On Pillows and Their Sleeping Habits

(pinterest)

Note: I wrote this “article” some while ago, but I think it an appropriate subject here on the last day of NaNo, when all we writers really want to do after a long month of writing is to crash and sleep and forget about writing and everything to do with it. Though we should probably wait till tomorrow for that… December is a great time for napping.


On Pillows and Their Sleeping Habits
by
Deborah O’Carroll

The way to get good sleep is to sleep on a pillow that is also asleep—preferably two.

Now, this is more difficult than you might suppose. You see, pillows, by their very nature, are nocturnal. They tend to be wide awake at night and extremely dormant in the day. This is why we often do not sleep as well as we should like, for when the pillow you are sleeping on (or trying to sleep on) is awake, it stands to reason that it will try to keep you awake as well.

Pillows are mischievous like that.

It is possible that they are at times also responsible for some of the more bizarre dreams people have. Pillows are such cleverly weird creatures they can come up with lots of things to think into our unsuspecting drowsy minds. And the mere suggestion of an extremely strange idea to our own wildly creative minds is like a shiny new toy, so that even in our sleep we cannot help but begin to play with it—which, as before mentioned, can make for some seriously bizarre dreams.

At any rate, the trouble of getting good sleep can be narrowed down to getting the pillow to fall asleep first.

This is difficult.

Experts on the subject—or at least, as expert as anyone can be on such in unpredictable area of science—say that there is no tried and true method to making a pillow fall asleep, at least at this point in time. This is further complicated by the fact that it is not possible to be 100% certain that a pillow is truly asleep. Sometimes they are faking.

Various methods have been tried with varying uncertain results.

Some have tried pillow fights in an effort to tire the pillows out—which sometimes only makes them more awake and inclined to be either excited or grumpy, depending on the temperament of the individual pillow involved.

Others have tried leaving pillows in a dark closet in an attempt to convince them it is nighttime when it is really daytime, in order to keep them awake (they prefer sleeping in light), so that they will be tired come evening. But pillows generally have a pretty good sense of day and night, even when locked in a closet.

Many other methods have been tried, but it is in any case a very tricky business, and results have been non-conclusive.

However, if you should experience an extraordinarily restful sleep, it may be due to the fact that your pillow is as sound asleep as you are.

Happy dreaming!

DISCLAIMER:
This article has not been read or approved by any authorities on the nature of sleeping or otherwise pillows, nor is it sponsored by any pillow-selling entities. The author of this article is not responsible for any strange or nervous feelings by readers toward their pillows after reading this.

The Hero Who Couldn’t Say No

The Hero Who Couldn’t Say No
by
Deborah O’Carroll

Once upon a time there was this . . . well, we’ll just call him a hero, even though he wasn’t exactly one, but was merely the Main Character of a story (specifically, this one).

This Hero had a strange thing about him, which was that he could not shake his head or say no.

If you said something to him like “Do you like asparagus?” he could not reply and give the obvious answer to that question — for of course, no one likes asparagus. You would have to rephrase the question to “Do you hate asparagus?” And he could nod, say “Yes!” and pour an emphatic stream of hate onto the subject, just as anyone would.

At any rate, this strange condition caused many problems, for, as you might imagine, not all questions asked of him had obvious answers like the asparagus one.

Probably what the Mentor would say… The Hero wouldn’t like it… (pinterest)

One day, the old man who was teaching him hero-like things (see: “Mentor”) — who, for the record, did like asparagus — decided to get rid of this annoying habit of his pupil.

So he set up a scene, where some robbers came, and pretended to kill the old man, who fell over.

And the Hero, of course, did the thing he had never been able to do before: he yelled “Nooooo!”

At this the old man got up, having proved that once again, even the most obnoxious of problems can be fixed with a simple antidote that has been used so many times that it may now be considered mandatory in stories. In this case, that classic example of the old Mentor being killed and the Hero yelling “Nooooo!”

And so, the Hero was cured, and the Mentor not dead (but then, who would be surprised at that “twist”). Because, although the Hero had said “Noooo!” he very fortunately had not said “You’re going to be okay.” For if he had said that, obviously the Mentor would most certainly not have been okay.

