Would you like a sandwich?

It's a sandwich

It’s a blessing-curse sandwich about being productive that’s been stuck in my throat since childhood. Actually, I don’t think I can get it out to share, so best I just swallow it and make the most of it. You’ve probably got your own blessing-curse sandwich to digest anyway. I’ll tell you more about my sandwich later, but I’ll do the polite thing and introduce myself first.

This is a blog post.

I know you know that—I put it in there to remind myself as much as anything. It was supposed to be a blog post about the goings on of my writerly mind but I got distracted with the whole sandwich thing.

I’m a Kiwi. Born here. Raised here. I reckon we’re a pretty conservative bunch, as a whole. Me too. And I don’t mean that I’m afraid of being struck down by the Lord Almighty if I eat meat on a Friday—far from it. When it comes to that sort of stuff I’m a sceptic. And if we’re talking about the political spectrum I’m positioned like my hand-ness, over on the left. It’s just nicer over here.

What I mean is that we’re kind of reserved, generally. Did you know that overseas there are whole groups of adults who dress up as mermaids for entertainment? Like, they make a living from it. I’ve not seen that here in New Zealand.  

There are communities of these mermaids, and meet-ups, and tailors, and an industry in waterproof makeup and silicon tails. There are workshops on how to swim in all that get-up—better than drowning—and ones on how to pose underwater for that killer shot. There are also mermen, of course, and merwranglers. They say things that make me suspicious. #mermaidsarereal

At first it was all very confusing for this conservative Kiwi. But I’ve met some of them. They’re friendly people, with Instagram accounts promoting good causes like conservation and chronic disease. (Chronic disease isn’t actually a good cause. I’m quite anti-disease, in general. But talking about it is good.)

Yet when my five and seven-year-old nieces were dressing up as mermaids last summer I thought, That’s about the right ages to start and stop doing this. But who am I to judge? I like imagining that I’m things I’m not, too.

Like a writer. That’s why I’m starting this blog. #writersarereal They actually are.

Mermaids are out there in the world doing good, so maybe I can too. I’m not flamboyant enough to dress up with a tail. In fact I’m not even buoyant enough to be in the water. But I can use what I have to talk about what I care about. And hopefully entertain along the way. Really, I’m just a shy version of my merpeople friends.

Now back to that sammy…

I am in a good mood today. I am often enough — but it’s guaranteed in the morning. Further bonus, if I feel like I am productive for an hour or two early on in a day, it extends that good mood out for longer. So thank you for allowing me to write this post and thus feel like I have achieved something. It feels good. I am set for the day, and I smile and I know that I am worthwhile. And really, that’s all it takes. That’s the blessing bit of the sammy—I can be hugely motivated to produce, and I am self-rewarding.

I don’t know exactly where this particular sammy came from, but undoubtedly some mild form of childhood trauma. I am sure I got off pretty lightly in the childhood-trauma front. But like most, I still have a few sandwiches I’m coming to grips with.

The curse of the sandwich, of course, is the days when I don’t achieve anything. Those days the sandwich burns in my throat and churns my otherwise empty tummy. I am worthless, even though just two days ago I conquered a mountain or wrote a three-thousand-word essay.

This makes weekends and holidays a challenge. Weekends need physical exertion—that counts as a form of productivity, you see—or work. Holidays longer than four days need to have a goal.

But I’m getting better at managing my sandwich. I can now go a few days without suffering the curse. And I can write blogs or do bike rides and cash in on the endorphins that way. If all else fails I can take a nap—I’m an expert at that.

Now that I’ve written all this sammy hoo-ha I’m not so sure about it. That’s the writerly self-doubt kicking in. I liked the bit about the merpeople though. They’re cool, so I’m glad they got a mention. I’m trusting you to just go with the sandwich thing; otherwise I’ll have to start all over. 

This is where convention says I’d ask you to like, subscribe, comment, share.

