status report: one month in

So. It’s been a month since I started posting in this blog. To my surprise, I managed to post almost daily. I missed four days, but there were two days where I posted twice, so I guess that evens it out a little.

I didn’t actually plan to post daily. I started one day, then I continued on the next, and when I hit five days in a row I considered giving this posting daily thing a chance.

Has it helped in my quest to write more? Well, I am writing more, but I don’t think I’ve written much that is substantial. There’s been snippets of fiction, general observations, attempts at prompts, terrible attempts at poetry, a photo or two. I still haven’t found a subject I want to focus on, or a story that I can imagine myself working on daily.

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The prime meridian at Greenwich, 2012.

The prime meridian monument at Greenwich.
An imaginary line running around half the globe (and a monument marking it). Greenwich, September 2012.

I went to visit Greenwich alone since my friends had wanted to go shopping and I had declined with something akin to horror. Shopping is fine when I need to buy something, but just wandering around looking at everything didn’t appeal to me much. They didn’t understand why I wanted to go see an imaginary line which arbitrarily ran from one pole to the other, so we parted ways gladly.

I got on trains, I got off trains, I walked up a hill and arrived at the observatory. I discreetly inserted myself into a group of students on a tour, and listened to their guide as he explained some of the exhibits in the museum. I was paying more attention to him than the kids were, and I think he was rather gratified by my presence. I looked at old telescopes. I wandered up old buildings, stared bemusedly at empty old rooms, chatted with one of the security personnel who talked about the Thames and the London Olympics. I took a picture of an American couple kissing across the prime meridian.

Far away from home.

I contemplated the line that marked the Greenwich meridian a fair bit longer than most of the tourists.  I got a few curious glances from both the security people and the visitors. It was just a line; you can jump across it and step on it and dance on it and nothing happens. It’s just a line, and also history and geography and astronomy and science and time all bundled into one.

It still remained a line after I was done staring at it. Shaking off my ridiculous melancholy, I went for a hot chocolate and bought a few postcards, then trudged back down the hill and through the park, and went to see what else Greenwich had to offer.

(This was written for the daily prompt border, mostly because it reminds me of how all these lines are arbitrary and important at the same time.)

no, your editor is not out to get you

Editing seems to get a bad reputation in the circle of writers near me, especially those just starting or those trying to get back to their feet. You know how the advice goes: Turn your inner editor off and get on writing!

I’m getting that advice a lot.

Which is good advice, really. I wouldn’t be writing anything at all otherwise, because my inner editor is very loud and terribly distracting.

That being said, let me also tell you this: Your editors aren’t out to get you. Not the real ones, and possibly not even the one in your head.

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She found the cat sitting in front a fountain of milk, daintily licking its paws. It was white, except for a black patch over one eye, its movements sleek and graceful.

“Tell me a story,” she demanded of the cat, and it looked at her with bright, curious eyes.

“What sort of story?” it asked, before continuing to groom itself.

“Any story, as long as you tell it.”

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eastwards on a train

The train was smoothly making its way towards the east and Amy still managed, somehow, to almost trip as she headed back to where we were seated. I shook my head and she just shrugged, grinning. Our carriage was mostly empty. On one side sat two teenagers, watching a screen of a tablet together while sharing a set of earphones, occasionally giggling and elbowing each other. A family of five sat a few rows behind us, the two little girls occasionally running up and down the aisle and clambering into the empty seats to look out of the windows, their father intermittently calling them back. A baby wailed each time he raised his voice.

This little trip Amy had planned was turning out like nothing I had expected. I’d thought we’d be driving up the mountains, and then spend the day looking at old colonial buildings and maybe pick some strawberries before going home. Instead, I was sitting in a train as it chugged its way through the countryside, apparently on my way towards the cable cars that headed up to the Balsands Plateau. We were then supposed to go out exploring a short hiking trail and look at the flora and fauna. (“Fauna, Amy?” “You know, squirrels and stuff.”)

I wondered whether Amy was trying to recreate something from our school years, but as she laid out her itinerary for the journey I was left mostly baffled by the whole endeavour.

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