Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lack of Blog Apologies…or is it excuses?

OK so I’ve got to Friday night and still no “proper” blog post prepared.

So before guilt and panic set in about not posting something this week, I’ll offer up my humble apologies and promise that “normal service” will resume next week.

If you follow my ramblings on a regular basis, you will know that the “birth” of Book Baby 2 is fast approaching.

I’m not quite ready to reveal the exact “due date” but it’s sooner than some of you may think. 😉

I haven’t been procrastinating with regards to creative activity. Honestly!!!

I have for the last couple of weeks been trying to master the “dark arts” of Photoshop thanks to copious amounts of support from my “fairy godmother”  (Yes, this has involved magic wands!)

For me the biggest challenge of self-publishing via Amazon’s Kindle and Createspace options is the creation of the cover. Hence the need for Photoshop black magic.

Photoshop and I have a VERY shaky relationship at the best of times but thanks to the endless patience of my “fairy godmother” Book Baby 2 will not be coming into the world totally naked!

So, on that note, I’ll bid you farewell for now and return to practising the “dark arts”.

Here’s a wee tiny peek at things yet to be revealed.

BB2 teaser

 

 

 

Music- therapy for the soul

cantgoaday

Serious question – how long can you go without listening to music?

I honestly don’t know the answer to it and it’s not an experiment that I’m about to try.

I do recall about ten or eleven years ago being on holiday in the USA with the kids and, about eight or nine days in, I realised that something didn’t feel quite right. I felt tense and out of sorts. It took me a wee while to figure out what it was that was bothering me. It was a lack of music. I hadn’t heard a tune in over a week! We were having a fantastic trip but, when we had been out and about in the car, my uncle had been playing story CDs for the kids. (The Baby Snooks radio shows from the 1940’s to be exact – these have to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Check them out on You Tube) Even in the house the radio hadn’t been on and we’d not watched anything on TV other than the news or kids’ cartoons.

My music drought ended the next day when the kids and I spent a couple of hours on the town beach at Cape May NJ. I borrowed Boy Child’s mp4 player. Paradise City has never sounded so good!

These days I’m surrounded by music. (Wasn’t risking the trauma of another drought!) My iPod is always on via the docking station while I’m in the kitchen. In the car, there’s always music on. At lunchtimes, if I go for a walk, my ear buds are safely snuggled in my ears and the music is playing. Bliss!

The benefits of listening to music have long been heralded. Charles Darwin is quoted as once having remarked, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week.”

Scientific research has proven that when you listen to music that you enjoy, your brain releases the “feel good” neurotransmitter, dopamine, thereby generating a natural high.

Another study found that listening to your favourite tunes reduced levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body.

A study conducted in the Netherlands determined that listening to music while driving can enhance the driver’s mood which leads to safer, calmer driving habits. (I’m not sure about the safer bit but I do remember, a long time ago, my mother was playing Strauss waltzes while she was driving. She is a particularly nervous driver! On that occasion though, she “waltzed” happily round a twisty section of road humming and smiling to herself!)

To quote Berthold Auerbach, a 19th Century German-Jewish poet and author, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

I couldn’t agree more!

So the next time you’re feeling a little frazzled or a bit downhearted, dust off that iPod or dig out your CDs or even better your old vinyl and fill your heart with some of your favourite tunes.

You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel!

music

(images sourced via Google)

“Yep, I like this one!”

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Last night I enjoyed a complete nostalgia trip to the cinema with one of my oldest (as in I’ve known for the longest not her actual age!) and closest friends. We went to see The Peanuts movie. No kids. No excuses. Just us.(ok and half a dozen other folk who were in the theatre with us)

As a kid the Charlie Brown cartoons reminded me of school holidays. It was the only time I remember them being on TV. If they form part of your childhood memories then the movie is well worth seeing for the nostalgia value alone!

I had already started to think about this blog post earlier in the day so the film’s underlying theme was quite appropriate

Friendship

Like Charlie Brown, I too remember that flurry of excitement when a new kid turned up in the street or in school. Maybe “this one” would be a forever friend…hmmm ghosts for another day and another blog.

I’d already been thinking about friendships of the past few days after seeing the above quote on Facebook. It struck a chord with me.

