The new Dreaming Aloud website is moving ever closer, it's being created day by day... lots of lovely colour and fresh white space... I'm loving it and can't wait to show it off... only about 2 weeks to go till I get to share it with you!
Today we were doing a photo shoot for it... so I got to do some painting! Hurray!
Well done clever Mr Dreaming Aloud for the lovely pics. He is quite the right hand man - formatting, designing, photographing, editing... amongst his other rather wonderful skills he shares with me (wink, wink)!
So today I have been sorting through my grandmother Lucy Helen's papers, for a top secret project, and found so many wonderful letters of condolence on her death - she sounds such an incredible woman... I'll share more about her one day... suffice to say she was a paradigm-shifting creative rainbow mother, a fine cook, avid writer and thinker, and always had strong opinions on everything! But synchronistically I found a 5 page handwritten letter from Elizabeth David, the British cookery writer in amongst her letter, I did a little happy dance, as Ms David is one of my all time fav writers - and I am going to hear Jill Norman talk about her this weekend at the Ballymaloe Lit Fest.
Tomorrow I'm taking part in a full day food writing workshop at the LitFest - can't wait!!
PS: Just a reminder to local folk: my paintings are in a group exhibtion for the Mid May Arts Festival this weekend in the Courtyard Gallery, Midleton, and I will be doing a reading from the Rainbow Way and a signing at Midleton Books, 11.45 on Saturday.
Getting sidetracked is my number one epic fail... as my dear son would put it.
I caught myself doing it last night. I was attempting to cook dinner. I then realised I had enough pastry to make a second quiche. And then put on sausages as well. I was helping our boy with his homework. Girl on the sofa demanded her tights fixed, and whilst I was looking for a needle in the sewing bag, decided she'd prefer to do weaving. Which I had to set up for her. Whilst our littlest suddenly decided that she needed to needle felt and have a drink of squash. At the same time.
I smelt the sausages singeing.
At THIS point I realised that I needed to say no. To everything bar making dinner. Rather than trying to keep everyone happy and help everyone.
I can only do what one can do... but what one can do, I will do it.
These words are my mantra.
But so often I get pulled off focus, my energy pulled off centre by the demands of others. And being a helpful sort of soul who seems to see their existence on this planet defined by helping as many people as possible, this happens quite a lot.
A day to celebrate fertility, and the Earth coming into bloom once more. To celebrate there's 20% off all my books - paperback and e-books - today only from The Happy Womb - all books come signed and with a bookmark! Use code mayday20 at the shopping cart.
My mother emailed me last weekend to tell me the donut man had died.
He was only 53. Just dropped dead.
I only met him a handful of times. All in the short exchange of buying fresh hot donuts. A profession which would naturally endear anyone to me. And I still feel sad that I will never see him again.
Last time I was over in the UK, one of our first stops was the donut man. To introduce my children and tell him how often I reminiced about his donuts with them.
He was a kind man. A caring man. Someone who appeared to do what he loved, with what he had, where he was.
He made great donuts. The best I'd ever eaten. And served them with love. I always felt great having interacted with him. He cared about his customers, what he made... and did it for at least 15 years. He was a part of the high street.
It's rare in this world to come across people who love what they do. Who do it whole heartedly.
We have a man who runs the petrol pumps near us. In his 70s I'd guess. I go away from our interactions with a full tank of petrol. And a full heart. He calls me lovey, and always has a smile and a kind word.
Doing what you do wholeheartedly. Whatever your chosen work.
It fills me up.
I remember you fondly, donut man... your kindness, and your delicious donuts will be missed by many, many more than me, I know. Bless you.
She sat in the boat. Soaking wet. Hair tousseled. Trying to talk to camera. Her voice starts to shake. Tears welling up.
I realise now I don't need to be scared of the sharks. They're just getting on with their lives, doing what sharks do. I was always terrified that'd they'd hurt me, eat me. But when I got in the water they were curious. But they had no interest in hurting me. All my life I've been so close to sharks but never dared to get in with them. I was scared for my life. But I just did. And it was Ok. It was exhilarating. It was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. But it was so worth it. And I know that I don't need to be scared of them any more.
This is all true. Something my kids were just watching on TV.
But it's a mighty fine parable for us about fears. Creative fears. Fears of speaking out. Of swimming with sharks...
Prepare... and dive in. Your fears will not consume you.
These are some of the words that come up as people try to define my books...
And I always feel a little weird about them... cos none of them really fit.
Sure part of this is the creative ego yearning to be considered unique... but there is more...
When you write a book... or go about your life... you don't tend to spend too much time trying to fit yourself into categories... specially when you're not into dogma or clubs or labels by nature.
You just do your thing... and it all makes perfect sense. Because you're just being you... in fact you kind of presume that the rest of the world deep down thinks the same way... they've just developed a few strange surface layers which need peeling off before they get down to it.
Then the time comes when you have to try to use pre-existing labels in order to categorise yourself ... and your work... you know, when you do that thing called publishing a book.... or redesigning a website....if you don't no one will ever find you...
Every so often I feel the clutter in our house build up to screaming point... or suffocation.
When I have been preoccupied with big creative projects, I don't have the energy or headspace to do anything other than get meals in front of people, keep the mountain of dishes from toppling and burying us alive, and making sure that homework gets done most nights.
The industry says there’s no money in publishing. They talk
about the death of books.
A visit to the London Book Fair tells a very different
There is PLENTY of money there. With a couple of thousand
stands. Each manned by 2-20 publishers, editors and agents. Suited and booted to
the nines. Talking with calculators in hand. Hunched over desks making hushed
deals. There is plenty of money changing hands… what they mean is there isn’t
much money for authors. All the money is being spent on staff. And offices. And
glossy brochures. And dinners. And printing pretty books. And erecting huge
stands. And lots of over fed middle aged white men and ladies with very
expensive hair. That is where the money is. Not in the pockets of those who
created the work. Who were having to grovel to get a place at a table to talk
to a powerful editor.
As an author I can’t tell you how wrong this felt. Intentionally
intimidating and phony. Corporate yuck.
This weekend saw our annual much-anticipated family celebration of spring, adopted from our soul- heartland Kyoto, Japan: o-hanami, the cherry blossom picnic. We have really made it our own at this stage - we are now on our third one.