2014, April 14

Four questions. Okay, actually Five.

My friend Lynn, from over at Present Letters, has tagged me to answer four questions on my blog. About three weeks late, I’ll do that now :)

I know she doesn’t mind though. Lynn is a lovely woman and great writer, whose epistolary work (she shares it on her blog, go ahead and stop by her place) makes me want to write a letter every single day.

So here are the four questions and my answers:

1.  What am I working on?
Currently I am working on a travel article for the travel website I am staff writer and photo editor of, and I am also working on a guest post which will be up in a few weeks over at ArtiPeeps as part of my second showcase there.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Regarding my fiction especially, one of the most striking differences when compared to other flash fiction in the genre is that I hardly ever name my characters. I am very particular about names, and also good with them when it comes to remembering something about the person behind them. I mean, I still remember that he kid, who sat in the desk behind mine in Chemistry class and pulled my hair in fifth grade was Robert. This leads to my conclusion that I won’t every write a romantic story featuring any Roberts. (Or maybe a horror story where a Robert’s car is haunted? Hmm… (Re: haunted car – cause haunted houses are aplenty.) ;)

3.  Why do I write what I do?
Flash fiction and poems draw me in because I like using few words, yet packing a punch so to say. I’ve never aimed for too high word counts, except when aiming to write 10K in a day.     

4.  How does your writing process work?
This depends a lot on my mood and the things going on at the time of writing. Sometimes I might sit down with an idea fully-formed and I am just the one taking dictation until it’s all out and on paper. Other times, I hear things/see things that intrigue me and I start writing something to explore my thoughts and feelings about said things – and it might take me weeks to finish just a few paragraphs. Usually however, I sit down and do my best to finish my work at least up until only smaller revisions are necessary before hitting “publish”.

5. Do you have a dream or a desire in the creative world? Why aren’t you doing something about it?
One of my dreams is to turn my year-long photo challenge from 2011 into an e-book. I even started to. It wouldn’t be too long. I have my blog posts and all sorts of material at the ready for it to be compiled into an e-book. But why I haven’t done anything else about it, I’m not even sure. Maybe saying it out loud/typing it here will help.

This last one was a bonus question I answered from one of Lynn’s recent blog posts. What would you guys reply – to any or all of the above?

2014, April 7

An ArtiPeeps Chat

Every Wednesday evening, Nicky Mortlock hosts #ArtiPeepsChat, a chat with creative types who are involved in the season’s work on the ArtiPeeps website. It was such a pleasure taking part in the chat two weeks ago, that I decided to share with you the entire conversation we had, since on Twitter I know it’ll disappear after a while.

