Winter Nights

It’s dark and cold outside. The rain is lashing the window and I’m sitting at my desk working. Or rather I am trying to work. I’m in the middle of editing another draft of the final book of the “Clear Gold” trilogy and this afternoon I am running out of steam. Is it me? Or is it the time of year? The weather? The fact that all I really want to do it curl up by the fire with a book, that someone else has written?

Winter makes me want to shut the doors, light the candles and retreat from all that is out there. It could be a primeval instinct, a way of protecting yourself from the elements and any starving animals that might be lurking at the mouth  of the cave. Or it could be  that with the lack of sunlight, the body slows down to conserve energy.

I don’t hate the winter. I like the cosiness of being indoors and the long dark evenings, maybe the answer is to give in and leave the editing ’til tomorrow.

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Butterfly Mind.

I’m not much good at concentrating on a given task. When I was a kid at home revising for my exams my Mum used to check on me to make sure I was actually studying rather than looking out of the window, reading a book, doing my nails, etc. etc.

My lack of concentration didn’t seem to do me any harm. I passed enough exams to get to University and to get a degree. Later, when I was teaching, I found that I either planned my lessons very fast, or I lost interest.

Whatever I was doing, I have to break off from time to time.  In fact I constantly flit from task to task.

I used to think that this was a great character flaw, until I read that it is in fact the sign of a truly creative person.

Enough blogging. Time to go back to the final, final edit of “Slipping Through the Net.”

And then I might…

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Birthdays and Does Age Matter.

Birthday cake. it was my birthday on Sunday, not a milestone one, but still a day that made me think about this whole business of age.

It’s a truism to say that when you’re young you want to be older and when you get to a certain age in your life, you either want to be younger, or to at least be told that you look younger. Why should this matter?

In terms of living your life, it shouldn’t make any difference, except it does. Over and over again we are defined by our chronological age. Children are made to go to school at a certain age, whether they are ready to learn or not. Teenagers are thought to be going through certain stages in their lives just because they have reached 13, whether that is true physiologically and emotionally. Later on thirty, forty, fifty etc, is seen as some sort of landmark.

We have to retire at a certain age, whether we want to or not. We’re supposed to dress our age, have age appropriate interests and so it goes on and on.

As far as I’m concerned what matters is that I have the energy and enthusiasm to go on doing what I interests and excites me. The only aspect of getting older that would bother me is the lack of physical stamina and of course the terrifying prospect of developing any form of dementia.

Most of the time I honestly cannot remember how old I am. And when I do, I have to confess that I tend to keep quiet about my age. Why? Because I don’t want to be defined by it. I don’t want to be thought too old, for my work to be dismissed because I am not some bright young thing who might be good for endless series of best sellers.

Some of our greatest artists have died young, while some have gone on creating masterpieces well into old age.

Take me for what I am, judge my works on their merit and leave my age out of it. That’s all I ask.

All Saints and All Souls: Celebrations of the dead.

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Halloween is over. The portals between one world and another have been shut. Contact with spirits has ceased. The pumpkins are on their way to the compost heap.

In my childhood however, today November 2, the Feast of All Souls was the day we thought about our dead. It began the day before with the Feast of All Saints. In Poland when my Mum was growing up, that was the day when she would have to go to the cemetery, after Mass with her family to light candles and pray for the souls of the departed.

Being brought up in England we didn’t do this, but we did have to go to church to celebrate all those who were now living joyfully in heaven. The path to everlasting bliss not being an easy one there were some souls who were still waiting in the wings. Because they had to make reparation for the sins they had committed when alive they had been consigned to purgatory for a set period.(Purgatory, the Church taught, in those days, was half way station. Neither Heaven nor Hell much of its pain consisted of guilt for what you had done, and longing for forgiveness.)

If we went to Mass and said the right prayers then their time of suffering would be cut short and by mid-night tonight they could join in others in eternal happiness.

Primitive beliefs, perhaps, but it gave a measure of comfort to those who were grieving.
A better alternative to the trick or treating of our more materialistic Halloween?

Halloween Pumpkin