Thursday, July 26, 2012

They Shoot Ideas, Don’t They?

So, I am waist deep in the swamp commonly referred to as ‘full time education’, looking forward to the dry land of ‘a regular pay cheque’.  Can I tell you this student gig isn’t all frolicking through meadows and cuddling kittens?  No, that’s a measly 63% of my time.  Another 8% is flossing, 4% is flower arranging, 12% is sipping tea and 14% is sunbathing.

This is me flossing... I'm not a dentist, so for legal reasons I can't show you the rest of my face

Okay, you got me, I was joking about the sunbathing.  The sun and I are not on good terms.  That 14% is instead dedicated to accent comedy.  With myself .  Everything ends up sounding Indian and I have no idea why.

In all honesty, a stupid amount of time is entirely dedicated to generating ideas.  An even stupider amount of time is put into discovering that an idea is crap (common indications an idea is crap: “and it was all a dream”, “and so they all die” and “it’s a solemn ode to the desolate nature of the desert humanity has become at this juncture in our cultural development”).  Of course I’m not stumbling across the lost city of Atlantis here, I’m just head-butting the most common foe of all aspiring writers (the 2nd most common foe being ‘crippling self-doubt’, and the 6th most common foe being ‘certainty of one’s own overwhelming genius’).

None of this is of any comfort to poor housemate Layla.  As far as she’s concerned she returns home each evening from a hard day’s work to discover me sipping tea in leisure wear.

Leisure Wear in this case is specially formulated to withstand sub-zero conditions in our heater-less lounge room, commonly referred to in winter as The Fridge.  Suitable Fridge Leisure Wear involves (among other layers), double socking, ugg boots, a knitted poncho, a scarf and fingerless gloves.  All we need is a ferris wheel and I’m a carnie.

It takes quite a bit of explaining to get her around the idea that I too have been working.  I’ve been thinking.  Really hard.  To the uninitiated it might look like I’m gazing creepily across to our neighbour’s balcony, but Yelling Mum and Dour Dad don’t really get interesting until 6pm most nights.  No, instead I’ve been trying to come up with a story idea so stupefyingly clever it will single-handedly lower the price of oil (how will it do this?  I don’t know, but it seems like a decent indication of success).  No joy so far.

So what’s a girl to do when an epiphany doesn’t simply arrive on demand?  I’ve tried everything – magazines, red wine, Shakespeare plagiarism, and even briefly considered watching The Shire – all in the name of inspiration.  But Inspiration  can be a fickle douche – rarely shows up on time, and always double-booked (poor Deep Impact, you never saw Armageddon coming).  I mean if Speed 2: Cruise Control has already been made, what stories are really left to tell?

“I’ve got a brilliant idea.  It’s about a boat… that can’t slow down .

I guess I could always write a story about a struggling writer desperately trying to find his/her voice in a world of blah blah blah.  Because nothing screams thrilling quite like watching a struggling artist brood, does it?  It’s like status updates about exercise – I think everyone would be better off if you just stunned us with the final product.

Hello Square One.  I’ve missed you old friend, it’s been five whole minutes.

Painefull Out

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How To Spontaneously Plan Your Life

I was going to call this post ‘5 Acts of Spontaneity’… and then something sad happened.  I stalled at 2.  I genuinely couldn’t think of 5 whole acts of spontaneity I have pulled off this year.  This will come as a surprise to precisely NO ONE.

Anyone who knows me will tell you ‘spontaneous’ is not a word used to describe me.  ‘OCD-driven’?  Yes.  ‘Chronically late’.  Indeed.  ‘Sarcastic’?  Until the end of time.  So you can imagine how thrilling it was for me when a doctor accused me of having a ‘spontaneous genetic mutation’. As a fastidious, habit-honed and incredibly predictable individual, I can’t help but enjoy the fact that I’m impulsive in some way… even if it’s just at the molecular level.

Apparently this is what being 'spontaneous' looks like.  Seems like a massive effort.

The thing is, even though I may seem directionless and lazy on the outside (I’m currently an unemployed student, I can’t un-ring that bell), on the inside I like to have a plan for every single possible scenario.  It just happens to be that those plans are more suited to obscure crisis management and the oncoming zombie apocalypse (but, as experience has taught me, not crime fighting) than, say, forming a career strategy.

It does mean that I’m actually a very useful person to be near under a range of specific circumstances, such as:

Zombie Apocalypse

This one’s clearly a no brainer (yep, that was a pun).  Zombies are so hot right now their real world onset has to be viewed as inevitable.  I’ve already picked out the nearby house that shall be my zombie fortress (sturdy, high walls and a narrow, bottle-neck entry up steep stairs) and am considering offers if anyone wants to join me in surviving.  BYO skill set and good looks – we will be re-building and re-populating.

Dystopian Future

When civilisation crashes (it will, with or without a zombie helping hand) I’ve already mentally mapped out a looting plan.  Mick and I have also debated the merits of what car to drive west with (fuel efficiency is a must).

Car Off A Bridge

Years ago I read, or heard, or saw (or… dreamt) something about how if you’re in a car with electric windows and you go over a bridge, you’re screwed because the electric system will fry and you won’t be able to open the doors due to the water pressure.  The answer, dear friends, is the trusty Car Hammer.  When I re-build and re-populate in the Dystopian Future, post Zombie Apocalypse, it will be illegal to sell a car without a Car Hammer.

Home Invasion

Everyone’s ready for this one.  Softball bat?  Check.  Cops on speed dial?  Check.  4 distinctly calibrated response strategies?  Um, obviously.  I’m not going to tell you about them, because you might invade my home and I want you to be both surprised and impressed by my ingenuity.   What detail will I share?  Spoiler Alert: I am prepared for the use of a monkey burglar coming through my bedroom window.

Dinner In 4 Days

Back in the day (the university day), I didn’t flinch at the notion of eating tuna mornae for a week straight.  Retrospectively 5 day old fish, cheese, milk and butter mixed together probably both harmed and helped in equal measure.  These days I’m much more astute.  The 4th Day usually features a Left Over Degustation.

I could continue this list, but I don’t want to give away the entire playbook (Dark Alleys, Climbing Trees and Bohemian Rhapsody feature prominently).  I may not have my life together, and I may not be able to pull together 5 spontaneous acts over a 12 month period, but I’ve still got quite a lot going for me.

Strangely, housemate Layla insisted I don’t use any of the above as selling points when we interviewed people to take Mick’s room.  I can’t imagine why.

Painefull Out