Valentine’s Day lovelies

Too many links and pictures to share this Monday! But first, a recap of the weekend.*

*Which is probably just a nicer way of saying, “Here’s some photo-dumping and inane rambling.” But there you go.

Saturday was spent writing.

 

And writing.

 

And more writing.

 

By Sunday, I was ready to break out of the house. After our usual brunch, my dad and I went strolling around town and booked a trip to Taiwan in late March. Yay, travel!

I really believe that it doesn’t matter where you go or what you do that matters, but the company you keep. My dad and I don’t go to special places often, or eat or live extravagantly, but I always have a good time with him, even when we’re just rambling around town, taking photos.

Because the tour agency was in Chinatown, we ended up walking around the area. (Yes, again. It’s funny, but from architecture to shops to people, there seems to be endless things to discover no matter how many times we visit that place.)

 

 

 

 

 

And because I am irrationally obsessed with flowers, I went a little shutter-crazy here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s that for the weekend. And now, link salad!

1. Being a writer is a lot more like sitting alone with your computer, ploughing through the suck of your own doing, sending out query letters and hoping and wishing and praying for someone to love your story. Sometimes, reality falls short of our expectations. But thank goodness for critique partners, awesome writers who write beautiful books, and green tea!

2. This infographic shows the million and one things you’re doing wrong with your script, which can also be applied to any story you’re writing.

3. By the way, I never realised how snarky Disney characters were until this post! For instance,

 

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Check out the article for more!

 

3. And since it’s Valentine’s Day week, here’s a slew of Valentine’s Day-related stuff that made me laugh out loud.

 

Something for the LOTR fans:

 

And something for singles who have plans to avoid Valentine’s Day (and the obnoxiously lovey couple or ten that are bound to appear on every other street):

 

Some grumpiness to counter those overheard love confessions and sightings of couples in matching outfits?

 

Just so we’re clear, I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day. It’s just funny how so many snarky memes have sprung up because of some holiday that now means overpriced flowers and Valentine’s Day lingerie (because, of course, Valentine’s Day is important enough to have special lingerie dedicated to it) and couple’s dining promotions more than anything else.

Speaking of love, what do you love? I’m going to list 5 things I love, and I’d love to hear your list of 5 things you love! It’s too cliched – and not to mention maudlin – to write a post on the 5 people I love, so let’s keep it light, shall we? (Of course, if you want to mention the people you love, by all means confess away.)

Go like this:

I love:

1. Lovely prose

From Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

 

From Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen

 

From Wonder Show, by Hannah Barnaby



2. Happy babies

 

3. Pretty faces

 


4. Whimsical art

 

by Kathy Hare

 

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry



5. Beautiful nooks and crannies in the world

Mykonos, Greece

 

Pretty lilac!

 

Atlantis Bookstore, Santorini, Greece

 

Tellaro, Italy

 

Do share your loves (and toss me a link to your list)! Pass it on, too, so more people can know about love-ly (geddit?) mood-lifters!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to just be about people or, more specifically, your other half. It can also be about the FEELING of being in love with someone or something, being passionate about someone or something. The feeling, not the thing. Share the things you love, and EVERYONE can be in love every day of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day.

Wow. This has been too much sappiness for one post. Think I’ll stop now, before I start vomiting rainbows and unicorns.

Unicorn Vomiting a Rainbow by TheIckyMan on Deviant Art

 

Have a lovely week! (Okay, okay. I’ll stop with the love puns now.)

PRETTY is a lovely word (as is LOVELY)

Ex-literary agent and author Nathan Bransford dishes out some hard truths:

The thing people should really be worried about is whether they have the willpower to write a novel. That is the hard part. The setting aside of time, powering through when it stops being fun, and getting the whole thing written and edited.

I think I’ve said before that writing can be lonely at times. It’s just you and your words. You slaving over your story. You and your own thoughts that can easily morph into doubts. You don’t know if what you’re writing is any good, if anyone will ever get to read it, much less love it. And because of that, you’re hesitant about showing anyone your work. And then it becomes REALLY just you and your story. After a while (usually around the middle), your story starts to get tiresome, and you’re not sure if you should just give up on the whole endeavour.

But then you remember how immensely gratifying it had been to complete your previous stories. And you decide to push through.

Aww thanks, Ryan!

So that’s where I am now, trying to keep up my flagging enthusiasm for Neverland, keep my eye on the finishing line, so to speak.

Thank goodness for little reprieves such as these:

This has to be one of the most hilarious interviews of McFly I’ve seen. Alan Carr + the boys = a total riot!

