The 30 Day Creative Writing Challenge

A conversation with J recently made me realise that I spend a lot of time saying that I don’t have time to write anymore – outside of work, of course. I’m not talking about blogging – I’m talking about my more creative outlets. I’ve signed up to an online writers’ circle and did a search for a writing challenge to get me into the habit of things. Some of them were pretty shit – or only running at certain times of the year, or paid for, or via-our-Facebook-page.

And then I found Oliver Davies’ blog, and his own list of topics – seems he had the same problem I did. So I’m poaching them, and will possibly tweak them as I go along.

The idea is to hit up a minimum of 1000 words on each topic (poetry excluded), so by the end of this I should have around 30 000 words down.

Oliver’s topics are after the jump, and I’m going to see how this will go ūüôā

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Day Twenty-Eight – #30DayBlogChallenge

Day 28 – Your favourite movie.

I am sure that I shock exactly no one when I say that I have no favourite movie.

I have a list of about 40 that I love , but only a few hands-down favourites.

Stardust, starring Charlie Cox and Claire Danes and based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. I love how rich and textured this film is. Simply saturated with beauty and magic.

Titanic ,¬†James Cameron’s epic still remains one of my favourites. Watch it now that you’re a little older, and watch it carefully. It’s immense. You all can keep¬†Avatar,¬†thanks.

Saving Private Ryan:¬†The first twenty-odd minutes of Steven Spielberg’s war epic have to be some of my favourite scenes of all time. Absolutely harrowing, incredibly filmed.

Forrest Gump.¬†Really, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love this movie. I cry every time.

Grease.¬†It’s cheesy, I know. But it’s one of my go-to films when I’m feeling down.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.¬†It’s iconic. I could watch it half a million times over.

Moulin Rouge!¬†I haven’t seen it in years, but I love Baz Luhrmann’s style and adore the choreography and the music.

Chicago Love the attitude, the sex appeal, the performances, the casting. Everything. This is probably high up on the list of favourites, ever.

The Lord of the Rings¬†trilogy. I can pretty much recite all three films.¬†That’s how many times I’ve watched, and how much I still love.

Disney films, in general.

The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club….¬†I’m a David Fincher fan girl.

Inglourious Basterds. No explanation needed, I feel.

Day Twenty-Seven – #30DayBlogChallenge

Day 27 – Put your iPod on shuffle and list the first 10 songs.

Fun fact: I don’t own an iPod. And I recently cleared out my laptop and haven’t had a chance to re-import all my music. So, I shall do the next best thing. My phone. (Don’t judge me, think I only have about 12 songs on the thing anyway)

1.¬†Every Teardrop is a Waterfall –¬†Coldplay
2. The Immortals – Kings of Leon
3. I’m Only Joking – Kongos
4. Shake It Out – Florence and the Machine
5. Pyro – Kings of Leon (told you)
6. Hurts Like Heaven – Coldplay
7. One – U2
8. Radioactive – Kings of Leon
9. Settle Down – Kimbra
10. Somebody I Used To Know – Gotye ft. Kimbra

Most of it was from my calm-me-down-on-the-way-to-the-clinic playlist.

Day Twenty-Six – #30DayBlogChallenge

Day 26 –¬†Think back to how you were five years ago. How have you changed since then?

Firstly, for fun… Here’s me. Five years ago. Give or take a few days.

Self

I remember drinking a fair amount of vodka around the time of this photograph, which was taken in the first few days of us moving into our new flat in Grahamstown.

Five years ago would have been February 2007. Wow. That’s a long time ago, and much has changed. Honestly, I’m hardly the same person I was back then. Although, if there’s still some old Candace, she is buried quite deep.

Some context. Five years ago, my father had been lying in a coma for almost five months. There was still hope (to me, at least) that he might wake up and come back to us. He was still in the ward in Jwaneng. I had just returned from Botswana where, despite all of the awful stuff that had been happening, I managed to have an amazing holiday.

And then, I was back in Grahamstown, in my first flat with M. For a number of reasons, I was angry, terrified, hurt. I had just hooked up with the person that was going to define my life for the next three and a half years. That is all a very different story, and not what the question was.

Five years ago, I was wild. I drank a lot Рwe all did Рand I made a number of bad decisions. I was in my third year of university, was the Features Editor of the varsity newspaper and was a dedicated journalism and English major. I still had a family, relatively intact. I still believed that the world could be a good place, that it would all work out. I had absolutely no understanding of the definition of pain. I thought I did. That would all come much, much later.

I was proud. Of myself, of my father, of my family. Of what we had been through and who we were. I still am, I guess. Proud of my family. I’m almost never proud of myself, anymore.

I spoke my mind, I made bold choices, I charged through life – not recklessly, just at pace, with force. Now I am more reserved. Maddeningly so, I would imagine. I agonise over decisions. Am terrified of saying the wrong thing. Fret over things I say that could be misinterpreted.

I am much more responsible now. For myself, for my brother, for my mother. Somewhere along the line I became the pillar for my family to lean on. My defining characteristic is that I’m scared, of everything. And that has defined and destroyed a few things.

But, there are good things, too. I have a kick-ass job. And I do wish my dad was here to see it – though I shudder to imagine trying to explain this weird “Facebook” thing to him. He could barely figure out how to turn on a computer, and it took him an hour to type out the one and only email he ever sent me.

