littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


Leave a comment

You’re All Different: A look at fiction and society

Recently I was thinking about a documentary I once saw. It was about Merlin, that wizard of myth originally created by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Towards the end of that documentary, it talked about JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. It said that the two famous authors used to meet in a pub and talk about Merlin; and that characters in both their writings had a character based on him, the one Aslan, and the other Sauron.

I have since wondered whether the documentary got it wrong, and they were really talking about God. I know at least one of them was a Christian man, and by assumption, so is the other. But that thought didn’t sit well with me, so for a while, I pretended it really was Merlin.

I realise, though, that the reason Merlin sits better with me is because I know he isn’t real, and I’m also assuming other people do too. After all, I watched the documentary; I know he isn’t real. But the fact is, other people won’t have seen it. If those people suddenly started saying that Merlin really was the one who created Stonehenge — Geoffrey’s most famous tale, and one he invented to give Merlin some credibility — it would piss me off. Because I know full well (from another documentary) that Stonehenge was actually created in the late Stone Age by early man.

Another popular story about Stonehenge was that aliens helped. That one pisses me off even more; what does it say about how man sees himself? Do we think we’re capable of nothing? Stonehenge was a great human achievement, and far from the last. And we did it all by ourselves.

But I digress: what I’m really trying to say is that I don’t think people believe in Merlin, but they do still believe in God. And that worries me, because stories have power, especially stories people think are true but aren’t. I write stories myself, but I would never try to pass them off as the truth. And yet, at the very least, the writers of the bible have done just that, in order to persuade — manipulate — people to act and think a certain way. They use fear of hell at the very least to inform this.

What pisses me off about God is that it gives people an excuse not to think for themselves. Like those stories of Merlin or aliens, it gives people something to alleviate either responsibility or pressure, and makes them complacent. Perhaps they want to relax, and maybe that’s understandable, but it pushes down our potential, it takes away from us what we could do, it takes away from us self-belief and puts it into something else, so we become little more than sheep or cattle, following a grand master. And I’m not okay with that.

I’ll admit once I thought I was worthless, when I was a kid I even imagined a God and thus believed it. And then when I was a teenager, I continued to struggle. But the point is, I wasn’t worthless. And the fact that we have to make up ridiculous stories just to cope with ourselves or our lives is insulting to me.

Monty Python’s The Life of Brian put it best:

Brian: You’re all individuals!

Crowd: Yes, we are all individuals.

Brian: You’re all different!

Crowd: Yes, we are all different.

Crowd Member 1: I’m not.

Crowd Member 2: Ssh!

Brian: You’ve got to work it out for yourselves! Otherwise–

Brian’s mother ushers him from the window.

Crowd: Ooh, that wasn’t a minute.

Brian’s Mother: Oh, yes it was!

Crowd: Oh, no it wasn’t!

Brian’s Mother: Now, stop that! And go away!


Leave a comment

Preparing for Uni: Japanese

I have been watching the University website for updates on what to read and how to prepare for my classes. At the moment, I’ve been particularly looking at Japanese. The University has a Facebook page for students of Japan and Japanese, and sometimes people post links to cultural things.

Here’s one.

These are particularly interesting. The last one particular grabbed me, because it’s a phrase I’ve heard before on Facebook, if in a different context: Hate Speech.

In this case, it’s a buzzword that started when anti-Korean protests in a Korean section of Tokyo happened sometime last year. Either way, it’s a particularly important phrase for a number of things, and as I’ve seen on Facebook, important to know the difference between it and Free Speech.

Here’s another one.

Here’s another Facebook link I found. I already do some of these, but there is probably a wider range of music I could listen to, and making notes on things is something I didn’t think of.

There are also tips for those living in Japan. These are things I would probably have thought of anyway, as I often eavesdrop on people when I’m bored anyway, and the same goes for reading signs. In fact, once when I still lived in the Sydney suburbs, when I used to catch the train into Parramatta, there were a few Japanese people who lived even closer to the bus stop, who came out and started to talk in Japanese. They even took the same bus!

The problem was, the only word I actually caught was ”かぞく” (kazoku), which means family. But I knew it was definitely Japanese, because one of the girls had a luggage tag that said so.

