October Afternoon Tea with SJ + Updates

Good afternoon…or to be more exact, good evening!

I know, I was hoping I’d finish this post much earlier, but I worked my last night shoot yesterday which ended in the morning, so my bodily functions have reversed yet again. (Not to mention that I binge-watched yet another Japanese drama–and cried buckets.)

So, today, we’ll be having a firefly tea…

As it’s Halloween, we’ll be out in the garden where there are candles lit inside jack o’lanterns, twinkling lights hung across from the balcony, kettles full of apple cider, and the likes. Now, I don’t traditionally celebrate Halloween, but it’s impossible to ignore my neighbours blasting rocket fireworks into the indigo sky, so why not? There’s also helpings of kabocha-pumpkin pies, tarts, cupcakes, and my favourite–chestnut and sweet potato Mont Blancs!

All right, are you ready? Here we go…


Bibliotheca 

I finished my Goodreads challenge of 120 books! *inserts cheers and fanfares* This month, I took reading leisurely like I did in September, so I didn’t read as much as I was going to, but given everything that happened with my life, I think that was a good call. 

October Books

  1. Girl, Wash Your Face…Rachel Hollis
  2. The Theban Plays of Sophocles…Sophocles/David R. Slavitt
  3. The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships…Suzanne Stabile
  4. The Bullet Journal Method…Ryder Carroll
  5. Archenemies…Marissa Meyer
  6. Supernova…Marissa Meyer
  7. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard 1: The Sword of Summer…Rick Riordan
  8. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich…Alexander Solzhenitsyn/H. T. Willetts
  9. Max…Sarah Cohen-Scali/Penny Hueston
  10. Dust…Kara Swanson
  11. Webデザイン良質見本帳…久保田涼子 (Web Design Sample Chart)
  12. Emily of New Moon…L. M. Montgomery
  13. Tess of the Road…Rachel Hartman

Overall, I think I read more nonfiction than usual which had been my goal, so that was good. I could also read a few books I’ve been meaning to read (the Renegades trilogy, Magnus Chase) and re-read my favourite…Emily of New Moon. The most interesting read of the month was Tess of the Road. It’s not for everyone, but I think that was quite singular. 

Academics 

I got two jobs: One as a background performer, and the other as a medical interpreter trainee. At the end of the month, I’m rather sorry to say both are over for me (as of current), but believe they were a valuable experience. 

In backgrounding, I had night shoots, which meant I was coming back home at 5 am-ish. As a morning person, it was quite challenging. (In fact, I’m still kind of groggy right now…) Yet at the same time, I could meet many people on the set and forged valuable connections I greatly think of as a blessing. 

In medical interpreter training, I was pushed more than before in my interpreting skills. I usually think it’s pretty fun to translate, since I do those things mostly for volunteers and for church, but doing it as an actual job was another experience. Because I couldn’t attend the last day of training, I didn’t get the job, but I loved how present I would be in every situation and how I could still maybe pursue a path in medicine. We’ll see how all this leads, to…

Writing 

Got your second cup of apple cider? (I know, I can’t promote apple cider enough.) Perhaps a bite of Mont Blanc? 

Okay, now that we’re settled, let’s dive into what my writing looked like for this month. 

As I mentioned in my Academics section, since I got my job I couldn’t focus as much as I wanted on my writing side of life. I was going to try to cram in Elijacomb Alexei Fleur the 17th before my Meno-WriMo thing, but stopped around 10K in because I realised I should focus a bit more on prep. Which is a pity, since I love Elijacomb. It’s one of those really light-hearted projects you can sit down to and start pounding away.

Anyhow, I was thinking I would revenge-write Elektriem since if any of you remember last year, that was the project that really broke me. I was journaling, outlining, and defining character sketches. I got to a point I felt comfortable to start tackling the project on November 1st. (Which is like tomorrow.)

And yet. 

I started re-reading Woodstone Abbey, my Camp NaNoWriMo project this year. I was writing it from April to June, the word count is around 98K, and I’d only gotten over the inciting event. Now, when you’ve written almost a 100K and your story just started, you usually have a problem of some sort. I spent the summer break trying to figure out what was wrong, tried to cut down the word count (and characters, might I say with a bleeding heart), and nothing was working. At last, I abandoned it to rot on my shelf thinking it was my worst work yet. 

Then, I re-read the entire thing this week. 

I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but I was suddenly seized with the urgent desire to read Woodstone. And like most  authors out there would know, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Of course, there’s still some parts I could probably cut down and fix. But now, I’m really motivated to write Woodstone just to see what would happen. 

So that, my friends, is my Meno-WriMo project of the year. 

