Monday moodlifters!

(I’ve decided to name all my posts on Monday “Monday moodlifters” because I’m a lazy ass who doesn’t want to come up with new post titles every week. So if you have issue with the cheesy name, suck it. Kidding!)

So I came across this article on weird things that affect our dreams today. I don’t know if it’s all just a load of horse shit, but they do sound plausible. At least, we all know the stuff we’re exposed to during the day gets processed by our pre-conscious mind and they manifest in completely bizarre ways when we’re asleep.

Speaking of dreams, I had the weirdest dream last Saturday (I’m starting to see a pattern here – is Saturday the day when my circadian rhythm jumps out of whack?), and the emotions I experienced in it were so intense I woke up crying. No shit.

(It’s funny. You may be sobbing your heart out in your dream, so hard that you feel like your chest and face might explode from all that emotion, but you wake up and find that you’re only just tearing up. Like how you’re screaming and shrieking in your dream, and you’re actually just whimpering in waking.)

My dream might have to do with the book I just finished reading:

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby

 

It’s about a girl named Portia who was abandoned by her family at a home for girls during the Great Depression era. I generally avoid books set in depressing times because they’re such downers (sorry!), but this one has a circus, a budding romance and is a coming-of-age story about a girl searching for her father.

Okay, that’s a terrible summary. I think this blurb from Teen Librarian Toolbox does it more justice:

Portia has always grown up hearing the stories of her family, but when her family disappears there is no one left to care for her except for The Mister. The Mister runs the McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls and it is a place that you would do anything to escape if you could, perhaps even death.  When one of the girls in the home, her friend Caroline, does indeed take her life, the thought that she may be a murderer haunts her.  For a while Portia languishes at the home, biding her time and praying that her father will magically appear and rescue her, but when the circus caravan drives by and a card with all their routes on it falls out a window and glides slowly to the ground, she has a new plan.


Portia jumps on a bright red bicycle and pedals to a new type of freedom, she hopes.  Her she stumbles upon The Wonder Show, a side show of circus freaks who caravan across the country and make a meager living based solely on their various oddities.  Tall men, short men, fat ladies and a woman with no arms who throws knives with deadly precision – they are now the only hope that Portia has of out running The Mister and trying to find the father she knows once loved the circus.  Portia knows it is only a matter of time before The Mister finds her, he is not the type of man to let someone get away. And Portia, more than anyone ever has, has upset The Mister.

 

Abandonment, optimism, flagging hope, It’s right in line with the themes and emotions of Neverland. Plus, the pacing is tight and keeps you turning the pages, the characters are people you want to root for, there is an underlying sense of urgency and danger threaded throughout the story, and you find yourself hoping along with Portia for her father to find her.

Some beautiful quotes from the book:

Sometimes promises are even harder to keep than secrets. Promises are easily made- we toss them like coins bound for a fountain and leave them there, under the water, waiting to be retrieved.

And:

The ones who left (tapped at the edge of her memory), and the ones who were left behind, everyone in motion like startled birds, trying to find a place to land.

And:

There was always someone going and someone left behind. Portia had been both. She had enjoyed neither. But she knew that leaving a place was sometimes necessary, when you wouldn’t breathe there anymore, when you weren’t yourself because of it.

And finally:

Lives only begin once.  Stories are much more complicated.

 

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I love it so much I NEED to own it.

Anyway, yes, the dream.

It involved a girl (let’s call her Iris) being found by Mother, a no-nonsense but kind lady who founded the Academy for Wayward Teenage Girls. There, she got into trouble with the other girls, got framed, got kissed, got blamed for a murder, got expelled, and finally she realised that she had nowhere left to go. That the Academy, for all its failings and imperfections and hateful rules and hierarchy, was the only place she had come to count on. That part where Mother had to let her go was the part where Iris (or, okay, me, since I was Iris in the dream) struggled to hold in her tears and eventually broke down. I woke up to find my pillow soaked, although I wasn’t choking on my tears the way Iris – or I – had been in the dream.

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What, you don’t get weird-ass dreams like that?

On the plus side, that dream made for some really good writing material. I might write something about it when I have the time, maybe a short story, if not a proper novel. I’ve been saving my dreams for ages, recording them in my notebook as detailed as I possibly can, hoping to one day discover them properly and fill up the missing pieces (you know how dreams can be a little hole-y).

