Muse | The Daily Post

My muse…

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt: muse

Source: Muse | The Daily Post

I saw this topic pop up in the morning mail and thought it would be a quick and easy post…

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The Muses/ˈmjzz/ (Ancient Greek: Μοῦσαι, Moũsai; perhaps from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- “think”) in Greek mythology are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths that were related orally for centuries in these ancient cultures…In current English usage, “muse” can refer in general to a person who inspires an artist, writer, or musician.

I did a spot of googling, mainly in search of an image to fit my perception of ‘muse’ and to lesser degree, see what others might be thinking. At first I thought this quote was pretty apt:

 A writer’s muse

One day he will find you. He will touch you and you will feel a lifetime of indifference – of apathy melt away in a single moment. And you will ache for him. You will love him, in a way you walk a tightrope – in the way people learn to fall asleep in a war zone. You will bleed for him until the day they are gone. You will bleed for him every day after that. The time will pass and you will feel robbed – you will grow bitter. You will ask why but you won’t get an answer. And that is when the words will come.

~ Lang Leav

Who is Lang Leav? “…Leav is the international best-selling author of Love & Misadventure, Lullabies and Memories. She currently resides in New Zealand with her partner and fellow author Michael Faudet…”

What was wrong with this picture and many of the other memes, notes and articles that I found is that they all portray a muse as a dark thing, the bringer or the result of pain and tragedy. And that’s just wrong…

Yes, I am still riding my wave of Beatles nostalgia after watching Across the Universe last weekend…such great, so very clever words…if you haven’t seen Across the Universe, it is really worth the watch…if you like The Beatles…if you like the grassroots groundswell of change that swept the late 60s…if you just likely a feel good story put to great music…original takes on classic tunes…

It’s sad that so many people think that tragedy and pain is the only inspiration…my muse inspires through happiness and light…a mischief smile…a twinkling eye…examples well-set…

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That inspiration shouldn’t be this rare…

This is my muse…(look away from the screen and just hear the words)

My muse…changes the way I think…

My muses…changes the way I feel…

My muse…keeps me on the path of light…

Annika - SH47 Erua 22 Jul 16 2Even just relistening to all these tunes while drafting this post rekindles those memories and I’m writing again…the world might be a dark and scary place, there may be many things happening that we don’t like or that may frighten us but we shouldn’t be looking to the darkness for our inspiration: nothing good lies there…we should look to the light, look what’s good and let that inspire us…

My muse is my sun…

Object | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt: object.

Source: Object | The Daily Post

Draw a picture of a chair by looking at a real chair not a photograph. ~Pre-instruction drawings; Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain; Betty Edwards

I had thought the original task was to draw a picture of any object by looking at it but it was 1999 that I started this so I may be excused for a minor memory lapse. This was the period that I was working closely with Wingnut Films and the Lord of the Rings crew and my uber-latent arty side was being nudged daily. Drawing and screen-writing were the two main areas in which I took an interest up to the day that people started flying planes into buildings…

Being much more comfortable with writing and story-telling, these became my comfort zone and while my interest in drawing remained, my discipline for the exercises waned. I unearthed my drawing pad recently during a clean-out and then, only a week or so, stumbled across the subject of one of those early exercises.

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Wow…seventeen years ago…so much water under the bridge since then…I’m quite keen on restarting this programme…it’s all based on the book so no enrolments or administration necessary just some willpower and motivation…

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Today…

This is the original on which the drawing is based. It has some history.

Until July 1989, this chair was occupied by the Officer Commanding, Charlie Company, the First Battalion, the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, or, in military shorthand, OC C Coy, 1 RNZIR. From this seat, that individual dispensed justice, ‘offered’ guidance to young officers, and oversaw with ruthless scrutiny, the development and training of a hundred or so lean and keen infantry soldiers.

Near the end of 1987, the New Zealand Government decided it was time for its own version of ‘nothing east of Suez’, announcing that the New Zealand force based in Singapore, aka NZFORSEA, would be withdrawn to New Zealand by the end of 1989. This was called OP(eration) KUPE.