Life + Updates

Whew. That was a lot. But then again, a lot had happened this month. I wasn’t expecting October to be so…intense. 

Then there’s November. 

Yes, that’s right. November is the month us writers must brace ourselves for. 

And that’s why I’m going to be taking a short hitout. I know, it feels like I just took hitouts for the entire summer, and now I’m going to disappear again. But don’t worry, only for the month of November. I’ll be back on the last Saturday of November to the tea and also how my Meno-WriMo went. Which, by the way, is a bit of a nerve-wracking prospect, but hey, I trust in my future self. I’ll hopefully have a blast writing, even if sometimes it could get excruciating. 

And that’s that.

Thanks for reading! That’s it for today. How was October for you? Did you have anything new you started? What will November look like for you? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

September Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good Afternoon!(or Good Evening…)

Ever since I’ve gotten back into blogging this month, I was looking forward to today! As you probably already know, I love this Afternoon Tea series. 

Okay, are you ready?

Today, we are situated on a comfy couch filled with cushions in a spacious and airy living room. Our dog, Strawberry, is sprawled beside you in a furry warm mess, snoozing off. We have on the tea table beside us a mug of Earl Grey Tea with maple syrup. Everything is idyllic and in the background there’s some fuzzy Delibes playing on a record…


Bibliotheca 

So today, instead of listing out a bunch of books I read, I’ll give you the grand total of books read over this summer, which is…

53 books!

Me jumping up and down be like:

(Wow, that’s a lot even though I’m the one who read them.) I think the reason I got to get in so many readings was the slow pace. In like, for the first time in forever. 

Also, I read more Japanese books, and due to the difference in word count (Japanese wordcount is actually one word counted each), sp I feel like it’s way easier to finish a Japanese book than English books. Or maybe I’m faster reading Japanese. Or maybe I read English books the size of tomes. 

Or both. 

Anyhow, my top picks from the summer would be…

Summer Reading Top 10 Picks (in no order, really):

  1. A Gentleman in Moscow
  2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
  3. Always and Forever, Lara Jean
  4. Every Note Played
  5. Penguin Highway
  6. Carrie Pilby
  7. Freezing Point (氷点)
  8. Wicked Saints
  9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  10. Surprised By Joy

So if I were to recommend any books from my summer pile, it would be these ten. There’s more I would have liked to include, but that’s really a discussion for another time. 

Academics 

Do you need more tea? Or shall we open a packet of dried fruits assortment?

Okay, so now that I’ve graduated, school is looking a little funny for me…

Why? 

Well, for one thing, I’m taking a gap year. And in that gap year, I will be applying to Canadian schools, which means  I need to take some supplementary courses. Gah. More online schools. *shudders*

The other thing, I do have more leisure to study for fun. I know, I’m one of those weirdos who believe studying is fun. I’ve started learning Esperanto and re-started learning Latin. I might do more of the advanced calculus on Khan academy, too. Maybe I’ll learn HTML while I’m at it. 

Fun times are ahead of us!

Occasion to rejoice!

I’m still undecided on the topic of AP, though. Should I try to take AP on top of what I have? But Canadian schools aren’t that big on APs, so should I bother? So many options, so much to think about… 

Writing 

I actually did not get much writing done in general. Like I’ve literated many times before, my mental health has been wonky this summer, so I’ve been steering away from the mental gruelling side of writing and revising my plot, dissecting my characters, building worlds, &c. (See more on 5 Ways to Write (Without Actually Writing)). 

I’ve also come to the interesting place where I realised that maybe I’m working on the wrong story. Listening to Abbie Emmons youtube channel and the Story Embers podcast has been a  great way of self-care and regaining inspiration for me. This coming month, I hope to get back into the actual side of writing, so I’m hoping to decide on which WIP to work on. 

Life

And at last, we come to life. For me, this month has been all about trusting God has the perfect plan for me, and sometimes (which is like everyday) I need to learn to roll with the flow of things. I don’t always need this elaborate plan to get to places. Sure, I’ll get to places…but only in God’s timing and plan. 

I’ve also been learning how I have this projection of myself that’s one way, and there’s this other side of me I’m starting to discover. Like, I’m getting into more translation works, and it’s actually fun and easy for me. Plus, the more I knock on that avenue, the more doors open. 

*goes into massive speculation*

I still don’t know what I’m doing now counts towards or signifies. But I’ve only lived for so long and I don’t have to figure it all out right now. 

So for today, I’ll just relax and drink more Earl Grey. Because maybe that’s the best thing I can do today. 

How was your month? What is the start of a new school year like for you? Did you get to rest this summer? What are some things you’re excited about for the start of the year? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!