<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Saturday, May 28, 2005

The neighbourhood children have stumbled across a most wonderful game: death to all. They have outfitted themselves with guns of all types, from water guns to plastic replicas to wooden approximations of a barrel and handle. Using these delightful tools, they scream various gun-like noises ("BANG!" and "BAM!" being the current favourites) at the top of their lungs, shout to their allies and enemies alike, and run for all they're worth. We have recently added walkie-talkies and handcuffs into the mix, leading to yet more screaming and running -- not to mention some unpleasant associations in my own head.

What makes this particularly worthy of note -- at least to my mind -- is their chosen playing field. The scary steep lane is one territory; the street that runs parallel is another. My apartment and its most lovely expanse of wooden deck are right in the middle of the two. At all times of the morning, afternoon and evening, I have been woken by, startled by and have generally heard this commotion for literally weeks on end. Asking for a relocation of the game leads to compliance -- for about five, perhaps ten minutes. Even sitting out on the deck itself offers only temporary reprieve.

Now being raised by a Quaker mother, I must say that this game and others of the sort were most definitely Not Acceptable in my household while my brother and I were growing up, so perhaps my lack of fond memories of screaming bullets and shouting the deaths of my enemies is somewhat to blame for my growing irritation at this particular pastime. (I will note, however, that games involving lightsabers and/or swords, shields and armour were household favourites. Being raised by a Quaker mother who is a devoted fan of science fiction and fantasy does lead to such contradictions.)

I was thinking to myself the other day as I watched a small horde of children pound their way across my wooden deck, all screaming at the top of their lungs, that I would be so much happier if they were playing, say, hide and go seek. I would be more likely to watch them with fondness and a smile--even point out good hiding places on my deck and behind my car. Though who knows if I can blame mere nostalgia in this; after all, hide and seek would be so much quieter.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 6:47 PM (0) comments

Welcome to Unemployment

Well, that's it. My contract with the Career Centre has ended, as has my five-year run at York University. My work-related belongings are sitting in a crate on the floor and my goodbye card is propped up on top of the printer.

Everything considered, yesterday was a good day: not only did I have a fantastic going-away potluck consisting entirely of snacks and desserts ("Did you all notice that I rather like snacks?" I said, laughing, upon seeing the spread) and a very good final conversation with my now-former boss, but I also spent the evening out with a group of my now-former co-workers, drinking and generally having a hilarious time.

I admit, I am rather sad that that's it, that I'm leaving -- have left -- but happy, too. These next few months promise to be good ones, with most excellent opportunities to catch up on my reading, write like there's no tomorrow, spend time at the cottage, visit with friends and, of course, go to Europe. I've spent most of today in an exhausted sleep, but when I wake I can only think of the good things to come, and it makes me smile.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 6:45 PM (0) comments

Thursday, May 26, 2005
Yesterday was my birthday. Yay birthday! As days go it was fairly quiet, but fun, happy and with much laughter. This, I think, is all I could ask for.

I have to say, I rather liked being 23. It was a good age; lots of important things learned about myself, important work done and the like. Though the stress of the day job has not been inconsiderable, and the year had its serious ups and downs (reminder to self: in winter, MUST GET MORE LIGHT), I have to say that I enjoy not having the constant pressure of the school routine anymore. I have loved being able to read my own books again, and for pleasure, not because someone is expecting me to incorporate it into an essay. Plus, I think I had another not-inconsiderable leap in my writing (the Year of No Sales being of no consequence in this regard).

But 24 feels like it will be more stable. I say this on nothing but gut reaction -- and it's a gut full of cake, so take that how you will.

Also: tomorrow is my last day at the Career Centre. My last day at York. The end of thirteen months of Career Centre and five years' worth of York. I'm looking forward to it -- and yet in an odd way I feel like nothing will be different. As if next week I will set my alarm and get up and go to work as per usual ... and the week after that ... and the week after that ... It's hard, sometimes, to get my subconscious to get on board with what my conscious brain has known for months. Silly brain.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:17 PM (0) comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

At Long Last ...

The bagpipe story is done. DONE!

Okay, so maybe not entirely done, but finished enough and the deadline had arrived, so: done. And if the revised and trimmed long version (10,600 words) is too long, then I always have the briefer ending that involves far fewer bagpipes--in fact, no bagpipes at all--that will bring the story down to a lovely 9,500 or so.

This is what happens when I tell my brain it can think about novels: "Help, help, I'm drowning in plot!"

Plus, I play the fun "why use a paragraph of description when I can use five pages!" game. Good times. The backspace key has never had such a workout.

In totally unrelated news, my car's alternator blew and I'm suddenly significantly poorer than before. I was (too) excited this morning to discover that I had not one dollar in my wallet, but two. Also, there are only six more days of work left more me, then lovely unemployment. Even with the "significantly poorer" thing mentioned above, I can't wait to not have to go to work every single weekday, even if it's just for a little bit. Even if I am a terrible person and don't write a word and don't get off my butt the entire time, just imagine the progress I can make on my To Read pile.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 8:32 PM (1) comments

Friday, May 06, 2005
A Random List of Four Things

About two weeks ago, I thought to myself, I'll update the blog when I'm feeling better. Somehow, one does not feel particularly chatty when curled up in bed with a nasty cold. Yet right now, so many days later, I am still sick, still having intermittent problems with my voice, still snozzly and all the rest. So, here are a few random happenings that should probably have their own entries but won't get them because I have a story to write, dammit:

1. My car got a flat tire. Luckily, it happened just as I was approaching and then pulling into my driveway. Not so luckily ... well, it was a flat tire. What more bad luck do I need?

I, however, am not the sort of girl who likes feeling helpless. So, though it was cold outside and approaching evening, I bloody well changed the tire. And yes, getting the tire actually off the car required my full body weight plus some jumping, and yes, I really didn't need to take apart that bit of my car to get at the jack, but I have thus proven that I am a girl who will not be lost and helpless at the side of the road one day, waiting oh-so-anxiously for male help. No--I will fix the tire, even if I am wearing something ridiculous; yes, even if I have to ruin pantyhose or get a skirt muddy in the process.

2. I took some time of work because of the aforementioned illness. Then, exactly one week later, the same illness required of me more days off work. While not fond of illness, I did read Michelle's The Broken Crown in its entirety, so that says a lot about the kind of reading time I had on my hands. Delightful.

3. I went to see the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and deemed it to be entertaining enough. I've only read the book of that title once, and a good handful of years ago at that; and so while I know that the experts and purists and other fans can find more difficulties than I, this movie version did manage to hit on all the key elements that I remembered: mice, 42, towels, end of the world, etc. Thus, I was satisfied.

Though, I must admit, my favourite part of the evening was leaving the theatre complex surrounded by people, my friends, all of whom were singing (and loudly at that) "So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish." Ah, I thought to myself. My people. And had I anything resembling a voice at the time, I think I would have joined them.

4. The bagpipe story is due in less than two weeks. It is every bit as painful to write as it has ever been. Lord help me, if this story sucks, is the terrible basement-story that I fear it may be, then I am quite simply screwed. I might have written "An End to All Things" in four days, but I see no replacement story leaping up in this case to save my sorry self.

So, bagpipe story: be good. Or else.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 7:51 PM (0) comments

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