On Indi’s Pillow

My first baby!

So…

In 2016, I told myself I would write a book. Sadly, I did what I do every other year and I started three different ones without finishing any of them.

But I had a goal that I would publish something so I bought a pre-made covers from Go On Write (you really should check them out) for a short story that was previously published and planned on putting together an anthology of works that I had actually already previously published and was available on my DeviantArt page and I was going to throw in my previously published short story ‘Wings on Indi’s Pillow’ but as I started working on it I realised there was more of a story and I wanted the best version possible to exist in the world.

On 25th November 2016 I threw up a preorder on Amazon that you can find here.  I did this without finishing my book (talk about pressure) but knowing that with an external deadline I would be more motivated to finish it than any other project and I was mostly right. What I didn’t count on was how much I needed to do to make it the best version of the story possible.

In my original version of the story, I had a woman dealing with an interracial relationship and a ‘difficult’ mother-daughter relationship. As I worked on the project, Indi turned out to be handling an unwanted pregnancy too and the tone of the story changed into something quirkier and less ‘serious’ than the original story. I’m not exactly a funny person but hopefully my quirkiness comes through in the pages.

My goal with the new version of the story was to publish on or by the time I turned 31 (12th January by the way) but I want to do more than simply fling something up online and call myself a ‘published author’. I want to build a career with this and I can’t do that if my first story is sub-par and readers get a negative experience. Why add more bad story telling to the world? There is a lot of competition not only on Amazon but in general for poeple’s time and I want people who give me their time to receive something that I believe is the best thing I can give them so I have put myself in pre-order purgatory and pushed my publication date back to 1st February instead.

I struggled with that decision because it feels like a fail and I am letting down the few people that took a chance on it but looking at the read-throughs and feedback I still need to feel content that the book is an actual good story in its best condition it needs more time.

My goal has changed from simply publish to build a foundation for a creative career. I may lose the few pre-orders I gained and I truly wish I could apologize to them personally but I can only wring my hands over but I believe this is the best thing for me to do to make sure its the strongest first block in my new creative career.

O&O.

 

It’s Not Me, It’s You.

Image from CreateHerStock

So…

This #teacherbae thing.

Who has never had a crush on a teacher before? I for one know I have had plenty of pre-teen and adolescent crushes. Very few of them had anything to do with how the teacher was dressed, but I’m a creepy girl I’m told.

Paris Monroe is an attractive woman and has a body type that ‘attracts attention’. I remember when my curves were just starting to come in, the first thing my mother told me about them was to cover them up. Other people will have a problem with my body and I should always make sure other people aren’t offended by my presence. As a good daughter I abided by this ‘cover up rule’ even when I didn’t necessarily agree with it.

I understood that if someone did something to me because of how I looked then it was my fault for looking that way. That may not have been what my mother meant me to learn but that is burned into my brain and its going to take a lot longer for that little missile of wisdom to leave me. When I was in 9th grade, there was a teacher in another class who wore heels to work. Heels! The scandal she caused. Then it was the pencil skirts and fitted blouses. This heathenous woman was taking children’s minds off their school is what the adults around me said often. My mum was also a teacher and when you hang out in her classroom after hours they forget you are there and chat away without any filters.

Here’s the thing though, her classes passed. Young girls wanted to be as bad assery as her, young boys saw another version of what a woman could be. Why would these things be bad? Why do we feel the need to save women from themselves? If a woman chooses to wear a bodycon dress or an abaya should be up to her.

Why shouldn’t a teacher be trendy if thats what she’s passionate about? Other body types wear the same outfit without the same ‘effect’ so we need to distinguish what is appropriate and what we perceive and infer.

That’s what I would like to take away, if a woman wants to wear a shift that covers her whole shape then she should be able to. If she wants to wear a slinky number then that should be her choice too.

If she’s terrible at her job, chances are her outfits wont change that.

O&O

The Anti Valentine’s Perspective

wpid-img_20150215_074809.jpg

So… My take on why love doesn’t need to be proven by Valentine’s celebrations.

I’m not known for being emotional or affectionate. This may have something to do with me leaning the wrong way on a particular psychopath scale but I believe I’m still relatively ‘normal’, granted I’ve never officially been tested but I digress… VALENTINE’S! The day when love is declared in swirls of chocolate, hues of red and drowned in copious amounts of alcoholic beverages. Single or not.

