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Monday Mantra (a day late!) – I find time

3 Apr

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives...

Oops. It’s Tuesday and I’m only now writing my Monday Mantra post. I’d like to blame it on the weather. Or the media. But alas, it’s all my doing (or not doing).

I’ve been frantically planning and packing for my holidays and my writing has taken a back seat. Waaaaay up the back. It’s like my life is a big bendy bus and my writing is sitting in the rebellious back row, surrounded by stuff and unable to press the button to make itself known. I’m not even sure if that analogy works. My brain is too fuzzy to think about it. Bleuurrgh.

Time. If only I had a wee bit more of it. On Sunday, daylight saving ended in Sydney and we all scored an extra hour. What did I do with that spare 60 minutes? Did I crack open my computer and tap out a few blog posts? Nahhhh, I slept.

So really, I don’t need any more time. I simply need to use the time I have more wisely.

If the days were consistently longer, I could easily fill it with sleeping or TV or procrastinating online (hello, Twitter). Or I could use it to improve my life or someone else’s.

My time is mine to use as I wish.

If I dropped just one hour of telly-watching a week, imagine the things I could achieve! I could learn something new, or write 4 blog posts for the week ahead. I could catch up with a friend or write a letter to my nan. I could tinker with my mum’s website or bring out my acrylics and paint an abstract piece. Or I could simply soak in the tub and recharge my batteries.

It really is up to me.

This week’s mantra is all about time and using it more wisely:

“I have more than enough time to live a fulfilling life. I choose to use every precious moment to do the things that make me, and others, happy.”

I’m inspired by…my new writing space!

20 Mar

They say change is as good as a holiday. As I sit here admiring my new white writing space, I would have to agree!

I’ve bid farewell to my teeny tiny, cramped desk and welcomed a glossy white Freedom trestle, Eames leather chair and complementary kikki.K stationary.

There are still a few finishing touches to make – I’m searching for a lovely lamp and a little vase to boast bright flowers. But until then…I hope you like my new space!

 

 

What I’m reading Wednesday – wonder woman blogs!

14 Dec

I’m still a relative newbie on the blogging scene and am constantly in awe of all the ‘mummy bloggers’ who seem to effortlessly juggle writing, raising rug rats, running a household and blogging and tweeting about it all!

As I wrote in a previous blog post, I (seriously) don’t know how she does it, I wonder how I will ever be able to keep so many balls in the air. I’m barely able to keep on top of it as it is, and I only have myself (and The Lad) to worry about!

So in honour of the inspiring women whose blogs have made me giggle, cry, escape and ponder this week, I’ve created a new award – the Wonder Woman Blogger award!

I’m awarding the accolade to four fabulous Wonder Woman bloggers this week. I encourage you to check out and follow their dazzling blogs! And of course, I ask this week’s Wonder Woman Blogger recipients to nominate their Wonder Woman Bloggers and pass the award along to them (simply copy the image above). 🙂

This week’s Wonder Woman Bloggers

Do you know other Wonder Woman Bloggers? Why not nominate them below and share the love?  🙂

What I’m reading Wednesday – Life of Pi

7 Dec

I love a good book. I love it more than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (I know, it’s hard to believe!) I love it more than a glass of red wine. Though I love it even more when it’s accompanied by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a glass of red wine!

To celebrate juicy reads, moving tales and uplifting stories, I have decided to devote every Wednesday to discussing what I’m reading (and I’d love you to share your current reads too). Think of it like Oprah’s Book Club, but without the ‘Oh. My. God. This. Book. Changed. My. Liii-iiiiiife!’ screeches.

What I’m Reading This Week

There are many books – classics – which sat on my parents’ bookshelves for years, but which I never picked up. Occasionally, when I couldn’t sleep, I would sneak out to the study and steal a few stories, in the hope that they would make me sleepy. I would end up reading a couple of pages before nodding off, and return the book in the morning.  This meant I started, but never finished, a lot of classic novels.

One text I used to spy was Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Mum read it for her book club and raved about it (not to me, I was too young. Though I took a lot of sick days as a kid and would listen in to their discussions). When I was old enough to delve into it, I never got around to it.

A few weeks ago, the lad’s sister had just finished the book and, like Mum, was raving about it. She said it would ‘make you believe in God.’ Well, I already do. But it still sounded pretty convincing!

I had to wait in line while the lad devoured it. This week, it was my turn. Like his sister, the lad gave it his tick of approval and even sent it towards the top of his ‘best books’ list. That’s no easy feat!