So of course they lived happily ever after, especially as the Hero could now reply correctly when asked if he liked asparagus.

My Misguided Fairy Godmother Muse

Once upon a time, there was a girl who started writing stories.

She spent several years scribbling away at them, going back and forth between a few different ideas and consequently not making much progress on them.

Then something strange began to happen. She began to have even more and more ideas for even more stories! What could this mean?

But, cheerily, she continued writing, and making notes for all the new ideas. She became obsessed with making lists of the stories, and developing titles for them, and designing mock covers for them, and writing out summaries of what they were about. She began to be more excited about “playing” with the stories than actually writing them.

Time went on. The list of stories continued to grow and grow and grow! But far from complaining, the writer was delighted.

She did so enjoy making those lists and writing those notes, you see.

Somewhere along the way, she began to notice patterns. Whenever she would take a break from working on her writings, whether on purpose to recharge, or accidentally due to busyness, she would suddenly get hit with all this inspiration — and, more often than not, that inspiration might include ideas for new stories.

Then the year of 2015 hit. The ideas were flying in left and write right. It began to get insane. The writer began to despair of ever getting around to writing all of the things, especially at the snail-like pace the actual writing was happening.

So the writer stepped back and analyzed this phenomenon.

That was when the writer discovered the presence of her fairy godmother.

Most writers talk of their “Muse”.

(very helpful…)

This writer realized that instead of a muse, she had a benevolent but misguided fairy godmother of inspiration. (Perhaps rather like Ophelia from Broken Glass by Emma Clifton…)

The writer realized that the fairy godmother muse freaks out whenever the writer is not making Story, knowing that the writer is happier when making Story. So the fairy godmother, thinking the writer is just tired of the old stories, quickly throws a bunch of new ideas at the writer to get her attention.

If you haven’t figured out by now, this writer is me. And this benevolent but misguided fairy godmother of my writerly brain/inspiration/muse is the cause of both my excitedness about having so many story ideas to write, and my despair over ever finishing anything, let alone all of them.

My fairy godmother muse, especially this year, is constantly going:

“STORY. STORY! YOU’RE NOT MAKING STORY. YOU’LL BE HAPPIER WITH SOME STORY. MAKE STORY!”

And hands me more and more storyness, shoving it into my brain and then beaming and watching happily as I flail around like a headless octopus and try to work on ALL OF THE STORY THINGS.

Unfortunately, my fairy godmother muse doesn’t seem to care if I’m actually making PROGRESS on said stories, i.e., actually writing them down…

As long as I’m flailing around doing plotting or brainstorming or making lists, she feels confident that she has been doing her job well and fulfilling her role in keeping her writer happy playing with stories.

To give you an idea of the insanity that’s underway, I’m going to share a list of the story ideas that have “clicked” this year ALONE.

The main ones are:

  • The Other Half of Everything (I think I’ve mentioned this enough…)
  • Darkling Reflections (Finished this one! Huzzah! …Yes, it’s a short story; I can still be proud.)
  • The Siren and the Skyship (swashbuckling sky adventuresome gender-swapped steampunk Little Mermaid retelling)

Five more stories in the Kedran’s Wood series (bringing it to a total of 8… so far; last year it was supposed to be a “trilogy”. Haha. Isn’t that just ADORABLE?)

  • Son of Kedran’s Wood – prequel novella
  • Return to McAllistair Mansion – short story (I wrote this one! I’s so proud of me.)
  • Mixup at Kedran’s Wood – novella between books 2 & 3
  • The Novelist of Kedran’s Wood – novel set after book 3, a double story
  • Celebrations at Kedran’s Wood – short story set after all of the planned books (thus far… *cough*)

As well as:

  • A modern Cinderella retelling about a writer, set during NaNoWriMo
  • An untitled fairy-tale mashup conglomeration retelling (RETELL ALL OF THE THINGS)
  • An untitled thing I’m currently calling “The Epic Book” which is vague but has some awesome ideas swirling
  • An extremely vague notion of an idea for a con/heist story that would be a companion to Underground Rainbow, starring the eccentric purple-haired artist (no, unfortunately this has no plot yet and I probably will never be able to make it work)
  • An idea for a nonfiction book about various things

And I also “made official” i.e. added to my lists because I had had ideas about them but was pretending they didn’t exist:

  • The tenth Starrellian Saga book
  • A sequel/companion novel to Heartseeker about the Bard and Trillum
  • An untitled Arthurian retelling which is going to be super cool

Not to mention my Sleeping Beauty novella The Rose and the Raven, which had been a vague idea for years but only just this year finally came together as something I could write… (But, again, having trouble CONTINUING… ya know?)

