Category Archives: Reading

When your heart is breaking…write

Oh, how I envy those poets. Those men and women who can juggle a few words in their head and then put them onto the page (or screen) in an way that carries meaning.

How do they do that?

When my heart is breaking, or doing anything else out of the ordinary, besides beating, I write.

Even when I have nothing to say. When the words elude me. It’s healthier than drinking. It’s cheaper than therapy. Even emptiness can sometimes bear fruit.

I wish, with a passion, that I could write poetry, because I think it’s such a good pain vessel; almost specifically designed for the task.

But my poetry would turn out something like this:

Ow.

And really what good is a one word poem?

How much of your heart finds its way onto the page?

Do your character express your emotional experiences? Do words help you make sense of life?

I’m sending love and gratitude to all the poets out there for expressing the inexpressible.

X Lisa

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Filed under blogging, fiction, life, Reading, red wine, romance, weird stuff, writers, Writing

Raise your hand if you enjoy self-promotion

I remember the moment when I decided to write a book. Newly pregnant, and feeling creative, I began jotting down ideas in an old page-a-day diary. When I finished the manuscript, I put it aside for a while, and realised after a re-read, that it was rubbish. Sigh.

When baby arrived, the greatest challenge while working on the second manuscript, was battling tiredness and trying to squeeze in time to write during naps, without feeling too  guilty that the housework wasn’t getting done. After the last word was written, I sadly had to admit that it was rubbish too, like the first. So I stored them together where they keep each other dusty company.

The challenge with the third manuscript was the ending; getting it right. There were times when I felt like my brain had evaporated into the sky and I was left sitting there, in front of the screen, an empty shell trying to think with my fingers. But miracle of miracles, I managed to get it finished.

So, the next challenge was finding a publisher. Scary, scary, scary. Sending it out, waiting for a reply – snore – getting knocked back after a year’s journey of “almost accepted”.  Trying again.

With a heck of a lot of luck, I was finally accepted.

I wasn’t naive enough to imagine that I could now sit back and relax.  But the thought of promoting myself was scarier than sending out the manuscript in the first place. Not that I’m shy; far from it. I’m happy to step onto a stage, I’ll easily chat with a group of strangers, but selling myself and the book in the process, well, that had my knees knocking.

The publisher does most of the hard work, but they took a risk on me and I want to help them.  My biggest fear was that they’d regret taking me on. Ah, the insecurities of a writer!

So, how do you feel about promoting yourself? Easy? Terrifying?Any tips?

I found a great little article (link below) thanks to John Kremer, who you can find here: http://twitter.com/johnkremer

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/author-social-media

May we all be courageous, despite knocking knees.

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Filed under authors, blogging, book launch, editors, fiction, launches, life, opportunity for writers, Reading, writers, Writing

Write what you know.

If you’ve ever done a writing course, you will have heard the rule: write what you know. Pretty straight forward advice.  Like me, you might have decided to stay within the safe confines of your areas of knowledge. You can’t get things wrong that way, right?

Following the above rule you give your characters the same job experiences, food preferences, thought processes, lifestyles choices as yourself. Safe and simple.

That’s what I thought. But somehow I found myself writing a romance novel when I know nothing about love. How did that happen? And I set part of the story on a dairy farm. I thought I knew nothing about that, but it turns out my great grandparents ran a dairy farm in Western Australia. I had no idea until after the book was written. What part of me was drawn to explore love and dairy farming?  Certainly not a conscious part of me.

Perhaps we write about what we need to know. We write about what mystifies us, what rules us, the emotions that brew below the surface of our everyday lives. We follow a whisper at the level of our DNA. We write the unknown in order to make it familiar and more accessible.

Or at least I think that’s what happens.

Do you write about what you know? Or what you need to know? Has your writing surprised you? Have you ever thought, where did that come from?

XXX

[Thank you so much to BrownPaperBagGirl and also CreativeBarbedWire for this award. It’s taken me a week to figure out how to get it posted here – just drag and drop – and it makes me happier than you can imagine. Thanks guys. My first award. Yay.]

I think what I have to do now is tell seven things about myself. Here goes:

1. I am far more sensitive that I let on.

2. Coffee is my favourite way to feel good in the morning. The joy of getting all the elements right; temperature, grind, milk texture, the pouring together. It’s alchemy, it’s love, it’s a constant joyous juggle of  external factors.  When it’s done right – bliss.

3. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals.

4. Mowing the lawn is like vacuuming outside; boring and tedious. I do, however, love it when all the grass is cut.  But I want it to last forever. Confession: sometimes, in Summer, I try to almost kill it by cutting it really short in the hope that it will burn a little and grow back more slowly. Sorry, grass.

