Monday, August 29, 2011

Tell me what you own and I tell you who you are?

So the next post after this is a bit of a giver...
I was looking for a picture of a laptop to put on the previous post and it dawned on me that the choice for laptops as much as computers, say quite a lot about how a writer view him or herself.

So what kind of tool do you chose for yourself?
Is it pink and fluffy?

Is it solar and seemingly work like a coffee table?

Is it gimmicky with antennas like an ant and can it move it's head and says hello like E.T?

Is it bulky, slow and old? (And yes incidentally, this is the first world laptop. In 1984, Apple Computer introduced its Apple IIc model . The Apple IIc was a notebook-sized computer, so technically not a true laptop but still close enough to what was going to be the first laptop. 
The computer itself weighed about 10 to 12 lb (about 5 kg), but the monitor was heavier. It had a 9-inch monochrome monitor or an optional LCD panel. The combination computer/ LCD panel made it a genuinely portable computer, although you would have to set it up once you reached your destination. 

Or is it just black, sleek and looking professional-like?  
Mine is like that. Well similar to that. And I still look at it and think: "How cool this laptop is!" the thought of buying one had been hanging over my head til I couldn't take it anymore. Until quite recently, I still had one bulky old computer with a boot up process and an internet connection so fast that I had time to go downstairs, boil the kettle, make a cup of tea and come back, still not ready...watching T.V. Forgot about the pc and then come upstairs to turn it off.
I would have liked to chose a funky colourful one but that range wasn't available in colour. Shame. Also my budget dictated me to go for something affordable and lasting instead of flashy and trendy.

While looking for pictures, I even found a laptop with a multicoloured keyboard. I didn't even know there was such thing as a multicoloured keyboard.

Overall, I am pretty happy with what I got. It looks classy and says how serious I am about writing ( hum hum, well how I want to believe how serious I am) and is so much faster. It's like having a washing machine after years of cleaning your clothes by hand. ;-)

And does your laptop/computer look like? And why did you chose it?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are you a writer or a typer?

So today, I'll have it very easy. Extremely easy. And I am delighted about it.
Because I am letting the floor to a fellow writer...His name is Conor Lynch. 
The idea for this post started when he mentioned to me his second project, which was to write by hand. And he suggested this idea to me as a subject for my next post.
I agreed with him.
Would it be great if you wrote an article about it? I said. "Because you know, I don't think I want to give it a go..."
And there you have it. The story is coming to a full circle as this is his article.

So am I a writer or a typer?  A typist, or, someone who puts pen to paper.  It is an interesting concept that must come across the mind of every writer as we try and find that extra niche to our style.  I guess what got me into writing when I was younger was the novelty of seeing your very own words print before your eyes.  When the novelty wore off I decided, “Hey I better put some flesh behind this” and suddenly a new writer was born.

Seriously however.  How do you put your story down?  It is an interesting concept in this age of social networking. Texting and emailing, how many of us actually write by hand?  Well I do!  I decided that to get the best feeling for my project I had to get right down and into the detail.  It is amazing how rewarding actual handwriting can be.  It’s funny when you start, because after writing a page you can see how bad your handwriting has deteriorated in this technological age.  Try it!  Try and write twenty lines with a pen on paper.  Your wrist will become tired; your finger sore and your writing will look as if you have been writing in a bar after sampling some of the fine wares of the establishment.

For a writer however I guess it is what you feel most comfortable with.  We see Carrie Bradshaw in S*x and the City narrating as she types.  Is this the best way to write for you?  I think you can type as you think however when writing by hand you are more inclined to pause and see how your writing is coming along.

Like the word processor, I recently bought a writing desk.  I felt like a cheat however putting my laptop on top of it and was wondering what was the point of the desk?  With this in mind I put pen to paper and now I have even bought some writing paper and envelopes!

How nice it is to see a freshly handwritten letter in an envelope.  I would imagine it is as equally rewarding to receive one.  Rather than a text of e-mail.  Having written my first letter I had to stop myself from signing it “regards Conor”.

So back to the writer/typer.  Technically, if you think about it, if you class yourself a writer you should write.  How can a writer be such if he/she is typing?  I felt vindicated...I am a writer and proud!  However in this instance in the interest of speed I had to type this article on a laptop.  Some things you can’t change...

Thank you Conor for sharing your experience with us.
And my questions to all the fellow writers out there would be: Are you a writer or a typer? Do you feel excited to see the white page darkening with your own writing? Or  do you feel like a cheat for typing? Do you think as you write? Or write as you think? 

