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Posts Tagged ‘space’

I read a great news story today about a pie which has been sent into space, in advance of the World Pie Eating Championship.

To be honest, there’s not a lot I can say about it except it’s my feelgood story of the day, and with the world as it is sometimes that’s all you need to have.

Enjoy the video; I hope it brings a smile to your face as it has mine!

Happy writing,

EJ

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I have often talked about my love of space, and my personal belief (hope?) that there is other life out in the universe. For long-term readers, you may even remember I took a course on Astrobiology because of this interest.

For every academically rigorous course there is a more niche set of beliefs in abduction, ancient aliens and so on which I also lap up, watching tv programmes, films, and reading articles.

I won’t travel that road today, but maybe I will in the future!

This fascination with ETs is something I have often considered bringing into my writing – after all, there is clearly an audience for sci-fi and it’s something I find really exciting; I’m sure I could retain interest in the ideas.

The traditional ‘pioneers’ route is not my writing style at all; it’s more like a Western or perhaps even a historical empire-type novel transferred to a different location, and that’s not what I write. But could I write about a family living on a moon over the far side of the Milky Way? Probably.

The question is, would anyone read it? My genre is women’s commercial fiction. Genre writing generally – not always – follows certain rules and although the rules can be subverted there is no saying an audience would be interested. A tale of love amongst the stars might sound fun, but would someone shopping for a new book to take on holiday pick it over a story they could immediately relate to their own life?

I honestly don’t know the answer to that. I would pick it, but I’m not representative of my target audience! And as my first book hasn’t been picked up (yet) which may in part be due to its slightly contentious subject matter, should I worry whether it’ll be read anyway? If I want to write it, I just should.

One of my new exercises is to map out ideas and see if they have any real merit. Maybe I’ll have a special session for extra terrestrial stories and see what comes of it…

Who knows, a story about Out There might not be as out there as I think!

Happy writing,
EJ
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I was reading a newspaper article about the new images of Pluto today, and I wanted to write something space-related.  As the idea developed it became a bit more abstract but I decided to go with it!

I found a great quote from Plato’s Republic¬†(a book I dragged myself through for a philosophy course once) courtesy of Spacequotations.com

Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another.

I don’t know about the soul, but certainly my mind, and my eyes, and the part of me that is intrinsically me does look up, and out, and hopes to see something.

And you know what else leads us from this world to another?

A good book.  One that grabs our attention and focusses it all on the words we greedily absorb from the pages before us.

Maybe my love of all things extra-terrestrial is because I am searching for the story in the stars, and maybe my love of books is because the concept of other worlds is fascinating and miraculous, to me.

I love the idea that there is some sort of relationship between the two – that science, geography, astronomy, astrobiology and part of the same fabric of my life as novels, poetry, plays: that my experience of the world does not have to fit into a box marked rational or a box marked creative.

And who is to say that science is entirely rational, or writing only creative?  Scientific breakthroughs require people to question the accepted truth, and find new and unexpected ways of testing the basis of reality as it is understood.  Writing, meanwhile, requires an understanding of the nature of words, how sound functions in a performance poem, how we can lead an audience to a certain observation.  It requires planning and testing.

And both writing and astronomy are interested in the bigger picture. ¬†Not just ‘I’ but ‘we’, not just ‘is’ but ‘how’. ¬†Both are about exploring the possibilities.

I believe there are other worlds out there, where life exists.  But until we find them, reading and writing helps our imaginations fill the gap.

Happy writing,

EJ

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Tonight is the night of the Blood Moon, and despite Nasa saying there’s nothing to worry about, it has caused some consternation…

Which takes me to this rather fabulous image:

The Moon

Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Garvin (NASA/GSFC)

This picture is from Hubblesite and is the landing site of Apollo 17, back in 1972.

It also looks, quite literally, like a man in the moon.  He has a severe forehead, with a distinctive browbone.  There is an open eye looking at me from a sunken, shadowy socket.  A nose, broken, with a high bridge.  A mouth frozen at the point of saying something.

I don’t believe in apocalyptic prophecies, as such: I don’t deny the possibility that one may one day be proved true, but I don’t change my life to account for them and I don’t stock up on canned goods and bottles of water just in case.

But sometimes, I look up and I see a face in the moon. And I understand how so many cultures could have seen that, and believed there was someone up there.

So I appreciate why people see portents in the strange and unusual.  Personally  I see these things as quirks of nature that we interpret in our own strange and unusual ways, but people historically invested these quirks with a great deal more meaning, simply so they could be understood.

And that suggests not only that humans have striven to understand the world for a very, very long time – but also that we’ve been a creative and imaginative species for all that time too.

