All Hallows Eve

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Throwback Thursday – featuring yours truely as Dracula’s Bride – with my Mom’s actual wedding veil on!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN PEOPLE!

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All Hallows eve.  The time we remember the dead, including saints, which were referred to or are referred to as Hallows and also a time to remember the martyrs and the departed believers.

So yup another religious affair – but respecting the dead sounds like it should be a nice affair not about scaring the bejesus out of someone and hassling people for sweets ;o)

Last year I really noticed how much bigger Halloween had become in the UK – it’s always been quite a major family affair in the U.S but I noticed the little lanterns being put outside the houses in the UK where you could go and visit – I then noticed the idiots old enough to know better walking around and kicking the lanterns down the street……anyway – you always have a few that are stupid don’t you!

I think originally it was a Christian fest influenced by a celtic harvest festival.

It was the Irish and the Scots that took this over to North America back in the 19th Century and although not celebrated all over the world there are many countries that do follow this tradition.

I have been told that the ancient Gaels believed that on October 31 the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead overlapped and the dead would come back to life and cause sickness and damage crops.

Or in todays’ world maybe the sickness is from too much candy and the damage comes from those few idiots like the kids I saw booting the lanterns down the street.  Apparently bonfires used to play a huge part in the festivities which apparently attracted bats – and this is how the bat became so heavily involved in Halloween.  The costumes people wore was to mimic the dead.

 

At the beginning of November way back when poorer people would go door to door on the scrounge and would be given food in return for prayers for the dead on the following day known as All Souls Day – and this practice became known as ‘Souling’.  Shakespeare gave a nod to all of this when he referred to someone as  ‘…like a beggar at Hallowmas.’

 

The earliest known recorded account of trick or treating was in 1911 when a paper in Ontario reported seeing children near the New York border dressed up and going door to door receiving nuts and sweets in return for saying rhymes and singing songs.  It is believed though that in the US it was children that had to explain to Adults what they were doing and adults were enraged at such a practise.  So who and what started such a big tradition is still a little confused but to me it’s about dressing up and candy – what’s not to love about that!

 

 

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Wisdom…..

Words of wisdom Wednesday is going to be all about me….and you ;o)

As you know I finally went to the doctors – I then had to do the most excruciating hour long telephone type interview with a nurse.  I say excruciating as for me – talking about my feelings is not something I am used to doing – by nature I am a ‘fixer upper’ I help other people.  I want to fix things for other people.  I am the ’go to’ if you have a problem or have something you need to talk about.  I’ve been told many times that, by nature, I seem to get people to say things or more than they ever intended to do.  Thankfully I have no clue how I do this – so it is something I can never manipulate.

I did have a teacher stop me once to ask me who was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on and I was like well my friends and family and she questioned this as she said that I never seemed to let people know that anything was wrong.

Years later her words came back to……haunt me is too strong a phrase but her words sure came back to me.

When I went through my years of illness I realised I didn’t know how to start to talk about myself.  I mean you can talk about yourself on a superficial level quite easily of course.  Like what I have been up to or what I have been eating blah blah.  But to actually really open up about my feelings – I’ve never really done that.

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When I knew I was getting ill I panicked a bit.  I had not long moved back to London – I was still finding my feet in my new town, new job, rebuilding friendships and trying to make new ones; when suddenly things were not right.  My health was deteriorating rapidly – the doctors didn’t have a clue.  I felt more lost than I’ve ever felt in my life.

7 years ago – just before Christmas – one doctor sat me down and said that I had to prepare for the worst that they thought it was going to be cancer and they thought I should start to get used to the news.

This was rubbish.  I did announce to the doctor that they should never do that – if I have it then tell me and I can deal with it – don’t suggest something like that – especially before Christmas.  I kept this to myself for a few days – I made up my mind not to even mention it to my family – I mean it was Christmas!  At my works party I told a friend and she gave me a hug and we had a mini ‘Oh my god’ and we both shed some tears.

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Then I sort of buttoned up again.  I can’t even remember now how often I was at the doctors but it felt pretty much like once a week – I felt like I was moving in.  I didn’t know what was going on.  During this time I was made redundant, it was a government funded job so I knew this time was coming as the whole thing was only meant to last 4 years – we managed to get 6 out of them – anyway I managed to find another job before my job ended and moved on.  I was becoming so sick it was untrue.  I was too weak to even walk from my bedroom to the bathroom sometimes.  Twice I collapsed outside my bedroom door – too weak to get up – no one was home.  They were times of absolute panic and there is nothing like that to make you feel so alone.  I have since been told there were at least 8 occasions during this time when I should’ve called an ambulance as an emergency, but to be honest at the time I was so not thinking straight and not sure what was going on and not thinking it was bad enough for some reason.

