"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

It's time for me to fess up. I've already mentioned several times that I work for some pretty great people at my job, and one of the many reasons they're so great to work for is that they shut down for Christmas and don't open the office again until the new year. It's wonderful. This year, my last day was December 21st and I don't go back until January 2nd. That's a lot of time off. You'd think I'd do something productive with it, right? Well, this is where it gets a little embarrassing, because I didn't. Okay, that's not entirely true. I've done a lot of housecleaning. But I didn't do a lot of writing. In fact, barely any.

I guess I was just so stressed out and tired from all the Christmas prep (and a few other writing projects as well) that I needed some time to just 'be'. (That sounds very Oprah, but it's true.) I cleaned the house when it suited me, took naps, read good books. It was magical. And now, with a new year upon us, it's time to get back to work. But that's what I love about New Year's Eve. It's not the parties, the countdown at midnight or even the midnight kiss. It's the beauty of a brand new, completely untarnished year about to begin. How do I want 2013 to go? What will it hold for my writing career? December 31st is a glorious potion of hope and ambition that fills me with passion for at least a few weeks, before of course, we all get tired and start to slide on our goals.

But even with the inevitable decline of ambition, I still make new year's resolutions every year. Making goals gives me purpose and every time I meet one I feel amazing. It's worth a little hair pulling and irritation a few weeks into January when laziness starts to kick in just to remind myself that there are things worth working for. And my writing career is definitely one of them.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Ending

Welcome to Friday! It's been quite a week over in my corner of the world. Boxing Day actually gave us quite the beating. As you might already know, we discovered a gas leak in our gas fireplace several days ago. That was irritating enough. But on Boxing Day, we also lost our internet connection, our playstation hard drive bit the dust and a person lost control of their car and crashed into my husband's, which was parked on the street. So, all in all it was an interesting day. And here we thought we'd played it safe by staying in all day. In any case, I'm relieved it's Friday and hopefully our bad luck is behind us. Of course, it also means it's time for some Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is ending. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

He held out his hand, towering over her on his tall, white horse. She took it, letting him pull her up into his big, strong arms, tight against his broad chest. She looked up at his blue eyes, his gleaming white teeth. With a shake of the reins they were riding off into the sunset, supposedly towards a happy ending. But if that was the case, why did it feel so wrong?

 I hope you've enjoyed this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to read past editions, just follow the link below. Your comments are welcome (and very much appreciated!) below in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Vision
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion
Five Sentence Fiction - Time
Five Sentence Fiction - Joy

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

Well, I survived Christmas and homemade Christmas was a complete success. Now comes my favourite part of the holidays, the quiet that comes afterward. Now my days are filled with sleeping in, eating leftovers and reading good books.

Of course, it would have helped if I hadn't come home yesterday to our internet being down. My husband was on the phone with our internet provider for a half hour before he could get us back online and even still they have to come by on January 3rd because we're still not totally sure what the problem is. For some reason it just stopped working at one of our outlets.

The good news? I didn't get my customary Christmas illness. It seems every Christmas I come down with something whether it be the flu, a nasty cold or food poisoning. But not this year. I've made it to Boxing Day without woofing my cookies or filling nearby garbage cans with kleenex. So, at least I have that.

What about you? Did you survive the holidays?

Monday, December 24, 2012

I Made It! (literally)

Well, I'm exhausted, but I did it. As of late last night all our gifts were wrapped and ready to go. I don't think I'm up for another homemade Christmas. Not that I have a problem with homemade gifts, but I'm just not very creative. Or efficient. Tie that in with regular holiday stress and the gas leak we've been dealing with in our fireplace (don't ask), I think I'd rather go the less stressful and work intensive route with a little online shopping ahead of time.

And once Christmas is behind me, the real vacation begins. That's right. I'm off work until January 2nd. Why? Because I have the greatest bosses in the history of mankind. Here's my plan for my time off: sleep, read, repeat. Thanks to a long list of book recommendations from Erin Morgenstern's blog, I have ten books sitting on my dining room table waiting to be read. And so far they've been fantastic. But in the meantime, I'm going to spend some quality time with my family, cuddle my nephew and eat some delicious food. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Vision

I can't believe it's already the end of the world... I mean Friday. Obviously if you're reading this then all is well, or at least the internet somehow managed to survive the apocalypse, which means it can't be all that bad. This week's edition is a little bit different, because it wasn't just me that wrote it. It was actually my husband that did most of it.

Last night we decided to head out to a little tapas place in our neighborhood and over some ridiculously good gnocchi and duck poutine I told him the list of stuff I had to do that evening.
"Too bad we don't have a pen and paper, we could write your blog post right now."
With a smirk I pulled a notebook and pen out of my purse (as if a writer would leave the house without one) and we promptly set to work. So, I hope you enjoy our little collaboration. This week's prompt is vision. If you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try, just visit Lille McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

The sight of her washed over me like a violent ocean wave. I was her captive, unable to tell up from down, unable to breathe. Speechless, I stared at her, unable to move, my mouth opening and closing like a mute fish.
She shook her head and looked at me with frustration.
"I said, do you want fries with that?"
Yes, yes I did.

