Throwback Thursday

More 1,000 word fiction for you – I hope you enjoy!

 

Looking back it was obvious from the start.

This was never going to work.  Which was why I wanted to do it.

Like my friend who had a baby because the timing was so wrong – it sounded stupid, ridiculous, wreck less even at the time but now – it seems like it was the best thing she has ever done.

For me – I bought a one way ticket to a city that didn’t know my name.  No one knew me name. And that is what the appeal was.  I was running away from a life I no longer wanted but one I didn’t know how to break up with properly – I mean can you even break up from your own life? It was like I had to let go of the girl that I had been forced to be my whole childhood so I could become the woman I was meant to be the woman that I knew was – the woman that had always been there but hidden from view.

I could never be myself at home because I was always shouted down – I was told no far more than I was told yes.  I think that’s why even today, my default is on the negative.  I am a positive person for life and for others but for myself I am lost – sometimes I just don’t know.

So I did what anyone does when they don’t know what to do – well you have two choices – bury your head in the sand or run away.  Yeah, yeah some would say you could just deal with it but yeah right whoever does that – they don’t even do that in the films! They run.

So I ran.

Well I sauntered in my heels to the nearest train station – with two bags packed.  And I got on the train with my one way ticket feeling really proud of myself.

I looked at my suitcases.  One was full of books and writing paper and the other was full of clothes and one pair of shoes and somewhere in there I had managed to get my hair straightener – you know – the essentials.  It suddenly seemed daft – how was I going to be able to accessorise properly with just one suitcase of clothes, I was going to have to get a job fast…..there was of course that little issue of rent and bills but hey…….

I was a country bumpkin – I think – at the risk of annoying other country folk that when you have grown up in the country it gives you a certain naivety that you don’t’ have if you grew up in the city and I seemed to have held on to that into my adulthood.  I felt about 5 years less experienced in everything than city folk of my age, hell I was still scared to get the tube and still bought a travel pass instead of a single ticket just in case I got lost.

I got to Paddington far too quickly as I was starting to panic a little bit.

I had a number to call to view two properties that were ready to be moved into straight away.

It was then I realised I had no duvet.  I was an idiot.  But hey I was in the city.

The second flat was the one I chose – the first was nicer but the owner, who lived there, was a sleaze.  I swear there were holes drilled into the bathroom wall – I was glad I had been told to look out for such things but yuk how gross!

This flat was lovely – it was airy but my room was small.  I thought it would encourage me to get to know my  flatmates more as I would be forced to hang out in the communal space and not hide in my room.  I was wrong – they were horrid – I camped out in my room.

I job searched for two weeks and thankfully found a little office job – the money was not going to roll in as such but trickle slowly to my feet.

It meant I could eat, all be it sometimes just instant noodles, but my rent was paid, I had my mobile phone and the internet and the rest I would wing until I could get a pay rise.  I was so optimistic.

I went out for lunch with some girls from work and slowly got close to one or two of them.  I met some people through them and they introduced me to more.  My wardrobe was suffering – I needed more money.

That’s when I decided to try the local bar.

It was ridiculous – I was trying to hold down two jobs – one all day and one way into the night – I was looking longingly at the sales and tried to stay awake during the day.  Twice I had been caught with my eyes shut for far too long.  I was exhausted.  My flat mates stunk….literally and I was penniless.

But I was in the city – all my dreams felt that little bit closer to coming true.

Although I was single and living in a shared house that I hated the inhabitants of I still felt happy.  I shut myself off from the rest of the world and started to write.

I had tried to get away from being the bookworm and be the party girl but I knew it was never going to work.  There was nothing wrong with being a homebody and I decided to embrace it fully.

My stereo was loud enough to block out the housemates so I pretended I was living in my own place, somewhere a little more tropical than Walthamstow.  I wrote, and wrote and I wrote some more.

I then hauled myself to all sorts of publishers and agents and bam – I got published!!! Just like that.

So you see – being in the city and taking a risk it’s all paid off.  Looking back that bad move was the best move I ever made.

