Thursday, 24 November 2011

hollandaise.








How is it that my hair looks so much less frizzly in this picture...

...than in this picture?   The world may never know.
sweater dress - Forever 21 // tights - Apt. 9 // lace-up boots - Elle for Kohl's //
lipstick - 075 Let Me Pink from Maybelline

I heard there was a holiday happening today, in America?  And, seeing as I live in America, I should probably remember what it is.  All I can think of is that it must be "write more write more write more words NOW!" day.... then again, that's been every day for all of November!


Currently, in the Land of NaNoWriMo, I have written 30,617 words.  I'm extremely behind (I should have 10,000 more words, at least) but I'm going to write all day today, minus socialising with family and eating delicious foods and such, and allllll day tomorrow!  I WILL finish this novel.  


On Tuesday, my father returned home from a business trip in Amsterdam.  I was extremely jealous that he got to travel to Europe, and he was super excited because it was his first time.  He brought back lots of chocolates, some goat cheese, and two pashmina scarves for me!  He knows I love scarves, and apparently the people of Holland are big on scarves too - what a crazy random happenstance!  I'll have to show them off in a blog post or two soon.  One is red-orange with brown and gold and black swirling designs, and the other is pale gold with faint designs on either end.  I adore Europe and pride myself on not being quite as ignorant as your "typical" ignorant American, but the names used for Holland were confusing me the other day!  My father was in Amsterdam, which was in Holland, which was also known as the Netherlands?  And the people there were... Netherlanders?  Netherlandians?  Hollandaise?  Oh, Dutch.  Gotcha.


The dress I'm wearing in these photos I have had for a long, long time, but I seem to have never photographed it before!  I think that's pretty ridiculous, but not uncommon - there are a few outfits which I've worn many times but never managed to photograph!  So I was determined to take photos today, as I love this dress very much :)


Also, I got a haircut!  It's not usually as big and wacky, but I think I slept on it funny last night.  I kind of like it though, what do you think?  Better than being limp and sad and wintery.


Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving, to my American readers!  Mmm, mashed potatoes.


Cheers,
Shayli

Saturday, 19 November 2011

fine. it's all... fine.


[Two new characters!  Isaac Drury is Emilia's best guy friend, and Jon Rumer is Isaac's friend... and a bit of a pyromaniac.  It's the Fourth of July.  Emilia's just had a fight with her mother and is now at a party.]

"Oi, pyro!"

Jon looked up from where he was playing with two rockets with their fuses taped together.  He waved us over.  "It's safe, don't worry!"

I seriously doubted that, but I followed Isaac and Marron over anyway.

Isaac immediately picked up a bright red rocket that looked too big to be legal.  "Is this the one that your uncle brought down?" he asked Jon.  Jon put down the now doubly fused rockets on a cardboard box by his side, and motioned over his shoulder in the general direction of two more similar boxes behind him.

"Yeah, man, and there's more where this beauty came from."  And where was that, exactly?

"Canada," said Isaac, seeming to hear my thoughts.  He then laughed at the expression on my face.  "Em, you're giving me your 'that is definitely not legal' look.  Please stop?  It's all fun and games, no worries.  Hakuna matata, you know?"

I was still pretty preoccupied with the fact that I apparently had a 'that is definitely not legal' look, but I heard him anyway.  Foolish child, I thought.  "Yeah, all fun and games until somebody blows up."

"Actually," Jon cut in, "I'd like to rectify that statement: It's all fun and games when somebody blows up."  He looked as if he might spend time thinking about the philosophical reasoning behind his newly improved saying.  I just sighed.

I may have scoffed, come to think of it.  Scoffed derisively.  In a derisive manner.  In such a manner which may, by some parties, have been interpreted as derisive, I scoffed.

And as I was caught up in the analysis of my scoffs, which were, as you now know, rather derisive in quality, there may or may not have been a boom.  Or rather, a BOOM!

