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This week’s post isn’t about writing. I thought I’d better tell you that straight away so you could decide to move on to something more useful if you like.

Although I think this is kind of useful, in a way – it’s a Bloggers for Peace post really, so it has that in its favour!

Today marked the third monthiversary of my wedding (yes I know it’s not a real word but I’m working on it :-)). We decided when we got married that we would mark the day each month, make sure we did something special, or if we couldn’t for some reason them we’d at least think about our marriage in a conscious way. How long this’ll last is anyone’s guess but we’re trying!

Monthiversaries

 

Us with our bubbly stuff on our honeymoon!

It’s important to focus on people we care about. Last year I got back in touch with a friend who I hadn’t seen in 18 years and it’s been such a lot of fun getting to know each other again and catching up on the years – yesterday we went out for a girl’s night and we didn’t stop talking the whole time.

It made me think what a shame it was to have lost contact in the first place.

It was also a reminder how easy it is for contact to fall away.  You haven’t called someone in a month or so, and it stretches to six months, then a year, and finally you feel it’s too long, or you just stop thinking about that person altogether.  Life is like that.

But there have been lots of times when I’ve heard from someone out of the blue and it’s been such a pleasure that we instantly pick up contact and meet up or talk more regularly.

So celebrate your relationships, raise a glass to your monthiversaries, but don’t forget the person you haven’t spoken to in a few months.  Finding lost friends is worth just as much celebration!

Be peaceful,

EJ

🙂

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This week my writing of an hour a day went a bit awry because I found myself watching some family history programmes in my allotted time instead. It wasn’t a waste of time entirely, because some of the situations exposed through research were pertinent to my writing, and made me question a couple of technical aspects of my story – but it was a fairly standard avoidance technique.

I will do better this week.

Having said that, I now have a full team of characters (with a notable exception I’ll come back to shortly), with a victim, murderer, two who have strong motives, a very useful red herring and a great setting.  There’s just one character I need to sort out…

The detective.

I’m torn – and I’m stuck in the storyline, where the detective needs to come in.  I have a victim, and no-one trying to help them rest in peace…

Do I have a police officer, an expert in their field like Morse or Wallander? A private investigator (official or otherwise) like Poirot or Holmes?  An ‘ interested neighbour’ in the vein of Miss Marple or even Nancy Drew?  Or is the matter solved by an injured party – someone who loved the victim, or a suspect who wants to clear their name?

Because this isn’t my genre, and I don’t read a lot of this type of writing, I am struggling to make a decision.  I am considering taking the question to my writing group next week to see what they think, but what do you guys feel works best?  Does the busybody idea, the butting into conversations and eavesdropping at doors, get old fast? Do you think a sociopathic detective really adds a bit of texture to the tale?  In this day and age is it likely that anyone other than a police detective will be allowed near the crime scene or the case file anyway?

Realism suggests a professional police officer, I guess.  But am I going for realism?

As you will see from the number of question marks this week, I don’t know the answers.  If I can find the one necessary question to make a decision, I will be able to set my detective to work!

In other news – I have worked on a peace post this week, but as with all my writing at the moment, I can’t find the right words. I will continue seeking them this week.

And finally – I am falling behind on the 100 novels list again, so just to get back up to date I have not read books 68 or 69.  I am however reading, so at least I’ve managed to do something I can tell you about in my posts this week!

Happy writing,

EJ

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Wow this post is late.

Not just because I should have posted on Sunday, but because it’s three in the morning and I’ve finally got a chance to get on th internet.

All my carefully crafted thoughts have long since gone to bed and I’m left with a sense of how my life has changed – my all night writing sessions are no more, my patterns of paid work have pushed writing back down my priorities list, my studies have apparently ended, and I don’t have time for all the things I want and hope to do.

But then I come on line and I write posts, or I join one of my lovely writing friends in a discussion, or I look at the work I’ve done and I feel the passion, excitement and desire to write that I’ve always felt.

I know it’s there, and I know it’s part of me.  So next week my blog will be all about how I got back to it and made the very most of every writing moment I had.

In other words, I’ll either have a great writing week or be practicing my fiction for you all…

Until next time – happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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I managed to read three books during my break – the joys of flying and sunbathing 🙂 – but I’ll only be counting two for the challenge because I’d read one of them before.

Book 50 – Pompeii by Robert Harris.  I borrowed this from my husband when I finished reading my non-numbered book; it wasn’t really my kind of thing but despite that it was an engaging read.  It follows the experiences of a disparate group of characters whose lives overlap in the runup to the eruption of Vesuvius, which buried Pompeii.

