Fantasies about a simpler life

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

I had that dream again last night. The one where I live in a cabin in the woods, with so much land around me that I can’t see my neighbours or hear traffic. The one where I wake up with nothing to do but brew coffee and sit down at my laptop to write.

In this scenario I am (of course) wildly famous, independently wealthy, completely safe living in the middle of nowhere, and there are no dangerous, poisonous or venomous anythings living under my floorboards.

After I’ve written for a couple of hours and the coffee has left an…


How a dental crisis gave me a much-needed wake up call

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Photo by Alex on Unsplash

“You’ve got a raging infection in your tooth. We’re going to have to do another root canal, I’m afraid — it’s worse than the last one. I’m surprised you lasted this long with the pain. That abscess looks really nasty.”

Another root canal? Are you kidding me? I’d just gone through all this for a completely different tooth. I was on antibiotics for weeks, and thoroughly miserable, and now my dentist was telling me I’d have to suffer through all of that all over again?

Okay, no biggie. Despite a life-long phobia of the dentist, I had eventually managed to…


You’re not as important as you think you are.

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Image via Pixabay

Oh God, please stop. Stop yelling your own name into the void. Just stop. I’m so sick of flicking open Medium (or turning on my television, or scrolling through social media) and seeing the same damn thing over and over.

You know what I’m talking about. That particular whiff of inauthentic, inarticulate, unimaginative, uninspiring, self-serving, excremental bollocks coming from the “online influencer” camp.

I really don’t want to hear (again!) about that one thing you did that one time ten years ago that you still bring up in every. goddamn. post.

No, really.

The first couple of times, it was…


Tapping into the emotional connection between words and melody

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Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

When I sit down at the computer to write, nine times out of ten, it’s with music playing in the background. I do this consciously — I can’t write with silence. But I also need to be able to absorb music without necessarily focusing on lyrics. I need to feel a mood in my bones and have it radiate out into my fingers.

After my laptop, the one writer’s tool I couldn’t live without is Spotify. And this isn’t even an affiliate thing, either. I just love it that much. I use it for the usual pop and rock playlists…


How the cannibalistic serial killer gained his superfans

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via Pixabay

For many of us, our first introduction to Hannibal Lecter was via Jonathan Demme’s 1991 film, The Silence of the Lambs. Who can forget the delightfully sinister Anthony Hopkins’ psychological flirting with protagonist Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) while a deranged fellow prisoner masturbated in the next cell over?

Lecter is often described as a psychotic villain, a character who commits such abhorrent crimes that many consider him to be utterly immoral, with no redeemable qualities whatsoever; he operates on a level outside of, and above, the law. He murders. He tortures. He eats. …


Sometimes it’s the little things…

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Photo by Katrina on Unsplash

I spend a lot of time staring at computer screens. For two days a week, I work a regular part-time gig as an office administrator, dealing with emails, phone calls and in-person queries all day long. After eight months in the job — the first six months of which were four days a week — I have come to realise, with a sense of bewildered awe and slight disgust, that I’ve become the kind of person who has a favourite computer screen position and that my office chair has developed a permanent ass dent. …


It’s not the winning that counts, but how you play the game

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Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

I don’t particularly like to fail. Does anyone? Failure says to us, ‘You are not good enough. You haven’t reached the minimum standard.’

Or does it?

Right now I’m at the start of a big research project, an optional fourth year after I completed my undergraduate degree in 2018. This research year, or Honours, is designed to give you a little taste of the PhD life, without the full commitment. Sorts the wheat from the chaff. Corrals the weak animals away from the herd. That sort of thing. …


Let me tell you the story of a boy…

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Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

My son isn’t neurotypical. The wires that make up his brain are loose. They’ve settled into a different kind of pattern; one where he’s a little bit wobbly, a little bit odd.

At three years old, he barely talks.
He only knows ten words.
He walks on tiptoes.
He flaps his arms.
‘You need to get him tested…’
‘…I think he might be retarded.’

I try not to take it personally, this use of the ‘r-word’. I tell myself it’s a product of its speaker’s time, that it’s just a descriptive word to them, like tall, or slow, or…broken.

But…


Like it or leave it — just don’t be a hypocrite about it

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Photo by Christian Sterk on Unsplash

There’s already a lot of content on the ‘net about how to be a good writer. About how to maximise the ‘hustle’, the drive, the thirst for publication through all the rejections. And trust me, there’s going to be a lot of rejection. It’s best that we’re all up front about that from the get-go.

I can’t tell you how to maintain motivation. I constantly struggle with this myself, so the question of motivation is going to have to stay a nut to crack for a different day.

But today? Today I’m going to talk about Medium and writing on…


Self-care tips and tricks to make a difference in a hectic life

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Photo by Anna Demianenko on Unsplash

One of my favourite things in the world to do is to go to the cinema. Despite having Netflix and access to literally thousands of hours of quality television that I can watch sans-bra and with coffee and snacks, I still regularly fork over $10+ to go and see the latest Marvel film or formulaic romcom.

And that’s not all. Every few weeks, I’ll get in my car, pick a new coffee shop within an hour’s drive, and just go there to drink caffeine and write. Sometimes it’s with a purpose in mind, sometimes not. …

Karen Smart

Freelance wordsmith and renegade semicolon over-user.

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