now get to see the legend from a number of different perspectives.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

And that circumstance is having a big effect on our once frivolous princess. Had the realm had spun out in a different direction, she would have been destined for a completely different life, one without having to make a decision, or do anything for herself.

Now, the weight of the realm, literally, is on her shoulders.

And in a strange way, having been writing this story for nearly seven years, getting to the end is surreal for me, and will be a surprise for the readers.

I still don’t quite know exactly how it ends for everyone, but it will sort itself out.

For the word counters, another 3,679 words this session, for a total of 133,421.

The past creeps back when you least expect it

Over the last few weeks I’ve been lamenting the loss of many things that once existed, once upon a time.

All children have memories of their childhood, but some dissipate over time and become forgotten, almost to the point where it is as if they never existed.

Like my grandmothers house in the country, bulldozed to widen a main highway. I have a lot of difficulty in remembering it even though we had spent many Christmas holidays there.

Other, more insignificant items just simply disappeared into the mists of time, as the manufacturers were slowly bought out by overseas companies and in their desire for globalisation, parochial items made for what seems, to them, to be too small for their economies of scale were no longer made.

No thought is ever given to the consumer. Nor does it matter that the item, made in this country for a hundred years, is especially attuned to the tastes of the people of this country, and therefore have a continuous core market.

Of course, as a child over 60 years ago, most of thise items were confectionary. Names of brands such as Hoadleys and Rowntree have long since disappeared. Products like licorice squares, polly waffles, toscas and crispins have gone too.

Some products like Kit Kats still exist, but are made by new manufacturers like Nestle but with the change no longer taste anything like they used to.

But what started of this lament for the old days was triggered by seeing an old, old favourite called Life Savers, which came in friut flavours, peppermint, and musk. My all time favourite was musk and walking through the supermarket I saw the words Life Savers on a box almost hidden on the bottom shelf and lo and behold they had musk.

The packaging had changed, the manufacturer had changed, but that timeless confectionary had reappeared. Given its shelf location, I don’t think it will be for long.

Now, if only they could bring back Toscas, and Tarax soft drinks in small bottles. Raspberry and cola were my all time favourites.

I remember visiting Washington when times were calmer


I don’t think anyone in the whole world could miss what happened in Washington on the 6th January.

I watched in horror.

But, why would it matter to anyone who is not American?

12 years ago, in January before Obama’s inauguration, we were visiting a very different Washington.  It was a cold but sunny winter’s day, and at the time there were very few people about.

We had come down from Baltimore by train to visit the sights, and monuments, which included the Capitol.

I remember going into the building, and through the rooms that we saw being invaded, and was struck by a sense of awe in that these were the hallowed halls of democracy.

We have all been taught that democracy and the United States go hand in hand, and that it is enshrined in these buildings and in their constitution.   I saw and read a copy of this constitution, even bought a copy of it to read in more detail later.  Even I could understand what it meant, not only for America, but for the rest of the world.

I wonder if any of those people who invaded the Capitol had taken the time to understand just what their constitution stood for or how sacred their monuments to democracy are.

I did, and I’m not American

Back to new year resolutions

OK, I know just recently I debunked the notion that we should be setting new years resolutions, but…

I just worked out why none of mine ever work.

I set the bar too high.

For instance, for the last few years I’ve made a resolution to lose weight. Yes, every year I realise I have to lose weight, but every year it never works.

Why?

Telling yourself to lose weight doesn’t work. You know it won’t as much as you know that going to a dietician, or going to the gym isn’t, in the long run, going to work.

This is a mind game. I’ve known that for a long, long time. You have to change what’s in the mind in order to make it work.

So, should I try hypnotism. After all, it can turn people off cigarettes, sugar rushes, just about everything. But convince me to diet?

No. Hypnotism is very specific.

What I need is something that will convince me to give up all those weight gaining goodies, and sacrifice taste and cravings with something that I know is going to be horrible.

There are programs out there. One I’ve seen recently is Noom.

It’s an alluring concept, and an alluring advertisement. Especially the one about the third generation candy maker who lost 17 pounds and feels like he got his life back?

Then being the sceptic I am, I googled Noom scam, and yes, it is and it isn’t. The concept is good, but the back up for those likely to stray is terrible. The telephone help line is manned by people who have no training and no idea how to help.

It’s a good idea wrecked by greed, sell a program then abandon your acolytes. It’s the way of the world, start with the best of intentions, then sell out, putting profits over people.

So, my weight loss resolution has bitten the dust.

Instead, I’m making one that is achievable. Spend as much time with my grand daughters until they grow up and go their own way. They have reached that interesting age, where they’re discovering the world around them.

That, and maybe travel on one last odyssey.

So, it’s the new year

I just watched America ring in the new year.

15 hours after we did here in Brisbane.  It was, if anything, a non event.  Covid put paid to anything as lavish as it had been in the past.  It reminded me of thetwo times we were in New York for New Year’s Eve and the first time we couldn’t get near tTimes Square, and saw the ball drop in Central Park, and the second, in a Times Square hotel not far from the action.

This year we saw it on TV.  Oh, hang on, the TV coverage didn’t cover the ball drop.  What the?

But not to put too fnei a point to it, I didn’t really miss it.  Notthere, and not here.

Any other year?  Perhaps.

Two years ago we were in Lake Louise in Canada, and it was amazing to say the least.  The Fairmont hotel had been setting up for it all day, right down to watching a hoard of staff trying to put together the portable dance floor, and later, when exiting the restaurant, watching the crowded hoards dancing to their own music.  Or so it appeared.

We dined in the restarant, and it was a magic night of dining, in a magical setting.

Just saying that I don’t think that New Years Eve will be topped in what might be the rest of my lifetime.

This year, nothing.  I was up writing, and on the dot of midnight there was 15 seconds of fireworks.

We usually watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve party and the fifteen to twenty minutes of fireworks after, but Covid put paid to that too.

Ten or so years ago, when imbibed with more enthusiasm, we went to a club on the border between Queensland and New South Wales where one had daylight saving and the other didn’t.   It was fun to celebrate New Year’s Eve twice, but not when we went back to the motel and discovered, after a rain deluge, all our rooms had sprung leaks and everything was wet.

The days of those adventures are more.

I’ve got used to staying in five and six star accommodation, but now we have retired and the income doesn’t match the lifestyle we used to have.

And with Covid always lurking in those dark corners waiting to pounce when least expected, I’m guessing my 2021 will be much the same as 2020, in isolation until we get a vaccine and the idiots finally realise they’re dicing with death, ours not theirs.

Still, it could be worse.

But, despire the glass half empty attitude, I hope everyone else has a happy new year and a much better 2021.