Having only 140 characters to work with at a time, please excuse shortening of words, and possible typos ;)

~~~

An ArtiPeeps Chat

Hello. If you had to choose one word to describe your relationship with your creativity what would it be?

Hello. Since I’m allowed only one word, I’d go with: meaningful.

Every which way I look at my relationship with my creativity, it comes down to having a meaningful connection.

So everything you create has to have a meaning?

"Has to" isn’t necessarily the wording for this, but nearly everything does end up having a meaning. If not for me on at least some level, then for my readers. Love seeing comments stating my words have come through. And it’s interesting how that meaning is differentiated from one person to the next and as we grow/age.

Is that a meaningful connection with the words or with the people you are trying to communicate with? -or both maybe?

A meaningful connection coming from deep within, as I explore myself/the world around me through various means.

I suppose, it also depends on why we create- for ourselves or for a response?

It is interesting, I’ve been described as pensive – and this is something I often reflect on. It’s fascinating. Personally, I create for myself. Probably why I’m not too good with themed contests.

That’s interesting I wouldn’t necessarily have said that. You seem to explore/enquire there’s a difference.

If I’m not inspired, my creativity is stifled. And creating for myself, I can call it an emotional outlet really. There somehow is a difference. Though it could also be phrased as ‘a response to the muse within’.

But say your writing fiction surely you’re telling a story, the emotional outlet bit has to be back grounded?

Of course it depends on what exactly it is I’m writing, like you’ve just shined the light onto. Writing fiction, it is a mix of the two. Something I see sparks my imagination. Then what is within shines through.

Travel does contribute a lot to my fiction and poems. Though I can’t do it quite as much as I’d like right now. But, I suppose the great thing is we have our imaginations and we can travel that way. Clichéd, but true.

So your muse comes from within & not from without? But you must get inspiration from all around you like travel?

Definitely. I constantly find myself back in Sicily or Paris, and everywhere else I liked traveling to. Hence my travel articles, and wanting to explore and share these places with my readers.

I must say I admire those who travel, I’m a bit of a stay at home gal. There’s so much to soak up I suppose?

That is why I’m able to write about so many different aspects of my travels, even after a long time has passed.

Different places stay with you I suppose. What’s the last place you visited?

I’ve been to Bistriţa in February. An emotional roller coaster of a trip, which I might hold off writing about for a while yet.

Oh! pardon my ignorance :-) , Where is that? Are you writing about that now?

About 3 hrs away from my city of Cluj-Napoca here in Romania. And no, it’ll be a while yet before I write about this particular trip. Still processing stuff.

Yes, you can get some perspective on it and then create something particular :-)

It was an intense trip. Some perspective and mulling over is needed indeed.

Space is never a bad thing to give yourself in relation to creativity :-)

Well said; space is much needed at times.

So you always want to illuminate something when you write?

Not always deliberately, no. When it does turn out that way though, it’s a nice feeling.

Yes, balance is hard to achieve! You’d think it would be easy. :-)

Yes, I’d say that’s true. Too much of either, and it seems like there will be something missing from the end result.

Quite. Do you prefer one particular form over another?

Like I said, a mix of the two is a healthy dose, for my own creativity at least :)

What’s the first thing you ever wrote?

The first thing I ever wrote is a flash fiction piece. "The Lake".

Thank you. What inspired you to write it? Looks like nature?

With my first flash fiction piece, I recall being in a fight shortly before writing. All sadness dissipated while writing, lending so much emotion to the writing itself; even if an imagined scenario.

May I ask ‘The lovely willow almost seemed as if its sole purpose was to reflect…’ is that related to soul? So you have to find a balance between the two- the emotion & the creation?

Yes. That is exactly what I was hoping for readers to take away from the scene of the weeping willow in that flash fiction piece.

But if you’re writing about sadness don’t you have to be feeling it, or would that get in the way of creating? I suppose one can say that any form helps us process what is around us?

It sometimes does, of course. I think we all get that way and couldn’t create for the life of us when feeling sad. Then again, if I never felt it, I couldn’t very well create anything that would stand out and touch people’s hearts.

What’s your first creative memory? Can you remember?

I have some faded memories of doing arts and crafts in class, when I was in kindergarten.

First true memory of writing fiction is from 9th grade when we had to finish a flash fiction any which way imagined. After the term papers were graded, the teacher read it out loud for the class. Felt amazing!

And I suppose the rest is history…Are you working on anything particular at the moment?

I have a couple of projects in the works, nothing too shapely just yet though. Travel articles, fiction and guest posts. Looking forward to writing over the weekend.

Yes, I can remember sitting on a red bench in school imagining stories in my head.

And just think of these memories that stick with us. Really think. Why do they? What makes them unforgettable? The colors, sounds, scents. Everything we’ll need to capture in our writing, so our stories stay with the reader.

They do stick with you. That’s a great memory. So it was the positive response that did it? Made you go on?

No. Funny, but I haven’t really written anything after that. Not until 2007 anyway; at least 5 years after.

So your sense are important to you when you write, communicating them?

Yes. Sometimes I like to narrow it down to just one or two. But most successful are always the stories well balanced out with all five senses.

Because then I suppose we get a complete sense of what we’re supposed to be experiencing?

Exactly. Those are the kind of stories which draw me in when reading, so that is what I’d also like to create for my readers.

