Sleepless in the Dark

I’m not sure why sleep is avoiding me tonight.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick with the flu since last Sunday and done nothing but lie in bed, watching web series and catching up on TV series. Maybe. Or maybe it’s the razor sharp, dry air in my bedroom that attacks my poor long-suffering nostrils. Seriously, I had to move to the living room, next to the balcony door, to catch the breeze of slightly damper night air. Not quite sure if it’s good for my flu.

For some reason my head is buzzing with ideas. After the dry spell, both in air and writing, caused by the flu, it feels like everything’s coming to the surface at the same time. Ideas for continuing my last November’s NaNoWriMo novel, ideas for other writings, ideas even for a web series alter-ego that I’ve been working on silently.

I also had the bright idea of digging through my dad’s cupboards in search of his systems camera. I found it and several lenses, but alas, no film. I have to make a trip to town in the morning to get me some film. It’s been a long time since I used a film camera and longer since I used a systems film camera, but it’ll be interesting!

I made a pot of my nighty-night tea and am trying to catch some of the dregs of the dream sand that must be found somewhere. After all, I meant to hoover last Sunday, but couldn’t so there’s the snow sands of two weeks around here somewhere.

I’m also experiencing wanderlust. I’m perfectly aware that I really don’t have money to travel much right now, but the knowledge doesn’t prevent me from wanting to. Maybe, if possible, I’ll make a longer trip in the Autumn, if everything falls into place. I hope it does.

Alright. I’m going to try sleeping now. I wrote this entry so that I wouldn’t start writing fiction at this time of night and suddenly realise it’s morning…

It’s one of the last dark nights of the Spring. Next week this time the night sky won’t be black and will only get lighter. So, to the last dark night before August.

Love,

Maiju

Fear of The END

This story I’m writing is closing and I feel like my friends are moving on and leaving me behind. The fictional kind, that is.

I know that when I have my first entire draft ready, my novel is far from finished. But it wrences my heart and gut to finish the story.

Yesterday I avoided facing the final chapters and cycled to Söderfjärden, which is where a meteor hit the earth 520 million years ago. 2016-04-23 (2)Since yesterday was Earth Day, it felt fitting to go and stand in the middle of the round plain that’s now full of fields. It’s also the resting place of cranes on their Spring move northwards, but I only saw a few in the air and heard some more, because it was the middle of the day.

Today I cycled to the general expo in the neighbouring county (it’s only 7km one way). They had a book fair there as well and while listening to some of the interviews of authors, I recognised my dread.

I also realised how much I need human contact to keep me grounded. As I cycled to the expo, I had a hypotetical row with one of my characters. After talking to the friends I met at the expo, I cycled back thinking of my writing on a level that resembles schizophrenia far less.

Tomorrow I’ll try not to avoid work.

Love,

Maiju

 

A Brief Note on Insanity

On Tuesday I got struck by lightning.

I have been writing the novel I’m now properly concentrating on for eight years. What finally got me to continue was a book and some career advice. And seems like everything they say about writing is actually true. When you start writing, the story follows.

The story’s like a river. It starts in the mists of your mind, gathering into droplets, into what-ifs, and condensing around conversations you imagine having with imaginary or semi-imaginary people. Those droplets then fall and start trickling together and form little streams, which gather up and make a larger stream. Sometimes puddles form. But when there’s enough water, the pull of the water gets strong enough and there’s no stopping it.

On Tuesday I found where the course of this story is actually heading.  When I was outlining the story in March, I decided on where it was going. I just put something that would probably become the ending, but it never felt organic to me like the rest of the story. But on Tuesday, I figured out where the story flows naturally. It was so easy, it seems silly I didn’t realise it before.

So, for most of the week I’ve been re-outlining and structuring the story. Yesterday I started making the miniscule changes that were required to the story already written, and then continued to organise the bits and pieces which have not seemed to fall into place before. Now they fit like a puzzle.

Am I mad to make large changes at this point of the writing process. No. The murky waters of the pond that was the previous ending have cleared up and even though I can’t see the ocean yet, I’ll get there.

Love,

Maiju

My dad’s flat: the dirt and the benefits

So, as some of you, or none of you know, I moved into my dad’s flat yesterday. After leaving my job and the town where I worked, I spent two weeks at my mum’s. I took that time as a sort of mini-vacation during which I spent a lot of time thinking about writing and trying to escape to places where I could  actually write (not succeeding) and reading and going for jogs.

