Posts Tagged ‘beliefs’

The challenge this month was to write about family in a way that dealt with resentment, or a lack of connection, or some unresolved issue.   But that left me in a quandary, as I don’t post specifics about my family as a rule; I don’t want to invade their privacy in a blog which is essentially about my own experiences of a writing life.

So I took a wider view of family; a world-wide one, in fact – because we are all related, one way or another.

We are all human.

And we all have things we’d like to see in an ideal world.

For me, there’s a point that seems to keep reappearing at the moment.  Not just in my real life either, but in newspaper reports such as the one about Ellen Page’s speech at the Time to Thrive conference.   Ellen Page summed up the point beautifully:

‘this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another.’

That doesn’t sound too hard, does it?  ‘Be less horrible’ is hardly ambitious.

We all suffer from the unkind, unfair scrutiny of others to a greater or lesser extent – for those of us in ‘safe’ countries, those of us lucky enough to have the support of family and friends, it can sometimes feel unbearable.

How much more so for people in countries where it is illegal to be the person you were born?  Or where you don’t know if you will survive the bombs dropping on your city, or where you are unsafe to travel alone because you are a woman.

There are many things in this world that cause difficulties for people, but the only one we can all take responsibility for is ourselves.

So I hope for one thing today: that my family, my vast 7 billion and rising family, is kinder to each other.

And if you’re in any doubt about our ability to do just that, take a look at this video released by a Norwegian charity:

Be peaceful, and be kind,



B4Peace Central

Some other posts you may enjoy:

Electronicbaglady’s Bag of Bits

Delightfully Different Life

Wandering Voiceless

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This is a short one, because here in the UK we enjoy an extra day of festivities after Christmas Day – Boxing Day, when ‘masters’ traditionally gave their servants a box of presents, or some such.  I did in fact get another present today, which was totally unexpected and rather lovely.

This week’s inspiration post is loosely related – I recently read a newspaper article about the terminology of the season.  From the article, I learnt that is some parts of the US people don’t say Merry Christmas but instead say Happy Holidays.  That’s not common here in the UK but there it is an inclusive term, covering a number of festivities both religious and secular.

It got me thinking about the differences in cultures, even those that are reasonably closely related.

I’ve always been interested in people – I did a degree in Sociology and loved the anthropology element, and the nature of human experience is most definitely a subject of interest.

So this week, I’m asking you a favour – tell me one tradition you have in the winter months.  It can be a family tradition, a religious one or a national one – anything you like that’s legal and appropriate to share on a blog open to all ages!

It will give me a little inspiration to explore new ideas and you never know, I might be able to make a poem or short piece of writing personal to you…

Happy holidays, season’s greetings and have a good few writing days!



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This month’s challenge is inspired by Martin Luther King Jnr, and the challenge is to share our dream of peace.

When I started planning this post I was thinking about Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’  – the principle of this model being that humans need certain things for physical and psychological well-being.

But I don’t really dream in pyramids – and a dream is rarely as structured as a psychological model…

Instead I read the ‘I have a dream’ speech.  Growing up in the UK, my knowledge of the speech really focussed on that most famous section.  But as I read it, I had the strongest reaction to a phrase that appeared much earlier: ‘the fierce urgency of now’.

A dream is about a hoped-for future.  For that, I dream of a world where everyone is equal, everyone is well, everyone is safe, has food, has shelter. Where everyone is free.

But the fierce urgency of now means not sitting and waiting for the future we want, but working towards it.  Finding an internal peace is one part of that, and taking action to spread the word of peace is another.

There are hundreds of ways to do this, and mine are rather small, in the grand scheme of things.  I take part in B4Peace and hope to make people think about peace, even if just for a few minutes.  I’ve written and shared poetry about peace.  I get involved in community activities.

It’s hardly a speck on the radar of world peace, but you never know who you can encourage, inspire and engage.  Maybe someone has read my posts, and joined B4Peace; maybe they read a poem and felt calm, for a moment.  Maybe they joined in with something unexpectedly, and it gave them a sense of purpose and wellbeing.  I hope all these things have happened, and who can say what will grow from the seeds of peace we’re sharing?

So I don’t just want to look forward.  A dream of peace is a wonderful thing, but we shouldn’t lose the importance of now.

Happy writing,



B4Peace Central

Other posts you may enjoy:

Delightfully Different Life

Electronicbaglady’s Bag of Bits

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This week I have mainly been working on short stories.  There are four that came about from the task I told you about in the last post, and I have also been finalising some for submission.  I have a spreadsheet for things I send out and I am hoping to fill in a few more lines over the next week or so.

One of the things I like about short stories is that the research is limited, but can actually make a big difference to the quality of descriptions.  For example, if I’m looking for a house that a character rents, I’ll look at a property website for pictures so I can see the type of original features there may be – a soot-backed fireplace; a stable door; stained glass windows in red and blue panels.  One of the stories is based in the middle ages so healing plants have been important as one character is suffering from unpleasant symptoms of disease (as those middle-ages-types so often did!).

I love internet research.  With all my books, I can find guidance or general info, but the internet gives access to the kind of information that never appears in the textbooks I have as it’s too technical for general interest.  So, for example, I can look up different ways of treating toothache in the 14th century, or that a medieval gold coin was sometimes called a mancus, and was a months salary for a craftsman, or that Rowan as a female name is relatively recent (bang went my character’s name at that little nugget of information!) and that in parts of Canada, Rowan trees are called Dogberry.

