A limerick about a dog

Today is a writing catch-up day of epic proportions. Ten days into the month, I started today a full week behind schedule on both Camp NaNoWriMo (where I’m writing 30000 words worth of short stories) and NaPoWriMo (where I’m writing 30 poems).

Anyway, amidst all the writing lunacy a silly limerick tiptoed out of my whirling mind and onto the page, and while some forms of poetry I’d be more nervous about showing people, limericks are meant to be silly. So here goes:

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In case you can’t read my awful handwriting (bad writing is a sign of being intelligent right? Right? Oh come on…pleeeease can it be?), I’ll type up the poem here for you:

There once was a dog called Stinker
He pooped too much and was a drinker
But one day he drank mead
While drunk he learned to read
Now he’s called Stinker the Thinker

As I write this blog post, I am now three days behind on the poetry front but still six behind with the short stories, so it’s time to return to the world of talking animals (which is mostly what my short stories have become).

Until next time…unless I lose my mind in a storm of caffeine induced panic.

The Illustrated Guide to my first day of Camp NaNoWriMo

As many of you know, yesterday I began both Camp NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo – two crazy writing challenges that will keep me busy throughout April, and that which many of you are also attempting. I hit both goals – write a thousand words for the former and a poem for the latter, but I still had a bit of creative energy left so I attempted to draw an illustration to go with part of my story.

Please keep in mind I haven’t drawn much for about 15, 16 years (since I was about 11), so it’s not amazing. Also I only spent a few minutes on it. But mostly it was for a bit of fun, and to reveal a random detail about my first short story that will in no way explain what the heck my story is about. So without further ado…

 

It reads: "Today he had a specific mission - release his droppings on a Mr Evan Wigbottom." Taken from the second paragraph of my first short story (as yet untitled).

It reads: “Today he had a specific mission – release his droppings on a Mr Evan Wigbottom.” Taken from the second paragraph of my first short story (as yet untitled).

How is everybody else going with their various creative projects?

On the eve of lunacy

Wow, the title of this blog post is cooler than I meant it to be.

Anyway, tomorrow begins April, and with it a wide array of writing challenges. Thousands of people around the world will write their hearts out for Camp NaNoWriMo, a more flexible variation on the novel writing challenge I complete each November. Thousands of other people will write a poem a day for the whole month for NaPoWriMo. Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I’m going to be doing both.

I’ve set my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo at 30 000 words, focusing on writing satire/comical short stories so that I can work on my humorous and short story writing styles at the same time. So each day will require me to write 1000 words of short story and a poem – I suspect the poem will take longer, but we’ll see.

Camp NaNoWriMo has a cabin based system, where you are put into a cabin with 11 other writers who you can work with and support and who will hopefully make the month more fun and exciting. You can elect to have some writers you know in your cabin, but it’s still down to chance and there’s no real guarantees – I have ended up somewhere with nobody I know (at least I think I don’t know them). Luckily, they all seem to be very friendly, so hopefully it should be a great 30 days working with these new people.

As for the planning…well, it looks a little something like this:

Planning is going well, 7 hours out from the starting time.

Planning is going well, 7 hours out from the starting time.

Good luck to anybody out there trying their hand at either of these events! And wish me luck…I don’t know if there is enough caffeine in the world to get me through this but I’m about to find out. I’ll post about my progress in a few days.

The Hyperbole and a Half book – when great blogs make great books

Hyperbole and a Half Book CoverIf you don’t know what Hyperbole and a Half is, you probably should go there right now by clicking on the link half a sentence ago. It’s an amazing blog by Allie Brosh in which she tells tales from her life in a hilarious fashion accompanied by drawings done on Microsoft Paint and done badly on purpose because it’s kind of funny. Her blog is award-winning, and her depictions of her own experiences with depression have been greatly praised by many experts for conveying it so accurately (part two of this blog, which appeared after over a year’s absence, had more than a million hits on the first day apparently).

Upon her return she announced she was working on a book, which would comprise of some of her funniest stories from her blog while also including several new ones (which aren’t on her website). Sometimes when bloggers or cartoonists make books, they don’t have much new content, or at least nothing  really enticing to make it warrant actually buying the book. But this case is an exception – if you like the blog you must buy this book. Please. Just do it. You won’t regret it.