I’m going to be totally honest here, I don’t make friends very easily. Perhaps that relates back to the past and those seemingly endless years of being bullied in school. Perhaps its because, being an only child, I’m quite content in my own company. Perhaps it relates to being quite shy, quiet and nervous among strangers. Perhaps I’m just a weirdo! The truth is that it’s most likely a mix of all of the above factors and a  few more besides.

The more I thought about my various close friends, friends, acquaintances etc the more I began to over analyse things ( as is my usual want).

We refer to having a circle of friends. I have many circles, almost like a target with me as the bullseye.

I have a very tight circle of close friends. People I’d totally trust with my life. Friends I interact with on a more or less daily basis.

Then there’s a slightly larger circle of good friends that I see on a regular basis.

This is followed by a wider circle of friends that I engage with occasionally.

Finally there’s a fairly large circle of acquaintances.

Through time people jump from one circle to another, both in and out. It’s only natural as we all make our way through life. However that inner sanctum remains intact. There are friends that I’ve known almost all of my life in there plus one or two that I’ve known for only a few years.

What makes the difference?

There’s been endless articles written on why one person is attracted to another; endless theories about common physical appearance, common interests, day to day proximity. You get the picture.

When I look round and see who’s standing beside me in that inner sanctum of friendship, it throws most of these theories out of the window. It’s quite a diverse, small group of very special individuals.

Then there’s online friends as opposed to face to face friends. That adds a whole  new modern dimension to circles of friendship! It opens the question – are these real friends or virtual friends? I’ll leave that thought there…….

At the end of the day though…f0c768d11ce54a46a9d8e63828f36a5e

 

New Year, New Ideas, New Beginnings

new begnings collage

 

New Year. New beginnings. New ideas. Yes, yes and yes!

Resolutions? No chance! Never been big on making resolutions.                                                 

Sitting here during my lunch break in the salt mine, I’m looking out at a very grey, damp, cold, bleak January day. It’s slate grey out there today.  

However, it’s a new year and, creatively, it’s a blank slate.  

So, while my heart is already longing for some sun and long, warm light summer evenings, my mind is off on its own adventure.

 Book Baby 2 has been monopolising most of my creative time for the last few months as I mould it and edit it, with the invaluable support of my “infamous five”.  (Seriously, I couldn’t do it without you guys) It’s almost but not quite there… and it’s still naked as I wrestle with various ideas for its cover. I know, I’ve mentioned it before, but, as I move into the final preparation stage, the last weeks before delivery, it’s omnipresent in my mind! 

Who’d have thought even this time last year that I’d be Book Baby Mummy to one never mind two Book Babies? Eek!          

The characters for Book Baby 3 – yes, it is already a work in progress although at the VERY early stages – have been emerging in my mind. Some of them I’m having to tease into life. Others are leaping up and down, pleading to tell their story. One small group are pleading to be allowed their own tale. Maybe-if they behave! 

It’s all new and exciting…well it’s exciting to me… but they’ll all have to wait their turn! 

I did start to write a small snatch of flash fiction to accompany this post thereby allowing one of the newcomers to leap off the page but I halted it without an ending. Taylor (or Tailz as he prefers) will have to bide his time for now. He does put in a brief appearance in Book Baby 2.He’ll have to be content with that for now 😉 

Finding names for these new “people” is always a challenge. As I mould their personality in my head (usually in the wee small hours when I should be sleeping) I try to select a name that matches their character traits. Occasionally a name comes along and you just know that you have to find somewhere to use it! One such name emerged as I began the initial draft of Book Baby 3. I’ll keep the name under wraps for now as the story isn’t complete and I don’t want to jinx it. (Yes, I’m a bit superstitious that way) but he’s screaming to be let out onto the pages. He’s turning into quite a demanding creature!

 So instead of being blank, my 2016 “slate” is gradually filling up with scribbles, metaphorically speaking. In truth, it’s a growing pile of Post Its and scribbled notes stuffed into my current notebook! (I’d be lost without Post Its!)

 One of my Christmas gifts was a pair of earrings. They are an un-matching pair. One says “Live the life you love” and the other says “Love the life you live.” 

For now, I’m trying to achieve the best in both worlds – my real world and my creative world!  

And do you know something, I’m looking forward to 2016!  

Happy New Year! May this be the year all your hopes and dreams come true and may we all Live The Live You Love and Love The Life You Live!