Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chit-chat Wednesday and Belinda Alexandra and Miss Flower Potts

Belinda Alexandra is a very lovely person and writer. She's also represented by my agent and it was Belinda who first inspired the gratitude cuppa. Every afternoon, I take time out to sit in my garden and sip tea from a lovely tea cup, whilst I give thanks for everything in my life. I've come to really enjoy this ritual, as too often we're running around focused on the seeds rather than the harvest we've already reaped.
Times have changed. Once after signing a book contract I would have celebrated with a tattoo. I have two tattoos; one for my fantasy trilogy and one when my daughter was born. After signing for Poets Cottage and Currawong House last week at my agent's, I found myself not in a gritty tattoo parlour but in T2, which for tea addicts like myself is heaven. I bought Licorice Legs, Just Lavender and Just Rose. The Just Rose is divine. Roses in a cup.
I also bought three new friends to store my teas and Miss Flower Potts.
My normal tea pot is Miss Violet and we have enjoyed many cups together. But I am in love with Miss Flower Potts and her chirpy gypsy company. She reminds me of the folk singer Donovan.
And so with thanks to the lovely Belinda for her gratitude cuppa tip. I now have a new friend to enjoy my ritual with. And it's a far less painless way to celebrate than the tattooist's needle.
Thanks for popping in. xx
rose image source
belinda alexandra image source

Monday, September 27, 2010

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and BB, Prince Charles and IKEA

It's Brigitte Bardot's birthday on Tuesday. As regular readers will know, I adore BB and so Happy Birthday to this icon. She just gets better and better with age.
I'm also loving the 2011 IKEA catalogue. When you live in a small brick house, IKEA is a fantasy trip to heaven. Not only do you get to eat meatballs but I love their storage ideas. I can sit for hours pouring over their catalogues. I've been to Sweden once and the Scribe twice It's like a fairyland country to me.
And I'm totally rapt over The Delicious Miss Dahl cooking show which features Sophie's literary references. You have to love a cooking show where the presenter strolls through Highgate Cemetery, old bookshops and talks about the glamour of train stations.
And Prince Charles gets a nod this week for his gorgeous, candid remarks on a recent BBC documentary.
"...he describes speaking to shrubbery as something that keeps him "relatively sane". "I happily talk to the plants and the trees and listen to them. I think it's absolutely crucial, " he is reported to say. Underlining the importance of his garden, he adds. "Everything I've done here, it's almost like your children. Every tree has a meaning for me."
I hope you pop back on Wednesday as I'd like to introduce you to my new friend, Miss Flower Potts.
And thank you so much for all your good wishes over my book deal. I'm still floating. Thank you. You're all wonderful and I appreciate you all. xx
images of Bardot source
image of Prince Charles source

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I am flying. Poets Cottage has sold.

I am flying. I am finding it difficult to take in at the moment, even though I've known for a couple of weeks. Today - Spring Equinox - I spent the morning at my agent's signing a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan.

I am swooping over the chimney tops and breaking apart clouds as I say those words again. I've been writing now for six years out of contract. Poets Cottage took me three years to write as I struggled with juggling motherhood and writing.
It has been three years since I stood outside the 'real Poets Cottage' in the Tasmanian evening light watching the full moon rise over her roof and the shadows move in the garden.
She gave her story to me then and I passed it on.
I am soaring with my dreams amongst the stars now. Swoosh! Swoosh! Watch me swoop!
The Spring Equinox is a time of balance, contemplation, celebration and giving thanks. I have a lot to celebrate tonight.
Other things in my life are not so good. The shadows are there with the ongoing health problems of a close family member.
But tonight I will wave to you from the sky wherever you are. If you look out of your window to the night. I am smiling back. xx
chagall image source

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chit-chat Wednesday and Song of the Currawong

Currawongs have taken over our garden. They love the big native tea-trees to sit and sing in their melodious voices. They sound like honey in the morning and evening. We're thinking of re-naming Sparrow Chateau (our writing shed) into Currawong Shed as both the Scribe and I love these birds and their singing so much.
Smuchie, our cat, loves the challenge of working out how to kill them but their beaks keep her at a wary distance.
Magpie season has started in our local park. I admire these fierce birds as they strive to protect their young. I can still remember yelling at some man last Summer for throwing birds at a poor Mother Magpie who wanted only to be left in peace with her babies.
We're so lucky in the inner-city to have the amount of native fauna we do and we never take it for granted. To live amongst planes overhead and heavy traffic is compensated by the kookaburras, bats, lorikeets and our singing currawongs.
In other news, the Scribe has spent the last few days in a hyperbaric chamber at the hospital for his latest diving adventures on the weekend. I am jealous as he comes home looking so youthful and refreshed from all that pure oxygen.
And I'm hard at work on a new writing project which is very exciting and I shall talk about soon.
May the rest of your week be filled with all the beauty of the Currawong's song.
Thank you for visiting me. xx

