Do I Need a Bucket List?  Do You?

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List (2007).

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List (2007).

A fellow writer friend once told me:

“When I finish and publish my novel [a long-standing project of hers that’s faced many setbacks along the way], my life will be complete.”

“You mean, that portion of your life will be complete,” I clarified.

“No,” she persisted, “I mean I’ll have achieved my life’s greatest goal.”

“Until you come up with the next great goal, that is, right?”

My friend, after all, is only 37 – a bit early to peak in life, if you ask me.

For many writers, the writing and publishing of a novel – whether traditionally or via self-publishing – can take years: years spent finding the time, finding the motivation, finding one’s voice and message, and, of course, finding the skill to effectively convey it all.

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How I’m Spending My Summer


No, it doesn’t involve an awesome vacation, but more on that in a bit.

I’m having a “working summer” this year. This isn’t unlike how I often have “working weekends”, during which I get caught up on all the errands, chores, and other adult-life necessaries I didn’t do during the week because I was busy writing.

Full-time jobs are hell on both writing time and fun, relaxing weekend time, though I guess we all need to suffer a bit for our art.

But I’ve currently got some BIG tasks that need doing.

Hence the working summer.

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Who Wrote the Soundtrack to Your Life?


Linkin Park

Linkin Park

Anyone who considers him-/herself a music lover probably has what I like to call a “life musician”.

I have two:

  1. The nu metal, rap-rock group Linkin Park
  2. Alt-rock singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos.

At first glance, there probably doesn’t seem to be much these two musical acts have in common, and I supposed they don’t save for what they both mean to me.

As my life musicians, my fondness for them runs far deeper than for an artist whose music I happen to fancy.  Or the singer of that current earworm I can’t get out of my head.

Rather, my life musicians are the singers whose music has played in the background of most of my life, scoring every major phase to the point that my memories of those times have become encoded  in tunes themselves.

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Replaying Xena: Reflections on my favourite fictional character

Xena from opening credits

Xena of Amphipolis, aka the Warrior Princess, is indeed my favourite fictional character.

(For the record, her character wasn’t actually a princess, which I like better now that I’m well past the age of 5 and its pervasive draw to all things “princess”.)

The show Xena: Warrior Princess aired while I was in high school and university, from 1995-2001.

I’m not sure how it was I came to discover it or its two companion shows, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and The Adventures of Sinbad, but all three quickly became part of my Saturday afternoon routine.  Xena was always my favourite.

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Bringing Up the Bodies: On resurrecting dead manuscripts

Every writer who’s been writing for a while has a dead manuscript stuffed away somewhere.

Be it a bottom drawer, bottom shelf, back of a closet, or in digital form in some dark oubliette on one’s hard drive, it’s something of a rite of passage for a writer to discover his/her novel (usually the first one) is an irredeemable mess, and for him/her to give it the axe.

But how many of those whacked novels refuse to go quietly into that good night? How many writers end up haunted by the ghost of what could have been – what still can be now that they’re stronger wordsmiths who have loved, lost, and learned the error of their once novice ways?

And for those who have had this experience, how many actually give into it and take another crack, as it were, at the title?

I’m seriously considering doing just that.

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Not the Girls We Think They Are: On unattractive female characters in fiction

Jane Eyre (2011)

Jane Eyre (2011)

“She isn’t ugly enough.”

This was my friend’s comment on the actress playing Tris Prior in the movie Divergent as we stood in line to buy tickets.

“She wouldn’t be my type if I were into girls,” I replied, thinking I’d missed the punch line of a joke and trying to compensate with humour of my own.

“No,” my friend insisted.  “People are complaining about the actress being too pretty because in the book Tris is supposed to be ugly.  Remember?”

We’d both read the book.  My friend enjoyed it more than I did, and as a result seemed to remember certain details better than me as well.

But now that she mentioned it, I did recall something about Tris considering herself unattractive, or in the very least, plain, and that she was sure her male crush would dislike her because of it.

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The Emails I Send to Myself (I can’t be the only writer who does this)

Cat working on computer

I made a point some time ago to inform the IT manager at my workplace that I’m writing a novel.

Partly I did this because I’ve struck up a friendship with her over the years, and the fact eventually became a relevant addendum to her revelation of being an avid reader.

The other reason, though – perhaps the more pressing reason – is due to the nature of some of the emails I send.

Not that they’re offensive, or in any direct violation of the company’s Information Services & Technology user policy.  But they are … strange, not the least of which is because they are emails send to myself at my personal email address.

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