9 awkward moments with that office eye candy

1. Weird eye contact

When he walks past your table and you’re secretly like

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But then he suddenly looks your way and you’re like

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Wait … is that a smile? Should I smile back?

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Too late.

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2. The water cooler walk

Is he heading for the water cooler now? Damn, I’m thirsty too.

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3. Facebook stalking

Nothing?! Why is he so mysterious?

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4. Lunch break

He’s lunching at his table alone again! Should you ask him out for lunch?

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… Yeah, just a thought.

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5. At the cafeteria

Oh, shit. He’s there getting lunch. Turn back or say hi?

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6. When you’re lunching in

Do I have food down my shirt? Oh crap, please don’t let him turn around when I’m wolfing down this chicken.

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7. At office parties

Some cake for you? Not you. You.

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8. Lift encounters

You’re in the same lift as him! Enclosed space! BUT. He’s with a friend and they’re talking about some trip he just came back from. Should you join in or hope for this unending lift ride to end?

9. Klutz alert!

When you think you’re all

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That’s the moment you end up like this

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And he TOTALLY SAW.

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Crushes are much more effort than they’re worth sometimes.

metaphorical roller coasters … and something called Tinder?

Jennifer Crusie offered some great advice on keeping the dream alive (and reality at arm’s length):

… what separates the successful writers with long term careers from those who don’t make it is that the successful writers have the perception that they’re in control, that if they keep going, somebody will finally see the greatness of their stories.

So you’re building your island based on unrealistic dreams and convictions made of thin air. What’s the worst that can happen? You never get published or the book of your heart tanks, and you never reach your goal, but at the end of your life you look back and say, “I had a dream and I fought for it, I believed in myself and my work, and I never, ever gave up.” That’s a life well lived, folks, a helluva lot better than, “I had a dream but it wasn’t realistic so I quit and watched television.” Do not let reality push you around, do not be sensible and kill your own dreams, and for the love of God do not let people who are only guessing about what’s going to happen next tell you that you’re a fool for believing in yourself and your stories.

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Thank you for sharing this post, Laini, and thank you for writing it, Jennifer! (Loved Wild Ride, by the way.)

This is such timely* advice, given how I’m SERIOUSLY losing steam for Neverland. It’s so tempting to want to toss it aside and not think about this train wreck anymore, but then you read such upbeat posts and you reconsider that notion.

*Even though the post was published waaaaay back in 2005 – I got directed there from Laini’s old posts** Hey, never too late for some encouragement.

**Why yes, I’ve read all the way back to 2006. Obsessed, you say?***

***I can’t hear you.

Right now, it kinda feels like this:

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I was looking through Until Morning last night and I realised what is amiss as I write Neverland: the magic.

Not in the literal sense (although Until Morning and the Neverland differ in that sense too). No. What I mean is that feeling of being pulled into the story, until I’m scrambling to put all my thoughts into words, typing feverishly as the story sweeps me towards the final scene.

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That feeling of knowing your characters so well that they become an extension of yourself, and you realise the characters were inside you all along, banging against your chest, clamouring to be let out.

That feeling where you know their stories so well that their problems become yours, and their actions and motivations lead neatly up to the final act.

That feeling at the end where everything comes into place in the end and makes sense and you can finally see what the hell your story was meant to look like. And you’re so psyched you’re pretty much like this:

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That feeling. That huge whoosh that takes you right from the start to the end. That eagerness to write. To discover. That was how it was with Until Morning**** I had FUN writing Until Morning. But for Neverland … not so much. Maybe it was that magical element that made writing Until Morning more fun (Until Morning is contemporary YA with a touch of magical realism). But I’ve written realistic YA before, and it didn’t feel as uninspiring as Neverland.

****Or is it just post-novel selective amnesia, where I only remember the good bits from writing the completed novel and not the bad parts? Is there even such a thing???

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I know I’ve bitched and moaned about this enough in my previous posts, and the last thing you want to read is another lament on flat, limpid characters and a plot that’s meandering nowhere. I get it. Like, get it together already, woman! Believe me, there is nothing I would like to do more than that.

So that’s that on the writing front. I’ll let you know if anything changes.

*

So apparently, there’s this new app called Tinder, which looks like another dating app but supposedly isn’t, because you get to look at Facebook profiles (the app is linked to Facebook) of people (set preferred gender) around you (set radius)…

And then you swipe right if you are interested and left if you’re not. If the person you swiped right for shows mutual interest, you two will be automatically mated for life put to chat.

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Put bluntly, it’s pretty much man-shopping based on profile pictures. Way to encourage people to judge based on appearances – like I don’t already do that on my own.

I told my (single) girlfriends about this app (why is it called Tinder anyway?), and they seem to be having more fun with it than I am. I don’t know, maybe I’m more into serendipitous encounters than casual conversations on a cellphone. You know, more Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop and all that, instead of You’ve Got Mail.