Another time on the bus, I met a girl who was studying Japanese too, because she had the same textbook as me.


3 Comments

Then and Now: Who I Was, and Who I Am as a Writer

Celebrating my first 10 years as a writer… Scott Westerfeld- On Rewriting & Growing Up

I recently read this article/pep talk by Scott Westerfeld in my email. Just like his pep during NaNo, this particular one was definitely insight and memorable — he really knows how to string two words together.

But the point was it really reminded me of where I started.

Here are the most important points he made, to start your revision by answering these questions:

  • Which scenes flowed from your pen, and which were clunky?
  • Which writerly decisions embarrass you now?
  • Which characters were like a bad relationship, and which turned out unexpectedly compelling?
  • Which goals that you started with aren’t worth pursuing anymore?
  • And what startling new vistas opened up?

For the first point, I’m reminded of the first scenes of the first two chapter in the first book in the series I’ve been writing for these past ten years. The very beginning, in short, of my entire story of Dawn, my centre character of it all.

The first chapter details her life on the mountain, living alone with her family. The set-up is that she lives in a house in the mountains in an abusive household isolated from society and dreaming of escape. She has an adoptive sister, her only support, but that doesn’t stop Dawn from gaining a hard shell or from thinking better of the world outside. And through all this, she has no idea just how close town really is, because she’s never escaped that far.

Throughout my drafting of this first chapter, I’ve gone through many different versions. At first, I had both parents, then I had the mother flee at the start of canon, and now I have her gone by the time Dawn was three, because I needed to tie in the details from later in the series, and Dawn discovers she has a biological sister. That was the biggest change.

Nevertheless, through the years, that first chapter and the one that follows is constantly being changed or fixed or edited because I just thought of something else that was wrong, or unrealistic, or that looks terrible. It’s always those two chapters. So I’d say, coming from that perspective, they must’ve been clunky, especially that first chapter. But as Scott points out in his pep talk, I was young and — maybe not so innocent, but maybe I was, if I was innocent in my ignorance.

And through those young dreams of running away (in my case, it was the reverse, though not nearly to the motivations that Dawn had), those first chapters were always, I think, my strongest. As far as first drafting goes, when I first wrote, it did feel relatively that it flowed, better than a lot of think in those early days. Maybe that’s why I’ve stuck to it for so long.

Let’s move along to the second point… embarrassing writerly mistakes.

If I could stick to those first few chapters, I’m sure that those mistakes probably still exist in my first book draft. Well, the way I wrote in those early days certainly held some common mistakes. I remember writing waking up scenes, trying to describe the characters appearance, etc.

Talking more on content, I think in that first draft, I took away from the abuse of the situation by making her escape in smaller ways. I remember a particular description of her escaping the house and going for a bush walk up the mountain, and specifically the feeling of a wall of sandstone under her fingers as she felt along the surface… Then in the dialogue scenes between her father, I don’t really think I had a grasp of what that scene would look like, or how it would feel. And describing her pain was another problem.

There were even small details when she was cleaning up on him and heard popular music on the radio, or when I would try to list the kinds of books her sister Belinda read…

Of course, none of this was as bad as chapter two, when the scenes escalated dramatically to finally escaping, only to meet a worse fate. The boys on the mountain… If I didn’t understand how her father would act, I had even less idea about the boys who wandered in from town, or what they were doing there. All I knew was what Dawn knew and felt.

All this is just the first two chapters, and although there are other things I’ve written, none of them really stick out in my head as strongly. Probably because in the very beginning of my writing, I was in the habit of editing those things over and over again instead of just pressing ahead with the writing. And of course, that’s where NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) stepped in to help me get rid of that habit, way back in 2007.

Of course, that brings me to the relationships with my characters. Well, of course there’s Dawn; me and her go way back, and I’ll always love her. She’s my favourite character to date, though Dylan takes second. Dylan was actually quite a surprise; I didn’t expect to love her as much as I do, but I managed to put more of myself than I ever expected to in her, and I love her for it.

Although she’s different from me in that she’s outspoken and determined, on the inside she has much of the same confusion and insecurities that I’ve dealt with in the past.

