Hire me?

To whom it may concern,

I wish to apply for the customer experience prodigal employee 2.0 position as recently advertised on all of the job seeking websites ever created.

By now, you must have slogged through a mire of underqualified, blow their own arse trumpet job applications and hoping against hope that my application can be placed in the ‘can interview without a police escort present’ pile.  That’s entirely up to you.  Personally I would hire me without the interview, but that may be narcissistic bias.

Old people love me.  Well, they love my smile.  A smile gets you everywhere, they say. I am in complete agreement as I have never failed to get a job once I meet with an employer in person.  Unfortunately, I cannot use my smile on you without being deemed a ‘stalker’, so I have to utilise my impressive communication skills to convince you that I will not cause your company to implode.  Luckily for you, your company could be run by chimps and still bring in a steady cash flow.  I am quite certain I would bring in even more cash, as I don’t have the tendency to fling my own poop at people.  I can also speak English good, so no worries that I won’t be able to help your customers with their concerns.

I have a Bachelor in Environmental Science and a dual diploma in Conservation and Land Management/Sustainability.  Don’t worry though, I won’t be leaving your company for a career in the industry.  After over three years of volunteer work I have yet to receive a single contract.  Turns out rich people pay to do what I studied six years to do.  It’s time to accept the fact that a degree stands for nothing in the modern age and I am, in fact, actually only qualified to work in administration or retail.

This is where you are in luck, my friend and future employer.  In order to maintain my extreme university lifestyle I worked the shit kicker jobs.  I can guarantee that I have already dealt with whatever crap your customer cares to fling.  I will deal with that crap with the smarmiest of smiles and assure the chimp that their concerns are legitimate.  I will personally ensure that they leave your store with fond memories of the girl who would pull the sun closer so that their day shines just a little brighter.  You will gain more wealth by taking me into your employment.

Because let’s be realistic, it’s all about money.  I want to earn a living.  So do you.  Does it matter that I don’t give a diddly fuck about what you’re selling?  No.  What matters is that I can pretend that your product is the best thing since cavemen discovered sliced bread.

Remember, I know what you’re going through.  You are praying that someday hell will have a spot available so you can leave this shit hole of a place for greener pastures.  It is my greatest wish that you do not look back upon this moment and regret passing up on a great opportunity.  I can get you into hell.  No strings attached.

I hope that this application is sufficient for the position and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Turville

The walls hold you back

Picture made by Sara - https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarabiljana
Look around you. What do you see? If you’re like me, you’re sitting inside and you see yourself surrounded by walls.

I want you to stare at those walls, watch them as they close in on you, rise above you, until you look up and all you see is the barrier to the outside. They’re holding you captive. You need to get out. You need to break free.

Stand up. Go on, get up and kick those walls down. Pick up that sledgehammer next to you and throw it through the plaster. Tear it all down to rubble with your bare hands, until nothing is left.  Nothing but the outside.

Now, what do you see?

So you want to be an editor?

If you’re looking for practice in editing and critiquing people’s work do I have a good website for you! I discovered Critique Circle a few years, and not only did I get some great advice on my own writing, I polished up on my analytical skills and my editing skills. Even if you’re more interested in writing your own work, having a go and critiquing other people’s work helps develop your skills as a writer.

You can also have other people critique your work, which can be very useful if you struggle to find objective, unbiased opinions. Everyone is very constructive in their criticism. You’ll also get people critiquing your work who specialise in different areas. For instance, one may point out all the grammatical and spelling errors within your story, another may identify lack of themes and character development, while a third will help with sentence structure.

I highly recommend Critique Circle for readers, writers and editors alike. It certainly helped me and I plan to revisit it soon.  For now, though, my novel calls to me.  Have an excellent time zone, wherever you are!

He did WHAT?!

By Hina Ichigo

Picture taken by Hina Ichigo

Note: Spoilers for the television version of Game of Thrones

The Game of Thrones television show has done amazingly well over the last few years. There are two types of people in the world: those who obsess over the show, and those that haven’t seen it yet. Well, in my experience anyway. This is interesting considering the deplorable characters, the constant shade of gloom and the terrible acts of violence scattered throughout the series (‘You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children!’).

