• Home
  • Posts Tagged'writing and creativity'
  • Page 2

Posts Tagged ‘writing and creativity’

The Domestic Goddess Gene & the Lack Thereof

IMG00659-20140420-1020I’m just home from my annual visit with my sister in the States. My luggage arrived home a day and a half later than I did, but no cause to panic. All the clothes were clean, pressed and neatly folded. No laundry for me to do! My sister’s a laundry fanatic. She doesn’t believe in returning home from a trip with dirty clothes, so the night before a flight, I’m handed an over-sized bathrobe. I strip down and my sister washes and dries EVERYTHING! And if it needs ironing, she does that too. I LOVE my sister! My sister most definitely qualifies as a Domestic Goddess. In fact, all of the women in my family qualify as Domestic Goddesses … except for me …

I look fairly well-adjusted to most people, and I can pull off the normal act pretty well after years of practice, but the sad truth of the matter is, I live in the heavy shadow of a long line of domestic goddesses. It’s a burden I bear as best I can, and the women in my family have bucked up well in spite of the family secret. Bless them, they love me anyway., but there’s no denying it. I just didn’t get it … the domestic gene. It’s not my fault. You get what you get, don’t you? And I just didn’t get any of that nesty, homey, Suzie Homemaker stuff in my genetic soup bowl.

My mother could have moved into a cow shed and within a few hours, a few days at the most, made Martha Stewart herself proud. Me, I’m more the type to move into a nice flat and adapt to whatever the previous resident’s version of interior design was. Does repainting everything to my own taste ever enter my mind? Nope! Does buying new curtains and placing pictures tastefully on the wall ever enter my mind? Only if there is a spot that needs to be covered. It’s not that I’m a pig or anything. I’m not even a slob. (okay, maybe I’m a little bit of a slob) I’m just oblivious.

I know there are women who actually enjoy housework. But I’ve never been able to see what’s to enjoy? And what’s the point? Don’t give me all that satisfaction of a job well-done rubbish. Even if I wanted to do it well, I couldn’t. It’s not genetically possible. My efforts, no matter how earnest, are always mediocre at best. My mother and sister, even my sister in-law, and my neices Writing imagecould cook a three course meal for a family of twelve in a kitchen smaller than a shower stall and dirty only one pot doing it. My kitchen is considerably bigger than a shower stall, and there are barely enough dishes in my house to make pasta and a salad for my husband and me. No, it’s not a shortage of cookware; it’s a shortage of domestic savvy.

Oh, I took home economic classes like all girls my age were forced to when we were in school, and I even passed the courses, but I think it was because the teacher took pity on me, or maybe she took pity on herself because she didn’t want me back in her class again. Don’t get me wrong, I can cook a decent meal. I can run a vacuum through the centre of the living room to get the crunchy bits all off the carpet. I can iron the biggest wrinkles out of a shirt without ironing back in too many more new ones in the process. I can sew on a button and even get the blood stains out of the shirt afterward from the needle wounds in my finger. But I lack finesse, I lack enthusiasm, I lack that certain domestic spark that the other women in my family just naturally have.

My sister would say my gifts lie in other areas. And she would say that while whipping up a batch of cookies between ironing creases in her tea towels. I love to go to her house. It always feels like someone just freshly unwrapped the package. And the cool thing about my sister’s house is that she manages to make it look clean, smell like freshly baked cookies and feel comfy and welcoming all at the same time. If I ever manage to get my house clean enough to meet the standard and make it smell like freshly baked cookies, the resentful scowl with which I would welcome guests and the deep beetling of my brow from all the effort that doesn’t come naturally would go a long way toward cancelling out the comfy and welcoming feel I was aiming for.

062It’s a good thing I can write, because I can’t sew, crochet, make tasty canapés or do any of that homey artsy stuff. Fortunately the women in my family have never held my genetic short-comings against me. They love me anyway. I’m glad, because they do that even better than they do domestic stuff, so I came out okay in the end. And really, I think it’s an excellent trade-off, the domestic gene for the writing gene. I’m not too warped from my dearth of domesticity, and the writing gene has made me almost completely self-entertaining and a very cheap date. Plus I can do a fair job of entertaining others as well. It may just be that in the end, my mother got a real bargain with me after all.