I ducked my head and fell to the ground to avoid the inevitable shrapnel which would accompany an explosion of that magnitude.  My mojito spilled all over my sweatshirt, but the death of my drink was a minor concern compared to the masses of casualties surely caused by the –

"Em?  Em, are you okay...?"

I looked up warily.  Isaac and Marron stood above where I lay, curled in a fetal position with my hands over my head.  The red paper cup that had held my drink was squished under me, in the grass now sticky with simple syrup and rum.  I heard Jon in the background, and approached soon after I lifted my head.  In his hands was what looked like a box of cigarettes, from which he poured a plethora of small pellets into his hand, smiling apologetically.

"There may have been a... um... minor spark.  Sorry about that.  Did these scare you?"  He held the pellets towards me, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he had a box of what looked like chicken food, and why it had anything to do with the explosion.

My focus moved from Jon, to Marron and then Isaac.  Isaac looked as if he were attempting to keep himself from bursting into laughter.  Did I really look that ridiculous?  I eyed their clothes, momentarily confused.  They were surprisingly clean, for the clothes of people who had recently survived a blast the size of...  "What exploded?"

Mar's eyebrows disappeared into her bangs as she looked at Isaac.  Apparently it was his job to sort out the confusion, though in my opinion it should have been our chicken pellet-holding friend, who had once again wandered out of my sight.

"Nothing exploded, Em," Isaac said.  I sat up a little, perplexed. "Have you had a little too much to drink?  Jon just threw a couple of snappers, that's all."

I could feel my ears beginning to turn red, and the flush quickly spread to my face when I realised what this must look like.  I was on the ground, covered in mojito and dirt, cowering from tiny firework pellets.  How pathetic.

"Oh."  I said lamely.  I began to push myself back up off the ground, and Isaac reached down to help me.  Grabbing my wrist, he pulled me back up to a standing position.  I looked down at the mess all over my hoodie.  I pulled the heavy dark green fabric over my head, thankful I had thought to put on two tank tops underneath it.  Even so, after the warm air held in by the sweatshirt material faded away, I found myself shivering slightly.  Before I could complain, though, Isaac had pulled off his own hoodie and handed it to me.

"Here, wear this."  It was red with white lettering that labeled him (and now me) as a member of Portland's volunteer fire department.  Was that irony, given our current situation?  I decided not to think about it too much; I was just grateful for the warmth.

"Thanks," I said, giving him a weak smile.

He smiled back.  "No more drinks for you," he told me, but then his expression grew a shade darker.  "Are you sure you're okay?"

I shrugged.  "Yeah, fine."  I crossed my arms, hugging the warm red material of the sweatshirt around me.  "I'm... fine."  I turned away from Isaac and walked slowly back towards the house.  I needed some water, or a dark corner to sit in.  But I left Isaac standing in the yard, and he looked like he wanted to come after me and demand what was wrong, but he didn't have to, it was okay.  Nothing was wrong.  I was fine.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

695 words about a missing pudding cup.


[Woah, this one actually has to do with fashion!  Not so much with pudding cups, but that was my accomplishment for today.  This excerpt was written a while ago, but I figured it relates to both excerpts I've posted before, so you know a bit more back-story now :)]

Cue the mad dash that is our getting ready for school: Mar was having a freak attack because she realized that she hadn’t brought any clothes over last night, and she didn’t have her make-up, either.  Or her flat iron.  I love this girl, but she can be excruciatingly high-maintenance at the precise wrong times.

“EMMMMMMMM!!” I hear my name shouted in terror from the bathroom.

Padding over in my fuzzy socks (it was somehow freezing in my house, despite the mild weather outside), I approached the doorway, from where I could see Marron furiously brushing her hair and looking at her very frustrated reflection.

“It’s just getting worse!  Em, how on earth can you not have a flat iron?  Every single teenage girl on the face of Earth, and Mars, and Saturn has a flat iron!”  It was comforting to know that Mar knew her solar system this early in the morning.

