In Praise of 365 – Beth Quander
If you’re a Moon’s frequenter you may have noticed that myself, Sath and Prue haven’t been pulling shows together in 2015 the way we did last year. Some of this is down to Sath’s Operator being otherwise engaged with a progression of medical procedures. So Sath hasn’t been as available to provide the necessary sparks of technical and comedic genius that make our creative threesome fizz and buzz and produces shows. But also the fact that I’ve had to admit that pretty much all my spare creativity was going into the massive time-suck that is writing and performing stand ups and skits and man-handling a live show into being. I enjoy this immensely, and I’ve been concentrating on SL stage stuff for about three years now, and loving every minute (even the horrendous parts, in retrospect, after a big glass of wine). But I have another project I’ve been working on for longer than that, and it’s always there in the back of my mind.
When Naiki introduced the 356 deal at the beginning of the year, I was keen to jump on board. I love a theme! Give me any dumb-arsed idea and tell me to think up something quirky around it and I’m off! But I took stock and realised that I had a choice. I could write a skit or routine a week and try to put on shows without Sath. Or, I could finish the novel I started 14 years ago.
Yup. I’ve been writing a novel for 14 years. Or more accurately, NOT writing it for 14 years. I got off to a good start. I wrote a chapter a week, spurred on by the work colleague who persuaded me to turn my hand to fiction writing for the very first time. And I produced 17 chapters of passable Buffy the Vampire Slayer sexy fan fic (well what else are a couple of 30-somethings going to do to distract themselves from a rather dull 9-5er, eh?) Then spurred on by the praise received from the handful of people who read it, I rewrote the whole thing with a new cast of characters and a view to actual publication (in the Urban Fantasy section, you understand. Not your Anne Rice, Twilight vampire porn section, honest!). And I got quite a long way with that too. And then I moved to New Zealand. Where the novel has sat in my head and on my hard drive pretty well ever since, doing little more than lounging about and eating bon bons. And reminding me occasionally of its unfinished presence.
Until Naiki inspired me to get disciplined about being creative every day. And Sath inspired me to produce something for his Operator to read every week to cheer them up. So since the middle of January I’ve been driven. I’ve rewritten 12 chapters in 12 weeks. This has included some major editing, massive re-wordings, the discovery and patching up of huge previously-unnoticed plot holes and brand new passages straight out of my brain and into type. I’m really, really happy with the progress I’ve made. I have three people reading the chapters as I produce them and I’m getting wonderful feedback on what is and isn’t working, where the cut and pastes really show up, and whether the characters are worth reading about. I’m determined to finish the first redraft by the middle of June now. I’m fizzing and buzzing in all the right places and would recommend this process to anyone.
And I know that the creativity bug has been doing the rounds. Prue has doubled her DJ-ing gigs while we haven’t been doing shows. And boy, does she come up with some interesting and scintillating sets. Plus, she’s started producing some amazing art work that’s going up on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/pruememo
and in Ailsa’s Gallery. So inspired by Naiki, Sath, Prue and Ailsa, I too have been revisiting the hundreds of snaps I’ve taken in SL and poking them into my happily slumbering Flickr feed as well https://www.flickr.com/photos/beth-quander/
. Every week I find three pics and mess with them in Gimp. Because old SL pics are dreadful by comparison – so I’m attempting to revive them and learn a few visual editing skills along the way. And to round things off, every month Sath and I try to take a series of themed photos to put up in Ailsa’s Gallery at Scribbler’s Cove.
So in terms of Moons. We may be a bunch of ‘no shows’ (see what I did there?). But Naiki, Moons and 365 have all inspired us to go out and try new stuff and explore new places. It’s wonderful to feel part of a dynamic and creative team (and I include Winnie, Vokey and Kat in that too, as fellow inspirees) and I’m delighted to be 365-ing along with you.
TL;DR – 365 redirected my creativity and doing it with and for others makes a huge positive difference!