And then of course, there’s Seth, her brother. Another character I care a great deal about, he encompasses another side of me. That is, the side that wants to fight my reality, and all the indignities I find follows certain aspects of living. For example, sexuality in the public light. Partly oppressed by his dead adoptive father, he diminishes his public image to one of invisibility so as not to be judged unworthy, a fact that Dylan endlessly fights against. And I understand why, but I understand Seth’s point of view much better.

Now, as far as bad relationships, I do have something of and on-again-off-again relationship with Andrea. When I first invented her, it was as a match for Seth. Given a shaded past, I thought he deserved a companion, and then that relationship grew into something like love. But this was in their childhood, and even then, he had his reasons to keep distant.

But then, after years, when I finally came back to her story (after spending so long on Dawn’s), every time I tried to put them together, they somehow tore apart again. What’s definitely true is that Andrea really desperately cares for him. It’s also become clear that, in his own private way, he cares for her too. What’s unclear is how much, and what form that care takes.

Another iffy character of mine is Brenda. Sure, she shares certain traits in common with me, like her social isolation and her love of books, but Brenda’s one character that falls flat to me as her own person. I can sympathise her reasons for breaking up with her ex, but beyond that, she mostly remains a mystery to me.

Which brings me to Orion. My relationship with him is only a little better, even though I share less in common with him. What I do share in common is his sense of outrage, and his concealed defence of those he cares about. I’ve always hated his brother Alex, one of my first villains, but through his eyes I began to see him in a new light.

I’m not sure if there are goals I had at the start that aren’t worth pursuing anymore. I mean, certainly, the series that I’m writing now were once separate, as well as the characters, so maybe that. But besides that…

As far as startling new vistas… I’m going to University this year. I’ll probably post an entry on that later. And eventually, all my drafts will come together. As far as plotting, that’s something else I have to figure out, especially for the third book.

There’s still a lot to do before my first drafts of the whole series is complete. But as a writer, of course, I’m looking forward to it. Here’s hoping it’s all going to happen before the next ten years passes.


Leave a comment

In The Cold

She huddled against the cold, clinging to the one tiny pocket she had in front of her and chilled to the bone everywhere else. She had been forced into this corner, once having all the luxuries of a bed and now forced into the cold hard floor in the middle of winter. Just outside the door, she heard voices. Full of bitterness, she listened.

“Do you think there’s any hope for her?”

She could see his face, just imagine it in her mind. Her brother. She felt nothing but hate for him, something he would never understand through all his little denials of the weight of his guilt. Nothing would ever be enough, not anymore. Her hate for him was the only thing that kept her strong.

“There could be,” explained a stranger. Could he have brought her some doctor to take her away? “I mean, from what you’ve told me… that is, she won’t agree with me, but I feel like I can understand…” A shuddering breath. So maybe not a doctor.

“What she said about… hating you being her only strength. I mean, yeah. I can get that. I think right now, her family’s her only hope. She doesn’t know it now, but there can be more… if she can find the strength in hate, maybe she can find a different strength. Not in you, perhaps, she hates you far too much for that, but her family… if she can find some love in them, maybe there’s still a chance for her to one day… forgive you too.”

The very thought made her furious. Forgive him! There was nothing in all the world to make her forgive him, not if she lived for a hundred years! She would never forgive, she never could, she refused! He had taken everything from her, her entire life! And there was nothing shameful in strength from hate. She would do anything, if it meant that she would be strong; anything, if it meant she would never be weak again! It was worth it in the end…

“I hope so,” he said, and she wanted to tear him from the earth. “But even if she doesn’t… it’s okay. I just want her to be happy again.”

He had everyone else fooled, but he didn’t fool her! He had all the strength of luxury, while she suffered in the cold! And even if she suffered it all, he remained blind to what it truly felt for her. He would never understand, so she could never forgive him. Just the very thought made her stomach turn.

He could never be forgiven. Her mind was too far gone for forgiveness. It rose like bile in her throat.

She curled harder into herself, desperate from that little bit of warmth to spread just a little further. She was freezing.


Leave a comment

Tokyo woman mugged for 3,000 yen, haggles mugger down to 1,000

littlewonder2:

This is funny, but I think he’s neither wholly good or bad. Maybe he’s living rough.