Voila! A merry little piece of fiction to brighten your Friday thanks to my witty husband, an excellent dinner partner and collaborator. If you liked that one, I hope you'll check out the rest! Just follow the links below. Make sure you take some time and enjoy this last weekend before Christmas. Put your feet up, sleep in, and for the love of God, don't go near the malls.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Time
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is bearing down on me like a predator. It's less than a week away now and I can see it clearly on the horizon. I'm sure a lot of you are looking at its approach with glee, but unfortunately I'm not ready. Not at all. I was optimistic this weekend, as I chugged along on my various projects, but so far this week I haven't had time to do anything. My plan was to be finished everything by Friday, so I could have a few days to relax before Christmas. Alas things are looking grim.

Don't worry, I haven't given up hope yet. I'm a procrastinator by nature, so I work well under pressure. Fear of failure is an excellent driving force. Which is why this going to be a rather short post. Sorry, but time is of the essence. If you're behind on your own holiday prep, I wish you luck as well. Of course, I will be back again on Friday, so stay tuned.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Dinner Party

Last night I attended the best dinner party I've ever been to. I'm serious. It was incredible.

It was at the house of my best friend, a woman so full of kindness, generosity and creativity it makes my heart swell with joy just to have her in my life. I know you probably think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. Do you remember how in every classic Disney movie, the heroine would always be surrounded by cuddly forest creatures? It's like that.

She's always been a domestic diva, her house makes you want to curl up and stay forever. She does everything from refinishing antique furniture, to sewing, painting original pictures for her walls and artfully displaying books on her bookshelves. Have I properly set the scene yet? As you might have guessed, her talent doesn't end in the kitchen. It explodes like fireworks. Last night's meal was so good, I actually teared up after a bite of her garlic mashed potatoes.

To make matters even more splendid, last night's dinner guests were all women. An eclectic mix of smart, witty, genuine and hilarious ladies that made for a fantastic evening. So fantastic that I only managed maybe six hours of sleep and I'm a little bleary eyed at work this morning. But that's okay, because I had a great time.

And I have leftovers for lunch.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Devotion

Welcome to Friday! First and foremost: yes, my beloved nephew was born on Wednesday, meaning he has the coveted 12-12-12 birthday. I have to say, as a person who's supremely uncomfortable around babies and has no plans to procreate, that little devil has stolen my heart. He's the most beautiful, charming little fellow I've ever seen and I'm already smitten.

Now that I've covered the big news of the week, I know you're all ready for some Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn what it's all about, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt is devotion. (I'm beginning to think my life and Five Sentence Fiction are inextricably linked, the prompts keep lining up with my life like a horoscope). Enjoy!

Eyes sandy and burning with the need to close, she couldn't take her eyes off him. She liked the weight of him in her arms, the warmth, the smell. Each soft sigh and coo was like music. She knew she'd have to put him down eventually and sleep but she couldn't just yet. It was just so nice to finally meet him.

This week's Five Sentence Fiction is dedicated to my sister. You are amazing and I'm so very proud of you. Watching you, I'm already in awe of your mothering prowess and I know it's only going to get better. Thank you for making me an auntie, I'll do my best to make you proud.

If you're still in the mood for more Five Sentence Fiction, just follow the links below. As always, I welcome and cherish your comments, so please feel free to leave me a note. If you particularly liked this post I hope you'll share it with others, and perhaps follow this blog. Have a great weekend everyone!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Time
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm Going to Be an Auntie!

No blog post today, I'm afraid. My sister is in labour! Hopefully, before the end of today, I will be an auntie. So, if you wouldn't mind, please send positive vibes my sister's way and concentrate on good health for her and the baby. Thank you for your patience everyone. I will be back again on Friday!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Morning Blues

Have you ever had one of those days (or in my case, weekends) where just nothing goes according to plan? As you can probably guess, I just did. Not that I had especially productive or sensational plans for this past weekend. All I wanted to do was stay in and read.

On Friday, I stopped by the library to return a book and ten of my requests had come in. Feeling like I'd won the lottery, I checked them out and hauled them to the car, anxious to get home and spend the entire weekend inside a good book. That did not happen.

Instead, I spent almost half the weekend trying to eat breakfast. It started on Saturday, with my ill fated decision to try the new Cora's that had just opened. They were so disorganized, with no system of being able to put your name down for a table and having them get a hold of you when it was ready. You just had to stand in line and wait. Outside. In -27 degrees celcius. For at least forty five minutes. Um, no.

So, we decided we'd head over to Truffles. Half way there I remembered that it was Saturday, and they only have brunch on Sunday. No problem. I'd call Poached. As luck would have it, they had two tables left, but unfortunately I couldn't reserve one over the phone. Taking our chances, we drove to Poached, hitting every single red light on the way. When we got there, they had only one table left and it was the worst one in the restaurant. It sat directly in front of the door, not even two feet away. At this point we were famished and in terrible moods, so we agreed glumly to the awful table and proceeded to have breakfast. At no point did we take off our coats, and my husband kept his toque on the entire time.

