Maiju’s Teacup 28/2/2017

I’m drinking peppermint infusion, eating crispbread and watching a documentary.

Today is the day of Finnish culture and the epic poems of Kalevala. I feel like I should be reading it but I never feel like it at this time of year. It’s more of an Autumn text for me. 

The weather’s trying to get me in the mood though. It’s been +5°C and raining most of the day.

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Maiju’s Teacup 27/2/2017

It’s -14°C out and +16°C in my flat, so this cup of Jane Austen Blend I got from the Bath Jane Austen Centre is really needed. Like a rebel I added some milk today even though the label advised against it.

The house I live in was built in 1860s and the almost 150 year old windows are insulated by a clever use of sellotape. The house is heated by electrical resistors inside old ceramic stoves. They are heated only during the night when electricity is cheaper. So, it doesn’t get too warm on freezing days.

I love the flat, and the winter’s been so warm this far that I’ve managed with a lot of sweaters and woollen socks. It’s supposed to warm back to +1°C before noon, so this chill is temporary. 

The book I’ve been reading with my breakfast for a few weeks now is Timothy Taylor’s The Buried Soul. It’s about death from an archaeological point of view and it just keeps getting more interesting. I feel like this book actually explains some things that I never even thought to wonder about but which are so worth the wonder.

Maiju’s Teacup 26/2/2017

I’ve totally neglected documenting my tea habits. Though I haven’t neglected cultivating them.

Here’s a cup of Jade Oolong on its 3rd steeping. It’s delicious and the huge leaves are laughably easy to sweep from the pot. I’ve steeped it at least 5, sometimes 6 times.

The book I’m reading is William D. Westervelt’s Hawaiian Historical Legends. I’ve been looking for this book for months and finally found it yesterday in a box full of literary magazines. 

I got the book from a charity shop in 2004 and it’s been lying untouched in my bookcase ever since, until I needed it for research. Then I couldn’t find it anywhere… But here it finally is.

Inspired or exhausted?

Right, the 3rd edit is now finished. I got feedback from my dad yesterday of the 2nd edit and he had a few really good ideas. I can’t wait to get started on the 4th edit.

I honestly tried yesterday to switch off thinking about the story. I edited a bit in the morning and did some stylizing for my dad. Then I went to my mum’s for dinner and sauna. As I lay on the bench in the sauna, I found myself thinking about the story.

I thought about it when I watched the nature documentary that’s on the telly every Saturday. I thought about it in the grocery and while cycling home. Luckily, as I got home and got settled in front of the computer, my cat lay down on the printed version of the manuscript and stayed there the whole night. She really is a perfect furry little self-care tool. So we watched a bit of Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Solar System. I went to bed at ten.

This morning I woke up rested, with my head full of ideas for the next edit. I’m now looking at the pile of paper next to me. It’s the printout of the second edit and it’s now already obsolete. I feel sad, but also exhilarated.

Reboot

On Thursday I finished the first edit of my manuscript. It was early so I walked to the hospital to spend the afternoon with a friend who’s there to have her appendix removed. That evening I cranked open the old laptop that still has Word with Finnish spell checking on it, and after the 1,5 hours that it took to open it, I used it to print the whole thing too. This version is already so complete that I’m giving it to my dad and a few friends to read. I set the printed manuscript on the bedside table and went to sleep.

On Friday evening, I was expecting a friend to come for a visit. She would come at 7 so I had the whole day to tidy and clean the flat. She happens to be my oldest friend and there really is no need to do that, she’s known me long enough, but I used it as a good excuse to get things done. While I’ve been writing, the household hasn’t fared too well… So I started around 8am and finished at 4. That’s a full day of cleaning and organising. There were a couple of boxes left from the move that I hadn’t emptied and I found spots for all of the random items in them. I washed the kitchen and the bathroom as well and dusted a bit in the livingroom. Then I took a nap, and when I got up, I baked apple muffins for us. It was great seeing my friend.

But on Saturday morning when I got up and set about my morning routine, I realised, I was beat. My mind was internally wordbleeding and my body was tired too. Though I skipped the morning workout on Friday, I had cleaned so vigorously that it had totally tired me out.

So yesterday I just lay on the sofa and tried to switch my brain off. I did read a few of my dad’s short stories that I’m stylizing, but that was the only cerebral activity of the day.

