Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Let's go on an adventure

So I drag myself back from work and my sister (M) meets me in my room. "I just got a text from Sarah. She was wanting to know if you wanted to go on an adventure? She'll be here in like ten minutes." (By the way, that's the best way to ask me out on a date. Bonus points if you quote The Hobbit.

I managed to not get any pictures, so I thought I'd show you what I do at 3am (in case anyone was curious). 

I grab something to eat then try to decide which shoes to wear for an adventure. I end up with a pair of old flip flops (which is probably not the best kind of shoes for an adventure trekking across Middle Earth but shhh). Sarah shows up, M grabs her ukulele and we all pile into Sarah's car. 

I watch the buildings unfold in the window from my position in the backseat. My town is a quiet one, and at this time of night the cars are parked in their driveways and the streetlights sputter on like the lazy flick of a magic wand. 

Sarah parks at one of the lesser-known beaches, and we tumble out onto the still-warm pavement. She pulls a bubble wand out from her trunk. I am beside myself. I can't play the ukulele to save myself (or any instrument for that matter), and so I attempt to blow bubbles in the warm breeze that whips across the grey ocean and tangles my hair while M and Sarah teach each other songs and chords. The water swallows my toes and I drown in the sky, which washes over us in tones of amethyst and silver and smoke. 

We pause for a moment to watch the waves surge up the sand. "You know." Sarah pauses to strum her ukulele absently. "We drive past this everyday, and we can come here anytime. How cool is that?" I gaze out over the swelling ocean, and the depth and enormity of it makes me feel insignificant but somehow very special at the same time and I can't help but agree. (She continues by saying how instead we often stay home and watch TV, to which M says hey, watch it.)

When it gets too dark to see, we drive up to a lookout and find a bench to look out over the ocean. M and Sarah attempt to teach me four chords. It does not end well. Instead of continuing, I hand the instrument back and try to sing along as they figure out the chords to Someone Like You, Can't Help Falling in Love with You and What a Wonderful World. That's also difficult for me, because I don't know all the words and my singing sounds like a dead llama. But I have fun. We watch the moon rise, we point out the distant streetlights, and we let our weird, wonderful music float across the ocean to rest in this place I've fallen in love with. 

First day with my new schedule, thanks for understanding everyone. Have you ever fallen in love with somewhere? Are you musically talented? 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Ahoy, Changes Ahead!

(My apologies for that title, I couldn't think of anything better. (Personally, I would have liked to call it Spider-Man: Homecoming full movie free download but that would be both a lie and  illegal.))

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about the future and whatnot lately, and I've been thinking that I'm going to have to make some changes to my little blog in the near future. (*sobs*)

Full disclosure, life has been a little crazy lately. The endless oceans of my mind have been a bit stormy and there's been some stuff going on that I don't really want to plaster all over the Internet for privacy reasons, and so it's been a bit difficult to keep up with life in general. Beyond that, university is starting soon and I'm not going to be able to continue to post at the rate I currently am, and that's ok. 

There's a time and place for posting three times a week, and there's a time and a place for only posting once, which is where I'm headed. I'm not sure how much time I'm going to get this year, so it looks like I'm going to be doing a cultural/life post one week then a writing/reading post the next, and possibly a bonus post depending on how I'm feeling. I don't know when this schedule is going to start. I don't know when it's going to end. We'll see. 

I also wanted to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who continues to read and/or comment, even when I take massive breaks from commenting back on your blogs or replying to my own comments. It means a lot, and thanks for the support you guys. You know who you are. You rock.

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Blood Stained Search Bar Tag

The ever-lovely Liz @ Out of Coffee, Out of Mind tagged me for The Blood Stained Search Bar (approximately sixty billion years ago but shhh). This is always fun, because writers are weirdly proud of the fact that they have a weird search history. You should not be proud that the CIA would arrest you based on your search history, but many writers are like LOOK I'M CREEPY ARREST ME I'M SO PROUD OF MY DARLING MURDEROUS CHARACTERS!! So here we are. Spilling search histories. This is probably a bad idea in all reality, but here we go.

The rules (and I quote): Dig deep into your computer history and list five of your most recent and interesting searches for writing research: how to murder someone, is the sky blue, anything! And if you please, share a little about what you learned from these searches. Thank and link back to whoever tagged you. 

Oh look, another picture that has absolutely
nothing to do with my post, how fun. 

1) Non-lethal stabbing

Obviously most stabbings can become lethal due to blood loss and whatnot. However, I had a character who I wanted to become injured but not dead, as dead tends to end the book when she's the main character. (Funny how that works.) Anyways, the shoulder or abdomen is a good place to stab someone. Legs/chest areas tend to be more lethal, especially if you hit an artery. Probably don't try to hit an artery. (I accept no responsibility for any damage inflicted on anyone due to advice read on this blog. Please don't murder people.)