The next day, we managed to wake up far earlier. Surely, there wouldn't be a long wait so early at Cora's this time. Wrong. Although we were able to get in the first set of doors, we spent forty five minutes crammed into the tiny entrance way with eighteen other people, only slightly warmer than if we'd been forced to wait outside. When we finally made it through the second pair of doors and into the actual restaurant, we still had to wait as no one seemed to be showing anyone to a table. When we were finally seated, I will admit that our server was incredibly attentive, but the food just wasn't good enough to make up for the long, cold wait. My toes were freezing the entire time and the smoked salmon eggs benedict were just not up to snuff. I'd had far better at Calories, and they at least took reservations.

Each time we went for breakfast, it had eaten up at least half the day and most of the rest was spent running errands on roads so slippery they had me white-knuckling the steering wheel.

Of course, it wasn't all bad. On Saturday night we went to see Life of Pi and it was incredible. They did a fantastic job translating such an amazing book to screen. The visuals were stunning. And on Sunday night we had dinner at my parents house, which was delicious. So, the weekend wasn't a complete loss by any means, but I was so disappointed that my own plans fell through. I wasn't able to finish a single book and now the work week stretches ahead like an unending ocean. I know there's another weekend just beyond the horizon, but I just can't see it yet. (If you're wondering, the lesson here is to just stay home and make your own breakfast. It's faster, tastier and you don't have to leave the house.)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Time

Welcome to Friday! I know I say this every week, but seriously, this week was SO long. I feel like I should get a medal just for making it to the end. Between weather, work and a few other things on my plate, time has never moved so slowly. Which is interesting, because this week's Five Sentence Fiction prompt is time. Weird when life lines up isn't it? Anyway, if you'd like to learn more about Five Sentence Fiction, or give it a try, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

When had she first noticed the changes? She couldn't remember, but every day they became more obvious. Her stepdaughter was getting more beautiful, more radiant, and she was getting older and more plain.
Every morning she sat in front of the mirror, peering at her reflection before she asked that all important question: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
Even she couldn't have predicted how poorly she'd react the day the mirror's answer changed.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, full of rest, warm fires and great books. If you enjoyed this edition of Five Sentence Fiction, I hope you'll check out the rest. Just follow the links below. Your comments are welcome and very much appreciated below in the comments section. If you really liked it I hope you'll follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter: My Irritating Muse

On Sunday night about a foot and a half of snow was dumped on my charming little city, burying us all in the undeniable reality of winter. I don't know if we somehow upset the karmic balance with our mild winter last year, but this year its making up for it with a vengeance. We've already had more snow in the month of November than we had all winter last year.

The result? Well, thanks to poor city planning (which refuses to learn its lesson year after year), the budget simply doesn't cover the proper removal of snow and road upkeep. Therefore, when the snow fell, the roads were already covered in a thick sheen of ice that had yet to be attended to. The driving conditions on Monday morning were horrifying, and when I arrived at work my knuckles were still bone white from gripping the steering wheel so tight.

I've lived my entire life in this city, so driving conditions this bad are nothing new, but each time I can feel my heart beating wildly against my chest as I carefully navigate our abysmal roads. It drives me crazy.

And where is my point in all this? The weather has completely destroyed my desire to leave the house. I'd rather eat cereal for supper than go for groceries, let alone go out for the sole purpose of socializing. My hatred of poor driving conditions keeps me locked in the house, where guess what? All I can do is write. Yep. It turns out winter is my slave driving muse. True, I also take a lot of naps, (A LOT), but I get a lot of work done. It's been said that the best place to write is in a cellar on a rainy day, but I disagree. The best place to write is in your living room when winter has made the roads impassable.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Mysterious Benedict Society

When asked what genre I particularly like to read, I never have an answer. Like music, my taste is all over the place. The only distinction I'm concerned with is whether or not its a good story. If it can take me away, I'm happy to let it. Of course, there are a few genres I generally gravitate to, but I've made it a personal rule not to disregard something just because it's in a genre I'm not familiar with or have made assumptions about.

For example, I recently finished The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I almost put it down in the beginning. Although the writing was excellent, I didn't find the subject matter compelling. I find politics particularly off putting, which was the basis for the story. Luckily, I didn't. Because once I was a few chapters in, I found myself emerged in the worlds of the characters and I couldn't put it down. It was excellent!

Just this weekend, I read the second novel in a series called The Mysterious Benedict Society. The novels are for children, but the writing, concept and story are just too good to put down. It gathers together four small and uniquely gifted children by the charming Mr. Benedict and sets them on delicious adventures. The characters are fantastic and I find I never know what's going to happen next. They're impossible to predict and I love it! The author, Trenton Lee Stewart, is ridiculously clever. Don't just buy these books for your children, read them yourself! They celebrate talent in all forms, encourage intellectual pursuit and are captivating.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't let the genres bog you down. A good story is a good story. There's no sense in missing something wonderful just because of it's label. Break through your barriers and surprise yourself. The world is full of treasures waiting to be found!