Monday, 28 October 2013
More than a Little Distracted
Sometimes I get distracted from my writing and my mind decides to go for a stroll. I try to be disciplined, but on occasions my brain decides to rebel and refuses to be reined back in. Friday was one of those days and remaining focused was not an easy task.
When I got up in the morning I was full of good intentions. So what went wrong? I didn't bank on the power company turning up for the second day in a row and deciding that my driveway could be used as a parking lot at 7:15am. That's what. I should have known then and there, that I would have been better going back to bed and having a duvet day.
But as I had been unable to do anything constructively the day before, I didn't take heed of the little voice nagging from deep down inside my gut saying, "Go back to bed, go back to bed. You won't be writing today."
Initially I read through the last chapter of my WIP, in the hope that I would regain my focus. However my brain wasn't playing ball. Sitting in front of my PC was no use, my thoughts were not clear. In fact they were all over the place, definitely not where they should be and as transparent as a pool of muddy water.
The weather was horrendous outside, so going for a walk to blow the cobwebs away was out of the question. I finally had to abandon my work for the day and settle down with a book which I started to read recently by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, titled The Prisoner of Heaven .
Was my day wasted? No, because I became absorbed in Zafon's world and what a wonderful world to become lost in. Later that evening my muddy pool of a brain cleared and words once again flowed freely like the deep blue ocean. Happy Days.
Friday, 25 October 2013
The Day the Lights Went Out
Most mornings I get up at around 6:30am and after a quick caffeine fix I'm at my desk for 7:00am. I rarely deviate from my routine. I check my emails, Twitter and finally I read through some newspaper headlines. Then it's time to hit the shower, get dressed and have breakfast. Normally I'm back in front of my PC by 8:15am and ready to get down to more serious work.
But yesterday the electricity company were having to carry out some essential repairs in our village and I had been notified that my home was going to be without power from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.
So as soon as I got up I had a quick cup of coffee and jumped into the shower. Getting dressed hastily, in fear that the power would go off prematurely, or one of the workers would need access to my property before I was at least presentable.
I had some emergency measures in place such as a portable gas heater, camping stove, storm lamp and a thermos filled with hot water. All of which I was glad of, as the weather outside was bracing to say the least. But no heat, light, food or hot beverage could make up for what I pined for and that was the Internet. I had my tablet charged up, however there was no broadband available and my life had been thrown into turmoil and disarray.
I was able to type this up on my tablet in preparation for posting today, however all the little things that start kick my brain in the morning were sorely missed. It was a long day as the power wasn't back on until 6:00pm last evening and I can't help but feel that someone stole my day from me, the day the lights went out.
Monday, 21 October 2013
Taking Things for Granted
When the autumnal sun came streaming through the windows of my home yesterday morning, I couldn't wait to get outside and inhale the cold crisp air. So after a hearty breakfast my partner and I set off in the car and parked up at a local beauty spot called the Helix Park.
We decided not to walk through the park but to walk along the pedestrian and cycle path on the banks of the adjoining Forth and Clyde canal. The cyclists ting, tinged the bells on their bicycles as they passed by us and the dog walkers greeted us with a "Hello," or "Good morning." We all had something in common and that was, we wanted to enjoy the morning sunshine.
The blackbirds and robins were gorging on the plump and vibrant coloured fruits of the wild blackberry, raspberry and rose hip bushes that edge the path.
Splashes coming from the water caught our attention and an adult swan posed for a picture before he carried on munching through the plankton. Another splash and the air bubbles rising to the surface of the murky waters drew our eyes to the thick reeds on the opposite bank. We laughed when a water fowl appeared with a small silver fish in his beak, which he/she proceeded to toss in the air before consuming it.
Communicating with the dog walkers, or stepping aside to allow the cyclists to ride by, for some of us is impossible without help. 356,000 people are deafblind in the UK and face every day difficulties. For them taking in the beauty of the world we live in is not so simple as jumping into a car. deafblind.org.uk
Thursday, 17 October 2013
Hush a Bye Baby
|Not so ugly ducklings|
We know as adults that mental stimulation is important to ward off diseases such as Alzheimer's. Having had a relative who suffered from this awful illness, I know it was also important that each day was structured and unvarying.
It seems that not only those effected by AD benefit following a set routine, but growing children do too. Researchers from University College London concluded that children's behaviours improved if routinely put to bed at a certain time each day. They studied 10,000 children in the UK between the ages of 3 and 7 years old and found that erratic bedtimes had the same effect on the kids as jet lag.
When I was a child, right through to my early teenage years I knew exactly what time was bedtime. Even if I stayed over at my grandmother's, or aunts, the rule set down by my parents was strictly adhered to. But, I didn't really have a problem with settling down at night because I looked forward to being read to by my parents, or the other adults within my family circle.
Whether it was an extract from Alice in Wonderland, Water Babies, or the fairy tale about the Ugly Duckling written by Hans Christian Anderson, I could hardly wait to hear the next chapter of one of the wonderful books that filled the bookcase in my bedroom. Going to bed was a rewarding time, not a time I dreaded.
