Tag Archives: focus

Reading and writing past and present

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old when Mr Alistair a therapist/teacher told me that I had a gory imagination and extraordinary talent; back then my specialism was horror and it has only been in the past seventeen years that my writing has moved onto fantasy, comedy and poetry.  I started writing stories about alien invasions, vampires and alarmist ideas about climate change, El Niño and the end of the world.   I have for most of my life been a dedicated environmentalist, but since I talked so much in a spiritual forum about my concerns I lost confidence to continue writing this journalistically (is that a word? if not why not?), because I was accused of being a doom-sayer and me being a very uplifting positive person this accusation hurt me enough to stop me.

My first ever short story of any real length was based on Persephone in the underworld that I wrote when I was eleven.  I imagined how life must have felt like living in the underworld and even when I was that young I had a good clear understanding that not everyone is 100% evil or good, so I wrote about Hades in a positive form and it was very much influenced by my passion for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  This is a theme that has followed me through my writing life; if there is a misunderstanding in something, I am always willing to show another side to it – determined to prove to everyone that nothing is just black or white; it is a multitude of colours.  I can do this to the most indigestible of subjects too, according to a few people who have seen my handwritten work – thus I am sometimes known as an excellent mediator and diplomat, as long as the subject doesn’t get me too personally hot under the collar. 

One friend recently told me that they see me as society’s apologist, whatever that means.  I looked it up and I am not really that religious enough to be considered an apologist, though I suppose if you were to watch me answering questions whilst I am watching many quiz shows on religion, you’d say I seem to know an awful lot about religion for someone who isn’t interested in being religious.  You see I think this is where people misunderstand me – it is not that I am not religious, I am more humanist because I think that religion by and by causes division and I am all for world unity.  However I am a deeply spiritual person who literally believes in anything until it is absolutely solidly proven not to exist – hence why I leave milk and honey next to the stove at night for the house spirit (Nisse/elf) and ask permission to the tree itself before I prune it and honestly believe in various ancient customs and ideas – though I am still soul searching, but I will make this abundantly clear now, this is not an invitation to be converted to anything.  My ancestry history is so mixed, whenever I feel I should dedicate myself one way or another, I feel like I am upsetting some ancestor on the other side, so I don’t bother myself with dedication of that sort.

Anyway, this post was going to be about how I started writing and what I started with and where I have ended up.  I have written a lot of comedy and comic themes recently that I have noticed I have more and more of the fantasy and sci-fi comedy genre, if that is a genre.  I told Paul the other day that I feel like I am being possessed by the spirits of the deceased members of the Monty Python gang and Terry Pratchett, I try and write serious high fantasy and I can’t help putting in some silliness into it and I am seeing corny puns in everything!  The more I fight it, the funnier I get.

Unfortunately the comedy themes are rarely if ever posted on here, because I have made this mostly into a life update and poetry blog, rather than the intended fantasy blog, because I worry that my worst writing might be my best and my best my worse in the eyes of the world.  So I never really know which short stories and snippets to risk posting here.

I have decided to make this blog more of a writing diary, but again I have fears that I might reveal too much of my plans.  Fear is a major factor for me not posting much lately.

I have a handwritten diary I update about once a week on average because I keep forgetting to add to it – this diary is purely about my writing, my plans and any strange themes I have noticed that day or week.  For example, I have noticed I get a story idea in my head, then a book falls off the shelf in the library of a similar theme I was thinking about – weird coincidences like this happen a lot to me.  Then whilst television flicking, subjects of things I have been thinking about or themes of the day seem to be found everywhere, even on my sons chocolate wrappers as adverts at times!

I was thinking about sharing these day to day themes and the weird occurrences they have been discovered as part of my day to day blogging, as these things often develop into story ideas for me as I sit back and wonder what the universe wants me to do with these supposed signs?  What story is she prodding me towards and I believe this is why I have more ideas than actual work – I am never without a new idea, the problem for me is writing them down fast enough and concentrating on less than three at a time.  This is extra difficult for me because I am an attention deficit sufferer, I get bored doing the same thing or thinking about the same thing for longer than twenty minute bursts – hence why my current reading list on Goodreads usually has around twelve current books on the go!  It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a book, it just means I really can’t concentrate for more than twenty minutes.

Thinking about my reading list on Goodreads has actually just reminded me to make a point here on a matter a friend recently said to me the other day – she noticed that I have all these books on Goodreads I am currently reading but I only manage to read between ten and forty pages a day of maybe two or three books and she said that as far as she understands I am always reading but the Goodreads activities doesn’t prove it.  I said it is simple really when you consider that Goodreads is not designed to update magazines and newspapers and out of print books that are not listed on their site at all as well as local pamphlets and guides, game back stories, research websites, other people’s blogs and so forth. 

