Today has been spent eating Poetry for Breakfast and Journaling in my heart space ~ my Zenkraft traveller’s notebook. I bought these two stunning poetry editions while in the UK last year. Poetry and music were my healing spaces in 2016 and continue to be this year. I also decided to start a new personal travel tradition. Instead of keychains or other travel keepsake ephemera I have decided to buy myself books of poetry every time I travel somewhere. These are my first two poetry mementoes and what stunning eye candy for the senses and soul food for the heart and mind they are.
For the last 5 months of 2016 I was on the road, in the air, on planes, trains, underground trains, cars and mostly living out of a lightweight suitcase + a backpack + a crossbody travel bag. So I had to minimise my favourite things into portable Every Day Carry (EDC) options; those which would take the least amount of room, be highly functional, be minimalistic but still give me pleasure. When travelling, especially long-term, the key-words are Minamalism + Functional. I would add my personal motto of Yo-No-Bi: Simplicity, Function, Beauty.
This principle is known as yo-no-bi. Common among the older generation of craftsmen in Japan, yo-no-bi consists of two kanji, yo (用) which means use or application, and bi (美) which means beauty. Together they aim to balance the aesthetic and the functional – not only must a technique/item be functional, but it must be pleasing to the eye.
So here I’ve summed up my Favourite On-The-Go EDC things, all true to the principle of Yo-No-Bi, that I ended up carrying with me all over Australia/Hong Kong/UK/Greece for the last half of 2016.
…Today is a difficult day I feel overwhelmed by pain: emotional waves of grief and emptiness that keep on breaching my foundations; foundations weak from physical pain-migraine! I’m angry at myself for being a mess today. I’m angry that I feel so broken and I’m doing all I can to hold onto the broken pieces…but really I just want to throw away all the brokenness and wipe the slate clean and start again, build myself back up…I’m still in Migraine Hell. The pain has dulled but the nausea is now kicking in with full force. I slept better last night but took a while to fall asleep…too much noise in my brain again. But I put on my headset and drowned the noise with music. There is a numbness today after all the emotion that poured out of me yesterday…This is not the End of me…This is the beginning…For so long I had caged my heart, told it to keep quiet. I have lead solely with my head. But I have only survived, I have lived a life half-lived. But losing A so soon, too soon, opened that dark lock-box where I had hidden my heart. Suddenly it was no longer just a lock-box but it had transformed into Pandora’s Box. Suddenly I couldn’t contain, couldn’t constrain, couldn’t control all the emotion that came pouring out of this hidden place. Grief, rage, death, loss skinned me of all my protective layers. I was left unformed, raw, vulnerable, unprotected from the elements, all my dam walls broken in millions of pieces…this journey was a part of my destiny. It would take something tragic, something devastating to move me from the grey places I had walked into when I shut away my heart. The worst thing happened. Someone I loved, someone who was part of my history, part of my story, part of my identity…Left. Not only did she leave but I lost my chance to see her in person once again. She was ripped from my life, taken away with not enough warning. There are moments in life and death that define us, shake the very core of us, change us. There are moments in life that are defined by what came before and what came after. This is my moment. This is the moment, the fragment in time, where I decide to either stay the same or change direction. This journey has freed my heart from the martingale I had constrained it with. Then my heart, now raw, free and untethered suddenly found a reason to wake up…It was both the most painful trip I have ever had to make but also the most clarifying journey filled with sweet pockets of unexpected joy…I cannot help but think that A is still being my BFF and arranging circumstances and moments to bring me joy, to remind me what it means to truly live, not just survive but thrive. Seeing A go through the Cancer with courage and yes even with joy and still believing in love, in spite of the Cancer or perhaps because for her the Cancer clarified how short and precious life is and how rare joy and love is…| excerpted from my journal ~ 2016
I’ve been away, both from this blog and from my own life. I’ve come back from a life-changing, life-altering journey. A journey that I never wanted to take but one that is now part of my story. The journey started 26 years ago when two adolescent girls met one morning waiting for a school bus and said “hello”. One of these girls is me at 12, just moved to a new town with no friends. The other girl is A: a girl who stands with her ballet dancer’s elegance, her feet meeting at the heels and toes pointed in opposite directions. That first “hello” changed my story and opened the chapter of a life-long friendship. In 2016 that long chapter changed with the last words I told my friend, the ballet dancer, the daughter, the sister, the mother, the woman, the nurturer, the compassionate one, the warrior, my anchor; when I told her she could let go now, she could rest.