Yes. That is 16 (or 17 if you count The Rose and the Raven) stories, either from ideas from this year or “officialized” by listing them as stories to write. THAT’S JUST THIS YEAR ALONE. That’s not even thinking about the 30+ other stories from BEFORE the notorious 2015-when-all-the-stories-exploded-in-plotbunnies-and-said-write-us-or-we’ll-kill you. Sometimes I scroll through my list of 50ish stories and just go… “HOW EVEN.”

Sixteen new stories this year, guys. (So far…)

Can you see how insane this is getting?

Apparently there’s just no dealing with a benevolent but misguided fairy godmother of inspiration.

(And no, I don’t actually know whether you should be very happy for me or PLAYING A DIRGE.

It’s very confusing and I honestly can’t tell anymore.

Blame it on my fairy godmother.)

777 Challenge – Round 2

I was tagged again — twice! — for the 7-7-7 Challenge, this time by Kelsey Bryant, and by Shantelle Mary Hannu. Thanks so much, guys! ❤ And everyone, check out their loverly blogs, do!

Rules

There seem to be slight variations on the rules, but basically you go to page 7 of your current WIP (Work In Progress), and select 7 lines of your story as a snippet to share on your blog (some say at the top, some randomly selected, some say the 7 lines should be 7 lines down…). And then tag 7 other writers! Simple enough. (Even I should be able to figure this one out… *coughcough*)

Snippet #1

I finished my short story Darkling Reflections, so it’s no longer a Work In Progress, but here are seven lines, seven lines down, on page seven, from it anyway! 😉

picdr

(pinterest)

The lawyer—her father’s and now hers, just as everything else was—stood by a side table and waved her over as she approached.

He looked exactly like a lawyer ought to. Distinguished, steel-grey, crisp, businesslike, and very tidy. He appeared pleased to see her and smiled a little.

Even his smile was tidy.

“Ah, Alethea. I did not think you were coming.”

Snippet #2

I’ve already done the 777 Challenge for my main current WIP, The Secret of Kedran’s Wood… So, instead, here are seven lines from it that I wrote recently.

picthingThat night, Tare went to the warehouse.

The winding way down the dark alleys beneath the cold starry sky was familiar, though he had not walked it since . . . well, since that fateful night the previous summer. After that, there had been no need to.

Ignoring the cold wind that wrapped round him and stabbed down his collar, he padded with silent purpose through the shadowy darkness until he reached the door of the warehouse.

It was locked, as the Chess Club had said. But that did not stop him.

Pockets and fights were not the only things Tare could pick.

Tagging

I tag: Sarah | Rebekah | Christine | Tracey | Jenelle | Cait | YOU if you want to!

You guys don’t have to do it, obviously… just if you want. 😉 And if you’re not currently working on anything… well, whatever you were working on last will do! And if you’re not 7 pages into something… then any 7 lines will do! Basically, have fun with it!

Thanks for reading. ❤

August Ishness {2015}

ishness

Another month has come and gone, so Ishness once more comes our way!

It was WAY too hot again, but it also rained — yay! I mean… I hear tell it was rain. I mean… there were, like, drops of water falling out of the sky. Like… lots of drops. And the weather cooled off and it wasn’t scorching and… it was… wet. For a couple of days. Like… who knew that water fell out of the sky — ISN’T THAT A MYTH? O_O (Ahem. Okay, so maybe it’s not THAT dry around here… BUT STILL.)