So rather than worry about what the Blood Moon will bring, I’m going to enjoy the fact that tonight the man in the moon will be looking out on a whole load of upturned faces. ¬†Who knows what stories he will¬†imagine of us…

Happy writing,

EJ

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Most people have a time when they are more mentally aware, more awake, more in tune with the world. We’re night owls or early birds, and I am most definitely more comfortable as a night owl!

Night is when you can really see how we fit into the cosmos, and I wonder if my love of all things space comes from my many late nights looking out the windows and seeing the stars come to life.

This is a picture my partner took of the moon at the weekend, as I promised I’d post. ¬†It’s a reminder to me that whatever else is going on, I still have a universe to explore, dreams to dream – and fulfil, an eternity of possibilities to write about.

Moonrise

 

I look at this picture and I know that inspiration will always be with me.

Not a bad thing to remember, hey?

Happy writing,

EJ

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After another week of short lunchbreaks and long days, my writing plan is not really shaping up too well, so I’m going back to basics: the novel is on hold and the notebooks are being revived.

It’s been a while since I’ve regularly written in them but with such a limited time to get anything done it seems sensible to record things as I can, and make use of what I record when I can give writing¬†the time it needs.

And life now may be busy, but there’s lots to inspire me.

The benefit of temping is that I get to meet many people and work in different business environments, learning about new industries and so on.  This is all useful because it gives me worlds to play with in my own stories.

My evening work – which I fit in where I can – is completely different; the training gets me meeting other people who share my interests but the events themselves are just like girl’s nights in, with jokes and chats, and a chance to have a gossip!

Alongside that, the charity I’m involved with has been busy with a funding bid and practical plans for future activities.

Plus with writing group, reading group, wedding planning, social life and family events this is a time I¬†could really add to my stock of ideas and reference points for the future. ¬†If I don’t make the most of it, I’ll regret it.

So that’s the revision of the plan, for now. ¬†I hope it works out better than the last one…

In other news – I missed the book from the 100 novels list last week – The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. ¬†I read it a few years ago (not long after the film came out) and remember enjoying it but not a lot else but recently downloaded it to re-read. ¬†I don’t want to be reminded of the story as it’ll put me off revisiting it, so didn’t read the write-up!

This week’s book is Ulysses by James Joyce. ¬†I have only ever read one of the meandering train of thought segments, which seemed to go on for many frustrating pages, so this is not one I’m drawn to looking at again; it also seems to be a bit marmite¬†for people who have tried to read it. ¬†I’d love to know what you think of it if you’ve had a go yourselves…

And finally – Tonight we have a ‘supermoon’ in the sky above us; I found an amazing image¬†to show you, but my partner has been out and got one of his own; I’ll share that on Thursday because I have an idea for a related post. ¬†In the meantime, I hope you get a chance to see the beauty of the sky tonight.

Until next time,

happy writing,

EJ

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Really, the title is just an excuse to use a space image ūüôā

hs-2007-36-a-print

 

Picture courtesy of hubblesite. 

Tonight I am very late posting as I have been working and I have not had much time to even think about this – I only finished up at 11pm!

So I’m handing this one over to you guys – use the image to free up your mind and write a little something about wherever your creativity takes you. ¬†Think about the galaxies twining around each other and imagine being close enough to watch it happen; look at the shapes and see what’s there – someone throwing a rugby ball, perhaps, or a baton twirler in a rage…

Have fun with it, and use it to break us some of your writing monotony – and share a few lines in the comments, I’d love to see what you do with this one!

Happy writing,

EJ

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I’ve said that I love space enough times that to share another photo of something cosmic won’t be too much of a surprise!

 

hs-2014-18-a-webThis picture is from the Hubblesite website¬†(always worth a visit) and shows an area of space where stars are being born. What is now a gassy, dusty nebula will one day be gone, the materials used to form those stars – and possibly companion planets. ¬†In this mass, perhaps there’s a new Earth waiting to be shaped.

For me, this image is all about scope – the vast possibilities, the innumerable ideas, the expanse of our imaginations.

I remember being told that ¬†there’s really only a handful of stories ever¬†told, but what writers do is find new ways to tell them. ¬†I’m not sure if ¬†I agree there’s only a handful but I certainly think we as writers should¬†find new ways of exploring life, humanity, the nature of existence.

That doesn’t have to be a heavy burden though. ¬†In the picture you can see the darkness and the light, and it’s the same in writing. You can write about horror, or you can write about hope. ¬†You can write about love, or hate.

Most writers fall somewhere on the spectrum, because most of life is somewhere on the spectrum.  But even with this you can vary the surroundings; for example you can create an alternative world, or move back or forward in time.