Monday, September 13, 2010

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and Violet Magazine

I know a lot of Bloggers are mourning the death of Cookie and Domino and yes, I miss those magazines, but I can sleep peacefully over their demise. I'm still lamenting the loss of Violet magazine which was my idea of magazine heaven. The only mag that's come near it is Lula in my opinion. I have every issue of Violet which I pour over every now and again for inspiration. There were only four issues before it went belly-up but those four are equal to a lifetime of lesser publications.
If you missed Violet, it was an American parenting magazine put out by a fab stylist called Keki Mingus( daughter of musician Charles Mingus) who named the magazine after her daughter. It was jam-packed with very chic-boho folk and stunning photo spreads that weren't your average parenting graphics. Violet covered a wide range of topics from art, Montessori schooling, Beatrix Potter, Frida Kahlo and (gasp) fiction. It was funky, fun and visually perfect. It didn't treat you as if you were a beige, boring drone or interested in the latest $3000 stroller or the Wiggles just because you had become a parent.
My two very favourite issues were the Juliette Binoche (Issue 2) where she talked about her children's schooling in Paris. The photographs of la Binoche were amazing: as if shot inside a Parisian fawn-coloured shell. The light was stunning.
I also loved issue 3 featuring the King and Queen of Fab, Kirsty Hume and Donovan Leitch (son of icon Donovan) and their daughter, Violet.
I found the following quote about Violet magazine which may explain why I love it so intensely.
“That Violet has connected with today's parents is no surprise after talking with James Chung, president of Boston-based market research and consulting firm Reach Advisors. In 2004, Chung's firm released From Grunge to Grown Up, an extensive study outlining the parenting habits of Generation X versus their baby boomer predecessors.
Defining Gen X as those born from 1965 to 1979, Chung and his associates discovered parents of the so-called "slacker" generation have, for the most part, moved away from the "keeping up with the Joneses" attitude of the boomers in favour of a less material lifestyle that, in many cases, means being more hands-on with their children, even scaling back careers to spend more time with their families. They're often creative, independent thinkers, not so concerned with having the biggest house or the newest SUV. These traits, however, have also made them a difficult group for marketers and advertisers to get a read on. In fact, some have simply thrown up their hands in defeat, choosing to skip the Gen X gang altogether and go after the boomers' kids who, according to Chung, share their parents' affection for labels, wealth and status.”
And so for inspiration this week, I'm returning to Violet. The older, more settled sister of Lula, who stays true to her boho background as she embraces motherhood. And hats off to independent thinkers and non-materialistic bohos everywhere. I plan on starting a crusade for Keki to bring back Violet. In these days of Blogs like the Selby, I think Violet would thrive.
Enjoy your week. I hope it's filled with chic-boho fun and inspiration and thanks for popping in. xx

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fabbo Friday and Fab Book, Ghosts and Lovely Bones

My bookclub The Magic Hat recently chose The Lovely Bones by Aliice Sebold
, which I'd been meaning to read for years. I found it very gruelling and distressing, which really surprised me. I've written quite a lot of dark crime over the years and researched from a lot of true crime and profiler books and I'm the sort of person who always looks for the predator whenever I'm out and about. The more you research the darkness that lurks, the more you know to be wary. Look for the exit. Lock the doors. Watch for the person wearing the wolf's fur on the inside.
Some of the Magic Hatters found it uplifting, but I felt emotionally flattened by it. Susie Salmon, the young protagonist, is killed in the beginning of the book by one of the most sinister predators I've read for awhile - her neighbour, Mr Harvey. This book has superb opening and closing lines. Susie then narrates her struggle in heaven as she watches her loved ones deal with their grief in different ways. It's beautifully written but terribly sad. I'm not a person who copes with endings and transitions very well. My mother sobs over total strangers saying goodbye to each other at the airport, so I'm genetically wired to not cope with any sort of adieu. I'm still weeping over my dog's death in March. And it's family legend how I'd cry and weep as a child over the old show Lassie, because Lassie looked so noble, his fur blowing backwards as Greensleeves played and we had to farewell him for another week. Heady emotional stuff.
The title The Lovely Bones is wonderful and the idea of the family unit being The Lovely Bones who holds the connections of the departed dead in place and continue to grow is luminous. Just not the easiest read. And I do have a problem with the plot development towards the end, when the girl's friend does what she does so Suzie can do what she does... (no spoilers, but if you've read it, then you'll know what I mean). Such a jarring, silly segment. But hats off to Alice Sebold for such a strong, poetic, moving novel which reminds us that for growth, the dead also have to release the living as well as the opposite way around.
Speaking of the dead, one of my very favourite Blog crushes is Art and Ghosts. I do love this girl's art which reminds me of the work of some of my favourite artists, Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington. She also looks like Mo Hayder's younger sister and her entire Blog is lovely. Her whimsical short video grabs where she talks to friends are gorgeous. Her cat has eyes bigger than the moon and her world is whimsical, clever, floral - but sprinkled with shiny darkness.
Leading us into the weekend is a ghostly looking Johnny Depp. I suppose ghosts are the perennial outsiders and so here's Johnny as Edward Scissorhands.
Hats off to outsiders, ghosts and Lovely Bones.
Have a lovely weekend. I hope it is filled with family, health and friendly ghosts. Thanks for visiting me.
all images from art and ghosts source
alice sebold image source
johnny depp image source

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chit-chat Wednesday and Spring

We have now entered Spring in Sydney. Our small garden is bursting with buds of Bougainvillea, Geraniums and Lavender flowers. The perfume of Jasmine follows me down the street. Sydneysiders are in that confused mix of clothing where nobody knows quite how to dress for the weather.
I won this basket of Olay goodies from BellaMuma. Thanks Olay and BellaMumma. A beautiful reader of my previous books sent me a wonderful gift I shall treasure always. Another lovely friend presented me with a amazing bouquet of flowers when I went to collect my daughter from school.
I am now working on two books at once.
Something wonderful and shining is approaching me.
I feel lucky. Do you ever feel Something Wonderful This Way Comes?