Conor Lynch just got out a collection of Contemporary Short Stories called the Lonely Man and his short stories are available on amazon Kindle. For more information, click on his website.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It is a Long Shot

I often look for new writing projects that accept submissions and on the course of my random writing discussions with fellow writers, someone told me about a new and audacious online magazine.
So I thought I should share it with you.
I actually already did. 
On the Uspart blog where I write articles on and off but just in case you don't know the website, I thought I'll add the article here too. 
So here it is:
Longshot is a magazine that is produced from start to finish in the space of 48 hours. 
Did you say: 48 hours? Yes, you read right!
Their first issue was announced on Friday July 29 2011 at noon, Pacific Time. For the next 24 hours, they accepted submissions based on a theme. Then they used the next 24 hours to edit and design the issue, based entirely on the submissions they received over the previous day. At noon on Sunday the 31st, they uploaded the finished product to MagCloud, where anybody could buy it. And still can.
Over a 48 hour period from noon July 29, 2011, through noon July 31, 2011, thousands of writers, editors, artists, photographers, programmers, videographers, and other creative people from all around the world came together via the Internet to make the magazine. 
The theme was debt.
A pretty actual theme. And a sad one too.
As you can imagine, this cool initiative needed a lot of help from a  lot of people.  Information designers, editors, proof readers, fact checkers joined up to work towards this speedy Long Shot.
Sadly the first issue is over and they only do this twice a year. But another Long Shot will be on its way soon, and they’ll want submissions from you, ranging from 140 characters to 4,000 words.
So be ready. Join their website and prepare your strongly-reported narratives, design fictions, interviews, data visualizations, cartoons, family portraits, how-to guides, maps, obscure histories, recipes, war reporting, photo-essays, blueprints, ships’ logs, scientific papers, charticles, wood cuts, curio boxes, product reviews, and box scores.
They want you to make it. And what’s more they don’t want exclusive rights, so you’ll be free to share your work again.

As I said, I must be archaic cuz I was pretty amazed to discover this new concept of publishing. They call it pop-up publishing. Have you heard about it?  What are your thoughts on it? 

Article to upstart:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

RTÉ is commissioning Factual Programming

Are you into Arts? Do you have great ideas in store? Ideas that you've been dying to share?

Then it's the time to put those great ideas into Motion.

As part of an overall strategy to renew and refresh arts programming on RTÉTV, RTE Factual urgently requires ideas for high-impact cultural TV events and series for 2012 and beyond.

They want ideas for 2- and 3-part series which have, as with all Factual output, real depth and insight but which appeal to a broad audience. Accessibility is key to our arts strategy for 2012 and beyond: your idea should appeal as much to a non-arts audience as to the existing arts audience. It should be "big" enough to become a highlight in the RTE1 schedule and to ignite discussion and debate across radio, online and on existing RTE television programmes.

We specifically welcome ideas for series in the following areas:
1. Observational series which document the experiences of Irish people (famous or not) and/or communities as they engage with the arts.

2. Formats. We are not interested in tightly-formatted ideas; instead we are looking for loose hour-long formats which introduce new audiences to the arts through the hands-on experiences of ordinary Irish people or well-known faces.

3. Authored/"big-idea" documentary series. The success of recent BAI-funded/co-pro history formats such as Cromwell In Ireland or The Story of Ireland has proved that there is a large audience for "big-idea" or big overview documentary series on RTE.

4. Events. We most definitely want to find ideas for arts event-style programmes & series which have cultural activity at their core. Ideas that get the nation doing things together.

Finally, if you feel that your idea has potential for co-production or BAI funding, let them know.
For more information, visit the RTE website.  Producers must submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category Factual - Arts 2012
Deadline: Friday 09th September
So put on your thinking hat and get your Facts together!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Inspiration around the world

I am just amazed at the diversity of blogs there is out there about writing.
There is so many of them, wannabe writers, editors, online magazines, blogs about agents, blogs about  losing yourself in your craft and blogs about focusing on your craft.
Everything and anything.
You click to one UK blog which leads you to New York, Wisconsin, Canada, Brazil, Russia and within an hour, you are back to the UK and you've travelled around the world, hopping from blog to blog.
I found that amazing.
And the crazy thing is that there isn't one blog which I thought, was rubbish.
There's always been something useful, something interesting.
There's so much talent out there, it's just inspiring as well as dumfounding.

For all the isolated writers who are into writing for Young Adults, I recommend a very good blog from E.R King.
This is her blog: 

E.R King's blog has links to many YA writers and some of which are on the verge to become very successful.

 Debut novel by Marrissa Meyer, Cinder, is a take on the classic Cinderella fairy tale . . . except it’s set in the future, and her Cinderella is a cyborg!! Isn't this bold or what?