The last time I collapsed outside my bedroom door – as soon as I could get up again I phoned my Mom and I cried.  That was when she knew something was really wrong as she said I was a tough one and never cried.  This has since changed.  I weep easily.  I think this is to do with how this illness totally fucked up my hormones.  But anyway……nothing wrong with crying ay!

Still the trips to the doctors – still tests – still the shrugs, trying to hold down a job.  Not being supported, getting sicker and sicker.  I couldn’t go out and I couldn’t explain why.  Friends seemed to disappear.  And that was when the words of my teacher came back to me and I thought wow yup she’s right – when I really needed someone where were they? When it was me that needed the shoulder for once instead of being the shoulder – where were they?  Many were nowhere to be found.  I cannot begin to tell you how much that hurt.  It also made me truly treasure the people that did stick around.

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Then suddenly I seemed to feel a lot better – things were still not OK not by a long shot but I had a bit of energy back.

Roll on about 6 weeks – and I was a few weeks into a new relationship, when bam – shit got real.  I had a major relapse; right in the middle of Camden with my Mom and new boyfriend.  They huddled me into a pub and we sat down and had a very honest conversation.  I was too weak to be going anywhere – but me being me I still couldn’t be totally honest.  So we stayed in the pub.  My Mom and my new boyfriend broke the ice with each other and for their first encounter got to spend about 7 hours drinking with each other! This makes me smile as my boyfriend is from Newcastle! My mom is not a big drinker but boy did she hold her own that day/night!  Anyway – after that we knew I had to really start kicking off with the health service.  About one month after that I was getting tests that were quite horrid, but very necessary.  Within less than 6 months of this new relationship – I had been tested lots and had been given a diagnosis and was awaiting an operation – in the meantime we were both ushered into a room and spoken to about whether we wanted children.  AWKWARD!

Anyway – I don’t want to dwell too much on the nitty gritty and nastiness of all of that – I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words the pain, the loss, the hurt, the scared emotions, the reckless emotions, the downright panic that I lived with for some years.  I had been trying to get this sorted for about 2 years by the time my first operation came about.  I went for my check-up – the nurse hit the roof that no one had checked me for anaemia.  She had watched me try to walk up the stairs – it was comical – I had to rest after 3 steps.  She said the iron reading was lower than she’d seen on anyone still walking – as I pointed out – I barely was…..and friends wondered why I hadn’t been going out!  It then transpired that I was at major risk of a heart attack due to the pressure being put on my heart.  So that would explain the heart pain and flutters and all the problems I still have!?!

The first operation was unsuccessful – in fact – the surgeon made it worse.  They said I was going to have to wait 6 months as they didn’t want to operate again so soon.  He also said he wouldn’t operate unless I had a course of injections that put me through a fake menopause.  I hit the roof – no way to put it politely – but the NHS being a bit money strapped and me not able to afford to go private it turned out I had no choice.  I was getting sicker and sicker.  It was getting harder to hold a job down.  My boss at the time was being really unsupportive.  I went in for the second operation.  There is no other way to put this other than the doctor botched this; they had to cut through my stomach and do a repair job.  But he said that things were ok!  This operation had been a success, but I had to stay overnight for observation.  They kept waking me up to take my stats all night and one time everything dropped so low they called the emergency team in but I pulled round ok without any help – see forever independent.  Obviously they were worried about the damage done as the one surgeon phoned me at home every day for about a week.

All the while pressure was being put on me by my boss, so I quit my job!

Yeah that’s not scary; penniless and in recovery.  Oh well, take yourself out of your comfort zone and sometimes things happen.

I moved out of the flat share I had as I couldn’t manage the hills around the area (especially with all the stiches) and moved in with my boyfriend.  One of the people I was living with went nuts on me for moving.  Sadly we no longer talk.  And I don’t mean that sarcastically – I do feel sad that she couldn’t understand and I didn’t maybe explain well enough but there you go – another life lesson.

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I know people say that those that are meant to stick around do but it doesn’t make it easy for some of the people I no longer see.

Now this is not entirely their fault and I will get to that – the damn phobias!!! The doubt I had about them mixed in made it impossible for me to walk into a pub alone and go and meet them for food.  I just couldn’t do it. It was like cement was round my ankles and the heart palpitations – now that just plain was hurting.

Anyway – I found another job – new job, new start…….or so I thought……..

