Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake Links 27/02/2011

Christchurch City Council and CDEM - Updating throughout the day with FAQs, road, health and safety information, as well as latest press releases.

Christchurch City Council Media Team on Twitter (@ChristchurchCC), with regular updates

Civil Defence New Zealand - updates, press releases

New Zealand Government Official Earthquake Appeal

Red Cross Earthquake Appeal

Women's Refuge Christchurch - Cash donations through website

ETA: Women's Refuge Christchurch Earthquake Response on Facebook - co-ordinating material goods and needs

SPCA Christchurch

Rangiora Earthquake Express on Facebook

The USCA Student Volunteer Army for people wishing to volunteer or needing help from volunteers

Lifeline New Zealand if you're feeling stressed and need to talk to someone

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Could we fix you if you broke, and is your punchline just a joke..."

My right foot, black and swollen down the right edge, from being tossed to the ground by the Christchurch earthquake February 22nd 2011
My right foot 24 hours after the earthquake, looking very goth and swollen

My right leg encased in a pressure bandage from toe to thigh, immobilized, with crutches poised and ready
Congratulations! Your first broken bone of your life! Your prize: two weeks off work and a pair of crutches

Video: Lady Gaga performs "Speechless", live at Vector Arena, Auckland, March 13 2010

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Stories Part Two

Here I sit once again, a glass of whiskey in my hand, my foot propped up and aching like buggery, trying to find the words.

Five and a half months wasn't good enough for you Mistress Gaia? Alrighty, I'm saying my safe word. I submit. I tap out. Enough. Stop hurting me. I'm really tired, and I thought the ground had stopped shaking after all this time - now you want to keep me awake again, make me angry again, make me lose my metaphorical feet again?

It's Not Fair. I want my life back.

After September 4th, I felt I couldn't or shouldn't say much, because everyone else had a story, and they were possibly telling them better than me. I didn't want to be just one more person cashing in on tragedy.

But have to say...I'm Alive, and I can't quite grasp how fortunate I am. My city is teetering on the edge and I feel so selfish that I've got my glass of Cap'n Jack (the bottle, once again, survived the fling onto the floor), a roof over my head, my friends and family are safe, some people I know are far worse off than me, and the worst that I've lost is some more glassware. Oh, woe is me.

But it is woe. Christchurch is a city in ruins, and the destruction is only just outside my door. It's a city that will now take decades to recover, not just months or a few years. September 4th was hard. This is hell.

I'm not the praying kind. I don't need a god to hold on to. I only need myself, my SO, and my comfort spaces. And through it all, even through my shaking until the early hours and hysterical proclamations that I was leaving the city for good, I know I'm not leaving. I love this stupid, annoying, gorgeous, flat, green, tin bum city. Big enough to be something, small enough to cross in an hour. My friends are here, my family are close enough.

I like it here.

I like the restaurants: it makes me ache for darling Pedro that his restaurant has vanished, for all that he toughed out his broken house in September last year and re-opened his precious place. He might not know me, but Christchurch loves him (ETA: I heard that Pedros house was destroyed and his son was in the CTV building - Just....). Simos, oh Simos - after you  took your place at the Crowne Plaza, only to have your place literally rent in two. 

I like the nightlife: now the majority of it, because it was all so central, is probably rubble. 205 and Le Plonk, the best two bars in town. Lichfield and Poplar Lanes, with nooks and crannies galore. The Atrium at the Crowne Plaza with it's beautiful glass ceiling and elevators was a regular place for a nightcap and dessert - now gone. Will it ever be the same?

You might look at my pretensions and think "why be so worried about some restaurants and bars, when life has been lost here?! How insensitive are you?!". I'm not insensitive. I just can't process the loss of life yet - it's like watching a disaster in another part of the world at the moment for me. Everyone grieves in their own way, and it takes me a long time to process death. I can't comprehend that this is happening in my city.

What I DO know is that I've lost are places that I love, things that mean something to me.

The Hotel Grand Chancellor - watching it lean, ready to fall, is like watching a part of my life ready to fall. I spent my first night of married life in that hotel.

Simos, Pedros, the bars - where I spent many happy hours with family and made great friends. Now we can never go back there for birthdays, celebrations.

