The Drum – a literary magazine for your ears

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I’ve recently stumbled across a wonderful literary magazine called The Drum. Check it out! Being an avid fan of all things literary, I’ve come to really enjoy my stopovers at The Drum. Each poem/essay is unique; some poignant, others hilarious.

I really enjoyed Jane Hamilton’s essay “Finding Forgiveness In a Ziploc”. Her heartwarming reflection on marriage revolves around an incident at the airport with her husband and a ziploc bag. While listening to her voice, I was a fly on the wall during the dramatic, stress-induced culmination of 26 years of her marriage. That being said, I’m all for happy endings, and her thoughtful, honest and funny essay left me with a wonderful sense of hope.

 

Review of New Year’s Biking Adventure

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I’m happy to report that Irfan and I had our first cycling adventure in the morning!

We left at about 9:30 am and there were barely any cars on the quieter roads. I’ve never cycled on the roads before, and I prefer easing my way into riding. Cycling on the quiet roads was a great confidence booster – and then I encountered my first uphill climb. OH MY QUADS.

That was a great way to figure out how to use the 6-speed Shimano gears.I was clicking frantically down to the lower gears when struggling uphill, and clicking back up to the higher gears when whizzing downhill. Am I glad my bike has great front and and back brakes. I actually flew off my seat when I jammed my front brake too hard. lol.

After the quiet roads, we rode down the cycle paths along the Pacific Highway and went up 2.2 km up to Artamon. We sat down in one of the parks in Artamon to cool off before we cycled back to Lane Cove. A  cyclist whizzed by, looked at my bike, then smiled at me. Hee! I guess she liked my bike. It’s so cool to now be part of a cycling community, and I’m looking forward to attending events like Try2Wheels 🙂 Free bike servicing, woo!

Overall, I’m really happy with the 5 km that I cycled today. There’s a freedom and independence to cycling that I’m really enjoying. I recommend it to anyone looking for a healthy workout, and an alternative way of travelling. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to cycle longer distances over time.

For the cycling enthusiasts out there, thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂 I’d love to hear from you.

On another note, I’ve realised the importance of stretching after (not before!) my bike ride. I made sure to do some stretches when I got home, to help loosen up the muscles of my legs, lower back and shoulders.

On a writing note, I’m working on designing my book cover with my publisher. Stay tuned!

 

 

How to write a killer short story

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I have great news! I’ve actually passed my minimum writing quota of 9,ooo words! I’ve just passed 11,000 and I’m really happy that my story is taking shape.

Here’s the first line:

My name is Yusuf. Let me tell you the story of how I turned my world upside down.

It’s amazing how fond of my characters I’ve become over the course of writing Yusuf’s story. Like every other story, it started off with a blank page, and now there’s a whole cast of characters jostling to take centre stage. The hard thing about writing a short story is that the action has to happen quickly, and I can’t spend too much time meandering through the plot. Reading 8 Unstoppable Rules For Writing Killer Short Stories really helped me organize my story. Check it out! One of the best pointers it gave was when to actually introduce the conflict while balancing world-building.

Going away to Port Macquarie has been great for giving me the mental space to just buckle down and write. I tend to get distracted when I’m at home, and writing in short spurts is the only way that works for me. Here, I’ve got the luxury of time, so I’m much more likely to sit down for longer periods of time and churn out words. I’m trying very hard not to fall into the trap of editing my work – that can wait until it’s finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Multi-Tasking and Charles de Lint

“The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

Today, my desk looks slightly more organized. I have a glass of water to my right, Craisins to my left. Paper… everywhere. 🙂 It’s been a rough and rewarding past week, with my completion of my first project. Editing transcripts is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Getting my first payment? Now that was a good feeling. I’ve signed up to another freelance website, http://www.elance.com, and I’m working on another project; I’ll be writing a 20-page report, this time. While I edit my latest piece for Daily Life. And work on my counselling workbook. And – not to mention – juggle the various roles of wife, daughter, sister, and friend.  Eep. I have lots to do. Balance is key!

On another note, check out this beautiful post on the difference between a short story and a novel. As much as I love reading a satisfying novel, there’s something incredibly special about a superbly-crafted short story. One of my favourite short-story collections has to be Charles de Lint’s Dreams Underfoot: The Newford Collection. Charles de Lint has crafted the mythical town of Newford somewhere in Canada, and created an unforgettable cast of characters. I need many, many more blog posts to cover how much I love his work. My first exposure to his genius was actually through audiobooks, from Audible.com – Memory and Dream was my first Charles de Lint experience. And certainly not the last! There is something so magical about how he’s weaved these stories together. His stand-alone novels are fantastic enough, but his short story collection felt like an absolute treat. The appetiser, so to speak, before the main course. Each so very exquisite, and leaving you wanting more.