I’m only a couple of chapters in, but already I can feel the rhythm of the book, see the richly-painted characters and am fully absorbed in the story.

I’ve always loved reading stories about life in India – Aravind Adiga’s debut novel The White Tiger, Salman Rushdie’s challenging Midnight’s Children and even travel tale Holy Cow by Sarah Macdonald. The people and places are always painted so magnificently. Their conversations are unique, quirky and honest. The characters in Life of Pi are no different. We meet the protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, in the opening chapter as he reflects on his childhood. We discover he was named after a swimming pool and was tortured at school when teachers and fellow students constantly mispronounced his name and called him ‘Pissing’. His tale is interspersed with italicised text, apparently the author’s notes from when he met Pi. Whether he did indeed meet with Pi to learn his life story, or whether Pi is a fictional character, is unknown at this point. Either way, I’m enjoying sinking my teeth into the tale every evening after work. It’s a lovely form of escapism.

I almost wish I’d saved Life of Pi to read at Mum’s over the Christmas break. It’s would have been a fulfilling holiday read. Given the compelling story, though, I reckon I’ll have finished it by next Wednesday’s ‘What I’m Reading’ post!

Have you read Life of Pi? What did you like about it (no spoilers please!) What are you reading this week? 

My name is Kat and I’m a portmanteau-aholic

22 Nov

Huh? Don’t worry, I had to Google this one too! You see, I’ve developed a habit of late and it’s turning me into a full-blown nut-job.

I am addicted to combining two words to make a new, super word! Apparently, this is called a portmanteau (who knew!)

For example:

Friend: ‘Hey Kat, let’s go to the movies tonight. We’ll make it a girls’ night.’

Me: ‘Yeah, a gight!’

Friend: ‘Huh?’

Or take this instance:

Boss: ‘Guys, let’s come up with a new marketing strategy.’

Me: ‘Yeah, a matergy!’

Boss: ‘Uh…hu.’

Seriously, my portmanteau obsession is turning me into a socially inept, crazed freak (a creak). Gaaa! See what I mean?

The problem is, even when I  manage to bite my tongue and keep the portmanteau tucked away where it can’t scare small children, I still silently say the word to myself. Even when titling this blog post, I sniggered to myself, ‘portmanteau-aholic. Polic!’

I worry that I’ll walk into the bank one day soon to request a new online savings account and instead ask for a ‘scount’. Or order my morning soy mocha by requesting a ‘socha’.

Something must be done to break this cycle. I must beat this frightening addiction (fraddiction. Oh god.)

Until then…I’m Kat and I’m a Polic.

Portmanteau

Why I will never swap paperbacks for ‘puter

22 Nov

I was strolling down Newtown’s King Street the other day, enjoying the soft afternoon sun and warm, cushioning breeze. And then I smelt it – the familiar, earthy smell of old paperbacks. It wafted out the door of a shabby second-hand bookshop and enveloped my shnoz. Hypnotised by the scent, I followed my nose into the store and left with several worn works under my arm.

Some people love the smell of freshly baked bread. Others would do anything for a whiff of freshly-mown grass. Me – I would wrap myself in paperback books if I could. In fact, often I do, jumping under the doona on a cold day and surrounding myself with stories that I have read and re-read many times over. I would pay $1000 for a dress made from paperbacks. I would marry my book collection, if I could. I’d place a little bow-tie on the top of each book and vow never to leave it. If my apartment was burning down, I would chuck my books out the window and jump after them. And then apologise profusely for getting them grimy.

I once ran my own professional organising business. I taught my clients about the importance of keeping organised and culling unnecessary items. I attended association meetings and sympathised with my peers when they spoke about clients who had book-hoarding problems. ‘Oh yes,’ I would say somewhat superiorly. ‘You should try and limit your book collection to one or two shelves.’ I didn’t dare tell them about my own overgrown collection that was crowding my bedroom and stuffed with stories that I just couldn’t bear to part with. Often I wanted to shout, ‘Gaaaa! I’m a book hoarder! Don’t  look at me! Don’t look at meeee!’ but I sat on my hands.

Now that I’ve painted a picture of my book obsession, you will understand when I say that I will never, ever buy or use an electronic reading device. Granted, they are trés handy and store a gazillion books while only taking up the space of a skinny notebook. You can even pop them into cute coloured covers, which I am always a sucker for!

