The Nasty Truth

I read a lot of posts written by amazing people doing fantastic things – taking action, grabbing life and inspiring others but I’d like to reiterate a point they make all the time but I think readers glide over:

Dreams take work.

Inspiration gets you started but good ol’ fashioned elbow grease keeps you going. And sometimes there’s a lot more grease required than you first thought.  It’s not all good times, and if my experience is anything to go by, when you first start out, you’re shit scared, pretty much all the time.

You go through periods of self doubt and project lethargy; this is normal.  This does not mean you have made the wrong decision; the wrong decision would be giving up now, pandering to your fears and accepting failure.

All those wonderful, inspiring, motivated life adventurers we look to every day – even they have low times. Suck it up, sunshine. One day soon, it will all look up.

PS Thank you to those of you who are willing to write about failure, lethargy, self doubt and any other not so inspiring life moments from time to time – in the low times we find the depths of our strength.

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Where’s your dream?

Where’s your dream? Can you still see it?

Chances are you can’t. You’re not the only one.  Ever heard the saying ‘can’t see the woods for the trees’?  Often times, we get so bogged down in doing the doing that we forget what were are aiming for or, worse, where we were going.

Life is busy.  Life is distracting. Life likes to tangle you up in the day to day – that’s it’s job.  It keeps the world ticking over.  Everyone has to wash dishes*.

So finish the dishes or whatever task/project is keeping you from pursuing that dream or getting to your destination.  If the task/project seems never ending, ask yourself if it’s worth sacrificing the dream to finish it; if it’s not, stop – STOP RIGHT NOW – if it is, well, perhaps you have a new dream.

It’s ok to change your dreams, it’s even ok to get distracted from them but it’s not ok to fail pursuing them because we’re too tired/busy/lazy to reach for them.

Ok, that’s it – go off and catch a dream – I’m going to.

*perhaps not everyone but most people – or at least load the dishwasher.

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Free Editing

No games here, this is exactly what it sounds like – free editing.  I’m feeling generous and energised and want to put that energy to good use, so here I go with a one time, one lucky person offer*:

Submit a one-page synopsis of your manuscript (note: your manuscript must already be written in full – even if it’s a first draft), including:

  • Blurb (think of this as your chance to write the blurb on the back cover – hook me!)
  • Genre
  • Word count
  • Future intentions for the piece (sending to an agent, e-book distribution, publication, gathering dust in your desk drawer…)
  • A little bit about you (like your name, whether you’ve published before and when – just a few tidbits.)
  • When you would like the edits returned to you (depending on the length, I am aiming for a 1-month turnaround at the very longest)

There are a few conditions, so let’s start with those:

Content: Fiction or Humourous Travel only**

  • Note: No erotica.  Thank you but no.

Originality: 100% original and 100% your work

  • I spit on plaguerists and I will (virtually) spit on you if I figure out that I am editing work that doesn’t belong to you – I will stop immediately and burn your typescript in an apoplectic rage (metaphorically speaking).  Then, I will probably tell on you. *Nah ne nah ne nah nah*

Length: As long as it’s all yours, go ahead and submit it but remember…your submission must come with a word count and if it’s 1,000,000 words, I’m not likely to pick yours – unless it sounds super-awesome.

Language: English only – it’s my speciality 🙂

Due date: All submissions must be received by 12.00am WST (Australia) on Wednesday 14th October 2011.

And so that you don’t think I’m a complete whack-job, feel free to visit here.  I do run a business writing and editing things for a living – I promise, I’m legitimate.  I’m also honest, so I won’t run off with your New York Times Bestseller – copyright remains 100% yours.

I know what you’re thinking – what’s the catch?

No catch.  If your work is selected, I will edit to whole darn thing for grammatical accuracy, tone, content and style (all the standard editing stuff).  I will then send it back to you with all the updates/corrections/comments; you are then free to go off and conquer the world with it.

Ready to send me your submission (remember, only a synopsis as described above)? Ok, follow these instructions carefully. Fill in the form below and in the comment section, tell me your favourite colour.  This should verify that you are a real person and I will then respond with Step 2 of the submission process.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them as a comment so that others can benefit from any helpful answers I am able to provide (no promises though!)

Good luck 🙂

——

*If it goes well, I’ll probably do this again, but for now I’m starting small.

**This is just for now; again, if all goes well, I’ll broaden the net.

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An ampoule of pain

For a change, a poem. A moment captured and distilled.  Just an essence. Only the essential – nothing more. I’m not vouching for its poetic genius; it is what it is. An ampoule of pain – just enough to grieve and get through, which I have done now – so now, it’s time to share – not the grief but the process. To those of you who know, my deepest sympathies; to those who do not, I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed that you never shall.

***

skin and bones and lead

a sack of fat – empty & soft

hair dripping, skin drying

ageing

cracking imperceptibly

spiders vein

shattering glass falls away –

it hurts inside.

on the out – nothing

a flush

maybe from the hot water

tears stiffening, blink twice

breathe.

keep going.

(Title: miscarriage)

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Grabbing colour

Hey you – yes you, over there in the cubicle, snatching a quick break to find inspiration from the mundane on this far corner of the internet. You’re searching for something to keep you sane during your 16-hour day – a snippet of greener grass in the otherwise barren wasteland that is your work-life. Well, let’s be honest, your work is your life.