My “problem” with Valentine’s isn’t anything ‘new’ or unique I don’t think. Its the fact that love can ‘only‘ be declared publicly and preferably expensively. A day may come when I will celebrate this day not for what it means to my heart but for what it means to my wallet.

Here’s the thing, I LOVE love. I love being able to sit in a living room with a laundry basket overflowing and it not mattering because the company I’m with makes it not matter that I haven’t achieved perfect cleanliness. I love the fact that because I am terrible in the morning, the person I share my bed with gets up to ‘start life’ and I join him.

Love (for me) isn’t about what other people see. Its about how you feel when no one is looking. So often, we idolize couples that lavishly brandish their affections and it hangs in the air like a cheap cologne choking the rest of us, and while we scramble for air, we forget that love isn’t about what people see, its about how we feel.

I could talk about how you can boost your romantic feelings with less than 5 steps in a specific order but there are way more expert resources on that than I can count. I’d like to talk about Valentine’s friends.

When you were younger, did you have a (totally platonic, possible even same sex) friend you shared Valentine’s with because they ‘got you’ and no one else did. I’ve had a pretty decent run of friends I’ve ‘gotten’ and ‘got’ me back but the older I get, I find I’m losing the ability to hold on to those with quite the same depth. I get more impatient and convinced that I’m just a filler in their lives.

I haven’t had a truck load of friends even though I’ve had the opportunity to amass an eye watering number of connections on any social platform. I normally have 3 – 5 really good friends and never enough drama to piss anyone off enough to actually make them an enemy but the problem is that small pool seems to have been contaminated by life somehow. Some of the people that I thought ‘got’ me seem to be speaking in a tongue I don’t have a dictionary for and they make me feel like I’m smaller than I believe myself to be. And friends who love you should never actually do that.

Which reminds me of Valentine’s when I wanted to receive those aforementioned chocolate, red stuff and pretty bubbly drinks but never did because well… my face just didn’t call for it.

Love comes in many forms but the feels remain the same. Those that love you should leave you feeling bigger or at least somehow better than you felt without them. Once they start to make you feel smaller, you need to evaluate whether having them around fits some kind of external validation but doesn’t feed your feels and whether its worth it.

I hope I make those that I love feel bigger and if I cant then better, in whatever form that comes in. But those that make me feel less. I’ve taken a step back and know I need to cull them from my life but still have brief flashes of ‘That’e the you I love and have missed’ but then we revert back to me somehow feeling smaller and that feeling sucks.

Here’s to catching and keeping those feels that build us up and obliterating the feels that diminish us.

Happy Valentine’s Day for those that celebrate it and for those that don’t. May the love still tickle your skirts.

O&O.

Have You Identified Your Villains?

I don't know the source but I'm having the feels
I don’t know the source but I’m having the feels

So…

I’ve been percolating on things that “matter”. I had a health scare that I didn’t want to admit but it freaked me more than I let on (turned out to be a bag of nothing so yippee for that!). Technically I still haven’t admitted it it but life is looking a lot shorter with each passing day and when I lie in bed willing my eyes to shut I wonder “What have I done today that matters?” and honestly, I find that its sadly not a long list.

I’m not a psychologist but often I think I’d like to be. Then I listen to my friends who are experiencing therapy and wonder, could I be in your doctor/counselor/therapist and actually listen to you? You matter to me because you are my friend, but would I feel the same way if you were my client? And I don’t have an answer for that yet. I even found a lovely program that could put me on the path to becoming a behavioral analyst and got so excited but realised I was falling into an old habit of running away from “the thing that matters”.

Writing.

Sure, I love figuring out why people do what they do and then try to help them do what they WANT to do instead of only what they HAVE done (that is not my most graceful sentence), but I gain infinitely more joy in making up reasons why imaginary people cant do anything other than what they are doing in my head. After all, is it not more exciting to try figure out if the human flesh portion of a mermaid would be clammy and grey or would the white alabaster skin be like a snake? What about their hair? What would that “really” be like?

