Tag Archives: book

Art & poetry books

I really miss doing art.

I am glad I am getting supplies again, but it’s not just the supplies that is the problem, it’s the where I can do art that is.

I’ve mentioned before my private spaces are just not respected in this house, my art table is getting messier and messier over time with other people’s junk and nobody is making effort to tidy up after themselves so I can use my art table for what it supposed to be used for – ART!

Henry has been given a project at school to complete by his birthday in May – this is to complete a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on his own at home to then take to the school to show the teacher his project has been completed – this is entirely doable, however, this means I have to dismantle my puzzle for him to start a new one so he can do this and this means that he will now need to use the art table to do it.

We used to have a decorating table for my puzzle, but the piles of junk around the house have hidden it and we can’t find it.

Life here is getting above a blooming joke now.

Instead, I am contemplating making a cushion fort in the corner of my bedroom to sit on the floor cross-legged with my pooh board covered in cling film so I can use that as an art table and paint in the bedroom – not ideal, because water and paints on a carpet protected only by old magazines is not ideal and my position will be behind a door. 

Whenever people come into the room to tell me anything they literally bust into the room and the door usually bounces off whatever is behind it, which when I do my art fort will be me and the jar of water no doubt!

I want to start painting some covers for my poetry books I am going to start making to sell on Amazon.

I am desperate to compile several anthologies of my poetic works as eBooks and paperbacks through Amazon publishers.

I also wanted to start my self-employment before Easter and a major part of that was selling my artwork in various formats and selling things via SquareSpace.

Some of my previous artworks I wanted to find a way to send the images to a company in order to create toys from the characters I’ve made.  I don’t know how to do that yet, but I am learning as I go along.

I’ve always wanted to design toys like this; I have a big love for soft toys.

Thanks for reading…

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About my poetry

This post is not about bragging.

But to those who will read it, no doubt you will have your suspicions that it is a sort of act of boasting.

However, it should be said.

No poem on this blog has ever been revised or made into second drafts etc. and no poem in this blog was pained over for hours on end.

There, said it.

Most of my poems are done in less than twenty five minutes, first draft, scheduled or published online immediately without a second thought and I can only recite one poem I have ever written.

Food for thought, isn’t it?

It’s one of those reasons why I am not a member of any poetic clubs; I am not welcomed because I can push out three to five poems an hour without aching over the words I should produce.

It just naturally flows.

I was astounded to find some poets online take weeks to finish a piece, I personally couldn’t do that and I think it goes to show who is more dedicated to their craft.  They are – I wouldn’t faff around like that over one poem.

I live for the current emotion, it is the current emotions that drive the poetry I don’t want to hang on most of those emotions for weeks on end, good Lord I really would commit suicide if that was the case and at the moment I am only tiptoeing at the edge of it.

It took me about an hour and a half to write one poem once, the longest ever.

I do delete poems never to share them, this happens about twice a week, so you’re losing around a hundred to a hundred and fifty per year, because I am embarrassed to share the depths of my emotions at times.

Sometimes I preschedule poems for months in advance whilst I think about deleting them – at the moment there are seven whose future is as obscure as mine.

Nobody believes I can write that fast until they see me in action, offline. 

Then they accuse me of boasting.

But they did challenge me!

I will sit there and ask them, pick a subject and I will think about it for two or three minutes, to get my mind into the zone of that subject and how I feel about it and then the words pour out and the poem is done within minutes.

I can write a poem about anything, so long as it doesn’t feel like a lie to my heart.  For example, I couldn’t write a poem which is supposed to be a love song for Hitler – I hate fascists!

So that’s not a poem I could write.

But I could write one about cutting his balls off and feeding them to him, no matter how disgraceful that would be and inelegant.

That’s not an invitation for requests by the way!

I find it hard to write more than three poems a day, though I have been known to do up to ten.

I try to force myself to do at least one per day, if I live to a hundred imagine a future publication of all my poetic works, how many volumes could that possibly be?

Thing is, I haven’t a clue what I am doing poetically.

I have never been formally educated about it, I can’t tell a poem from a rhyme to a sonnet etc. – for all I know they could be the same thing but fancy names!

I do know what a haiku is though and I used to write them.

In fact talking of sonnets, I have been seriously thinking about reading a book to learn about those.

One of my dreams is to be patient enough with my poetry that I could actually write a poem as long as Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti and Edmund Spenser.

I have often thought about creating a large poem which is a story like Edmund Spenser’s Fairy Queen – that would be amazing if I could do something like that.

That would take me months, could I do it on an emotional level? 

I have often thought about challenging myself to do it!

