Blood Moon

A rare event describing the combination of a Supermoon and Lunar Eclipse – both terms can be explained much more eloquently here.

The next Blood Moon won’t occur for another eighteen years. It was worth venturing out into the early hours of this morning and glimpsing this incredible phenomenon. A clear sky, so clear in fact, we could see the Milky Way. Point a pair of binoculars up there and all you can see are stars! Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but what a breathtaking sight. I need to do it more often – get out in the garden, lay on the grass and drink it all in.

Here are my humble efforts: Blood Moon/eclipse taken with a Panasonic, Lumix G1. Photos below are the best of the bunch.

Blood Moon - 28/09/2015

Blood Moon – 28/09/2015

Moon Eclipse - 28/09/2015

Moon Eclipse – 28/09/2015

Blood Moon - 28/09/2015

Blood Moon – 28/09/2015

A Grand Day Out

Recently spent a day in Lincoln. It was actually back in July and I’ve only just got around to sharing it. I don’t think it has anything to do with my forgetfulness, it’s more to do with time – middle of August already. I don’t remember thinking about the passage of time quite so much when I was younger.

My mate’s answer to growing old and witnessing time’s fly-by is to pronounce he’s ‘living in the now’ – well that’s one way of looking at it. Maybe that’s why Buddha never seemed to age, or did he?  Hmmm.

Lincoln Cathedral photographed from the Castle’s Medieval Wall Walk

Anyway, where was I? Lincoln. Had a good day. The sun kept us warm and it wasn’t until we sat down in the evening to watch Jools Holland, in the grounds of Lincoln Castle, that it decided to rain. Still, we had a great time despite the wet.

Lincoln Cathedral my favourite place to go and be. I never tire of its majesty, seeing it is always like the first time.

The Magna Carta is housed at the Castle (one of the four remaining originals, apparently). It’s an incredible feeling standing there, looking at something that was created ‘x’ amount of years ago. The thing that struck me most was the work that must have gone into producing it – all that writing and nothing out of place – phenomenal.

Looking toward the Castle’s turret. Photograph taken from the Medieval Wall Walk

The Medieval Wall Walk: A third of a mile walkway around the castle. It has spectacular views and those of the cathedral are particularly impressive.

One of twenty-five Lincoln Barons

And I can’t leave out the Barons of Lincoln they’ve created quite a stir in the city 🙂 why don’t YOU come and find out for yourself. Might see you there 😉

Perspective

So, you have a story smouldering inside, but no matter how much you try, you can’t seem to translate it to the page. All the words in the world won’t tell the story how it is in your head. It comes across as old hat, commonplace, and plain boring. No one is pulled in by it.
When is it time to call it a day and accept it will never see the light?

Is acceptance failure?

I think it might be a sign of growing up. Reaching a stage of self-awareness. Self-discovery: a hell of a thing.

I’ve put down my pen for a bit. My mundane worries have faded into the background.

On the 3rd February 2015 a Jordanian pilot was put in a cage and set on fire …

Suddenly it’s all about perspective …

Letting Go

Photograph by Anthony Molaro

Photograph by Anthony Molaro

Why is it so hard to let go?

I’ve thought about this a great deal in the last couple of years and come to the conclusion it’s all about attachment.

There’s a lot written out there, by gurus, sages, religious/spiritual men/women, about attachment.

‘Cultivate detachment,’ one esoteric writer says.
‘Easier said than done,’ I say back.

I think it’s about identification. I know I identify with ‘me’ – this person I call ‘me’ – and the things I do/have done in my life to create ‘my’ personality. I’m focussed in the physical being of ‘who’ I am, right now.

‘Become the observer’

I can do that. I can step away and watch the ‘goings on’ around me, but at some point that state dissolves and I’m back in the thick of things again.

