Random Ramblings

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I often wish this were true.  Friendships are so important and so vital – as you get older I think your social groups gets smaller but better, you know what you want and who you want to spend time with and I think you get less tolerant to some of the things you were prepared to put up with when you were younger.  I see many people neglect their friends and it always baffles me.  I cherish my friendships – each and every one of them – I am so grateful for these people and hope I am a good friend to them in return.  2014 is goign to be all about doing the things I love with the people I love.

 

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I recently stumbled across this quote and I think it is beautiful.  Joanne Harris wrote the book Chocolat – this is from her book the girl with no shadow, which I am yet to read but which is now in my possession.  I love the ‘….thoughts that wonder off the edge of the world.’ I am totally adopting that to explain my way of thinking.

 

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People try too hard sometimes and forget to just enjoy themselves.  I truely believe you meet people in weird and wonderful ways – the right people just come into your life – life has a funny way of working out like that and working out just what you need even before you have worked it out for yourself.  Don’t dismiss these ‘chance’ meetings – for I really don’t believe in that – I think that you meet people for a reason – that you both have something to bring to each others lives.

 

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And this is here to remind me to start writing properly again – lately I have not had the time – what with working full time and studying two courses but I am determined to manage my time even better this year.  Onwards and upwards and hopefully my award winning manuscript will get written and make me rich!

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And this is the first thing I will buy when I become rich.  OK, maybe not – this is just something I really want – I don’t need but hey!

 

Hope you are all having a really lovely 2014 so far!

Normally blogging will resume soon ;o)

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.

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.

Music Monday

I am liking the little writing missions I am giving to myself so I am going to continue for a bit longer – here is a little one about music.

I looked at the boy in the band – stood on stage with his guitar in his hand, bouncing about to his songs, moving in time with the rhythm and looking out at the crowds.

I looked at his face.  I thought he looked at mine.  My heart skipped a beat.

I looked back.  He was still looking! Or was he? Could he even see me? What if he just had the light in his eyes….maybe it was the girl next to me, or behind? I quickly turned around and looked.  It was possible.  I looked back at the stage and convinced myself he was looking at me.  I felt my stomach flip.  He lent forward with his guitar, peering into the crowd, his eyes definitely rested on my face, and he smiled.  I tried to smile back but my face felt frozen into some gormless stare.  Not my finest moment – of all the times I naturally pouted now would’ve been a good time but no I end up looking like some dumb goldfish flopping about aimlessly out of the water, out of their comfort zone.

I always think the other girl will get the guy.  If the guy seems to like me I will think it’s because he’s not really looked at me properly yet or that he remembered me different to how I really am and if we get past those two hurdles – which isn’t often these days – well then I’d just panic that they would hate who I was.  So I always think the other girl will get the guy – can never accept it might actually be me.  And here I was – way on my way into being deep rooted in adult hood having my stomach flip about whether the guy in the band looked at me.  Lame.  Lame.  Lame!

But I couldn’t help it – he was looking again – I gave a side long sneaky glance around me – everyone else was looking at the singer.  I smiled, in spite of myself and I swear he smiled back.  I felt myself flash back to a goofy, skinny thirteen year old, teeth in braces and chest only just beginning to bud.  I felt the flush of those teenage years and kicked myself.  First I impersonate a fish, now a goofy teenager, there really was no hope for me – my Mother had been right all along.

I flicked my hair back and straightened my top, I had second thoughts and pulled it down a little.  I closed my eyes and counted to 3, I opened them and gave my best smile.

He had his back turned.

‘Rarrrrr’ I accidentally let out loud, much to the surprise of the girl stood next to me, I giggled nervously and tried to think of something to say but was saved by the next song kicking in.

The boy looked at me and this time I held his gaze.  He was staring but what he was seeing I really was not sure.  I pouted, I smiled, was I trying too hard? My face fell and my eyes searched his.  Was he just in a world of his own or could he really see me? I looked around me once more and saw that no one was really paying attention.  This was stupid, I was here to listen to the band and get that live experience of the bass thumping through my very core, get my ears ringing from the drum beat and feel all the bodies surging about in time to the music – making you wonder if you will stay on your feet or get swept along with the melody.

