Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Book Buying, Enjoy The 'Feeling'!

I got up this morning with books on my mind.  At my bedside, the book mark in my latest Internet purchase indicated it was almost time to cast it aside and order my next piece of literary escapism - that was until I stumbled upon a gritty, new literary website, .  Reading its 'no holds barred', punchy essay on modern reading habits by Ray McGahan, I was reminded - The ease by which we obtain our masterpieces determines how much we care about them.  

Passing by the bookcase on my way to the kitchen, I pause to run my fingers down the spines of some much-loved tomes and I muse on the pains to which I went to acquire them.  Some, after a lengthy search through the shelves of a quirky backstreet bookshop, others found perusing the offerings at my local charity shop, and then again, some the results of a lazy afternoon in my local Waterstones, when I languished over choices, grasping in my hand those treasured Christmas book tokens.


Back in the kitchen my husband enquires, "Any ideas for this afternoon, dear?" and I don't hesitate. " Yep, let's spend the afternoon in our local bookshop and soak up the atmosphere, the feel, the smell of the books and maybe grab a coffee while we mull over our choices!"  

And so, we passed the most de-stressing afternoon in a long time, amongst like-minded people, immersed in the 'real' world of literature, not the online marketplace, where authors' hours of creativity are churned out to readers with no physical connection to the product.

Let me encourage you all not to miss the opportunity of connecting with books!  If you have small children and you are wondering how to amuse them this summer, why not plan a morning out to your local bookshop. Bring a friend and share a coffee, while your children learn to love the physical experience of buying their own book! Look out for 'The Day The Crayons Quit' by debut author, Drew Daywalt and international bestseller, Oliver Jeffers and watch as they laugh and look at playing with crayons in a new way!

Maybe, you have a story about where you bought your most treasured book? I would love to hear about it. My husband and I returned home after our day out, clutching two new books. When they have been read and enjoyed, they will join the other novels in our bookcase, special because of the magical day we spent browsing the shelves of our local bookshop.

Friday, 12 July 2013

What drives us to write?

Welcome back, to all my friends who occasionally drop in on my ramblings.  You find me in the study this morning, sheltering from the heat, an unusual occurrence in this part of the world, but an excellent opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts on writing.                  

Like many of you, my interest in writing can be traced back to an English teacher, who spotted in me the ability to tell a story.  Mrs McIvor was an inspirational teacher, whose love of language and literature was passed on to me seamlessly, as if by a process of osmosis. At an age when I was forming opinions on just about everything, writing  provided me with an outlet to channel my emotions.

As my life has unfolded, I have used this outlet many times as a means of survival, getting my feelings down on paper, often by the medium of poetry, has helped me cope with life's highs and lows.  Indeed, it is the therapeutic quality of writing that has, much to my surprise, resulted in the completion of the manuscript for my first book. I didn't set out to write a book; in fact, the idea would have seemed too daunting and something I would never have had the confidence to set out to do, but circumstances dictated otherwise.

After three years living in the south west of France, where my husband and I renovated an old presbytery in the centre of a tiny French village, our adventure was brought to an abrupt end due to the death of my mother. With no choice, but to return home and support my elderly father, I was forced to take a step back in life, something which is never easy to do. After living this incredible adventure in France, I found myself back in a country with a generally dull, wet climate, where I no longer had family or friends.

At first I threw myself into various pastimes, and indeed, achieved an A star grade in French at my local college, but nothing fulfilled me like my life in France. Eventually, after walking the dog each morning through the changing seasons of my third year back home, I began to think about writing the story of my French adventure.                                      

I started off with enthusiasm, but genuinely thought I would soon run out of steam. Until something extraordinary began to happen; I found an escape from my mundane life.  Each day after walking the dog,  I couldn't wait to get back to my writing and relive every moment of our wonderful adventure.

The manuscript is finished now and it is almost two years since I sat down and thought I might just manage a few pages.  The book is an incredibly vivid interpretation of a wonderful time in my life and I thank my old English teacher everyday for instilling  in me, the joy of writing.

It made me wonder, what it is that inspires you to put pen to paper?  Have you too found writing to be a life-line? I would love to hear from you.