One thing has been made very clear to me during those weeks at my mum’s: why my dad had a separate place for writing when I was little. It’s impossible to write around her, plus at the time my brother and I lived at home as well, so triple that distraction (or double, because my brother was never home). My mum doesn’t really realise that what to her is only a comment or a side note, to the person writing it is like someone would drag you out of the place in your head where the story lives and force you to concentrate on something very trivial (as an example, the other day my mum dragged to look at a photo of my friend’s dog on Facebook) and then it takes a good while to claw ourselves back into that space.

So, I actually never had hard feelings about my dad disappearing once a week, but if I did, he would be forgiven. A room of one’s own. And a door with a sturdy lock and at least 1km between my mum and me.

So what about the dirt you ask? Weeeeell… There was, and is still, a great lot of it. I mean actual dirt. I’m not the most neatest person in the world nor am I cleanest. I leave dirty dishes in the sink for days and sometimes go through my fridge to remove any liquefied fruit or vegetables and mouldy jars of pesto.

Suffice it to say that I was pretty shocked. I spent yesterday cleaning the kitchen, as it was the most critical place. I also washed the window (in Finland we have triple windows, so that’s no small feat) and hung curtains. There’s still a couple of cupboards to tackle, but if I cleaned first and wrote later it would take me a week to get to writing.

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Another problem here is the smell. My dad smokes pipe. Luckily he does it on the balcony only but of course it has spread from there to the living room and with his clothes to everywhere else. He hasn’t lived here long enough for it to stick to the wallpaper, but it’s still going to take a while to air out the smell. I’ve chosen my writing space according to the smell, so I’m now sitting in the bedroom. One of the walls in the bedroom is entirely a cork board, so I’ve pinned my character bios and other notes on the wall. I love that wall!

I was too exhausted to write anything yesterday. I cleaned for 10 hours. I didn’t even open the computer yesterday! But today I’m going to make up for it.

More cleaning and writing updates to come.

Love,

Maiju

Silent hum

I’m staying at my mum’s until Monday. Then my dad leaves for two months to go to Lapland to our cabin there and I can move into his flat.

I love my mum. She is wonderful. And she feeds me and takes care of my cat. She also has no idea how to behave around writing people. I’m starting to understand why my dad used to have a separate space across town to go writing in every Tuesday after work.  My mum listens to the radio. She talks to the cat and talks to herself, and what’s worst, talks to me, while I’m working.

I’m not saying that writing requires absolute silence. Some people like to write in cafes and I have to admit I’ve tried that as well. But the main thing is that you get to choose the background yourself. In a cafe anyone very rarely comes and directly interrupts you. In a cafe someone very rarely demands attention to know whether you want soup or salad for dinner. Or inquires why on earth you drink so much tea, as she passes. The last one just to say something.

I’ve come across this before. Writing in someone’s company. It’s very tricky if the someone doesn’t realise that the interruption is not ‘just a small thing’. It only takes you a second to reply or divert your attention to something else, but it takes me a whole lot longer to get back into the world where I was before the interruption.

I realise that my situation is an ideal one. Living alone (if you don’t count the cat – and you should always count the cat) I get to choose when to write and when to procrastinate. I don’t have kids or a spouse to demand attention. Many successful authors have survived these things and still managed to spout bestsellers. But I love my life as it is.

I’m just reaaally looking forward to Monday.

Love,

Maiju

Writing a novel?

So today I beat carpets in the yard. It is a large yard of row houses where my mum still lives. I’ve lived here between the ages of one and a half and 19 and visited regularly later. Now I’m staying here until the weekend.

One of the old ladies who has known me all my life wondered what I was doing here, wasn’t I in my former town of residence? How long would I stay and so on. Oh, I’d moved back, what was I going to do now?

I realised, while concocting an answer, that replying: “I’m writing a novel”, isn’t an acceptable answer. Except that that’s exactly what I am currently doing. My brain is engaged in it more than it ever was with any job I’ve had in the past and I’ve been writing for about 4 hours a day, plus writing in my journal about writing, reading and doing background research, and just plain thinking about the whole thing.

I guess it’s different when you actually publish something. It becomes  a legitimate activity then.

And even if I say it out loud (not to old neighbour ladies, though), people seem to laugh it off. As if I’m just using it as an euphemism for doing nothing, or it’s something silly. Like I haven’t been dreaming and waiting for this for my whole life.

What reduces our dreams into other peoples jokes?

Ok, I’m not really this bitter about it. I know my value, quoting my favourite tv show. Even though sometimes I’m convinced what I’m writing is absolute shite. I know my value.

Love,

Maiju