Friday, 29 October 2010

Half a loaf

I'm so sick of people complaining.

In my email, on Facebook, at work, in the news. All the time.

Guess what? Things are actually pretty good. We have comfortable lives where we can afford to be sheltered and fed and clothed; we have friends and partners; we have so much spare time we don't know what to do with it all. And we can say we don't have enough money, but if we have enough for alcohol, smokes, chocolate and takeaways, we have enough money.

I liked the fact that on the front page of the Dominion Post today there was a really positive article about The Hobbit, after a few days where everyone's been complaining non-stop.

First an actors' union was complaining; then people started blaming unions for Warner Brothers potentially going overseas with The Hobbit; and once John Key met with executives to secure its filming here, people complained about the tax break he agreed to, and about John Key using it as an excuse to "sell human rights" — in other words, effect a law which will mean people working on the film will be contractors instead of employees.

1. As far as I can tell, this just means they'll just have a different contract — a way of working that painters, electricians and so on have no problem being on already.

2. Most of the tax break would have been provided anyway, and the total is still far less than the money the film is expected to bring in.

People complain about an issue; and once it's fixed, it feels like people just find an issue with the fix to complain about.

Can't we just be happy the movie's staying here, which is what we wanted? Can't we look at how much it will bring in as well as how much is being spent? It seems so one-sided.

I'm normally a pretty happy person, and I do try to find the positive, but it's starting to bring me down.

It's not like I can stop reading the news — that is actually my job.

But the news isn't the problem. It's people's attitude: constantly complaining, or being mean about others behind their backs, or being ungrateful for half a loaf from the government because you feel you should have got a whole one. If you're getting something for nothing, be happy with half a loaf.

I feel like declaring a Positivity Day; but probably no-one would join in. I feel like listing everything good with the world; but I'd be mocked for being cheesy.

But I do feel lucky. I have a job I love; my boyfriend is moving down here next week; I have a beautiful house and a cuddly cat; I work in a city I love. And it's nearly summer.

Maybe everyone doesn't have as good a life as mine. But most of the people I've been listening to whine and complain are people who have lives just as good.

I wish we'd think about what we do have, not what we don't.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Author guest post: Looking on the Write Side (Janice Hardy)

Just over a year ago, I interviewed debut author Janice Hardy about her new book The Shifter (aka The pain merchants). Barely a year later, Janice is doing another blog tour for her new book, Blue fire, sequel to The shifter. Janice stopped by here for a guest post about some occupational hazards of writing:

Looking on the Write Side
One of the things I’ve noticed over the last few years is that it’s getting harder to turn off my inner editor when I read for fun. Things I never would have noticed before jump out at me. Sometimes this is good, as I’ve noticed subtleties in work I might have missed, but other times it hurts my enjoyment of the story because I see things that I feel someone should have caught and fixed, or see things that I would have done differently.

I’ve accepted this as an occupational hazard of being a writer. I know too much about the inner workings of crafting a story, so I’m naturally more critical of what I read. But I have found a few ways to help counteract my writerly nature.

Don’t read on the computer
For me, computer = work. Either I’m working on my own manuscript or critiquing one for a friend. This is one reason why I’ve been resisting e-books, because a screen makes me look at the words with a more critical eye.

Don’t read right after an editing session
I’ve found that when I’m in editor mode and working on revisions, I can’t get out of that mindset right away. I need time to let the brain spin down.

Read something different from what I’m working on
A different genre, market, or even POV made it easier to see the story and not the text. It’s clearly "not my work" so my inner editor could sit back and relax.

Turning off my writer’s brain isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, but most days I can usually find a way to lose myself in the story and not look at how it was created.

More about Blue Fire:

Part fugitive, part hero, 15-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.

Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer — if she doesn’t destroy it first.

You can find out more about Janice through her blog, or buy Blue Fire online at Barnes & Noble or The book depository.

Hiatus over

So, I'm coming out of my unofficial hiatus! My first post back will not actually be mine, but will be a guest post by Janice Hardy, author of The shifter (aka The pain merchants), and now with a second book out, Blue fire.

Life's been a little busy lately as I get settled in with new house, new job and now Dan moving down here next week — yay — but hopefully things will become somewhat settled again now.

So... watch this space.