This one NEVER gets old. Some people say this is a terribly display of how spoiled First World kids are, but I think they were crying about the injustice of losing what they’d earned (how much trick-or-treating do you have to do to get two bags of candy?)  more than they were crying about the candy itself (though, of course, they were crying about the candy too).

And this! Another classic: Dominic Monahan prank-interviews Elijah Wood.

I died laughing.

And to those who say Orlando Bloom is just a pretty face who can’t take the piss out of himself, check out this video:

Still love him. Once my Legolas/Will Turner, always my Legolas/Will Turner!

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Oops. Those eyes though!

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Sigh. Is it any wonder why the writing’s going slowly?

Anyway, remember Graffiti Moon, that wildly beautiful contemporary YA book by Cath Crowley that I raved about a while back? I only just discovered her blog (how did I only find it now?!) and OMG it might be one of my favourite blogs now, along with Laini TaylorNathan Bransford and Maggie Stiefvater’s. I mean, just look at these random gems Cath posts!

Some prose (click on the link for the full piece!):

Someone will offer you the last page of your life today. You won’t know it’s the last page. They won’t say and you won’t ask.

They’ll be waiting for you on a corner that you walk past every day. You’ll think maybe you recognise them. It’s something about the way they’re clicking the thumb and index finger of their left hand together when they speak – you do that all the time, you’ll think.

So you’ll take the page, they know you’ll take the page because you’re that kind of person. You say sorry when it’s not really a sorry kind of situation. You say sorry at least five hundred times a day. You counted once. It’s a habit. You don’t even know where you picked it up.

You’ll get a strange kind of feeling when you walk down the street. The sky, an uncut blue overhead and the mist coming out of your mouth like a ghost. At one stage you might get the idea that you can suck the cold air right back inside. You can’t, you’ll realise. Air that’s breathed is breathed for good.

The paper will stay in your pocket all day – maybe along with a couple of chocolate wrappers and a piece of gum you didn’t know what to do with because you couldn’t find a bin.

You’ll probably touch it a couple of times during the day – feel the corner when you talk to the one you want but spend most of the time looking at the air just to the left of their ears. Maybe you’ll touch it when your boss says you messed up and you believe him.

In the end you’ll take it out and read it on the train. You’ll be coming home like everyone else, watching the blur of lights out the window, the glass between you and the night, between you and the breath of stars.

Some poetry:

You is my mad aching ship

My sad puzzled light

My honey ocean

My late night, impossible wish

I’m sure the grammatical choice (“is”) is there for a reason, but I don’t want to delve into literary criticism here.

And some more prose:

You’ll look up today. You’ll notice the sky. It might be streaky or blue or brushed with white buckled clouds but there will be a piece of it that seems exactly right. You might take a photograph so that you can remember.

You’ll think about the words that you love – maybe nova and opal and shadow and nest. Maybe flicker and frost, kismet or linger. Maybe bliss. Maybe kiss.

SO MUCH BEAUTY in her words. All that imagery! So tender and sweet it’s almost heart-breaking. I just want to hug those words…

Like this!

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MAD MAAAAAD LOVE! I wish I had her sensitivity for words. Graffiti Moon was gorrrrgeous. It’s just the kind of intense, bittersweet, funny, poignant contemporary YA romance centred around two characters looking for themselves and each other that I wish I had written. Or will someday be able to write with much much aplomb.

Speaking of pretty words, there’s something soothing about finding pretty art in the sinkhole that is Pinterest on a lovely blue-skied morning.

Wolf painting by chantelyoung on Etsy
a painting by Carson Ellis for Wildwood, a lovely MG book series by Colin Meloy
Obviously, Quentin Blake.
The Little Prince by Woo Hee Kwon

Okay okay okay. Enough procrastinating. I’m gone. Have a great week, everyone! :0)

And in the vein of things whimsical

I first read The Little Prince (by Antoine de Saint-Exupery) when I was about eleven, and I didn’t really get what the story was about. It seemed a little fragmented, this strange boy stumbling across random people and asking questions. There was a fox, and a lamp-lighter and a pilot and no climax or discernible storyline. As someone who read Nancy Drew mysteries and Roald Dahl, The Little Prince made very little sense.

But then I re-read it again during my junior college days, and fell head over heels in love with it. I don’t understand why, but some part of it brought me back to the days when I tried to make sense of the story. I see now how these precious little encounters shaped the little prince and how they reflect the sort of characters in the world we live in. There are some universal truths in the story, but they don’t come through as lectures. I just can’t describe how magical the story is.