Writers Need Readers As Fish Need Water.

“An unread story is not a story, it’s little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it  makes it live, a live thing, a story.” Ursula K Le Guin

Woodblock print fish

We writers need readers, as fish need water. Without our readers, there is no story,  and no use for the storytellers. We are the weavers of dreams, conjuring up reality out of thin air, for their amusement and pleasure.

 

But before we were writers, we were readers. Who knows the pleasures of the written word better than a writer?  Most writers have long been enamoured of books. There is an old saying “a word is dead until its said”’ This applies even more so to our writing, completing a piece of writing is only half its story.

Writer Nick Morrison Unspalsh

We need the reader to breathe life into those pages, with their own imagination. A  hundred people can read a book, and all have their own impressions of it. Books are not static things, they are where readers and writers combine in imagination and interpretation.

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Your favourite fictional character may differ markedly from how someone else imagines them. And they may not be how the author imagined them, either. It does not matter, we each project our own experiences into the fictional world and create a story that is uniquely ours.

In this, books differ from a film, or TV, where every scene is shown to us. Watching them, we are more passive consumers. We allow the story to play out in front of us. It can also be why a film of a book can be disappointing, the director’s interpretation does not gel with what you, as a reader has imagined,

We may be quietly reading a book or a story, but we are active consumers, engaging with those words to create another reality. We have devoted our time to something that in one sense is not there, but in another lives vividly on the page.

Words have power, to heal, to hurt, to challenge, to change. While if never read, then the words have no power at all.

macbook apple woman computer
Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

As a writer I want to say’ Thank you’ to the readers, those passionate enough about books to choose to buy books, to talk about books and to read books.  I say thank you to all those authors whose words have delighted me and continue to do so. You have entertained .me, scared me or enthralled me. I say a huge thank you to librarians for fostering a love of reading, organising author talks and helping to keep the book alive.

It was George R.R. Martin who said, ‘a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” I find this slightly ironic as most readers are women, but I can’t fault the sentiment. An escape into a different world, or a different place or time is as near as your next book.

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What I Read in April 2018

The Great Alone By Kristen Hannah

After reading The Nightingale I was really looking forward to reading this book. Kristen Hannah’s love for and knowledge of Alaska shine through these pages.

The Great Alone

Personally, I found the book too long and too repetitive. The physical isolation of Alaska is described, as well as the kind of people who are drawn to it and able to survive there. Some can’t handle the feeling of being cut off and the mental Isolation. Ex -Vietnam vet Ernst, thinks Alaska is the place for him and his family. His experiences have led to his growing paranoia and to domestic violence.

Leni is a young teenager when they first arrive and for a while doesn’t sense anything is wrong with her parents. then she can not understand why her mother excuses and forgives her father and doesn’t want to leave

Inevitably, Leni falls in love with a boy from a family her father loathes, making her life far more complicated. An act of shocking violence changes all their lives and they return ‘civilisation’, but Leni still has Alaska and the boy she left behind in her heart.

Not for me at this time- perhaps my recent sadness at the death of my friend made it too bleak.

The Secret Vineyard By Loretta Hill.

Grace knows that her ex-husband Jake is ‘a lying, cheating, wife abandoning bastard’.What she didn’t know until his death was that he was the owner of a vineyard in Margaret  River, Western Australia. As Grace is scraping together a living and looking after their three boys it seems like a chance for a fresh start or at least a lucky break.

The Secret VIneyard

His current wife and Grace’s ex-best friend tries unsuccessfully to challenge the will, which has left the vineyard to Grace’s three boys. Grace packs up herself and the boys for a trip down South to see the vineyard and decide if it is saleable. It’s a ramshackle place, in need of some TLC, but it has a certain charm. And events conspire so she has to stay longer than she first planned.

Scott, the charming real estate agent, is always around and there is a mystery about the house and its resident ghost. Then there is the handyman, who is happy to work for just his board. Grace’s life is far more interesting than it ever was in the city.  I enjoyed this book, but I did find the blurb on the back of the book confusing. In the book Grace’s husband is Jake, the blurb refers to him as Derek.  It must have been too expensive a mistake to correct!

