Lockdown, Loneliness & Writing

Even before lockdown the stats will tell you that we are the loneliest generation to have roamed the earth. There are over 9 million lonely people in the UK. I find that really sad.

During some research for a short story I’m writing I came across a few projects and organisations who are trying to improve on those numbers. One of them is also looking to break a world record with the written word, more on that in a bit.

Scientific evidence shows that expressive writing in particularly can foster a sense of connection with others, even when we’re not directly engaged with them. Writing provides a way of ordering our thoughts and feelings. It is often easier to write about things than to speak about them, I know this can be true for me sometimes. By picking up a pen and writing about things whether it’s our fears, our hopes, or our dreams, we are helping to understand ourselves a little more and building a sense of connection with the world around us. Writing is powerful – truth!

Here are just a few of the organisations who are doing their bit in the battle against loneliness.

The Campaign to End Loneliness was set up in 2017. They believe that people of all ages need connections that matter. They research, lobby, campaign and inspire people to connect and bring communities together. In 2018 they launched Be More Us – a movement that celebrates small moments of connection. You can watch the video here.

The Loneliness Project is the first in a series of digital archives which seeks to build community and empathy by publishing weekly stories about loneliness. They want to receive letters on what loneliness means to you. There are no rules, no submission guidelines and it is open to everyone. It is free to enter.

Dear Loneliness is an interactive art project that aims to break a world record for the longest length of a letter!

As part of an artistic instillation they intend to create the world’s longest letter by covering a room in over 1,000 feet of handwritten and scanned letters about loneliness, with the ceiling and floor covered in large mirrors that create the illusion of letters on loneliness stretching into eternity. They want to receive letters on what loneliness means to you. There are no rules or guidelines and it is free to enter.

Being lonely is wretched and knowing what to do or where to try and find some solace can be hard. Picking up a pen and checking out the above organisations could be a start…

Saturday Spotlight ~ Iris Chacon

It gives me great pleasure to welcome my very talented friend and fellow mystery author Iris Chacon . Iris last appeared on my blog way back in 2017, since then she has been busy, busy, busy!

Welcome back Iris. For those that don’t know you please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Florida girl, so even though I love to travel, I’ve only lived in the hot climate of the American Southeast. I feel secretly inferior to people who cope with actual winters. I’m married, have two grown (beautiful) offspring, and love animals. I’ve had several interesting jobs, but my most recent and favorite one was teaching.

What can you tell us about your latest release?

My newest book is The Mammoth Murders, Book 2 of the Minokee Mysteries.

A valuable fossil mammoth turns up in a Florida sinkhole, and people start disappearing. Shepard Krausse (a blind radio host) and Miranda Ogilvy (an “invisible” librarian) risk their lives and their relationship as they look for answers along a wilderness river. Sequel to the award-winning novel, Finding Miranda.The Mammoth Murders marks the debut of a popular new crime-solving character in the town of Minokee: Zeus (pictured below).

To purchase The Mammoth Murders click the link below…

Also available from Smashwords, Apple, B&N and Kobo

I’m loving the sound of The Mammouth Murders Iris, I have added it to my TBR pile. Do you always know where your stories will end up when you begin writing them?

I do a lot of planning before I start a book, especially with a mystery. I need to know the end before I start, and I need to know what some of the twists and turns and misdirection’s might be along the way. I need to know the major turning points in the main plot and the subplot(s). I may diagram or chart all these points and rearrange them several times before writing the narrative.

This may make you think that I know everything that will happen before I write the book, but I don’t. The charts and graphs go out the window when characters start acting and interacting. In the same way no battle plan survives the actual onset of shooting, no book outline survives the actual writing process. Continue reading “Saturday Spotlight ~ Iris Chacon”

Time to Catch up on Your Reading…

There are so many things we can no longer do due to temporarily living in dystopia, but, thankfully, we can still read! If you have a ‘to be read’ pile as long as a pair of tights worn by a giant, then crack on! If, however, you are a bit light on the old words and ink, then now would be the ideal time to support your local bookshop. As with a lot of businesses, independent bookshops are struggling. Although you can no longer visit them, most shops have been proactive and set up online ordering and shipping. If your local shop does not do this, you can still support them and visit Hive.