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And another treat – you lucky lucky people

A while ago I would do a writing test where a friend would send a picture and I would have to write 1000 words in the form of a story about it.  You know how they say a picture can speak a thousand words, the other thing with this was I was not allowed to spend any time thinking about it – that I would be sent a picture and just write whatever came out.  I like it – it’s fun.  It’s weird as when you read back through it – quite often you don’t really recall writing it – but it’s a good exercise, and I’ve started it again – so here is the first one.

This is the picture:

ImageTo add to the challenge I tried to incorporate the air of ‘Treat’ as that is the topic for todays’ blog.

So here is the story:

‘What is she doing……Ellie what is your sister doing?  Ellie? Ok then Honey, what are you trying to be little Susie, what are you doing?’

‘She’s being a panda!’ and Ellie flounced away.

She had a knack for knowing what her little sister was doing.  What she was thinking.  Or maybe she just made it up and everyone had come to believe whatever Ellie said Susie was thinking or doing or wanting.  Susie never put up any complaint so people just went along with it – anything for an easy life – never stopping once to ask a question or think about how Ellie would know.

Ellie had a theory.  It was that she had magical powers.  Her Mother had another theory – but we won’t go into that one.

Ellie had longed for a sister, she had written to Santa every year begging him for a sister.  One year she even said that she would go without any new dolls house furniture and maybe even without any new dolls as long as Santa brought her a little sister.  She didn’t ask her Mom – she didn’t even think to, she just thought if she prayed at night and was a good little girl and asked Santa nicely then she would get what she was wanting.

Thing is she knew she wasn’t always a good little girl – but she was never too bad – not like Tara from next door, she was just positively hideous.  And yet somehow, Ellie was pretty sure she still got gifts at Christmas.

Four years ago Ellie was extra especially good, at least for the run up to Christmas and she really thought that she would be able to get her wish granted, that her dream would come true.  But she saw how fat her Mommy was getting and thought that all their spare money must be being spent on pie and she knew that children cost a lot of money – she kept being told that, frequently it was said when she came home from school with another hole in her tights or her new shoes scuffed up.  She couldn’t help it.  It wasn’t her fault, but still her Mom would tell her off, yet still she’d come home all scuffed up.  She couldn’t help that she liked to climb trees.  It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t’ have a brother to help teach her how to get down again…..or to have a Dad present long enough to pick her up out of the tree and get her home safely, so you see, it really wasn’t her fault.

She looked back at Susie on the carpet and smiled.  That Christmas, the one where her mom got super fat had been the best ever.  Christmas morning came and Ellie saw lots of presents at the foot of her bed, at first she was super excited and in mid clap and dance around her bedroom she stopped and fell to the floor.  This meant she had no little sister.  Again!!

She soon forgot about it as she unwrapped her presents but as the days ticked on she started to feel sad again.  She knew that everything would be better if she had her little sister.

A week after Christmas her Dad was around more than normal and her Mom wasn’t.  She was woken in the middle of the night with her Dad saying that she had a new baby sister.  She rubbed her eyes in confusion and went back to sleep, when she woke in the morning she barely remembered her weird dream.  She went to eat breakfast and saw her Dad all ready to leave the house.

‘Hurry up Ellie, we have to get to the hospital!’

‘Why, who is hurt?’ she innocently replied.  Her Dad sighed so she went back upstairs, ignoring her breakfast and got dressed.

They got to the hospital in no time at all and there was her Mom all wrapped up in bed.  Ellie had gasped out loud for their in her Mom’s arms was another little bundle and there was no mistaking what this was.  It was everything Ellie had been dreaming of!

The reality had not been quite so good for the first few months – the baby just seemed to cry and be sick and make horrible smells and Ellie was starting to feel very pleased that she had not forgone any of her toys for this thing.  But slowly the little baby that was also known as Susie started to develop and grow and soon enough she was crawling around which was much more fun.

She ignored everyone though.  At first Ellie thought she was rude, and then she found it super funny – then the trips to the hospital started.

Susie was almost totally deaf; they didn’t think there was anything that could be done.