That’s the joy and fun of writing, for me – however many stories there may be, we’ll never run out of ways to tell them.

Happy writing,

EJ

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Have you ever looked out of a plane window at the ground below, and felt as though you are looking at another world? Or seen satellite images of countries at night, and felt disconnected? ¬†Well, this week’s post is about perception.

Let’s start with an image, shall we? ¬† Here’s one from NASA – this was found at grin.hq.nasa.gov

What do you see?

Not people, not man-made structures, not proof of life.  The first thing I saw was the clouds.  Just underneath, it seemed, was a white block Рthe ice at the South Pole.  I saw the liquid oceans and the land masses.

Humans, on the other hand, live at street level. ¬†Brushing across the surface, we would be invisible to any aliens busily flying past; we wouldn’t show up to their naked eye – assuming they have eyes, that is…

They’d have to change their point of view to see that life thrives on the planet. ¬†It’s in those clouds, under that ice cap, swimming in the oceans. ¬†It’s scuttling across continents.

Now think about a story you might be writing, right at this moment. ¬†In it is a whole world – people are vast in this world, as visible as a land mass, or the watery 70% of the globe. ¬†But what are you missing, what can’t you see, what is hidden by your perspective? What, if you shift to the right and squint, can you see? ¬†

Whose point of view could you explore?

Whenever you write, you make a decision which viewpoint you use. ¬†Every so often, you should look from another angle to see what you’re missing.

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I promised an update on the 2014 Reading challenge so here it is…

This week I have read two books:

Book 4 – Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie. ¬†Like many people, I know this from the cartoon more than anything, so some elements were quite surprising – Peter’s selfish cruelty, Hook’s torment at his hand (pardon the pun), Wendy’s willful ignorance. ¬†I loved some of the description, but this wasn’t the cosy tale I thought – so it’s a good thing I read it really! ¬†There’s a darkness in it that probably appeals to children still.

Book 5 – The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. ¬†I put this one on the reading group list because I thought it sounded interesting (it’s a war story of sorts, narrated by Death), but I don’t like war books, and I needed a push to read it. ¬†I’m so glad I did; I devoured it like a locust, I was so hungry to know how things turned out for the characters. ¬†It was thoughtful and emotional, but not cloying, and although it was a little metaphor-heavy in places, I suspect that’s because I am aware of these tools. ¬†There were stylistic choices I didn’t particularly care for but as a whole I think it was a very good book

I haven’t given up Moby Dick yet, but I haven’t finished it. ¬†I think the thing that’s keeping me reading in Queequeg, make of that what you will!

Until next time – happy writing,

EJ

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This week, I’ve continued with my prep, but I’ve also been working on a couple of new ideas. It’s been a week of mix and match, work-wise!

I have tried not to go too far with one as it’s a story, but I wanted to write it down before I forgot it. It was inspired by a phrase I read in the comments of a vlog, on YouTube. It had made me smile when I first saw it but then a couple of times it had popped into my head, and finally, it came with a slight change, and an idea.

That idea took me in a whole new direction, and actually into a direction I read about as a student, when I did my degree. I won’t say more now, but it’s sitting there, waiting for some time and attention in the future.

The second is a poem, currently called ‘The Pegasus Cloud’. ¬†I thought of the title before anything else of the poem, but it’s coming in stages and I’ll see where it ends up! ¬†Obviously mythology immediately came to mind that title, but that isn’t all I want to cover so I have a little challenge with myself!

I like it when new ideas bloom in my brain but I have to stay focussed and not let the prep for the next story fall behind; having just booked the retreat again I want to be in a position to write then!

Meanwhile I have details of a first novel competition that I am thinking about entering – more on that when I decide ūüôā

In other news – we’re up to book 17 in the novel list, which is¬†Moby-Dick¬†(hyphen added as Melville’s preference!). ¬†In line with my 2014 reading challenge, when I saw this come up I decided to read it – after all, if it’s really the pinnacle of US literature, I should have read it! ¬†Sadly, I am not enjoying it and at about 25% into the book I am longing to stop – I read another book today just to give myself a mental palate cleanse… ¬†I will give it a little longer but it’s probable that I will give up on this one. ¬†Sorry, Moby fans – but if you love the book, tell me what draws you to it!

And finally –¬†As I’ve said many times before, I love space! ¬†So when I saw¬†this article¬†about a mystery on Mars, I wanted to share it because it gave me a number of ideas: I don’t write science fiction but if I ever change my genre I’ll be starting here…

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to give me book suggestions for this year’s challenge!

Happy writing,

EJ

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