Originally posted on RocketNews24:

At about 6:00am on 26 December, a young woman was walking down a street in Nakano, Tokyo. Suddenly, she was confronted by a man brandishing a knife and threatening, “Get out all your money and nothing will happen.”

The woman in her 20s complied and passed over 3,000 yen (US$30). You’d think the crime would be nearly complete, but in a truly Columbo-like moment the woman had just one more thing to ask the mugger.

View original 205 more words


1 Comment

BlogFestivus #5 – Tiny Tim

I figure I owe you this dinner. You saved my life five years ago.”

Tim grinned. “Does that make me your saviour?”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself,” said Scrooge. “I was depressed, anything might have done it. All you did was give me your hand. I’m the one who pulled myself out.”

“Yeah, whatever. I saved you, just admit it,” said Tim. “Anything might have done it, but nothing might have happened, either. You could’ve died.”

“This is my thanks, this dinner,” said Scrooge. “Don’t rub it in.”

“So tell me the story,” asked his father, and for the briefest blink of the eye, Scrooge saw his own father staring back at him, that constant judging look, that never-wavering stare that caused lesser men to break down in front of him. But then it was gone in the blink of an eye, and there was Timothy’s father, smiling brightly with an odd light in his eyes.

“I was at the end of my rope,” explained Scrooge. “I hated the world around me and everyone in it. And yet, even after I tried to brush him aside, your son didn’t relent. Now, I’m not like one of these depressive kids these days out for attention, but what he did was open me up again to the world. I decided then and there that it was time to change.”

“Inspiring story,” Tim’s father agreed. “We could all learn from it.”

Note: This is a little late, but I got stuck without internet for about half a week. Better late than never, I say!

happy-blogfestivus-2013

Linda penning at linda vernon humor
Tom over at Shouts from the Abyss
Maria-Christina blogging at MCWhispers
Dylan of Treatment of Visions
Sarah from Parent Your Business
Dawn blogging at Lingering  Visions
K8edid from k8edid
Eileen from Not The Sword But The Pen
Lindsey at RewindRevise
Kandy of Kandy Talk
Theodore from This Blog Needs A Title
Sandra writing at In Love With Words
Natalie from So I Went Undercover
Jen at Blog It or Lose It
Amelie from In the Barberry
Cee Cee blogging at Cee Cee’s Blog
Ashley from LittleWonder2 (this is me)
BD writing Blogdramedy


Leave a comment

BlogFestivus #4 – Christmas Future

Scrooge had somehow been saved.

He had almost been a statistic; suicidal rates at Christmas skyrocket, everyone knows that. But he wouldn’t have thrown himself off a bridge or jumped in front of a car. He would’ve just walked out into a world he had grown to hate until it buried him.

It wasn’t that he had been particularly touched by the little boy who had talked to him once, or suddenly believed in the kindness of strangers. But as he thought of the sight of him walking away, something had risen in his chest. A bright little ball of hope, that he didn’t even have the spirit to damn it the way he always had.

It wasn’t just some cheesy line, no, it had been somehow real, and not anything like he’d ever assumed. Scrooge was nothing if not ambitious, and that hope turned into a new goal in his mind.

He still hated his family, but they weren’t the only ones that existed. There were people out there that might understand him. And he had found them.

“Pass the turkey,” said Scrooge, sitting at the dinner table.

Familiar old hands complied. After five years, he had met that special little boy again, after Scrooge had pulled himself out of his slump, and now he had a whole new family.

“Of course,” said Tim.

Note: This is a little late, but I got stuck without internet for about half a week. Better late than never, I say!

happy-blogfestivus-2013

Linda penning at linda vernon humor
Tom over at Shouts from the Abyss
Maria-Christina blogging at MCWhispers
Dylan of Treatment of Visions
Sarah from Parent Your Business
Dawn blogging at Lingering  Visions
K8edid from k8edid
Eileen from Not The Sword But The Pen
Lindsey at RewindRevise
Kandy of Kandy Talk
Theodore from This Blog Needs A Title
Sandra writing at In Love With Words
Natalie from So I Went Undercover
Jen at Blog It or Lose It
Amelie from In the Barberry
Cee Cee blogging at Cee Cee’s Blog
Ashley from LittleWonder2 (this is me)
BD writing Blogdramedy

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 285 other followers