NaNoWriMo doubts.

I wonder…

I’ve been struggling recently with writing Doorways, for the simple reason that I don’t know what to write. I have tried writing through it, but I just don’t seem to be able to write more than a few hundred words at a time. Nowhere near the amount I need to write if I am to have hope of NaNo success.

It’s come to the point where I have been so desperate to write something that I went back to my Western. Results? About five thousand words in two days. Which means that if I can write a bit less than that every day between my studies, I would be able to actually finish 50k by month end. 

But I want to finish the darned book. 

On the other hand, my exams have been rerouted in such a way that I’m starting on 18 November and finishing in December. So I don’t have time to struggle with every single word I have to pen down. 

After all, I have to write 1200 every day and actually get round to studying. Kidding. 

Studying is currently my biggest priority, but I have no problem with writing a little every day. But at this stage Doorways is taking me around five hours to write six hundred words. Five hours that I do not have. 

So… as I am writing this, I come to the realization that I will get a lot more done if I relax on my finishing Doorways by year-end goal. If I add 50k words to the Western, I pretty much finish it. I could actually start refining the story and launch into my second draft. There will be a lot of work to it, yes. But I will actually have finished one of my stories.

But my heart lies with Doorways…

But if I can’t pick up my productivity to the point where I can finish 1200 words in two and a half hours, I’m going to shelve it until December, which means that I won’t finish it until it is finished. (Which at the rate it’s currently going, might be next December. Maybe.)

Sigh… choices.

What would you do in a situation like this? Follow your head or follow your heart? 

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Boo-fest… For something very different, keep reading after the ghost count.

So sorry for being late. But I remembered just now that I promised Quinn I’d take part in the Boo-fest if my schedule opened up.

It did -spectacularly, I might add – so here I am.

BUT. As the heading says, something different is down there in the last half of the blog. So sceptics and people inclined to thing I might be slightly insane might want to stop around the eighth paragraph. You have been warned.

I don’t think I’ve ever not believed in ghosts. In fact. I can’t say that I’ve ever not believed in anything paranormal. Oh yes, this comes with lots of teasing – even from my father who is a full blown sceptic in all things generally considered dead. But if both your grandmothers have seen ghosts (my writing Gran has seen several including an interesting one I might tell you about.), your mother have seen ghosts and everyone (except your father) has independently been convinced even once (at the same time) that you’re living in a haunted house, it seems a whole lot stupider not to believe them.

So… our count so far…

Full body apparitions: Three. (or four or five) My dad’s mother once, twice by my gran the writer and two possibles by me. I say possibles because I saw them, went on with what I was doing and then double-took. Once I was half way between sleep and awake, but I’m pretty sure she was real since we were told the legend of the ghost residing in the residence after the dream. She wore what I saw in my dream and she died in the room beyond the room she entered by. Still. I’ve never been sure.

Shadows: multiple. Particularly noteworthy are a black spot moving around a sitting room of a friend’s house when my mother was in high school. It moved randomly, occurred regularly and have been seen by several people at the same time at several occasions. Another one is a shadow man seen by my mother and my brother in the same room of a house we wanted to buy. Power of suggestion? They were both freaked out and told me this separately over the course of a week. The kicker was that I didn’t tell either of them what the other said until he had left. They didn’t want to tell each other 1) because he was afraid of being ridiculed and 2) because she didn’t want to scare him. Final shadow of note is the one that always passed beneath my door with grunts and heavy breathing and the sounds of light switches… I always knew it was my grandfather… until my cousin and I (who were sharing the room at the time) saw it again – two years after he had passed away. It turns out that my cousin (who had taken my room after I moved out) saw it every night too, but never thought of it since it never occurred to her that shadows could also be ghosts. When we told our gran about this, she burst out laughing and told us that it is believed by the local Sotho population that the house is haunted by an old gentleman. So I assume my confusion was natural. This is also the only haunting that I experienced that didn’t give me a single creepy feeling. If ever there has been a benign house ghost… that gentleman was it.