The force in Singapore was a legacy of the Commonwealth intervention into Malaya in the 1950s, Borneo in the 1960s and, for Australia and New Zealand, Vietnam. For over three decades, in various incarnations, it had contributed to the secure and stable development of the states of Malaysia and Singapore: rightly or wrongly, the Government felt it was now time to for New Zealand to focus more closely on its immediate South Pacific neighbourhood. Perhaps lost in the political mix, were the second and third order effects of our presence in Singapore, particularly in providing access to prime jungle training areas in Malaysia, and opportunities for young New Zealanders to experience and mature in a foreign culture.

While we didn’t quite get to the stage of pushing helicopters off aircraft carriers – all our helicopters were safely repatriated to serve faithfully for another quarter century…

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Still going strong in 2005…finally retired in 2015…

…many items deemed non-essential were fated to remain in Singapore, many destined for the ignominious end of the rubbish fires…

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Burning off pre-RTNZ rubbish

When a whisper on the rumour advised that the company office furniture was due to be hauled away to the tip, there was competition to secure anything worth securing for repatriation as personal effects. the only time I have moved faster was when Trevor Sexton chased me down the final leg of the Burnham fitness circuit threatening to do me an impropriety with his pacestick if I didn’t pick up the pace – that was the first and only time I ever broke nine minutes on the required fitness test 2.4km run.

I seized possession of the chair seconds before company clerk, Steve Carrick, burst into the office, much miffed at missing out. I should point out, in all fairness, that, as company clerk, he already had a pretty nice chair in his own office; as a private rifleman, my issued seating was a camouflaged foot-square piece of rubber thermal mat used in the field.

The OC’s chair served me well through various roles and homes in Palmerston North, Linton, Trentham and Wellington…

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The chair of power in front of the mighty Amiga 500

…but got misplaced in a house move over a decade ago. It has clearly seen better days but I was rapt to find it clearing out a storage unit last week…an object of days gone by history…

 

Fog | The Daily Post

Today’s one-word prompt: Fog.

Source: Fog | The Daily Post

Clouds can form at many different altitudes. They can be as high as 12 miles above sea level or as low as the ground. Fog is a kind of cloud that touches the ground. ~ SciJinks

These one word prompts from WordPress always strike me as quite lazy: if the muses can’t be bothered putting any effort into the prompt, I feel less inspired to apply myself to any response…all too often my response is graphic (graphic imagery-wise, not graphic colourful in the semantic sense!) but while I am set-a-foot for the next week or so, I’m determined to write something once a day, even if it is not in response to that day’s prompt….

Fog here, just is…it is more common than not in the morning, often beautifully so, filling in the low ground and giving rise to impressions of great inland lakes, around which the road skirts – or sometimes descends into…

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On the mountains, it is common for fog to form rapidly, catching out the unwary walker or climber. Often visibility will deteriorate to a point where the next marker pole on a track is no longer visible; or the landmark you are using as a point of reference of exploring off-trail just disappears…

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It is actually quite cool to be sitting up high and watching clouds and fog form in front of you, or below you…often around mid-morning as the sun burns off dew on the rocks from the previous night, the water vapour created will only rise a few metres and then drift off, slowly (sometimes not too slowly) thickening into a thick mist…

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Sometimes it is only a matter of minutes before clear skies are obscured, and navigation is hindered + it is cold in the cloud as well: another trap for the unwary…

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…and from there to here, on the summit of Mount Tongariro, where walkers are wisely waiting for the fog to clear enough for the poles marking the trail back to Red Crater to be visible again…it normally doesn’t take too long…best to wait than to wander off and find you cannot see any sign of civilisation when the fog clears..!

 

Yes I know that in a room so full of light

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Can’t Drive 55.”

Take the third line of the last song you heard, make it your post title, and write for a maximum of 15 minutes.

That magnificent voice…a weekend trip to Auckland…1996…

In a room so full of light, there can still be so much darkness…what lurks in the shadows? What is not as it seems..?