“I just don’t ever have the need for one.  Why would I buy something I have no use for?”  My hair was naturally wavy-ish and I was just fine with that.  Burning one’s hair in order to achieve straightness or curliness had always seemed a bit extreme to me.  Not to mention potentially painful.

Mar’s eyes grew wide in the mirror, and she seemed to give up on attacking her hair in order to force it into submission.  “Because you love me, that’s why!  Though if you truly loved me, you would have a flat iron and more than two palettes of eye shadow and some bronzer, for god’s sake!”  She took a hair tie from her wrist and expertly gathered her hair into a high bun, with wisps hanging on either side that framed her face just right.

            I sighed.  “Mar, the train case where you keep your make-up is big enough to act as an apartment complex for cats.  I’m pretty sure the universe can only take so much love of make-up between two friends.  If I bought bronzer, a bolt of lightning would probably fry your eyelash curlers or something.”

            Stepping back from the counter, where she’d just been leaning as she inspected her [perfect] complexion, Marron turned to me and said, “That’s okay, though.  I think I could sacrifice one of my eyelash curlers if it meant you had bronzer.”

            “And just how many eyelash curlers do you have, exactly?”

            “Six.”

            She didn’t seem to get it when I burst into uncontrollable laughter and had to lean on the counter to keep from falling – but she joined in too, because maybe I looked funny without bronzer or eye shadow, or maybe my laugh was annoying, or maybe she’s my best friend and that’s what we do.

            After the make-up ordeal, clothes came next.  I had already laid out an outfit for today, so I just slipped on my favourite skinny jeans, pulled on a slightly oversized black and white patterned shirt, donned my red Ked sneakers, and grabbed a navy cardigan just in case school was cold today (our school’s heating and cooling system was notoriously bipolar, and one never knew exactly what to expect on any given day).

Mar had a significantly more difficult time deciding what to wear.  She hadn’t brought any clothes with her when she climbed through my window last night, so it was lucky we wore roughly the same sizes of clothing.  After rifling through my closet and describing to me exactly what made each and every piece of clothing unacceptable or faulty in some shape or form, she ended up with an ensemble that “would do, I guess”.  She wore the same dark denim shorts she’d worn with her corduroy blazer yesterday, but today wore them with sheer black tights fished from the bottom of my sock drawer, a cream-coloured peasant blouse that would have made me feel like I was trying too hard but on her looked perfectly normal – that is to say, extraordinary.  She’d left her Doc Martin boots at my house from the last time she was over, so she wore those.  Pretty lucky she’d left them, actually, because our differing shoe sizes (she wore a seven, and I was a nine, and eternally envious of her) made those the only clothing pieces we didn’t share.

Once we were dressed and ready to leave for school, I hovered around the kitchen restlessly while Marron made herself a cup of coffee.  Mar’s parents only drank decaff, and I was decidedly a tea sort of girl, but Mar and my mother shared a love of strong Columbian coffee, so she’d brew it at my house whenever she got the chance.  My mum bought this specific blend at the coffee shop around the corner, Brewed Awakenings, which was owned by Xenia Leming, a long-time friend of my mother’s and the woman who used to babysit me when I was, well, a baby.  I sometimes suspected her of being the sole reason I survived my infancy, as my mother certainly hadn’t been any help.  Other times, I suspected her of spiking her coffee with Vicodin.  On both suspicions, I probably wasn’t too far off.

“Can’t you make that machine go any faster?” I complained?  Mar had decided that this morning was the perfect time to practice her skills with the French press.

“It’s a manual thing,” she explained.  I knew that.  “I have to press down at the exact right speed, and do it very gently, otherwise the coffee won’t fulfill its flavour potential.”

“Did you just quote the instruction manual?”

“No…it’s from the back of the box, actually.”

Well.  Obviously.

After four minutes and fifty seconds, Mar’s coffee was satisfactorily brewed and transferred to a travel mug, and we were running out the door.  School started at seven thirty, so we had exactly…six minutes to run there.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

21,427 words.