In 2016 I lost one of the cartographers of my past.
Stories are passports without borders. Stories are passports without visas. Stories are passports to adventure. Stories are passports into the exotic and the extraordinary. Stories are portal doors into worlds unknown. Stories are magic carpets.
One of the first reasons that made me fall in love with stories is the ability to travel to exotic places, experience exotic cultures all without leaving my chair. I love traveling and often call myself a Gypsy at heart. New places usually mean new people to meet and new adventures to experience. In an unknown place the average and ordinary can suddenly become extraordinary. Having a coffee in my local cafe is very been there, done that. But having a coffee in some little plaza in an Italian village on the Amalfi coast would immediately be extraordinary for me. In the same way, that Italian local may find having coffee in my local cafe an extraordinary event.
For this reason I have always read books that are based in foreign countries and even foreign cultures. I come from South Africa, now live in New Zealand – to me neither of these two places is exotic. They are what I know. They are familiar. But when I have told American friends that I come from South Africa and now live in New Zealand – they are always fascinated. They want to know if I have seen lions in the wild. When I tell them that we had a family of leopard living on one of the farms my father managed, they go: “WOW!”. They want to know all about New Zealand especially since the Lord of the Rings Trilogy that really put NZ on the map. But for me exotic places are in Europe or in Central Africa/Northern Africa or the Amazon in South America. But I doubt those same locals who live in these areas think that they live in an exotic locale.
That is the joy of reading stories and in my case going one step further and creating your own stories. I love writing about places I have not been because I find often what may be fairly ordinary to the locals there becomes extraordinary and special in my fresh eyes. One of my favourite pastimes is searching for fresh inspiration for not just story ideas but setting ideas. Pinterest (new addiction) comes in as a very useful tool in these moments. I also love reading/studying/researching the history of each setting and often finds it seeds an idea in my imagination that I let lie and germinate to see what it could potentially blossom into. Nowadays with the ease of the internet and software like Google Earth/Google Maps your research into a place can become acutely accurate down to the street names and the name of that cafe on the corner in that Italian village on the Italian Amalfi Coast.
But at the end of the day the best research you can do when checking out a setting in an exotic locale (if traveling there is absolutely ruled out) is to talk to the locals on the internet. In this day and age there is an internet group for just about everything and there are blogs for just about every type of subject. So I trawl the blogosphere and see if there are any local-specialised blogs devoted to the locale I want to set my story in. Setting is so much more than just a geographic location or street names. Setting is also about the quirks that make that place unique. Is there a particular smell? Smell is a big one. For instance when I smell oranges and lemons I immediately think of Athens, Greece. One of the strongest memories of my time spent there 12 years ago was the tree-lined streets with trees heavy with oranges and lemons. So the smell of oranges and lemons now sums up Athens for me. Location bloggers will give away a lot of these type of tidbits in their blog posts. And most people are always flattered when you tell them you want to learn more about their home because you find it fascinating.
So while I have begun writing on my next project I have been trawling the internet for setting ideas. So I will leave you with some images from my Pinterest board. Some of them are definite settings in my story and some of just teasing seeds of inspiration right now…Mum’s the word (for now) on which settings I am actually going to be using in both the current WIP and upcoming ones. Perhaps you can guess which settings I have chosen.
Perhaps you have been to these places or live there. I would love to know at least 2 quirks that I could not find out from the internet that is unique to each place. Leave me a comment in the comments.
Tell me>> What exotic places would you like a story to be set in? What places grab your imagination?