Hive is an online bookstore with a difference. They support independent bookshops with every sale they make, and on the plus side you can nominate your local shop to receive a percentage from every purchase you make.

As we all start to adjust to the seismic shift of things, take a moment, escape, and read a book.

Kindle Countdown – Now!

If you fancy an edge of your seat read to take your mind of things right now may I suggest my medical thriller Forbidden Colours?
Forbidden Colours is available on what’s called a Kindle Countdown – that’s 99p ($1.14) for 7 days – here’s the link & happy reading…  

 

2-Ply & Pasta

Ever felt as if you are living in a parallel universe? Yep, me too! A trip to the supermarket this morning has reminded me of why I like books more than I like people. What is wrong with everyone? And will someone please explain the global obsession with toilet rolls?

Nowhere have I read that this virus requires an abundance of 2-ply or pasta. Maybe I missed the memo about the zombie apocalypse, or the last ever ‘Best Pasta Art in a Crisis’ competition – Who knows!

I used to collect milk bottle tops for charity, maybe it’s something like that, in which case I applaud all of you selfless creatures for doing your bit for humanity. Or, perhaps you are all hosting massive neighbourhood pasta bake-outs for the vulnerable people within your communities? Again you will get nothing but praise from me. If, however, your garage has been converted into a European mountain range, made up of fragrant smelling soft white’s topped off with layers of Farfalle & Penne, then SHAME ON YOU! What the hell were you thinking? No amount of pasta or toilet rolls are going to stop you from getting this wretched virus; it’s a PAN_DEM_IC. Sadly what your actions will do is to stop those who need those items from getting them. So if you are one of the many who temporarily forgot what it means to be human, you are forgiven. Get yourself and your plentiful supply of ____________ (paracetamol, pasta, toilet roll, flour – you fill in the blanks) down to your local food bank and donate as if your life depended on it – OK? It costs nothing to be kind, in return, you will get a nice warm fuzzy feeling, and the inner self-loathing you felt when you started reading this post will be gone.

Here endeth today’s lesson.

Immo Wegmann

International Woman’s Day 2020

Happy International Women’s Day brothers and sisters! In celebration I wanted to share with you some of the woman writers whose books have inspired me over the last 5 or so years. This is by no means a complete list, and given eternity perhaps I could fill it. I have highlighted only the last 5 years because we all know the classics which have been listed to death! The books on my ever growing list are those which for one reason or another have had a profound effect on me. Books can do so many things, they can educate, inspire and help you make sense of the world. Any book that makes me feel is more precious than gold, and the books listed below did exactly that. As the wonderful Maya Angelou said


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou

If you haven’t read some of these books I would urge you most strongly to seek them out and allow them to work their magic. In no particular order…

  • Sealskin ~ Su Bristow
  • The Goldfinch ~ Donna Tartt
  • The Hiding Places ~ Kathryn Webb
  • A Little Life ~ Hanya Yanagihara
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine ~ Gail Honeymoon
  • The Salt Path ~ Raynor Winn
  • The Giver of Stars ~ Jojo Moyes
  • Grown Ups ~ Marian Keyes
  • The Binding ~ Bridget Collins
  • The Miniaturist ~ Jessie Burton

You can find all links below. Happy reading!

Taming the Beast…

I have taken procrastination to a whole new level. Today my friends I give to you a short poem which I hope will bring a gentle smile to your face – Enjoy…

Taming the Beast by Nicole Fitton

Sitting here my pen in hand

My thoughts and ideas shift like sand.

To write a 1,000 words at least

The only way to tame the beast

Which sits within my head and cries

Type faster girl for time it flies.

I write without a care for time, or food,

Or drink, or love – I’m blind

To anything that disturb’s my flow

Of how my perfect day will go.

So there you have it – I have found another way to talk about writing without actually doing too much of it!