The stories she has chosen from her blog to include in this collection include two of my favourites, The God Of Cake and Party, as well as both parts of the Depression posts (which you should go read on her website if you haven’t already). Some of her new tales include more stories from her childhood, more stories about her frighteningly simple dogs including one that is addressed to them in the hope of helping them survive normal situations in life (with a hilarious Q&A section with questions from the dogs themselves), and more reflections on her own identity as an adult. The new material is just as good as her best work, and just as funny and insightful, and it’s clear she put a lot of effort into this book and didn’t just rush it to try and get it out on the shelves already.

What I particularly love about a lot of Brosh’s writing, apart from how funny it is, is the fact that so much of it is relatable. Sure, not everybody has dogs quite so lacking in the brain department as hers, but dogs are odd creatures who do bizarre things for no reason and she explores that phenomenon so well. Not everybody has experienced what she has, but a lot of people have, and those who haven’t have at the very least probably shared some of the thought processes she explains in this, despite how seemingly ridiculous they are. And everybody can relate to the insane childhood stories – we all probably have similar memories of our childhoods whether we remember them or not. There is something impressive though about the way that she can make these stories seem so much like something all of us have been through and at the same time clearly unique and personal, with her own distinct voice shining through both the words and the drawings.

If you have ever read this blog you must buy this book, as you will love it. If you have never read her blog, go read it first, then buy the book, as you too will love it. If I ever wrote a book half as funny as this one, I would be over the moon!

What are your thoughts on the blog Hyperbole And A Half?

What other blogs turned into books have you read that you would recommend?

Göteborg Trip, Round One

Last Saturday I visited the city of Göteborg (Gothenburg), the second biggest city in Sweden and fifth biggest in Scandinavia apparently. It was just a bit over an hour’s train ride up north and despite the trains being severely delayed due to an accident the wait was indeed worth it.

So I thought I would share some photos of my day. There is still a lot left to explore, and some things such as the amazing Turkish restaurant I visited that night, and the archipelago, I could not take photos of due to the lack of light. I will definitely return to the archipelago next time I visit though. In the meantime, here is what I did photograph:

I thought I'd start with this picture, a close up (well, kind of...considering how far away I was when I took it anyway) of a church. I  love the architecture of some of the buildings in this shot, even if it isn't the best photography ever.

I thought I’d start with this picture, a close up (well, kind of…considering how far away I was when I took it anyway) of a church. I love the architecture of some of the buildings in this shot, even if it isn’t the best photography ever.

I just loved how this house looked. We think somebody lives there but we couldn't quite tell.

I just loved how this house looked. We think somebody lives there but we couldn’t quite tell.

This climb is steeper than it looks - that tiny crown you can see in the distance is our end destination (also it's not actually tiny). This is the climb towards the Skansen Kronan, a several century old fort.

This climb is steeper than it looks – that tiny crown you can see in the distance is our end destination (also it’s not actually tiny). This is the climb towards the Skansen Kronan, a several century old fort.

This is the Skansen Kronan, which meets us at the top of the stairs in the last picture. There is a second building like this, only that one has a lion on top where the crown is. We passed it on the train into the city but I was too slow with my camera.

This is the Skansen Kronan, which meets us at the top of the stairs in the last picture. There is a second building like this, only that one has a lion on top where the crown is. We passed it on the train into the city but I was too slow with my camera.

Here is an information board on the Skansen Kronan along with a map. The English section is photographed closer on the next picture.

Here is an information board on the Skansen Kronan along with a map. The English section is photographed closer on the next picture.

The English translation of this information. Quite interesting bits of history here.

The English translation of this information. Quite interesting bits of history here. Click on the picture if this is too small to read.

This is the view from the top of Skansen Kronan, overlooking the city. We had to climb a rickety old staircase up the building but the view was worth it.

This is the view from the top of Skansen Kronan, overlooking the city. We had to climb a rickety old staircase up the building but the view was worth it.