I am back from the Wilds of life with no blogging for a month. After blogging almost every day in December it felt very strange to go a month and a bit without blogging. But the rest was well needed. Life outside the world wide web was very busy with a house move, buying new battery for the Macbook and various other family emergencies, chores and errands. It has indeed been a busy start to 2012. But I am back. Well rested, ready, willing and able to get back to the business of blogging. This month I am going to give you more of a glimpse into my WIP with teasers of my cover, interview with my Amazing cover artist and background into the back story and inspiration of this trilogy. As I was without a computer due to my Macbook battery giving up its ghost, I got a lot of reading done so I will be sharing and linking to the reviews as well as featuring some exciting debut books coming out by my talented bevy of writing pals. So I am truly back in the business of online communication! Hello 2012 and Hello February.
But first…I am come back holding aloft my two-time nomination and win for The Versatile Blogger Award. My good friend and cp, Melissa Pearl nominated this blog and this blogger for The Versatile Blogger award a couple of weeks ago. I love receiving awards – who doesn’t? But I love it even more when the award comes from another writer I adore and respect. Which is the case in the case of Melissa Pearl – YA author and time travel specialist. Thank you Mel! 🙂
So I am supposed to list five things you didn’t know about me…Mmmh scratching head commences.
1) Everyone who knows me knows I am a confirmed gypsy at heart and love nothing more than a new stamp in my passport or at the very least the open road and a new road trip to Destination Anywhere….but what you maybe didn’t know is that I always travel alone. There are three main reasons why I travel alone.
i.) I am very independent and impulsive and all my trips whether just down the road or overseas are spur-of-the-moment whims. This tends to leave nobody else anytime to prepare to go with me. But then those that love me know that I am a free spirit when it comes to travel. Plans are just so mundane. Much better and more exciting to just up-and-go when the desire hits.
ii) I am a very independent and adventurous traveller. Again you would think this would make me a fun traveling companion and people would be queuing to sign up to travel with me. Think again. When I say adventurous, I mean adventurous. I don’t stick to a plan, I never go to the “tourist spots” and I love nothing more than hitting the unknown spots, leaving urban areas behind me and going out and exploring.
iii) The last reason why I am a solo traveller is probably the one I shouldn’t state here as it will definitely ensure my solo-travelling days. But in the interests of full disclosure…The third and final reason why I am a solo traveller is for the safety of any would be companions. You see, natural disasters tend to haunt all of my travels. I am not kidding here. Earthquake, cyclone, snowstorm, flood, 3 day hailstorm in a desert that usually only sees a couple of days of rain a year…these are just a few of actual natural disasters that have occurred when I decide on a whim to travel somewhere. So if you are a daredevil thrill-seeker, you may want to sign up to be my traveling companion. If you are an armchair traveller who loves nothing more than a relaxing holiday at the beach with a good book in hand – don’t pick me as your travel companion.
2) My favourite desert is cut up banana in custard. Oh I love chocolate cake, cheesecake, and other such scrumptiousness but my tried and true guilt-free pleasure is and will always be banana in custard. Guilt-free? Yes guilt-free because it is a healthy dessert. No, I swear it is. Think of it. Banana + Custard = Fruit + Dairy . So tell me how that is not healthy for you. Got you there. If you have not tried this dessert nor heard of this dessert, do yourself a favour and try it. You will not regret it. Mmmh think I am going to dish up a bowlful for myself after this blog is done.
3) My two guilty pleasure programs on television: All things Kardashian and Vampire Diaries. Yes I can see all the tsks tsks and head-shaking. But I don’t care. The Kardashian family is a family you can’t help but watch whether you want to or not. As for The Vampire Diaries…..I love the storyline, love the characters, love the back story and before you wonder whether I am Team Damian or Team Stefan I will tell you that I am both. Although to be fair in the current season I am little more slanted towards Team Damian. Who does not love a delicious bad boy vampire?