[Allow me to set the scene: Emilia and her mother are visiting a family friend, Xenia, who owns a coffee shop down the street called Brewed Awakenings.  Emilia suspects that Xenia's care is the only reason she survived infancy.  She also suspects that Xenia spikes the coffee with Vicodin and hides cocaine in the coffee bags back in the kitchen.  She's probably right on both accounts.]

Xenia beckoned us in, a bright white grin splitting her face into happy angles.

"Madelaine!  Madelaine Elle, you come sit down right now and tell me why you haven't stepped through these doors in four weeks!"  If she could have stomped her foot, she probably would have - but of course, she didn't want to damage the four and three-quarter inches stiletto heels enclosing her feet in bright, cherry red leather.

Also, it had been four weeks and three days.

Fact: Any average, or even above average, coffee shop slash café business (that isn't Starbucks) can't possibly make the owner enough money to buy a new pair of seven hundred dollar shoes whenever one catches her fancy.  Then again, I suppose cocaine is easy enough to hide in giant coffee bean bags.  Does coffee impair dogs' sense of smell?  That would explain so much.

Another fact: My mother's name wasn't actually Madelaine Elle.  It was Madelaine L., which is how it was presented on all her novels. Madelaine L. Grey, novelist extraordinaire.  My mother, though selfish in the extreme at times, never really liked to talk about herself (though she frequently talked to herself), and so I had never been told what the "L" stood for.  I supposed I must have asked at some point, but no answer.  And I had no grandparents, who might have called my mother - their daughter - by her full name at times.  I'm sure my mother was fine with that, though.  She enjoyed her air of mystery too much, I supposed, to give away even one petty secret.

Oh my god, had she killed her parents so they wouldn't tell anyone her middle name?  Was that why my life was significantly lacking any grand parental figures?  The saddest part was, I felt only mildly surpr—

Shut up, Emilia.  Now you've used up your one conspiracy theory for the day.  Good job.

Back to Xenia's shop.  No, go on.  Go.  Tell the story.

My mother bent down to hug her friend, who, despite the impressive heel height, was still considerably shorter than my mum.  When Xenia's possibly mock but probably not glare of irritation didn't fade, my mother spoke.

"I'm sorry, Xenia, but I've been busy."  Xenia raised a perfect dark eyebrow, arms crossed.  "Okay, well, I've been writing.  Which is the same thing as being busy, except more important.  And involving less movement.  Sometimes.  It's also the reason I need coffee right now.  Got any of that Columbian blend?"

Columbian blend?  That had to be code for something.

Monday, 14 November 2011

chapter four.


[This is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Shades of Our Reality.  Comments are appreciated!  :)  Rated PG-13 because Marron has a dirty mouth when she's upset.]

Marron was sure she was pregnant.  She fell through my (second story, I’m not really sure how she managed it) bedroom window in a panic that was making her usual graceful self quite clumsy, and I would have laughed if…well, if I were the sort of person who laughs when her friend is in a precarious state of mind, and even more possibly precarious state of physical well-being.

“Marron, honey, listen, shh.  It’s going to be okay,” I hushed her, moving the palm of my right hand in what I hoped were comforting circles on her back.  The burgundy corduroy of her jacket (burgundy drew attention to the fiery red colour she’d been dying her naturally blonde hair since seventh grade) had dew from the roof – do roofs gather dew? – collected between the wale ridges, making it stiff and cold and boy would she have been pissed, had she been in any condition to focus on her clothes at the moment.  Marron never leaves her house – not even her room – without checking, double checking, and triple quadruple extra checking that the outfits covering her perfect model-height body are exactly 100.1 percent drop-dead gorgeous.  She never wears suede shoes in the winter, never mixes plaid with stripes, never pairs skinny jeans with a skinny top (exceptions are made for clubbing) or loose pieces together (“A skirt and that hoodie, Emilia?  The skirt’s cute, but what in hell is with the paper bag look?  Darling, there's these things called hips.  You have them.  Don’t be afraid of them!”).  She never wears socks with her Birkenstocks – only perfectly pedicured toes in some outrageous shade of teal, probably.  And, though her obsessive love of all things fashion may seem frightening at first (and still is to me, at times), Marron never brushes me off, never judges my writing too harshly without cause, and never panics.  She’s good in stressful situation.

