Saturday, March 18, 2017

Inner peace

Last weekend, I was thinking about writing a post on introversion/extroversion, when I remembered I already did something like that a year ago, and for much the same reason.

This time last year we held a division-wide all staff meeting. Given that we were bringing hundreds of people together from all over the province, and that most of them work directly on front counters serving the public, that conference took place over a weekend which took away the time I normally depend on - as an extreme introvert - to recharge my mental batteries.

Last weekend I reached the end of two weeks of highly intense and interactive departures from regular work, which for introverts is the definition of exhaustion.

We had another division-wide conference, but this time it was a smaller group and was able to take place on regular workdays. It was three days of presentations (which us directors had to prepare and deliver) and some great conversations. On its own that would have been fine, but by sheer coincidence it was book-ended by four days’ traveling out of town on an intense project workshop the preceding week, and followed by two days’ highly interactive training on, of all things, giving presentations.

Don’t get me wrong, these were all fabulous experiences individually, but run them consecutively and by the end I was ready for the funny farm.

It’s taken me the past week to get back on an even keel work-wise and energy-wise. Along the way it got me musing about the kinds of people the workplace values.

As a society, we claim to value diversity, and yet it seems we consistently revert to one image of success: that of outgoing sociability, to whom “networking opportunities” represent joy unbounded. This ignores a significant portion of the population to whom the words invoke a visceral dread.

It kinda peeves me that people seem to expect introverts to behave like extroverts in order to progress, but that seems to be the world we live in. Is my perspective simply skewed? How does it look from your perspective?

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying a weekend of rest and re-energizing activities such as reading and writing and long walks in the spring sunshine. How about you?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Weekend Writing Warriors March 12

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla escaped two assailants in her room, disguised as servants, by leaping out of her window into the grip of an artificial gravity field. They are held by the field, upside down on the overhanging eaves 70’ above the ground. One assassin remains, holding a thermal grenade with a dead switch.

=====

Shayla glanced up once more and caught the eye of Bard Jovin, who gave a brief nod.

Returning her attention to ‘Gingallia’, Shayla said, “It seems you have the advantage.”

Her voice was calm, conversational, but as she spoke she leaped for the balcony, rolling to compensate for the sudden reversal of gravity. From the corner of her eye she saw the assassin’s feet leave the eaves.

Bard, quick on the uptake, had killed the grav field the moment Shayla jumped. As she landed, Shayla grabbed the nearest guards and shoved them towards the open doors leading into her quarters.

“Inside!” the captain roared, dragging more guards towards safety.

Behind Shayla the night blazed. Stone slabs under her feet bucked and sagged. She scrambled for a grip on subsiding masonry.

=====

We’re leaving this chapter at this point and I’m taking a break from WWW for a while. I’ll be back later in the year with more action from Shayla!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Weekend Writing Warriors March 5

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla escaped two assailants in her room, disguised as servants, by leaping out of her window into the grip of an artificial gravity field. They are held by the field, upside down on the overhanging eaves 70’ above the ground. Shayla has dealt with one, leaving one assassin remaining.

=====

‘Gingallia’s’ hand emerged slowly from her robes. Instead of the needle gun Shayla had been expecting, she held a thermal grenade. Her thumb was pressed on the arming trigger, which pulsed rapidly orange. Shayla noted white knuckles gripping the slim cylinder.

Shayla sheathed her knife and calmly asked, “Dead switch?”

‘Gingallia’ nodded.

“So if you get shot,” Shayla said clearly, so the guards a few feet away could hear her, “we all die.”

Shayla continued her careful tread along the eaves. She was now alongside the balcony. She could do with taking this one alive, but killers who got this close knew what stakes they played.

=====

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weekend Writing Warriors February 26

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla escaped two assailants in her room, disguised as servants, by leaping out of her window into the grip of an artificial gravity field. They are held by the field, upside down on the overhanging eaves 70’ above the ground. Shayla has dealt with one, leaving one assassin remaining.