Miss the big mister under his bright red tree…

Winchester. Bingo. Baseline. Reboot/

The Sun. Light. Warmth. Comfort.

Smile. Say something nice.

Blossoms already on the trees, others still trying to shed last year’s cover …confused trees…bees out in force…no more frost..?

Confidence. Ability. Trust.

Spell-check. Munchkin.

Ain’t done dancing.

Dancer’s back.

15 minutes. Random words.

Off to chop more wood in the sun…lawns all mowed (mown?)…fresh air drifting through the big windows…

Great minds…

…..really do think alike…even if they’re both mine…

WordPress rehashed the Morton’s Fork prompt this morning – not even a remake, just a rehash – and I mused briefly about taking it up, totally not remembering (which is not the same as simply forgetting) that I had responded to the same prompt at the end of 2012. As is my pattern at the moment, this would most likely have been just another waysided good intention had someone not ‘liked’ my original post today, triggered one of those “They thought Go ahead, stick a Morton’s fork in it. | rarasaur was pretty awesome….You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours! ” email notifications…

On opening my original post, I could not remember for the life of me what  OBE meant and decided to edit the post with a footnote expanding on it…only to find at the bottom of the post that I’d already had that good idea at the time…”…OBE = Overtaken BEvents…”

What surprised me on reading the original though was how different it was from my gut response to the same prompt “If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?” this morning…

Having so much going on in my life at the moment, my take on this is now that I would rather read the work of others and be inspired, motivated and edumacated than take time I don’t have right now to try to draft something myself…but then I wrote this anyway…go figure…

Maybe I should be applying myself a little harder to churn something, anything out at least once a week..?

 

via Go ahead, stick a Morton’s fork in it. | rarasaur | The World According to Me….

Islands in the Mist

This was yesterday’s a recent challenge in WordPress’ Writing 101 workshop a month or so ago (how time flies when you have work): “…today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about…”

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One of the reasons that I like living here so much is that it can feel so isolated from the world and its issues…some times this can be a jungle moon of Endor, or a secluded part of Pandora’s Hallelujah Mountains…DSCF8560

The mist deadens sounds of the world and creates our own little world…free to imagine and wonder…DSCF8561

Last night when I came home, just on sundown it was like this…

DSCF8645OK, so the actual challenge was to write 400 words but doesn’t each picture speak a thousand? And it’s Friday night and we need to get fed before Coro…and I am also looking forward to ending Phase I of my retro TV groove, with the final episode of UFO already lined up in Plex. Phase II arrived in the mail tonight so the Space 1999 marathon will start tomorrow…

I always thought that Space 1999 was so much cornier than UFO which was the first grown-ups programme I was allowed to watch on a regular basis…type faster, type faster…no typos, no typos, I can already hear Jim Hickey making up the weather for tomorrow…looks like rain and lots of it…only 30 minutes now to get dinner ready…no pressure…but type faster, no typos…

Phew! Can smell dog poo on my boots…poo patrol on Monday I guess…so between UFO and Space 1999, maybe I already grew up enough to start to lose my suspension of disbelief…already between ten and twelve…? But I still like the purple wigs and tinfoil body suits – did they scratch? – and, as always with Gerry Anderson, the toys machines rule…UHU02 has made the SHADO Interceptor: is Sky 1 on the cards.. although I still have the Imai one of variable scale in the works…Probably not, I think the next Interceptor he will design will below to the Angels…

And speaking of Angels, PRIME TV, where is our Doctor fix now that the fez-wearing ‘custard and fish fingers’ idiot is gone…? And speaking of idiots, I can hear Seven Sharp prattling now…Dad, Dad, we want dinner…OK, OK, coming, coming…”let’s feed the dogs” (words never spoken out loud in jest) and there we go: 400-ish words and the challenge done…

Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’ | The Daily Post.

Austerity and writing | The Crayon Files

Austerity and writing | The Crayon Files.

