As you may know already, as a follower of me on social media or as a friend, I have a little obsession with all things stationery. As a writer, it seems to go hand in hand with the chosen vocation. But in this digital world, I still prefer paper and pen. Lots of paper and lots of pens.
Something I still prefer to do with paper and pen is planning. Of course I have all the best productivity, agenda and calendar apps and yes I use most of them. I’m not at all a technophobe. Technology has brought us some gems of apps and software that has made life a lot easier.
But for the real meat and gravy of planning, I have always preferred a physical paper planner.
The New Year and the week before the new one begins has always been one of my favourite times of year. It is a week when I take the time to reflect back on the happenings of the current year and decide what worked and what didn’t, what I’m going to continue and what I want to change in the New Year. In this reflection and dreaming, I decide whether my planning system worked or not.
2018 As you can probably guess from my previous post, was a year of turbulence, chaos and change. It was also a year where I had all the best intentions to plan. But the year swept all those intentions away, because I wasn’t focused on planning, I was focused on just getting through the year.
But I’m not beating myself up about that. Instead, I’m realising that some years are less about planning and more about surviving by any means necessary.
But for 2019 I want a different year. I want different plans. I want to be able to plan ahead to make more room for white space in my life. More about that “room for whitespace” in my upcoming New Year’s Eve post.
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. | John C. Maxwell
Life in 2018 has been a circus with all the circus animals running wild and the clowns dropping all the balls.
Speaking of wild animals and cat-astrophes….
I adopted a feline furbaby at Christmas last year. With life being so crazy and tipsy-turbo, I haven’t had a chance to introduce her to you people in Blog-land.
This girl has brought a brightness and joy to my life in a year when I’ve really needed fun distractions. Jazz, my canine furbaby, absolutely adores his little sister. The two of them can be heard running around the house chasing each other from the early hours of the morning.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a cat and Nyx is the little cat with mischievous Cattitude and the biggest heart. From the first moment I met her, she stole my heart away. She is a bundle of furry energy which is just as well because her canine brother is the craziest, most energetic furboy I know.
The last two weeks were difficult for me and for those I love. Two deaths to commemorate. And another loss for someone I love. My soul felt clogged up by the mud of grief. I needed a reprieve, a solace, a nourishing…
So I went to an art exhibit that has currently been showing in Auckland.
The Body Laid Bare| Masterpieces from Tate [On view March 18 through July 16, 2017]
Encounter the human form—in all its complexity—in “The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate,” Auckland Art Gallery’s major exhibition for 2017. Beautiful, sensual and at times provocative, more than 100 artworks from Tate, London, tell the story of the nude and trace artists’s captivation with the human body over the last two centuries. Journeying through time, from the classical, biblical and literary subjects of the 1800s to the body politics of contemporary art, “The Body Laid Bare” brings together masterpieces by renowned artists including JMW Turner, Auguste Rodin, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas and many more. At the heart of the show is Auguste Rodin’s marble sculpture The Kiss which—although celebrated worldwide—is travelling beyond Europe for the first time. Other renowned works include Picasso’s Nude woman in a red chair (1932) and Bonnard’s The bath (1925).
This was both an exquisite and confronting exhibit. There were pieces that were raw and erotic, pieces that were heart-breakingly beautiful, pieces that were confronting and pieces that simply awed me. But each piece had its own place in this one of a kind exhibit. I went for Rodin’s “The Kiss” but I was transported on a visual journey that filled the hollow parts of me. The exhibit was everything and nothing that I anticipated.
So let me share with you the three pieces that absolutely entranced me and for a moment filled the dark hollow spaces with a hopeful light.
I have been dreaming of wolves for the last year or so. My dreams are always vivid. I also have many lucid dreams; dreams where I can control the dream and even where I can re-enter a dream days after having it. All of my stories have come from dreams. Vivid dreams that wake me up at 4am in the morning scrambling for pen and paper to write down what I see in my dream world. But lately there have been two dreams that I keep on having…
One is a dream of wolves and the other is a stirring in my imagination, new scenes in a new story in a new series…
The wolf dream is a favourite and one that I love to return to. I have always believed that if I have a spirit animal, as the native Americans talk about, it is the Wolf. There is something about wolves that call to my soul. So it does not surprise me that for the last year I have been dreaming of wolves. I have been at the crossroads of death and life, grief and joy these last 400 days. Dreaming of the wolves symbolises change, a wandering and roaming both literally and figuratively, a need for freedom and a longing for my pack. I am searching. I am hunting. I am roaming. But I am roaming in the spirit of the Wolf. I am feeling more certain than I have been in a very long time of where I want to be, who I want to be, what I want to write.
The sun is setting earlier and rising later. The skies are a crisp clear ice-blue. The air outside is fresh against my skin. Winter is here in the Southern Hemisphere. Winter makes everything feel fresh, crisp and clear. So I thought, what better time to refresh the look of my website…
refresh | rɪˈfrɛʃ/ [verb]
verb: refresh; 3rd person present: refreshes; past tense: refreshed; past participle: refreshed; gerund or present participle: refreshing
give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.
“the shower had refreshed her”
synonyms: reinvigorate, revitalize, revive, restore, brace, fortify, strengthen, give new strength to, enliven, perk up, stimulate, freshen, energize, exhilarate, reanimate, wake up, resuscitate, revivify, rejuvenate, regenerate, renew, breathe new life into; More blow away the cobwebs; informal | buck up, pep up; rare in spirit
“the cool air will refresh me”
It’s been about 3 years since I refreshed the look of my digital home. Which meant it was high time to change things up.
How has your reading month been? Feel like a suspense mystery with a twist or two in its tale? Buckle up, because Charlie Donlea’s The Girl Who Was Taken is going to take you on a tale full of blind corners, unexpected twists, red herring detours and an ending that you won’t see coming. Make yourself your favourite beverage – I recommend my Perfect Pairing of Moroccan Spiced Coffee *recipe at the bottom of this post* – curl up in your favourite reading corner and start reading The Girl Who Was Taken.
About The Girl Who Was Taken
Two women – one, the sister of a missing girl; the other, a victim who escaped – come together to unmask a killer in this heart-stopping thriller.
Her truth is only half the story . . .
Megan McDonald is a high school senior when she disappears from the small town of Emerson Bay. Hope for her safe return is nearly lost until, after two weeks held captive, she escapes from a bunker hidden deep in the woods.
Now, one year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal – Missing – has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It’s an inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail. A second girl went missing that night. Her classmate, Nicole Cutty.
Dr. Livia Cutty is a fellow in forensic pathology, training at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina. Her sister, Nicole, has been missing a year when the body of a young man – an apparent suicide – shows up in the morgue and offers Livia the first clue to Nicole’s fate. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Others girls have gone missing, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected.
But Megan is reluctant. She knows more than she has revealed. As flashes of memory continue to return, she realizes her blockbuster book is filled with lies, and that digging too deeply into the night she escaped from that bunker might reveal something darker and more monstrous than anything her chilling memoir describes.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone else? Have you ever wanted to switch lives with someone else? Have you ever wished you could just start over? It seems like an innocent enough wish but identity is more than just a name. Identity is a story we tell ourselves. But what happens when that story is more fiction than fact… How do you separate the truth of who you are from the lie of who others think you are? Today’s book The Passengerexplores these intriguing questions. So sit back, get comfortable, make yourself a strong beverage (I suggest my recommended Kaffee Pairing), keep your wits about you and let’s go on the run with…
Incase you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it . . . .
From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!
Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.
She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.
It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret . . . can she outrun her past?
With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.
It’s been too long since my last KaffeeKlatsch so I thought I would resume my KaffeeKlatsch posts with a book that you won’t forget once you take the risk of reading it. As usual, I will be recommending a perfect coffee pairing to match this book. So, grab your favourite beverage, get comfortable and let’s klatsch this week’s book and what Coffee I’ve chosen for this reading session… Then I dare you to get your own copy of this book. But only if you’re prepared to be disturbed…
ABOUT PERFECT DAYS
A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a dark and delirious road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of Brazil’s most celebrated young crime writer.
Teo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn’t have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver—that is, until he meets Clarice. She’s almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. An aspiring screenwriter, she’s working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo is obsessed. He begins to stalk her, first following her to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, he kidnaps her and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay. Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he digs himself deeper and deeper into a pit that he can’t get out of, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together. Bothtense and lurid, and brimming with suspense from the very first page, Perfect Days is a psychological thriller in the vein of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley—a chilling journey in the passenger seat with a psychopath, and the English language debut of one of Brazil’s most deliciously dark young writers.
This story, this main character, this writer will chill you to the bone.
It’s April already. April in my corner of the world means rusting Autumn leaves, soft rain on my window panes, still warm days but cooler nights and lots of hot drinks…especially my favourite hot drink of coffee. I love Autumn. Autumn is my favourite time to curl up on my favourite couch and get lost in a story. I’ve got quite a few netgalley reads outstanding and two lovely new netgalley reads to get lost in this month. So this April it’s time to dust off my digital bookshelves.
One of my favourite writing friends, Julie Christine Johnson, just published an evocative post “Atmospheric River” on her blog. (Aside* Do yourself a favour and visit Julie’s blog. It will lift your spirits and inspire you.) I had never heard of the term “Atmospheric River” before but it just zings with me now. Julie speaks of awakening from a winter of the soul, one which I know well and so much of what she shares in this post echoes what I am feeling right now.
A couple of days ago I celebrated a birthday. In many ways it was a difficult Birthday because it was my first without one of my oldest friends, someone who is a part of my soul. But also because of A and how much she treasured life, even as it slipped out of her fingers like the broken silken threads of spiderwebs, I also was determined to truly appreciate the day. It ended up being both a terrible and beautiful day, much like life itself. Terrible in that someone, in a six degrees of separation way, was buried on my birthday morning. Beautiful in that a precious new human, the first longed-for son of one of my soul-friends, was born on the evening of my birthday. A burial in the morning and a birth in the evening on my birthday. An ending in the morning and a beginning in the evening of my birthday. This paradox of tragedy/beauty and death/birth made me think of the life of a star.