 “Fuck, this is my new Elizabeth and James blazer!”

Marron never fails to surprise me.

“It’s okay, Mar, that’s not the major problem at hand, I’m pretty sure a bit of water won’t hurt corduroy – I machine wash my corduroy bell-bottoms all the time,” I babbled, thinking that perhaps talking about fashion would cheer her up.  It didn’t work.

“You wear corduroy bell-bottoms!?  Oh, just let me burn them.  Please, it’ll make me feel so much better.”  Hey, I like my bell-bottoms!

“Is that you or the hormones talking?”  Oops, wrong thing to say.

Marron burst into tears.  (And I felt properly ashamed.)  “I don’t know what to do, Em,” she sobbed against my shoulder.  “I can’t tell my parents, and I hate kids, and I hate pregnant ladies too, because they’re so creepy!  And anyway, I wouldn’t be able to fit into any of my clothes once I got big!  What would I wear, maternity clothes!?”  Her eyes, watery and blue and looking as much like two miniature oceans as anything that wasn’t even one miniature ocean could look, grew big at this unfathomable horror.  Oh, that would be her biggest worry.  But at least after exhaling all of her worries in one breath, she seemed in less danger of hyperventilating.

“So the pregnancy test definitely had a little pink plus?  You’re sure?”  I was going entirely by what I’d seen in movies…but there had to be some basis in reality for that.  In any case, maybe somehow, some way, she’d managed to read the test wrong.  Maybe she was mistaken.  By now her hiccupping sobs had mostly quieted and I patted her back gently before moving my hand to her shoulder in a sort of half-hug, which felt slightly less awkward.  Marron seemed to sense my awkwardness and put on a somewhat-brave smile, pulling away from my arm and turning to face me.  She picked up my left hand and played with my fingers in an odd habit of hers, and it was a few minutes before she looked up.

“Oh.  Pregnancy test?  I never said anything about a pregnancy test.  I didn’t take one.  No, can you imagine walking up to the register at Walgreen’s with a box of those?  I’d die of embarrassment!  That pretty much labels your forehead with ‘stupid slut’, in capital, neon lime green letters.  And lime green doesn’t go with anything, you know.  Plus, then there’d be documented security camera footage.”  She paused, shuddering.  “What if my dad saw?”

Marron’s dad had a job in the CIA.  No one was really sure what he did, but as kids we used to pretend he could see us from every security camera.  We’d wave to him when we saw them; in fact, there were probably secret security people who told stories around their dinner tables about two weird ten-year-old girls they always saw waving manically at the cameras.

“So…you…didn’t take a pregnancy test?”  Now I was confused.

“Uh, no.  But I can tell.”

“Oh, can you?”

“Yes!  My period is…” Mar stopped playing with my hand so she could count on her fingers, “four days late.  And I’m always regular.  Always!”

“Oookay…but you know, that doesn’t automatically make you pregnant.  You could be stressed, or anxious, or consuming too much fiber, or…something.  Maybe spirits have occupied your uterus?  That’s probably a more plausible cause of pregnancy, come to think of it.  You haven’t been practicing voodoo, have you?  Maybe they’re here for revenge!”  I am so coherent in sticky situations.  I make so much sense, you could call me Miss Sensible.  Or Sensibility Girl.  Or the Sense Machine.  But…don’t.  Because that would be stupid.

“How can you joke about this!?”

“I’m not joking, Mar, I’m entirely serious.  Voodoo is not a laughing matter.”

"I hate you."  Mar smiled a bit as she spoke, then went back to playing with my hand.

