Tuesday, 3 September 2013

What's in a name?

Today's prompt from The Daily Post is:

Do you know the meaning of your name, and why your parents chose it? Do you think it suits you? What about your children's names?

My name is Silvia.

The first and last time I checked its meaning was in Grade 6 when I had to complete an assignment. It means something along the lines of 'girl in the woods' or 'girl in the forest' or 'girl in a place that's green and nature-y and filled with dangerous animals that would eat her as soon as she tried going feral'.

In that sense, no, my name doesn't suit me. I couldn't survive in the wild for even a day.

However, I've been thinking about my name in another sense. Just the other day, my Short Fiction tutor said my name is something to live up to. I'm assuming he was talking about Sylvia Plath, which is pretty cool because she was a great writer and I'm aspiring to be a great writer. I was happy he made that remark, at least until I remember Sylvia Plath committed suicide. Still, my name gives me a goal and I love it all the more for that.

Sylvia Plath

As for my children's names... don't get me started. I don't have children yet and I don't plan to for a long time, but those poor things are going to hate me for their ridiculous names. It's very likely I'll name them like I name my characters because they're both my babies. Wren, Junia, Mell, Alcor and Feri are some right off the top of my head. But I might go in another direction and name my children after my favourite anime characters. Ace, Zoro, Nico Robin and Law.

Nico Robin from One Piece

Either way, I'll be naming my children with love and I hope they'll learn to accept their names as I have accepted mine.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Far from Home

A prompt from The Daily Post is:

Tell us about the furtherest distance you've travelled from home.

I have ambitions to travel and see the world but as I'm still a struggling student who's low on cash, I don't really have that luxury. However, I have taken advantage of opportunity when it came and that was in my first year of university when I joined a group of fellow students travelling to the rural zone to aid the local economy because crops and businesses had been devastated by floods earlier in the year.

We stayed in a small caravan park by the most beautiful lake I'd ever seen-- it was calm and quiet and the bunch of us just sat on the edge, nibbling on biscuits and making small talk about anything and everything that interested us. We talked about things from our courses and our interests to things like morals, ethics and religion. I remember we talked about religion a lot because we all had different faiths and it still strikes me to this day how about ten of us managed to talk through homosexuality, the Bible and hell without raising our voices or shooting down each other's beliefs. Civil conversation about such prickly topics was something I'd never experienced and I found it so relaxing to be able to chat and find out more about other people and their values.

I know for a fact that travelling enlightens me and makes me feel like I am truly living because of the new experiences that it offers me. I was so disappointed to return home, not that I didn't miss my family and all, but I loved the freedom that travelling and learning about rural life gave me.

This is the picture of me that I took while sitting on the side of that beautiful lake.
The good news is, I will definitely be travelling a lot more. In fact, I have plans to go to South Africa at the start of next year-- I joined a volunteer group who made a presentation at my university and in a few months time, I will be overseas (the absolute furtherest I will probably ever be from my family) and doing both conservation and humanitarian work for three amazing weeks.

South Africa has always been the dream-- just a few more months!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Tumblr fun!

So I came upon this thing called the 30 Day Anime Challenge on Tumblr, which is basically posting different things about my favourite animes for the period of one month. I'm a bit of an anime freak so I'm definitely giving it a shot!

If you're interested in following this little journey, this is my Tumblr account. If anyone else is into anime or manga, talk to me! I'm always up for a discussion about this stuff :D

Dreams and travels

A prompt from The Daily Post is:

Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail and why you haven’t tried it yet.

"I want to be a vet!"

I have loved animals for as long as I can remember and vividly remember my animal-crazy stages which shifted from cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, lizards, penguins, lions and about a thousand other different animals. I was adamant I would be a vet when I grew up and even knew which university I'd attend to make my dream come true.

However, when I was thirteen I realised vets had to put down animals and in my young and naive eyes, that was equivalent to murder and I couldn't handle something as weighty as that. It didn't even take a minute for my dream to crash down into splinters.

But still, I loved animals and continued loving them to this day. I'm now studying interactions between animals and their environments and I love it. I'm a biology person and I'm always looking towards learning more about life. When I learned humans originated from Africa, I wanted to go there so badly. It made me want to go there more just because of the amazing wildlife and culture.