I originally wrote the first chapter of a fantasy story in rhyme, with that very intention; but I couldn’t hold it throughout the story – it’s still in progress after nine years, but I haven’t added a thing to the project since 2015.

It’s about gargoyles protecting the heart of a young maiden who lives in the house they protect.

It’s a dark fantasy and very macabre, it’s sort of like Edgar Allen Poe meets Hans Christian Andersen.

I have a couple of online friends who have made the suggestion that I should go on stage and read my poems out there, but I won’t do that.

Why?

Because hilariously as it sounds, I don’t actually regard myself a poet yet!

Yet this is probably what I am best known for.

At the moment I am having a very poetic night – I am thinking about poetry a lot and I am frustrated that a book I have ordered from EBay is two weeks late in the post and I had to put in a complaint about it.

I want to finish the book and do the essays in it to learn what I am doing.  Unfortunately the library is fed up with me re-borrowing that book, I’ve had it a total nine weeks this last borrowing session and it’s the second time in a year I did that, having it for about eighteen weeks in total for the whole year!

I wish it would come soon!

It’s where some of my poems I’ve posted on here has been inspired by, such as “Grief”, “Brent Cross Shopping Centre” and “Lessons from life”.

Anyway, if that’s bragging I apologise!

Thanks for reading…

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A little disappointed

There is nothing sadder than realising you’ve worked hard on a project for nearly two years only to find it so similar to a recent movie or a book that has only just been released and you realise that if you were to continue your project, you could be blamed for being a rip off of that successful project of another person!

This has happened for me this week, I recently learned that there is a new horror coming out and it looked brilliant but then I realised there was a lot of things in that movie which seems almost identical to my project called Horror 17 – yes I have in excess of seventeen horror projects on the go!

It’s a little sad but it is OK, I am not giving up the project, I am still going to write it, but I will be cautious about giving it to anyone to publish.  It may end up being published on my blog, then trolls can tell me how much of a rip off it is – when in actuality it is just a coincidence!

For your information I have over seventy projects on the go but I try to primarily work on just three at a time.

I have a long list of things I am currently doing and I put their genre next to the title of the stories I am doing along with the pseudonyms I use on my blog for that project. 

My main genre is fantasy of its various descriptions including dark fantasy it would seem, horror being a close second (specifically vampire horror) and dystopian the third.

It helps me keep track of what I am as an author primarily.

Thanks for reading! 

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Until…

Crystals hang around the window illuminating the room with lightning flashes of rainbows

A little shard of sunlight breaks through the crack in the curtain creeping closer to me as I read

The crow caws loudly in a nearby oak

I am snuggled up with my book, ashamed that I woke

Life is peaceful here

Until…

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Anthropomorphised animals

Since a child I have loved anything that anthropomorphised animals, I got into this after seriously becoming a mega fan of “The animals of Farthing Wood” TV series and being an avid collector of their magazine and other merchandise; it wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered that “The animals of Farthing Wood” was actually and originally a novel. 

I think I was one of the first children in this country to fully understand the impact humanity has on the environment and the animal kingdom, because I remember being commended in one of my schools for a poem I did about pollution and its effects on animals when I was just seven (that’s 1989).  I was a child, who was raised in the suburbs of North London, but I was often shipped out to other relatives around the country who lived rurally and on farms, so being a natures child in every sense of the word, I saw the massive changes humanity did to the world.

Every other month as I grew up my heart broke time and time again as more and more of my favourite outdoor places became new housing estates or had a railway track inserted through it and the dead animals that lined the tracks were heart wrenchingly numerous.

As a mostly isolated child who was ignored unless needed, I was often made to play in the large gardens with the pets I had, usually dogs and a rabbit, but squirrels and various birds became very tame around me as I was growing up that they became extended outdoor living pets.  I grew to empathise more with animals than with people.

To me, the animals seem to speak to me and we had an understanding, I learned their habits as much as they learned mine and we respected each other and each other’s ways.  This is why I found it easy to fall into shamanism, because it wasn’t so much as I wanted to be a shaman, rather than, I flowed into it without realising and it wasn’t until a high school friend said to me she thinks I am a shaman because of my ways, that I accepted that maybe she was right and I am that. 

So I read some books on the subject and I was laughing at how basic the training was in it, been there, done that was my response to a lot of it.  It was just so natural to me, that it seemed ludicrous to think people need courses on these things – whereas if they weren’t so involved in being human and doing modern human things, they’d all be like this too – it’s natural.