In another life, I could become that behavioral analyst and be perfectly content but where I live, its really not something I can pursue to live off, either mentally or financially… well not yet, or I haven’t researched deeply enough…

Thing is I’m a “Whats the Plan B?” kinda girl. Even if I know with 95% certainty something will work, I need a plan for that 5%. There are times when this works well for me but its not working anymore and I’m finding that I’m my own worst villain in my pursuit to my name in print.

The behavioral analyst thing is my 5% and I can spend HOURS looking into how it will work for me and completely ignore my 95% goal. That’s kinda sad… tragic even.

On that note… I’m off to tighten an arc about an enchanted artifact that needs to get to my editor soon and ignore all open tabs related to any form of psychology that hasn’t got mythical undertones.

Tell me what you villains are and in what form they “manifest”?

O&O.

How to Listen to Your Inner Voice

 The story isn't at the beginning
The story isn’t at the beginning

 

So…

I don’t know how to do this really, listening to my inner voice isn’t something I’m actually good at but I do hope to one day be a master of myself… and that should not be taken in pompous way but I truly want to know how I can make the best version of myself and what that means.

For the longest time all I’ve known is that the best version of myself is the one that makes other people happy. At all costs. Even if I suffer my own version of (internal) death by a million cuts in the process, its all worth it people are “happy” with me.

Emotions I knew well were anxiety, dissatisfaction and the self importance that comes with believing you are a martyr to your own bloody cause. I cant imagine why anyone was friends with me because I must have been infuriating to be around.

The older I get the less satisfied I am with being ‘the best’ purely for being the best.

I’ve held myself back on my writing goals because I’m trying to write a ‘Great American Novel’ and I’m not even American. What I am is a mental immigrant. This may be a result of literally being an immigrant for the majority of my life but I travel through stories, some of them pretty ‘awful’ and others are literary masterpieces but all of them thoroughly engaging . My voice cant be fully literary and I’ve been forcing it to be just that. Turns out what really tickles my knickers is good ol’ fashioned fantasy (with leanings on urban and dark fantasy), historical jaunts and steampunk. The way I used shook my head when my younger sister would bring home yet another (what I considered) godawful travesty of litera-ture with a half naked girl on the cover… if only I’d known the fire that that would inflame in me (that is not a well constructed sentence).

Anywho, I rarely make new year’s resolutions because I suck at keeping them but I definitely am more self focused on what actually keeps me happy and not on what I THINK should keep me happy.

I also don’t know long this wind will last but I will sail on with it thrusting my bosom ever forward.

Here’s to finding out who we really are!

O&O

This is…

 Own What You Need to Do
Own What You Need to Do

 

So….

This year has not been great for updating my wee patch of virtual garden space. If this was an attempt at regular writing practice, I have failed dismally!

Its NaNoWriMo month! According to my profile I have been a participant/member for 6 years… I hadn’t realised I had 6 years worth of not producing that was publically viewable! *Cringe*

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNo) and the aim is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. On it’s own that’s not really RAH-RAH worthy but it does become exciting because of the support network created during that time. A bunch of strangers all striving for the same goal, cheering each other on when there’s a dip, celebrating success. It’s what good stories are made of! Pun totally intended.

I’m not generally a people person so I have never really taken part in the “community” aspect of NaNo but I can’t help wondering, perhaps that is why I have never ‘won’ a NaNo. Granted that could also be because I was too lazy, didn’t have an idea worthy of 50,000 words or just plain didn’t want it enough but you know… who’s counting?

In the past six months I’ve set lofty ambitions of what next year will look like. I know in my gut where my heart lies but the freakin’ fear monster keeps me trapped in the safety of my own discomfort. I want to rock the bloody boat I’m sailing but I’m terrified of sinking.

A friend of mine is considering becoming a housewife. Got me thinking: is that what I’d like for myself? My heart says no, I need something “other” than raising children and maintaining a home (as if those aren’t demanding enough), but I want to ACHIEVE something that will remain behind. Something that carries my name or whatever version of it I choose to put out. You could easily say children do that but the little people you make become their own people. You are only their custodian until they figure out they make who they are. You can plant an acorn seed in the ground and nurture it till your grandkids make out under it but you are not that tree.

I have another friend who tells me to enjoy the life I’m living and not focus so much on wanting more because I’ll just make myself miserable… I get that and acknowledge I am pretty bloody blessed but I want more.

I want to outlast the life I’m living, who else has that feeling?