About a month after this second operation I knew things were not ok.  I went to my doctor and we had the biggest heart to heart.  Two doctors at my surgery were/are amazing.  They have been such an amazing help and really seem to care about what I was going through.  One suggested counselling as she said that all I had been through was emotionally huge and having, by this time, spent about 4 years being ill and having heart trouble and all the rest of it – she knew that psychologically that can be a real….for want of a better phrase…head fuck.

We knew another operation was essential.  I threw a bit of a strop about going back to this surgeon and she put her job on the line and got me sent to another hospital!  Hoorah.

Third time lucky! Although this was not without its complications!  I basically started to die on the operating theatre.  I woke up way too aware of where I was and looked down and I was covered in bruises, I had 3 drips in me, and little sponge things stuck all over me.  Apparently I freaked out when I came round and they injected a load of morphine into me.  Not that I could tell.  I woke up in PAIN.  One vein in my arm was going black quite rapidly.  The nurse came over and I asked what all the wires and puncture marks in me where and she said not to worry it was what they did in an emergency but all was good now and shot me full of more morphine.

So this was a couple of years ago.  I am so much better physically than I was.  I still get a lot of pain – it’s almost constant but in a way that I can deal with it – I still have some tumours you see, anyway – the heart thing is still a problem but shouldn’t be life threatening it is just very painful at times.  It occurs weekly I think.  I try not to keep track as I don’t want to obsess about anything like that.

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It’s mentally where the problems are more apparent now.  I’ve never felt good about myself and I’ve always been a bit shy but this is where all the social phobias have come from.  It’s even harder for me to feel good about myself.

It’s so difficult to do the easiest of things.

To walk into a room of people.

To talk on the phone.

To not beat yourself up during a conversation fearful that you are no good.

To not look in the mirror and grimace each time.

To beat yourself up for being useless, for going nowhere, for doing nothing, for being no good, for being friendless, for being boring, for being ugly, for being fat, for being in social situations that set off my phobias which in turn kicks off the heart trouble…..the list goes on and on but I am sure you get the idea.  This thing changed who I was, I am not as carefree….it gives you so many doubts that I think only another person who has been through it could really get it I suppose.

And this is the thing – I am not digging for compliments.  I am not putting it on.  You can’t just snap out of a phobia.  It’s not a question of pulling myself together.  IF you think that you don’t have a clue about phobias.  JUST GETTING OUT OF MY FRONT DOOR EVERY DAY IS A BIGGER STRUGGLE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE.

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I hide it well still – apparently – and again I think sometimes that can be my downfall but I am who I am – some things are just personality; the basic make up that is me.

But the big thing is here is that I finally spoke out – I am telling you all this to try to help you see that you don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors, you never really know what anyone is going through, you shouldn’t judge as someone could be going through a world of shit or be having the worst day ever.  You should never just give up!

The thing that breaks my heart about this the most is that I used to just talk to everyone and anyone.  I was abit more choosey than Paris Hilton about what I went out to but only just.  Hopefully someday soon I can find a happy medium between that and what I am like today.

So – wisdom – use it – don’t be so quick to judge – you don’t know someone’s story – instead maybe try to be sympathetic, be kind, be patient, be understanding – not only will it make you a better human bean and the world sure needs more of them but you could really help this person in ways you didn’t know.

The other moral to this is – I went through too much – nothing like what some people go through but it was too much without me speaking out – I suffered for too long out of fear – I’ve half crippled my life because of this – the opportunities that have passed me by – the life I could’ve been living……….but instead of crying over what can’t be changed I have now taken the steps needed to get better, to start to tackle these things.  I have a long way to go and a hard road to travel but who said life was easy and nothing worth having is that easy to come by.

This week I have to go to a workshop to do with all of the phobias.   I will report back if anyone is interested.  I will be fearful going into that room but I WILL do it.

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So to any of you out there suffering – and there are many – please seek help – or at least talk to a friend.

The other words of wisdom I can give you is to cherish the true friends you find in life.  Don’t waste time with hangers on or people that aren’t really there for you – really cherish the true friends – there won’t be many of them in life – not real true friends but make sure you look after the one’s that do come along.  And be that true friend for someone else.

Life is for living and the experiences are for sharing.

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It’s Tuesday – go on treat yourself…..

My treat this week has been reading lots and lots.

Lots of YA books again but the joy of this is I can say it’s all research and hand over books to friends children afterwards so there is lots to gain from reading children’s books it would seem!

I read Smiles to Go.

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A lovely story about a science obsessed kid who has an annoying little sister – it follows his life and his science projects and some of the questions he has about the universe – it follows his friendships with his sister as an annoying little echo or a full on force in his face throughout the whole story.