2) Time taken for a body to smell

This is a very interesting question, mostly because there are so many variables involved. You can have a body in a bog or frozen in the mountains somewhere and it'll last for ages, where on the other hand if it's hot and humid then it can start to smell within hours. If it's a fairly "normal" temperature then it's about the second day. That meant my main character didn't have a lot of time to get out of the house before her neighbours started poking around. Plus the stench of blood and whatnot probably wasn't great. 

3) Can pregnant women go on the Toy Story ride in Disney World? 

I had searched this up then my sister borrowed my phone, and I could tell by the look on her face that she had gone into my search history. This one's just a bit weird, but it made sense in the story because I probably shouldn't have a pregnant lady go on a ride if she's not allowed. (She was, by the way.)

4) Torture techniques 

It's funny because I haven't really written a violent book, yet by my search history you'd think that's all I write. A lot of these are for books I'm planning and haven't gotten around to writing yet. Anyways, no more excuses. People have done some pretty nasty stuff to each other. Seriously. Nasty. Stuff. I won't go on too much here, but just leave a link to old faithful Wikipedia for the strong of heart. 

5) Fireflies in Hungary

This definitely isn't one of the weirdest or most morbid, but it's quite an average research question. It's weird, no one would have ever thought of it and there's not really a point to it, especially considering this was for a book set in an imaginary world. However, it's a very normal research question for me, which is kinda interesting in itself. (And by the way, yes, there are fireflies in Hungry.)

Steal the tag, don't steal the tag, tell me your weirdest searches in comments, don't tell me in comments. It's basically up to you. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Guest Post: Rants from Relatives

Why, hello there. I'm M. You may have heard of me - I'm the wonderfully talented and epically brilliant sister of the young lady running this website. Yes, it's me. I know you've been wanting me to write for some time now and you've been wondering, "hey, when is Victoria's sister going to write a post already? I mean, she's passed her Blogoversary and her sister remains in the shadows. Hurry up already." So, I thought I would privilege Miss Jackson with writing this guest post. And not just any guest post, but something I am passionate about, something I have experienced and suffered from for as long as I can remember, something that has put me in the vast minority of humans on this earth: left-handedness. Victoria asked me if I would write a guest post on this when I came to her and complained about how difficult it was to light my candles with our stupid biased lighter about six minutes ago. Now, I'm no author, but I can spit out a good rambly rant. 

The brother being silly.

You see, our lighter automatically locks when not in use to prevent fire hazards, so the logistics of operating it as a left-hander are much more complex than ever imagined by a right-hander. The creators of this lighter made the unlock button in an inaccessible place for people like me when holding it. I just wanted it to smell like Christmas in my room (yes, in January). Is that so much to ask? 

Let's move on. Computers. Arguably one of the most commonly used objects in modern-day society and they have made it exclusively for right-handers. So, naturally, lefties have evolved over time to become adapted to this because the only way to make them work is to clumsily use your right hand to manoeuvre the mouse around. Now, this has made it so I am not as good at games, clicking on things fast enough (Quizlet and Kahoot especially comes to mind) and just generally trying to do any mouse-related activity easily. I've found my skills lie in game consoles and arrow keys. 

Let's not get started on scissors. I can't use right or left handed ones. Never have been able to. I struggled through my entire schooling because of that. Nope, no, nah, nein. 

Mugs. Now, you probably didn't expect this one. Now, I have a Shrek and Batman mug (no judgments necessary) but every time I drink out of them, it looks like I'm drinking from their forehead because their faces are the wrong way around. Now this shouldn't bother people normally, but it just looks weird and after a lifetime of habit you can't just switch hands because (in terms of muscle) my right hand is more spaghetti-like whereas my left is more like a baguette. You know? Bet you don't. Bet you're right-handed. 

Basic everyday things like tying your shoelaces become difficult when your family can't teach you and you look like a moron because you're so confused. "What do you mean the bunny just goes through that bit? HOW??". I'll have to thank my cousin for helping me out with that one (she's a leftie herself), but still I had to teach myself the simplest things like how to braid hair. 

Sports are really irritating. Baseball - need a left-handed glove. Any sport with a stick - which way do you face? Which hand goes where? Should you just conform to the ways of the privileged or stick with your clique? Which foot first? Should I be standing different? Which way feels natural? HOW DO I WALK? You don't even know anymore. 