Anywho, I’m just letting the few of you left on this desert patch that I’m still alive and plotting global domination. Starting first with slaying my fear monster!

O&O

On Being Honest

 The story isn't at the beginning
The story isn’t at the beginning

So…

I’ve been asking myself what is important to me. What do I want out of life? What makes me happy?

Truth is many things make me happy, some even surprise me. Flowers for one. I am not a flowers person (or thought I wasnt) but there was this vibrant rose bush in front of my old flat and pruning that little bush calmed me (oh, the many ways that could be twisted). Yoga, frees my mind… or rather, unclutters it and then I wonder why I allow myself to stop doing it. My cats. My mother in law gave me two kittens and while I seem to love one more than the other, those wee creatures settle me too (and I’ve always thought of myself as a dog person).

Those are the new things. Things I have always known sit well with me involve creating new worlds, solving problems and having a “safe” amount in the bank. I haven’t found the bravery to make the first two feed the last one and that’s what I want to do. Make my own income that doesn’t depend on a direct payslip from someone else (other than the people I need to convince to buy my work, not daunting at all!). I am still too afraid of things I know and things I don’t which is not a great place to be in for change to happen.

Within all this self discovery, I’m not sure what direction this blog should take. I know I am keeping it but I don’t know how I can make it helpful to both other people and keep it relevant to my own desires.

This should be a testament to my own self improvement and personal growth and mostly I see my own failure which sucks balls.

Therefore I need to figure s&*$ out…STILL.

I’M 30 YEARS OLD AND DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

I am happier than I have been in the past (which makes me think I am missing something to be miserable over so I fall into the doldrums for no good reason) and while its frustrating not having answers, I am enjoying figuring things out, some of the time.

No questions today.

Have a wonderful day!

 O&O.

Valentine’s Wishes

 Getting out of the darkness
Getting out of the darkness</>

So…

Two of my friends got married recently in what could be considered “whirlwind romances” and while I vehemently deny having any romantic stirrings, there are a lot of books in my Kindle that suggest my fantasies involve being whisked away in a large poofy dress with layers of frills by a fellow with excellent horsemanship.

Here’s the thing, romance requires certain logic to go out the window. Logic I am VERY attached to even if I have minor flights of fancy. Romance and Marriage don’t often go hand in hand and when they do I suspect there is some fakery. But that doesnt mean I think one is bad or better than the other, they are just different.

Marriage is like fruit cake. Pop a piece in your mouth and your tongue has to deal with all those textures and if you’re lucky, its moist and rich. If not, its bland and dry. But all those ingredients are there, you just have to hope you had a baker that knew what they were doing. 

Romance is like meringue, rush of sugar that tkes over your whole mouth. If you pick a bad batch there’s an eggy smell and could make your gums bleed. If you are lucky though…. ehrmagahd! All that sugary crunch and soft and I am lost in the dream right now.

Now, why are my friend’s nuptials worth talking about? Because my opinion about them DOES NOT MATTER. It really shouldn’t.

Marriage is a promise two people make, those two people have (hopefully) common goals and dreams THEY want to achieve. Everyone else is background noise.

So, as Valentine’s Day rears its round red head, try and find that balance between the dream of romance and the comfort of old love.

I’m not going to ask any question today but simply, love and be loved. Nestle into the euphoria Valentine’s can give and then don’t wait till next year to maintain that balance.

Love and be loved. Then repeat.

O&O.

A Poem!

 ...

Pitch

She stuck a pin in the anchor of her dreams

It made a ping and on a flight of fancy

She tucked it beneath her skin and tweed

It rolled and twisted, sunk deeper and died silent

 

She held a hand out to the Prince on the pier

He sniffed the air in her direction

Looked away and blew a kiss she’d never hear

The wind giggled too loudly so she tied it beneath her chin

 

The sun refused to blind her

When she stuck her face in it’s bowels

There was no room for her whims

On the back of the Devil’s right palm

 

On an oar she hung her wishes

Wrapped in dried tears and smoked in walrus bone

There’s no room under a roof for a pocket with no coin

The moon wrapped her in a blanket of light and a kiss that sounded like home

 

She’ll never wake in the morning, noon or dawn thereafter

The aftertaste of the moon’s kiss tastes of the hereafter

The girl dared to dream but leaped from a cliff too high

There’s no one to catch her and so tonight,

 

She’ll die.