Of course it’s hot again NOW, so… So much for that. I WANT IT TO BE AUTUMN, FOLKS. I really do. Of course, then I’ll freeze in 70 degrees… (Seriously, it was 70 and I was COLD. :P) But OH WELL, I guess I can’t win. 😄

But enough about the weather… I feel like I got a lot accomplished in August! I’m a happy little writer. ^_^

Writing

For one thing, I wrote 16,000 words in August. Which makes me very happy. 🙂

9d7f4ec3b9d76b65b071b3a86e7a5fbcFirstly… I finished writing my contemporary / mystery / slight romance short story Darkling Reflections!!!

Excuse me while I go run around in reckless circles screaming with ecstatic abandon.

I fiiiiiinished it! I’m so very very proud of me and I love it to death, and it was 11,000 ish words — which is long for a short story but still short, so I’m happy — and it’s kind of gorgeous and I’ve never written anything like it, and I NEVER finish writing stories, so I’m just happy and in love with it. ❤

CAN I JUST FLAIL PLEASE. I FINISHED WRITING A SHORT STORYYYY.

Ahem.
Sorry.
That just… called for a little excitement. >.>

I actually did write a summary for it, so here it is:

Darkling Reflections

A young heiress left alone in the world finds solace in her melancholy by nightly visiting the restaurant she always went to with her father, where she pours her overflowing thoughts into scribbles on napkins. Between avoiding the man who wants to marry her, trying to uncover the mystery of her father’s death, continually running into a mysterious young man in a trench coat, and forgetting to smile at the waiters, she’s keeping quite busy. But there’s still a murderer out there, who will stop for neither rain nor romance.

KW2coverPI also started really writing in The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2) again for the first time since… February. I feel really good about that too! All of the productive feelings!

And I roughly outlined my Sleeping Beauty idea, The Rose and the Raven (not sure if I’ll be doing anything with it yet or not…).

I started some preliminary plotting work on The Silver Forest (this year’s upcoming NaNo Novel; please tell me how NaNo is only 2 months away…), like NAMING ALL THE CHARACTERS. Yes, I’m excited about that. *huggles all the Irish-sounding names* Like, I have a Prince Finnigan. (Come on, tell me that’s not cool??) I’ve gotten a tiny glimpse of the characters I’m having in this ENORMOUS cast this NaNo and I’m ridiculously excited. I’m going to have so much fun (if I survive NaNo and can manage that many characters, of course… Eheh).

Twelve Dancing Princesses ❤ (Pinterest)

Miscellaneous

I took up crocheting again! I hadn’t in YEARS but somehow I got it in my head that I wanted a purse/book bag combination thing and that I could make one… So I did. I kind of love it and feel like it turned out remarkably well, considering I probably hadn’t crocheted a thing in like five years, and that I made it up out of my head and kind of winged the whole thing, hoping it would turn out… Behold its beauty.

IMG_4257

(The blue part is actually much darker than that; my camera's flash has delusions of grandeur and thinks everything is only as it shows it, not how it truly is, and thinks it should be a bright neon blue; but it isn't.)

(The blue part is actually much darker than that; my camera’s flash has delusions of grandeur and thinks everything is only as it shows it, not how it truly is, and thinks it should be a bright neon blue; but it isn’t.)

Watching

Wow, what a weird collection of stuff I’ve been watching… Sci-fi, western, and period fantasy…

moviesaug2015I finished rewatching all of the Star Wars movies to prep for the new one, which was fun. December is soon! I forgot how much I love Obi-wan in the prequel trilogy and Han in the original trilogy. HAN SOLO. SO MUCH SNARK. I love him and young-Obi so much. ❤ (Also Chewie and R-2 are adorable and I love the lizard thing that Obi rides in Episode III. Want one, I do. Also, Yoda.)

I also watched some of this old western TV show about Jim Bowie, which was fun, and saw the BBC mini series version of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which was… interesting. (CHILDERMASS. I know, nobody’s read that book let alone seen the show, so nobody understands me when I fangirl…)

Bookish

I also got dozens of books from a friend who was moving and was incredibly nice and gave them to me. Like… how do I even express my feelings. ❤

IMG_4260

These are a few of the books I’m most excited to read.