Twenty fours on, passed the shock and hurt and first sleepless night, I can now say I'm not ashamed that I fell to the floor screaming as it tossed me down for the count. I'm not ashamed to say I continued screaming, throwing curses at the sky once I stumbled out of my work building. I wailed like my world was coming to an end because it WAS coming to an end. September 4th may have made a few gaps in the skyline. February 22nd FLATTENED the skyline.

Now, if I could only figure out how I broke my foot...

Tales for Canterbury

Something close to my heart, two New Zealand writers Cassie Hart and Anna Caro are putting together a fundraising anthology for the Christchurch earthquake. Proceeds going to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal or appropriate charity.

More information available here.

Things you are straight after a natural disaster

Helpless. Powerless. Terrified. Angry. Exhausted. Sleepless. Aching. Sick of the constant shaking, from land and body. Craving routine. Fearing the death of your city. Hoping the rain will stop. Hoping the sun will come out tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm Alive

6.3. The CBD is down.

But I'm alive. Probably sprained or broken foot, but I made it out.

I'm ok, but terrified...

Friday, February 11, 2011

How to get Rejected in the dumbest way possible, Part II 10/02/2011

Attach the wrong story file to the submission.


I did that.

Don't do that, writer peeps. It makes you look like a munter.

Lesson: Don't Drink, Twitter and do submissions. Writer bitzness - it needs your full attention.

Dear Scape Magazine, thank you for being kind enough to read the story I DID send, though you ultimately rejected it.

Picard Facepalm: Because expressing how dumb that was in words just doesn't work.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Moar Rejection 08/02/2011

"The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair" rejected by Basement Stories by form letter.

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" rejected by The Absent Willow Review by a very kind form letter.

I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why what great Links you have, Little Red Riding Hood 2/2/2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Writing: Sit Vac

Confession time: I has a Fail at using writer workshops.

Last year I signed up for the Online Writer's Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy, used it a handful of times, then ran out of oomph. I found myself dedicating too much time to reading and critiquing other people in a thoughtful and intellectual manner, and getting barely anything back in response. I was having to do two to four critiques for every one piece I wanted critiqued, and it was seriously cribbing on the time I had set aside for writing.

Lazy? Possibly. Annoying? Absolutely. I know not everyone needs or wants to use readers or critiques as part of their writing framework - I think I understand where this is coming from because I'm not comfortable with certain people reading my work. I would never ask my SO, family or even best friends to read my work. It comes back to that "reading my diary" thing - my fiction is not about me, but I am my fiction.

As a noobie (and yes, I still count myself as a noobie almost a year in because I haven't broken any professional markets) I still think I need support and a "first reader". I have dabbled at Kiwi Writers and they're good for inspiration and support, but I'm not so great at sticking to writing plans. I know this is something I'll have to get over if I ever settle down to write a novel, but at this point I'm really enjoying the flexibility of writing short fiction - I'm playing around with a lot of inspiration and styles to see what fits me, and working on finding my voice.

So, that "first reader" that I need. I need someone who has a bit of time to offer me (I don't know, maybe a half hour every week or so), someone who knows my personal politics and will endeavour to understand my style and how that weaves into my characters. I need someone who knows me and they're not afraid of offending me if they point out things that need tightening up literary wise.

I need someone who is also a writer, which is a difficult request because I know lots of other writers in the same boat may not have the time or patience to work with me. Or they may look at me as an "untrained" writer (I feel I have more emotional maturity when it comes to writing, if not the actual grammatical nouse) and don't want to deal with that sort of frustration over the long haul.

I also feel kinda weird asking for help at my writers group, because I don't know everyone that well and they're busy with their own writing work as well. I think some writing round tables and critique nights may in be our group's future, and that'll be great, but I'm looking for someone to go the distance.

What can I offer in return? Well, nothing of monetary value anyway. I could offer friendship, guidance, help - though I can be somewhat prickly as you get to know me. I could critique in return; offer an acknowledgement in a signed copy of my first book; name them in my first Hugo speech (ok ok, I'm allowed to joke about it!). I'm really looking for a writer friend who may not be a friend but could become a good friend if we get the writerly relationship right.

Pretty steep requirements, I know. Also, I never know what the internetz may drag in by making this public. I've never been great at asking for help. It's like saying "Hey, Shakespeare, be my writer buddy? I'll pay you in beer..."