 

*************************************************************************************************

So…

I have no idea what that is about or even where it came from but it teaced itself out so there you have it.

O&O

Being Young Sadly Doesn’t Make You Free

My emotions are doing things... {don't know the source of this adorable oddity}
My emotions are doing things… {don’t know the source of this adorable oddity}

So…

Kids make silly choices. That stating the obvious but its a natural side effect of not knowing any better and consequences being a far notion in relation to present gratification. I came across a story about kids sharing a blow job selfie (why, oh why? and also there were other people watching!?!) but it makes me think of a local Zambian case where a “well known” musician Bobby East and his partner in crime Ruth Mukanga made a “sex” tape (that is in quotes because there is debate on whether there is actual insertion which incidentally led to brief spate of BobbyEasting being a thing) . While my consumption of Zambian music is low, I am generally aware of artists even if I cannot identify their music but the only time I heard of Bobby East was due to his “mishap”.

 First, a step back. Pornography is illegal in Zambia. Making of it (either for personal or commercial use) is considered “corrupting public morals” and obscene plus you can face jail time.

Bobby and Ruth decided they would record their “activities” on his phone. I obviously cannot provide a link to the video but they are both apparently clearly identifiable. The video somehow started getting shared around and lots of people were talking about… I kid you not, police on TV and in the papers were talking about it, the cell phone and internet regulator/authority (ZICTA – Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority) even made statements on how they can track that video being transferred which they later retracted.

Anywho, their defence is they made it for their own personal use and only after his phone got stolen did it get shared around. Unfortunately the theft wasn’t reported and the couple have since been convicted of corrupting public morals and await sentencing later today. Now, he is 25 and she is 21 (I stand to be corrected) and that is still young enough to believe life is so long you can outrun your own foolishness. Life still has a rosy tinge (unless you’ve led a harder life than most) but generally, you believe you own the world at that age. Life is good! Its in those Life is Good moments that sadly, being silly can cripple you.

This isn’t the first porn “scandal” that’s made waves here but it is the first that I am aware of that has resulted in a conviction. Now, Zambia prides itself as a moderate conservative society. We are slowly getting used to the idea that women wearing minis doesn’t mean that she is a harlot, and while you may go to a funeral wearing all black, you are inappropriately dressed if you aren’t wrapped in a chitenge (even if it is loud or garishly printed).

We recently celebrated 50 years of independence and my own observation is that it would be more meaningful if we had an actual self identity to celebrate (among other things but that is the seed to it all). That may seem like I am running away from the topic but there’s a method to my madness. See, that moderate conservatism is slightly out of touch with the growth that society is generally going through. In urban areas, young children spend more time exposed to ideals that do not match with the morals their parents grew up with and may want to fling at them when they are present. But parents are also so busy working to attain the same “material standing” that these “perverted ideals” present as an elevation from what moderate conservatism supports.

Does that make sense? Let me try again. What I mean is you have parents that want to live lifestyles that generally idealise not only how much money you spend but how “full” your life is with experiences at odds with conservatism. For example, working for a major commercial that supports family values on paper would probably come with networking at functions where alcohol consumption is high and illicit affairs the norm. So you spend your time schmoozing and schtupping other people while your kids stay at home watching unrestricted channels on DSTv or going to other people’s houses where they have access to that. You’re never home because you have to work and chances are its both mum and dad working because who can afford having a stay at home parent in this day and age?

So adults are going through that change, teens are watching it and children are living it. What we actually glorify is the “glam life” but we still want to hold on to that conservatism tag because of religious purposes and this case is “proof” that we are still a moderate society and youthful sexual exuberance should be quashed.

Is what Ruth and Booby did wrong? I don’t think so, they were simply stupid. Recording your exploits is risky business even in places where pornography is illegal (iCloud anyone?), so doing it in a country where it in fact illegal is quite risky. Do I think the law has better uses than policing porn, absolutely.

Kids do foolish things all the time, sometimes there’s malice. Blowjob selfies with an audience doesn’t seem like an action with love in mind even if it is puppy love. Private sex tapes that people make because they think it’ll be “fun to do” is simply silly. Jail time wont correct their morals. There are worse crimes than foolishness.

O&O.