How frugal is too frugal? It depends on your circumstances. About 10 years ago, I remember being horrified when a TV reporter advising people how to save money said that forgoing buying a coffee Monday to Friday would save $750 a year. I would, I reasoned, rather have my daily cappuccino than $750.

A decade on, however, I’m starting to see how much sense that makes, and now I buy only one hot drink a week (chai latte is my choice these days) or fewer.

I started out with a comment on Caron’s original post but it kept getting bigger and bigger and so I’ve split it out into a post in its own right…

I’ve been in the same position for the last four years and I note each year the irony that it is summer and Christmas and traditionally the season of extravagance and excess…

My first lesson is that you can save as much as you like but sooner or later there will be a point where you still need to be generating some income for life support, probably even if you go totally off the grid.

I learned early that actually measuring stuff instead of the ‘good enough’ or ‘she’ll be right’ philosophies saves heaps…we have two large dogs that consume a lot of dog food: simply by measuring their meals instead of guesstimating saw an average increase of 2-3 days per bag of food (while not upsetting canine morale). I read the breadmaker instructions and found that I did not actually need to use a tablespoon of treacle (which I don’t use in any other cooking) but could get away with a teaspoon of normal sugar without affecting the quality of my loaves. A little experimentation also found that I could reduce the yeast input from three to 2 1/2 teaspoons with no loss of of quality or reliability…


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Looking at the prices of wholemeal bread in the supermarket yesterday, there is a lot to be said for making own’s own bread. I’m not sure how long it would take to recoup the cost of a breadmaker (we got our first one through the Flybuys loyalty programme so it was essentially free – and the second from an estate sale at the bottom of the hill) but with 1.5kg of flour being less than $2 and being enough for 3-4 loaves, and considering the cost of a trip to town if we run out of bread, I think that we are ahead of the game making our own bread, and bread crumbs as a byproduct. Still on flour, here. it is usually cheaper per 100 grams to buy the 1.5 kg bags over the 5kg ones (go figure) and so we generally stock up when it is on special e.g. yesterday it was $1.79/1.5kg, and keep it in a large 20+ litre Tupperware container in the back pantry with a smaller ready-use container in the kitchen pantry.

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The big flour bin (which needs refilling)

Stock up on high use items during sales and discount offer – we do this with canned goods, especially canned tomatoes which we use in a range of recipes, and canned fruit. This is generally a good rule for anything non-perishable but perishables may need closer management. As Caron says in her post, avoid ‘lazy’ products like pre-sliced/grated cheese – premixed coffees, etc are another – if you can’t make a decent coffee/cocoa/tea on your own, learn!

You can do many interesting and flavourful things with a rice base as an alternative to potatoes…and you can use the rice as the filling ‘bulker’ while using less other ingredients for flavour. Something that I have learned this year is that you can reduce serving sizes by starting with a smaller serving and giving it 30 minutes or so before deciding that you are still hungry…

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A well-stocked pantry

You might not save much in fresh produce by having even a small vege garden in the backyard and it can be quite a bit of work (albeit usually quite satisfying). Where the savings come in is when you can save fresh produce for off-season months. Learn how to blanch fruit and vegetables for longer-term storage – we do have a dehydrator too but I don’t think that we have used it at all yet. Summer-grown pumpkin etc can provide yummy soup for a good part of winter; and herbs (parsley, basil, coriander, mint, etc) grown in summer and then dried can keep you going during the colder months; other herbs like rosemary while provide and then some year-round.

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If we can grow fruit here, you should be able to grow it most places and even a small apple tree can provide enough fruit for current consumption and freezing or drying for later use. Rnubard is another ‘fruit’ that will grow most places and year-round.

For both vegetables and fruit, check out farmers markets or nearby produce stalls as alternatives to supermarket fruit and vege – and I do mean, check them out: the much-maligned supermarket is not always the most expensive option.

Meat can be expensive so experiment with vegetarian meals and those which do not require as much meat as a ‘meat-led’ meal; I listed some examples of such meals that I like under my Masterchef Raurimu category…neither option means sacrificing taste or satisfaction.