A child going to bed shouldn't feel that's it on par with a trip to the orthodontist, it should be a time filled with happiness. We all function better as human beings if we're happy, so let's get into the routine of hushing a bye our babies with some bedtime reading.
Monday, 14 October 2013
Step into the Big Wide World
On Friday I was chatting with a young woman and my recent holiday popped into the conversation. She had never visited Tenerife and was inquisitive as to what it had to offer.
Following ten minutes, or so of probing questions she decided that she had found a potential place to spend her next vacation. Finally she asked, "Do they speak English there?" When I informed her that Spanish was the inhabitant's first language, her enthusiasm suddenly came to an abrupt halt.
Seeing her reaction to my reply, I explained that she wouldn't have any trouble communicating with the islanders, as English was widely spoken. She smiled, but I could see that her initial excitement had most definitely waned.
This isn't the first time I've been asked this question following a trip to Europe, or further afield and it never ceases to amaze me that individuals are put off visiting another country, just because English isn't the first language.
In our schools the uptake of language courses such as French, German, Spanish has diminished over the years and I find that difficult to comprehend. Not only because more of us desire to holiday overseas and experience different cultures; but because in times when jobs are very scarce, having an extra string to our bow could open the door to a whole lot more job opportunities.
It's time that we make it compulsory to learn another language in school, that's if we want to step into the big wide world we live in.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
The ocean to me is one of the most beautiful things to behold in this world. I love nothing better than just to sit in silence and watch the waves break against a rocky shore. If I've told you this before, please forgive me.
However, for thousands fleeing war torn and deprived areas of Africa, the waters off the coast of the Canary Islands, are the last stage of a perilous journey in a search for a better life. Their trip in overcrowded and unseaworthy boats, they believe will be the beginning of the life they dream of.
Those migrants who do make it to dry land, will find that the money they paid for the trip doesn't provide them with a better life, but only lines the pockets of the human traffickers who transported them there. Unfortunately many lives will come to a tragic end, as did those trying to reach Italian shore's last week. With less than half of the men, women and children who set sail from North Africa for Sicily surviving following rescue near the island of Lampedusa.
If you holiday in Europe you will come across male African migrants regularly selling counterfeit goods in the tourist resorts. Living on their wits and dodging local police in fear of being arrested. Whilst we tourists sip our Pina Coladas we have no real grasp on the motives behind their persistency to make a sale. An insistency that can become more than a little tiresome at times. What the future holds for the women and children in the dark seedy underworld, I will leave to your imigination. Although for them it is not a fictional plot.
Many of the men and women are obligated to send back money to repay their family and friends who helped pay the traffickers. For others it's a down payment for the fraudulent papers they need to make the next leg of their illegal journey, in the search for that green and pleasant land.
These merciless seas are unlikely to deter this continual mass human exodus, but we can hope that a worldwide solution can one day be found. God bless.
Monday, 7 October 2013
This blog post is my 100th and I can hardly believe it. When I left clicked on the publish icon in September last year for the first time, my stomach was churning and the palms of my hands were very sweaty.
So, what has changed in a year? Well, my stomach still churns when I publish a post, but thankfully my palms are no longer sweaty. I now welcome the nerves I once feared, they're a sign that I still care about the journey I am on.
Of course the biggest event in the last year was the publication of my debut novel in April. Salvation No Kissing Required is the title, just in case you haven't noticed and it was published by Featherweight Press.
But, I have to warn my budding author friends out there, that when your book is finally published that's only the beginning. It's similar to a kid who has just gained all their grades to go to university, or college, enrolling is only the start. All the hard work has still to come.
I believe as a newbie writer it's imperative that you make sure you have a presence on the social media circuit. Otherwise how will anyone know about you. Readers don't wake up in the morning and say, "I must buy Christina Rowell's, or Joe Blog's book today." Why would they, it's a big wide world out there. Joe Blog, me and you are little minnows in a huge pond.
When I started blogging I decided that I wasn't going to give advice on how to get published, or how to polish your manuscript for submission. Why? Because I don't think I'm qualified. You've read my typos. I'm the kid starting further education, I've just stepped onto the learning curve of this journey. I'm keeping my head down and keeping on writing.
What I set out to do was to let you into my world. I wanted to give you some idea as to what makes me tick and hopefully I have done that. If I haven't it's just as well that I'm going to continue blogging twice a week. I hope you will drop by every now and then. Thanks for your support. Hugs.
Thursday, 3 October 2013
A Celebration of Words
In the UK yesterday it was National Poetry Day, a campaign to celebrate poetry. I am a day late, but it's never too late to honor any form of the written word. Is it?
I saw her as an angel fair, with sparkling eyes of blue
With cheeks like blossomed roses, and lips pf reddish hue
Her body formed like Venus, as graceful as a Queen
I never thought I'd find a girl, like the angel of my dream
But then you came into my life
Bringing with you boundless joy
My angel soon will be my wife
And life together we'll enjoy
I still dream of my angel fair
With sparkling eyes of blue
But now I know my angel's name
Margaret dear, it's you
M.S.M copyright C.R
My uncle wrote this poem in declaration of his love for my aunt and I shared the opening verse of it with you earlier in the year. Sadly they are both no longer with us, but his words and love live on.
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