The crowd roared as the song finished, I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.  This is why I’d never felt jealous of the girlfriends of the band before – I never wanted to watch the band from the side of stage, taken out of all the crush and the rush and the real true emotion of a live show.  Yes sometimes it got a bit rough but I was big enough to take care of myself.

I loved it down here, not when the boys got stupid and started pushing each other around but I loved to feel the music course through me – going through my veins – giving me an electrical charge – it made me feel like I was being hotwired – that I was being recharged and reenergised.  I didn’t just enjoy this – I needed this.  I need this like an addict craved their needle, it sounds strong but it’s true – I get tetchy when I haven’t been to a gig for a while – I have to have music on all the time – to see it, to feel it to be part of it.  My life blood.  The thing that keeps me sane.  When I can’t find the words to explain something you can bet I will find you the right song or the right piece of music to express what I am feeling.  Music takes me back to memories I had long forgotten.  Without music I think I would be dead!!

I look again at the guitarist on stage, he looks so happy, he looks so lost in his music that I am no longer sure if he really was looking at me or not.  I stare at him for a bit longer, he looks so at home on stage, he looks alive.  He looks over and I smile.  Really smile at him this time and he definitely smiles back.

We’ve been together for 6 months now and I still can’t get used to the whole rock star vibe but I still insist on never watching the band from the side of the stage, I always want to be down at the front – watching my man doing his thing.

The chord strikes out for the last note of the night – as it slowly fades away I make my way backstage.

Story time

So I have been super busy – but here is a belated story about thing to do in London wrapped up in a little tale.

I am so tired, too tired, I don’t know if I can go on – this is too much – it’s way too much to ask of one person – I don’t know how anyone could be expected to do this – especially someone in my condition.

I was out Christmas shopping with my best friend and I had heels on for goodness sake.  This girl was a masochist.  This girl was also my best friend.  But come on there were limits.  I had been out for 5 hours now.  One shop after another, after another – then back again and because it was so much fun the first time.

I like to order online – it’s pain free (well, until you get the credit card bill) and it’s devoid of horrible stinky changing rooms, the clothes they send you don’t normally have lipstick smears all down them and when you can’t fit into that size 10 no one but you and your mirror knows.

My friend had it all wrong.  But then she would never not fit into a size 10.

My eyes wondered back to the cake store.  This is why I sometimes didn’t fit into a size 10.

Jolie called my name.  Again.  Apparently she had been screaming my name for some time from the fitting room, needing a second opinion…..why I am not quite sure – it’s not like she bothers to listen to me.  She’ll buy what she wants anyway…..actually it might be nice if she just bought something – 5 hours of shopping and not one shopping bag between us – this was getting beyond pathetic.

When I called Jolie out on this she huffed and threw the dress she was going to put back onto the cashiers counter and glared at me as she handed over her gold card.

‘Happy now’ she snapped.

It was definitely time for cake.

I steered her towards the cake store, stomping and moaning.  Until she saw the window display ‘Oooooooooo…..can I have a lick of yours?’ to anyone else this would sound weird- to me it was usual.  Jolie was a model.  She was gorgeous.  She barely ate.  No one is perfect though ay.

So I sat their stuffing my face whilst she looked at my cream swirl with longing.

I smiled, pastry and cream everywhere.

‘Dawn, you are just gross.’ Laughed my best friend.  She always knew how to make me feel good about myself.

‘I’m done with shopping here, let’s go somewhere more fun.’

I rolled my eyes – I knew she meant more shopping and not to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park – I had even tried to convince her all other tube lines were down and that was the only place we could get too, funnily she didn’t fall for it.

She didn’t like my suggestion of the southbank either.  It was followed by a noise and ‘People! Too many people.’ She didn’t care for the german market, the lovely hot chocolate or the roasted brazil nuts, couldn’t care less about the street performers, the only thing that had her swayed was the fairy lights but then she had plenty of those at home.

We tried the ice skating at the national history museum and that ended up with me twisting my ankle and almost calling a halt to the Christmas shopping expedition we were on today.  Jolie of course crashed into the most handsome man and ended up going out for drinks with him that night leaving me to suck on salted liquorice (who, why?) at the Finnish pop up market.