Here is a list of my magazine subscriptions and I do mean, I read them every time they are published either weekly or monthly;

Writing Magazine

Garden News

Sci-Fi Now

Gardeners World

Tesco

Yours

Pets @ home

Total TV Guide

Amateur Garden

Kitchen Garden

Lego club magazine

WWF membership news and stuff

Bibliophile

BBC History

New Scientist

Focus

Classic Rock

When I pick up a new magazine, that is the only thing I can read from beginning to end and it takes me around an hour to two hours – the reason why I can do that with a magazine rather than a novel is simple, the subject changes every few minutes.

Honestly, I am addicted to reading, I am addicted to downloading new information into my mind on a constant basis and I am a person who doesn’t enjoy sleep – I see it as a waste of time, but being ill, I have to sleep more than most and it literally drives me crazy!  All I want to do is think learn and do.

So there you have it!

Hello, I am Tina Cousins and I am a reading and writing addict and I don’t intend to cure myself of it, goodbye.

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The Artist Way & The Cosmos

I believe a lot in cosmic ordering and I have been trying to learn myself how to use cosmic ordering to my own advantage for the last two years, by reading various books on the subject to get a wide view point from many individuals who use it.

Julia Cameron uses some of the techniques of cosmic ordering in her book “The Artist Way”.  I have been reading the artist way for a while now, because I think it helps with my creative recovery, despite some of the tasks she sets before me, being brushed under the carpet as for me; they are impractical for my way of life.  Such as the artist break, I never go anywhere on my own, let alone go on holiday by myself, I wouldn’t want to; however, the occasional trip to a local café or the library with a note pad in tow, is something that I do enjoy from time to time, so the artist date isn’t ignored entirely.

Another thing I ignore in the Artist Way is the week in which she says that we should avoid all kinds of reading, do anything but read.  I am sorry, but I don’t do reading deprivation.  If I am not reading stuff online, I am reading magazines, newspapers or books.  I have never ever experienced doing without reading – for me, like silence, it would kill me.

I can live with a rule such as – internet deprivation, but reading deprivation, dream on baby.

Also, by using the rule of reading deprivation, I can’t do those precious morning pages she wants me to, I can’t do my art, because in order to do my main form of art, I need to write and with writing comes editing and what is essential when editing a writer’s work?  You’ve got it, reading!

I won’t stop writing any more than I would stop reading.  I wanted this book to help me write more, not encourage me to stop what I feel are essential habits for me to work.

Anyway, getting away from my point a bit; The Artist Way contains many techniques similar to other books for cosmic ordering.  In my opinion she assists in that she helps us identify why we are not as successful in our chosen artistic careers as we would have liked to have been.  She delves deep in our sub consciousness, digging up long forgotten memories that helps answer how we’ve lost our path.

I found out that I lost my original creative path by using her techniques, by remembering that as a child I had a huge interest in fashion and drawing, but I was pushed away from this and put into writing.  Everyone had agreed for me that writing was my talent and to Hell with any other talent I might have.

I have trained in psychology and social sciences in the past and I have used some of the techniques learned there, with various self-help books, cosmic ordering stuff and I have realised that a lot of my current pitfalls as an adult, is not self-inflicted but are actually reactions against something happening that I didn’t like when I was younger.  When I was little I loved fashion and loved drawing dresses and playing with Barbie.  However, I didn’t get my own Barbie doll until I was around 11yrs old.  I wasn’t encouraged because my mother was a tom boy and wanted me to be the same as she was.  I noticed by the time I reached around 8yrs old I became a very obese child, but I didn’t give up on the whole idea of fashion and drawing until I was around 10yrs old and each year I was getting bigger and bigger.  Then it finally happened – when I was around 12 I told my mum that I would love to go into fashion when I am older and she simply said to me “with your weight, you’d be eaten alive in the fashion industry, you won’t survive”; so with that I thought lose weight or lose the dream, I tried to lose weight but every time I had an interest in fashion again, she’d bring out the doughnuts and McDonalds and remind me that it’s a foolhardy dream for someone so large.  Every time she gave me a treat and I ate it, she said it was my fault I wasn’t thinking about my dream, that I should have more self-discipline.

So by the time I was 14 I had literally totally forgot my dream.  I remembered it because in The Artist Way, Julia asks us to think about people we are jealous of and identify why.  I happen to be jealous of a lot of young girls I know who are professional dancers and are in the fashion industry.

When I realised the reason for the jealousy, I was then asked to search deep as to why that would affect me.  I remembered it all lead to fashion.  I also realised this because my favourite non-fantasy and non-horror movies and TV shows, happen to be focused around fashion.  “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Mean Girls”, “Are you being served”? “101 Dalmatians” any shows featuring Gok Wan, and so on!

