Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekly Goals 30-4-18

Can you believe it's the last day of April already?  Where is the year going?

This week my goal is to figure out what I want to work on next.  I have two or three novels that are really close to being finished, so I need to figure out which one I want to work on next.

Luckily I have a very clear idea what needs to be done on each, so once I make that decision, I should be able to do the work relatively quickly and painlessly.  Famous last words, eh?

At work, things should calm down somewhat after today, so my aim there is to get all the little things I've been putting off because I was too busy, completed.  Lots of those tasks are really boring, but they need to be done regardless.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 27-4-18

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I finished my story for the anthology and have sent it off.  I don't think it's my best story, but it's certainly better now than it was on Tuesday, before I got feedback from one of my crit partners.  I spent Wednesday (a public holiday here) implementing her feedback and feel like I have a much better story now.  Yay for crit partners!

It has been a busy week at work and I am looking forward to the weekend - even with having had a day off in the middle of the week.  We have a big event on Monday and it has been a lot of work already.  I can't wait for it to be over.  Maybe then I'll actually make it to the gym in my lunchbreaks as I've planned to.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Books I've Read: Every Falling Star

This was a fascinating and heartbreaking memoir about a young boy and his experience growing up in North Korea.  It wasn't particularly well-written, but I read the whole thing in a single day because the subject matter was so compelling.  In a can't-tear-your-eyes-off-the-car-crash kind of way.

After growing up in a priviledge household in Pyongyang, Sungju's life changes dramatically when his father tells him the family are going on 'vacation'. The family leave their nice apartment, their dog and everything they have known to take the train to the far north of Korea where they move into a shack.

It is never made clear what Sungju's father did to deserve this banishment, but it is implied that any little slight can topple a career under this reigime, so it could have been something as small as a glance perceived as subordinate, or something so large as bad-mouthing the leader.

Life in the small town is nothing like life in Pyongyang.  Food is scarce and no one is paid for the work they do, so most people have stopped going to their jobs, preferring to spend their days hunting for food or selling whatever they posess to buy it.

Eventually the situation gorws so grim, Sungju's father decides to make the difficult and perilous journey to China.  He promises to return in a week.  

He doesn't.

Sungju and his mother wait, starving and freezing, until she decides she has to find her sister who might have food.  Sungju begs to go with his mother, but she tells him it's safer to stay put.  She will return in a week.

Sungju finds himself alone and starving.  Parentless and incapable of looking after himself.  His mother does not return and he grows desperate, heading out into the streets in search of food and friendship.

The book follows Sungju's journey from soft, coddled only son, to the feared leader of a street gang who travel Korea's far north, stealing and fighting and begging for what they need to survive.

This is a heart-breaking story from a country we are allowed few glimpses of.  The reality Sungju writes about it very different from the colourful street parades and displays of military power the leaders put on display for Westerners.  I found it fascinating and horrifying while at the same time inspired at human nature's resiliance and ability to survive.

I'd recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in seeing North Korea's reality.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weekly Goals 23-4-18

My goals are all about revision this week.  Somehow the weekend managed to fly by without me finding any time to work on my story, so I have to really knuckle down and get the thing finished.  Luckily Wednesday is a public holiday, so I'm hoping I will get a few solid hours then in which I can work.

Other than that, I'm still determined to make it to the gym more often, so I'm aiming for four times this week.

What are your goals for this week?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 20-4-18

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's Friday!  And yes, I realize I celebrate that fact every week.  This week I'm just celebrating harder than usual because it's been a long, busy week and I'm looking forward to the weekend.  Plus, there's a public holiday in the middle of next week, so something to look forward to for next week.

I finished my story for the anthology and even have 4500 words to spare.  Plus, in an added bonus, they've moved the deadline by a week, so I have until next Friday to revise.  So I am in the throes of revision right now and grateful I have a few words up my sleeve because I think I will need them.

I used to loathe revising, but over the years, I have learned to love it.  I might even venture to say I enjoy it more than writing new drafts these days.  I know!  I never thought I'd ever say that.

I also met my goal of going to the gym during the week more.  I have been three times already this week, and intend to go at lunchtime again today.

What are you celebrating this week?