I tried in vain to get her to the London Chocolate Festival but yeah – you remember me saying she’s a model – that went down well.

Then I saw the sign of all signs – The Crick Crack Club’s Festival of Fairy Tales for Grown Ups.  Now how was I going to sell this to Jolie.  Fairy Tales and men rarely went hand in hand, I could say it was a story reading for grown ups but even I wouldn’t go to that and I was the book worm.  Maybe I could sell it on the crack club terms – well she is a model – they do drugs right?

I sighed.  I saw Jolie looking at some shoes.

Stroking some shoes.  A man’s hand.  Hey up this was a bit forward.  Then I saw it was Jimmy.  She could not stay away from this ars…..oh her ex boyfriend.  I had to keep my feelings about him to myself because every time there was a crisis and every time they split up I went to say what I felt but then two minutes later they were madly in love again.  He was a pig and I hated him.  My best friend deserved so much better but she saw something I didn’t – and not just him with no clothes on which thankfully I didn’t ever see, no I never had, no that time I barged into their room not knowing they were together has been erased from my memory, blocked out from the horror.  I saw nothing and that is the story I was sticking too, although maybe it gave me a hint as to why she kept going back to him – but that’s Jolie – rather fickle at times.

I sighed.  Then smiled, now I could go to this Crack Club by myself….oh, that bit didn’t sound so fun…..I quietly crept away.  I looked back at the cake shop.  One more wouldn’t hurt…………..

Throwback thursday

Story time again – a day late again – I am sooooo sorry!

Anyway based on the theme of past, and reminiscing – that’s sort of throwback now isn’t it – anyway – happy reading!

 

Don’t you sometimes wish that the responsibility for your own life could just be taken out of your hands.  That you could just curl up and sleep for a moment and when you open your eyes everything has been sorted out for you ready to just skip off into the sun set.

Even movies don’t work quite like that though do they.

Even movies have hic-cups.  Sometimes the whole damn movie is.

I don’t want to look on my life like that though.  I have no regrets and I will keep it that way.

I believe that things happen for a reason – that people come into your life for a reason – that you have a path sort of set out for you – you are free to fall off that path as often as you choose and you have some choice over which direction you fall off it but every now and then fate/life/nature will lay down the law and ping you back on track again.  If you keep ignoring the signals something drastic will happen to you to make you see – to make you change – or do something to get back on track.

The key to a successful life is probably learning to read those signals and not be so darn stubborn about things.

Funny isn’t it how I choose to ignore those signals yet at the same time I say I want something or someone to take control.

Even down to choosing what milkshake I should have – sometimes it is all too much.

Other times don’t you dare try to tell me what I should have or tell me what I should do.

Sometimes I think it’s when I know what I should do and am scared – it’s when I know that I want someone to make that decision for me so I don’t have to hate myself for it at any point – so if it goes wrong I won’t feel so mad at myself.  But if it’s meant to be then how can I hate myself for it going wrong as the thing that is meant to be will have happened.

If you see something beautiful every day does it stop being beautiful?

Do you forget what you have and take it for granted?
Then when it has all gone away all you are left with are your memories of what once was? The remnants of glitter on your hands.

I feel the urge to blow things up.

That will put the cat amongst the pigeons ay! That will start the ball rolling one way or another or will throw it so high it will knock me out on the way back down – but at least something would be happening.

Am I impatient or just never satisfied?
Do I know what I want or am I actually clueless and how do I find that out?
If I was to see my life through someone else’s eyes, what would I see?
Who would I see myself as?
It would be fun to find out, or interesting at the very least.

Who do you think you would be in someone else’s eyes? Would you like yourself more, or less? Would you cry or be happy, would you learn anything at all?
Would it give you an ego? And is that a bad thing?
For each question I will find you one more.

I feel hollow not heartbroken and I don’t know which is worse. I think I would rather feel the pain and know that I am still alive.

Sometimes something happens and my stomach flips – I miss those butterfly days.

I shout out my words and sometimes a hollow echo comes back, sometimes there is no sound at all.

Or is there sound but you just don’t hear it because the right person isn’t around?

Questions and questions with no answers in sight – or do I know the answer but am afraid to say it out loud?

