Friday, 19 January 2018

Monkey mind

When I wake up, for a moment my mind is empty, like the first page of a new notebook. I blink my eyes open and try to judge the time by the light making its way between my curtains. Then I squint at the clock for confirmation, and feel smug, disappointed or surprised, depending.

It's a matter of seconds before the thoughts arrive, not one by one like an orderly line of soldiers reporting for duty, but in a marauding horde, each shouting, 'Pick me! Pick me!' Today's disorderly rabble included, inter alia, cats lesson plans food shopping the Arts Centre wonder how is x doing birthday presents coffee morning blog post buy seeds. Note the lack of punctuation; there were no pauses, Is everyone like this?

When someone is described as single-minded, it's meant to be a compliment, because it implies focus, but it makes me think 'ruthless'. How can anyone have only one thought? Where do the others go? My first cup of tea every morning  (today taken back to bed - lazy mare) acts as a filter, allowing the thoughts to race and tumble until they settle a bit before one is able to step forward and, with a nervous cough, propose that it should be dealt with first. The strange thing is that once I've settled on a task I can work on it without getting sidetracked.

Eisenhower devised a decision matrix (see pic) based on his view that: 'What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.' It does work, up to a point, but it's not always easy to decide how to rank things.

Nor is there a box for 'I really want to do this first, because it will be fun.' 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Reviewing reviews publisher told me recently that it looks suspicious if all the reviewers of a book have given it five stars, because it looks as though only friends and family have logged their opinion (and perhaps without even reading the book). Apparently, a mix of scores looks more authentic. What do you think? Is this true?

My prize-winning short story 'Scoring an Own Goal in Tennis' is free to download from the Amazon Kindle store for the next five days. I hope you like it - and if you do, please leave me a review. How many stars you give it is up to you.

Friday, 5 January 2018

That Friday feeling

I've had a gentle start back to work. Not all my yoga classes are running yet for various reasons: and I turned up to teach yesterday to be greeted by a bemused host who wasn't expecting me. That gave me a couple of hours to fill, so I went to Sainsbury's (because that's how we roll in the Shire).

I had a voucher that meant if I spent £60 I'd save a small fortune on petrol, so I tried hard, even though this is a lot more than I'd usually spend in one go. I carefully added up my costs as I went around, putting  things in my trolley that I didn't actually need yet but that would come in eventually - washing powder, kitchen roll, that kind of thing. However, I must have miscalculated, because the bill came to a massive £75. Bugger!

Other endeavours have been more successful. With a lot of help from number two son, I now have a Facebook page for me as author here. It would be great if you could pop over and give it a 'like'. Thanks to Sally Jenkins for prompting me to get on with this - and please 'like' her page, too.

Off to the theatre tonight to see The Play That Went Wrong. Laughs galore are expected.

Have a lovely weekend, folks.

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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Catching up

You know what they say about the best-laid plans... I definitely hadn't planned on being ill all over Christmas. I had things to do and stuff to share!  I was gong to tell you all that:
  • My first reading of Nine Lives went well
  • The publisher's reader liked the outline of my yoga book and it looks as though this will be going ahead
  • My article on glaucoma is/was in the December issue of Om Yoga & Lifestyle
  • My runner-up entry in the Senior Travel Expert competition is now available to read here
I just never got round to it. However, I've had a couple of weeks of  complete rest and now I'm back at work and ready to face the New Year - just as soon as I've caught up with everything from last year, that is.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Celebrating the small things in December

I have cause this week to celebrate some wonderful and supportive friends: you know, the sort you can ring and say 'Have you got a minute?' and they always have. I won't go into details because they relate to stories that aren't mine to tell, but let's just say I'm glad they were there when I needed them. Things look so much better when you've had a rant and a cuppa.

That's it for today. Have a good weekend, folks.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Noises off

Following the excellent day I spent with Bridget from Wild Words recently, I've been focusing on covering all the senses in what I write. Sight and sound are the easy ones; touch isn't too difficult; but smell and, especially, taste are proving to be a bit of a challenge. I was writing a piece of fiction yesterday about someone sitting in a traffic jam (trust me: it's more exciting than it sounds) and couldn't think of a way to bring taste into it without really forcing it. 'He ran his tongue over his teeth and remembered that morning's fried breakfast' is lame and just a little bit unpleasant.

Anyway, I've been aware of sound in unexpected places over the last couple of days. In my yoga classes, for instance, I have a lady who insists that the gentle purring sound we often hear during relaxation isn't her. She says she even stays awake so she can work out who it is! Trust me on this, too: it's definitely her.

If you watched Would I Lie To You? this week, you will have heard Sheila Hancock telling a story about one of her stage appearances being interrupted by an audience member's attack of hiccups. (I won't spoil it by saying if her tale was true or a lie.)

Well, on Sunday, Mr Thorley and I went to hear the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Northampton for a concert that was brought to us by the letter B, featuring Brahms, Beethoven and Bruch. The gentleman sitting next to me, a jovial fellow who filled his seat well, was a hummer. I don't mean he was smelly, but that he kept joining in. Rather than being annoyed by this, I found it hard not to laugh out loud. Clearly, he was singing along in his head, but every now and then a bit of music escaped. It was just a little snatch of maybe three or four notes and I'm sure he didn't know he was doing it.

Bless him. He may well appear in a story one day.

Friday, 24 November 2017

CTST as November draws to a close

Today I'm celebrating a week where I've been connecting and reconnecting with  people. (I wrote about this on my yoga blog here, too.)

On Monday I went to see a friend I made when I had my first proper publishing job many moons ago. It was lovely to catch up and to meet his fiancee. On Tuesday I had a cuppa with a yoga friend and then another friend popped in for a chat, too. I've also had a regular so-called working lunch with a fellow freelance. As if that wasn't enough, I've also had an email from the wife of my cousin out of the blue for no reason other than to say hello.

This is all good stuff, and when the world is going slightly mad for Black Friday it's been a useful reminder about what is really important.

Have a good weekend, folks.

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