The Pickled Mushroom

Finally back on track <3

April 17, 2010
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It’s taken me long enough to get back to writing for NaNo, but it looks like I’ve finally back on the bandwagon I fell off of. I spent 8pm to 8am writing, downing one cup of black tea after the other, and although my word count is rather humble I’m satisfied. I managed only slightly more than 12k words in 12 hours – compared to the 20k that did in 14 hours during NaNo, that’s really not much. But I wrote out the plot I wanted to and I’m pretty happy with that.

I’m really coming to an end now with the story. It’s still a while off still, 20k or 30k at least, but the plot is almost at an end. I’m very excited and also very sad – the ending is rather sad and I’m considering writing an alternative ending as well, just to allow my beloved main character to be happy for a bit. Poor thing really is unlucky.

I also got around to writing the story of Albert’s life and death! It was so awesome, he suddenly kept giving me all of these words and even came up with a terrific reason for things happening later that I wasn’t sure how to include without making them unbelievable. He even provided me with this massive Dorian Gray fetish fuel – woah there. I love you so, so, so much Albert. And you too, Bas, for thinking your little thoughts and being an adorable grump once you’re sick.

Sooo… To wrap this up, behind the cut there’s a small excerpt from my session. Abraxas’ POV. In good NaNo tradition, un-edited, so there’s awkward wording, possible spelling and grammar errors ahead.


Slugging my way to… where, actually?

February 16, 2010

School is CRAZY. I always thought I knew what school stress is, but I’ve never, NEVER, had as much to do as I currently do. Doesn’t help much that I’m having a major case of fangirling over various Naruto characters. Deary. Please bear with me being a lazy bum, I’ll get back to writing and posting sometime.

Anyway, there’ll be another post coming up sometime on my current fangirl obsession. I might even get around to writing some fanfiction, I’ve got something planned out. Whoot! Has been aging since I’ve written any fanfiction.

I also hardly find any time to write, I can’t even remember the last time I was working on my NaNo novel. Grrr. I could’ve finished the first draft by now if I had more time, motivation and inspiration. Hear me cry. In any case, here’s another small excerpt, from Jazz’ POV. One day I’ll finish this story, really. Go past the cut to see more of the excerpt! Drama ensues ❤

For a while we simply sat without talking, but then Bas moved as if to shrug off the silence that had gathered above our table. “He’ll be okay,” he said, sounding remarkably convinced all of a sudden.
I just nodded. “I think so,” I gave back. Bas was silent for a moment longer, studying his cup intently. Eventually, he began tracing the pattern on it with his finger.
“So, um…” he began slowly. “What was that yesterday? Where were you?” He didn’t sound particularly suspicious asking this, just curious and a little apprehensive perhaps. I still couldn’t help feeling like I was on thin ice suddenly.


NaNo is over, but the madness remains!

January 29, 2010
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So, hey guys. Yes, I’m still alive, and I made it through NaNo with 150,137 words by the end of November! Talk about awesome. Anyway, I wasn’t finished yet, so on it goes – and is still going. (I’m at 241k right now, and still going.)

I’ll be putting up some musings and excerpts later, but for now I’m just going to tell you that I’m struggling a bit right now, but I’ll take part in FebNoWriMo (same as NaNo, but inofficial and in February) to give myself the kick in the bum that I apparently need to get my 1,667 a day done. Let’s see how it goes.

I’m estimating about another 40k or so to wrap the story up – I’ve got a vague idea, only problem is that I still need to work out the particulars of the plot so it all works smoothly and I don’t have to worry about logic while writing. Durr. So, stay tuned!

Sherlock Holmes and the wonderful PLING (63k!)

November 16, 2009

Well well well, it’s been a while. I reached the magical 50k words barrier on the 11th of November because two hours before midnight I suddenly decided that it would be a fun thing to crack the minimum on 11/11. So, I stayed glued (woah, just spelled that ‘glood’ at first – should get to bed soon!) to my keyboard until shortly before midnight.