Ellie was confused, she didn’t really understand and would continuously; unconsciously stroke her sister’s ears, willing them to work.  Something about this action made a bond so incredibly thick between the sisters, one that no one could break, and this was when Ellie started speaking for her sister, and Susie seemed just fine with it.

Two years later, Ellie decided it would be great fun if they could have a pet.  She asked for a dog and it was a loud resounding no.  So she told the whole world that Susie wanted a panda.  If she had a panda then she would stop pretending not to hear people.

This went on for a year.  The panda never arrived, neither did a baby brother.  All that changed was her Dad was around less and less until she realised one day she hadn’t seen him for almost a year.  On that day she dressed up Susie as a Panda and called her Blossom.  She told everyone that this was what Susie wanted and Susie just sat there and chuckled.  Each time someone called her Blossom she would chuckle.  And Ellie felt that this made everything Ok in the world again.

Words of wisdom Wednesday

It’s story time again for you – a tea break tale or whatever you would like to call it, I hope you enjoy:

When you see a sunset do you think of the dying embers of a fire? Do you think of all the things you achieved that day or do you think about all the things you didn’t do? Do you see a sunset as final, depressing, an ending or does it fill you with joy?
I myself prefer sunsets, sunrises seem to imply something else, I can’t explain myself properly – there is something about a sunrise that seems seedy, you either can’t sleep or have been out too late, whereas a sunset is something to behold, to cherish, to make a point of seeking out and enjoying.

A sunset on a beach is one of the most beautiful things in the world to me and somewhere in the world this happens at the end of every day and it happens for free.

Those pure moments of magic, those pure moments of happiness, they are fleeting but they are often and it is those things that build up to make a happy time, or a happy life, or a happy episode.

It’s the little things in life. (How many male ego’s just soared about that one) but it’s true.  The little things touch your heart and make you smile the most.

Unless you are a bitch and then this story is probably not directed at you!

When someone is mega rich and they charter a helicopter to fly you to Paris for a meal (yeah happens all the time…..) but it’s like them spending £5, does is mean as much as the person that has 50 pence to spare but picks you a bunch of wild flowers, runs you a bubble bath and does the housework for you? NO, to me the person with the 50 pence wins hands down every time.  This is why I will never be living in a mansion.  And I am ok with this.

I think there are purer and truer things in life than money and yep hold the front page – money is essential but it’s not that important…..well yes pick me apart on that one – you need a roof over your head and food in your belly but as for trinkets and things – they might be nice but you don’t really need them now do you.  You can drown in your successes if you fall towards excess too much.  If you think that the trinkets and the fast cars are the important bits you are missing out on so much more.

When did you last take the time to notice a star filled night sky or to make a wish on a shooting star? To see a dandelion seed, catch it, make a wish and then let it fly away again? When did you last take a moment to notice the beautiful flower that has come out in bloom or to notice the cute little squirrel playing on the park fence?

When did you last stop and indulge in something you love – whether it be a big slice of cake or your favourite tv show – but to really indulge and not beat yourself up about the calorie count or worry about what you might be missing out on by taking a moment to invest in yourself and to slow down a little bit and to remove yourself from the rat race just for a moment or two.  That vital time of investing in yourself that we seem too quick to dismiss and not make time for or let other things leak in.  Change those ways and make it part of your routine – something as essential as eating and sleeping and breathing is.

Do you ever take the time to notice the sweet things that can happen right in front of your face or that little child that helps an old person pick something up that they have dropped.  The shy smile between two young lovers that are yet to admit their feelings, or the penny someone picked up to make a wish on, or the penny someone dropped so that someone else could feel lucky…………yes I did do that, I read it in a book and thought it was lovely so now and then when I have a moment or the mood takes me, or I feel that the world needs a bit more luck, I scatter my pennies! Deal with it.

Do you stop at all to think, to reflect, to notice that beauty that is all around you? Don’t ignore it – don’t forget it – happiness is not just a tiffany’s box you know!

Happiness is a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream shared with your best friend.

Happiness is that bass beat thumping through your chest when you see your favourite band live.

Happiness is being with your friends and someone produces teacups and a nice bottle of wine.

Happiness is finding £10 in your old coat that you were about to donate.