What fascinates me is that people have fallen in love with this show despite the fact that if it were to actually happen in real life, everyone – besides the truly sick – would turn away in disgust. So, what’s the difference? Is it because it’s happening to made-up characters, or in a fantasy universe that people can disengage from? Would we still root for Arya, even after all the people she has killed, no matter the reason, if she were a real child? No. We would want to find her a foster family as soon as possible and some strong drugs.

My mum refuses to watch it. She hates violence of any kind, feels most sex scenes are unnecessary and swearing is the language of the Devil. Not a good show for her to watch. She argues that even an excellent storyline does not make up for the gruesome and sexually deviant scenes throughout the show. Fair point. HBO does like to go over the top with their adult content. Not that the books are any more kid friendly.

So what fascinates us? I believe it’s the characters themselves. They do things we would never dream of doing, for motivations that seem reasonable to them. All Cersei does, she does for her children (in the television show anyway – for now). But she commits crimes that no person can justify, no matter her “unselfish” motivations. She loves her children and we can identify with that. We can imagine the pain she feels when Myrcella is sent away to her perceived enemies, the agony as she watched her eldest son die. This empathy allows us to understand characters that we would despise in real life. I don’t know about you, but any person that insists on putting Lady to death also deserves to die.

These characters with varying shades of grey pull us in and keep us guessing about their next move. I believe that’s why people enjoy the show so much. The characters are so three-dimensional and unpredictable, people can’t help but watch how they play off against one another. Relationships are formed – such as Arya and the Hound – that we can’t help but watch, waiting to see whether Arya will keep him on the list, or make him an ally.

The intricate ways these characters interact with each other create the story, an intensely complex tapestry that viewers want – no, need – to unravel. Who will sit on the Iron Throne at the end? It’s anyone’s guess.

In this one instance, I think the story definitely outweighs the outrageous violence, unnecessary sex scenes and curses every few sentences of dialogue. Why? Because it’s amazing.

Liebster Award!

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A huge shout to Aether House for my nomination for the Liebster Award! Asked some interesting questions that were fun to answer. If you haven’t checked out her blog, get on it. It’s a good read. Herein lies the answers to Aether House’s questions:

1. Do you have, or have you had, a medical condition that altered your way of life?
How did you know? In April of this year I had an incident at my workplace that left me with PTSD. Fun times. After several months of doctor visits I have completely changed my outlook on life. I focus on the positive, let go of the negative and live in the now. Although, men in hoodies and my old workplace are not nice things to encounter these days.

2. How would you describe your dream home?
I would absolutely love a cottage-style house in a rainforest type environment. So much serenity. That, or Downton Abbey. Because Downton Abbey is amazing.

3. What is your favorite hobby? Why?
The obvious is writing, so I’ll put down my second favourite. Wait, that’s reading. Okay, third favourite is archery. Shooting bulls eyes is oddly satisfying…

4. What piece of clothing can you not live without?
My dressing gown, because I’m a grandma.

5. How do you feel about marriage and having kids?
It’ll happen one day, I’m sure, but for now my partner and I are fairly happy just winging it. Also, I don’t want more than two kids. Overpopulation is a crisis you know!

6. What book-to-movie adaptation are you’re dying for Hollywood to make? I’m talking about books that haven’t yet been made into movies, of course (so no Mockingjay!).
I would really like to see Sabriel by Garth Nix made into a movie. It’s not my favourite book, but the way it’s written makes it seem perfect for a movie adaptation. Probably not going to happen though.

7. Do you live in the moment or do you plan for the future?
Definitely living in the moment at my present stage. I used to think about my future too much, and it stressed me out. As my sister says, ‘Your problem is you think too much.’