I smiled back, then frowned when a thought struck me.  "So.  I just have to ask...who, ah, made you think you were pregnant?  I mean...who's the father?  If there is a father - can you have an accidental pregnancy without sex?  Walk into a sperm bank and trip?  Boom, pregnant?"  I had avoided this question up until now but it really was rather important.  If my best friend was pregnant, I needed to know which bastard to beat up.  Or rather, plot to beat up and then never actually confront because he'd probably be three times taller than me and seven-point-six times as strong.  But a girl can dream.

Marron paused.  "Sex?"  I nodded.  It's not like it was an accusation - more of a valid conclusion, given the circumstances.  "No.  You know me, Em, I wouldn't do that.  Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm not a whore.  I just like to flirt!"  She looked insulted at the very thought and I wonder how she can't grasp the grounds of my worry here.

"You're sure?  I mean, under some circumstances they say you can't remember.  Drugs and such..."

"Oh, now you're jumping to drugs!?"

"I...I...well, what else am I supposed to think?  You come here saying you're PREGNANT, haven't had sex, and haven't even taken a pregnancy test.  I'm trying not to panic but you're not giving me very much to work with here!"  My throat hurt now from whisper-shouting, and I immediately regretted taking out my frustration on Mar, who needed my help, pregnant or not.

"Here, let me see if my mum has any..." I stood up and began to walk towards my bedroom door.  It was weird to think about, but my mother was a relatively young woman and somewhere in the bathroom she probably had, "...pregnancy tests."

I didn't want to leave Marron alone but the prospect of clearing up this confusion once and for all propelled me towards the bathroom that my mother and I shared.  I tip-toed, just as a precaution, but as Mum was a really deep sleeper, I wasn't worried.  The bathroom was three doors down the hallway from my room; I approached the door, eased it open, and turned a sort of pirouette in order to enter the narrow room and flip the light switch on the wall opposite the door.  Whoever built this godforsaken house must have had something against kids who were afraid of the dark.  Not that I was.  A kid, that is.  Now that the light was on, I relaxed, and began rummaging through the drawers on my mum's side of the sink. 

First drawer - toothpaste, hair brush, facial cleanser, assorted beauty products.  Second drawer - tampons, homeopathic remedies galore, and a hair drier.  Her methods of bathroom organization sort of worry me.  Third drawer - extra toilet paper, hand towels, and a-HAH!  Pregnancy tests.  Four.  Four?  I tried not to think too hard about why she'd feel the need to have four pregnancy tests on hand, but...I guess she won't miss one.

            "MARRON!"  I didn't bother containing myself with a whisper this time.  I grabbed the test, ran back to my room to grab my friend, then dragged them both back to the bathroom to spend some time together. 

            “Go.  Pee.  Now.”

I paced anxiously in the hallway (after turning all the lights on) for what seemed like five minutes.  It was probably five-point-three.  When I heard the door unlatching, I jumped. 

"Did you...is it...what...are...?"

            "Negative," she grinned.  "You can breathe now, hon."

            "I...ah...well.  That's a relief," I took a few breaths.  "What would we have told your girlfriend?"

Monday, 7 November 2011

shades of our reality.

I have no pictures today.  I'm so very very very very (very very very very...) sorry, but I honestly haven't had any time between school and NaNoWriMo.  It crossed my mind today, though, that although I've shared a couple of poems on this blog (here and here, if you're interested), I haven't shown you the one off of which I'm basing the plot of my novel.


Hey, look, this is a picture.  Not a particularly fashion-related one, but
a picture all the same.  Wouldn't you agree?  So there :)


Typically I don't want to tell people what my ideas are regarding my poetry, but in the interest of helping you to understand the plot a little more (hah, as if there's a plot to understand...), I'll tell you this: it's about a mother and a daughter, and their relationship or lack thereof.