Happiness is reading a really good book, curled up on the sofa all snug and warm.

Happiness is being out in the woods with the sun trickling through the trees and hearing children playing outside, laughing.

Happiness is seeing your child in their first nativity play.

Happiness is laughing so hard that your tummy ahces.

Happiness is feeling the warm sun on your bare skin for the first time that year.

Happiness is the warm belly of a puppy dog.

Happiness is the smell of freshly baked bread.

Happiness is finding the other end of the rainbow.

Happiness is a kind word or a thoughtful deed from someone unexpected.

Happiness is being appreciated.

Happiness is a sunset marking the end of one day and biding its time for the next – each one a true gift – each one of them a fresh start if you so choose to let it be.

Let it be.

Happiness is everywhere, it is all around you, each and every day.   It doesn’t have to cost a penny; it is all there if you just let it be.

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.

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/

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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Another treat for you this Tuesday

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If you read Stargirl then you will want to read this.

If you haven’t read Stargirl – why on earth not?

Do you dare to be different?

Kick out against what is expected of you and be true to yourself.

It sounds so simple but not many people do that, too many are scared of not being accepted and live a life not fully true to themselves.  This is most definitely not the case with Stargirl.

She is different.  She embraces it.  She tried to go to a regular school and it didn’t work out for her and her family moved away.  New beginnings.  This is where Love Stargirl picks up the story.  Stargirl moved away from Leo.  Leo was her love, the narrator of the first book.  This time it is Stargirls turn. 

In a year long letter to Leo we get to explore the world of Stargirl again and all the lives she is involved with and the people she changes and the things she notices.  It’s magical, it’s beautiful, it was a joy to spend some time with Stargirl again. 

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Buy these books people – again it doesn’t matter what age you are – you will get something from this – you will learn it is beautiful to be different.

Treat Tuesday

Wonder by R J Palacio

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What an awesome book – in fact, I would call it ‘Cool Beans’ (you’ll get that once you read the book).

This is a young adults book but I find quite often that many of these titles cross all genres and this book is one that I would encourage everyone, of any age or nationality to read it.  All too often humans are judgemental and kids can be cruel, crueller than anything else I think.  It’s tough being a human but even tougher being a kid – especially when you have anything about your person that makes you a little different.

In August’s case, it is more than a little different.  He is treated like an outcast, a freak due to a genetic whoopsie that caused him to have quite a serious facial disfigurement.  I don’t think people know how to handle such things.  We tend to stare or look quickly and look away – thinking the person with the disfigurement won’t have noticed.  They will have, they will just be pretending, because no doubt it’s easier that way.  If we didn’t whisper about such things maybe it wouldn’t be such a shocking thing to some people.  Maybe if we were more open and honest….and excepting then these things would be easier for everyone.

In the meantime we could all gain a lot from reading Wonder.  It follows August through his first attempt at going to a ‘normal’ school.  It shows all the trials, the highs, the lows, the many lows of him just trying to be himself and fit in.  How because he looks different this is enough to get him written off.  But he’s not written off in a way to make him forgotten about or unnoticeable – his classmates still notice him and it’s never normally very nice.  Even some of the parents are shameful, and even though this is a work of fiction you know those characters are out there.

There is a beautiful message that runs through the book about not judging people by what they look like and seeing beyond, to see the inner beauty.  Although this book is sad, it will break your heart at times, it is ultimately uplifting and heart warming and gives you hope.

August is just a normal boy who has an extraordinary face, he is just trying to fit in and live his life and show that he is a kid just like all the others at school.  One person is brave enough to go against the flow and approach August with friendship rather than cruel words.  Would you be brave enough?

‘Be kinder than is necessary.’

Read this book – pass it on to your children….children, pass it on to your parents.  

Friday is here again……

Friday 4th October – Complete Radio Silence + support

Bridgehouse 2 Canning town

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Drive in Film Club, Brent Cross Shopping Centre – this is a bit awesome.  £22 for your car, no matter how full and you get to feel like you are in the past – watching a movie, in your car.

