Hello, Dear Readers - and happy Friday! Isn't it lovely to see Friday again? It never gets old, does it? Today's post is brought to you via a meme (borrowed from the lovely Steph Burgis' Blog), wherein you take a moment to list ten things in your life that you love and are grateful for, just to remind yourself how lucky you are (and I have been tremendously lucky, I know).
So here we go:
1) Being a published writer. It might sound strange to list this as a thing I love, but it's true. I really do love being a writer, a published writer. I love this life. I spent my whole childhood, my teens and my early twenties longing for this outcome, bargaining with higher powers (and fairies, and the spirits, and fate and luck and any other supernatural thing I could think of) If only I could get published... And now I am. And I've got an unspeakably wonderful agent, a complete dream editor, the best readers ever, and I get to do this full-time, at least for a while. How wonderful is that? Sometimes I still have to stop and take a minute to absorb the fact that it's really, really real. I hope I always will.
2) Finbar Finley Finbarsson the Third. Needs no explanation, really. I mean, just look at him!
3) My online YA community. The people that I've met online - mostly on Twitter - have been an absolute Godsend to me. You may remember my Insecurity: I Haz It post, where I talked about how lonely and isolated I had felt in the past as a writer in my small, rural community. Family and friends tried to be supportive but the simple fact is that calling your sister or friend at work at three in the afternoon to say: '3k today, wahooo!' is likely to get a very puzzled reaction indeed. Online, that statement gets you virtual high-fives and hugs and genuinely interested questions about your WIP because the YA writing/reading community - bloggers, readers, writers both published and aspiring - GETS IT. I can't tell you how amazing it is to have a group of friends who get it. I love you guys!
4) My writing group. We've been around in one form or another since about 2002, but in 2004 the lovely Barbara decided to give us a name, The Furtive Scribblers, and we've never looked back. Most of my very best ideas for stories and situations and characters have evolved from the convoluted, tangenital discussions I have with my writing group that start out about unicorns as a mythological representation of innocence and end up with psychosomatic injuries. That this bunch of learned, educated, well-travelled, well-read individuals all gather together on a regular basis to, basically, talk crazy - and that it really works! - is a wonder and a joy to me.
5) Clouds and water. I'm so lucky to have access to wild green spaces in my day to day life. When I'm frustrated, sad, blocked or just restless, a long walk among the sighing grasses, looking at the clouds and the reflections in the water, eases my soul like nothing else ever has.
6) Books. Books, books, books. Do I need to say anymore here? There are a million authors I could thank for expanding my mind, my understanding, my heart and my soul, but basically...I love books. Even the books I hate, I also love in a strange way. Books. I love you.
7) Trains. Waiting at the station, watching the other trains pass by, leaving a blurred white snapshot on the back of my eyelids of incomplete faces peering out of the windows. The muffled, melancholic sounds of the announcements over the tannoy, mentioning places and routes that seem oddly exotic even if I've been there before. Getting on my own train, watching the other passengers from the corners of my eyes and making up names and stories for them based on the fact that they wear a red tie with a blue suit or that their shopping bag has a rainbow badge on it. And then, as the train pulls away, popping my headphones in, taking out my notebook and just writing. Writing faster than I ever manage to do in real life - because being on a train, sitting still and yet travelling - isn't real life. It's unreal, and it's quiet even though it's noisy, and private even though it's in public. On Tuesday I did a three hour round trip and managed to write nearly twenty notebook pages, which translates to about 5,000 words. A normal day's work in my Writing Cave (between six to twelve hours) produces 2,000 if I'm lucky. So yeah, you bet I love trains.
8) My iPod. At the click of a finger I can conjure up any mood I wish. Need to feel sad? Wistful? Angry? Determined? Pumped and optimistic? Joyful and relaxed? I have a playlist for it, trust me. My dad, when asked what music he likes, just says: 'Ask Zoë. She has all the music'. And he's right. I do. Right here on my trusty iPod.
9) Papermate Nylon Blue Tuck nylon fibre tip pen with 1.0mm line width and blue ink. Not fancy, not expensive, but still my favourite pen in the whole wide world.
QUICK CONTEST: List Ten Things YOU Love in the comments before before midnight tonight, and one randomly chosen winner will receive a signed UK paperback copy of Shadows on the Moon. This giveaway is open internationally. I will pick the winner on Saturday and announce on Monday. Ready, steady...Go!