Since then it’s been a few days and now I’m proudly at 63k, EXACTLY. My daily average word count so far is at 4,200 words which has been better, but I can live with it. Currently I’m more at around 3k daily, though – and things have been stalling a bit, but it’s getting better now. Thank goodness, I need some more plot happening! At first Albert didn’t want to appear at all, now I’m having a hard time squeezing in scenes with other characters in between bits of him and Abraxas having crazy human-ghost sex. (Not really, but I always wanted to write that just to fulfill the cliché. Go, me.)

Anyways, today I ran into a bit of a problem that had be tearing out my hair for an hour before I figured out a way to work with it. (Please note: I don’t solve problems. I work with them.) So, Albert died in 1997. A big part of his first memories he gets back concern literature. Well, I had this PERFECT scheme of him having read all the Sherlock Holmes stories when they appeared, and he also owned his own copy of the complete works, all that jazz. Abraxas goes to a second hand book shop and happens to find that exact book, Albert’s name still in it and everything. Whoot.

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Thought so, too. Until I checked my own copy of the complete novels and short stories. The last story wasn’t published until 1927. Dammit. But, being the clever little girl that I am, I also remembered that Holmes faked his death sometime and the series was on hold for a few years, including people publicly mourning his death with black armbands and veils, until he was ‘resurrected’ in The Adventure of the Empty House. Luckily, these years happened to be from 1993 to 1903. (In 1901, the Hound of the Baskervilles was published which takes place before Holmes’ alleged death chronologically, his actual return only came in 1903.)

This is something I could actually work with because in this manner, Albert died when all the world thought that Holmes was death for good and there must surely have been a ‘complete’ compilation around, so all’s well with the world. We also have a touching scene of Albert discovering that the hero of his youth actually ‘lived’ still.

This is what I love about writing, seriously.

Now, to leave the topic of NaNo for a moment and explain the PLING in the title: even before I took my first bellydance lesson I knew that I wanted to learn to play the finger cymbals (or zills, as they are also called). Zilling and dancing simultaneously is a skill that is considered essential to claim professionality by many. (Although, of course, there are people that disagree.) I myself love the mere concept and have been itching to reach a level to try it myself.

Well, my teacher heard from my eagerness to learn to play and invited me to take part in the cymbal project at the dance school and so I had my first real life acquaintance with zills yesterday.


I actually surprised myself by being able to dance and zill quite decently already – not perfect, of course, but I had been expecting to only be able to zill OR walk at a time, not to zill and actually move in a way that could be called dance if you’re optimistic. This is so many kinds of awesome I can’t even begin to tell you, really. I also got alphabet soup for the soul when people could hardly believe I’ve only been learning to dance for one and a half months. Goodness, I’m feeling like an idiot for sitting here with a huge, delirious grin on my face.

And so I bought my own first set of zills and am happily zilling up and down besides my bed in my room, annoying my rabbit. I already muffled every zill with masking tape, but they are still a bit loud, so I try to practice as much as possible down in the living-room where I won’t be disturbing Sally. (Only the neighbours, but they’ll have to live with it.)

Anyway, I should be off to bed now – it’s 12:30pm and I have to get up early. Laters, everyone!


France vs Germany & Austria (40k!)

November 9, 2009
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Well, who would have thought that? The ML’s (= municipal liaison) of France contacted the one of my home region, Germany & Austria, and suggested a massive international word war. Well, what can I say? We accepted.

There’s three disciplines:

  1. average word count
  2. percentage of winners (= people that reached 50k words or more)
  3. percentage of people that donated to NaNo

And we have to win two out of these three, of course.

Needless to say, this competition is extremely motivational and I’ve been typing like crazy for the past days, including today’s 4k (which I may still expand upon tonight) that finally brought me to beautiful 40k. I’m so proud of myself, and I still have so much to go. So much fun!
Now, have some excerpt-y goodness before I get back upstairs.


Fifty Percent Gay (36k!)