So, there was an inside look at the life of a leftie in the 21st century. You're welcome. Basically it's just one big first world problem and I have no reason to complain and if you did not already know or guess, sarcasm is my native tongue so all of this suffering was probably not as agonizingly painful as I made it seem... probably. It's not actually that bad. In fact, I would go as far to say that I actually enjoy being left handed, despite the few negatives that come with it. It makes you stand out, gives you something to spit out when you have to say one interesting thing about yourself as they go around the circle in an attempt to give you great anxiety. So there. My first and probably last guest post as I read over this... Alright. M out. 

Thanks for gracing us with your presence, M. And leave me a comment! Are you a leftie or a righty? Do your left-handed friends complain all the time or do they suffer in silence? 

Friday, 13 January 2017

Different sets of eyes (writing in multiple points of view)

Lately I've been falling in love with writing in multiple points of view (POV). I didn't used to, and in fact the first three books I ever wrote were only in a single POV. I liked staying in one character's head, I liked having the world defined by that one character not only because it was easier but because that is how I see the world. Everything I see and do and everything that happens to me is defined and filtered through my eyes, through my mind, my experiences and beliefs. It's the exact same with a single POV character. 

Besides, as a reader I was never a huge fan of the multiple POV books. There was always that one character who I hated reading and forced myself to slough through their chapters. In other cases, the POVs were near impossible to tell apart, or the extra POV added nothing to the story. Why would I do that to any potential readers of mine? 

Then I started writing in multiple POVs and it changed my writing life. For a while now, I've been interested in how different people see others compared to how people see themselves. That contrast has always fascinated me. If the prince sees himself as the good guy, how would the princess see him? How would the dragon see him? And how would those views of him impact his view of himself? Or, how is an event in life viewed by two different people? How would a friend getting cancer be experienced by a seventeen-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl? If a robot falls in love with a sick girl, what does that relationship look like from the girl's POV? 

The truth is that the world is messy. Everyone has a different view on the people around them, on themselves, on the world and everything in it. I love seeing that twisted messiness, the clashing of core beliefs with desperation, the contrast of how you see yourself and how others see you. Multiple POVs gives me more room to explore, to see the world through more sets of eyes to get a greater understanding of an issue or a question, and it's kinda beautiful. 

Do you write in multiple points of view? Have you considered trying it? Do you enjoying reading it or would you rather stick with a single POV? 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

It's windy today

It's windy today. The ocean churns with muck and sand, with the dead things that are pulled to the surface on a rough day. It blows my hair across my face and tickles my skin, sways palm trees, tugs at the edges of my clothes, sends leaves scuttling for cover. The sky is hidden behind clouds the colour of the pale blue hydrangeas that grow in Victoria back home. 

I've just finished work for the day, and instead of heading for home as I usually do I've packed myself a lunch and settled down at the beach for a few hours to get some writing done. I have my earbuds, a bottle of water. A sweatshirt from The Hudson Bay Company that has the name of my birth country across the front in red. It's my favourite.

I'm lucky it's windy. Wind makes the kite surfers crawl out from their cracks and crevices, and today main beach is alive with blue and black sails criss-crossing the waves. They zip across the water, splashing through the grey surf which roils with frothy chaos and uncontrollable beauty. Occasionally, one of the kite surfers will catch a particularly strong wind or the right angle on a wave and are thrown maybe five metres in the air. They spin, land, and continue as if nothing had ever happened. I am entirely fascinated.

I watch them until I finish my lunch, fending off hungry seagulls the entire time. I accidentally drop a crumb and the birds attack like a mob of fans attacking a celebrity. When I finish and there is nothing more for them to steal, they move onto other unfortunates who thought they could eat their lunch in peace. 

I pull my novel up and start writing. Gentle piano floods into one ear through my earbud, the roar of the ocean in the other. My foot is falling asleep, but I am safe from the sun in the sheltered hut I have claimed for a few hours. Tourists and locals alike wander past. I am entirely alone, but I am not lonely. This is my town, and in moments like this I feel as if I have roots that have dug deep into the sand and soil and surf and have anchored me here to this time and place. This is my town, and I am lucky it's windy today. 

What do you do when it's windy out? 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Movie Review: Moana

But Victoria, is this another movie review? Yes, yes it is. 

In Moana, there is a darkness creeping across the world and it can only be stopped by restoring the heart of Te Fiti, a goddess. Moana, the daughter of the chief, journeys across the ocean with demigod Maui to save the world and stuff. (I seem to end most of my blurbs with "and they have to save the world and stuff". Apologies.)


I loved this movie. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. I'm a huge Disney fan anyways, and this movie filled the gap in what I was missing with my Disney movies. There wasn't a drop of romance, which was spectacular and a brilliant change for once. What also tends to be missing in Disney movies is culture, and this movie did such a brilliant job of closing that gap. (Obviously I'm not from the Polynesian islands so I don't know how good of a job they did with accurately representing the culture, but from my uneducated viewpoint they did great.) 