‘Meditation helps’

Yeah, okay, maybe, but I still have to stop, open my eyes and re-join the world again. I can’t sit in contemplation 24/7. Or can I? Do I have to be sitting, eyes closed, to meditate? Meditation must take on different forms. When I’m immersed in something say, like writing, I’m focussed. Nothing can bring me out of that focus, except maybe threats to my life, or an insistent other-half. Nothing spiritual in this sense, although she’d disagree and heatedly 😀

Conjuring that state of meditation isn’t tough, we do it all the time. The tough bit is ‘living’ that meditation. Making it ‘who’ we are. Becoming ‘it’.

Maybe all it takes is a slight shift in what we identify with. One thing that’s certain, it doesn’t happen overnight.

So, after all that, it’s still difficult to let go … I guess the best thing to do is ‘go with the flow’ – don’t worry about it. Like my mum always says: ‘It’ll all work out in the end.’

 

 

http://youtu.be/ELRBvDz6YgU

Lose Yourself Or …

I was going to write a short piece on the new Hobbit movie The Desolation of Smaug, but I got sidetracked by another film I watched last night – Last Love – starring Michael Caine and Clémence Poésy (of ‘Tunnel’ fame <- if you haven’t watched this, it’s a remake of the Scandinavian crime drama ‘The Bridge’ – both excellent).

Anyway, Last Love is the story of a retired, and widowed, American philosophy professor [living in Paris] and a young [lonely] Parisian woman.

Maybe it’s the time of year, but this film spoke to me more than the other. It’s a thought-provoking story, sad and happy all at once. It appealed to my sense of belonging, my humanity, and conjured thoughts of friends past and family departed. 

Like most people I want to escape the mundanity of life, venture into new worlds and lose myself for a bit. But once in a while something comes along that touches me deeply. Why? Well, I’m still exploring that question. There’s more than one answer, and I’m not sure if that’s how it should be, but I’ll keep pondering and probably come up with a few more.

‘There’s a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in.’

Here’s a trailer for Last Love, I hope it spurs you on to watch it, but if it doesn’t that’s okay 🙂

 

Oh yeah, and a Happy New Year to you all!

 

 

Fed-Up? Who me?

I got fed-up with my work in progress, and banished it to my virtual slush-pile. The fact is, if I got fed-up with it then it must surely follow that the reader will too. The realisation is hard to swallow. But there’s no point in lying to myself or pursuing something that doesn’t excite me.

So another half-written story finds its way to the depths of my computer, and leaves me with the thoughts where to now and am I really cut out to be a writer? But it doesn’t matter how much I fill my life with other things to do, there is always the urge to get back to the writing. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t see, hear, or experience something in which I think that’d make a good story. I write short stories but not very good ones. It’s more about putting thoughts down – but isn’t everything we write an attempt to do that? Maybe it’s a matter of accepting that I am simply a writer and NOT an author.

Novelist Robert Kaplow

Novelist Robert Kaplow

I often ask myself if there is a difference between a writer and an author? I do believe there is. An author writes to get published, a writer writes to fulfill a need. Does that make sense? I’m sure all authors start out that way but once the first book is published then it becomes a job. Pressure mounts to get the next one out and the next one. Writing in that way must surely take away the reason you started writing in the first place.

I’m just throwing ideas around. Justifying why I write and my failure to finish anything. Analysing the why and the failure has brought me to the brink of insanity and it’s not a nice place. Acceptance is the key, I think.

Anyway, I certainly can’t deny my need to write, so the question where to now? is irrelevant. The question, will I ever get published by traditional means? is to be decided but the first priority is finishing something. I also have to ask myself whether publication is paramount. In all honesty, no it isn’t, but like most writers I often think it’d be nice. 🙂

 

Disheartened? Well …

Woke up early and found myself in the garden taking photos … it was glorious, with mist rolling off the ground and dew dripping from every spider’s web. These are the things that make life worth living and helps kick every problem, every little irritant, into touch. It’s a shame the mood doesn’t last forever, eh?

Yesterday I got into conversation about writing, publishing and self-publishing. I was asked if I felt disheartened. The honest answer – a little. It’s frustrating that traditional publishers appear to be fearful about taking on new writers/authors. Concentrating their focus on well-established authors and celebrities. There doesn’t seem to be any way forward in the writing business today, it’s almost like it’s hit a brick wall.