4) I am addicted to my collection of Archie comics….Not heard of them? I am shocked! Really shocked. I am talking about Archie, Bettie, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead and their adventures in the town of Riverdale. I still have 2 suitcases of these comics and digests and reread them any chance I get. They usually live in my bathroom so that I can take them out and read them while soaking in the tub. In fact I love a lot of comics or should I use the more pc term of Graphic Novels. They bring out the kid in me.
5) I am Carrie from Sex and the City when it comes to writing, dating and friends. Writing – like hers – is a passion of mine and many a time I have toyed with writing about the escapades of my dating life. As for dating, while that is an entirely other story but suffice to say I have had the disastrous dates with internet dates, millionaires, bad boys, weird guys. I have also had my Mr Big and my Aidan. But all of the dating and relationship woes and dramas have led me to rely on my friendships. Like Carrie I have AMAZING friends. They can be called upon in all times and like Carrie I have come to the conclusion that: “Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.”
So ta-da there you have it…five things you may not have known about me.
Now to award fellow bloggers I find worthy of The Versatile Blogger Award…Drum roll please musicians…
This lady is snarky, straight-talking, no BS, hilarious and as if that is not enough a very talented freelance editor and writer. Quite simply it is my diagnosis that you have to take a spoonful of Annetta’s word spinning on her blog at least once a week for good health and good humor.
Those who know and love her simply call her The McHugh. She is a talented writer, poet, lover of speculative fiction and horror. She also has a wicked sense of humor and a wicked sense of the macabre. I love her because her blog never fails to entertain me. You will love her for the same reasons.
Eden is one of the kindest and most generous erotic writers you will ever meet. She is a very talented erotica author and a tireless blogger and social networker. Everyone that knows her loves her. What’s not to love? Like she says: Exciting, Exotic and Extremely Erotic. Follow her. Now.
This writer is a tireless Indie author promoter as well as a top thriller author as well. He is also my good friend and one of my favourite men in the writing world. His blog is a smart and intelligent take on the life of an indie author. You will want to read this Charming Gentleman’s blog immediately. Go now.
I got to know Paul through two blog hops we took part in 2011. The CoffinHop and Creepfest. Since then I have become not only friends with Paul but also a fan of both his blog and his writing. I enjoy each of his posts and love his style of writing. Follow his blog. You will not be sorry.
So there you have it folks….my first blogging back from the wilds….award in hand and passing it on to these five worthy bloggers, authors and friends. Follow them. That is my prognosis for a healthy day.
Watch this space tomorrow for the featured and much awaited interview with my AMAZING cover artist. I would love to keep her all to myself but she is just too amazing and talented a cover artist to not share with the world. And I am in a generous mood so tomorrow I will share her with you. So come back tomorrow for the featured interview. You will not want to miss that post.
It is Thanksgiving in the USA. I am not in the USA nor am I American but I have many American friends. Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and appreciate people that you care about in life. I have been blogging now for 18months and in that time my friendship circle has grown to include inspirational people – writers, poets and artists from all around the globe. I am continuously inspired by the creativity and imagination of these people. So in honour of Thanksgiving I am going to create a new Blog Award which will be given out annually to mark my gratitude and to honour the most Create-Spirational Blogs that add to my Inspirations…
Announcing The Annual…
There are rules and requirements for this blog award to be passed on…
Pick 20 Blogs that have truly inspired you in the year
Write an acceptance blog post
Choose a quote on Inspiration.
Choose a quote on Creativity.
Choose and post a song-video that has inspired you this year. (After all what is life without music.)
Write down a list of 5 things that inspired you in the year.
Write down 5 ways that you plan on being inspirational in the coming year.
Pass on the award to the 20 blogs you have chosen.
Each year you must choose 20 new blogs, you can only give out this award once to someone.
For the above Awardees, grab the following award widget (by clicking on the image) to feature on your blog:
Favourite quote on Inspiration:
I dwell in Possibility | Emily Dickinson
Favourite quote on Creativity:
You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. | Mark Twain
My 2011 Song of Inspiration:
This song inspires me in both its lyrics and because it is a celebration of New York – a city that truly is an inspiration in looking for the silver lining in a heavy storm cloud – and because it is a song about having a “pocketful of dreams” and going out into the big wide world to chase those dreams and make them a reality.
