Friday, January 21, 2011

A Note From Atala - The Significant Other BlogFest

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Thanks to DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude

We’ve all heard the saying…behind every successful man or woman…there’s a person who supports them unconditionally. Nowhere is that more true than with us writers. Who else would put up with our 2 AM wake up calls to solicit opinions of a shiny new idea? Our whiplash inducing confidence swings? The hours upon hours in front of the computer monitor, with nary a grunt or nod when they attempt to disrupt our creative flow? The compulsive need to check email on our Smartphone’s for that reply we’ve been waiting so anxiously for? Or reading the fifty-seventh revision of our first chapter?

It takes a special person to put up with writers idiosyncrasies…and we believe its time they had their say! Although our first choice would be to have your significant other post their own material, it is acceptable to interview them and post those responses. The only catch is that you must [start with] these three questions.

1. What food or drink is guaranteed to return your loved one to a good mood, even after a bad day writing?
2. What one thing would you change about your others writing habits?
3. How hard is it to sit by and watch someone you care for struggle to attain a dream...knowing there's very little you can do to help?


Hear it from my one and ONLY! :) I love you too darling...

1 - My SO's moods aren't really driven by food or drink - usually, it's enough for her to step away from writing for a while to regain her good humour. However, a good dollop of ice cream (especially if it's coffee-flavoured) wouldn't go amiss in helping the restoration of that good humour.

2 - I'd like her to accept that there comes a time in a story's life when it is good enough, and further edits (especially ones which could accidentally introduce typos) are really just gilding the lily. I do understand that perspective keeps on changing, and what seemed great a few months back may not be so good now - but writers should also remember that they don't just write for themsleves, but also for others (e.g. impatient editors, expectant readers, etc.)

3 - I'm actually very active in supporting my SO's aspirations, so I'm not sure how to answer this question. However, if I was in this position, I'd try to be creative in figuring out ways I could help, even though the help might not be directly related to her dreams. I might also play the role of the 'mirror' - getting her to evaluate where she was in her struggle, so that she might consider other options.

4 - In any event, I find it very easy to be supportive of my wife, because it's clear to me that she gets a great deal of enjoyment and fulfilment from her writing. So loving her as I do, I want to do as much as I can to in helping her making the experience as fulfilling for her as it possibly can be.

5 - And it also helps that like her, I'm an avid reader, and so I'm very keen to know what she's written, and I can cast a critical eye with suggestions and comments. Sometimes, it can be a bit of a pain, especially when she feels that her work is not yet ready for viewing - there are times I've contemplated sneaking out of bed to steal a sneak preview!
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A Birthday Surprise - Tessa's Birthday BlogFest

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Tessa Conte is the blogger at Tessa's blurb and today is her birthday. To make her happy, she wants her friends to "Write a 500-1000 word story/scene that mentions birthday(s), candles, cakes or presents."

Happy Birthday Tessa, enjoy!

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“Where are we going?” Gladys asked Edward as she stepped out of the office bathroom. He’d just come back after three weeks in China and though they’d spent most of the past few days together, he never mentioned they’d go out tonight. He only called this morning to ask her to take a change of clothes for an evening on the town with some friends.
“You’ll know when we get there. It’s a surprise.” He turned to smile at her before tidying up his papers and ushering her out of the office. “And you look good in that top.”
“Thanks, glad you like it. But don’t dodge the question. Why won’t you tell me now?”
“Not yet, wait till we get there. Or you can try guessing.”
“Oh Edward, you know I don’t like surprises.”
They took the elevator to the underground car park and were soon on their way. Unlike most of their dates, this wasn’t set in advance. He usually picked her up after work, either alone or with friends, to take her home or out for drinks.
Sometimes, they went to her book club or similar literary events. Other times he introduced her to new places; some he’d discovered as a university student during his first years in the city.
They were caught in the perennial hold-up on Awolowo Road when she turned under the seatbelt. “OK, do you know what?”
“What is that?” Edward adjusted his side mirror as an okada bike sneaked in between the stationary cars.
“I got a query yesterday. My boss says I nod off at my desk.”
“So you are one of those people who sleep at work, eh? I have some of those in my office too.”
“I got you,” Gladys chuckled. “I actually enjoy my duties.
“You’re sure you do not sleep on the job?”
“No I don’t.” Did he think she was serious?
“Is that your final answer or do you want to phone a friend?” Edward deadpanned as the traffic began to inch forward.
Caught unawares, Gladys laughed easily. It was clear she would have fun tonight. “Really, I was only trying to pull your leg. I’ve never received a query.”
“Well my legs are quite busy now, so please don’t pull any of them.” Their laughter blended into each other.
He looked at her when she stopped. “What did you receive?”
“That’s the deal. I’ll tell if you say where we’re headed.”
He guffawed. She put a hand on his thigh, “Edward please...”
“So you thought to make a stand? I didn’t think so.”
She pouted and looked away. They soon arrived at Reed’s Restaurant, which served Thai food. They had been here before, but Gladys was surprised to see her friend Ola walking up to the car. She opened the door and stepped out.
“What a coincidence!” She said as Ola came closer to them.
“I don’t think it is.” Ola pointed to the group of people near the doors of the building.
Gladys looked up and gasped; she looked over to Edward who had just finished locking up.
“Happy birthday to you darling.” He smiled innocently at her and turned to Ola. “Allow me to use this opportunity to congratulate you on your confirmation too.”
“Don’t look at me, I didn’t tell him.” Gladys protested when Ola turned to her with an accusatory look.
Ola was a colleague whose cubicle was just down the hall from hers at the office. She had started out in the industry ten years ago as a lowly clerk but had risen to become a chartered accountant. They’d taken to each other, maybe because she was a fairly new employee herself when Gladys joined the firm. Ola was Gladys’s best friend even though she was older by some years. They shared more interests than she did with Jennifer or Ayo. Also, Ola was a Lagos girl and from her and Edward, Gladys had learnt all about living in and enjoying the hectic city.
“How did you find out then?” Ola turned back to Edward.
“Let’s just say I have an ear to the ground.” He replied striding around the car. Her eyes settled on him but she was speechless. Her birthday was last week but she wasn’t even a stickler for celebrations. Her family and a few friends had called with greetings and she was even happier when he’d made time from his busy schedule in China to do the same.
He took her arms and gave her a brief kiss on the lips.
“So this is your surprise?”
“Yes, a birthday party. Do you still not like surprises?”
“I love this one.” She gave him a big hug.

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Excerpt from my first novel, A HEART TO MEND
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