Poltergeists: Me and my mother at the same time, but I was a baby. This was in my other Grandmother’s bedroom. She got hit with it very often until she had moved out. My one cousin sleeps on the floor quite often because he gets tired of being shoved out of bed by nothing.

Demons: One demon, seen by both my mother and grandmother. And… I’ll get to this later. Maybe.

Omens: My mother was in hospital the night before the c-section delivery of her twins. She woke up when she felt a someone walking into the room. She saw a woman who had drawn the curtains of the window and was staring at the town’s lights below (the hospital is built on a hill). My mother demanded what she was doing there, but the woman just nonchalantly looked at her over her shoulder and said: “Hah. And you think you’re going to raise twins.” My mother launched over to the light switch, but when the light was on, she was gone. Sadly, my mother gave birth to Siamese twins who died four days later. She was never even allowed to see them.

Angels: Many experiences, but as far as I have been told, I’m the only one that have seen them. One when I was little in a house I knew was haunted by something that scared the bejeebies out of me. Once again I was in a sleep like state, so I can’t really confirm. The other, on the other hand, made its way across my living room in right in front of my eyes – quite leisurely I might add. No doubt there.

There’s actually a long story behind this. But lets settle to say I’m a bit more in tuned with the realm people like to believe doesn’t exist than is normal.

No dears. I’m quite serious and for all my insanity, I am not delirious. Also, I am not a medium, psychic or in by any stretch of the imagination satanistic. I’m am blessed with what is referred to in the Bible as the Gift of Discernment of Spirits. Basically, the sensitivity to thing that can’t be seen. It’s just one of a list of gifts. Other Christians can pray for people to be healed, can speak in tongues, can prophecy etc.

Me? I am aware of things that can most of the time not be described as a picnic by any stretch of the imagination. Which is why I went to the seminar I mentioned before. I needed to find someone who understands. Fortunately I did, but neither of us understands a lot of it, simply due to the fact that it seems to be quite rare – or else people rarely want to use it. I would not blame people for this. It does get a bit of a downer when you look at people and see someone in the clutches you would rather not have them be in. Still, there’s little I can do except for praying. I mean. Imagine the conversation that would follow if I actually approached the person. Not pretty. 

But I digress. All this hit me earlier this year when it was pointed out to me by a real person that I did not know previously that I can be seen there, so my hiding from what I know is out there is pretty pointless. My hiding comes from something different altogether, but 1) I’m writing this at eleven at night and 2) I still prefer to not think of it. Which is why despite the earlier promise, I decided to rather not expand on it.

Anyway. Well… I decided to stop hiding and promptly got hit by something beyond your wildest imaginings. But, for fear of being too vague, here’s an analogy what fits quite well. Imagine this, if you have not been exposed to anything of this nature. 1) You have placed yourself in a bullet proof room. 2) A huge bomb is set off right next to it. 3) The blast didn’t get through to you, but you sure as hell felt it.

Not fun when the attack is relentless for about four hours. One of which was an economics lecture. And due to my sensitivity to it, I got treated to every freaking second of it. Finally I asked God to protect me, at which point I was told that I had been surrounded by angels – even though I had been protected before.

I still felt the attacks though, but I felt a lot more at peace about them. Still part of me wondered if I imagined what I heard. At which point I looked up and saw Mr. Angel sauntering past.

Still, things can get pretty creepy. For example, I also have someone haunting my dreams. And my general impression is that he isn’t exactly a nice someone. Note. Someone. Not something.

I’d have your generically random dream. It would be vivid and raucous and would hardly ever make any sense.

And then – as if someone had cut the film running in my head – everything would stop and go very quiet. I would be in my room and he would be staring down on me watching me sleep. The thing about him that gets to me, though, is that he never actually does anything. He just stands at the corner of my bed and stares. I used to wake up almost instantly and freak out. But then I realized that a) he can’t hurt me and/or b) he doesn’t want to.