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This sausage frittata makes four large servings but only uses six sausages and six eggs against the 8-12 for individual servings of sausages and eggs…

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Chickens can be a bit of a Catch-22: it costs about $25/month for chicken feed and that is less than the quantity of eggs we consume…but…we only consume that many eggs because they are there: if we had to rely on store-bought eggs our consumption would be much less…you also need both the space and amenable neighbours…

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Unless you are really really picky, like uber-super picky, use a Sodastream machine for carbonated mixers for drinks…austerity does not need to = abstinence from G&T, rum and coke, vodka and V etc…this will pay itself off in a year, especially if you already have a well-stocked drinks cupboard.

My parents bought me these ‘ecoballs’ as a ecologically-friendly alternative to laundry detergents. I’ve been using them for two years and they do the job as well as laundry powder although I still add Napisan to white loads (I still toss the ecoballs into assist the agitation).

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We have options for water heating here. For the first six years we were here, we relied exclusively on the laundry chippy for water heating and only switched the water heaters back on when our flat line fee got to the ridiculous point that using the water heaters did not actually affect our monthly power bill that much at all. Before the Lines Company took over the power infrastructure on the Central Plateau, our monthly power bill with the water heaters off was consistently around $80-90 – now just the line fee is $150 each month. The heaters are off at the moment because I can not afford to get them fixed til next year but the chippy is there when needed and on summer days there is always the trusty solar shower! Probably 50% of our wood comes from the property and we still have a quite a large stock of coal from when we were living in Waiouru and able do a bulk buy each winter…

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Review your phone services…will uncapped broadband being more and more a staple (and stable!) service, you may find that a flat fee to Skype will be a better option for all your non-local calling – and of course, Skype is free for conversations with other Skype users…

We used to have SKY subscription TV but as neither of us were into sport, the value of the investment worth off at about the same rate as the novelty of having access to so very many channels. There is probably a point with channel numbers where the law of diminishing returns kicks in and the greater the selection, the less the satisfaction. For the last four years, we have just had Freeview – and access to our own large DVD library which we expand largely by waiting for new releases to not be new any more and keeping a weather eye of bargain bins for ‘wish list’ titles. Yes, they are ALL legit titles!!

Depending where you live, plan trips into town. The round trip for us to either of the three closest life support centres (Taumarunui, Turangi and Ohakune) costs about $12 in diesel (more in petrol) and so there are definite economies of organisation here. Public transport may be a viable alternative to driving/parking where a practical and useful service is available.

Check appliance settings: when we first got our plasma TV our power bill increased noticeably; on investigation aka reading the manual, we found that it had been delivered with the brightness set to ‘showroom’ which was dramatically bright but not really necessary even in sunlight and which sucked A LOT more power. I’m not such a zealot that I go around religiously turning off all appliances at the wall to save the LED power consumption but if you are so inclined I would encourage you to consider a. whether the standby mode actually prevents condensation if you live in a cold area and b. whether the start up power consumption is actually more that what the LED would have consumed.

There are not too many places with free rubbish disposal but costs are often based on bulk so, after breaking out anything that can be recycled wherever you are, crush as much as possible of your non-recyclable rubbish. Try to recycle as much organic material as possible into, for here, dogs, chickens and garden…this includes much of our paper waste that which is not required for starting the fire in winter being used in our own mini-landfills as we fill holes in the landscape (a perk of rural living). We did look at making our own paper bricks from the fire but these require a lot of space and time to dry properly and I am not sure how well they would perform in modern burners…this will only become a real problem for us when we run out of holes in the ground to fill…

I will be hunkering down, weathering the lean times for another year and…hopefully, at the end of summer, I will have the first draft of my new novel done. That will be a major achievement, since I’ve been researching this topic in various ways for 20 years, and recently, finally, came up with what I think is the perfect formula for the book.

And so should I be…while cash is short, I should be focusing on those things that require less/no money and more muscle or mental input…I have so many stalled writing projects that this should be the perfect opportunity to at least advance them significantly…