I am not someone who follows fashion though, don’t get me wrong.  I am someone who likes to start off the trends and I usually succeed.  I don’t like to fall into a normal fashion concept, I like to develop my own, I believe in having a bespoke fashion sense and a bespoke home, to match who you are, I believe people should show the world exactly who they are as much as possible.  I think it attracts more genuine people to you.  I am more comfortable with speaking to someone who dresses in alternative fashions, whether they are punk, Goth, witch, or Hell’s Angel, than someone who seems very conservative.  Because to me, those conservative people are hiding themselves for some reason, or have a narrow concept of what’s acceptable and what’s not; I don’t do shallow people.

I am learning about the true me through doing all of this.  I am happier for it and luckier too.  In the Artist Way, Julia Cameron has asked me to do another task recently that is to make a collage of everything I love and everything I want to attain in life. 

This for me is something that I used to do and those things did come to me very quickly.  I got out of the habit of having a collage when I moved in with Paul as I could never work out where to put one in the house that I would see regularly and that wouldn’t raise questions with Paul’s family and our friends.  Recently Paul has suggested that I forget other people’s opinions and do what I want around the house.  So I will.

I am going to enjoy pinning things up on my collage, I am also making a scrapbook collage as well of more personal, secret things.

But the main impersonal things will be put into two locations around the house, so my sub consciousness can soak it all up, and help make it happen through the cosmos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NaNoWriMo challenge

I have about a week to learn about NaNoWriMo before it kicks off, I assume it’s still going?  I’ve never took on a NaNoWriMo challenge before and I am not sure I’ll do much when I eventually start it, but it’s good to try, isn’t it?

I don’t have anything planned specifically for the challenge yet, I am unsure if the idea is to continue working on any ideas you’ve been working on for ages anyways or not – but I think for this challenge it should be something completely new, OK, yes I agree it sounds like I am yet again procrastinating away from the other stories I’ve already started, but you know me one million great ideas and zero focus.

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The last 8 days

For the last eight days I haven’t been writing as much as I should in regards to poetry and fiction, I hope that this following week will change.  I should think about essays and real life less and fiction more; well I will try my best.  I know you’re all hankering for the next pieces to my already shown short story snippets, well, I am unsure if I like either of them, but I’ll see what I will do over the next couple of weeks.  I really should focus more on fantasy though and not sexual fantasy either that’s not what this site is supposed to be about.

Yes, OK, some forms of dark fantasy fiction can come under erotic horror and I do write that from time to time, but at the moment it seems to have become the dominating formula of this site and that’s not what I have intended.

In future I will write more about gargoyles and that sort of thing, which has been my intention since middle May and have I got around to it?  No.

My friend Erin Cooper the artist is more on top of things than I am, she has already drawn a gargoyle for me to use on site, but I never got around to finishing the story I had planned for you all.  I had planned to schedule it for the 10th of June, three weeks ago, I was sure I was going to finish it by then, I had saved drafts on here for it, but to no avail, it’s severely late and will take me at least another four days to finish if I start now.  So that schedule has been cancelled and I’ve withdrawn the draft from this site and put it safe and snug on my PC desktop.

It’s such a lovely story too; I must get around to it.

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Reading VS Writing – take 2

A few days ago I read another person’s blog (wished I remember whose) and they said that they used to predominantly write poetry and they’ve somehow unwillingly switched to story writing now, they still dabble in poetry from time to time but it is no longer their focus.  It’s funny but I’ve got the opposite problem, I’ve written stories since I was ten years old, in fact novel length stories and even a few sagas but in the last few months I can’t seem to focus on stories anymore (I noticed it’s been since I started reading fiction more) and poetry is coming more than easy for me. 

Why this happened I’ve no clue, but I suspect it has something to do with me reading other peoples stories and their style affecting the way I think about my stories to the point I have probably lost my courage to write effectively.  I think reading fiction for some writers may be dangerous and detrimental to their own story writing and style, if we enjoy non-fiction more but want to write fiction; maybe it’s best for us never to dip our hands into focusing on other peoples novels? 

Whatever I write in story mode seems to be bland and boring, less interesting than what I can read; yet a few years ago when I hardly ever read fiction my stories were interesting, exciting, different and a lot more people commented positively in my work, these days I am getting a lot of frowns and a lot of “what the Hell happened to you” kind of comments.

I tend to over think things, so reading other peoples work makes me analyze them and start comparing myself to them, which is dangerous in any situation to any person.

The problem is, I am starting to enjoy fiction as a reading source, to the extent I am searching high and low for good books I can sink my teeth into, it’s become as big as an addiction as my lust for non-fiction books and the more I read, the less I write.

I am trying to steer myself back into reading non-fiction only, but it’s difficult.

If I want to write stories I’ve noticed it’s coming out in very short prose forms these days, writing in a normal story telling way isn’t working anymore; especially lengthening the stories to a novel size.

Poetry is easier for me these days; in fact I can throw out a poem every fifteen minutes on average and I am desperately trying to teach myself that it’s quality of work not quantity, which seems to be what my subconscious is doing – focusing on quantity, not quality.

I believe the old saying that all writers are mad, because of this…  I certainly feel mad.

 

 

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