I’m pretty sure that option a) is the thing, but whether or not b) is actually a factor bothers me when I’m awake. Because if b) is true… why in the name of all that is holy does he hang around staring at me while I sleep? Why, if he doesn’t seem to be a nice guy (and instinct says he’s as strong as any of the culprits that hit my defenses every now and then) does he come back night after night just to look at me?

I mean… once is weird. Twice is a weird coincidence. Four times can be seen as recurring. But he’s been coming by since March. If he doesn’t make his presence known in some way or the other at least once a fortnight, part of me wonders where he is. And no. My subconscious wondering don’t summon him. He comes and goes as he pleases. In fact, if I don’t wake up when I see him, he’ll stare, I’ll stare, he’ll stare some more and then he will just not be there. He doesn’t vanish, he doesn’t walk out. I’ll just realize that he isn’t there any more, turn around and go back to dreams per usual as if they hadn’t been interrupted.

Thing is.. Last Friday, I think he did a walk by while I was showering. He didn’t peek or anything. I just saw someone move past through the shower curtain, did a double take and followed his silhouette moving across it. Oh and… the window in my bathroom gets no light, so shadows aren’t just coincidental. Curiously, I wasn’t freaked out as much as ticked off. I mean… I was showering! Where is his sense of decorum?

Tss… but then it wouldn’t fit with his not quite nice persona either.

Anyway… before I start to really freak you out by turning this into a novel, I’ll stop now.

I’d love to hear from you all about this. Ever ran into ghosts? Sceptic? I don’t mind, but I’d like to know why. I won’t argue with you on this though.

Anyone else had someone walk into their dreams that you instinctively know is actually more human than the normal dream fodder? If so… How did you handle him/her?

If you have a ghost story to share, please do!

A short announcement

Hey all, firstly I want to thank all of the people that decided to follow.

Then, I want to say very sorry, but I decided to take a bit of a break from blogging for the rest of the week and potentially for the week after that as well. I just need to get back to myself again.

And finally, I want to send a huge thank you to all of you that prayed for me. Me economics is sorted out now. 😀

See you all on Monday two weeks from now.

Love,

Misha

Monday Update

Hey all! Sorry for my extended absence. I wish I could promise that it won’t happen again, but I’m heading into my final exams.

I’m not quite into creative writing mode yet, so we’re back to a bare-bones update.

Firstly, thanks very much for all your good wishes. I felt very special when I read them. Unfortunately I didn’t get the job, but reading that you guys and girls cared really made me feel better.

I’m still waiting to hear about my economics exam, which has now effectively changed the way I can write my exams. Basically my exams could very likely end in December. Needless to say that I’m seeing my NaNo hopes and my dreams of actually finishing my MS this year crumbling to dust. I’m still going to write every day in study breaks though. But I don’t know if I’ll make any of the above mentioned goals.

Emotionally I’m a little on edge, which is one big reason why I decided to take a postponement on my exam that was due tomorrow. I was supposed to have started studying on Monday last, but life’s and university’s little interruptions got in the way. Usually this wouldn’t bother me. After all, I can get a pass on an afternoon’s studying. But then… I can get a lovely round number 0 too. So, since I have choice on this, I decided to rather not take the gamble. Not when my head isn’t on as straight as it was two weeks ago.

I really can’t deal with studying and my now new found uncertainty in myself at the same time. It’s like trying to read a book (a somewhat boring one, I might add) and having something scream in your ear just before you manage to get into it.

I don’t know why, or what it is, but something this weekend really hurt my soul. Maybe it’s just a bunch of stuff that I brushed aside for later that came back when I was dealing with the disappointment of not even making round two interviews on my dream job. Maybe I’m just tired. Sitting in a queue from 09h00 to 16h30 can do that to you if what’s at the end of the queue might determine your foreseeable future.

Either way I’m taking today (and maybe tomorrow morning) to center myself. Problem is that I’ve never been particularly good at this. But I have to try, because the cost of not trying is just a little too much for me. Usually I write when I start feeling down, but I’m beyond that now to the point where I’m in too bad a place to pick up a pen. 