I know as I was growing up, cousins and even my own mother would be frustrated at how the squirrels and the crows won’t go near them, when they wanted to pet them right then and there like I could… I would tell them, you need to do this and do that before they come to you, you need to respect them and do it like this because they see it as impolite if you don’t – “you’re mad” was often the response as they grumpily slump off back inside, hating nature for rejecting them!

“The Animals of Farthing Wood” were not the only inspirations however, there were many others such as “Blinky Bill”, various Disney movies, “Rude dog and the dweebs” and so much more! 

So animals in some way or another are a regular feature in my stories.

Happy reading!

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My brain takes me here…

They say that the books you love to read, the movies you love to watch and the things that stick with you the most can be seen in your own writing. 

What you love is often reflected in your writing and once you know yourself well enough you write better.  Once you throw yourself into all of your passions and are writing things based on your passions or similar to your passions unashamedly, you will develop your style and you will therefore come across as unique and fresh in the genres you write.

As long as you stay true only to yourself, do not write for the market, write for you!

I hope this is true.  If it is, then you can more or less guess from my likes and dislikes what could end up being in my novels.

I don’t like to be predictable though, but it is true that there is a little of what I love in everything that I do

Below is a list of stories, books or movies in which I mentally visit and live in a lot, for some reason or another, I am dragged back there to relive scenes or add new ones in my mind.  However, I never write those reimagining’s down through fear of becoming a fraud!  Though I have sometimes thought about doing fanfiction!

1922 By Stephen king – this story in particular has actually influenced a horror I am writing, which is based around a well in a garden too, funnily enough.  But the story concept is poles apart besides the setting of a well. 

Spider By Hanns Heinz Ewers – Every time I see a spider I remember the story.  Every time I see a woman working at a loom or spinning yarn, I think of this story.  You would think that wouldn’t be very often then, but I know a lot of prepper, homesteading type ladies who do this regularly.  I have wanted to do this myself; I have always wanted to make my own felt too. 

The complete collection of The Wizard of Oz By Frank L Baum – So many imaginative things in all the stories, living china dolls, servant monkeys, it’s absolute joy!  The landscape descriptions, oh my word, they are divine, I just can’t help but bring myself back to those scenes. 

Smoke and Mirrors By Neil Gaiman – So many lovely stories and poems in this book, I presume they are poems in any case?  I see them as such, I love the prose, I just love the way he writes!  It is very soulful writing. 

The man in the picture By Susan Hill – This is the only book in my entire reading history, of such length, that I have read and could not put down even for a toilet break!  It is just so gripping and I loved it, it had a similar air to Dorian Grey, but in my opinion much better executed.  I love Venice, never been, but still, always wanted to, love with a passion masquerades and carnival life. 

Matilda By Roald Dahl – Ever since I was little, since Victoria Wood read this on TV I have loved this story and nagged my mum in buying me the book, but she never did.  I must have borrowed this book a hundred times from the library before I became an adult and bought it as part of a trilogy compilation.  How I wished that my soul got angry enough with the people in my life that I could play with the supernatural like she did!  It may have solved a lot of my childhood problems, or created worse ones, who knows? 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Very alike to Wizard of Oz, the scenes are great, but I also like crazy characters, madness or at least the descent into it ideas.  I love kooky takes on animal and plant life and this was such a joy to behold.  The artwork etc, I love everything about Alice in Wonderland and I have an addiction to collecting Alice in Wonderland novelties.  There were times I pranced around in life hoping I fell down a hole where things were very different too. 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – If you can actually manage to read the whole book and get past the awful main scene, you will actually find this book very deep on an emotional level that is not just traumatic, but beautiful too.  If you read deeply, push past the horrible stuff, it is very meaningful.  How the dead view the living, how the living cannot move on until the dead does, what dead children do in the heavens.  Living out their wildest imaginations; yes, a lot of it is weird and sickening, but I urge you to try and edit those horrible bits out of your mind and read it without those bits.  It takes strong stuff to do that, I know!  But honestly, it is a lovely book besides. Try to skim the nasties.   

Confessions of an ugly step-sister by Gregory Maguire – I love Cinderella anyway, but this plot was good and more to the way that I thought it was behind the scenes.  I love how I learned real history in this book too, the bit about the tulips in Holland.  By the way, that’s another addiction I have – tulips.

I.T By Stephen King – I used to be scared of clowns, big time, before I even learned about Pennywise, but it is funny to actually say that I loved the character Pennywise so much it lessened my fear of them.  Weird I know!  In the past two years in particular, I have lost my fear of clowns entirely and now enjoy them, in fact, they are becoming the main projects for my art!  I just hate the scene of little Georgie.