Anyway, without any further ado, le poem:


shades of our reality.


there are pens designed
simply to be looked at
without regard for the concepts
clamouring to run forth
in blue, or maybe black –
the expensive ones are never too
imaginative with
colours.

when I sat at the foot of your
bed, you told me colour
was all we were made of
and all we could ever count on.
even in chaos, there is
pigment.
even death and destruction lend
their own shading
to the world.

if you add shadow to an image
it looks more realistic.
I should have seen the shadows
creeping,
even then.

even then, I could see
that the dust around your love was
grey
and not a warm grey at all.
perhaps I should explain that
your love was never for me
but for the ink pens
though you’d spend hours tracing
our hands, clasped.

indigo was your favourite,
because I was your second favourite
and that was my colour.
it was everything about me,
though I didn’t know its meaning,
and I suspected you only kept me close
for the colour of my eyes.

we matched, see; I was your shadow
except my eyes burned,
you said,
with a fire behind their façade of calm.

when you taught me to spell
“calm” and “calamity”,
I used them interchangeably.
you said I was wise.

though we matched, your colour was
yellow
and the sunflowers that died in
scattered vases around our
empty house
reminded me of scrubbing pots.

you did the knives yourself,
because you told me they were too
dull for my hands.
pots make music.
knives make quiet.

when your ink pens stopped,
your stories had run dry.
I still pretended I could imagine
I could see them, if that is
imagining.

but I could also see the end
of our world and of
sunflowers
and that took no imagination
at all.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

the scariest thing is what comes AFTER halloween.



Slowly going mad from all the prose!  AH....

Yep.  Officially mad.  Or purple.  Huh?


Get off of Blogger right NOW and keep writing!!


Oh, I think a plot just ran by.  Bye, plot!


I will be so happy once this is over.

Thirty days and nights of literary abandon.

cabled sweater - thrifted // floral shorts - Elle for Kohl's // tights - Target // combat boots - Kohl's


Yesterday was Halloween, one of the most awesome days of the year.  Well, if you're a kid and can go trick-or-treating.  I'm no longer really of trick-or-treating age, but this year I took my little cousin (yep, Zack) around his neighborhood with Haley.  It was fun just walking around and seeing all the little kids in costumes, even though it was pretty chilly!  I had my cape on, so Zack and I both swirled along (he was the Phantom of the Opera) and Haley, well, she was a gypsy with a lifeguard hoodie on :)  


Even scarier than some of the houses on Halloween, though, is what I am endeavouring to do this November:

November is National Novel-Writing Month, and every year a contest called NaNoWriMo is held.  NaNoWriMo challenges writers to create a 50,000-word novel in the month of November alone - that's 1,667 words a day!  Right now I'm up to 1,427 and counting, and it's a lot harder than I'd thought!  But I'm determined to win the challenge, for two reasons: one, just to prove to myself that I can do it, and two, if you win (make it to 50,000 words), the NaNoWriMo organization will have your book professionally bound and sent to you - for free!  Because, come on, that's pretty freaking awesome if you can churn out that much writing in a month.  It's not expected to be great (in fact, it's kind of expected to be craptastic!) but any writing at all helps you become a better writer, and taking on this challenge with the support from writers all over the world going through the same thing has got to be worth it, even through all the stress.



Basically, I'm telling you this because NaNoWriMo means I'll be devoting a huge amount of time to meeting my word count goals every day along with functioning as a "normal" human being and keeping my grades up and whatnot.  With NaNo, I can't promise I'll be updating my blog as often as I'd like - there just isn't enough time for me to do everything I'd like.  It kills me, because I have so many fun outfits planned out that I can't even guarantee to myself I'll have time to photograph, much less edit and write up a blog post for!  I apologise very immensely muchly, but I don't want to just spew out crap blog posts this month, for the sake of keeping up stats and viewings and such.  Because that's no fun for anyone!


This blog post is 429 words!  I need that for my story!  Ah!


Cheers,
Shayli


Here's a video I thought I'd share with you, which should explain some of the crazy madness that will be going on: