|Photos of the twin towers in my album|
Tuesday, 12 January 2021
Here we are again in Covid country. Either I've become habituated to lockdowns, or I secretly crave a quiet existence, as I'm not finding it too hard this time around... as long as I ration my consumption of the news. Occasionally, for my own buoyancy, I need to think about something other than mounting Covid cases.
The big distraction for me in lockdown 3 has been my writing. I'm inching towards the finish line (first draft) of my latest novel about New York in 2001. When I conceived this book in the summer, it was intended to be a light piece of escapism, based on my own experiences of living in Manhattan during the late 1990s (more City, not much Sex). Inevitably the story has become a shade darker as September 11 looms in the latter stages of the plot line.
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
I'm in a retrospective mood. December is a month for sorting through our photos and thinking about the year that has passed. It's no surprise the events of 2020 will stand out in my memory. A few years ago it was a road-trip through California that dominated; this year our holidays were equally unusual but somewhat closer to home (literally).
Scrolling through our archive, the photos reveal a few other themes too: fun in the garden during lockdown-lite (summer), new crazes for paddle boarding and home-decorating, as well as an obsession with food (homegrown veg, homemade sourdough, celebratory cakes). Towards the latter end of the year, it was the new kitten who stole the show - romping with the dog, curled up in my son's hat, or perched nonchalantly on the roof of our house (three storeys up 😩).
|Holidays in the garden|
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
I'm feeling happy today. Naturally, I'm unable to be happy without taking time to analyse why. This is the ideal state we all aspire to, the holy grail of modern life and a prized commodity during these quiet lockdown days.
I read recently that believing we can achieve happiness is a misguided notion. Better to live a useful life, where happiness becomes a byproduct (if we're lucky). This was said by somebody famous, though I can't remember who (possibly a former American president or First Lady - I've overindulged on US politics recently).
|This makes me happy|
Tuesday, 13 October 2020
An intriguing nugget I've learnt from my two weeks of #litfest indulgence? The novelist Ann Patchett slipped into her favourite ballgowns during lockdown to promote new books on Instagram. She runs her own bookshop in Nashville, Tennessee, and was forced to get creative to sell some books - it's heartwarming - go take a look at @ParnassusBooks on Instagram.
My attendance of the Henley Literary Festival has been a bit different this year - for obvious reasons. Instead of strolling around picturesque venues in Henley (and feasting on Gower Cottage brownies), I've been sat at home watching various sessions via Crowdcast.
|Lots of bedtime reading...|
The 2020 festival has been as stimulating as ever, bar a few interruptions as people wandered into my viewing suite (aka kitchen): Mum, what's for supper? or Has anyone seen my wallet? In response, I've had to ramp up my particular superpower, an ability to zone-everyone-out while I'm focused on something more interesting (a skill usually only deployed on long car journeys).
Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Someone sent me a polite message via Twitter earlier in the summer. He introduced himself as Aidan Martin and said he wanted to flag up a book he had written - Euphoric Recall, a memoir of his childhood and journey through addiction. Because of my recent work on childhood trauma, he piqued my interest.
Aidan's book fulfils his dream of becoming a writer; a dream he nearly gave up on when he was an addict. It took two decades to conquer his addictions to hard pornography, alcohol and drugs. His book, which publishes tomorrow (1 October), refers to a higher power that helped him overcome his demons. "I am not an airy-fairy guy in the slightest nor am I religious," he tells me. "But I do believe I am on a journey and am being guided and protected on it."
My own book about the toxic impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was published in May by Public Health Wales and is freely available. The book consists of interviews with practitioners - who help others to overcome adverse experiences - as well as people with lived experiences of trauma, like Aidan.
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Hubby and I nipped out for a walk first thing yesterday morning. The mist hung over the green hills of Turville while the sunlight was so piercing I could barely keep my eyes open. It felt like the last breath of summer... a chance to wander through the fields, past hedgerows and along chalky banks with the sun's warmth on our skin. We even spotted a some ragged purple flowers - a flash of floral excitement late in the season.