Fortunately my sandwich doesn’t need any of that—I’ve posted this so I am already doing well today—but I’d love to hear about your sandwiches if you do want to comment. Hmmmmm. Must be lunchtime. #writingishungrywork

A Day in the Mind of Giselle Simoes, or I Should Be Writing

Welcome and good morning, everyone. Your journey through the mind of Giselle Simoes is about to start. Join me, fellow visitors, for a trip you’ll never forget. Please, leave your belongings at the entrance. You will find individual lockers to store your valuable items. Photos are not permitted. The artificial light from camera flashes can expose hidden sections and cause irreparable damage. You may bring a notebook with you to take notes or work on a quick sketch but beware of the dark corners. 

Buckle up, folks. The tour is about to begin!

You will notice a small door to your left. Don’t be afraid to open it. Go on, let yourselves in. See that bookcase further down? It’s a live archive with numerous to-do lists. Come closer, pick a folder. Good choice – that one is entitled Things to Think Before the Alarm Rings and, boy, isn’t it a treasure? How can someone have so much on her mind before the day even starts? Well, Giselle Simoes can. But it’s too late for that, guys. Pick one of her thoughts of the day to take with you. What about I need to go to the library at some point today? Or perhaps How many episodes of Cobra Kai can I watch in two hours?  Take your pick, dear guests, and let’s continue our tour, shall we? 

This time, let’s turn right. And right again. Oops, the last turn, I promise. Ah, here we are – the best side of the house. Attention, everyone! We are now approaching unexplored territory. Follow me to the safety checkpoint and retrieve your starter kit containing a guidebook and a parachute pack – it is the only way to navigate through this space. Read the instructions, put the backpack on and mind the gap, people. This bottomless room is called Things I Want to Learn. As you can see, the list spirals down and has no end. Come on, gravitate around it and take a closer look. If you observe it carefully, you will notice the listed items change every few seconds. No, do no touch it. The list is fragile, and it will disintegrate immediately. 

Now, onto the next room. Here you can watch the live-stream I Need to Write, where you get a glimpse of what Giselle’s writing process is like. Come on, take a seat and make sure to grab a bag of buttery popcorn – her favourite. Speaking of popcorn, watch Giselle use the first thirty minutes of her scheduled writing time to…cook! That’s right, dear visitors, she is going to prepare something to eat first. Feeling hungry too? Let’s make a quick detour and visit the Cerebellum Café on the ground floor. You can grab one of our delicious treats while you wait for the show to restart. See you in thirty!

Ah, welcome back! Look, Giselle has a cup of hot chocolate coming right up. As you can see, she is placing it on her desk. And isn’t it a welcoming workspace? But do not let yourselves be fooled – that is not where she is going to work. No, no! Check the third door to her right – that’s where she is going to be in about… twenty to forty minutes. She needs to read the local news first. Well, the international too. Come on, folks! Let’s have a look at what’s behind that door, shall we?

Surprise! I was hoping I’d get to see that look on your faces. Yes, this is Giselle’s bedroom. It’s always been a mystery why she insists on writing in bed when she has such a perfect mahogany writing desk. If you observe carefully you will notice that the first thing she’ll do is to open the skylight blinders and let the sun rays in. She will then fluff her pillows and put a thicker one behind her back for extra support. Cosy, isn’t it? Ten more minutes, my friends, that’s all.

Now pay attention to the next instructions. This is a bilingual screening, and you will need an automatic translator to navigate effortlessly through Giselle’s thoughts. You will notice a package under your seats. Go on, open it. Place the headphones on your ears and press the green button on the device attached to it. All set? Here we go!

Uh, sorry, everyone. It seems we are having technical issues. You weren’t supposed to be bombarded with heavy metal on this tour – it usually happens only on the Sunday afternoon visits. Give me a second and I’ll check what’s going on. Ah, I see. Giselle is not quite ready yet and wants to have a hot shower first. It is her favourite place to come up with new story ideas, after all. However it should not take longer than fifteen minutes – unless she decides to sing along to the tunes.

No. Please, don’t go anywhere. If you put your headphones back on they will now be set up to cancel the music in the other room. You are about to watch a short film called How Many Words Do I Really Need Today? Fun, I know! It’s a remastered version of a classic title. Popcorn, anyone? The Cerebellum Café has a special deal for seconds… 

No, miss, tickets are not refundable. But if you stick around I can give you a two-for-one voucher to purchase her latest book, I Truly, Truly Need to Write