I really hope that I feel a bit better by tomorrow. 

Do any of you get hit hard by the “downs” at bad times? How do you get out of them?

Sorry :-S

Hey all.

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, but some university stuff came up that I still have to finish sorting out today.

I will try to be back later, but I might be away from any Internet access.

Then of course, I won’t be posting this weekend due to the CV drop off and my exam. I’m really going to have to move if I’m going to get through my prescribed work.

Please wish me luck. And those of you that do, please pray for me that 1) I get the Qatar Airways job and 2) That I can sort out my economics stuff, which has now blown up to epic proportions.

Thanks all for understanding.

Love,

Misha

More about my Gran

Hey all!

Sorry for the late post. I’m still running around like a mad person trying to do everything that everybody suddenly expects of me. :-/ Anyway…

Welcome and thank you to all of the new followers. I hope you all enjoy the blog.

Finally, I have won two more awards, which I will get to as soon as possible as well as the one that I have not forgotten, but have been unable to get to. Thanks so much for my awards. They really brighten up my day.

Oh wait. Really finally. Sorry for my silence recently on your blogs, but I haven’t been able to read as many of them as I would like to.

With that said, one to the new post.

I’ve gotten many requests to tell you more about my Gran, so I’m left wondering where I would begin.

Hmm…

She was born at the start of WWII, and still remembers how her mother cried on VE day.

For a large part, she’s the one that triggered my love for our history, with stories of the Boer War and the Great Trek.

She’s the one that taught me how to bake cookies. And paint beautifully.

She’s the one that would always see the absolute best in everything I do. Makes her a pathetic critic, but a genius at encouragement.

She’s the one that pointed me to writing.

I love her so very much. She’s a great lady. She’s one of the people I know who has the most faith in God. In a way, she was pretty involved in me meeting Him when I was young.

I say “in a way” because the Holy Spirit tends to be pretty directly involved in these things.

What else can I say?

Almost forty years ago, school teacher asked her to write a book for her first grade class. That book was published and translated to English (she wrote in Afrikaans). She’s been writing ever since.

She knows some of our most famous authors personally and sometimes publishes with them in anthologies. But every time she points out how nice one is, I tend to be surprised, since she never name drops. In fact, few people know that she is an author, simply because she just doesn’t tell them.

She’s cursed with my inability to be understood by others, although she is much more resigned to it than I am. Maybe it came with age. Or maybe because she is much more patient than I am.

I’m hoping she makes it to the birth of my children one day. She was such a great part in my life that I fear that her absence would really be sad.

So that’s bits of her. She’s actually a lot more, but for some reason, I struggle to find the words. Maybe because she is so much more to me than my words can describe.

More about me.

Morning all! Just remember to shoot with any questions you feel like asking me this week. 🙂

Also, I’ve won another award! Unfortunately I won’t be able to pass it on just yet. (I have a major project due in the near future.) I will, however, do so as soon as I can.

OK… On to the post. 🙂

Today I’ll answer a few more me-related questions.

Nancy asked:

Do you have a major in school or are you just getting some required classes done?

And The Golden Eagle Asked:

When did you really start to write and consider yourself a writer?

What do you enjoy most about fencing?
What do you think is a defining characteristic about yourself?
Do you enjoy meeting new people?

Thanks so much for asking these questions, guys.

Do I have a major?

Technically I’m majoring in Investment Management, although I’m currently more concerned with finishing the subjects and getting the credits. I realized last year already that I would never enjoy working as an Investment Manager. 

The hours are much too long, given that I won’t be able to see the job as the passion of my life. Plus I’ve heard about too many Investment Managers that got stroked at or just before the age of forty due to the endless stress of trying to predict the Stock Markets, when any good stock market’s motions are essentially chaotic. 

When did you really start to write and consider yourself a writer? 

Well… I can’t really remember exactly when I started. See, my Grandmother is a published writer and has been in the business for almost forty years. So I’ve seen writing as a possible thing for me to do since I became aware of what she does for a living. 