Then something happens.  Something big.  So huge it has him questioning so many things but mainly – the whole idea of a sister and the sister that he has.

It’s a typical Jerry read – wonderful characters – and lots of insight and morals.  Some think he’s too forceful with the morals – but I think sometimes you gotta pack a punch! Metaphorically of course.

I also read Eggs.

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And I have to say – I did it – I finally found a book by Jerry that I was not so keen on.  There are two kids, David and Primrose – they don’t particularly fit in.  The one girl has decided to live in an old van parked in her driveway and she has a friend she goes to visit in the evening who is another misfit.  She collects garbage that she sells a junk fares to make money for snacks and to do up her van.  Then there is David – he is being brought up by his Nan whilst his dad is away working.  His Mother tragically died a little while before.  Primrose and David become firm friends – but pretend they hate each other. 

Although this book starts off ok and sounds like it’s going to be – it never really takes off and for once I never really got into the characters.

But it didn’t put me off.

I then went on to read:

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Jake and Lilly – twins – they do everything together – including sharing a room.  But suddenly all that changes – they get given their own rooms and Jake breaks away and makes his own friends.  There are wonderful messages about not picking on someone because they are different.  On how you can still be with someone and not have to suffocate them.  And just because you can’t see someone doesn’t mean they don’t care.  A beautiful read that brought me back to Jerry’s work nicely.

I also read Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning.

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This was about 17 year old Molly – who, along with her friends forms a band with songs such as Hello Kitty Speedboat, they are having fun.  Then they meet Dean and T who joined the band and bring an edge to it that rockets them to super stardom.  In Molly’s innocence and her wanting to be more grown up than she is – she ends up starting the story talking about how the record company is trying to sue her for millions of dollars.  A great read for anyone who wants to or wanted to start a band in their teens.  It puts in music, a little history lesson on life and on music – romance, betrayal and a lot about when things get out of control.  A fantastic read.

I always say there are too many books to read and not enough time –but that’s another great thing about YA books – I seem to eat them up! I always wanted to read like ET, I’m not quite there yet though.

Blood lust

Blood lust?
What an incredibly strange thing to admit to having.

What a weird thing to support, which we do – by allowing people to hunt.

To me – nothing should ever lose its life due to sport or entertainment.

A little while ago I was watching an animal rescue show – I am a sucker for most things in nature, and like many – especially cute baby things.  BUT – I see that everything has its place and a value to nature and to the world and therefore to us human beings, despite us trying to make out we are superior or above all of this – we are part of the circle of life and we are part of the whole eco system that makes up our planet.  It’s just a shame we have been blinded/convinced or are just too stupid to make the connection.

 

I know hunting is not new – but we are meant to be more educated and more civilised now.

When you are hunting for survival that is one thing.  Even as a vegetarian I can see that.  But when it’s for sport/entertainment you can do one.

Anyway – back to the animal show – this was about a very ‘professionally’ organised dog fighting ring.  There were over 40 dogs in this one space, one of them was all crippled up from damage to his legs that hadn’t been treated properly.  There were tonnes of illegally gained vet equipment for suturing up the dogs wounds.  There was a bundle of puppies all cute and flopsy – not realising what was awaiting their fate at the hands of the owners.  The dogs look scared or suspicious.  Their faces covered in scars.  There was a ring at the back of the property with blood on a mat.  There was a stressed out racoon elevated in the air trapped in cage, ready for the dogs to chase to get the hunger in them to chase, and hurt, something living.

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Then something really harrowing happened – they showed a video that had been found.  A group of ‘grown’ ‘men’ standing around these dogs – getting up really close and really goading these dogs to attack and then to carry on attacking.  The interesting thing to me was how much the dogs didn’t want to do this and how much the men had to goad them to do it.  It obviously was not a natural behaviour or some deep routed instinct in them.

All of the dogs were rescued and all of the dogs had to be put down due to the behaviours they were being forced to learn.  At the end of the day a dog wants to please its master and if its master is an asshole it doesn’t really have the ability to pick and choose what is obeys. 

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The owners of this dog fighting ring were only banned from having pets for a certain number of years – to me they should never be in charge of a living thing again.  They should be treated with manslaughter and murder, but that’s just my opinion.

Then last night I was watching the documentary on Bigfoot, proper scientific research being used to confirm or dispel the rumours and stories surrounding this creature.  There were a number of people in America that had sworn to sightings of Bigfoot and many that said they had samples of its hair.