"South Africa has always been the dream!"

I can't explain it but I've always wanted to go to South Africa. I don't really know what's there or what it's like or even how far it is from Australia but I know it's beautiful and it's where I have to be at least once in my life. I can't explain to anyone why I want to go or why it has to be South Africa. But my wordlessness seems to get the message across and people say it must mean it's meant to be.

I hope so. I've never been before because of the dangers of travelling by myself and my parents are pretty strict about stuff like that.

But... I'm going next year!

I signed up with a volunteer organisation and I will be doing conservation and humanitarian work in South Africa. I thought my parents were going to blow their tops off but they were so chill I thought they thought I wasn't serious.

When I said, "Yeah, I'm going to South Africa." They were like, "Yeah, okay."

So I'd say the only reasons keeping me from my dream was money and anxiety. But I work so I can afford this luxury and my parents couldn't care less now (I don't think they love me anymore, sob).

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hey there, little fella!

A prompt from The Daily Post (this one's been sitting in my 'Draft' pile for a while) is:

Take a quote from your favourite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!

That's right, one of my two most favourite movies is Finding Nemo. The other one is The Lion King. I've always wondered why the movies I like are all the kiddy ones. Maybe it's because they subtly appeal to a wide demographic so people of all ages can enjoy them, and kids can still enjoy them when they grow up, have intricate plots and amazing characters. Yeah, that's gotta be it.

Finding Nemo

The funniest character in Finding Nemo is Dory full stop. Without her, the movie wouldn't have been half as good as it was. Ellen Degeneres was the perfect voice actor, full of humour and life, and it showed. I mean, after the movie came out, kids everywhere were imitating her.

"Hey there, little fella!"
"I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine. He shall be my Squishy."

That last one was supposed to be whale-talk. I don't think it translates well over Blogger.

And OH MY GOD, FINDING DORY IS COMING OUT IN 2015! Words cannot express how excited I am.

The Lion King

I have only one word for this movie: Scar.

He was the coolest villain ever. You know when you watch movies nowadays and you get a ten minute monologue of the villain's evil plans and his sick, twisted background which made him into a sick, twisted person? Yeah, Scar didn't give us any of that shizz. Nope, he sang his song in that wondrous, growling voice 'BE PREPARED FOR THE DEATH OF THE KING, BE PREPARED!' and said, "Long live the king" right before he killed Mufasa.

No character is more badass than that. Plus the whole sly personality made me love and hate him at the time. When Simba was telling (the dearly departed) Mufasa to get up because it was time to go home, my heart broke and feels just came pouring out. All because of Scar. I have a love/hate relationship with him. It's mostly love though, because he's a good villain, if that makes sense.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Over and over again

Today's prompt from The Daily Post is:

Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

I couldn't believe my eyes when this question popped up today of all days because I had just picked up one of my most favourite books from childhood for another round of reading: The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

I got my grubby hands on this book in primary school. I was flipping through the Book Club catalogue, saw a book with a dog on the front cover and without knowledge of the plot or characters, I filled in the form and ordered it. That's right, I bought the book (or rather, my mum did because ten-year-old me had no money) because a dog stood proudly on the cover. I was in an animal adoration phase at that time.

This lovely cover made me buy the book.
Weeks later, the book arrived. I snatched it and eagerly flipped to the first page. From then on, I was swept away by the beauty and simplicity of the writing. The story sucked me in and opened up a whole new world, filled with the harsh snow of the Artic, the greed and cruelty of man, the loyalty and ferocity of dogs, and the list goes on forever.

It was all so new to my ten-year-old brain I'm surprised my head didn't explode. I zipped through the book in a few hours and it left me with feelings of wonder and emptiness, feelings which I have ever since used as a benchmark to compare other books.

The Call of the Wild was unlike anything I've read and even now, ten years on, I can't find a book I would love to re-read more.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Afro circus

I am the biggest fan ever of kiddy movies. Whenever I see a trailer that looks like it would fill a giant screen with awesomeness, I head straight for the theatres for a ticket and a giant bucket of popcorn.

While I've watched most of the kiddy movies out there, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen Madagascar 3 even though a lot of people talked about it. I guess I wasn't all that interested in social activities at that point in my life because I was focusing on my studies.