Check out more about this and other pop up events in London here:

http://www.londonpopups.com/2013/09/the-drive-in-film-club-at-brent-cross.html

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Malaysia Night , Trafalgar Square, Fri Oct 4

Trafalgar square will be taken over with all the sounds and sights of Malaysia with lots of food and things to do to help you soak up this culture.

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Transcender  – Barbican, Oct 4-6, a mixture of sounds and shows of the psychedelic kind will be held, for more information go to:

http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/series.asp?id=886

 

Elefest  – Elephant & Castle, Oct 4-6 – Celebrating the area with artists, writers, food, film find out more details:

http://www.elefest.org/

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Amy Winehouse: For You I was a Flame – Proud Camden, Chalk Farm

This exhibition runs until Sunday – various artworks celebrating Amy Winehouse

http://www.amywinehousefoundation.org/amys30event/proud-gallery-camden-amy-winehouse-for-you-i-was-a-flame

 

The Kerb – King’s Cross – This is a food party – or food market if you will.  There will be music, crafts and drink as well. It is FREE and runs from 6 pm – 11pm

http://www.kerbfood.com/kings-cross/

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Roller Skate – Wellington Arch – it’s FREE yippee and starts at 8pm All about having a skate on a Friday night and a stroll on a Sunday – sounds perfect to me – to find out more:

http://www.lfns.co.uk/

 

The Big Draw This is promoting drawing – for all ages, all styles all over London and many other countries as well.  All sorts of things will be going on so please do check it out:
http://www.campaignfordrawing.org/bigdraw/

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Wimbledon Bookfest is still running. Find out who will be talking and what events are running throughout the weekend at:

http://www.wimbledonbookfest.org/

Whatever you do this weekend, wherever you go and whoever you see – have a good one! 

 

Friday!!!!

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And here we are – it is Friday again and for some of us it is not just Friday but we have a few pennies to spend – so I will be hitting the bar straight after work and no doubt nursing my head for a while on Saturday.   If you are staying in tonight then the showing of Alan Carr that I went to see is on so what more could you want to do than watch Alan Carr and see if you can spot my ugly mug.

After dark at the (London) aquarium – the museums after dark was a hit and I think this wold be far more fun – go and see all the fishes all illuminated.

https://sealifeafterdark.eventbrite.co.uk/

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Oktoberfest in Shoreditch – 3,000 people drinking and eating over a few parks – sort of sounds like a mini London on a typical evening to me.

http://www.london-oktoberfest.co.uk/

 

London Tattoo Convention – to try to explain this seems daft – there will be inking going on and many inked people.  Bands will be playing at the 9th annual event and there will be food and drink – just don’t get drunk and get a tattoo – pretty much my one of my few rules in life

http://www.thelondontattooconvention.com/

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Wedding Show – maybe one more for the ladies – but it’s the national wedding show in London at earls court this weekend.  Lots of white, cream and frills and lots of brides in one room – I know it’s wrong but that sort of puts some fear in me.  Make sure you wear fixing spray on your make up ladies!

http://london.nationalweddingshow.co.uk/page/view/home

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Walk London – Autumn Ambles – get out and about – explore London – get some exercise – meet people!

http://www.walklondon.org.uk/

 

Victorian Carnival Kings Cross – Kings cross square is going to turn into a space of a Victorian carnival complete with fairground rides and street entertainers.

http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/calendar/detail.php?uid=34827

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Wimbledon Book Festival – Books are awesome – enough said!  There is a whole host of authors and activities going on – check it out:

http://www.wimbledonbookfest.org/

 

Astronomy Photographer of the Year – FREE – this is an awesome display of amazing astronomy photos at the Royal Observatory and it’s all at my favourite price!

http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/astronomy-photographer-of-the-year/

 

Tonight the Pixies play Electric, Brixton and Shonen Knife play Dingwalls on Saturday

 

And if you want to go and dance the night away I would recommend:
Jubilee Club at the Barfly in Camden run by the lovely Chris McCormack and Carl Barat http://www.jubileeclub.com/Jubilee/This_Week.html

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or you could pop over to Popstarz http://www.popstarz.org/ and go say hi to the gorgeous Jess.

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