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In the end the samples turned out to be of bears or wolves, and even one time a porcupine.  But what really scared me was this guy that had gone out hunting – he wanted to ‘Kill something.’

Why do we support such a thing? If someone ‘wants to just kill something’ to me that is scary – that is a danger to society – you feed that blood lust and how do you contain that to ‘just’ animals? And why oh why is it ok to just kill an animal…to take a life…..just for shits and giggles.  The guy even admitted he had blood lust.

I get this world a little less each day.

Scratch that.

I get human behaviour a little less each day.

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I’m not ashamed to be a human as I know I try to live in a harmonious way – but I am ashamed of many character traits that a ridiculous amount of humans show and believe in and the crazy things that the majority support.

The world is a beautiful place but we are truly ruining it.

It was a beautiful gift to us – nothing short of a miracle.  I really do think it’s about time we started to treat the planet with more respect again – and everything on it whether animal or human.  To spend a bit more time each day feeling thankful and grateful.

Music Monday

Well there could only be one subject for this week’s music monday.

If you never listened to Lou Reed’s music or never listened to The Velvet Underground there is no doubt that you will have heard someone do a cover of one of their songs, or site them as a major influence to them.

Lou Reed 1978

They might not have been the most commerically successful band but they left quite an impression on the music world.

Lou Reed went on to do his own solo work to mixed reviews but either way the man is most definitely a legend.  Sadly, he passed away on Sunday morning.

So enjoy the tunes.

…….”If I could make the world as pure
And strange as what I see
I’d put you in a mirror
I’d put in front of me
I’d put in front of me
Linger on……..”

Tis Friday I do believe!

Whoop Whoop – it’s friday again – how does it come by so fast….and yet, pay day still seems to take a million years to come around.

Having looked at my bank balance and then given myself a fright of how close it is until Christmas and how many goodies I need to buy I think I will be hibernating – and then hyperventalating at how crowded the shops have become.

Anyway – for those of you London folk wanting things to do this weekend…..

 

Made London at One Marylebone

http://www.madelondon.org/

This is a contemporary design fair – now in its second year – lovely original works from glass works to textiles to ceramics.  So if you are creative or have a creative flare or want ideas if you are home decorating then this is the place to be!

 

Affordable Art Fair at Battersea Park

http://affordableartfair.com/battersea/Anything from £40 to £4,000 bad yourself a bargain – maybe or just check out some art work

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Halloween Movie Mash Up Weekend at the Portobello Pop Up Cinema

http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/event/32712634-halloween-movie-mash-up-weekend-at-the-portobello-pop-up-cinema

Classics such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Nightmare on Elm Street will be showing, I hear there will also be apple bobbing and pumpkin carving going on as well!

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Belle’s Vintage Wedding Fair at Spitalfields Market – this Saturday

http://www.bellesevents.co.uk/belles-vintage-wedding-fair-old-spitalfields-market-london/

Vintage wedding dresses a plenty for inspiration as well as cake makers and dressmakers – pretty much anything you need to make a vintage themed wedding happen!

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Behind the Boosh – Photography by Dave Brown at Proud Gallery

http://www.timeout.com/london/comedy/behind-the-boosh-see-our-exclusive-pictures

Dave Brown was Bollo the Gorilla in the Mighty Boosh and he has captured the time in images of behind the scenes giving you a glimpse into their world.

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Two War Photography Exhinitions as the Imperial War Museum

http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-london

Fully capturing the horrors of war.  Humbling.

London International Animation Festival begins on Friday at Barbican Cinemas.

http://www.liaf.org.uk/

Animation for kids, sci-fi and documentaries from around the world!

 

London Comic Con at Excel is on featuring all things comic-y and geeky-y!

http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/

£10 for adults and £6 for kiddies.

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Throwback Thursday (the weekend is but a whisper away)

As you should know by now I love to read.  I pass on a lot of books these days due to storage space but there are a few that make it onto my forever shelf and one of those books is most definitely Ride The Wind by Lucia St Clair Robson.  And the interview I did with Lucia is today’s topic for Throwback Thursday – I hope you enjoy!

Lucia St Clair Robson is the author of all these books:
Fearless
Light a Distant Fire
Ghost Warrior
Ride the Wind
The Tokaido Road
Osceola
Walk In My Soul
Mary’s Land
Shadow Patriots
Last Train from Cuernavaca
Not bad for someone who never set out to write!

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Her writing talent is amazing, her description and character building is second to none.  If you have never read anything by Lucia then I would advise you to get to your library quick and order her back catalogue.

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What initially got you interested in the story of the Native Americans? 

