Saturday, October 23, 2010

A New Day

I haven't posted in aaaages. And I'm such a flibbertigibbet (in the historical sense... well, in the modern sense as well, probably) you know my life is completely different now.
So, here is an update on me. I am still living in Auckland. In a box. But it's a nice enough box. It's a little untidy now, but I have actually managed to keep it relatively nice, which is a first for me (I tend to accidently spill ink/paint/coffee... usually the carpets around me are doomed).
I have made some friends I think, in the tramping (hiking) club, and in my book club, and through the RPCV network. Of course, I'm applying for a Masters in Creative Writing for next year, both in Auckland and in Wellington, so if I get accepted in Wellington, I'll have to move again. But, I suppose I can always fly up for weekends.
Lets see. A few months ago I was shortlisted in the Frederick van Eeden Poetry Competition, which was quite thrilling actually. I didn't place, but I'm hoping it will still help my application.And I've had bits and scraps of poetry published here and there.  No short stories yet (aside from that one on the radio two years ago) but I haven't tried too hard to send any in to places. After my Creative Writing course ends, I'll have a bit more time for that.
At the moment, I'm supporting myself with freelance writing online, for Internet Brands, Brighthub, Suite101 and Squidoo. I'm trying to solidify my base with those, before moving anywhere else.If you're interested, I mostly write about pet birds for Brighthub at the moment.

Which brings me to one of my points for starting this blog up again. I'm really enjoying Squidoo, and it has given me a chance to do something I've been meaning to do for ages.
Make lists of stuff I like. Like OOAK art dolls, original jewelry and handmade clothes, etc. I love looking at these sorts of things, and this gives me a chance to pretend I have something to do with them!
Plus the people who make them are always thrilled with the exposure.
I was originally going to make a blog, but as you know, I am hopeless at keeping up with a blog. This way, I can make them whenever I like, then put them up on here, couched with ramblings about myself (I think people are much more forgiving about me forgetting to post about myself).

So far, the list are awesome. Not because of me, but because the things in them are awesome.
Anyway, the first one I did was Halloween Art Dolls. I'm not going to put up any pictures, but if you click on that link, you'll get to browse through a gorgeous pictoral list of OOAK art dolls, of ghosts, skeletons, gothic pixies, and scary teddy bears.

The second one I've done was leather masks. I should have split this one into two, it is very large (around 20 masks), but that's all the better for you, because the masks are stunningly beautiful and you should check them out.
Well, now I've got the blatent advertising out of the way... it's a beautiful day down here in Auckland, and I'm going with my friend to the Grey Lynn Farmers market, which should be fun. She dragged me to hot yoga a few days ago, so I think she owes me a coffee.

Thank you for reading, I'll try to be more interesting next time.
Oh, and PS, anyone who is here because they are interested in freelance writing, check out my list of sites that accept non-American (as well as American) freelancers. Whether you are looking for spare change, or a platform for your ideas, or full time work, you might be able to find it there, and I try to keep it updated.

Kia kaha, kia mana, kia toa, aroha.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back from Q-Town

This week my mother had a conference down in Queenstown and, as all I knew about that place (aside from the whole adventure tourism bit) is that it has no supermarket, I decided to go with her and crash her hotel reservation.
I came to the no-supermarket conclusion about 7 years ago (SEVEN... !! I'll pretend that was in dog years) when I was on a road trip around the South Island, on the cheap, and could not for the life of me find a bloody supermarket in the place in the 4 hours I was there.
Yeah, it was a geeky road trip. We spent more time at the petrified forest.
Now I know all the normal, not-for-tourists shops are tucked away near the airport, but at the time it was like driving around a quiet disneyland. Clean, pretty and not at all useful.