To all intents and purposes, this was a historical action story, with significant historical research undertaken.  The main characters were mostly chancers, risk-takers or power-brokers with a few key exceptions who were specialists in aqueducts and water systems. Harris also wrote the very famous, very real, Pliny in to the tale, who was known to have died as he tried to rescue friends by sea. The only woman of consequence in the story is idealised because of her looks, the description of a mother and child dying in childbirth was horrific, and generally the book is about men and their power games.

This one was a mixed bag for me – it was very readable and despite the size only took a few days to get through; it was historically interesting and detailed; it was intelligently written.  The key issues for me were a few unnecessarily unpleasant scenes which did nothing to bring the story along; a vaguely frustrating ending which I won’t spoil but didn’t satisfy me; the ongoing technicalities of the descriptions.

I also feel that, even at the end of the story, I know relatively little about the main character.  I can’t imagine writing a book where the character is so hidden from view and I wonder if that is a male v female writer issue, or simply that I tend to write about the ‘human experience’ rather than big world events…

Or maybe reading in the sunshine, I didn’t give it my full attention, which is more than likely!

Book 51 – Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen – I read this one at the same time as Pompeii, depending on the mood I was in!  Having struggled to read Emma I wanted to try an alternative Jane Austen, and this one is very simple, very sweet, and fairly inoffensive.  The story follows Catherine Morland as she experiences her first taste of adulthood on a trip to Bath and then with her new friends on to Northanger Abbey.

It’s fluffy and frivolous in many ways: Catherine is naive, unworldly, foolish and blind but also honest, decent, loyal and loving.  Her first experiences of friendship, with Isabella, open her eyes to a life outside the confines of her own reality, and lead first to meeting Henry Tilney, then his sister, then finally seeing her to Northanger Abbey.  It is clear from the outset what Isabella’s focus is on, and it is also clear that Isabella’s brother is equally mercenary and disinterested in the Morland’s as people with true feelings.

Catherine’s odd behaviour on arrival at Northanger Abbey goes nowhere, and seems ridiculous but as a 17 year old in a strange house at that time in history, it may have been less so; either way it does make her seem a fool and that is unfortunate.  Still, the ending leads to exactly what the reader would expect – albeit suddenly rushed through and unexplored.

I read this one easily, and quickly.  I didn’t enjoy it as much as Pride and Prejudice (but I had no Colin Firth in my mind as I read!), but far more than Emma – so I have decided to try Sense and Sensibility soon to see where that falls on the Jane Austen spectrum!

As I said before there was one more that I’m not counting for the challenge as it doesn’t meet my self-imposed rule of new books only – Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell.  I read this before the other two, and having first read it many years ago, I still found it very affecting.  I am not going to do a full review on it but I would suggest for anyone who hasn’t read it, it’s worth a look.  It’s a great example of a book which contains concepts that are so powerful they become part of everyday language – and how many things Orwell imagined in his nightmare future that have come to pass.  I don’t know if that says more about him, or us…

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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This is going to be my last proper Sunday post for a while – for about 3 weeks, in fact. My plan to pass the blog over to someone else has hit a small technical hitch – I’ll pre-arrange some posts just so you don’t forget me while I’m gone, instead – as if you could 😉

So, with this being the last Sunday post before my blog holiday, you would hope for something moving, meaningful, or just interesting. However, today is not the day for that. Today my mind is like thick treacle. Today, I am thinking in slow motion.

Instead of any great wisdom or enlightenment I have a few messages for you all.

Firstly – thank you for staying tuned even though, from a writing point of view, I tuned out: I know this blog isn’t supposed to be about wedding shenanigans but you have been very good about it 🙂

Secondly – for anyone attempting NaNo this year – good luck, but don’t sweat it.  Whatever you produce as a result of setting into a pattern of writing will be worth it.

Thirdly – I am sorry I have neglected my blog visits and will get looking and liking again in December

Fourthly – I have been working on poems this week but still have to finish.  That’s all I can bear to say about it!

And that’s it from me for today.  I will be back on Tuesday and then back on the 23rd November with actual updates…

Have a marvellous few weeks,

EJ

🙂

 

 

 

 

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It’s about a month until my wedding and I am well aware that between the planning, work, blogging and all the other things I do with my time nothing is getting the attention it needs.

Soooooo – I have decided to have a Thursday break, and leave my thoughts posts to one side until I come back from my honeymoon, toward the end of November.

I’m sure I will have plenty of thoughts between now and then but suspect they will focus on flowers, or table plans, or whether or not I have enough table confetti – because let’s be honest here, weddings do make the most bizarre things important enough to wake you up at night!