I happened across the story of the capture of Cynthia Ann Parker, and mentioned it to an editor I met at a science fiction conference in 1979.  He persuaded me to try my hand at writing it.  Once I started researching the story and really got into it, I was hooked.

 You have had some amazing inside access to the history and the people – was this hard to achieve? 

The access to the information I had for the first three stories– about the Comanches, the Cherokees, and the Seminoles—came mostly from books and other materials I got through interlibrary loan.  I took a LOT of notes on 4×6 cards and set up my own version of a library subject catalogue drawer.  I also travelled to the places I was writing about so I could get the lay of the land, and find those small local historical museums and book stores.
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I can only imagine it must be hard to let outsiders in when the past has been so full of lies?

A very astute observation.  In 1980 I called one of the Parker family elders to ask some questions, but she wasn’t very helpful.  She explained that she had helped a writer before, introducing him to the tribe’s elders.  But when his book came out it was so full of errors that she lost face.  So I didn’t use any of the Comanche descendants as sources of information.  I’ve gotten to know them since the book came out.

 I was told that Barak Obama recently offered up quite a large sum of money to basically apologise about the past treatment of the people, what do you think of this? 

This is the first I’ve heard of it.  I checked and what I found is that Indians are raising money for Obama’s campaign, not getting money from him.  And they rank him as #2 in the eight best presidents for dealing with Indians.   

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There is much confusion about the politically correct term to use for a Native American – what do you prefer to use yourself? 

I used the term Native Americans for years until I realized the people themselves use the word Indians… at least the ones I know do.    Indians are very pragmatic people and the ones I’ve met aren’t bothered by political correctness.  Comanche, for example, is not a Comanche word.  It comes from the Ute word, Komantsia meaning “Enemies” or “They who are always against us.”  The Comanches’ name for themselves is Numunu, but the ones I know go with Comanche.  And really, it is catchier than Numunu.

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Ride the wind is truly up there as one of my all time favourite books ever.  The story you told of Peta Nacona and Naduah reduced me to tears.  For those that don’t know about them and the story of Cynthia Ann please tell us a little: 

Cynthia Ann was captured by Comanches when she was nine and grew up with the tribe.   She married Nocona; leader of the band called Wanderers, and had three children.  She was recaptured along with her infant daughter, and returned to her Anglo family, but by all reports longed to return to her people and Comanche family. Her son, Quanah, was the last Comanche chief to surrender. 

Quanah Parker went on to have a lot of children, 15 if I am correct?

Are there many still fighting for justice?  The Comanches I know, mostly members of the Parker family, are very patriotic.  I would bet that a higher ratio of them serve in the military than any other ethnic group.  And they open every powwow and event with a colour guard to honour their military veterans.   I haven’t heard any of them express concern about past injustices or fighting the government.  

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Ride the wind would make the most epic historical and romantic film, are there any plans to have this made into a film? 

WIND has been optioned a few times, and many people have expressed interest, but none have followed through.  A producer contacted me about it last year, so we’ll see if he can move Hollywood off the dime.  

Who would you like to see play the leads of Peta and Naduah? 

People have been casting WIND as a movie since 1981, before it was even published. At that time Sissy Spacek was the one suggested.  As years passed, Daryl Hannah’s name came up.  Personally, I’d like to see an unknown play Naduah.  And there are some gorgeous Indian actors now who would be great as Nocona.

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What made you decide to become a writer? 

I didn’t decide to become a writer.  I was herded into it.  That Science Fiction editor from Del Rey kept calling me at work until I finally started researching and sent in the first six chapters.  A Ballantine editor read them, called me at work, and offered me a contract.  Nothing like a contract, a deadline and an advance to make one decide to become a writer.

Please describe your writing process?   

I try to write every day, but have no set schedule.  When writing historical fiction, the reading and note taking and staring into space can be as important as the writing and I have to do a lot of that.  Life has an inconvenient way of intruding though, so I’m very slow.

As a writer, where do you draw your inspiration? 

From the people I write about.  They’re a very inspiring lot.

What other authors do you admire?  

Since history provides the story and ending for historical fiction, I like to read mysteries to see how they manage plotting.  John D. McDonald is my favourite for character development.  And P.G. Wodehouse is great for dialogue and an easy-going style.

What books have most influenced your life the most? 

As a kid I loved The Sword and the Stone by T.H. White.  It gave me the notion that history could be fun and funny and fascinating.

For any budding authors out there – what advice can you offer them? 

Don’t talk about it.  Don’t squander energy telling your friends and family all about it. Just do it.  There are many more ways to get published now than there used to be.