Hmm. How shall I develop Iris’s story? I already have a few ideas brewing, but am not sure how to work out the technicalities…

NO, JOYCE, NO. NOT NOW. NOW IS THE TIME FOR NEVERLAND!! DO NOT GET SIDETRACKED.

Okay, that’s enough rambling for the day. Shall leave with a few lovely quotes and pictures, as usual.

John Green offers some very inspiring advice to aspiring writers:

Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.

It’s easy to lose sight of the reason you write. We want to be published so badly, want everything that comes along with being published. Book tours, book signings, brushing shoulders with YA superstars – *ahem* Laini Taylor *ahem* Sarah Dessen… Writing is such a lonely journey we want to see results sooner, if not at least have people to share the process with. To find someone(s) who’s as excited and invested in the story as we are.

Which is why writing a novel requires SO MUCH patience and perseverance. You need stamina to see this shit through. To put yourself through this mental agony day after day until you hit The End.

But I guess I will try to see this journey – or, in fact, every journey, assuming I still have stories I want to write – for what it is. If not a gift, then at least a much-needed lesson in perseverance.

Laini Taylor on writing meaningful dialogue:

I think the trick to enjoying dialogue (which I think is the lifeblood of a book) is: to have characters who want things and are doing things. Then there’s plenty to talk about, and their unique identities emerge more (for me) in the writing of dialogue than anywhere else.

WANTING and DOING. What do my characters WANT and DO?

 

Rose garden love!
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. love!
Reading love!

And finally,

Pretty boy love!

 

Have a great week, everyone! ❤

 

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excuse me, aren’t you supposed to be writing?

Okay, okay. This will be a quick one, I promise. I’m just dropping off some quotes from Laini’s blog before I dash.

Laini on reading:

… readers inhabit fiction. We experience novels from the inside, and they change us.

This is just so true. There are some books so lovely I just want to crawl inside them and live there.  

Like that!

And this one, back when she first started on Daughter of Smoke and Bone (THREE MORE MONTHS TO DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, GUYS!!!):

I had the most beautiful, brilliant, joyous writing day yesterday! Every word was sheer fun. The air crackled with ideas so that my hair got static and stood on end. A shimmering window opened in the air and butterflies flew in. A polite goblin brought me a key on a golden pillow. I don’t know what it opens yet, but I’m sure it’s something awesome.”

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My god, I am OBSESSED with her prose. O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D. Such pretty imagery! Ugh, what goes on in that wonderful, brilliant mind of hers that she can so easily create such beautiful writing that ignites the imagination? Can I inhale the same air as her? Read the same books, look at the same art, go to the same places? (She doesn’t really watch TV.) 

This is probably the reason why I read her blog. 

Not just because her tone is so conversational and upbeat and engaging. 

Not just because I love reading about her lovely, loving family and her glamorous writer’s life (book tours! book parties! readings! award ceremonies! talks!).

But because I want to know the sort of life she leads so that I can, in my own meagre way, expose myself to the influences, the sights and sounds, that she is exposed to. So that I can somehow translate that into my writing like how she has translated that into her writing, in some way (although given how bright and happy everything in her life is, her prose is incongruously dark and dramatic.

Okay, I should probably tone this down a notch. I’m starting to sound like a creepy stalker.

Speaking of toning it down, here’s someone else who needs to calm down.

And something from Laini on keeping the love alive:

I’m sure you’ve been there on the first day with a new idea. Like a relationship, a book will not always maintain that same level of infatuation, but hopefully like a relationship it can sustain deep affection and attraction and commitment. Love.

It’s true. Everything is always so much fun at the beginning. The mood is fresh and new, and there a song that constantly plays in your head as you craft your scenes and develop your characters. It’s all skip-hop and twinkly toes and flower petals in the air, until you realise you need to develop some conflict and everything starts to get complicated – or worse, convoluted – and what do you know, you’re halfway through the story!

That, my friends, is when the mid-story goblin starts his awful cackle, rubbing his hands with unbridled glee.

No. You are not getting me this time, you little sucker.

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Good question, Castiel. What am I doing blogging so often when I should be writing?!

You know what I’m really doing? Procrastinating, that’s what. Because blogging is much easier and doesn’t deplete my brain juices as much as, say, WRITING A NOVEL, I’m hiding out here instead of working on bumping my word count as I ought to be doing.

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Don’t judge me, Belle!

Okay okay. I think I’ve held this off long enough. Back to Neverland.