Blog Your Heart Out

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The hilarious Cathy from the Wicked World of Lucas has recently surprised me with a fab nomination for a ‘Blog Your Heart Out’ Award.  If you have never read Cathy’s blog, you are missing out on a few giggles!

Blog Your Heart Out Award is about answering five questions (honestly!) and nominating five great bloggers.

Here are my answers:

1. What/Who encouraged you to start blogging?

I have always been an obsessive writer and reader but I have a very short attention span and used to lack discipline.

I have a theory that road to hell is paved with writers’ unfinished ‘projects’, especially mine… And so one day I had this idea, why not try blogging?  That way if I had any readers (even if it was just one) I would feel bad if I did not live up to their (my imaginary) expectations.

In the meantime, I gained a following of real readers, re-gained my confidence as a writer, had a poem published in a magazine, released my first ebook and I have discovered so many inspiring and talented bloggers.

The bloggy universe has no limits!

2. How did you choose what topics to blog about?
I get inspired by anything, from Peanut’s daily antics to something I have heard on the radio or read in the paper and as ‘chaotic’ as it may sound I do not have a strict plan for my blog.

Somehow it has evolved into a mix of poetry, parenting and odd cartoons and who knows what’s around the corner!

3. What is something most people don’t know about you?
When I was a teenager someone asked me to write a poem for them, they then submitted it to a big poetry competition run by a publishing house and my poem won!  Unfortunately, as a ghost-poet I never got any recognition. *sad face*

Also, I’m allergic to knitting and once upon a time I almost skied into Prince Charles but that’s a different story altogether…

4. What 3 words describe your style? 

Creative, eclectic and a bit of a dreamer…

5. What do you like to do when you are not blogging?

Play with my son. Do yoga and meditate. Watch films with and chat to BlueBeretDad.  Drink wine with my friends. Read.  Listen to Radio 4 podcasts.  Have chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Not necessarily in that order.

And here I am with my dark secrets and all.

Now over to five remarkable bloggers:

  1. Time Waits for No Mum
  2. Beautiful Misbehaviour
  3. The Reading Residence
  4. Mum Turned Mom
  5. Pinkoddy

Ballad of My Epic Failure

I have a dream.  No, sorry, I had a dream.  The past tense is very much intentional, as once upon a time I had a dream and then mountains of laundry happened, dirty dishes piled up, dust rats and bunnies multiplied and had to be exterminated and don’t even get me started on The Great British Bake Off! 

Here comes a story of my epic failure told in not so epic rhymes…

There was a time when I thought that by the time I was 34

I would have conquered the literary world

With an opus, a lengthy poem or an intellectual play

In my head I was Jo Conrad of the modern day

So I started with the Great British Novel, the quickest way to get to the top

I bought a notebook, a careful choice of design and colour, and no one would stop

Me from disappearing into a dark cave with my Muse, only to years  later

Emerge pressing my Life’s Work to my chest, you haven’t seen a piece greater

Than this story of love, rain and crime in tune with the Scandi drama fashion

And I imagined that a man in a black suit, with a dodgy past and face pale and ashen

Would get me on a plane to L.A. to pick up my film rights and a hefty check

So I started writing – What the heck!

And when a half blank page mocked me two years into my typing

Full moon, a finished wine bottle and a fleeting thought proved that writing

Wasn’t an easy path to fame, fortune and at least one great award

So I considered other ways;  instead of weeping

I looked ahead and finished the flask, and said Oh Lord

It’s difficult and it hurts.  Also Proust, Tolstoy and Chekhov

Didn’t have the distractions of The Great British Bake Off

So I gave up on the novel but not the wine

And turned to poetry, the art so divine that I was pretty sure

My talents and my rhymes would have the allure of

The crème de la crème of the poetic scene

I searched for inspiration in chocolate and liqueur – Well, in moderation

I poured over Homer, some haikus and Shakespeare

And slept with a rhyming dictionary at my bed

And none the wiser, my Muse was gone, I whispered at dawn

Oh, heavens. No reply.  Then I heard a voice. Just shake your head

And get those metaphors out – this is what good poetry is about

I did.  I typed till my fingers bled

And I ran out of ink so I sat down to plan

How to get that Nobel Prize

It’s not that difficult to write a verse – you cut a sentence in two or three parts

Call them stanzas and find an arty title that no one comprehends

So you can only imagine, my sour surprise

That the Swedish Academy ignored my efforts and so did the other institutions of poetic arts

Oh come on you dinosaurs of Ars Poetica  – I can count syllables and throw in a good rhyme!

Discouraged and defeated I gave up on poetry but this is not how my saga ends because

Brought up in extraordinarily strict conditions and harsh winters  I knew how to survive

And would stumble towards the light at the end of this tunnel … so

I thought long and hard and tried to figure out how I was going to be famous

I met a friend who said Wait, I have a great idea, don’t you worry.

You can write a blog. It is nothing to be ashamed of and besides

Self-publication is in.  These are the times we live in, everyone confides

In the Internet instead of their friends and yearns to have a global audience.