But a friend mentioned it a few weeks ago and started talking about this funny part in the movie:

I laughed. But not as hard as I snorted when I found mash-ups.

And even though this has nothing to do with Madagascar 3 or even Chris Rock, I stumbled upon this and laughed so hard I almost cried:

Saturday, 6 April 2013

What even?

Today I received a rejection email from a magazine I submitted to last year. I'm disappointed because I put a lot of effort into my story but hey, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

The good thing about this magazine is that they give feedback to all the work they receive, so despite the rejection, I was quite pumped to know how I could improve my writing. I read through their comments and thought, "Hmm, yeah, okay. Not really my style but I see where you're going with this. I'll think about it."

Then one word caught me out.Voyeurism. The sub-editor who looked at my work said it had a sense of voyeurism. I didn't know what it meant, only that it sounded like voyage so maybe it had something to do with a journey, which would make sense because my story takes place in a train. Just to be sure though, I looked it up in the dictionary and saw this:

Voyeur n person who obtains pleasure from watching people undressing or having s*x.
Voyeurism n

And the first thing I thought was, "What the freak?"

I don't even know how that works. My mind was completely broken and I couldn't function straight for about half an hour. When I think back to it, I still don't, although I laugh at the reaction I had.

To end this post on a happy note, here's something that made me laugh:

Monday, 1 April 2013


Today's prompt from The Daily Post is:

Does a messy home (or office) make you anxious and cranky, or is cleaning something you just do before company comes over?

I'm messy by nature so books on the desk instead of the shelf and pencils rolling around instead of standing in a pencil jar doesn't faze me at all. In fact, my creativity and motivation thrive on mess because as Einstein so eloquently put it: "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"

After reading that quote, I became quite proud of my desk, what with papers filled with novel ideas, lecture notes, books and sketches scattered everywhere. Lots of people look at it and see a giant towering stack of rubbish but most things making up that tower are important and systematically filed. By systematically, I mean everything is stacked in the order of: Monday's things, Tuesday's things, Wednesday's things etc. and then Wren, Fall, plot bunny #1, plot bunny #2, plot bunny #3 and so on.

However, I do become quite cranky when I lose a piece of paper in that tower and can't find it, or when there isn't enough space to work. That's when I roll up my sleeves and do a massive purging/exorcism of the unwanted things lurking in my desk. I tear through everything and separate it into three categories: bin, recycle and keep. I am heartless when it comes to cleaning. I keep what's necessary and everything else is rejected. Sentimental value? Those words aren't in my dictionary.

The only other time I clean is when guests come over and I am commanded by a scary dragon called Mother to clean up my desk and my room so our special visitors won't think I'm a troll who crawled out from under its bridge. Instead, they'll think I'm a civilised person with normal hobbies and tastes.

It's like false advertising.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


Today's prompt from the The Daily Post is:

If you were to judge your favourite book by its cover, would you still read it?

There are so many books I've read and loved, I don't know if I can choose one. I've got about thirty books in front of me right now and I'm scanning them to see which one I should talk about for this post and my indecisiveness is getting to the point where my eye is about to start twitching.

I'm settling on Matthew's Reilly's Ice Station.

Matthew Reilly is the god of action thrillers and his works are filled with guns, explosions, blood, swearing and a lot of humour stemming mainly from a character called Mother, who is the least motherly character I can think of. His sentences are short, sharp and everything swooshes by at a pace so fast I was flipping through the pages like a crazed bibliophile who couldn't get enough of words.

Once, I stayed up till three in the morning to finish one of Matthew Reilly's books. It was a great idea at the time but a couple of hours later in school, I really regretted it.

I digress.

Although this cover doesn't tell the reader much about the epic and violent content inside, there is a dark feel to it because of the rolling clouds above the silhouette of a darkened ice station. It's almost a prelude to the horror that the Marines find themselves in, a quiet photo to lull the reader into a false sense of security before throwing them neck-high into action.

I'd pick this up based on the cover alone. I'm more of a minimalist when it comes to covers and if it's clean and simple then I'm more likely to pick it up. That's not to say I won't pick up a book that's got characters and words crammed onto the cover, no, of course not. But it will deter me quite a bit.