November 9, 2009
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As hedgefairy already noticed in her comment on my last post, the name of this blog has changed again, and it’s probably going to stay at least for as long as I will be working on my novel. Now, to make the explanation I gave hedgefairy understandable for everyone else on here who doesn’t speak German:

The Pickled Mushroom is a setting in my novel, more specifically a pub that’s pretty much the most exciting place for a newcomer band to feature. I actually worked a lot with the impressions I got from the Irish pub and restaurant Hapenny Bridge in Geelong during my exchange when I saw Kate Miller-Heidke playing there. The Pickled Mushroom has a very similar layout, but is weirder, featuring an eccentric owner that never fails to remind me of Master Guy in disguise. (Hello, Naruto readers out there!) This owner also happens to be named in a special way, he is Mr Ian Woon. If you change those letters around, it spells out NaNoWriMo, and featuring him in their novel is an endeavour every good NaNoer tries their hand at. (Or at least, a lot do.) Piece of useless side information: he was actually called Mario at first, before I changed my mind.

So. We’ve got the setting, we know Jazz is playing with his band The Stingrays and he’s pretty nervous. Barbara is there and Abraxas too, his girlfriend Emilie and a whole bunch of others. The concert is awesome and stuff happens. Wanna meet the band? Have some of the unedited goodness. (There’s another post coming up right now, just to not make this one too long.) Just for your info, Marcel’s lead singer, London guitar, Andy bass and Jazz drums.


2 Story Excerpts – Enter the Fun! (26k!)

November 7, 2009

As you will have noticed, I changed the design of the blog, simply so I can now proudly display my word count widget to the left. Isn’t it pretty? Makes me all fuzzy to look at it.

Anyway, as promised, here’s two excerpts from what I’ve written so far. Please note that NaNo is for writing, not editing, so it’s pretty raw still, there’s typos and awkward sentence structures in there, unripe concepts of sentences, and lots of word repetitions. If you can bear that, read on!

6 Days into the Madness – and loving it!

November 6, 2009
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Why, hello there. I am still alive and well and writing – the latter being the most important right now, of course.

If anyone has had a glance at my page over at NaNoWriMo, they will no doubt have seen that I’m doing pretty well so far – 22k words on day 6 (and I haven’t even really started writing yet for today) is an achievement I’m really proud of.

So, how has it been going? I started off with a great 7,225 words by midnight of the first day and did well except for Wednesday when I reached “only” 1,317 because I procrastinated my writing until past eleven pm and had to start hammering out something before I got a total of zero that day. At school I’m constantly being stared at when I explain that I’m writing a probably-100k-novel just for fun, and people are learning not to ask me how I am today, but what my word count is.

Click for more, including a super-duper-special-exclusive sentence straight from the novel.

NaNoWriMo… will get you, too!

November 1, 2009

So, there’s this thing called National Novel Writing Month, short: NaNoWriMo. I’ve heard about it a few times in the last few years, but never thought much of it. Well, this year I’m along on the ride and have right now 25 minutes left until November, until absolute literary business.

I must be masochistic. I’m about to start in 24 minutes and I don’t even have names for the majority of the characters in my first scene. At least I’ve got a bit of a plot outline and an idea of the beginning, middle and end of the story, which isn’t too bad considering that enough people start without any plot whatsoever. (Although I have to say that I have 22 minutes to go and am feeling the impulse to ditch my whole plot and write a pirate story instead. Must… resist… won’t… give in…)

Now, this is a bit of a first for me – not just NaNo, but the story itself. It’s going to be a ghost story, which is kind of funny considering that I really don’t like ghosts. (I don’t believe in them, but I prefer to think that they really don’t exist, because they’d scare my pants off me.) Now, last night I was happily staying up late, reading on the internet… And suddenly the old CD player in the livingroom goes off! Let’s just put it down to some technical weirdness, okay? I don’t even want to think about ghosts before writing a story about them. Gladly, I’ve got only one ghost, and he’s not the scary yucky type. Whew. Love you, Albert.

Anyway, let’s have a look at my synopsis:

Ghost of a Touch (working title)

Abraxas Timothy Holt, nicknamed Bas, can hardly believe his luck when he gets to move into his own small house, which is very old but just perfect for him to live out his student life and have some space to create his paintings. What he didn’t know he would get in the bargain is the ghost of a young man that died a century ago and knows only his name, Albert, but cannot for the death of him remember how he died.

As time goes on and the two slowly start unravelling the mystery of Albert’s life and death, they develop a curious relationship that leads Bas to question all the rest of his relationships, including those with his family and girlfriend.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? I filed it as “Mystery & Suspense” because weirdly enough, there’s a board for “Horror & Supernatural”, but only a category for “Horror”. Oh well.