Your life is a hard slog full of grey – grey cubicle, grey suit, grey building, grey concrete, grey smog, grey car (although you probably call it silver). I can almost guarantee that you aren’t wearing purple tights or a polka-dot tie. You’re mainlining caffeine right now – probably black sludge that’s been warming most of the day. It tastes rancid but you don’t have time to make a fresh pot. You may be one of the lucky ones who, on their 5 minute lunch break at 2.47pm, has purchased an extra large, rainforest alliance espresso coffee with double-skim soy milk (extra froth on the side) for the bargain price of $6.00 – it probably tastes like grey cardboard but at least you’ve assuaged your guilt for a) paying $6 for a coffee when the average daily wage in some countries is 50% less than that and b) offsetting the three sugars used to make it palatable by choosing a dairy substitute.

Can I just ask you why? What’s the purpose of your sixteen-hour grey infused day? To have a ‘good job’ that sucks out your soul, to buy the slightly better house with the slightly larger mortgage in the slightly better neighbourhood to have the slightly better car to drive the kids to a slightly better school where they get a slightly better education to get into slightly better colleges to get slightly better jobs where they work a sixteen hour day…rinse and repeat?

Is it so that you can be slightly better than the grey zombie in the cubicle next to you or the one down the hall or in the building across the street? Is it so that, at your ten-year high-school reunion, you can justify your appallingly unfulfilling existence because you’ve done slightly better than your peers?

Can I just remind you of one, mildly important yet generally ignored fact? We only get to do this once…you know, the whole living thing. We don’t know what comes next – we might think we do, depending on our faith and personal beliefs – but we don’t really know. We’ve got this life and only one and we don’t get a do-over. And we don’t know when it ends – it could end tomorrow but go ahead, plan to do the good stuff ‘someday’.

What would happen if you let it all go? What if you no longer cared what your father/ sister/colleague/boss/total stranger/best friend thought you should do? What if you ignored the ingrained expectations and social pressures?

Who would you be disappointing if you lived a happy, fulfilled life? Does it matter, then, if you live in a slightly smaller house in a slightly less affluent suburb with a slightly smaller mortgage (or none at all) and own a more modest car to drive your kids to their less prestigious school where they feel less pressured to achieve and more inspired to live their one life, to find happiness and make meaning?

If you love your sixteen hour days and the hard slog that’s fantastic – you are living the life that you want and you’re probably happy doing it. But as for the rest of us, maybe it’s time to let go of the grey and grab onto some colour.

One final if:

If you don’t liveyour life, what’s the point?

**
So, Gerty’s been a bit busy and has got behind on her tasksortreats but she’s come up with an ingenious solution. She’s going to combine some of them – feel free to do the same:

I’m going to get dolled up, go to a champagne bar and pretend I can’t speak english, on the way stopping past the art gallery of XXX to make pompous remarks, in english!

This plan combines four different tasks and I think she’s done it rather well. Feel free to take a leaf out of Gerty’s book and do the same.

Today’s taskortreat:

It’s spring time* and everyone loves flowers.
Buy yourself flowers for your desk or dinner table.
This is particularly cost effective if you buy 1 gerbera (or you nick them from someone’s garden).

*it might not be spring time for you; but there’s always room for flowers.

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A quick catch up…

Sorry to anyone following the daily task or treat – I’ve been remiss for days. I have a really good excuse though – I’ve started a new business and launched the website. This project has been on a slow boil for many moons, however this week I jumped off the cliff. So far, I have not smashed myself to smithereens on jagged rocks. The website is basic and temporary; at some point, I hope to have a very clever person do a ‘real’ one for me but I can wait until I’ve fleshed out exactly where this venture is taking me – for the moment, you can find out more at

DelfsInk.com

So, to catch you up, here’s what you can try to cram in for the next few days:

Taskortreat#10

Have asparagus and cheese toasted sandwhich for dinner:

Crusty bread
Jarlsberg cheese (you don’t have to go upmarket, homebrand will do)
canned asparagus

Place sandwhich (open faced) under grill until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Enjoy with a glass of white wine, beer or even water.

Taskortreat#11
Eat chocolate

Taskortreat#12
It’s ladies night – but we’re staying in (sorry gents – I give full permission for a substitution here, if nail painting is not your thing…or try it, you might like it)

Let’s try something French for the evening…

Vin de Bourgogne (French Burgundy)
French Polish (DIY)
French Fries (ok, I know they aren’t french but…)

Put on ‘So Frenchy, so chic’, crack the bottle and do your fingers and toes.

If you don’t want the French look, pick a funky colour and go with that.

Now, Gerty is doing an excellent job with her daily taskortreat – even when she needs to make substitutions. For instance, on Sunday, she was unable to get a photo of lifeguards so instead, she took a photo of surfers as the moon rose. She even stuck her toes in the relatively chilly water – go Gerty. And, as is the point of all this silliness, the daily taskortreat led to something lovely and unexpected – fish and chips in the moonlight on a beautiful spring night, listening to the crash of the surf and enjoying just being.

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taskortreat #9

Today’s task:

Go to an avante garde or an independent film or, at the very least, a film. If you’re really game, choose to watch one with subtitles. I’ve noticed that in some of these trendy, off-kilter cinemas they even serve wine. Go ahead and order one (if you’re legal), sit back and read your movie.

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