Happy Halloween

Last year I took part in the ‘Howloween’ Blog Hop. Unfortunately, owing to an update of my site I’ve lost that particular post, but I did note the contents. When discussing all things unnerving, it occurred to me there are many things ‘scary’ about writing. One of those is the fear there will come a day when someone devours all the plot bunnies. Often the writer struggles to kick the furry little blighters back because they’re rampaging and demanding attention as much as any zombie on the march for brains. I’m sure my bunnies have nasty sharp teeth and claws — they sure enjoy nipping at my ankles — but many ask the question: where do they come from? So let’s concentrate on the scary ‘how’ and ‘howl’ of plots. How does one make the magic happen?

I doubt there’s a writer in existence who won’t one day be asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” There is no spell book. No magic shop one can go to. Authors wish there were, but in some ways ideas are conjured up out of thin air. A writer is someone who can connect two or more seemingly dissociated events, can play the ‘what if’ game, and maybe add an extra twist.

Here is a brief example. I wove my short story Bitter and Intoxicating for the anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe (editor Mitzi Szereto; foreword by Kelley Armstrong) in answer to a submission call for gothic erotic romance. Although a list of example work was given, I didn’t have anything written that fitted, and worse, I had no ideas. I went online and began running searches for red, velvet, and for absinthe. Although the stories didn’t need to have anything to do with these items, I needed a place from which to start. I certainly didn’t expect to write anything on those topics. I was just searching for a spark.

I came across a painting by Albert Maignan, La Muse Verte, which seemed a good portrayal of what the effects of absinthe was supposed to have on the artistic mind. Inspiration! What if a distraught painter came across a seductive woman in a bar, one with flaming red hair clad in a diaphanous green gown, and she was to take him home to try absinthe promising that it would be the answer to all his woes? The resulting story is part BDSM, part gothic horror, part sensuous seduction ‘painted’ with words — something fitting to read on a dark October night in front of the fire with the wind blowing outside.

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Tired of Adulting

As children we often feel put-upon because the adults are the ones who make ‘our’ decisions. This is not helped by the numerous times these restrictions come without an explanation. Children feel victimised, unfairly treated. At times, they are bullied by other children, and in worse cases, by parents and teachers. We hear, or imagine, how great it is to be an adult. Being ‘adult’ represents freedom. This is strengthened by being told, “Well, when you’re an adult you’ll be able to make your own decisions.”

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Adults are liars. People are born into a world where they are never free. They are born into a world with expectations. That’s not entirely a bad thing — I do believe in a certain standard of social and ethical responsibility, but it’s why money can be the root of all evil. Money represents a kind of freedom most of us will never obtain, never appreciate. It’s not so much about what we can buy, or what we can own. It’s not even about not having to do as we’re told. It’s about not having to do as we’re told, unjustly.

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Children and adults bully children. Adults and children bully adults. Children look at adults and see them as having all the power, when the truth is most adults will never have the power at all. Adults remain children. It’s just that some are better at hiding it. Some ooze confidence but in their darkness hours they are still children. We all need a cuddle sometime. We all wish someone else could be the adult for a day. We all just keep plodding along, doing the best we can. We learn our parents were ‘winging it’, faking it, ‘putting on a brave face’…and maybe that’s the true definition. Maybe in that regard I excel at being ‘adult’. I’m still tired some days. And it is on those days where creativity is many a person’s survival mechanism.

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‘Adults’ everywhere, I hug you.

 

Images from memepile. If aware of any copyright breaches, please advise.

Beautiful Brugge

Hi Everyone. I was absent from blogging last week because we were in the beautiful city of Brugge (you may have seen it more commonly spelled as Bruges). We sailed over on a two-night cruise to spend the day for two reasons. One of which was curiosity. We had heard both good and bad reviews of the flagship Britannia and wanted the experience and to make up our own mind.

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The Atrium

Our view is short is that while well conceived overall the ship is seriously let down by a few design flaws, most importantly the lack of a central staircase, which would ease congestion on the lift (even if unable to walk up, many would have used them going down). There were stairs mid-ship but only for the crew or to be used in an emergency. At least we found points we did like, including a good bottle of wine in the wine bar.

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Wine Bar, Coffee shop, and shops surround the Atrium

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Decided if this were a long cruise this would be my spot in the library.

On to Brugges. I was shocked to hear a few less than complimentary remarks when we said we were going. We’ve been three times. This occasion, we went to do some shopping.

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The famous Belfry (I’ve climbed twice), over 36o steps.

What is Brugge famous for? Most chocolate, beer, and lace. My tip for chocolate is don’t opt for the cheapest as you’ll be eating butter not cocoa. Of course, there are also cakes.

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Just one of the bright ‘eat me’ displays.

Beer…it’s an acquired taste for some so it’s one of those flavours that needs experiencing rather than recommendation. Belgium beer is very different from other parts of the world, though can be more refreshing. Lace…I bought my first pieces, both with Halloween/Autumnal themes. I also bought an Autumn Mix bag of chocolates that is too cute to eat…but I’m sure I will manage, though I may save them until the end of the month. But for the writer in me, I love the architecture, which screams story setting and fairy tales.

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Looks like something magical should happen.

For now…life returns to normal with a shiver or two not created by anything I’ve written. There’s a definite nip in the air.