Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christchurch, New Zealand

My heart aches and tears slide down my cheeks. From the minute it happened I knew about it thanks to streaming Internet at work, and I'm a whole other Island away. Scrambling for my phone - pushing the buttons to reach my brother's recorded voice. Try again, don't miss-dial. This time there's a no-connection tone. Try again and again until thirty minutes later he answers (thank God!).

He says he's fine. He says he's talked with Hayley and she's fine. (I've now seen pictures of the building Hayley was in - it doesn't exist anymore - she made it out alive but fine is probably not the right word, though my brother certainly didn't know it in that first half hour.)

"Shit" he says, "that one put me on my arse."
I say, "Shaun, it's a bad one, buildings are down, the Cathedral's down."
"What's  down?"
"The Cathedral. It's bad, you can't go centre city. I love you. Take care. It's bad."

We say goodbye because we know the phone lines will be overloaded and I only needed to hear his voice. I say I'll contact all the family (mum, dad, sisters, friends) and let them know he's fine. I'm watching the pictures on TV in the office lunchroom and I can't believe what I'm seeing. The reporters haven't said anything about death yet, but I know Christchurch at lunchtime - there are people everywhere, there must have been people in the Cathedral spire, there must have been people walking on the sidewalk...and now they must be under the rubble. Haven't even seen the CTV building yet. This is bad.

Everyone outside of Christchurch knew the scale of the disaster before most Cantabrians knew. And only those in the central business district knew it for real - because pictures on TV don't really tell the story of the dust, the smell, the hysteria and the surreal experience of walking down streets that no longer exist. Streets that echo loss and destruction with each quick footstep. Quick because - what if another one hits and more comes down - get out, get out fast.

Now, every once in a while.
When I stop.
I cry.

I cry for the lifetimes that will no longer be lived. I cry for the lifetimes that are irrevocably changed, and I cry because a beautiful city, full of beautiful people, has fractured.

It'll never be the same fun loving, carefree city again because, like a child losing a close family member for the first time, there will always be the knowledge - that this life is more fragile than we like to admit - and you can't turn back time to unlearn that knowledge.

Cantabrians will be looking through new, sad eyes - and I mourn the loss of the rose tinted glasses that are lying broken, somewhere in the rubble of Cashel Street.

I send cyber hugs, texts of love, thoughts of strength - and feel impotent because it isn't even close to enough.

Friday, February 18, 2011

And now for something a little different...

A friend in need...

Callum, a Director friend of mine, had a dilemma. He needed to get together a pitch for NZonAir - three films. This required a one-page synopsis each and methodology around filming. Well, the methodology paper was all his to do, but the synopsis and story brainstorming that went with it - bring it on!

Talk about out-of-my-comfort-zone and lovin' it!

Idea's bounced around the room. High-fives were thrown (and sometimes met) when the ideas got very clever. Shouts of jubilation when a satisfactory 'fade out to credits' was reached (movie speak for the last shot - you probably know that).

All-in-all a very good time and definite energizer.

Gotta love the movies

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Competition Time

It's February, my ms is finished and off to Publisher/Agent, and I now need to plan what competitions I'll enter this year.

I haven't entered many in the past and I think this needs to change - because my success rate is 75%!!
 I need to ramp my writing up.  Deadlines make for the best motivation and competition deadlines are non-negotiable (chiseled in stone), so they motivate big time.

RWNZ Clendon, Strictly Single and Romantic Short Story are a must this year. (The one and only Romantic Short Story I entered was in 2008 - and I won - so surely I should enter it again - where has that thing called confidence gone?)

Also looking at Valarie Parv and various RWA Chapter competitions to practice tight synopsis and first pages writing.

The hook, it's all about the hook. This mantra is to be repeated when I wake and when I go to sleep.

Speaking of mantra's I also often repeat to myself 

"Thou shalt not write a boring book, thou shalt not write a boring book..."

I think it works...

Agent Request

Received partial request from Laura Bradley Literary Agency.  First 30 pages and full synopsis.

Sent - again, pass the popcorn.

I have my fingers and toes crossed but, to be honest, it's all about the book - if it's good, it'll sell.

Done and Dusted

Full request has now been sent to Berkley - pass the popcorn, it's a waiting game.

(feel good though, feel really, really, really good