I’ve given up trying to figure things out. Take my advice don’t even try! Just when I think I’m close to understanding something – boom there it goes!Like a constantly changing puzzle I’m left holding a weirdly shaped piece with little understanding of how or where it may fit. I am of course talking about my writing.
Today I’ve been busy with my work in progress. I’m about half way through with a reasonable idea of where it may land, although, as you may have gathered I have had a few curve balls to deal with. I do get distracted quite easily and when not ‘day jobbing’ or writing here’s a few of the other things that have been keeping me out of trouble…
Last year my gardening skills were exemplary, we brought a greenhouse, and gave our garden a good once over worthy of Charlie Dimmock. We were rewarded with an abundance of produce. This year my skills can only be described as shoddy, and (rightly so). We’ve had a handful of potatoes and a couple of yellow courgettes to brag about! Even the greenhouse tomatoes have refused to turn red! I’m blaming the wet weather and the army of slugs who have marched across my raised beds! But time has marched on regardless without so much as a backward glance at my decimated broccoli!
Unlike last year we have been lucky enough to celebrate with our son and daughter in law. After a years delay they finally did it and got married. It was the most wonderful of days full of laughter and love. It was so good to be with so many people again – it almost felt ‘normal’ and reminded me how much I’ve missed it. I will never again take such freedom for granted.
So with Summer turning to Autumn and the garden kind of taking care of itself I turn my attention back to my current novel. The odd shaped pieces still haven’t found their home but I’m confident that with a bit more time and attention all will be well.
In November I’ll return to Oxford and spend a few days looking down the backs of sofa’s and underneath tables. There are a few more pieces to find but with a fair wind and time on my side I’m hoping to complete book 4 by Christmas.
This week sees the release of Aftermath a collection of work by writers in response to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic. When disaster strikes most writers turn to words – I am no different and my piece ‘Sailing’ is featured.
Aftermath will have your emotions roller coasting this way and that. It features messages of hope, cries for help and random acts of kindness in a variety of forms. It includes short stories, poetry, flash fiction, memoir, script and everything in between.
We are all living in extraordinary times and this collection of mainly fictional tales offers insight into what the world looks like from multiple perspectives. It has been wonderful to be involved in such an important and insightful part of history making, thank you Bridge House Publishing.
Aftermath is available in both hardback and e-book direct from Bridge House Publishing here or via Amazon below. I hope you enjoy reading it.
UK bookshops have recently reopened (hurrah) and this alone makes me feel a whole lot better. I’ve had my first vaccination, with my second one due in a few weeks time – things are definitely on the up!
Like so many I’ve now had 2 lockdown birthdays (no I’m not the Queen), and this years celebrations were a vast improvement on last years. We managed to sit outside and have brunch at our local vineyard a few weekends ago, last year it was a take away curry and another box set on Netflix!
On the writing front I am still rocking the two book parallel writing theme, and have set down 10,000 historical and 3,000 contemporary new words. Whilst this is good news it could have been a lot more. With no writing retreats to run off to, juggling my day job and everything else has proved a real challenge. I think this is true for a lot of people who’ve been working from home. My day job, or as some like to call it my ‘real job’ (heathens!) has crowded into the spaces where my writing used to be; what was once my sacred writing space is now my day job office. With restrictions easing I’m hoping to claw it back and actually leave the house to work at some point in the future – now wouldn’t that be nice?
On the plus side I have been reading tons in an attempt to decompress from endless Teams meetings. Don’t get me wrong, I think virtual engagement is a wonderful thing but there is just so so much of it. You can still be working without the need to be on screen the whole time.
I recently re visited The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – this book gets me every time. I find her writing inspiring, and visceral, and scarily real, and absolutely bloody brilliant!
As I stroll around my garden I stare down at the daisies. I recall a line from the above mentioned book which makes me smile.
I have always loved short stories and today marks a first for me. I have recorded my first ever short story podcast!
Each month I shall be adding one of my short stories to my Pocket Full of Words series of podcasts. This month I’ve decided to record my heartfelt story of love and loss – Come Tilly Come. I’ll warn you now, this one’s a bit sad!
All of my stories are under 30 minutes in length, and designed to be listened to in one sitting. So if you’re making the tea, on the bus, or just need to go someplace else for a short while, please give my podcast a listen. I’d love to know what you think.
I am not one for public speaking and have always been content to be somewhere in the shadows so this has really challenged me. It’s funny when you hear your voice played back, I thought goodness, is that really how I speak??
My Pocket Full of Words podcasts will eventually be available across all platforms, currently it is available on Spotify.
I think I sound a bit nervous, and am hoping as the months go by I’ll sound a lot more confident but I can’t promise anything!
Today is not only my lovely boys 21st birthday but it is also the day that my small pocketful of words (75 to be precise) will be featured on Paragraph Planet. The Trouble With Socks came to me in a flash so to speak. Follow the link above to give it a read. I hope you enjoy it & Happy Birthday Jo xx.
It is an honour to have my small piece ‘A Remembered Dance’ published in the literary journal From The Depths 2020. My Penny Fiction piece of exactly 20 words can be found wriggled in among some amazing authors. From The Depths is a beautiful journal full of poetry, prose poetry, and fiction which is released once a year in both print and digital formats. It is published by Haunted Waters Press, an independent publisher located in the Shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. If you haven’t come across them before I urge you to pay them a visit, it really is the most beautiful literary journal and can be found here.
‘Well, what a rotten year,’ said everyone in the world! ‘Can we do things differently next year?’ asked everyone. ‘Yes, let’s, but where do we begin?’ ‘With a small step, one foot in front of the other, see?’ ‘OK, Iet’s try.’
This year there is no looking back, just forward. There is no thinking what could have, should have, would have been. No New Years resolutions, or eating less, exercising more mantras. Today I have set my eye’s toward the horizon and will be waiting on tomorrow’s sunrise. From my house to yours here’s wishing you health and happiness in abundance for 2021. Stay safe and well and I hope to see you on the other side . Happy New Year & here’s to 2021 – Nicole xx
In Iceland since 1944 it has been traditional to give a book on Christmas Eve. Unlikely other parts of Europe, during the Second World War paper was not rationed, and the tradition of Jólabókaflód was born. Whilst reading and storytelling has been a intrinsic part of Icelandic culture for centuries Jólabókaflód, (loosely translated as ‘Christmas book flood’) has been instrumental in continuing to birth a wonderful nation of book lovers.
I often think of a tradition as something that began way back in the annals of time. Now, whilst 1944 may be just that to many, it is still our recent past, and that got me thinking. Broadly speaking you need three things for something to become a tradition – a large group of people participating, the activity being passed from one generation to the next, and respect and acknowledgement of the past.
This year, my family will be receiving a book on Christmas Eve – who knows, one day this may become a family tradition!
Here’s wishing you all a Happy & Healthy Christmas.