 

Writing Compost

composter dalek 2-1234In spite of having to do the backstroke to get through the rain-saturated streets of our neighbourhood and, in spite of the sponge of clay that is our back garden, the season is fast approaching when I’ll be thinking seed trays and compost and getting my hands dirty. I might have mentioned once or twice that I’m an avid veg gardener. I might have even mentioned the sexy stories I’ve written which take place in veg gardens. The truth is that gardening is one of the topics I’m almost as enthusiastic about as I am writing.  That’s not terribly surprising since the two are so philosophically compatible.

My husband and I inherited our first composter from the people who owned our house before us. We were suspicious of it at first and more than a little intimidated by it, and with good reason. It looked like a Rubbermaid Dalek casting a long menacing shadow across our back lawn. (Germinate! Germinate!) We’d heard that if we put egg shells and fruit and veg peels, cardboard and tea and coffee grounds in the top that in a few months, we could open the little door at the bottom and the myriad resident worms and micro beasts would have magically transformed all that garbage into rich luscious soil. Then all we’d have to do was shovel that organic loveliness out into our garden.

At first we had our doubts. Then one day we took the plunge, slid open the door and there it was, all dark and rich and soft and warm, and smelling vaguely of citrus. We filled a couple of planters. We were planning to put in geraniums, but never got around to it. Several weeks later I noticed there were tomato plants coming up in the compost we had excavated. My mother used to call plants that came up where they weren’t planted volunteer and, sure enough, we had eight volunteer tomato plants, the result of seed not broken down in our strange compost-making dalek.

Forgetting all about the planned geraniums, we nurtured our eight seedlings along and, at the end of the summer, they yielded up their yummy fruit. The next year we actually dug a bed and planted corn and beans and squash.  After that there was no looking back. Our one lone composter has long since been joined by two others, and twice a year we open the doors at the bottom and marvel at what an army of invertebrates can make from our kitchen waste.

Harvest 25 AugIMG00569-20130825-1722Each time we shovel bucket after bucketful of rich, loamy soil from our composters and spread it in anticipation of the veg we’ll be planting in May, I think about how much writing is like composting. There are times when my efforts truly seem inspired. Those are the fabulously heady times all writers live for and hope for; when every word shines the moment we write it down.

I would love it if everything I wrote would come forth fully formed and beautiful like Venus on the Half Shell, but more often than not my words are more like used teabags on an egg shell. More often than not, what I write is kitchen rubbish, the remnants of experiences already spent, the detritus of half-formed ideas and fantasies that aren’t quite what I planned when they appeared so perfectly shaped in my imagination. Somehow they’ve turned to apple cores and coffee grounds by the time I manage to get them into words.

My husband takes his lunch to the office, and he brings home his fruit peels and apple cores because he knows what they’ll become. He even convinced the lady who works at the office canteen to save the coffee grounds for him because he knows what the worms will magic them into in a few months’ time. It’s true, what we dig out of our composters is just soil. Oh, but it’s so rich, so fertile, so completely loaded with potential. We can almost taste the wonderfully succulent corn and tomatoes and runner beans we’ll grow in that rich compost in a few months’ time

Writing is no different. On the written page, the coffee grounds and apple cores of my everyday existence, the remnants of half formed thoughts, the grandiose ideas that didn’t quite have the magic on paper that they did in my minds’ eye will become compost, no matter how much they may seem like rubbish. I know nothing can happen until I write those words down, no fermentation, no agitation, no digestion, no chemistry.

