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Happy New Year December 31, 2009

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2009 was not a very good year for me. Too much sadness and death. I am hoping that 2010 is better. And if the adverts on tv and radio are to be believed it is going to be an ayoba year (regardless of one’s opinion of the small sporting event taking place in South Africa next year, we will all be learning a new soccer lingo).

I am taking it as a good sign that the new year starts with a blue moon. With my username how could I not like that:). Apparently a blue moon at new year happens every 19 years. So if you are staying up to see in the new year, take the time to see the full moon.

And however you celebrate the start of the new year, please do it safely.


Nano News November 23, 2009

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As you might have noticed, there have not been any entries here this month.  So much for my grand plans to post daily updates of my nanowrimo progress.

Yesterday I reached 30 000 words. I am still behind, but if I can manage to write 3000 words every day I should finish in time. This would be good.

But even if I don’t reach the magical 50 000 words target, I will have a fat manuscript to work on. I have been carrying this story around in my head for many months, some parts of it for several years. Despite all my good intentions to write it down, something always gets in the way.

Which is where nanowrimo becomes so powerful. I have a month to be a novelist, to focus on my writing, to write furiously – and really fast. To get rid of my inner editor and stop worrying about wether what I am writing is good enough. If I wrote something, that is good.

And surprisingly good stuff appears, in amongst some very strange sections and several pages of writing so bad it would make me weep, were it not for being nanowrimo when quantity is so much more important than quality. If I had the luxury of long periods to think, to ponder the plot, I would become frustrated and irritated with plot and characters. But in the pressure cooker environment I can’t stop, or leave it until I feel like writing, or feel particularly inspired. Instead I just have to sit down and write. Which is when the writing starts to take over and things get really interesting.

Who knows what will happen in the next 20 000 words. I certainly don’t. But I am looking forward to finding out.

A novel way to spend November October 26, 2009

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November is almost here. Which is cause for excitement for many people. Not because it is one month closer to Christmas. No, it is because November is the month for NaNoWriMo.

Nanowhat? you might be asking.

The answer is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. This is an international writing challenge where participants will aim to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days.

This might sound crazy, but is quite doable. And a lot of fun. And a little crazy. But in a good way.

If you have always wanted to write a novel, but never got round to it, or have been too afraid or busy to start, then this is the ideal opportunity. Nothing like a deadline to get things moving.

This will be my fifth year of writing. I will update my progress here, but will be spending most of my time writing frantically or hanging out at the fun forums at www.nanowrimo.org. Why don’t you join me?

Shelf reading October 5, 2009

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Spring is in the air. So I find myself drawn to springcleaning. I have all sorts of good intentions about tidying my home, organising my life. There are cupboards to sort, piles of paper to deal with. But what have I spent the last few evenings doing – rearranging my bookshelves.

Certainly not the most urgent of tasks, which leads me to suspect a certain amount of work avoidance behaviour. But at least I am doing something, and with any luck after a few days of cleaning and sorting I will develop a momentum and move on to less interesting areas. Like sorting the sock draw.

Because I would much rather be messing around with books than actually working. When I was studying my shelves got sorted every year but since then the poor books have been confined to the same spot, merely moving around when read, or to make space for new arrivals. So a change was needed. Not to mention a good dusting and a bit of weeding.

Less urgent, but more interesting, was rearranging the shelves. This is not a small task as there are rather a lot of them. Some people decorate their walls with pictures. I use bookshelves. And am rather enjoying a change of scenery, seeing different covers in the most visible areas.

The old order was by genre (roughly). Science fiction on one shelf, poetry on another. Contemporary literature in one corner, classics in another, with spaces for history, criticism, general fiction, South African literature and so on. This was a useful arrangement in that it showed where the collection was growing but sometimes it could be tricky when books fit into multiple categories. Where would I put South African science fiction for teenagers? And something had to be done about the piles of newer books needing to find a space.

I am now, slowly, putting my books into alphabetical order. More or less. I have not bothered to sort out within each letter. I rather like the serendipity of mixing genres, of browsing through the shelf and finding a thriller hiding behind an autobiography. Or seeing very different authors sharing space, and imagining the conversations going on behind my back. So J. M. Coetzee sits with Angela Carter and Geoffrey Chaucer, as Michael Crichton exchanges stories with Michael Cope and Wendy Cope listens in.

The reason why it is a slow job has less to do with the amount of books, and more with the person doing the sorting. I keep getting distracted and find myself reading more than shelving as I am reminded of old favourites to be reread, of books still unread, waiting to join the conversation.

Moonblue’s Bookshelf October 5, 2009

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Hello world! October 2, 2009

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Moonblue enters the world of blogging!

I already hang out at bookcrossing.com and nanowrimo.org, two wonderful sites for readers and writers. This blog is a space for me to share thoughts on books, on writing, on the wonder of words.

Thanks for joining me.