But where is that gloriously rich, rustic smell? The hand-written inscription written by a man to his lover and dated December, 1978? The scribbles and highlights and margin notes from an eager student? When flicking through an old book, I often wonder who owned it before me. I own an original copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. It is stamped with ‘Duchey Library Elwood’ and is wonderfully yellowed and stained. The cover is falling to bits and there are more than 120 library stamps in the back beginning with November ’61 and ending with Feb ’77. I like the mystery of not knowing who borrowed the book during those years, and who owned and read and re-read it in the years since. No doubt it will one day drift from my collection and continue its journey.

How can a computer even compare?

Perhaps I’m ridiculously romantic. You might say that I should ‘update’ and ‘adopt the latest technologies’ like I have with so many others things in my life. But no matter how many iPhones, iPods, iMacs, Sony Vaios, digital cameras or hard drives I buy, I draw the line at going digital with my book collection. After a long day sat in front on the computer, the last thing I want to do is switch on another device. I crave opening the crisp cover of a new read, or dipping into an ‘oldie’ to reflect and breathing in that lovely paperback smell. 🙂

50+ reasons why clichés suck

18 Nov

At the end of the day, I hate clichés. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about my cliché fury for a while now. Today I decided to finally jot it down, because you shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

I’m in an inspiring setting to write about my most-loathed clichés. I’m seated at my desk in front of an open sashless window. The sun is caressing the keyboard and there is a soft breeze wafting in. There really is no place like home.

First things first, I took to Twitter to gather other people’s thoughts about clichés. As they say, many hands make light work. Many hands also help me poach other people’s ideas. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any tweets in reply. But this list should be as easy as pie.

For what it’s worth, I think clichés allow writers to be lazy. I know that in these tough economic times, the Australian people have other things to worry about than weary writers and cliché-peppered copy. But it’s time to do an about face, people! Let’s make a last-ditch effort to eradicate clichés from all newspaper copy, headlines, classrooms and blog posts (except this one).

Surely there is going to be an outpouring of support for the cause. For all intents and purposes, we need to abandon ship on the cliché front.

In a split second, a piece of thoughtful, pristine prose could be overturned by a wayward cliché. The copy might seem above board, but look harder and you will see that the writer has an ace up his sleeve. And that ace has ‘cliché’ written on it (probably). Then it’s all over. The writing is all bent out of shape, all bets are off and the writer has opened a can of worms.

Let’s get to the bottom of it. Writers tend to hang on to every word of their writing. Now, it might be hard to swallow, but I reckon a good rule of thumb is to go through your copy and can it. All of it. Then go to bed and get up early to face it again with a clear head. After all, the early bird catches the worm!

Then, sit down and open a can of whoop ass on your work. Take no prisoners, ensure there are no holds barred. Well, except to not use clichés, obviously.

So let’s call a spade a spade. I don’t want to call the shots here and tell you how to suck eggs (doesn’t seem too hard though does it? Get egg, peel shell, suck). In writing, it’s every man for himself. Long, lonely nights spent staring at that little flashing computer curser, waiting for inspiration to strike. Hunched over the computer in the darkness for perfect prose to spill onto the page. But you can’t hold a candle to it (well you could, but the wax would get all over the keyboard. Très messy.) So to speed things up, you slip in a little cliché. A teeny tiny overused phrase that means nothing, but makes your copy sound hella cool.

But if that were true, I would eat my hat (and then very swiftly call an ambulance). You can’t waste precious virtual ink on a clumsy cliché! It might appear that everything is coming up roses and your page is filled with witty remarks, but no! Ohhhh, no. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, mister! I am taking that cake (yum, thanks). This is do or die territory. If you want to write a story, article or novel that people will actually enjoy reading, you can’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. Because chances are they won’t turn into chickens, anyway. They’ll probably end up on a dinner plate somewhere in suburbia. I digress.

I have another axe to grind about clichés. What’s the deal with journalists throwing them into their copy left, right and centre (but not justified. They never put them in a justified alignment)? I know they have to do what it takes to get a story, but they are on easy streak. They actually get paid to write! Their prose should be hunky dory and cliché-free! But instead, it looks like a dog’s breakfast.

Now I know I shouldn’t hold my breath. It’s going to be no easy feat wiping clichés from the world. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are hundreds of bloggers and independent journos taking a stand and bemoaning the use of clichés. Even news.com.au, a notorious cliché-loving publication (seriously, the two of them should get a room) published a story about the industry’s worst clichés.

So to make a long story short, do what I say, not what I do. Discard those stinking, good-for-nothing clichés! Throw the clichés out with the bath water! Don’t sit on your hands – strike while the iron is hot!

I’ve said my piece. Take it with a grain of salt. 😉

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