You also come across some fabulous little stories – for example, you may remember in week 54 I talked about the woman in Spain who had painted over a picture of Jesus very badly.  Well this week I saw a follow up, where it was revealed that the church is charging people to see the painting, and the woman believes she is entitle to a percentage of these earnings (to be donated to charity) – the news just keeps giving ideas for tall tales and short stories!

I know that sometimes I get over-excited about the research – I don’t need to do as much for a short story as I often do – but it’s one of the perks of being a writer.  I’m learning new things all the time, and after all, you never know when they might come in handy…

Oh – and one last internet-related thought: I was going to change this post’s title because it makes me think of that classic ‘U Can’t Touch This’ (that’s my age showing!) but then decided to just link to the song instead!

In other news – this week, I decided to go to a clairvoyance evening.  I really wasn’t sure if this was something I actually felt comfortable doing, but it was a cheap night out to raise funds for a fitness group for kids, and I decided it could be good research – I have a character who is very likely to attend this sort of event.  It was interesting to see how messages unfolded, and I have to admit that I am intrigued by the experience.  I did also indulge myself and buy a chakra oil at the event too – research again, of course 😉 – so will see if that helps my writing as the seller suggested it might.  It won’t hurt to try, and maybe it’ll give me the inspiration for a masterpiece!

After the evening wound down, I ended up looking at old photos with friends.  This weekend, I’ve also been talking about the family archive with my mum, and I am getting a strong desire to write something based in the (semi)recent past.  Maybe I’ll add a plan for that into October’s project month work (which I’ll tell you all about next week!) if I can find a space…

Happy writing



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This week’s inspiration is courtesy of other bloggers!  Recently Mandy Eve Barnett nominated me for an Inspiring Blog Award, just after The Living Notebook nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  As I’m sure you can image, I was very pleased by these.  I’m still fascinated by the general sense of warmth and support on these blogs, and this is another example of how people come together in a really positive way!  One of the things I love about the blogs I follow is that, whether I agree with a viewpoint, or have the same religious, political or social beliefs as the writer, there’s always something I  can take away – a passion for something, a desire to make things better, a willingness to share even the most painful experiences.  Or for those of a more artistic nature – a beautiful image, or wonderful colours, or a moving poem that brings out an emotional response.

As always, there are rules to these awards…  For each, I have to a) thank the person who nominated me (as above!) and b) share seven facts about myself (as a little cheat I’m doing 7 in total as this post will already be really long!).  I also have to nominate others – for the ‘Inspiring Blog Award’ I have to nominate 15 blogs, and for the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ I have to nominate 7.  Wow, that’s a lot of nominations, it’s taken a few days to get these lists together!


So – thanks guys for the nominations!  Here are my facts to share:

1. I love the seaside when clouds form over the water but not on land – it makes me feel the power and uncontrolled beauty of nature.

2. My favourite flowers are any red flowers in cobalt blue pots – they make me think of a Mediterranean summer.

3. I find smells very important and evocative – I should exploit this more for writing!

4. I recently discovered the TV show ‘The Big Bang Theory’, and it has inspired me to learn the element in the Periodic table – Einsteinium, anyone?!

5. I have a lot of reference books, about all sorts of subjects, and especially like ones old second or third hand ones – they are sometimes factually out of date, with new research having overtaken the old, but I don’t mind that because I love the texture of the paper and the dated language.  It helps me lose myself in the pages.

6. A woodpecker likes to visit my garden, I watch him find food in an old wooden post that is used to hang bird feeders from – it seems right for him to eat at the same table as the others!

7. I used to make beaded jewellery and have boxes full of it – I eventually plan to deconstruct a lot of it and make more useful things!…

So there you go: a few facts as required.  I have tried to keep in the inspiration mode and maybe something there will spark your own imagination – as I was writing a story idea occurred to me so it can work!

So now onto my 22 – yes, 22 – blog nominees…  Deciding which award went with which site was oddly difficult but I hope you can see why I’ve done it the way I have!  I have to put my hand up here and say I look at other blogs in a very ad hoc way, sometimes looking at a page three or four times in a week, sometimes not looking for weeks.  These awards have given me permission to spend some time looking around and generally being nosy, which has been lovely!  I’ve also discovered a couple of new ones so that’s been fab!

For the ‘Inspiring Blog Award’ I have nominated 15 sites which give me specific inspiration.  Most of these are not writing-related:

Urban Wall Art & Murals

This World Thru My Eyes

Julia Christine Glass

Dianne Grey

Conor Cullen

Water is the Spice

Lee  A Jackson

Emma’s Fabric Studio

Leaf and Twig


Leanne Cole Photography

Texana’s Kitchen

The Martha in Me

Kitty Kats Krafts


For the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ – I have nominated 7 writers who have shared their own work, who make me laugh,  who are willing to share their personal experiences and beliefs in an open and honest way, or who write about something new to me.

A Writer’s Writings

The Forced Mind

Brad Stanton

Thoughts on Theatre

Edilio Ciclostile

Ashley Jillian

Cancer Killing Recipe

So there you have it – 22 other writers are the inspiration this week!  If you want to share your own inspirational blog, website or image, please put a link in the comments (and please put a warning if content is in any way adult or potentially offensive!).

Happy writing



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