May I mention that I love Abraxas’ name?

Anyway, twelve minutes two go and I still have no names for those other people. Perfect! Let’s get cracking.

You can follow my progress here.

Sweet 18

July 23, 2009

Now. First things first, so let’s start with the serious stuff. Ahem. I’m 18 years old since the 16th. … WOOHOOOO! Good. Well. I intended to do an entry on my birthday, but life got in the way and then I was simply lacking the motivation… Lazy me. Thanks to everyone who thought of it! I had awesome weather and got some nice things, including The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (I’m so glad I’ve got my own copy now because it is one of my most favourite books ever, I’ll have to write an entry on it some time – homoeroticism, hedonism, Dandyism, shameless decadence, morally very questionable main characters, how can you not love it?) and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (of which I have so far only seen the TV version with Colin Firth – who, I may add, looks hot with sideburns – but I’ve read the first chapter and love it).

It was a rather quiet birthday, but that’s the way I expected it and I’m not sad about it. I’m still going to have a brunch with family and friends (and we’ll also celebrate my granny’s 73th which is on the same day) and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t really feel all that grown-up now, but, well… I guess that’s one of the things that creep up on you slowly. One of my favourite quotes that I’ve seen in an online signature: “So this is what it’s like to be an adult.”

My art is thriving currently and I’m proud to say I manage to get my hour a day done at least, be it something from my imagination or anatomical studies. (I’m doing a lot of David K. Rubins these days, but I’ve got Sehen und Verstehen by Gottfried Bammes from the library, which is brilliant too behind all those fancy words.) I’m very fond of brush and ink now and usually don’t even make a pencil sketch anymore but dilute the ink to varying degrees and paint over it more strongly once I’m sure how I want it to look. It certainly frees me up and gets me into the “zone”. (I usually notice I’m in it when I don’t take notice anymore when the song I’m listening to changes.) My sketchbook on ConceptArt.Org is getting updated pretty regularly, every few days at least.

Today my family and I spent at the Neanderthal museum, which I love dearly and have visited countless times. They’ve even got copies now of the Venuses of Willendorf and Lespugue and several other monolithic female figurines, which I have a soft spot for, especially since there’s some belief among Neopagans that they hint towards a widespread monolithic Goddess worship. There’s many, including me, who don’t think it likely, but it’s still a fascinating thought. Just by themselves, they are works of incredible detail and beauty. The museum even sold key chains and fridge magnets of the Venus of Willendorf! Seems almost a bit blasphemous (ha! good thing I don’t have a concept of blasphemy!) to me, but now I’ve got my own little Venus to bring me luck. I guess, why not?

I’m looking forward to the 8th of August: there’s going to be the first two day lolita event in Germany, the Dunkelsüß Lolita Market! Dunkelsüß is a foto community for German-speaking lolitas (so it includes people from Switzerland and Austria) and the market is going to include a bring & buy, stalls from German indie brands, info talks and the like. I’m going to be helping on Saturday, but if I can organize myself a place to stay overnight (meaning: find someone to stay with or get a tent) I’ll be there on Sunday too. I’m so excited!

Now it’s to get up to my room and get that hour of anatomy done. I also need to study motorscooters! (Blame Kate Miller-Heidke with her song Motorscooter – or better yet, listen to it.)

A Mix of News

July 5, 2009

A bit of stuff has been going on – for one, I took part in the absolutely terrific tooth brushing flashmob in Düsseldorf. I’ll do a separate post for that later.

I’m also on holidays now – summer holidays, in case my Aussie friends didn’t know. *wink* It’s good to not have homework and instead a lot of time to read and draw, especially the latter. I’ve neglected my art shamefully in the two months since coming back to Germany, so it’s good to be back on track. It’s a bit sad though having holidays because I’m also done with Latin – forever. I’ve earned the Latinum, which is like a certificate confirming that I have completed my five years of studying Latin. My marks aren’t outstanding, but alright, considering that I have only been here to be marked for two months.