 

          The Cat of The Baskerville’s by Vicki Delaney

The third book in the popular Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery Series by Vicki Delaneyhe Cat of the BaskerveillesWhen Sir Nigel Bellingham, star of screen and the theatre accepts an invitation to star in the classic play for the West London Theatre’s Festival, the Cape Cod locals are both thrilled and amazed. Unfortunately, in person, he is not as impressive as his reputation, and it soon becomes apparent that he has a drinking problem. QuIte a few people benefit in various ways because of his death. Even Gemma herself as it increases  book sales and memorabilia.

Gemma Doyle proprietor of the Sherlock Holmes bookshop is both observant and clever. This time she faces a conflict of loyalties and worries that what she has observed will implicate someone close to her.

 

       Choosing Happiness: Life and Soul Essentials by Stephanie Dowrick

I wouldn’t suggest that you read this book in one sitting. It lends itself more to be a potpourri of a book, one to dip in and out of as need arises. It’s a mental and spiritual health check to be used as required.

Choosing Happiness.

The chapter heading broadly define the scope of the book.

Trust Who You Are.

Let Your Values and Goals Work for You

Build Self Respect

Consider Others.

Honour the People You Live With.

Think & Act Positively.

The book is like having a wise and sympathetic friend to talk with. The kind of friend who makes you think a little more deeply about yourself and your behaviour.

 

Maggie’s Kitchen by Caroline Beecham.

I spotted a review of this and the concept appealed to me, women’s work in wartime

Maggies KitchenMaggie has opened a wartime restaurant-  which is a long-held dream of hers. She is facing problems with supplies as her restaurant as ironically becomes ‘too popular. ‘Dealing with red tape and Ministry of Food types is exhausting enough, but then there is twelve-year-old Robbie to worry about too. Where are his parents? Janek the helpful and mysterious Pole reminded me of the Czech officer Marek in the sadly missed and inexplicably cancelled ITV series Home Fires.

Maggie didn’t really ‘come alive’ for me and it felt like the story ended very abruptly. The book also contains a few wartime recipes, showing the ingenuity of the cooks of that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Better Be Willing to Fail

Do you seek perfection? Did you realize the steps along the way include failing? Only through failure can we appreciate success.I’d even dare to say that failing makes success all the sweeter and more prized. Do you Agree?

Mary E. Nolte

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to take up book binding. I bought this planner as a PDF and I decided that I was going to print it out and learn how to bind a book. And then I’d carry that book around all year, to be reminded of how important creativity is for me.

So I watched a bunch of Youtube videos, I bought some carefully selected paper, and I got to work. It took me a long time and a free trial of a certain program to figure out how to print out the PDF so that it would fold into a booklet. I folded the pages carefully. I followed the video’s instructions and I sewed them together with perfectly even stitches.

So far, so good. The next step was to cut off the edges of the book so that everything was uniform.

This is…

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Trying to Ignore Mothers ‘Day

Here in Australia, it is coming up to Mothers ‘Day which is on May 13th although of course in the Northern Hemisphere it is celebrated in March. It is a day that I find quite painful as so many people thank their mothers and express love and admiration for their mum. Say how close they are to their mothers and how much they are like their mothers.

Not all mothers are like that though, mine wasn’t. So, I guess that I am slightly envious and feel that my experience is not recognised. To be told that I must be mistaken by those whose mothers loved them is hurtful. And it denies my experience. To clarify, my mother was distant and disinterested, but not neglectful or intentionally cruel.

I look at the photograph of the clear-eyed girl that she was and wonder what became of her?

 

Phoebe Leather
My mother as a young girl

How did she become the woman that I remember? The one with the distant look in her eye, the one who read travel books voraciously and smoked endless cigarettes? The one who stayed in her room crying and depressed. The one who told me when I was about twelve ’I never wanted children’? The words haunt me still, they were never clarified with ‘of course now we’ve got you I’m glad’

I knew my dad loved me- by the way he’d let me stand on his feet to dance, the way he tucked me into bed at night and kiss my forehead ‘Night, night, pleasant dreams,’ and leave the door ajar so I could see the hall light.