=====

Shayla backed carefully along the eaves, feeling her way over the joists and decorative moldings adorning the roof line. The wall at her side turned a corner. She glanced briefly upward over her shoulder to where the balustrade of her bedroom balcony hung a few feet above her head. ‘Gingallia’ followed the line of her gaze, and Shayla knew she’d spotted the guards lining the balcony, weapons ready. Their presence so quickly was a welcome sight. Someone must have already alerted them to danger long before the alarm triggered when Shayla used her escape route. Bard Jovin, her guard captain, took up a position just out of sight of her attacker.

Shayla thought she saw a flicker of calculation in the impostor’s eyes. She knows she can’t get off a shot before getting blown away.

=====

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sweet successes

With all the crap still in the news (Are we already on the campaign trail for 2020? Really?) sometimes it’s best to administer an antidote by celebrating some of the small wins in life.

Success #1

I discovered last year that I write best when I can listen to music on headphones. We have a family subscription to iTunes so we have access to a long list of titles but I’d always been signed in with Ali’s ID which means when I’m listening, she can’t. A family subscription should mean we can both access the store at the same time.

We went through an afternoon of frustration a few weeks ago trying to get this working, sifting through the clear-as-mud instructions on the interwebs (are we signing in or out of iTunes, iCloud, or the App Store, or all three at once? And was that my ID or Ali’s it wants here?) and going round in circles. In best bureaucratic manner we ended up with conflicting messages, first saying I needed to be added to family sharing, then saying I can’t be added because I’m already there. Meanwhile, no music.

Yesterday we had another crack at it, and got it working.

Bliss!

I can now download my own library without having to leaf through a load of artists I have no interest it.

Success #2

As a rule, we go more for savory foods than sweet. I’m much more inclined to go for seconds than for dessert, but once in a while a pudding makes a welcome change. Trouble is, apart from homemade cheesecake, I don’t normally do desserts.

A while ago, Ali’s brother bought us a book called Great British Puddings, full of mouth-watering recipes. I kept getting drawn to it recently, and finally decided to try one of the recipes.

I give you ... lemon sponge.
With custard, of course.
Ali is the baker in the family so she helped out, but the result was very pleasing. Trouble is, the kids enjoyed it too, which is why there’s so little left.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend Writing Warriors February 19

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla escaped two assailants in her room, disguised as servants, by leaping out of her window into the grip of an artificial gravity field. The three of them are now standing, held by the field, upside down on the overhanging eaves 70’ above the ground. One attacked Shayla, who parried, causing the assassin to stagger backwards ...

=====

One foot found the edge of the eaves, and he stepped, without thinking, to keep his balance. But he was now half out of the edge of the grav field, and conflicting forces led his reflexes astray. He lost his balance. The planet’s natural gravity reclaimed him and he fell, shrieking, into the night.

The remaining assassin reached into her robes. Her hood had slipped, revealing a perfect likeness of Gingallia, one of Shayla’s senior personal servants. It also revealed eyes filled with fear and shock at her companion’s sudden demise. All the same, Shayla knew better than to underestimate her. She wouldn’t be here unless she was at the peak of her profession.

=====

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Weekend Writing Warriors February 12

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly blog hop where participants post eight to ten sentences of their writing. You can find out more about it by clicking on the image below.
http://www.wewriwa.com/

Continuing the opening chapter from The Ashes of Home, Shayla escaped two assailants in her room, disguised as servants, by leaping out of her window into the grip of an artificial gravity field. The three of them are now standing, held by the field, upside down on the overhanging eaves 70’ above the ground.

=====

The first one, the Barras lookalike (traitor or impostor?) swung his rapier. Shayla’s own blade flashed blue and met it with a jarring wrench.

A shimmerblade was a rare and fearsome weapon, highly prized by undercover agents as a weapon of stealth. When activated, the vibrating crystalline edge could shear through anything less than military grade vehicle armor--or another shimmerblade. But when two such blades met in hand-to-hand combat, the results were random and potentially catastrophic for one or both parties.

Shayla’s knife hand went numb. She barely managed to keep her grip on the hilt as she stumbled back against the wall towering over her head to meet the ground hanging impossibly above. But at least she had been prepared. She’d activated her shimmerblade at the last moment and knew what to expect. Her opponent staggered back in the other direction.

=====

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