The Mad Max Movies – I have a thing for life on the road, roguish living, post-apocalyptic tribal societies and the general chaos of survival as whole societies descend into madness.  For this reason too, I think I like the next movie;

Reign of fire movie – I love subterranean settings and when you throw in dragons in a post-apocalyptic world I am in my element. 

Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins is another subterranean setting I love, full of gothic elements such as bats, rats, roaches and gore with an edge of the apocalypse feel to it. 

The Blue Bird starring Shirley Temple – this has been in my mind since I was a very small child, a lot of things about this movie can be seen in small snippets of some of my work.  I have mentioned Old father time and I have cats and dogs which can take on a human form, children trapped in dream time in a couple of my stories to date so far.  No Spoilers, because they were just passing things in the plot, not the actual plot at all.

The Karnstein Trilogy – I love this much more than Dracula, I love the movies and the books they were based on.  I loved it so much that I had been heavily influenced by this trilogy my whole life; I have had to be careful when writing my vampires in fear of coming off as a plagiarist.  You may see what I mean with what I mentioned in “The Blue Bird” paragraph.  I have had to learn to chop up everything I love and move them around genres and different stories, like some experimental stir fries. 

I shall write about the tropes and scenes and types of characters I like in future posts – keep eye out for those!

Happy reading! 

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Researching religion to its core

In my previous post I mentioned a book that I am reading called “A History of Judaism” and some of you may be curious as to why I am reading such a book?  There are in fact two major reasons for me reading this book and both are to do with simple research.

Firstly I wanted to get to grips in understanding Judaism from its core because of a couple of specific themes I want to write and I don’t like to be ignorant when I am writing about culture.

Secondly, I want to find out why my ancestors left Judaism at the turn of the twentieth century just a decade before the Second World War.  Why some of the very oldest members of my family admit they were originally Jewish, but get rather aggressive about it and somewhat evasive.  I am also interested in finding any new books regarding this subject but set in Italy and Italian Jewish history in particular.

My son Henry absolutely loves learning anything at all about his family history and he has become less afraid of R.E at school since we have been learning the differences between what we know to be Evangelism, J-Witness and Judaism.  My family became Catholic and Evangelists when they left Judaism and part of that branch that left Judaism, also became J-Witnesses.

Part of my problems growing up was the cultural confusion my extended family had on supposed opposing ideas and therefore my understanding of religion was warped over the years; as literally my family would rage war on each other over their beliefs.  According to my grandmother, my great grandmother’s sister reacted so violently against her leaving Judaism for a Catholic man that she threw her into the fireplace and she escaped barely scarred.  Another incidence was that I was reminding an anti-Semitic evangelical relative of mine about how Jesus was a Jew and their response was to slap me across the face!

It astounds me how so many religions are at odds with each other when they all share the same core, corrupt the word of the core and kill each other in the name of the God that is the mainstay of the core.

However, as I am teaching my son, I am reminding him that you cannot hate anyone regarding this, because you cannot blame them for their ignorance.  Most people simply do not have the time on their hands to research as much as we do and therefore, you must always react to their violence with kindness if at all those people could make it possible for us to remain passive and kind that is.  Self-preservation kicks in for us all eventually.

The crucial thing to understand about all religions and cultures is that most people do not have time, they are too busy, they have other priorities and over the years many people have surrendered their personal research to trusted authoritive individuals who may or may not be corrupt within themselves, with the aims of controlling their particular congregations etc.  To be fair, everybody wants to try and honour their ancestors by keeping to what their parents believe and it wasn’t until the last century or so, that humanity in general were largely uneducated due to class differentiation and lack of opportunities.

There will be many updates in the future of my reading lists and there will be many different types of cultures and religions I will be study over the course of my life, because I have an insatiable yearning to understand humanity.  In fact in 2009 I signed up to the OU to do a Social Science degree, but I couldn’t cope with the demands of a new-born baby and running a house so went on extended leave, which is still ongoing!  The OU is lovely in that they have still left it opened for me to return whenever I want to, and I may eventually, as I miss it.

I feel I must apologise to some readers who may have found the tone of this post offensive, because no doubt, there are some who do.  But it is by no means an attack on religion, simply a passive eye opening, hoping that, with the tools of the modern age, that you will find time to research the roots of your beliefs to the very core and not just what your local parish tells you.

Thank you for reading.

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Schedules & personal butt kickers

Reading as much as I used to have taken a back bencher in the past couple of years, my Goodreads.com account is evidence of this; but I have a plan which seems to be keeping me on track with my library rentals.

Before this downturn in how much I read, I used to borrow ten books a week from the library and read them all, then it lessened to just three per week, now it is around four to six per month and I haven’t been able to read them all by the end of the three week period either.