8. Favorite class in college? (or high school, if you didn’t go/haven’t yet gone to college)?
I would have to say Faunal Studies. We got to go on a camp and do research on the various animals, plants and soils there. Sound boring? We got to play with these little guys:

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Most amazing experience in my studying life. Marine Biology was also fun. Got to swim with dolphins and seals. Actually most of my classes were great.

9. Best and worst part of attending weddings?
Best part is going to beautiful locations, seeing beautiful dresses and watching how happy the bride and groom are. Worst part? I always get the steak. I don’t eat red meat.

10. Tell me about an awkward or embarrassing moment you’ve had.
Ha! Oh the tales I could tell. Let’s just go with one of the worst. I had started seeing a guy and somehow got introduced the parents. We were just chatting and then I called the guy by the wrong name. Needless to say I left fairly quickly after that. The worst part was I couldn’t remember his name after I said the wrong one. Super awkward!

My Nominees:
William Lloyd, Shawn Colletti, Mindy Ogg, V.C. Willow, Erin Latimer, Jennifer Chen, Let Ink Flow, Jubilee J, Keepitupmykiddies and Stephanie Louise Smith
If you haven’t seen the above blogs, they are all interesting reads and I encourage you to look through them all 

The rules?
1) Post the Liebster Award graphic on your site.
2) Thank the blogger who nominated your blog.
3) Answer the 10 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
4) The nominee will nominate 10 other blogs who have less than 200 followers.
5) The nominee will then create 10 questions of their own for their nominated bloggers to answer in their Liebster post!

My Questions:
1. What’s the most amazing experience of your life?
2. Quick! What’s the first thing that’s popping into your head right now?
3. Favourite genre of books?
4. If you could wish for one thing and it became true, what it would be? …YOU CAN’T WISH FOR EXTRA WISHES!!
5. What’s your favourite animal?
6. Have you ever wanted to run away from everything? If so, where would you go?
7. What mythical creature would you like to exist?
8. Red pill or blue pill?
9. What is your dream job?
10. How does it feel being awesome?

I would love to see you guys get in on the fun! It was great answering Aether House’s questions. Cheerio!

Yet another word I’ve been pronouncing wrong all my life #1

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‘dinghy’

I was sitting with my mum watching television last night and on the program we were watching they kept pronouncing the ‘g’ in ‘dinghy’. Outraged, I turn to my mum and say, ‘What the hell do they keep saying it like idiots for?’

Mum looks at me like I’m a moron and says, ‘They’re pronouncing it correctly.’
Me: ‘No they’re not! The ‘g’ is silent! I’ll show you!’

I proceed to google the pronunciation for ‘dinghy’ and then fall silent.

Mum looks to me and asks, ‘Well?’
Me: ‘…it’s just my accent.’

Proceed to run away, run away Monty Python style.

Ten things you shouldn’t say to your boyfriend when he’s playing Call of Duty

1. It sounds like you’re losing to a bunch of twelve-year-olds.

2. Sniper, no sniping!

3. Oh please. In a real war, everyone would be camping.

4. What’s that gun? Oh, what’s that gun? Oh look, that guy just shot you.

5. Holy crap look out there’s a guy on your left! Your left! I said your left! What’s with the green writing on top of his head?

6. The Greed perk symbol looks like a Pope hat. Do you reckon they did that on purpose?

7. Wow…you suck.

8. You know it’s not real, right?

9. Of course you all died. Your team logo was the direwolf.

10. Why is everyone so angry?

Does introvert fit?

I’ve been reading a lot of posts on the blogosphere, and a recurring theme has emerged. It seems many writers consider themselves introverts. Who would have thunk it? I also considered myself to be an introvert, but some of the characteristics didn’t quite fit. I had aspects of the extrovert. Sometimes I was loud, I loved company and felt more energy when around people. I also needed time to be alone, would get irritated if people tried to contact me and think a lot before I say anything. But I couldn’t be both could I? I shrugged it off as another category I didn’t quite fit in to.

I was introduced to the concept of the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) not too long ago and for me, this fits the bill perfectly. It may do so for you as well. Identifying HSP has helped me to understand myself and the way I work, as well as how to deal with it when my little quirks flare up.