Back in town, we found this cool little house turned into a restaurant with a seemingly out of place spruce next to it.

Back in town, we found this cool little house turned into a restaurant with a seemingly out of place spruce next to it.

More of the city's streets. It definitely felt a lot bigger than my current home town.

More of the city’s streets. It definitely felt a lot bigger than my current home town.

Lots of cafés and restaurants in this area.

Lots of cafés and restaurants in this area.

Café Kringlan, a new favourite I think. Earlier in the day they had a lot of their baked goods out on this table being sold on the street.

Café Kringlan, a new favourite I think. Earlier in the day they had a lot of their baked goods out on this table being sold on the street.

Inside Café Kringlan, it was nice and cosy and we stayed there quite a while.

Inside Café Kringlan. It was nice and cosy and we stayed there quite a while.

Last but not least, while briefly inside a shopping centre we discovered a volleyball game being conducted, sand and everything. Different, but it certainly drew a crowd.

Last but not least, while briefly inside a shopping centre we discovered a volleyball game being conducted, sand and everything. Different, but it certainly drew a crowd.

Well, that’s it for now. But at long last I have started exploring this part of the world outside of my new home town! Have any of you ever been here? If so, what were your thoughts?

Open Season by High Highs (Mini-Reviews of Not-New Albums #1)

I’ve decided to get back into reviewing music on here, but when I feel like it and in a much shorter form. So the music I review might not always be brand new, but I’m hoping it will be at least good.

High Highs Open SeasonHigh Highs are an indie band from Sydney, Australia (so very local for me up until recently) who released their first EP back in 2011 (I am quite sure I reviewed that at some point in the last two years). Somehow though I failed to notice that they released a full length album early last year, so I’ve finally managed to get my hands on it and listen to it and WOW!

The band is essentially a duo comprising of Jack Milas and Oli Chang, and their music is very quiet and atmospheric, fitting into that strange realm of folk music that is occupied by the likes of Bon Iver, although with vocal harmonies and a sweetness to their song writing that seems more reminiscent of the likes of The Beach Boys. This is one of those strange albums where you find yourself feeling cosy and smiling despite a definite twinge of melancholy permeating throughout most songs.

With the title track Open Season having garnered worldwide success through use in several commercials and featuring on the soundtrack of Pitch Perfect, it’s the most appropriate song with which to end this brief review! Enjoy!

Camp NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo, or Why I’ll Lose My Mind In April

As you all know, I’m a little crazy.

Oh, sit down and stop applauding and nodding so vigorously, would you? Sheesh!

Anyway, as you also possibly know if you’re a long time reader of my blog, I like writing challenges. I like to push myself with my writing because I believe it does help me to become a better writer over time, and as much as I would love to become a published novelist I refuse to publish anything until I feel I’m a strong enough writer to let my work go free into the world (well, not actually free because…anyway you get the point).

So next month, in April, it appears I am taking not one but TWO challenges. Yeah, who’s crazy now huh? Oh right, it’s still me.

2014 Camp Nano-Participant-Vertical-BannerAnyway, I have just signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. Remember that crazy novel writing month thing I do every November? This is their other event that you can do in April and another month of the year (I think July). It’s much more flexible, so at the moment I have set it to just 30 000 words that month and I am writing short stories instead. The other thing I have signed up for is NaPoWriMo, the poetry event where I write 30 poems in 30 days. So basically each day of April I’ll be writing 1000 words worth of short story plus a poem. More than likely next month will be the month I suddenly get a job and start learning Swedish at an increasing pace (goodbye sleep).

For more information:

campnanowrimo.org – for all your Camp NaNoWriMo needs. If you want to find my profile it’s at http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/mattius-watsonnius – I would love to contact others who are doing it on there. It would be good to get a cabin of people I already know online (I’m not fully sure how this cabin system works yet).

http://www.napowrimo.net/ – The site for NaPoWriMo is very simple and straightforward, but you can join up and it would be great to see extra support for this growing event.

Let me know on either of these sites, my Twitter or of course on here if you are joining in on either of these events – it’s always great to take on these challenges with other amazing writers!