On the topic of art again, I intend to spend heaps of time drawing during the holidays, preferably two hours or more a day. (Lazy thing that I am, I’m aiming for one and a half first, but we’ll see.) Looking around on the web, also among others my age, I’m amazed at all the incredibly talented people out there. It’s going to be hard work trying to catch up and reach the level to work as a professional artist, but I’m positive that with persistence and a good attitude I’ll get there. Looking at other artists’ journey from amateur to pro is greatly inspiring and shows me that even they have once been at the point that I am at now.

To have an additonal motivation I went back to my account on Concept Art and opened my own sketchbook. If people here are interested in my drawings, have a look over there! It’s still very pitiful, but I’m doing my best to improve. (And one day, some day, I’ll surely have a working scanner to not have to take photos of everything. Grrr.) Right now I’ve got two things in the work, a sketch of the armchair in our living room and a small still-life I set up on my table, including my beloved Innocent World headbow. Both are on hold right now, though, as the lighting (natural sunglight) changed too much for me to continue. Since I’ll be working all during the week, I think I can only continue them on the weekend or such. Pity.

Ah, yes. Work. I’m very happy to be helping in a holiday work shop for disabled children from Monday to Friday, some of them I know already from helping in a Friday afternoon group. The pay isn’t bad either, so the perfect holiday job. I hope, by the way, to get a mini-job at my favourite cosmetics brand Lush when I’ve turned 18. They’re free of animal testing, environmentally friendly, have awesome products, great customer service… Figures I’d love working there. It’s only 11 more days till my birthday.

Ten Things I Like – Number One

June 27, 2009

Inspired by Dianne Sylvan’s lists on Dancing Down the Moon. She’s one of my great role models and since a big box from Australia finally arrived with my copy of The Body Sacred (which is outrageously good) I’m rereading it currently and just found out about her blog. I want to be a bit more mindful again of the things I’m blessed with, so here we go with my first list.

1. Sailor Moon. I loved the series as a little girl and I’m right back into it. I never really realized how truly good and danceable the first German intro is. (And the video! The video!) She will always stay my heroine, somewhere in my heart. I hung up two old posters on my wall.

2. The sky clearing up after it’s rained.

3. Pink. It’s not a colour people associate with me and I don’t wear it, but it’s such a beautiful colour. I’m talking about dusky rose here, beige pink, peach blush… Not the Barbie kind.

4. Online TCGs. I only know German ones and currently play Gekko Yume (where I used to be webmistress, back when I was still known as Dorinka) and Whispering Secrets.

5. Steampunk. Victorian fashion. Jules Verne. Brass. Goggles. Air kraken. Need I say more?

6. Sherlock Holmes. I don’t think I can ever stress enough how good a read Sherlock Holmes is.

7. Animals. There’s nothing that makes you more accepting of everything fate might throw at you than spending some time around animals. Have you ever seen the calm dignity in a cow’s eyes?

8. The sea. I don’t even like it so much to swim in it, just revelling in its sight and smell and feel as it caresses my feet is enough.

9. Flashmobs. They are reintroducing chaos, senselessness and fun for the sake of fun to a world that’s ruled by an “eyes on the prize” mentality where everything has to have a purpose: to make you rich or famous or successful.

10. Lying in bed reading while the rain is pouring outside.

The Fool

June 24, 2009
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The Fool

Pointy shoes, the tips turned up
Coquettish rests the jester’s cap
Upon his curls, his copper curls
As in a tune his fingers snap

A merry jingle follows him
As vultures do a dying man
He’s not in chains
But still he’s trapped

 “What can I play for you today?”
He banters with a witty smile
“The flute, the harp, the drums, the pipe?”
The king is still
The jester knows, the web is tight

 The smile that’s painted on his face
Does well to hide his harried eyes
He leaps and rolls and twists to please
The man that holds him like a vice

 There is no smile to coax today
From the king’s wine-sodden lips
His reddened ears, without a doubt
Follow not the joker’s wit 

The fool despairs, he knows too well
The end is not to please the king
He leaps the higher, twists the more
And yet it is to no avail 

A sad thing is a jester’s life
As fragile as his bones
The turn of thumb will signify
If he’ll see the next dawn’s glow
From his rooms
Or from a cell 

Balanced on a tightrope
He has but the king’s pleasure
To measure
His life.

A poem I wrote for English class. Jesters and clowns are a recurring theme in my drawings, so I thought I might write about them too.