Speaking of books…

I FINISHED READING PLENILUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Plenilune Cover SingleYes, that requires caps-lock and that many exclamation points. It does. Seriously though, I’d been in that book since Christmas. It took me almost eight months to read it. I thought I would NEVER be done. But I was determined to finish it in August so I set myself a goal to read a chapter a day and I did it and finished early and just AAAHH I feel so free and so accomplished for making it through that monstrously large book! *happy flailing* Yes, it was worth it, in case you were wondering, simply because of Dammerung, who is a FABULOUS character, one of my favorites of ever. Dammerung is the best. That is all. ❤

I read these books in August. SO MANY BOOKS. I feel accomplished.

Aug2015books

  • A Wish Made of Glass, which I reviewed on the blog. Cinderella-ish and fey things and delicious writing! 5 stars.
  • Mixed on the Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World collection. Fairytales are dark, y’all. 😛 Also not all of them were really 12DP but just shared themes. But still interesting, and useful research for my NaNo novel this year! Also Irish fairytales are the best because HUMOR. I kinda reviewed that on Goodreads. 3 stars?
  • Plenilune I already talked about but it gets 5 stars just because DAMMERUNG.
  • The Ankulen was… interesting. Hadn’t read anything like it before. 4 stars. (Reviewed it on Goodreads…)
  • House of Many Ways I reread, which means I’ve successfully reread the entire Howl trilogy this year and LKDJLFKJSDKJL I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. ❤ This one is hilarious and I love it. Also Twinkle. I WANT MY THTWIPEY ONETH. That is all. 5 stars (duh).
  • Loot: How to Steal a Fortune was a random YA heisty book from the library. It was enjoyable and had some fun heisty/con things but… I think something was missing. I don’t know. It was still fun though. 3 stars.
  • Enchanted Glass I also randomly got from the library because DIANA WYNNE JONES. Magical fun ensued. 5 stars (all the Diana Wynne Jones things get five stars).
  • Captive of Raven Castle. I reviewed this on Goodreads too… It was enjoyable. 4 stars.
  • Veiled Rose – I FINALLY FINISHED THIS. I started it in April so I’m so glad to be done. Of course, I’d read Heartless eons ago, so I hardly remember it so the parts that linked up with that I didn’t get as much out of as I should… But Leo and Rose Red are adorable, especially as kids, and Leo’s a mess now and laksdflkdj I need Moonblood this instant. (Also pink frogs falling from trees and I love you I love you. XD) 5 stars.
  • I read one of the novellas in Five Enchanted Roses last month, but I got around to the rest recently. It’s very convenient how there are five different star ratings and five different stories; I assigned a different rating to each. Stone Curse is still my favorite. ❤ The others were varying levels of enjoyable. *shrug* The overall still gets 5 stars because of Stone Curse (I LOVED IT SO MUCH) but the actual rating apparently would average 3 because of a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 star rating… Anyways I added review-ish thoughts on Goodreads.

Nightstand Books (September)

Nightstand Books is done monthly by Jenelle and D.J. — join them usually the first Wednesday of the month (I know, I tend to rebel and be early…) and share your own nightstand books if you wish!

And heeeere is my Nightstand Book(s) of the month:

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YES! I’m only in the middle of ONE book right now and I feel so happy and accomplished that I finished all those books I was in and wanted to read in August! *happy flailing* I happen to be on page 50 and Percy only FINALLY arrived so I assume the story will pick up now. It’s fun and funny though, and has that “classics” feel that usually means I don’t have a CLUE what’s going on but I assume it’s probably brilliant and over my head. (Robert Louis Stevenson does that to me ALL the time and it’s fascinating.) I plan to finish The Scarlet Pimpernel ASAP and then to leisurely decide what to read next and try not to be in the middle of ten dozen books at the same time ever again. (Ahem. We’ll see how that goes…)

In other news, I seem to have re-discovered my addiction of parentheses. Sorry ’bout that. 😛

***

So! That was my August. No idea what September holds, yet, except that it’s going to be insanely busy. It’s rather a frightening thought…

Also! I’m going to be internet-less this coming extended weekend and very busy beforehand, so… if I’m not around, that is why. But I have something super fun and (hopefully) exciting coming up on the blog next week on Wednesday, so stay tuned!