Yeah, I’m aware that if I keep waiting for a chance encounter with a handsome, sweet and funny stranger at my usual hideouts I will probably end up like this:

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Ah well. For now, I’m keeping busy. Neverland, be kind to me!

At least I have him in mind for Peter Pan.

Besides, so many books, so little time! Right now, I’m reading this:

Night of Cake and Puppets, a Daughter of Smoke and Bone novella by Laini Taylor

SO MUCH LOVE for this! Unlike DOSAB, it’s written in first-person POV, and alternates between Karou’s crazy, tiny, fierce, funny best friend Zuzana and her crush, sweet, shy, talented violin-playing Mik. The prose is pretty, lovely, funny and completely Laini, if you read her blog.

Here’s a snippet I love:

Snow flurries
Rose bush
Light vines

See how her prose sets off so many visuals in your mind? The words may look dull on the page, but with the right dose of imagination they can come so completely alive and paint such a vivid picture. I just can’t get enough of her pretty imagery!

After Night of Cake and Puppets, there’s Blackbringer and Silksinger. But then I want – no, need – to reread Days of Blood and Starlight before April (i.e. Dreams of Gods and Monsters) comes along.

Damn. Those titles. Epic or what?

Have a great weekend!

an update on the party business

I chickened out in the end. I chose the easy way out and retreated into my hermit cave instead of attending the pirate-themed beach party my company threw just for kicks. (Also, I keep mentioning pirate-themed, only because I want to remind myself how ridiculous it sounds to someone who doesn’t like themed parties that involve dressing up.)

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My company is big on these bonding events, and really it’s not so bad. There’s pizza, booze, games, goody bags, prizes – the usual shebang you’d expect at a company party. But I’m not a party person in general. My idea of a good Friday night is curling up on the couch with a book, or being productive and churning out pages of my novel.

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It might be the cynic in me speaking, but I don’t want to get close to anyone when I’m likely not going to see these people again. I don’t want to get attached when I intend to leave as soon as something else comes along.

But I do understand that in order to have something worth writing, I need to go out and live. Experience things, see things, meet and talk to people, even if they’re only going to be acquaintances. I know I need to break out of my routine and my cloistered life for the sake of my sanity, my social life and cultivate a less boring personality.

But I’m terrified – deathly terrified – that it would turn out really awkward and, well, un-fun. And that I’d have wasted my time being a socially-retarded loser. I think that’s the reason why I’m always hesitant to attend social events. That I’d be reminded of the fact that I either stick out like a sore thumb or have to behave in a socially acceptable way – requisite small talk, bright smile to constantly hold up, chirpy voice – in order to fit in.

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Of course, staying in my comfort zone makes me even more of a socially-retarded loser.

I want to get out more. I do. But sometimes, going out is such a hassle and meeting new people is daunting. Terrifying. It gets even more terrifying the more I retreat into my shell. Because the truth is, despite how much I convince myself I don’t care what people think of me, it is ALL I can think about when I meet them.

Does she think I’m weird? 

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Am I boring him? 

Is she wishing she’s anywhere else but here with me? 

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What will he say to his friends about me? 

Do I have something in between my teeth? 

Oh god, did I just snort in laughter?

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Well, in any case, it’s raining now. A part of me is relieved. Now I won’t have to feel so bad about not going. A moment later, another part of me chides that relieved part for being so selfish. Urgh. If only I weren’t such a weirdo. How do you become normal? What is normal? Taking part in social drinking and party games? What if I don’t want to be that kind of “normal”? Does that make me abnormal?

Next time. Next time I promise I’ll go.

Goodbye, Nelson (and other news)

Woke up this morning to learn that Nelson Mandela has passed away. He died in his home at the age of 95, after succumbing to a lung infection. I don’t like to write tributes to famous people and pretend like I knew the guy so well to pass judgement on the things he did or said. It just feels like I’m jumping in on the bandwagon, like how everyone who’d pretty much forgotten about Michael Jackson suddenly became his fan again after he passed away. But Nelson Mandela fought – hard – for peace and love and equality, and for that alone I think I should at least share something beautiful that he’d once said:

And my personal favourite:

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This can be applied to so many things in life and is thus such a powerful, empowering statement. Mandela embarked on a tumultuous journey to lead South Africa out of its apartheid shadow, and emerged victorious in the end. Despite his illness, I think leaving at 95 only means he’s led a deep and full life.

*

In less somber (and more self-absorbed) news, this is what happened to me this morning on my way to work and at work (though not in that order). You know sometimes when you see a cute guy who sort of smiles at you that you’re supposed to go:

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But then what you end up doing is:

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And then afterward you’re all like:

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And:

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But then you walk on the street and a semi-cute guy goes:

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And you’re like:

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But then you trip on your foot and it’s like:

Please tell me I’m not alone in this.