Debut novel by Elana Johnson, Possession.
The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Another sci-fi writer I've discovered:
Placid Point: Tales from the History of Transhumanity by Graham Storrs are stories of humanity in transition. A young man finds himself in charge of a box full of human minds, a maintenance crew hears screaming from inside an unmanned space station, at the end of time, the last transhuman enjoys mince pies and sherry. Whatever form our future takes, death, betrayal, sex, and Christmas will always be with us.

I have also discovered this one. It can't remember through which other blog I've found it but there it is:
Her book The Carrier of the Mark, is being published by HarperTeen on the 4th October 2011.
She got noticed through a community writers forum called Inkpop. ( And within 2 months, lucky devil, she got an editor working for her and got a three-deal book.

A magazine open for Fiction submissions:

A little bit of TLC for your WIP? It is apparently a very respectable company but you will find that Tender Love and Care doesn't come cheap at all.

Any blog you've found inspiring lately?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Music and sentiments

I am back to writing personal stuff again. I felt so depressed for the last few days with the rejections I got, it felt hard to be talking about it. I only got 5 rejections so far but still they got me harder than I wanted to. And I didn't feel like writing but I am slowly getting back into it. It takes a while to stand up again when you've been kicked in the guts!

Not wanted to discuss about the real stuff, I started listening to music to ease the pain.
There's one composer who always makes it better for me.
Thomas Newman.
Should I still try to introduce him?
He wrote the music for American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Little Women, Angels in America, Love Actually and Pride and Prejudice which I have just discovered very recently.

This is one specific song from the soundtrack that I really love.

From 0 to 1:50 min.
What is with this song that pulls the strings of my heart?
What string is it?
Yes. A disused word. Compassion for everything and everyone. It just pours out of the depth of my chest and just spills over everything which exists on this planet and back into me again.
It leaves me whole and empty.
Full of understanding of the love and wisdom and sadness which it creates in me and the void of it as it occurs and suddenly vanishes away from me. 

From 4:19 to 5:27
And there it comes a wave. So powerful it washes everything...leaving me so puzzled, so confused i can barely understand what's just happened.
This time, it is sadness, I know. Why the sadness? I can't be sure.
A thought reaches me: this music is asking me to let go. Of all the emotions. Of the ressentment, and betrayal. And to acknowledge the hurt and the resentment is pain-ful and that's how the sadness emerges.

Thomas Newman, let me say you this once, and once only,  you are a genius. Thank you for smoothing things over inside and out.

What about other writers out there? What music inspires you? What tick your boxes? What tickle your heart and soul?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Library in the Rijksmuseum, the Greatest Libraries - Part 6 and End.

For the last series of the week about the Greatest Libraries ( although I know there could be a lot more to cover) I am going to choose the Library in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  
A very impressive  four-story library. I know the style is supposed to be gothic and renaissance but from this point, the design looks very industrial-like with the metals bars dividing the space and the opening of light in the middle. 
Books filling up the walls from top to bottom, like a tapestry of books, bringing warmth to the place.

The spiral staircase looks very cool.

The building in itself is amazing. The building is looking as nice in daylight as it is in night-time! For I have seen the picture in Wikipedia and it is just as impressive. But I like this picture better. It makes the place almost fairy-like.
The Museum was founded in 1800 in The Hague to exhibit the collections of the Dutch stadtholders.
Stadtholders in the Middle Ages were appointed by feudal lords to represent them in their absence. If a lord had several dominions (or, being a vassal, fiefs), some of these could be ruled by a permanent stadtholder, to whom was delegated the full authority of the lord. A stadtholder was thus more powerful than a mere governor, who had only limited authority but the stadtholder was not a vassal himself, having no title to the land.
In 1808 the museum moved to Amsterdam on the orders of king Louis Bonaparate, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
In 1863, there was a design contest for a new building for the Rijksmuseum, but none of the submissions was considered to be of sufficient quality. Pierre Cuypers also participated in the contest and his submission reached the second place.
In 1876 a new contest (only 13 years later, architects had to be patient) was held and this time Pierre Cuypers won. The design was a combination of gothic and renaissance elements. The construction began on October 1, 1876.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Jay Walker Library, the greatest Libraries Part 5

 Is it me or this Library  does also swimming pool?
Isn't it a brilliant modern Library? It looks like a library Leonardo Da Vinci would have got if he lived in the 21st century. Or Dr Who? Maybe?I just loved the different levels and the space created both in width and height.
The blue hue bathing the library is unfortunately and just ( huh!) the reflection of the sky  into the Library. Yes. Well some have it all.
The name of the lucky and I might add private owner is Jay Walker. 
American Inventor, entrepreneur (another one!) and  chairman of Walker Digital, a privately held research and development lab focused on using digital networks to create new business systems. Best known as the founder of