Fresh Cherries & Cocaine

June 17, 2009

After the business of the last weekend I’m glad to relax a bit. It was Japan Day in Düsseldorf, a huge annual event, and there was a skirt to be sewn for the lolita meet-up I was going to attend. It was fun and I saw many absolutely gorgeous outfits and met really nice people. There was a fashion show on done by CD Japan, featuring two drop-dead gorgeous outfits by Victorian Maiden and Beth. Also, a freeze flashmob! It was a bit unorganized though, but maybe it’ll be better next year.

Now that it’s over, I’m happy sitting back and reading. As posted yesterday, I read my way through Body. Leben im falschen Körper by Christine Fehér and am now devouring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the complete novels and short stories in two volumes. I’ve started reading the first book before and got as far as The Adventure of the Crooked Man before I stopped reading for some reason – I think it was during a holiday and cannot for the life of me remember why. Right now I have finished A Study in Scarlet which I think is absolutely brilliant, and am at the beginning of The Sign of Four.

I adore the old-fashioned language, all the “my dear fellow” and “I dare say”, the foggy streets of London filled with cabs and street urchins, the sitting-room fireplaces and gentlemen. It takes me right back in time and makes me wish to travel into this London that is so morbid and homely at the same time.

It also intrigues me how closely light and dark go together. Holmes, while being highly intellectual, sensible and a master of deduction, is also arrogant, almost cold, and sharp. Not to mention his cocaine addiction, which I have to confess fascinates me immensely. I have the deepest respect for Watson’s disdain of it, seeing that in the times of Holmes cocaine was freely available and not considered unhealthy in any way, so Holmes’s dependency on his “seven-per-cent solution” thrice a day is not thought of as bad by society in general.

Watson in general is a wonderful character that is reduced way too often to a clumsy dimwit, another Oliver Hardy to make Holmes look even more intelligent by comparison. While it is true that he lacks the sharp skills of observation and deduction that Holmes possesses, Watson is in no way lacking in wits, he simply cannot win if compared with his companion. (But then, who can?) He himself has considerable skills and knowledge and is a renowned medical expert, which I think speaks of his qualities. He’s also the filter through which the reader may see Holmes without being put off by his cold sharpness.

Just last night I read an excellent essay about the two as a possible couple, and while this is of course debatable, there have been a lot of scholarly studies, essays and analyses concerning Watson and his women, Holmes and his lack of women, Watson and Holmes. I personally quite like it since having read a few good texts on the subject. To each their own, I suppose.

In philosophy class yesterday we talked about Peter Singer and what he says about vegetarianism being the way to go. Since I am almost vegan now (I do still eat products with dairy or eggs in them occasionally, but try to avoid them) I had to explain myself again to classmates as to why, etc. While I have no problem with that, I do find it amusing how often I am asked, “What do you eat?” Heaps of stuff, actually, but nobody seems to believe me when I say that I eat lots of yummy things everyday without having to resort to animal products. Strange, that. (Mind you, I was actually munching on a delicious vegan muffin while explaining, so… I don’t know, maybe they didn’t consider muffins a good example of nice foods. I can’t fathom why.)

Today my grandmother went to the market and bought fresh cherries and strawberries. I love strawberries, but cherries are more expensive and one of my favourite treats! There’s nothing better than reading a good book or essay and slowly eating up a great bunch of sweet, fresh cherries.

Book: Christine Fehér – Body

June 16, 2009
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Title: Body. Leben im falschen Körper. (= Live/Living in the wrong body.)

Author: Christine Fehér

Date of publication: 2003

Original language: German

“Wie war das für dich, als du erfahren hast, dass ich… nun ja, also körperlich ein Mädchen bin?”

“Na ja, ein bisschen geschockt hat mich das schon. Schließlich war ich verknallt in dich.”

In meinem Hirn rattert es. Verknallt? Julian hat sich in mich als Jungen verknallt?

“Dann bist du also…”



“What was it like for you when you found out that I… well, that I’m physically a girl?”

“Well, truth to be told, I was a bit shocked. I had a crush on you, after all.”

It’s working in my brain. A crush? Julian had a crush on me as a boy?

“So you are…”


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