The wannabe author is forced, almost, to self-publish. Let’s face it, we all write to be read, even if only by a few. Creating something is thrilling but it’s an even bigger thrill when a stranger tells you how much they enjoyed what you’ve produced.

If you do decide to self-publish, time is an all-important factor. If you don’t have the time to spend on marketing your book then it’s a bit of a non-starter. Like a lot of writers I’ve spoken with – it’s the creative aspect that pushes us on – promotion, therefore, is not part of the world we live in.

There are a myriad of self-published books out there, all languishing in the depths of some database because the author doesn’t have the time, the inclination or the expertise to put it out there. Most of us don’t know the first thing about the world of marketing – we’re still hanging on to an environment where the agent signed you, passed your work to a publisher and they did the rest.

It’s a cruel world for the budding author.

I’ve thought about removing my book from publication, but friends and family say to me: ‘Why? If it’s out there at least it has a chance to be read.’ And I nod my head and agree.

Does it really matter?

After some considerable thought and a stroll around the garden this morning, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, I don’t think it does. 🙂

On the other hand, I think spider webs definitely do.

 

London Calling

St Paul’s Cathedral

London (UK) … there’s something extra special about going back to the place you were born and grew up in.

London has a specific energy, something that can’t be nailed down or put into a box. It surrounds you with invisible arms and hugs until your breath escapes in a loud ‘wow’.

I don’t think there’s any other place, except maybe Times Square, that creates such a feeling of euphoria within me. Is it because I’m a Londoner? The pearly kings and queens would probably say ‘yes’ but I’m not so sure.

There’s a presence about London that can’t be explained or diminished by whatever happens there, be it political or so called religious.

It’s definitely a kinda magic:

 

Getting In The Mood

Andy Murray – Wimbledon Champion 2013

So the tennis is over and it’s time to get down to some real work on my next novel. I started this particular story well over four years ago and left it floundering around the forty thousand word mark. Something I’ve tended to do ever since I decided to write a book. Ideas are not a problem but getting passed a certain threshold is. Having a beginning and an end is all well and good, it’s filling out the middle that’s the hard part.

If having your first novel hit the best seller lists isn't enough, there's always your attractive literary agent to fall back on.

I’ve written one ‘finished’ book. A romantic comedy In Too Deep (aka Hit The Ground Running) about a writer who falls in love, goes through some changes and manages to get the girl in the end. Not exactly a taxing story but it was FUN to do and it got rid of a lot of … pent up emotion. I came away from this novel with a nice glow. It might not be the next Nick Hornby but it’s finished and that, for me, is the real buzz.

Onto the next goal. Another finished book. I have two unfinished works: Relative Justice a crime novel and Finding Isabella a romantic thriller. As Relative Justice (aka Macintyre) is the oldest project I decided to go for that … It’s a complete re-write, same story idea but different plot. I think it works 🙂

I didn’t catch anything!

So, the next hurdle is drumming up the enthusiasm. How do I do that? I choose quiet. Turn off the internet, the mobile phone, put work on hold for a while and just do it. I’m lucky because I can stop work for a bit, but I’ve been in that situation where I couldn’t and it sucks, big time. But if you can get away from it all, it’s the best thing possible. Other’s might disagree, but it works for me.

 

Updated 15/09/2015:

Relative Justice (1) (website)

Relative Justice (Part One) is now ready to read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raising Money For Cystic Fibrosis

Author Caro Ayre is raising money for Cystic Fibrosis by donating a portion of the price of her book Breathless to the charity. Such a great idea that deserves our support.

Secrets tear a family apart.
Secrets, jealousy and a genetic disease take a family to breaking point.

Clare works relentlessly to keep her daughter, Hannah, healthy. Her husband Mike is in denial which puts undue pressure on their marriage, while her son suffers guilt over being clear of the suffocating illness.

As the family fractures and they set about establishing independence and planning their futures, their inability to communicate feelings continues to cause problems.

Will they ever restore family unity?

 

*Find out more about Caro and her books here and follow her on Twitter.