The songs were stuck in my head all day long (which is a good thing, by the way, they were awesome), the animation was gorgeous and I loved the themes and messages. I loved how when Moana was faced with the challenge of taking on a lava demon, the first thing she did was put her hair up. That's the first thing most girls with long hair do when presented with a challenge, and that little detail made me so happy, along with the fact that she looks like a regular human being. (I have a feeling I could snap Elsa in half, she's so skinny.) I also cried a little? I just get emotions, ok? Don't judge. My only criticism is that her pet pig didn't have more screen time. What the heck, Disney? 

Have you seen Moana? Did you like it? Are you planning on seeing it? 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Bonus Post: Dear The Girl Who Came into Work Today

Dear The Girl Who Came into Work Today, 

Hi. My name is Victoria. I served you and your aunt today at the pharmacy. I noticed you had cuts all up your right arm, and I know you caught me staring. I'm sorry. That was insensitive of me. I didn't say anything to you, and for that I am sorry too. I'm sorry that you didn't want to sign the script because then I'd see your arm. I'm sorry this has happened to you. 

If I could go back in time, do it over again, I'd say something to you. I'd say that while I don't know what's going on in your life, I don't understand what's going on in your head and I can never fully understand, I'm sorry. I'm not you, I haven't had your experiences but I'm telling you right now the road down self-destruction isn't a turn you want to take. It will not make you feel better. It might, for a moment. But it won't last. I've been there. It's not somewhere I want to return, and it's not somewhere I want you to be. And I know there aren't many people in your life who know what it's like to hate yourself so much that you deny yourself something you need to live, but I do, and I am here for you. 

If I could go back in time, I'd tell you that you are perfect. I'd tell you that no matter what the voices and darkness in your head are telling you, you can't listen to them because their lies taste like silver and salvation but they will eat you alive and leave nothing left. I know you think you're worthless. I promise you, you're worth it. I promise you, you're loved. And if you cannot love yourself, then my God and I will love you anyways. 

It gets better. I promise. 


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Looking behind, looking beyond

Happy New Year! *fireworks* *balloons* *fireworks in the shape of balloons*

I wish you all the best 2017 ever (not sure how that'll work out because there'll only be one 2017 but moving on)! Roughly a year ago, I posted some plans for my gap year and I figured this was a good time as any to revisit those goals and see what I have/have not achieved. (Also because I like lists.)

A mannequin in a window somewhere in Rome.
She looks as fabulous as my year has been.

1) Save some money. Well, did that. I'm not known as a big spender and I worked a fair amount this year, so I'm pretty happy there. (I did, of course, splurge on quite a few books this year but honestly that's just life and should be expected.)

2) Get better at French. I took some French lessons this year, and while I enjoyed that I don't think I got better. Maybe just didn't get worse. I've lost some grammar, but I started writing my journal in French so my writing has gotten better. Hollow victory? You win some you lose some? [Insert popular saying here]?

3) Take care of myself. For the most part, I achieved this one. Ever since September things have gone downhill just a little, but that's alright. I'm working on it. I'm a lot healthier than I was last year, so points to me. (This is mostly because of not stress eating, boxing/running with friends and jiu jitsu. So I did actually work pretty hard to achieve this one.)

4) Blog. I did this! Although I've slowed down a little in the past little bit because life has been crazy. 

5) Writing. Well, I didn't sign with an agent this year but I did get some agent interest, so I'll take my victories where I can get them. On the other hand, I did complete Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo and edited lots and stuff. 

6) Watch movies. This I did, but probably no more than usual. I watched all nine seasons of Doctor Who this year and fell in love with the show, but beyond that it I spend a relatively normal amount of time in front of the screen. 

7) Join the local soccer team or swim. First major fail here. I was going to join the soccer team but then martial arts happened, and I was going to swim but then I dyed my hair and the chlorine is really hard on the colour so I don't swim too often. All valid reasons. No regrets. 

8) Do more drawing/photography. I've started drawing in my journal, which has been totally amazing and I love it to pieces. I can't go back to blank pages. I've done well with my photography, too, I think. 

9) Relax. Been there, done that. 

10) Read. My bookshelf is bursting. It is beautiful. My brain is also bursting. It is also beautiful. I've gotten into non-fiction in the past few months, which has been a nice change. Classics, some newer YA. Life has been good to this bookworm. 

I'm not going to put any New Years Resolutions up, because I don't usually do them and I'm not having another gap year. I'm so thankful for this time I've had to enjoy life at a slower pace and get stuck in some of my passions.

What are your New Years Resolutions? Did you achieve your ones from last year?