How would I feel about reading cosily the last of Mr Ransom Christopher The People Next Door in this place and suddenly rising my head off the pages to see the open sky? I don't think I would feel too bad.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The George Peabody Library,Baltimore, the Greatest Libraries Part 4

Okay, we've been to Ireland, Brazil and Austria, where shall we go next?
Mmmh, let me think, how about the U.S.A? Maryland.
I found that amazing picture of the George Peabody Library, in Baltimore.
Who is George Peabody?
I have no idea.
The name sounds vaguely familiar. Vaguely.
Let's have a look on Wiki.
Mr Peabody was born in South Danvers, Massachusetts in1795, became a banker and entrepreneur, moved at age 21 (1816) in Baltimore. Stayed there for  twenty years. In 1837 Peabody took up residence in London where he remained the rest of his life.
He became a philanthropist. Nice. Never married. Unusual.
In the United States, his philanthropy largely took the form of educational initiatives. In Britain, it took the form of providing housing for the poor.

And the town he was born in Massachussetts is now called Peabody.
Wouldn't it be nice to be a philanthropist? And having a town called after you?
I wouldn't mind. No, I wouldn't.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Benedictine Monastery of Melk, Austria, the Greatest Libraries Part 3

A bit rococo but nonetheless very impressive,the Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Melk in Austria.
I have never heard of that Monastery before so I looked it up on the internet.

Not only does the abbey look beautiful inside and outside but the location seems amazing too. It is located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube.
Apparently Stift Melk is one of the world's most famous monastic sites.  So famous, I didn't know about it.
The abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey.

In his well-known novel The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco named one of the protagonists "Adson von Melk" as a tribute to the abbey and its famous library.

 I know I should have been a monk!! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading, the Greatest Libraries Part 2

Is this the Gigantic Gothic Music Room of an Eccentric Billionaire?
Well as much as I thought it was, it isn't.
And those black things down below are not pianos either.
They are desks.
Pretty cool.
This is the Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
My Spanish is rusty and my Portuguese is non existent.
But I think this would translate as the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Long Library, Ireland - The Greatest Libraries Part 1

Following yesterday's post, I have decided to make a week of the best/most beautiful libraries that exist in this world.

And (sorry if I am being biased) but I believe I must start with the best, well, one of the nicest I've actually seen for real.
I give you. The Long Library. Dublin, Trinity College. Breathtaking or what?

And being an early fan of Star Wars, imagine my shock when I saw the not-so-good " Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones"
Yes you got it. They used this great location and “redigitalised” the idea. I was flabbergasted. 

Not convinced yet? Here are two pictures side by side.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I wanted to talk about an Irish Artist today which I have discovered in my local gallery but his work is not available online so I will have to postpone this post til I got back to the gallery and take some picture of his works.
In the meantime, I have a post to write and I am not too sure what to write about. Well I know what to write about but I am not sure I am brave enough to share it with the outside world.
Oh darn it all. Let's do it.
I have been through Hell for the last week. Because yes, I have sent it away.
I hesitated upon every word, hesitated to add this part or that, removed this sentence or that, did the research to whom to send it to (very time consuming)
And now, it is sent. 
It is out.
So now, all I have to do is wait but of course, they say you are not supposed to wait, you are supposed to keep writing. Well I can't. Not at the moment. I feel like I am in a state of gestation. Not too sure what I should be doing next.
I am doing a little bit of research on a possible second Book but I am not really in it.
I feel lately -and that was before I sent the manuscript- very out of touch.
Not only with myself but with others, with my family, with my friends. I feel I am living in a bubble which is about to burst on me. Very unsettling.
While I wrote this I find it very hard to focus on anything. Read or even watch T.V and my mind is wandering back to that "thing". Yet I found the reading process quite essential to find inspiration but being where I am now I can't really do anything. So I am trying to go out and even that, is difficult.
I don't feel like doing much.
Except thinking.
Thinking or should I say assessing my life.
Do I want to have my writing ruling my life the way it is ruling it at the moment?
Am I being extreme? Yes. Should I cut back and return to reality?  Yes and yes.
Of course I should.
I only started to write this book as a personal challenge to myself and now it has taken my life completely. I know I should return to a life style that is a little more balanced. But it isn't an option at the moment.
In the meantime, I want to be ready for what comes out.
Whether it is good or bad.
I don't want this decision to affect me too greatly.
I want to be serene and accept that this decision won't make me a writer.
I am a writer already. A very slow writer and a late writer but a writer nonetheless.
And if I don't reach the target, well I'll have to get more darts, won't I?

So my question to other writers who might be out there is, how many darts have you used? Do you feel you've running out of darts? How much closer are you to the target?