Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday 25th: Easter Bunny versus Lame Donkey; a Bulgarian Easter

It’s Easter or was Easter, if we have to abide the calendar, but we’re still riding on the Easter high. In Bulgaria [as well as in all Eastern Orthodox countries] Easter ranks second in the list of holidays. In Greece people take one week off from work before Easter and one week after Easter. I love Easter, because it used to get me days off from school, hard boiled eggs and the sweet Easter bread with the consistency of cotton and taste of heaven.

Growing up, however, I felt quite conflicted about Easter traditions. My family was one of the first to have cable TV – hence my introduction to the wonderful world of Cartoon Network – which led to learning about the Easter Bunny, the egg hunt and the chocolate eggs. This all happened after communism fell, so Bulgaria could now smuggle in Easter Bunny stickers. Let me tell you that they only deepened my confusion as I certainly asked about the Bunny and I was told by my grandparents that we didn’t have one.

No, what we had was the Lame Donkey. The Lame Donkey is a magical donkey – I think it’s the donkey that Jesus rode on as he entered Jerusalem – that enters the homes of sleeping kids on Saturday night and leaves a hardboiled egg [painted red to symbolize Christ’s blood] next or under the pillow of said sleeping child. I used to be terrified, because I don’t think donkeys are nice or adorable and limping animals freaked me out – mainly because I can’t stare at any sort of deformation or abnormality.

I remember enjoying the hardboiled egg though, so the very least I was rewarded for having the patience with this story. Now, nobody knows about the Lame Donkey. It’s so obscure I’m not even sure I didn’t make this up [grandparents confirmed I’m typing the truth]. Funny, yet creepy crossover is that I remember Eeyore carrying a basket full of Easter eggs. To me this was yet again confusing, cause Eeyore is a rather drowsy type with a falling tail.

I have the evidence to prove this, even though the Internet is quiet about it.

The other great misconception I had about Easter was that I would go on an Easter egg hunt, like kids in US movies had. No such thing. No chocolate eggs either. The egg tradition in my country is rather different. For one we use real hardboiled eggs, which we ritualistically paint on either Thursday or Saturday. In the old days the color always was red – Christ’s blood – but now we can go rainbow on the eggs. The real fun starts on Sunday, when all of the family gathers and starts ‘battling’. Basically we crack egg top against egg top and then egg bottom against egg bottom to determine the champion egg. The champion egg should have won all the battles and has to be preserved for the whole year in order to bring health and prosperity.

Psychedelic egg action.

In summary, my childhood Easter had aggression and limping livestock, while my cousins in the US had Mr.Fluffykins and chocolate. Honestly, I think I’m special because I have a very different folklore icon [making me a cultural hipster] and I like hardboiled egg salad, so I’m not very cheated.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday, April 23rd: Return to an Online Existence and Edits

I’m back and I have a brand new template. Fear me. In truth, I have been exhausted. It’s been a burnout that has been going on since the year started and I can only deal with the exhaustion in intermissions. I started a day job, one that requires going at regular office times, but have a very irregular days off scheme. Suddenly, I had to deal with handling promotion for TZF and work in an office and then came the university, which strained the balancing act.

However, I adapted to the work hours, the work I have to do as well as the time off before and after work. With this in mind, I feel like I can return back to the Internet. I’m yearning for the good old days of Twitter and Google Reader action.

Writing suffered the most, since I decided to lead a social life along with balancing two jobs. I did manage to complete Draft 4 of “Crimson Cacophony” – two months after the planned and realistic deadline – but that brings me closer to my goal. I need two more rounds of editing, one before sending it to my alpha and one after my alpha read it. Then will come mandatory beta hunting and one third final round [three total] before I start the agent hunt.

That’s long in the future, but then again I will have passed the Seven Stages of Writing. Now, “Crimson Cacophony” stands at 60,000 words [with 40,000 scratched off and done anew], but I gather that after the fleshing out I will get to 75,000 words to 80,000. I’m not saying that the wordcount is an adequate measurement of progress, but length matters [or at least that’s what she said].

How was your April, people? Did you manage to complete something?