I consulted my Gut, Heart and Conscience

And the verdict was – Go, you have nothing to lose

At first I was amazed, so many stars on the blogging universe

And with the first post out, first like and followers (friends and family)

I embarked on a new journey – could have been much worse

The only problem being – soon I was behind, not many people read

My stream of consciousness that Joyce would love to have written, it all led

To a slow death of my self –esteem, my hope and my lifetime dreams

You see, I don’t embroider and crochet and I don’t take snapshots of what I cook

I’m not a political animal and I don’t bother with messy play, look

All I want is to write about my days, my child and myself, not bad themes

For posts that take me ages to craft, in between changing nappies and watching the XFactor

Oh why don’t publishers notice my talents! I despaired as I replied to one detractor

That tried to sell me some fat busting drink

And 3 days into blogging and no bloody fame I was on the brink of

Closing the shop. Who cares if I do, who cares if I don’t?

I will never be a blinding star, not even a slow satellite on the bloggy firmament

But before I left I gave it one more chance and took a photo of a stale croissant

I blogged about slaving in the kitchen, I lamented

It’s tough to be the perfect mother, partner and part time worker

And with a new follower and two likes later

I saw a light of hope, a mere spark of faith that it wasn’t all in vain

So tomorrow I’ll post about a knitted kitten in the cyber domain

And who knows, maybe this ballad will be a hit

Although I now realise that the rhymes are frankly  …

Not very good

Elks and Stars and All Things Nice…

Ding dong.

The Evil Northern Wind is back.

You know, the kind that lures you into false safety of thinking “Yay!  Off with the thermals.  Out with the pale!”  Only for you to turn blue a few minutes after you have stepped outside.

 But I will not be fooled. I will not go out.

Instead I will be typing this post while admiring the wild garden I have planted on my cheese sandwich.

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And talking about sandwiches, if you haven’t seen Ida Skivenes’ sandwich art yet, go and have a peep.  You will never look at your morning cardboard-like toast with the same contempt mixed with hunger.

Gimme Gimme Gimme Some Blog Love…

This week has been horrible.  Not enough sleep and a mean cold holding me hostage resulted in a lot of browsing and blog-stalking.  Here is who made my snotty days:

  • For a blogging newbie like me it was great to come across this post by dorkymum.  The Bloggers Cabinet has my vote
  • Another post that made me smile is this one by Grenglish.  Serendipity is one of my favourite words and as soon as the gale force winds allow me I will be running to the Boots around the corner to buy some sunscreen
  • The Magic Moments linky is brilliant for hopping from one blog to another so check out The Oliver Madhouse
  • The_Secret_Father blogging about birthday cake  – say no more!
  • On a “horizontal-rain” day” I check out the Bikeable Jo’s blog that is full of great bikeable tips and stories.  No spandex there!

The World Is But A Canvas…

When I was in secondary school I had to do a presentation (on any subject) in my English class.

I decided to talk about the modern art scene in Scotland (little did I know…).

I was on a mission to bring Art to my class mates and inspired by photos of a rotten bunch of carrots on an empty bookshelf I created two pieces.  Imagine:

  • A sheet of paper painted black.  A dry piece of bread glued on it in the bottom left corner.  “Hunger”
  • A piece of wire sticking out of a molehill made of scrunched up toilet paper.  On top of the wire perched a dry apple core painted in gold.  “Paradise Lost”

Bursting with pride and confidence arrogance I uncovered my artwork.  Silence.  It stretched and stretched and when it was about to rupture the laughter erupted and spilled into the classroom and out over the sport grounds.  And even though my career as an artist never survived that blow I love discovering new art and here are some recent finds that beat my “Hunger” and “Paradise Lost”:

  • Geoff Allan’s collage work inspired by the Scottish hills, universe and everything else:Of Love and Loss (2008)spring
  • Marie Claire Taylor’s paintings burst with energy and colour – a great pick-me-up! Mares 6

From A Bookworm’s Diary…

In a recent book review I was comparing starting a new novel to going on a blind date.

Let me share another great date with you – A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside.  A tale of dreams and reality mixing together on the remote and eerie island of Kvaloya, north of Norway.  Beautifully told with prose and poetry uniting to create a unique language (yes, I’m suffering from  writer’s envy).  Thank you BlueBeretGranny for introducing me to another Scottish masterpiece.

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 A Sewing Friend…

I can’t knit. I can’t sew.  Don’t even get me started on embroidery.  Full disclosure: I failed to crochet my way through the Home Economics classes and when it comes to crafts I’m scarred for life.

In my head I spend my days knitting cute hats and scarves for baby mice squatting under our  floor and embroidering my family tree (more of a scrawny bush) on a white linen tablecloth.  In reality I scream when anyone mentions the word Crafts.

And even though I’m anti –crafti I sometimes succumb to craft envy.  Like when my friend Melissa surprises Peanut with the most adorable elks and stars outfit.  Made by her with lots of love.

A few tears of joy and warmth and admiration later…

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A  friend with a needle is a friend indeed.

For the reasons mentioned above,  I could never be a part of the Graffiti Grannys movement, yarn bombing the world and guerrilla knitting in harbours.  But if, like me, you are a knitting-phobic and a hopeless case barely able to tie her/his own shoe laces, the first step in overcoming your phobia is to say hello to them on Facebook or on Twitter.

No, you probably will not start knitting in the rain.  But you might stop tearing your hair out every time you see a sheep.  Woolly Good!

On that note, I am off to wrestle the gales with a cup of white hot chocolate in my hand and this brilliant story by Marian Keyes .  I dare you not to be rolling on the floor when you are done with it!

Bye for now.

P.S.  Blueberets are off to Sweden soon, where one-third of the gang will be skiing their way across the Arctic Circle while the rest will be schmoozing with friends and family and stuffing their faces with meatballs which means that instead of my usual ramblings you will be treated to a guest blog or two.

See you all late May!

Ding Dong.