Do you have a special place where you write? Does that matter?

Hmm… I’ve had so many writing places ever since I started writing, I might not even recall all of them. I think what matters most about a writing place is for it to be quiet enough. Some background noise is ok. But I truly prefer a more or less secluded area where I can "hear myself think". Usually I write in the kitchen. I take the laptop, settle at the kitchen table and can do smaller things I need to, during breaks from writing.

A lap top in the centre of things sounds good! With life around you :) I’m lucky i have a study , a quiet space. That works :-) What moves you to write?

You sure are lucky! For now, not having my own place, I can only dream of the day I’ll have on of my own.

I can say I’m driven by life. So much happens that I want to process, and writing helps with that. Like a friend of mine phrased it, I’m writing even when I’m not putting pen to paper. @karenfrommentor 

Are you reading anything that’s inspiring your writing at the moment?

Not necessarily. Currently I’m only on some light reading and a technical, QA Testing one. Come to think of it,my light reading does inspire me to watch out for repetition & consistency throughout a piece.

Yes, sometimes light is the only way to go for a while!

I do have a few books ordered that I can’t wait to have in my home and start reading. Looking forward to that!

Yes, is there a particular writer that influences your writing/thinking?

J.K. Rowling was the writer whose books truly got me into reading, and whose writing I really like. Then there is John Green, whose "The Fault in Our Stars" I’ve read many times in just over a year.Love his style! Among writers I know over the internet whom I admire are: @jclementwall @karenfrommentor @JanelGr @fearofwriting 

There are always lots of people to admire. Thanks for taking the time to share your creativity tonight :)

There are. We’re lucky. Thank you so much for having me, this was such a fun night and conversation!

2014, March 31

Recipe of the Month: Salami Panini with a side of French Spiced Salt seasoned Avocado

Sometimes, one doesn’t have the  time for anything fancy. Especially when in a rush to get breakfast ready before running out the door so as not to be late from work. Yes. Sometimes, simple is best.

Here’s the delicious, yet very simple-to-prepare, breakfast I had the other morning. Best part of it was that my craving for Avocado was also met. In short: the perfect recipe for a rushed weekday ;)

 

panini-and-avocado 

Szebeni Salami Panini with a side of French Spiced Salt seasoned Avocado

4 slices of bread
butter
sliced salami (I used the Hungarian brand, Szebeni Salami)
mustard
salt
pepper
Avocado
French Spiced Salt

Take the four slices of bread and pair  them up as you normally do for sandwiches. Spread butter on one slice, and mustard on the other. Place the salami slices on top, add some salt and pepper and pair the slices of bread.

Grill in a panini press, adding little to no cooking spray (I didn’t use any.)

Dice the Avocado, and season with French Spiced Salt.

Serve as a side dish with the hot-out-of-the-grill Panini sandwiches.

PS: Really, all of the above depend on your own personal taste. Look at this recipe as more of an idea :)

Bon appétit! ;)

2014, March 24

Five reasons it’s great to be a writer

I read this list of ten reasons it’s great to be a writer, on AuthorCulture (yes, years ago!) which they’ve re-blogged, originally written by Elspeth Antonelli, and thought to myself: I need to come up with my own list.

So… here it goes.

  1. Doesn’t matter if you’re a cat/dog/bunny person — any pet will be a good writing companion as long as you don’t forget to feed them while immersed in your words.
  2. You are free to read what ever you like – when one of your choices might be frowned upon, you can just call it research. (And as Elspeth herself has phrased it, “Actually, anything can be explained as research – it just takes a bit of thought.”)
  3. You can look at nearly anything and see way beyond everyone around you does. Say you’re at a wedding, and need a survival guide? You’ll write it yourself.
  4. You can be completely schizophrenic about wanting to be alone and wanting everyone gone when you’re deep in thoughts; and then wanting them back the minute they’re not around.
  5. If you are really, really lucky, your friends will let you get away with simply observing and not chiming in too much in their conversations during a night out — they’ll know (and understand) you’re writing plotting even when you’re not physically putting pen to paper.

What other reasons can You come up with?

2014, March 18

A glance under the surface – by Estrella Azul, featured over at ArtiPeeps

When Nicky from ArtiPeeps contacted me about a feature article a couple of months ago, (“The Closet of Dreams”) I was thrilled. It was such a wonderful opportunity. And, it also meant that I qualified for FreeSpace, which meant I’d be featured three more times.

Here is the first feature of the three, an early flash fiction for this week.

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy "A glance under the surface" over on ArtiPeeps today!

2014, March 17

Dear Monday, 17.March.2014

On one page of the book, the character is wearing a white sweater. Four pages later, the sweater is described as purple…

With some books, I just want to rewrite the whole thing.

2014, March 10

How to drive Estrella nuts on a regular work day

I no longer work at the deco shop, but having written the points below a while back, I really wanted to post them. It was a very frustrating time of my life, and so, I’ll consider this my goodbye to it :-)

 

Before and After

Before and After

 

How to drive Estrella nuts on a regular work day:

  • Ask all prices. Randomly, walking from one end of the store to the other
  • Fill the storage room blocking the way to the light switch, so that she’ll walk into the furniture
  • Make/leave behind messes
  • Let your kid knock off candles from shelves – she’ll make said kid cry when she stops him
  • Still don’t pay any attention to the kid
  • Ask impossible questions to which there are no answers to
  • Leave her alone for the afternoon in the store

 

Good luck getting to the light switch.

Good luck getting to the light switch.

 

Have you ever worked in sales? What was it like? Or if you haven’t, what would drive you nuts?

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