Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Books vs electronic Not Books

Wow how did a month slip by without me blogging?

A whole lot of real life offline kept me busy and distracted.
I am packing to move house and house hunting. I taped all of daughter dear's spare clothes into the blue wheely bin and her shoes and bits into boxes and green bags and restacked them on her shelving.
I have been cleaning walls and ceilings, light fittings and windows and repairing small lumps and bumps of normal wear and tear and I am planning a garage sale (scary) [Yard sale for those in the north]

I do not like moving and considering how many times I have done it in my life you would think that I would be a practiced hand at it but still I find it stressful, especially because this is the longest I have ever lived anywhere and the longest I have ever been in the same street. I have grown fond of my friends and a few neighbours and the town is a lovely place to live. Still I have become a little complacent and need some more energy pumped into the writing career I have chosen. I moved the teens to Melbourne to temporary accommodation to take up studies at Swinburne and it has been very quiet around here without them. They are learning some independent living skills and I intend they continue the trend when we all move back into the same house. They are growing and glowing with their new found studies.
I did have one of my little grandsons come to stay for a while. That was fun and exhausting. I am SO far past nappies and bottles at 3am but we do these things for the ones we love and he is just too cute for words.

I created a vision board (this woman offers a free ebook about vision boarding on her blog ). The board is something I have done in the past but not to this extent. My sister had been to an art therapy session in which they painted and collaged their boards and after a lengthy phone call with her I decided it was time to revisit this fabulous technique for visualising my own future. I wanted a was to express the things I want to happen and to focus my new found meditation upon.

Right smack in the middle is the word Believe in little crystals. This is a big reminder to me that I must believe in myself and my talents and my ability to do what is needed to make my goals a reality. It was good to sit and think about what I want from life and what aspect of my life I need to change and improve. I thought about love and family and career, I thought about health and wealth and travel and so much more. I have always wanted to be an in demand motivational speaker and a published author and my vision board was an excellent place to represent these desires so they became more concrete and less vague thoughts. The meditation came in the form of a 7 minute chakra cleanse, a mantra and a huge amount of research into binaural beats and harmonics and how sounds can affect health and well being and then I discovered Headspace with its 10 day ten minute calm sessions. I need calm sessions.

In the past month I had my first and second Write a Novel in a Year class through Victoria University and I missed the second one but have read all the notes and I am implementing the suggested course of action. I am 12k into an idea I came up with 12 months ago and have begun to plan, write character sheets, write back story vignettes and discuss with fellow class mates. It is a futuristic social commentary with horror and romance elements in the drama.I am liking it so far.

 I read a novel, Atonement and discussed it with  two young male students who are studying the novel and struggling with it. I struggled with it and I am reasonably well read with a wide and interesting life of experiences to draw on. I thought it might be a good book for uni students to deconstruct and am in total sympathy with mid teen boys trying to wade through it. I can see how it and its author have generated a lot of positive reviews but fail to understand the choice as reading material for rural students with academia at the bottom of their list of worthwhile things to do.

I wrote several reviews for other authors.

I also wrote some childrens' book ideas and attended a webinar or two and read copious notes for my class and learned to count to ten in Thai. I do sudoku each night before I sleep to quiet my mind and I do them in Japanese and Russian so I learn the numbers.

I also cried for the deaths of Leonard Nimoy and Terry Pratchett (Sir).
Leonard Nimoy as Spock gave me hope that there could be logic and sense to my childhood, his character was a spark of hope in the chaos of my family life.
Sir Terry Pratchett allowed me to understand that I must be well read because I recognised so many of the original stories he so cleverly twisted into his own on the disc world.

These men were very important to me and my sense of self worth.  I suppose Gene Roddenberry as the creator of Spock and Star Trek also played an important role but as a child I didn't think beyond the character on the screen and I idolised Spock.

It has been such a busy time that I have barely lifted a pen or pencil to the page so my pinterest has had no new uploads for six weeks and my folders have not been filled with colourful depiction of the world around me and I have neglected my online art groups.  Here is my landscape painted with coffee on water colour paper.

One of my favourite authors. Lois McMaster Bujold, has announced she is writing a new book for one of the characters in her Vorkosigan series of books and I am incredibly excited by that. This woman has been writing her series for almost 30 years since 1986 when the first was published. I realised as I perused the shelf I have dedicated to her work that I have been influenced by many women writers. Enid Blyton and May Gibbs from my very early years, Ursula K Leguin, Dianna Wynn-Jones, Zenna Henderson and Anne Mcaffrey through my teens, Isobelle Carmody in my twenties and beyond and so many many more, I had not realised until I was looking through my books and deciding to pack them that I had so many women on my shelves. Not just fiction either and not simply science fiction although right after fairy tales from around the world, science fiction is my second love. I lost many of my books in the '09 fires along with art but it never takes long for me to refill my shelves.
The first novel I wrote was so English it was embarrassing, especially as I have never been to England except through my reading, but it was also a good way for me to begin to understand the influences these authors have had on shaping who I am as a writer. I sent it out eventually to two large traditional publishers who wrote me two very positive and encouraging rejection letters.

I love my books. I love the scent of books. I love holding them and tucking a book mark in them. I love sharing books and writing little codes in the back. I love editing a book with a pencil I keep tucked behind my ear. I love giving the gift of a book. I love that I don't have to scroll through a book and be dictated to by the program on my computer. I love that my pages don't skip ahead. I love that there are over a thousand books in my bedroom and all of them are mine and no big company or remote prude can decide what I can or can't have on my bookshelves and take them away on a whim. I love that I can throw a book in an emotional upheaval because of the words on the page and I don't have to worry that the screen will crack. I don't have to put a battery in my book or charge it up or keep it cool. I can take a book to the beach or on a picnic and if it rains well I can dry the pages with my hair dryer. I love that if I am ever stuck in a remote location with my book and there is no toilet paper I can sacrifice the end pages. I love snuggling in bed with a good book, or into a huge armchair and reading on a cold day. I love seeing my books all stacked and lined up and feel a sense of pride in ownership of them. I feel like my books are a display of me. Not streamlined and generic that's for sure.

There are times when an electronic reader is preferable to carrying an extra suitcase of reading material. An electronic reader is a useful way of storing works to be reviewed and when the budget is tight and there is a strict no no on purchasing, a little ebook can be snuck in past the vigilance of the household harridan holding the purse strings(that would be me). I think I would prefer my newspaper in e form but I can read the news online now. A friend has a screen enlarger for her diminishing eyesight and of course I read every day on my PC for a whole range of reasons. There are many good reasons to have some form of electronic reading device. Those clever people who invented them are marvelous but -

 -In my incredible and crazy life, books have been my stabilisers, my strength, my teachers and my friends. They have been my places to escape into so I could escape from. Books have been my furniture and my door stops. Books have kept me from starving and have given me travel and riches beyond measure.  Books are my first choice of reading material.

  To the thousands of authors out there who have been part of my life journey, thank you.
To the aspiring writers yet to be published. Keep writing, don't ever give up your stories until they are on the printed page, you just never know whose life you will change.