Am I just having a wobble when really I shouldn’t be worrying at all.

Is this life as we all know it?
Are you saying this is nothing new or unique? It’s just the way it is?
Am I ungrateful or greedy or just honest? Do I deserve more? Do we all?
How do you know when you are truly happy, what do you compare it to? And isn’t happiness a build up of small moments, minute details rather than grand gestures?

I see the sun start to rise and temporarily my head goes numb, all around me the world seems to be lit up like a flame, the most amazing hues of orange and yellow and pink all dancing and swirling around themselves in natures amazing portraits – every few seconds the scene changes, the light gets paler, it turns more pink, the clouds get whiter until it’s just the daylight left and the embers of the sunrise have faded into the background once more.  It’s then I realise I should switch my head from the nonsense channel and back into sleep mode.

All of these questions will be there tomorrow, later on in the day, the next time I can’t sleep – my head swirling with a million and one questions about my life and what I should be doing and if I have made the right decision and if this is the way it should be done and if it even matters about whether or not I know the answers or whether anyone else does because after all isn’t life just one big adventure – we aren’t meant to know the outcome until the very end – it would jade our thinking and we know that what is meant to happen will happen and what will be will be – the right people will gravitate towards you and your life and good things will happen along with the bad – you will smile again no matter what and on that note it really is time to say farewell, goodnight and sweet dreams to you all.

I’m baaack!

So….I took a week out of the blog world and this is what I have been doing:

I went to a Social Anxiety CBT Group.  For me I learnt absolutely nothing but I am almost two years into studying a CBT course to become a practitioner (I don’t know whether I will actually do that – it’s just something I was interested in, but the older I get the more I want to see less of people, so I am thinking it will help with my fiction writing and am contemplating studying animal psychology instead…..but that’s another blog post I am sure).  It was good for me to go to a strange place, to be with a group of people I didn’t know and to actually be able to speak out.  But that’s the thing – my SA isn’t about meeting people for the first time – the first time doesn’t really worry me – it’s all the times after that……I am guessing it’s because then I worry more about being judged.  Anyway – I went – I conquered and came out with a worksheet.  And now I wait and wait and wait for the counselling to begin!

I went to a big firework display.  This was a bit of a tricky one for me as it was held at Alexandra Palace, a place I swore I would give no more money too due to the hair thief incident last year at the Vans Warped Tour.  They had huge issues with over crowding and not planning rooms properly and what do you know – the firework ‘Back with a Bang’ after 4 years of being away and changing from being a free event to a paid for ticket holders only event – well – yeah there were huge issues with overcrowding.  Your ticket was for a beer festival, a fun fair and the fireworks.  Well they put the fun fair in a place that had restrictions to how many people could go and there was no free flowing movement around the fair – so yeah most people never got to go anywhere near the fair.  The same happened with the beer festival – it became over crowded really early and no one could get in….not only that – they ran out of nearly all the beer!!! So yeah – that left the fireworks.  They were good, they were fireworks, they sparkle of course I am going to like them.  But, were they better than the free events they used to do? Not at all.  The crescendo of the display used to be amazing – this year it sort of happened and people only knew it was over because the gap between fireworks got longer and longer…..and longer…..until one lone little firework went off and people started to trudge through the mud to make their way home.

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I stopped off at my friends house and found something strange had happened to her cat.

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I did lots of studying for my CBT course and also my proof reading and editing course.

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I make an awesome collage for my friend who requested I wrote a verse for her to put into her library and she wanted to put it in a frame – so this is what I did:

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I started watching Breaking Bad and good grief – it is awesome – I am only on season 2 so no spoilers people!

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I found all these fantastical unicorn goodies and want them ALL for Christmas please Mr Santa.

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I have cooked 4 meals from scratch.  You may think nothing of this – but I do not cook! So this has been quite a monumental thing for me.  I hope I keep it up – but boy, working full time, studying two courses, watching breaking bad and trying to be fabulous takes up a lot of my time!

And I’ve been reading lots of Sarra Manning – lovely escapism reading – if you’ve not read anything by her then……bigger fool you ;op

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I hope you have all been well and didn’t miss me too much.

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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.

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.

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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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