At the moment I have six books out from the library and some of those I have re-borrowed the maximum amount of times, one such book has only nineteen days left for me to read it and it is only halfway and I have already re-borrowed this book three times in the past and I can have it no more after that!  So, noticing that I have just nineteen days left to read this book, I panicked, because there are approximately two hundred pages to read of this enormous essay about “The History of Judaism”.  Why am I reading such a book?  I will explain later in another post…

So how do I solve the problem of reading things in time?  I have only just started this idea from yesterday, so who knows how well it will work for more long term!  The plan is this… I calculate with a calculator as I have dyscalculia, the number of pages per book I have and divide that by twenty one, which represents twenty one days, the average length of time to keep a book without re-borrowing.  So, I did this will all the books I am currently reading on Goodreads that are borrowed from the library currently.  This breaks down each book into littler bites and gets every book picked up daily! 

To a lot of people who love reading this sounds like a nightmare plan, because I know a lot of readers can’t put a book down until it’s completely read for another book.  But for me this works a treat because I lack focus and have a very shoddy attention span.  Paul believes I may have undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, because I can’t stick to one thing solidly and concentrate on it for more than fifteen minutes at a time.

So for me, the idea of skipping through books one after the other in the same day works well. 

So my current list is broken down like this;

History of Judaism by Martin Goodman 11 pages per day for the next 19 days

Fermentation on wheels by Tara Whitsitt 9 pages per day

Preservation book 17 pages per day

Abundance by Aly Fowler 10 pages per day

Burning the books by Richard Ovenden 11 pages per day

The last book from the library is actually currently completed, so I shan’t add that here.

To me, each from the above would take around twenty minutes to accomplish when not having a bad sinus day, which in comparison to how fast I used to read, is very, very, slow.

But it is doable if I break it down throughout the day, rather than sit back with sixty two pages a night in bed in around ninety minutes.

It is not a maximum requirement, it is a minimum requirement, if my attention span is enjoying the book naturally I will read more if I feel I can and have the time.

Yesterday, so far, I have read more in a day, than I would have otherwise, if I had not had given myself a schedule and deadline.  I think I have mentioned before I am a person who thrives on deadlines? 

Yes I am one of these weirdos who literally rot away in a corner without some kind of schedule or motivational person hounding me to do things all the while.  Unfortunately Paul is rather passive on this matter and so, Henry, my doting eleven year old son, has taken it upon himself to be my butt kicker and I thank him tremendously for it!

So, any future postings, writings and art and even YouTube videos and podcasts, will really be, to the thanks of my son who is prodding me to accomplish things.  He too, has made a sort of pact with me that I should do the same for him and we will together, become a successful family.  Totally Henry’s idea and isn’t it brilliant?   I am so proud of him!

Happy reading!

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World War Z – book review

I finished reading World War Z on Wednesday by Max Brooks and I have to say that it was incredibly thought provoking and the best example of world building I have come across in a long time!

There were things in this novel that I would never ever have dreamed of thinking as possibilities in a zombie infested world that I found very clever.  You understand that zombies are considered undead or dead people reanimated but do you really understand what that would really mean if it were real?

Think about it, what could the dead do that we could not if they happened to have become ravenously hungry reanimated autopilot predators?

Terrifying things actually!

They could survive climates and places that we as living breathing human beings would struggle with!

The story is absolutely amazing and without giving you too many spoilers I can’t really say much more than this… if you want a horror in a dystopian world and you want to be taught near perfect world building and keeping things real, then this is a must read, whether you like zombies or not!

This is how world building is done folks!

Happy reading!

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March reading pile

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson – as I didn’t finish reading this last month!

Entangled by Merlin Sheldrake – for the same reason as above!

Little Book of Wonder by Bernadette Russell – again for the same reason as the above!

The Spooks Apprentice (book 1) By Joseph DeLaney

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Library of The Dead by T.L Huchu

I am trying to read more fiction than I am known for; because I tend towards non-fiction more than fiction.  I am trying to broaden my horizons.

Since becoming ill I have become a very slow reader; but I am blessed with bouts of OK days and therefore my reading can speed up again to how I used to be.  This happened around January, but health has meant that I have slowed painfully down again.  It is frustrating because I get a sense of achievement for every book I persevere with and read to the end and I feel great about it when it’s finished!  But instead of finishing more than one book per week, when I am ill, I am lucky to finish one book a fortnight!

Will the above list be shown again for April’s list?  Probably, because my glands are getting swollen again and that usually means six weeks of health hell!

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