It's still like that, but there are some awesome things to do there as well. And no, I didn't bungy, I didn't white-water-anything and I didn't do a single thing that involved helicopters or flying of any kind (mores the pity!)
I did eat well, I did walk along the waters of what is apparently the second purest lake in the world (after one in Antarctica) I did climb a very steep hill and take pictures of a rainbow, I did take a boat trip around the lake, and a gondola trip to the top of a mountain. And I did get to feed some enormous trout and eels, as well as some enterprising ducks. Basically, I did Queenstown for the Cheap and Non-Adventurous.
And it snowed! (on the mountains)
Plus I got to spend some time with my lovely mother, which was nicer than all those other things put together.

But, have to say, it is good to be home.

Here are the fish, eels and ducks. We induced their feeding frenzy from an underwater viewing screen.



Here is the rainbow I chased up the hill.




Here is the view from the gondola. I risked life and limb and my camera by snapping it out the window... yeah, you can see why I didn't go bungy jumping.

Friday, March 19, 2010

B-day and other such shiny stuff

I got to go to see Neil Gaiman this past weekend and it was awesome! He spoke at the town hall, read some poetry (including 'Locks', which I think my mother really liked) and an excerpt from American Gods (do I even have to say which excerpt?)
Plus he signed my book in a signing that apparently went on for 3.5 hours... alas, all of those hours weren't spent just signing my book.

I also got to see The Pixies, who were also very very cool, and met a friend for the first time, although turns out we had more in common than might be reasonably expected.
Who am I kidding? It was freakin' crazy what, or should I say who, we had in common, but that's NZ for you.
Plus, she was awesome.

Then it was my 28th yesterday, and I got taken out for mexican and frozen margaritas by my sister and her man, and had a ball, and desserts at Dennys. Pretty much it was the best sort of Auckland night. We nattered on about our childhoods and aspirations, and as per usual these days I bludged off them (although they were very nice and claimed it was for my birthday) and promised great riches once my writing career takes off.
Or once I give up and get a 'real job' which I'm starting to realise will probably never happen, so I'd better get going with the writing thing, pronto.

So, tomorrow I'm off to Queenstown (I know, it sounds like my life is very exciting... people are very generous to me is all) which I'm looking forward to, although I'm not much for white water rafting and thats all thats in Qtown as far as I've ever heard :)

Keep safe all of you two people who read this thing, love and stars and pixies and magic and all things good for you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Now in Freelancing edition

OK, here's where I'm at. I've moved to Auckland, am living in a tiny little room in the center of the city, it's bare in a cocoon kind of way.

I'm now writing for Suite101.com and for Squidoo.com. So, I'm going to be posting quite a bit about that. I haven't completely given up on the art though. I'm going to limit it to photography and polymer clay for now. I gave my etsy page a makeover, but haven't listed anything on there. Luckily, my work for suite101 has taught me some 'sweet' (hehe) SEO skills. I'm no expert, but I got the basic idea.

I'm also doing a course in creative writing and from the first day I am tickled. I'm really looking forward to stretching my writing muscles.

Auckland is pretty awesome. Not the awesomest, that's Wellington. But probably awesomer than New Plymouth, at least for me. I'm loving the big library, the old buildings, the choice of movie theatres... I miss my mum though :( Yeah, I'm a sook.

Alright, so here are a couple of articles for Suite101:


So, pretty much anyone else who has the slightest experience with writing online articles can tell you, I wrote the last three on that list before I did any research. Sure, they were fun to write, but they were written from the perspective of a person who thought that

A: you can just write about a popular subject like earning cash, or weight loss, and the people will come.
B: you can write about two separate topics and link them together on a whim and expect people to just find it on their own.
C: that it's a good idea to write very vague topic headings and in fact to write very broadly on any subject.

Now of course, those rules are all made to be broken. But I'm learning that specific topics are much more lucrative than broad ones, niche topics are better than overly done topics and topics people... any people, are searching for are better than self indulgent blitherings. The greenstone article, though it was just as much of a shot in the dark, was actually pretty close to target.

My first (and currently only) squidoo page is much better:

All About Shirataki Noodles

OK, well this has been a long post, but hopefully I'll be posting more regularly from now on.