But once the ideas are words on the written page, the real process begins. I turn them and twist them and break them down and reform them until they become the rich luscious medium of story, until they are just the right consistency to grow organically what my imagination couldn’t quite birth into the world in one shining Eureka moment. It takes longer than Venus on the Half Writing imageShell, and it involves some hard work and some getting my hands dirty, and a whole lot of patience.  But the end result is succulent and full bodied, organic and living.  And my fingerprints, my dirty mucky fingerprints are all over it. It’s intimately and deeply my own, seeded in the compost of what I put down in a hurry, raised up in the richness of what I then cultivate with sustained, deliberate, sometimes desperate, effort and a little inspiration. The result is achingly slow magic that lives and breathes in ways I could have never conceived in a less messy, less composty sort of way.

 

 

 

A Peek at What’s to Come

Writing imageFab writer, good friend and sister Brit Babe, Tabitha Rayne, tagged me for this blog hop Q and A fresh for 2014. You can check out her answers here. As you know I always sneak in through the back door of every New Year anyway, so February is when I finally catch up with all those new beginnings, and here is a peek at some of what I hope for in 2014.  I’ll tag 2 more unsuspecting writers at the end of this post!

If you could achieve anything with your writing in 2014, what would it be?

I would love to sell my Epic Fantasy trilogy and branch out into the wider world of fiction. I adore writing erotica and erotic fiction, and I can’t imagine not doing it, but I think like so many writers, I want ‘adventures in writing,’  and my wonderful characters in the first novel of my trilogy, The Choosing, have given me huge adventure and loads of dark, edgy fun in a new world.

There’ll be another book coming out in The Mount series at the end of this year as well, and I would love to get back to work on Eye of the Beholder, the burlesque play I’m working on with Moorita Encantada. So much to write, so little time!

What are the top three demons you must slay to achieve your goals in 2014?

The demon of self-doubt is always a biggie. No matter what I achieve, no matter what happens, I’m always and ever neurotic and there’s always room for a little more uncertainty.

The demon of Tunnel-vision forever haunts me and hounds me. I need more balance in my life, more play time, more time to read for pleasure and enjoy a little breathing space. I know that the Tunnel-vision demon would be way less of a problem if I didn’t love what I do SO much, but still, I write better and am more creative when the rest of my world is a little more ordered and balanced.

The negativity demon is a demon I’ve fought with all of my life. I don’t just see the glass as half-empty, but I often see it cracked and dirty as well. Sigh! I suppose seeing the cloud in every silver lining helps me prepare mentally for the worst and then allows me to be pleasantly surprised when things aren’t so bad. But really … Negative Nelly is very neurotic!

Name three things that inspire you to write

Just about anything can inspire me to write. It doesn’t take much. But things that are guaranteed to inspire in my life are long walks, working in the veg garden and, believe it or not, ironing. Of the three, I most definitely prefer the first two.

What advice do you have for a new writer who is considering writing fiction?

First of all, get the words down. ALL of them! Push on to the end, never go back, never quit, never stress about how bad what you’ve written is. First drafts are almost always crap. That’s how it’s meant to be. But you have to get something on the page before you can make it shine. First and most important rule of writing is WRITE!

Secondly, don’t ever give up. Like most things worth doing, perfecting the writing craft and telling stoies and getting them published takes lots of hard work and lots of time. That means the people who have made it, the people whose novels you enjoy reading are the ones who didn’t give up, the ones who got that mountain of rejections and just kept pushing. DON’T GIVE UP!

That’s me in through the back door of 2014, and now keep an eye out for these lovely writers and their 2014 plans.

Helen Callaghan  http://www.helencallaghan.co.uk/

Kay Jaybeewww.kayjaybee.me.uk

You can follow Kay on Twitter- kay_jaybee

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KayJaybeeAuthor

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3541958-kay-jaybee

Brit Babes Site- http://thebritbabes.blogspot.co.uk/p/kay-jaybee.html

Kay also writes contemporary romance as Jenny Kane – www.jennykane.co.uk

Chocoholic Needs Your Unctuous Chocolate Themed Stories!

 
  • Page 2 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

Site created and maintained by Writer Marketing Services | Sitemap