Friday, 15 September 2017

Celebrate the small things, 15.9

Well, this is easy today: Happy Birthday, Mum! I shall be heading to Staffordshire for birthday tea and cake on Sunday.

I'm also celebrating the breakthrough of a friend who, after some difficult times, was able to say out loud 'I am an artist'. So proud of her.

I'm also quite proud of myself, because I've come runner-up in the Senior Travel Expert website's latest competition, and have won the Association of Freelance Writers flash fiction comp. *blushing modestly* I'm taking part in a quiz tonight - will the winning streak continue?

Have a good weekend, folks.

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A song in my heart

There's been a fair bit of music around recently. Last weekend I was at the Bingley Live festival, where my friend's son's band Your Illuminations were playing. Oh, and the Manic Street Preachers, Pete Doherty and the Kaiser Chiefs, among others.

I was at an accoustic music night midweek at the art gallery were I did my Pollock shoe painting recently and was delighted to see my efforts are now up on the wall. That's a first!

Saturday saw me taking part in a Strum Like A Pirate day, with the two ukulele groups I belong to. Related to that, my drummer son and I have used each other as an excuse to go halves on a baritone uke, which is very pretty, as you can see, and much bigger than my trusty soprano one, which is lying on the floor in front of it.

I have done some writing, too, honest! More of that anon.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Mixing with the best

We had a particularly fine session at Weaving Words yesterday. Whether it was because we were all feeling refreshed after our summer break or were celebrating the start of a new term I couldn't say, but the ideas were flowing and the energy high.

One of the many things we discussed was the benefits of associating with other writers and artists. There's something about mixing with creative souls that brings out the best in us, so if you want to write, hang out with writers; if you want to sing, hang out with singers; if you want to paint - well, you get the idea. I'm not talking about gatecrashing preview nights or making a nuisance of yourself outside the stage door, but I'm convinced that my increased writing output over the last year is due in no small part to the connection I have made with Kezzabelle and the other Word Weavers. 

I don't know if we pick up creative thoughts by osmosis or energy transfer, but I am quite sure that there is nothing like a session with writers, musicians, actors and so on to set my senses tingling and my pen twitching. It goes without saying that you must never pinch another person's ideas, but an image or a snatch of conversation can be the catalyst for something wonderful.

As always, I'd welcome your comments.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Changing gear

While rumours of my retirement have been greatly exaggerated - I wish! - it is true to say that I've passed two of my yoga classes on to another teacher, the lovely Angela, who is taking over from next week. I've taught the last session today and was overwhelmed by the kind comments, cards and generous present. My Tuesday group was my first 'proper' class after I qualified, and I shall miss them all.

However, I'm not retiring, just making space. I shall now have more time to concentrate on editing and writing jobs, and perhaps my WIP books will finally get finished. (Pause for laughter here!) I've said before that I think that September feels more like New Year than January ever does, so I've just started a week early. Mind you, there was a lovely autumnal feel to the air this morning, so perhaps the seasons have started to change. My little conker trees are starting to go orange and my tomatoes are well and truly over.

So it's onwards and upwards. I wonder what other positive changes lie in store.

Friday, 25 August 2017

CTST for the last time in August

I joined in someone else's celebrations yesterday, when I went to Waterstones in Market Harborough for the launch of the paperback edition of The Sister by local author Louise Jensen. Have you come across this book? It's a publishing phenomenon and a cracking good read to boot. I urge you to get your hands on a copy. 

Louise had a non-fiction book in mind to write, so she went to an event on self-publishing to learn more. While she was there she ended up in a creative writing session where she was given three words and ten minutes to write a piece of flash fiction. The words were: forest; spade; secret. What would you have come up with?

What Louise wrote turned out to be the foundations of chapter 1 of her first novel, The Sister. Now with digital sales with Bookouture of 500,000 - yes, half a million - and a three-book contract under her belt. The Sister l has been published in paperback by Sphere/LlittleBrown. Isn't that amazing? The second novel, The Gift, is to be followed later this month by The Surrogate.

Congratulations, Louise.

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Five things I didn't know this time last week

  1. If you break down on a motorway slip road, you will be in a live lane and should call the police before you call your rescue service (I didn't learn this from personal experience - it happened to a friend).
  2. Donkey's years is a play on words from donkey's ears, i.e. something very long.
  3. Mistletoe injections can be used as part of cancer treatment (again, not me).
  4. Musician Moby is descended from Herman Melville.
  5. Venus spins backwards compared to the other planets in our solar system.
I'm happy to be corrected.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Celebrate the small things 18.8.17

The new central heating boiler is in and with remarkably little drama. There was a tricky moment right at the start of the job - much male muttering about condensers and pumps - but it was resolved and now the device is sitting happily in the corner of the kitchen, humming every so often just to remind me it's there.

Naturally, health and safety reared its head. The young chap who came to do the fitting said he knew it was a bit OTT, but he had to put up this sign:

so in theory I had to ask permission to go in to put the kettle on. Dafter still were the precautions taken outside to protect anyone venturing up my driveway from the dangers of the world's smallest hosepipe:

Hey ho. I'm off to Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre this evening for a relaxation weekend. Whatever you have planned, have a good one.

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