I Said I’d Chill Out This Year…

…and I have. Kind of. My focus for 2017 was meant to be working hard in my new day job, enjoying London, spending time in nature, and finding an agent for my recently finished YA novel ‘The Arcade’.

I’ve been doing all those things. But I’ve also taken on two small writing projects on the side, because I can’t help it! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Blogging about magic
Back when I lived in Vancouver in 2011-2013, I worked at a shop on Granville Island called ‘Dragonspace‘. It was, and still is, a dragon shop. That is, it sells dragons and other mythological, esoteric, Celtic and fantasy-related items. I love that place. I still think about it all the time, and it will always be a second home for me. So when my old friends there contacted me and asked if I’d want to write the blog for the recently launched Dragonspace website, I had to say yes! Writing these kinds of features does not feel like work at all, and I can’t wait to do more. You can read what I’ve done so far, and check out our beautiful inventory, here.

Road-tripping, in fiction and real life
I’ve written a ‘social story’ for LongShorts, a digital platform featuring stories told through a social feed by fictional characters (as if you were reading the characters’ Twitter feeds). My story is aptly called ‘Road Tripping’ and is about three unlikely road companions traveling through Western Canada and the troubles they’ve left behind. You can read a preview here, and the whole story via the app. I’m in the process of writing Part II at the moment.

I also went on a real road trip last weekend to the Jurassic Coast and Cornwall. We went fossil hunting along Charmouth Beach, drank until 2am in a campsite bar with Cornish locals, spent Easter Sunday at the famous Roskillys Farm eating as much clotted cream ice-cream as we could fit, admired the turquoise waters of St Ives, visited the breath-taking Tintagel Castle of Arthurian legend, and had lunch at Rick Stein’s bistro in Padstow and then saw Rick Stein himself in the deli! I think when you’re an ex-pat in London, you always feel pressured to see as much of continental Europe as possible, but England has so many treasures itself and I love discovering them. They might not be as exotic, but they’re delightful.

Agent Hunting
I’m still seeking an agent/publisher for ‘The Arcade’. It’s the first book in an intended YA trilogy, and is a low-fantasy story with environmental threads. It’s set amongst a network of utopian islands (modelled off the Canadian Gulf Islands) that come under threat from a sinister outside force. More info readily available to anyone who might be interested!

Meeting New People
Tomorrow, I’m hosting my first attempt at a London Meetup group, focused on Walking + Storytelling, at Hampstead Heath (my favourite place in London) – details here. 

Reading
And finally, I’ve obviously been reading a lot. Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels truly transformed me, and taught me how honest and jagged good writing can be. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle had me obsessed and reading in coffee shop lines for weeks. Ruth Ozeki’s ‘A Tale for the Time Being‘ and Eden Robinson’s ‘Monkey Beach‘ taught me so much about atmosphere and location as character. And Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids‘, Joy Harjo’s ‘Crazy Brave‘ and Bill Bryson’s ‘The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid‘ – all starkly different memoirs – had me absorbed in varying experiences of youth, privilege, and art, and gave me an unsettling realisation of how times have changed, and how they’ve stayed the same.

All in all, I feel at peace, frequently creatively inspired, and more comfortable in London week by week. More to come soon.

Kahli xoxo

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Top 10 Literary Ladieeees

No Elizabeth Bennetts or Hermione Grangers here. This list isn’t of the best or most admirable female characters I’ve come across in literature. They’re just my favourites; the ones I seriously enjoyed reading about. Some of them are dazzling, some awful, some lovely, some seriously sick–much like, umm, real women in the real world.

This is inspired by me finally getting around to watching Norwegian Wood (2010) and remembering how much I adored Midori Kobayashi (as played by Kiko Mizuhara, pictured below, in the film).

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THE LIST:

1. Miranda Grey – The Collector by John Fowles
2. Midori Kobayashi – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
3. The Lisbon sisters – The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
4. Plum Coyle – Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett
5. Fuka-Eri – 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
6. Astrid (and Ingrid) Magnussen – White Oleander by Janet Fitch
7. Julia Wicker – The Magicians series by Lev Grossman
8. Camilla Macaulay – The Secret History by Donna Tartt
9. Cassandra Mortmain – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
10. Esther Greenwood – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

EDIT: Adding a bonus one, because I just finished reading her story:

11. Taylor Markham – Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I want to take them all out for beers and be enchanted and scared and disgusted and moved and a better person for having seen inside each of their minds.