Five things/people that Inspired me this year:
My family – who supported me in my dream to become a full-time writer
My friends – who always cheer for me in all my endeavors and who always believe in me – also counted on to give me a good butt-kicking every now and again. Special mention to: Alethea Dantes, Vasiliqui Galanopoulous, Jay Smith, Jane Webb Olivier, Desre Tate, Emma Mees, Colin Nel, Leigh K Hunt, Rachna Chhabria, Drew Cross, Al Boudreau, Judith Van Praag, Penny Epel, Danielle Beith Ruschena. (Each of you have a trail of footprints in my heart. I am honoured that you are in my life. Thank you for your love, support, encouragement and the constant source of inspiration through friendship that you gift to me just by being you. x)
Eat,Pray,Love – This book and this movie have inspired so much in my life
Social Networks – All those I follow and connect with through blogging, twitter,Facebook ect.
PostaDay 2011 and PostaWeek2011 – These helped me get into a regular blogging schedule.
Five Ways I plan on being inspirational in 2012
Through my Amazon Wanderings where I take off into the wild yonders of South America and write about it.
Through this creativity & inspiration blog @ Dragonfly Scrolls
Posting a photo at least once a week in a new photo-blog starting 01.01.12…link coming soon
This week I read a blog post of a good friend’s about her dreamwritingretreat if she won lotto. It did not take me long to figure out my dream writing retreat. I have already been there and was entranced and charmed. My dream writing retreat is Greece. There are many reasons why this is my dream retreat. Let me tell you about why of all the places in the world, this would be my dream and will be my future writing retreat.
For me Greece is a magical blending of the Ancient and the Modern. It is a place where you can walk with closed eyes and hear the thundering of the chariots. It is a place of spiritual power and a place that has more stories than can be told in a lifetime at the foundation of its heart. I went to Greece and I fell in love with the country, the people and the culture. There is a timeless essence to being in Greece that lends itself to the timelessness of creativity. Inspiration does not have an era or a timeline. It is as old as time itself.
My strongest memories of Greece are the scent of oranges and lemons. Wherever you go in Greece you will be assailed by the sweet and tangy scents of oranges and lemons. It is a place of donkeys and motorbikes. It is a place of ancient ruins and modern luxury resorts. It is a place where the great Philosophers of time called home and found their inspiration. It is a place of mathematics and poetry.
When you are in Greece, time seems to be suspended and you enter a place where both the Ancient and the New can be together in one place and transcending the element of time. This is a place where life and living is revered. This is a place where a simple meal is appreciated and relished over 3 hours. This is a place where love and lore come home to rest. This is a place where every moment of life is appreciated and time is worshipped. This is place where you do take a moment to enjoy the simpler things in life. This is a place where family is revered and where fierce loyalty binds all.
I remember when I left Greece, I wept bitterly. For here I had found my true home. It is a place that sings to my soul. I still travel there at night in my dreams. It is the place in my mind that I escape to when I need a respite from daily life. My heart and soul belong to this ancient home of Philosophy and Inspiration. I made a vow to Greece when I left that I would come home to her. I would come home to this place of beauty and power.
I want to feel the power of magic coursing through my veins as I stand once more in the ancient ruins of The Acropolis. I want to view the horizon from her rugged cliff-tops. I want to ride on the back of a donkey, that most humble of creatures integral to Greek culture, up a mountain side to my blue-doored and white-walled home. My view will be that of the brilliant blues and greens of the magical Mediterranean sea. I want to taste fresh seafood caught that day in the bounty of this sea. I want to know that here I am finally at home. This is the place that my gypsy heart calls home.
I believe that there is a certain place in the world where your heart,soul,mind and body just feel enriched and feel “at home”. My place is Greece. The land of the legends and myths, land of Eros and Romance. The land where love and poetry are the cornerstones of this culture. Step into the home of democracy and freedom. Walk in the pathways of Socrates and Homer. Let the grandeur of the ancients seep into your veins. Swim in the fountains of the ancient nymphs and play in the playgrounds of the Ancients.
