Change Is In the Air

Not the largess sort, however, as pleasant as that might be. I always wondered: who first thought that flinging chunks of metal into the air over people’s heads is a good way to distribute munificence? Even lolly scrambles can be lethal if the hard-boiled element is introduced. However…

It has not escaped my attention that this coming week contains my final five days at the DDJ. And once the first spasm of Tigger impressions fades out, I’m planning a few changes (including to the blog, so keep an eye out).

To begin with, alarms. My two-alarm system has seen me jerked awake at 6:30 and 6:45 every weekday morning for – er, a long time. No more of that, thank you! In fact, I am thinking of becoming rather less of a clock-watcher all round – having a progression rather than a programme to my days.

Then a nice purgy spring clean (early autumn, but let us not quibble – it’ll be spring somewhere) which will hopefully get rid of all the dreck and detritus which has built up in the absence of suitable quantities of time and energy.

The next step is to acquire a desk. Christina Rossetti may have made do with the corner of her washstand, but, well, I’m not Christina Rossetti.

This is not me. I have ears.

Monday writings were usually accomplished with a board over my knees, and before that I sat sideways to my rather nice little bedside table, but never yet have I had a writing desk I can sit at and get my knees under. And it has to be the right sort of desk. I may be fussy, but if I’m going to be spending hours every day with this piece of furniture, it needs to be something I at least like.

Plus it’s a brilliant excuse to go trawling through all the second-hand shops – and since I don’t have to fit everything into Saturday morning, there’s plenty of time to consider the options and not get pushed by time and tiredness into buying something that isn’t really what I wanted, but happened to be what they had.

With so many changes imminent, you might say I am turning over a new leaf.

Drop Leaf Table

Ahahahaha… Sorry. I won’t do it again. For at least another paragraph. Probably.

As well as a greatly increased writing output, I am also aiming to spend more time on handwork, have people over for meals more often, and even spend more time on housework and gardening.

I know, the best-laid plans of mice and men – don’t involve being eaten by cats, and yet…
Until next week (if the cats don’t get me),
Sinistra Inksteyne

Look Both Ways Before You Cross

Looking forward to the new year, but also looking back over the year just passed. Coincidentally, it has been exactly a year since I started this blog.

During that time I have written all of eighty-eight posts (although about 25 are simple quote-and-picture posts). Over the course of the year I have gone through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, reviewed various books on writing, and asked for advice on a myriad of subjects (moving house, staying sane…) which I mostly didn’t get.

I also set goals for myself (see here and here) which I mostly failed to meet, in that I did not finish my WIP by December 31st. But I did make some strides in taking myself more seriously as a writer and doing a bit of would-like-to-be-professional development. As with so many things, Work In Progress.

Among the questions which I have mulled over during the year are whether to keep using my nom de plume (my parents, by some oversight, failed to name me Sinistra at birth) and what precisely it is I am trying to achieve here.


This blog was originally intended as a form of accountability against procrastination, but since no-one is actually holding me accountable but me anyway, that purpose has taken a bit of a back seat.
Procrastination is apparently one of the mysteries of the human condition, as articulated by Paul back in the 50s AD: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.” (Romans 7:15, New Living Translation).

Motivation is perhaps key, but I struggle to find a motivation strong enough to overcome tiredness and self-doubt. Duty doesn’t cut it (unlike Frederic, I am not the Slave of Duty); ambition is by no means my strong suit – perhaps I just need to develop more character. Or a means of reminding myself of what it is I stand to lose.

In any case, over the coming year I hope to look more at subjects of interest to more than myself – that is to say, less of the writing, and more of the whatever-I-happen-to-be-obsessed-with-at-the-moment – steampunk, knitting, millinery, sustainability, odd bits of history, or any combination of the above.

Looking back, my most popular post by far (inasmuch as I can tell, since the majority of views are recorded as “homepage/archive”) is Great Wizards of Literature. I blush a little every time I see another hit on it, as it was originally titled Favourite Wizards of Literature, only some were more great than favourite. It wasn’t until after I had clicked ‘publish’ that I realised I had listed one of my own creations as a Great Wizard of Literature.

He isn’t great, really, but he’s doing his best. (If he’s very lucky, he may one day be published.) An excellent example of how not to blow your own trumpet.

You’re doing it wrong.

The gong for Most Under-Appreciated Post (from my point of view, anyway) goes to Mid-Week Quote: Reading, for the play on word(s) if nothing else.

On an entirely unrelated tangent, if your New Year’s Resolution includes being more generous, giving to charity, doing something good for someone else or even (aim high!) saving someone’s life, consider this from Throwim Way Leg, one of the blogs I follow.
Getting an ultrasound machine really will make a life-or-death difference to people in Papua New Guinea. Imagine if your local hospital had no ultrasound, no x-ray, no lab for tests… you get the idea.
And do please feel free to pass the link on to anyone you think might be interested.

Thanking you all for your company in 2013, and looking forward to your company in 2014, I remain,
Sinistra Inksteyne hand250

The Wheels Have Eyes

Today’s post was going to be an end-of-year blog round-up, but I have decided to delay until early January, which will be a year since the blog began.

Instead, to end the calendar year on a note of Really Rather Weird, I give you The Wheels Have Eyes.
No, not a Google spy-car, but the earliest piece of Steampunky writing I have yet come across, in the Bible.

Yep, Steampunk in the Bible. The Book of Ezekiel, to be precise, written in the late 500s BC. Or possibly the early 500s BC, depending on how you look at it. 593 BC et seq. anyway.

Ezekiel sees an approaching storm in which are four winged creatures with lightning darting between them. Corresponding to each creature is a wheel – or rather a wheel intersecting a wheel, with eyes around the rim. (Try describing that to a police artist.)

“When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.” (Ezekiel 1:21)

The spirit is in the wheels? Sounds steampunky to me. Not to mention the diamond light around the throne above said creatures, on which is seated a figure like molten metal rising out of fire.

In fact, a Baptist minister once designed an aircraft inspired by this very vision – a little more Da Vinci than Verne, perhaps, but fascinating nonetheless. These Magnificent Ministers and their Flying Machines…

So there you have it. Your scriptural steampunkiness for the day, brought to you by the letter E.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations (“general rejoicings, and in the evening – fireworks!”) and look forward with me to 2014.

Sinistra Inksteyne hand250