With my parents

Children sense things, or at least I did. I used to buy her presents, bring her flowers, those wildflower posies that children pick. My drawings were for her. Once I spent my entire birthday money on a brass ornament for her.Then when I was about nine I stopped. I realised that you can’t buy love, it is, or it isn’t, you can’t make someone love you.

Not all women are cut out to be mothers, although of course, that was societies expectation. Mum was thirty-nine when I was born, their first and only child. I suspect she’d have been happier without me. Now I think that she saw me as a rival for my dad’s affections. An aunt came to stay for many months to look after me as mum took to her bed.

I envy those with a close bond with their mothers, those who say she is their best friend. My mum died when I was in my early twenties, and we had never grown close even after my father’s death. For me, Mothers’ Day is a time of sadness and regret, a time to think about what might have been and to finally to feel sorry for my mum that she was trapped in a situation that made her so unhappy.

The Writing Dog

The pain of losing a companion animal- we do share a special bond with those who share our homes, I had tears in my eyes reading this.

Arcanum

He is ever alert to the sounds of her. Footsteps upstairs might mean she is coming. She may yet share the couch with him. He may lay his nose on her leg and sigh, tail thumping the upholstery in a contented rhythm. On frost-laden mornings she greets him and lets him out. He hears the honey in her voice and knows he is loved. He lies at her feet as she stares at the metal thing, always absorbed. If he is very still and quiet she might just stroke his head. It is enough to be close, shoehorned between the chair and the ottoman, her legs a ceiling above.

He runs with her even though he is small and far from athletic. He keeps pace and smiles up at her, tries to avoid the call of the tree trunks and dash onwards.

One day he feels an unease. Something slow…

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Memories Of Midnight.

Midnight was a rescue cat, and we shared a deep bond.He would accompany me everywhere- even to visit our neighbours. People said’ he’s more like a dog than a cat.’ He was a tough veteran when we got him, but he displayed the sweetest nature. Sadly ,after only being together for three years and three months, he was killed in an accident. I felt as though my heart was broken, and that I’d never love another  animal in the same way.I had never shared such a deep connection with any animal.

Three years and three months later the black cat who I would call Mystic walked along our driveway and demanded to be let in. When I saw him in the garden under the tree that Midnight used to sit under I wrote this poem

Midnight in the garden
Midnight in the garden

 

 

 

Memories of Midnight.

I see you there, beneath the tree

Sharpening claws just like he

Used to in that very place.

It is an unexpected grace.

Seeming so familiar and dear

As if he could just appear.

A streak of blackness, passing through

Returned to me, somehow in you.

Oh, I know you are not the same!

Forget and call a well-loved name

Realise, I’ll not see him again

And welcome then the burst of pain.

Mostly though, you give me joy

Remembering my precious boy.

People say ‘it’s just a cat,

Oh you’ll soon get over that’

As if it were a lesser love

And you have no right to grieve.

In the places of my heart

You know there is a space apart.

Secure, enclosed and wholly yours,

Where sunshine and shadow still endures,

Blackness bounding lightly on long grass

The brightest eyes, warm as amber glass.

Oh the welcome in your meow

How I long to hear it now!

Loving you brings joy and pain

Yet, I have dared to love again

Another cat, with blackest fur

And a warm resounding purr.


 

Here is photo of Mystic and IMystic and me

The Magic of Pets

A post which touched me deeply and reminded me of my much-loved cat Midnight- see my post in June 2017 A Fool for Love. Reposted with permission.

The Cat's Write

When my cat died on March 20th, I stopped blogging entirely. The only reason you’ll see I posted blogs on that particular date (and after) is because I always schedule my blogs about 1-2 weeks ahead.

I would like to let you all know that I have been reading every single comment left on this blog – even if I never replied. Your comments have been little sparks of light in the darkness. Thank you too, for all the lovely, heartfelt emails and for being so understanding and sharing in my grief when I posted about losing Sven last month.

I’m not embarrassed to admit, that I, the ever optimistic happy go-lucky crazy cat lady, finally reached the end of her tether after my pet died. And we should not be ashamed of feeling sad. If we do, we help perpetuate the stigma of depression that stops people reaching…

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