If you feel that the classification of ‘introvert’ doesn’t fit, have a look at this website: The Highly Sensitive Person. You may just find you’re a crazy little HSP like me. You can even do a self quiz that determines whether it’s likely you are. About 20% of the population have it, so don’t be too surprised if you do too. You might just find that you understand yourself a little better after reading about it.

Pro-nun-see-aye-shun

The problem with reading too many books and not going outside to actually talk to people is that you inevitably pronounce words wrong. Sometimes this can be quite embarrassing, especially if you are trying to impress your future boss. I’ve learnt that if I like a word I should first try it out with my Mum. She’s a pronunciation genius.

My latest blunder was the word ‘façade’. I know what it means, I know in what context to use it but by god I made myself look stupid by pronouncing it with a hard ‘c’. Mum looked at me with that look in her eyes – her teacher look, as I call it – and I knew I had messed up. The problem is, I hear people say it properly all the time, I’m just too clueless to pick it up.

I’m not the only one though. The Partner, when he first moved to Australia, had particular trouble with town names. I was once driving with him to Yea, and he told me that it was only 23kms to Ye-ah. Nice try, but it’s pronounced ‘Yay’. Not that I can hold that against him, I can’t pronounce several names from his home country, New Zealand. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, for instance. And yes, that’s a real name. I also never realised Arkansas was actually Ar-kan-saw. The things you learn off the internet.

My sister, on the other hand, cannot pronounce words, not out of ignorance but because she physically can’t wrap her tongue around them. She calls wolves ‘woofs’ and whenever she tries to say a name from Game of Thrones, she starts off strong then just seems to trail off. Dhaner….rice? Cer…say – sie? Not that you can blame her for that. I think George R.R. Martin was wanting us to call her ‘the dragon chick’.

Pronunciation is a fickle bitch, get it right and you can sound like the smartest person in the world. Get it wrong though, and you’ll be sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on your head while people point and jeer. I’ve been there on plenty of occasions. But so has everyone else, so stop being such a pronunciation nazi Mum.

The blog advice conundrum

I’m an advice junkie. I’ll spend hours online looking up the best way to develop my characters, write dialogue – hell, even how to saw circles into wood. I’m not the type of person who can strike out into new territory just winging it, I need to have a solid background before I even attempt to tiptoe out onto that cracked ice.

Starting up a blog, I knew that I would spend hours researching how to best go about it. I took my seat at my desk, kicked my cat off the laptop (weird visualisation there) and knuckled down, determined to be an expert by the time I was done. I lasted five minutes.

I quickly realised that making a blog wasn’t like writing a novel or making circular plaques. There are basic rules about how to go about making novels and circles work. Not so for blogs. You can do whatever you want with it. You may be horrible at grammar, or write in entirely legal jargon or totes tlk in txt tlk and I’m sure you’ll find someone out there who identifies with you, who finds your blog interesting.

True, the same can be said for novels or being arty crafty, but I feel that blogs, being an entirely personal entity shouldn’t be bound in the same rules. The thoughts of a person are valuable, no matter whether they follow the guidelines. I write novels aimed at my sister, I make plaques for the reptile room but I write the blog essentially for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I would love if people found my words to be of some worth. If that doesn’t happen though, I’m still happy. I’m getting those thoughts out that need to escape.

The first thing I was told to do while I was researching blogs was to only focus on one thing while writing my blog. But I’m interested in more than one thing! I might want to talk about my writing in one post, environmental issues in another and about my socks in a third. This type of blog may only appeal to the sock-wearing environmental writers, but I feel that I still might find a little bit of an audience. So too would yours.

Blogs show us who the person really is sitting behind the keyboard, and rules restrict this. I’m not just a writer and I’m not just interested in the environment. I am complex dammit!

All in all, I’ll write what I want to write and try to ignore the lure of advice websites. This time I’m winging it. Unless, of course, you have advice for me. It’s not cheating if it’s on my own blog.