Come join me in Greece and be inspired by the rugged beauty of cliff tops, the endless orchards of Olive trees, the traversing of goats and donkeys, the magical blues and greens of the Mediterranean, the sweet and tangy blended scents of oranges and lemons. Take a seat on the roof of my cerulean blue-doored and blue shuttered, white-walled home and forget time and the rush to squander time. Watch the fishing boats come in as you take in a magnificent sunset that has seen the passing and stilling of time as the centuries roll by. Be taken in and charmed by the many superstitions that these lyrical people believe in. Step into the land of the Olympians and take your lessons for living from the rich spirit of this culture.
Greece – My True Home.
The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece! Where burning Sappho loved and sung. Where grew the arts of war and peace,– Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung! Eternal summer gilds them yet, But all, except their sun, is set.
Author: Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)
Source: Don Juan (canto III, st. 86)
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts And eloquence.
Author: John Milton
Source: Paradise Regained (bk. IV, l. 240)
To Greece we give our shining blades.
Author: Thomas Moore
Source: Evenings in Greece–First Evening
If noble death be virtue`s chiefest part, We above all men are by Fortune blest, Striving with freedom`s crown to honor Greece, we died, and here in endless glory rest – Simonides
Greece is like a mirror. It makes you suffer. Then you learn. To live alone? To live. With what you are.”
— John Fowles.
In many ways we are all sons and daughters of Ancient Greece.
To describe Greece I would share with you a tomato on the sandy beaches of Skopellos, open a sea urchin with my penknife and serve you the scarlet eggs inside while the salt stretches the skin on our backs. – Nicholas Papandreou
Hello all my lovely followers. This week is a big week. Firstly I have the very exciting WARRIOR WEDNESDAYs kicking off tomorrow with my 100th post and my 101 post both in the same day. Secondly I am very appreciative to the 308 followers on twitter who have just got me over the “300” mark I had set myself…now I am hoping for 500 followers and readers in the next 5 months….POSSIBLE – Everything is POSSIBLE because as you know – that is my Word for 2011.
So what have you lovely bloggers and tweeps been up to in the wonderful work of the web today? Let me tell you about my day. I started off in Auckland, New Zealand but at lunch time I took a side trip to Tuscany.
It was Spring in Tuscany. Everything was green. The bees were buzzing and the birds were singing. I was exploring the Tuscan countryside. Amazed at every turn what I came across. My appetite was sated by delicious and generous helpings of pasta. The wind picked up a bit so I decided to leave Tuscany for a short while and made my way down south to Sicily. Where Tuscany was as warm and welcoming as a restored terracotta Villa amidst terraced vineyards and Olive groves, so was Sicily brisk and in your face. The traffic was horrendous. I decided to take taxi’s for the rest of the time in Sicily. I was concerned about running into the Mafioso but although I was served by a few waiters who looked determined enough to belong to this organisation I did not run into any nefarious Al Pacino look-alikes. But Alas, every vacation has to come to an end and before coming back to my world in Auckland, I took a stroll through my Tuscan paradise. The fields were covered in the violet hues of the incomparable Iris. I plucked fresh almonds to eat. The freshly grown asparagus was a perfect addition to the pasta I made my friends as we sat down and enjoyed the beautiful local wines of Poiliziano’s: Le Stanze, Elegia and Ambre. But unfortunately work called me back to Auckland and I came back reluctantly. The sweet tastes, sounds and experiences of Tuscany left behind but bottled in Memory – another lovely bottle of wine with a hint of sweet lemon and the bittersweet taste of Almonds and Olives.
This launches my new weekly Tuesday blog called Travelicious Tuesday. On this day through this blog and your imagination I will take you on trips to wonderful places. For at least the time it takes you to read each Tuesday post, you can leave behind your ordinary lives and join me in the rich experience of Travelicious Tuesdays. Some of these are places I have been and some we will be guided by our Tour Guide of the day.