I think I was nine when I wrote my first poem. I wanted to finish an anthology at that time (nothing wrong with my ambition, eh?), but got distracted by dolls and playing with my cousin. For some reason, I didn’t do well with writing essays for school. 

Still, when I was about eleven, it occurred to me to ask my Gran how to write. I got my first distinction for an essay and never looked back. In fact, I started to complain to my Gran that the word limits given for the essays were much too short. I’d done this quite a few day, until my Gran suggested that I should maybe write a book. 

I blew the idea off, but in December 2001, about two weeks before my thirteenth birthday, my first character walked into my head and wouldn’t go away. So I started a novel about her instead. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I let it go. But by then I considered myself a writer and I was waiting for my next inspiration to strike. 

What do I really enjoy about Fencing? 

Oh many things. Number one would be the history associated with it. Fencing goes back to young nobles training for duels. Contrary to common belief, people didn’t actually use fencing to duel – fencing was MUCH too regulated. Yes, there are rules to duels, but the fighting was allowed to be quite dirty – especially if the
duels were to the death. Anyway, sparring with rapiers and sabres were considered martial arts. 

Fencing, on the other hand, was considered one of the Arts along with music, dancing and (I think) sculpture.

Even in modern times, fencing is steeped in old traditions. For example, if you lose without honor and throw a tantrum, you can be banned from the rest of the competition. Same goes for failing to salute your opponent, or saluting your opponent with your mask on. When we finish fencing, we shake hands with our opponents, but always with the non-weapon hand. It goes back to duelling (in this case to first blood), when shaking the free hand with your own was considered a sign of goodwill. Of course, it also freed up the weapons hand to slaughter the beast if he tries to hurt you.

The other thing I love about fencing (it came a close second) is the fact that my adrenaline starts pumping the moment the mask covers my face. I get to change who I am from a cultured normal(ish) person to a cultured but lethal person. Just like in my writing, I get into a zone. It doesn’t happen often, but the zone is where I can hit the opponent the moment s/he makes a move that opens up a target – purely on reflex.

Needless to say, fencing is a great stress and anger relief. There is something incredibly calming about hitting something (or someone) while only doing it with a percentage of the force you could have used. (You can get red cards for brutality if you injure your opponent).

There are many things I love about fencing, but I’ll move to the next question before I start waxing lyrical about it.

What is the defining characteristic of myself?

Oooh… this is a tricky one. I have many characteristics that take turns as needed to define who I am in a given situation. 

Currently, though, the characteristic that takes up a large part of who I am is the fact that I’m permanently in a state of motion. If I’m not, I am incredibly frustrated with where I am and what I’m doing. 

I always want to learn more and do something new and different. I can only settle in a given place for a few years. Stellenbosch is a wonderful place, but half way through last, my wanderlust came back to stay. It might or might not have triggered my I-DON’T-WANT-TO-DO-THIS!!! phase. After all, there’s nothing that reminds one that you’re doing the wrong thing as realizing that you’re in the wrong place. 

But you can imagine how I’m feeling eighteen months later. I’m fighting really hard not to count down the days to the end of my studies. That’s also a big reason I want the job at Qatar. I want so badly to go somewhere new.

Do I enjoy meeting new people? 

Oh yes I love it. Can’t really explain why, though. I guess it’s because I’m largely an extrovert. I can talk to people about almost anything, and I love hearing their thoughts and feelings about things. 

I do, however, have very high defenses. So although I meet a lot of people that I will easily go out with, or enjoy meals with etc. and who remember me enough to greet me when we bump into each other, I have precisely four close friends. I basically stack people I know/meet into a hierarchy e.g. Close friends, Friends, Friendly Acquaintances and Acquaintances. So I’m friendly with everyone, but I’m friends with just a few. I just think that it’s a lot better to maintain a few close friendships that are worth it rather than to waste time on shallow ties.

That’s it from me today, but those were my last questions, so please feel free to add some more. They can literally be about anything. Have a great day all!