Break

My dog, also having a break.  It’s a hard life…

I will leave you with a quote I really like, and which I really need to remember!

The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil.

Thank you Cicero, for a quote that covers my reason for stepping back, my writing choices and a little bit of Bloggers for Peace all at once!

Until next time – happy writing

EJ

🙂

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Sorry for the late posting; what with internet connection issues, overtime, and the overwhelming need to sleep, this week became a bit of a palaver blog-wise.

Now it’s the weekend and I’m conscious that I’ll be blogging tomorrow and am out all day today on the hunt for wedding accoutrements, so this post is very short indeed.  I was struggling to find something to write about but felt bad for missing a post and wanted to do something.

And then I found a fabulous quote from Hilary Mantel on Brainyquote, which fitted my needs perfectly:

Imagination only comes when you privilege the subconscious, when you make delay and procrastination work for you.

I’m not missing my target posting dates. I’m feeding my subconscious with information that will spark something wonderful one day 🙂

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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This week I’ve tried to recapture some of my lost creative flow, and it’s worked, to a point…

The notebook has come out again and although I haven’t noted something every day, I have it with me for whenever an idea or image seems noteworthy! I have to go and fill in a few bits once this blog is done, so if nothing else I’m getting back into the writing habit.

The other thing I did this week was to buy myself a couple of books from a charity shop. I have a pile of things I’ve borrowed from people but I don’t like to read those in bed, or in the bath, or stuff them in my handbag and take them to work in case they get damaged. My own books, I am less nervous.

So I am hoping this will give me the impetus to get back into reading every day as well.

I am a lot busier than I have been – but that’s no reason for everything to fall down. I’m about to start week 4 in my current placement and am getting used to the long days and early (for me!) starts. Now I have acclimatised a little I should be able to work through more things and start achieving more!

I’m glad I’ve gone back to the notebook, actually; using one effectively is a skill you develop over time and I was worried that I’d lost the knack!

In other news – we’re on to book 47 of the 100 novels list – Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. I have never come across this one before, and think I might add it to the list if for no other reason than to give me an American novel of the 1920s that I can compare to The Great Gatsby (you may remember I was a little underwhelmed by that one!).  I want to see if there was still a divide in style between UK and US literature at that point, but I need more evidence to make a decision!

Also – you may have noticed I haven’t written a peace post for a while; the monthly challenges are on hold at the moment and to be truthful that has suited me as everything is so hectic at the moment.  However, I am still being mindful and trying to devote some of my time to peacefulness – I will share a post that I’ve been working on sooner or later!

And finally – a reminder, that I’m looking for possible guest blog posts for when I am away during November; the subject is your own but I need to pre-plan publication so let me know if you’re interested through the ‘contact me’ tab.

Happy writing

EJ

🙂

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I’ve been caught up so much this week that I’ve hardly had time to sit and write this blog post, let alone anything else!  But you know what – a new week starts in the morning, so I can try all over again.

And rather than moan about my lack of writing time, or worry about the lack of progress towards my targets, I’m going to go with the flow and appreciate all the positive, happy time I’ve had this week, especially time spent with family I haven’t seen for about 2 years.

Oh, and post a song that makes me smile – well, it’s in both Mystery Men and Shrek so it comes from good stock!

Hope your week has given you something to feel joyful about.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I read a great quote that I haven’t been able o find again unfortunately, but I thought I’d share the concept anyway.

It was something along the lines of ‘if you don’t write when you’re busy, you won’t write when you’re not’.

It jolted me out of the haze that has surrounded me since I went back to work, and I sat down and moved my story on a little. From tomorrow, I’ll be using lunch breaks to make notes on the work I’ve done so far, and use any space I find in the evenings to write new sections of the novel.  I’ve even decided to change phones so I have one I can work on whenever I get a chance – sitting at the dentist, or in the car waiting for someone, or as my partner drives me to an event.

These sound like little things, and they are. But putting all my little things together will help me balance work, life, and writing – which is what I really want to do.

In other news – This week we’re on book 44 – Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham which is another I haven’t read. I am interested in books that are heavily autobiographical but I don’t think I have time to fit another book into the list, so it’ll stay as a possible for the future, I think

And finally – it occurred to me today that this blog will go very quiet through November when I get married and go away for my honeymoon.  I will pre-write a few posts before I go but I’d love to fill in some of the blanks with guest posts so if you’re interested in writing a post about anything relating to writing or reading, let me know!

Until next week – happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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