What do you think of the current trend for eBooks and eBook publishing? 

I don’t own an e-reader and never will, but any format that gets people reading is fine with me.   

You were also a Peace Corps Volunteer; please tell us a little of what this entails? 

My two Peace Corps partners and I lived in a poor neighbourhood in a small Venezuelan town for 20 months.  We lived “on the economy” and worked with the neighbourhood’s Development Committee on projects they wanted to do.  We also got people enthused about clearing overgrown land to use for a sports program that became very popular.

You have lived in numerous places, where is your favourite place on earth? 

Earth is my favourite place on earth.  I couldn’t narrow it down to one location, although I am fond of my quirky, riverfront community.   It’s very quiet and a great place for a writer.

ImageWhen not writing what do you do? 

Read, do crossword puzzles, work in the yard, sew, and since I live in an old house, I’m constantly fixing it up.  And I travel whenever I get the chance.  (Okay, I like to go on-line with facebook).

 What does the future hold in store for your writing? 

I can barely keep up with the present.  I don’t think about the future.  After all, I never expected to be a writer, so it still doesn’t seem real to me.

For anyone interested in learning more about the history of Native Americans – what books/websites would you suggest?  

That depends on what Indian nation people are interested in.  Otherwise, the sites are too numerous to list.  I know the Comanches have a museum and website, and I’m sure the other tribes do too.  

Do you think the world will ever go back to respecting nature properly again?  
The world (meaning humanity) has never respected nature.  The Indians did better than most, but even the earliest immigrants who crossed the Bering Strait wiped out a lot of the New World fauna.  

You recently spoke at The Daughters of the American Revolution, how did that go? 

I enjoy speaking to and with the D.A.R. because they “get” history.   They’re a wonderful audience.   Today the Regent of the group I spoke to last night emailed me a copy of the piece she wrote for those who weren’t there.   It begins, “Our speaker last night, Lucia St. Clair Robson, was nothing short of extraordinary.”    So I guess I did alright.

You can find out more about Lucia and her writing at her website:

http://www.luciastclairrobson.com/

Hump Day

Even roses need shit to grow! Come on, think about it, it’s true!

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I may’ve accidentally got too sucked into an episode of The Simple Life once – maybe I lost the remote control for a moment or something – but I remember hearing this old Southern guy saying about how he doubts the pair of them had even thought about the night sky and that they had probably never just sat outside and just be one with nature and watch the stars.

It makes you think about how fast this world is moving – how everything is about time.

I don’t have time.

Well actually yes you do.  You have all the time in the world, what you might not have is time management at it’s peak.

You might not be prioritising the right things.

You might be looking at others thinking they have it all when really they don’t!

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And this is the thing……….you will forever be made to feel you don’t have enough, that you need to be working harder, that you need to show you are a good employee by selling your soul to your company and never seeing your family – but it’s ok you are providing for their future, but if you carry on like their future will be without you – either from early health issues or divorce if they never see you.

Life isn’t easy but today’s world puts way too much pressure and negativity onto people’s shoulders until you realise you are so weighed down by the bullshit that you can barely move.

So look, I’ve gone and brought up that word ‘shit’ again! But it is true – you have to take the rough with the smooth, you have to go through the dull times to appreciate the sparkle.  Go through struggles to appreciate the times we coast through life.  Everything seems to have a plus and a minus.

You have to remember when you look at someone enviously – that you only know what they are letting you see – you don’t really know what is going on behind closed doors – or what is going on inside their head.

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You have a unique life and you shouldn’t judge it on anything other than whether you are happy with what you are doing and where your life is going and if you are not happy with it then you and only you have the power to change that.

Yes, I know – that sounds like rot when you are at the bottom looking up – the climb is too far and too hard.  You feel like you are kicked down every time and that my friend, is because you are not learning the right lessons.

We learn the best lessons through our biggest mistakes.

We appreciate the good times because we have the bad times to go through to give a contrast.

We are all unique and that should be celebrated not denied or hidden.

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Life is beautiful.  You have to remember that.  Nature is beautiful – I don’t think anyone can deny that but it too has to do some things that are deemed too lovely to keep the flow going and the majority surviving.  Nothing is without its flaws – but that shouldn’t be a shameful thing.

Celebrate your flaws.  Who is to say what is normal anyway, I mean what does that word even mean!?

I look around me all the time and see the evil and destruction that money creates.

This tells me that money is not the answer.

When you go out into nature and enjoy the land that is there all the time – you feel calmer, more relaxed, there is an air of tranquillity that washes over you – that’s because we are back where we belong – we were always meant to be part of the circle of nature but for some reason humans decided they were to stand above it and watch (which of course changed the shape of the wheel and has caused, you guess it, a world of shit!)