I also have a few of the same life dreams. I want to travel. I want to write and publish a novel. I want to do some good in the world, changes some lives. I have changed two, already, I know. Definitely. But that is another story, for another day.

My standards are much higher. I am more generous now, less selfish. More quick-tempered and demanding. I am still infinitely loyal, willing to drop anything and everything to help if I can.  I grew up somewhere along the way.

Like I said. Sometimes I’m not sure who this new girl is. Sometimes I’m not sure that I like her. But it is¬†fascinating¬†trying to get to know her.

Day 23 (sigh) – #30DayBlogChallenge

Day 23 – 20 Facts about you

In no particular order… And no¬†real¬†relevance…

1. I hate green peppers. A lot.

2. I wrote a novel called¬†The Goblin Tree¬†when I was 11. I gave a copy to my grandmother. When she died, I couldn’t find it anywhere among her belongings.

3. I was always near the top of my class at school.

4. My phone is almost always on silent. I hate the ringing and message tones.

5. There are probably only a handful of hours a day when I am not on Facebook. I tell myself it’s okay, because it’s in my job description.

6. I love cheese. And wine. And chocolate.

7. I love playing fantasy RPG computer games.

8. I also suffer from “simulator sickness” – motion sickness from playing said computer games.

9. I’m terribly untidy. But will also get random urges to clean¬†everything.

10. I love watching Disney films. They almost never fail to cheer me up.

11. I have struggled with major depression, and have a feeling I will continue to struggle with it in the future.

12. I have two distinct “personas” – one for my work and another for myself. It helps to keep me sane.

13. When times get tough, I throw myself into my work. It’s safe there. I can keep in control.

14. When I get stressed, I go on long drives around Cape Town. The motion helps to calm me and the “quiet time” helps me to think.

15. I’m a sucker for cute, fluffy things. One of my work colleagues knows this and he often sends me something cute and fluffy, usually with the word “Squee” contained in the subject line. I will always smile.

16. I still have my favourite fluffy toys from when I was younger.

17. I¬†hate¬†being photographed, filmed or hearing my own voice. I’m always embarrassed by what I see/hear. I would not object if somebody Photoshopped me to within an inch of my life, so long as I looked hot.

18. I have extreme self-esteem issues.

19. I love reading, writing and creating. I love the escapism. I dream of writing and publishing a novel.

20. I prefer winter over summer.

Day Twenty-Two (almost) – #30DayBlogChallenge

Day 22 – Bullet your whole day.

Oh, yesterday was a SUPERB day to bullet. Times are as accurate as I can remember.

5.15am: Alarm goes off. Hit cellphone, kill alarm.

5.40am: Actually wake up, panic.

5.45am: Fumble with door, drop keys, manage to leave for work

6am: Arrive at work.

6.05am: Start work. Upload BAFTA Awards results, a number of Whitney Houston stories, Grammy Awards news

7.15am: Leave for Hyundai Diepriver to drop my car off for its service.

7.40am: Arrive, wait for five minutes while the moron in front of me takes forever to check her car in, check my car in.

8am: Climb into shuttle for lift back to work. Take stock of 1x Crazy Cat Lady, 1x Car-Sick Woman, 1x Elderly Professor, 1x Random Mechanic, 1x Driver and 1x Stressed Professional.

8.10am – 9.45am: Shuttle¬† from Hyundai to petrol station (miles away from Hyundai) to Fairways to Wynberg to Wynberg Park to Claremont Hospital to Parklands to Woodstock. Listened to Crazy Cat Lady moan about traffic, detours, the route we were taking, theft in her area, the driver, the station we were listening to… Waited for Car-Sick Woman to throw up on me. She kept demanding windows be opened.

9.45am to 4pm: Work. Consisted of news-grammys-gallery-baftas-ah-social-media-crap-travel-damnit-ad-sales-no-i’m-too-busy-to-meet-celeb-news-rewrites-screech-at-intern-drink-coffee-more-coffee-moar-coffee-tea-water-damnit-videos-crap-spelling-error-argh-go-away-random-gtalk-people-i’m-busy-crap-okay-fine-let’s-go

4pm to 4.45pm: Trip back to Diepriver with three of my colleagues. Tried not to fall asleep.

4.45-5pm: Collect car. Marvel at Service Plan magic. Listen to the stuff they need to fix but is thankfully still under warranty.

5pm to 5.30pm: Trip home in awesome clean and smooth-running car.

5.30pm to 6.30pm: Searched for new belt for brother. Decided pizza was in order for dinner.

6.30pm: Why is there still traffic?! It’s 6.30pm!!!

7pm: Mmm…. pizza.

7.40pm: Home.101 Dalmations.Paint nails.

8pm: Check email randomly. Have major meltdown at amount of work expected from me.

9pm: A hot bath. So hot it would boil lobsters.

9.45pm: Watch random Grammy YouTube videos with brother.

10.30pm: Small cry at the futility of my existence, bed.

Day Thirteen – #30DayBlogChallenge

Day Thirteen: Your favourite musician and why.

Yep, you guessed it. I don’t have a favourite musician. I love all sorts of different types of music, and my tastes change on a regular basis. My favourite band or artist will be the one whose album is playing in my car, before I grow bored and pop something else in.