Usually, when I want to switch off my brain, I just look at the clouds and lose myself in them. I find shapes in them and concentrate totally on just the clouds. But yesterday the sky was evenly grey and I couldn’t even find a youtube-stream of live clouds (which I actually searched for!). I also felt averse to using my phone. It was just in my mind, but the screen seemed to be sucking energy from me every time I glanced at it, so I put it away.

It’s really hard to come up with an activity that uses up time, but doesn’t involve words. Reading, writing, even watching a film, all of those require some effort. And I was too physically tired to go for a walk (and the weather is horrid). I ended up crocheting some more. Finally I felt up to watching an old film and later even cracked open a book, but that’s all.

This morning I woke up before 6 with some ideas for the novel. I think that’s a sign that I’m recovered. Which is good, because the manuscript is still waiting for me on the bedside table. After stylizing yet one of dad’s short stories, I’m going to pick it up.

Happy Friend’s Day!

Nope. This isn’t one of those schemes to turn Valentine’s day into something new. Instead, I will tell you what it’s been for me ever since I was a kid.

In Finnish today is called Ystävänpäivä. Ystävä means friend, päivä means day. The n in the middle is the possessive suffix (or smth close to that). When we were kids we made cards for all of our friends at school and sent cards to those friends we might have elsewhere. Telling that we were thinking of them on this day, that we loved them and cared for them and sometimes just that we remembered they were there.

It wasn’t until the internet, and mainly social media brought to Finland the idea of Valentine’s day, something which was for lovers. But while I have nothing against lovers, I still prefer friend’s day. With your lover you can have an anniversary, on the day you met, started dating or on the day you got engaged or married. With friends — well, to be honest, there are few friends of whom I can remember the exact day we became friends. Even now, a lot of my friends are online but I still can’t remember the first tweet or the day we first started messaging. And usually you just drift into other people’s vicinity and become friends. So, I always liked the idea that today was to remember friends.

To celebrate Friend’s Day this year I went to have lunch with a friend of mine during her lunch break. I messaged a few people with whom I have lost touch or am in a state of mutual neglect. I have friends that are important to me, but they aren’t part of my daily life, so I have to make a slight effort to send them a message. Today it’s easy to remember to make that slight effort.

I have been neglecting my friends lately a lot. The reason, the excuse is my writing. I spend days in the company of my imaginary friends. But I figure that that’s the real measure of our friendship. My friends know how important this is for me. And because they support me, they are still waiting for me when I emerge from the imaginary world. Thank you, friends!

Anyway, writing has gone well today. I’m starting to wonder why I didn’t trip before over these piles of planks… I’m finding them everywhere!

Happy Friend’s Day!

Love,

Maiju

Editing, Galentine’s day and Research-of-a-kind

The editing process has started. I’m lost already in revisions and revisions of revisions, but occasionally it hits me that I need to start looking for a publisher at some point.

There are lots of indie writers nowadays, but I write in Finnish and the audience is limited by the language to such a few people that I don’t think it works. Almost all the self-published authors in Finland either have their own publishing house or the books are available in bookshops by request. Well, my knowledge on this is a bit dated, but anyway, I want to send the text to a publisher. I would like to write more and it would just make things more easy if someone else took care of that… stuff. Yeah, I don’t even know what stuff that is.

Anyway. The idea of offering the book to a publisher isn’t as daunting as the process. I start getting short of breath and other mild symptoms of an anxiety attack when I even think about the cover letters etcetera. But I’ve decided to finish this one first edit and then sit down properly to read through all of that stuff about what kind of a letter in what format with what identifiers do I have to send to a certain place. Yeah, a lot of information.

Funny things have happened as I’ve been editing the text. For example, a character’s fate, for which, when I decided it way-back-when, I didn’t so much feel sorry, now felt really emotional. I guess it’s a good sign that at least the writer feels something for the character.

Today is Galentine’s Day, and because I have no money to go gallavanting with my gals, and no one’s really around anyway, I decided to spend the evening with the gals on my pages. A sort of indepth character thing or something.

I ended up crocheting. Yep. And don’t think it’s procrastinating. Oh no! I really don’t like crocheting. I’ve knit so much that I can read or do almost anything I want to while I knit even something more challenging, but I’ve never crocheted a lot. But one of my characters crochets all the time. And most of the protagonist’s clothes. So I decided to give it a try with an easy pattern.

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Here’s the result in all it’s glory. Now my thumb and forefinger have started to get a bit tired and I am aware of the places of the calluses my character must have had. And also of what a mindbogglingly boring job it must have been for her to crochet all of those clothes. No wonder she’s a bit weird.

Yeah, so. There’s research and then there’s cute research.^