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When I see someone screeching around in a Ferrari I am not jealous – I actually almost pity the person who has to use their wealth in a way to show off to people even though it’s not cost effective to drive a Ferrari through a city – nor are you covered by insurance if you park in a city (most insurers don’t cover you anyway) and I bet no one waves you out at the traffic lights.  Is it really a smoother ride? No it’s to let everyone know you have money.  Well how sad.  I’d rather have people think I was cool or good or decent because of something I do that gives to humanity.

This world’s an ugly place……sang Blink 182 and I do agree – I think it’s ugly due to human greed, you get rid of that and the world works in beautiful harmony.  The circle turns.  So when you think of a circle it’s a loop – it goes back to the beginning and starts again.  Karma – what goes around comes around – it’s a circle again – which means things go full circle which must surely mean, then, that it all incorporates all emotions but ultimately works well and the right thing happen in the end.

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We have to go through the full spectrum of emotions and I guess ultimately that is what gives us a richer life, where we can appreciate everything and have the opportunities to learn and grow which is really a major part of what life is about.

So when things don’t seem so great remember that there is normally a reason for it – lessons in it for you and that there will be much better times to come!

Treat yourself – it’s Tuesday

Treat Tuesday – this week is about the books I read this weekend.

Yes I end up reading quite a lot of Young Adult fiction due to that being the genre I naturally write in.  Stephen King always said you should read, read and read and that was a major part of anyone’s writing process and I would say I tend to agree.  Not that I am anywhere near the same league as Stephen, but you get my point.

I am a major fan of ‘Coming of Age’ stories.  The Outsiders by S E Hinton is probably one of my favourite books…ever! I read a lot, that is a huge statement.  And although not quite The Outsiders, I was introduced to the world of Jerry Spinelli recently and it gave me another author that has written billions of books (ok more like somewhere in the region of 40 but how impressive is that still…..) and I am slowly going to devour them all.

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This weekend I read each of these in a couple of hours and although, yes, they are too young for me, it’s not quite the same age group as Star Girl – which I would say is one of the most universal books I have read, Loser and Smiles to Go and during the week I read Milkweed.

Milkweed was genius.  It’s a slightly older Young Adult book – the same sort of age range as Star Girl and again I would say as universal.  Jerry took on the challenge of writing a Young Adults book about the Holocaust and about what it was like to be a Jew in 1930/40.  He wrote it about children, from a child’s perspective.  The innocence of not yet having learnt about judgements and segregation, the mean side of human nature.  It follows a boy called Misha and his life in Warsaw, Poland.  He steals.  Does this make him bad? In my book, no! It makes him a survivor.  He is not selfish with the good he steals – he falls in with some other boys that are looking after themselves, that are parentless.  He helps out a young girl and her family and also a local orphanage.  It is a moving story from a different perspective.  There is such positivity running through what was a very brutal time.  A must read for adult and child.

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Loser – is about a young boy called Donald Zinkoff.  His schoolmates think he’s a Loser.  His biggest crime? Being too enthusiastic.  It is story to show the cruelness of humans, the questions one has to ask about what really makes a Loser, how easy it is to change that name and replace it with Hero and what really makes a Hero.  Donald doesn’t pick up on his quirky ways – or if he does realise it then he doesn’t care, and that is the beauty of this story – it’s about celebrating the child within us all – to focus on having fun and not get wrapped up in all the other rot that can drag you down in life and take up your time caring about things that shouldn’t matter.

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Smiles to Go – Will Tuppence is a big brother – to Tabitha…who he sees as the most annoying sister in the world.  Will likes Skateboarding, hanging out with his friends and avoiding his sister.  He also loves science and is blown about when he finds out that protons don’t actually last forever.  The reader is invited into the rollercoaster ride of Freshman Will and soon learns that things aren’t always as they seem.  Whilst trying to get his head around the fact that nothing lasts forever and trying to train himself for an important chess match he is really reminded of what is important and given a chance to see his life and his sister through different eyes.  A lovely uplifting story and a must for anyone with an annoying younger sibling.

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I think reading in general is a treat.  I know many people see it as geeky or dorky – but I take either word as a compliment these days.  The greatest gift, I think, that you can give to a child is imagination.  To learn about things, to see things through others eyes, to learn to be alone and to find their own entertainment.  To ask questions, to explore, to be curious.  Reading allows all of this to be developed in a human…..and I guess that is why I still read so avidly. I am still so curious about everything.

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