The Particulars

Millie Ho Poetry The Particulars

I gnaw through blue fingers
raised in a half salute.

Let’s dissect the particulars.

The thread is loose
so
I
pull it out.

Crash and sail,
crash and sail.

It’s the fall now
so you’re out.

It’s easy to slip,
slip and slide,
cut and glide.

It’s the fall now
and I’m out.

Switch the order,
kneel and
bow.

—-

Millie’s Note: I wrote this in the throes of my final Draft Three revision/editing efforts (which is due next week, ahhhh). This poem relates to the novel, and I decided to entertain the flash of inspiration and just write it down. So here it is.

More Experiments With Art & Illustration

Millie Ho Sketch Surreal Bunnysuit Illustration

I’ve been experimenting with a variety of art and illustration styles as part of my back to basics efforts. Most of the experimenting has been done on pen and paper, with a few digital illustrations.

Millie Ho Towel Head Surreal Illustration Art

The weird/surreal sketches come easiest to me, but I think they can be improved if I build a narrative around them, like I did for the supernatural sketches I posted a month ago. I’m still working on this.

Millie Ho SORROWBACON Cat Illustration Perish Art

Since I draw a cat comic, I also tried doing cat illustrations with a slight comic book slant. For some reason, the cat sketches in this style always come out chaotic and disorganized, but maybe that’s just the nature of me drawing cats. I’m not good at drawing calm cats.

Millie Ho Art Supernatural Office Illustration Supernatural

The above is the complete and digital version of a sketch I posted last month. I discovered that I like using bright and psychedelic colours for the final product, which I believe makes the content a little less gloomy (or maybe more gloomy by contrast).

Millie Ho Illustration Cat Eating Poison

Aaaaand here is a digital illustration of a cat binging on what looks like poison. This one was the first time I scanned a sketch and coloured it on my computer. I feel like I’m getting closer to what I want to achieve with illustration. At the moment, I think my style is like an extension of the comic I draw, infused with this kind of depressed manic energy.

I’m still figuring it out, but it’s going well so far. Sketching every day helps, so does committing to drawing weekly comics. Once I finish revising the New Story and send it off to beta readers in mid-September, I will have more time to work on the art stuff and update my portfolio. Huzzah!

—-

Millie’s Note: Do you have a favourite art style/artist?

Strike On

Millie Ho Writing Writer Poems

Strike on,
wilderness.

Strike on,
lost ground.

Blood rocks can be
stepping stones.

Violet leaves,
our ceiling.

Let’s roll up them sleeves,
and find that single
shard.

We could leave today,
really.

Draw the blade
beneath the clavicle
a second longer.

Carve the wisdom from
that meat hanger
and call it a
day.

—––

Millie’s Note: I went out last night, and as I walked around downtown Toronto, I thought about how a city at night could look like the wilderness. There was also this feeling of dark detachment and casual hedonism. I wrote this poem when I got home.

How Being Patient Improved My Writing

This year, I really started to work on improving my patience as a writer. I realized that most of my writing problems were psychological instead of technical, and at the core of all of these problems was a lack of patience.

In the last couple of months, my writing output, approach, and results have improved because I learned to be more patient. Below is a summary of my findings (I go into more detail in the video).

Reasons Why I Was Impatient 

1. Needing instant gratification.

This is conditioning from the hyper-connected world we live in. We want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. I had let my expectations of writing be influenced by how quickly I had my other needs met, when writing is nothing like Amazon’s same-day delivery, for example.

2. False ideas about writing success from the media.

When you see a published author, you only see the final product. You don’t see the years of mundane and frustrating work that they put into it. Because I didn’t see them struggling with their manuscripts, I felt impatient and also inadequate because I was comparing their final product with my work-in-progress.

3. Listening to non-writers talk about writing.

Loved ones who don’t write will give you advice about how you should a) write your book or b) how you should stop writing your book. Questions I got a lot was “If you’re so passionate and hard-working, why aren’t you published yet?” or “You should focus on X instead, because X makes money”. What I should’ve done was tune out their voices and go at my own pace.

These factors have been subtly influencing me until early this year, when I understood myself better and started making some changes. I’ve been practicing being more patient for 4-5 months now, and the results are becoming more noticeable.

How Being More Patient Improved My Writing

1. Feeling less disappointed (and therefore working harder).

Because I now saw myself trying to improve as a writer for the rest of my life, it was a load off my mind. I felt less frustrated because I realized I had all this time left to grow. I learned that writing every day, re-writing, and the occasional failure and rejection slip just came with the territory. As a result, I wrote more, even submitted these stories to literary magazines (something I never did), and 3 out of the 10 places I submitted to accepted me. This would never have happened if I was impatient.

2. Writing more honestly.

I discovered that my Long-Suffering Manuscript was broken because it was written at a time when I wasn’t 100% writing what I wanted to write. But I no longer felt like I needed to stick with it because I put so much time into it and/or needed to get published ASAP. In April, I started writing a new novel that was more authentic and fulfilling, and used all the learnings from the LSM to write this book. I am now revising Draft 3 and am writing more like myself.

3. Using success stories to inspire me—not put me down.

I don’t feel inadequate anymore when I read a book by the many authors I admire. I now understand that it took a lot of long nights, re-writing, labour hours, and hair-pulling to get to where they arrived. Therefore, I use their success to inspire me and show me what’s possible if I do the work as well. They were patient and didn’t give up—I can be like that, too.

Writing Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

This year, I learned how true this is. I can’t expect things to happen quickly or the way I want. I should only focus on controlling what I can control, which is writing and re-writing. I like what Aristotle said about patience:

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

—––

Millie’s Note: What are your thoughts on patience?

“Heavy Moons” Published in Gone Lawn (Issue 22)

Gone Lawn Issue 22 Cover

Gone Lawn 22 cover, Alternate Flux by Kelley Stephens.

My story “Heavy Moons”, which is about lovers, a crime, and alternate realities, is published in Gone Lawn, one of my favourite online literary journals. This story was inspired by my suburban upbringing and Thin Lizzy’s Dancing In The Moonlight, a good song for nighttime strolls.

You can read “Heavy Moons” here: http://journal.gonelawn.net/issue22/Ho.php

Please check out the other writers as well. Enjoy!