5. I believe we are too visually dependent. If we couldn’t see, we would stop judging each other on inconsequential things like appearance, race, age, height, fashion sense.  We would listen more to each other. We’d perhaps live at a slower pace, enjoying simple things like breathing and sharing conversations.

6. I have moments when I don’t know anything at all. I feel empty. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing .

7. Some of the people I’ve “met” on this site are just beautiful and I feel inspired when I read their blogs.

Thanks guys, that was fun.

xxx Lisa

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I love libraries

Let us just consider, for a moment, the humble library. It is a place full of books.  That fact alone is enough to secure a place in my heart. But wait, it gets better; not only is this place full of books, but the kind people working in the library will let you take these books home free. As many as you can carry. And I can carry a lot!!  Yes, free.  Grab as many as you like and then take them home.

Or alternatively, flop onto one of their couches and read, read, read, until you escape your body. When you lift your head, you will be surprised to notice, through blurry eyes, that you are not in the middle of a desert, out in space, inside the head of a murderer, you are safe and sound in your local library, surrounded by other book lovers.

And gone are the days of the sour faced, nasty, finger-glued-to-lips librarians frowning at the three-year-old having fun discovering a pop up book, or the old guy laughing in the autobiography section, or the teenagers using the computer to look up something for their Art History project.

These days, they’re friendly, they’re warm, they’re even sexy. Who wouldn’t want to hang out in a library?

So, I’d like to officially offer my love and appreciation of libraries and librarians around the world for sharing the gift of books, and making me feel at home.

Hip hip hooray!!

Which library do you love?

My favourite is Yarra Junction.  I’ll be having a launch there of  Milk Fever on Saturday 10 July at 11am. All very welcome. I warn you though, the librarians here are so gorgeous and friendly you may not want to leave!

* Here is a terrific article. Thanks William. Click here to read.

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I wish I’d written that…

When I was studying music at college, I went to the movies with a boyfriend, also a musician, and just before the movie began the THX theme started playing. On screen, appeared the words, The audience is listening.

The  music theme is simple. It consists of two notes; one high, the other low. And they slide towards one another.  So, the high note descends, the low note rises, until they become one note.

Beautiful.  Stunning. A whole world of meaning expressed with humble simplicity.

My boyfriend leaned towards me and muttered out of the corner of his mouth, “Damn, I wish I’d written that.”

I didn’t get it at the time. But now, through reading I understand exactly the longing and frustration my friend experienced in the theatre that day. When something is brilliant, and simple, one feels as if it was an object of great value, plainly in front of your feet, for all to see, but overlooked through laziness or inattention. Two people walking along a street, one spots the fifty dollar bill on the pavement, the other only notices the rubbish  in the gutter.

These gems slip by us if we’re not careful.

If a piece of art is complex and brilliant, something in the league of Shakespeare, or Mozart, for example, it is appropriate to simply bow down to the master, and acknowledge that the art has passed out of a mortal’s reach. And that’s okay.

But when a writer, artist, musician finds brilliance in simplicity, one can’t help but feel slightly envious. I wish I’d thought of that, written that, composed that.

There is a part of me that enjoys the experience too. I’ll read the same sentence over and over, letting the elegance of it fill my head, wishing I’d had the foresight to discover such simple beauty. I’ll dissect the sentence. Examine the words from both sides, searching for clues. But sometimes, there are no clues, nothing to discover, just simple prose.

And I’m left thinking, once again, Damn, I wish I’d written that.

Who inspires you to try harder? To reach a little further with your own writing? Who leaves you wishing you’d written that?

For me, it’s Rose Tremain.


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If you were stranded on a desert island….

Right now, I’m dreaming about being stuck on a desert island, not because I want to get away from society, I’m happy for society to come right along with me, but because of this rain, rain and more rain.  And cold weather. Two weeks into winter and I’ve had enough. I want warmth and sunshine.  Far North Queensland is starting to look like heaven right now. Palm trees

Anyway, let’s imagine for a moment that your normal life has dissolved into vapours, and you find yourself lying on a beach in paradise. You don’t need to worry about getting sunburnt, losing your passport, or Bali Belly.

Footprints at coastal sand

Nope this island is perfect in every way. 

You have a beautiful beach house, overlooking azure oceans, perhaps the odd dolphin jumping around in the waves. The scent of tropical flowers and sea breezes; warm sea breezes. There is a master chef on hand, who is not only very good-looking, but cooks all of your favourite meals (which do NOT make you put on weight, just in case you started worrying about that} You have fresh water, happiness and sunshine, and any companionship your heart desires.  There is just one little snag…

You’re only allowed to take one book with you.

biblical pages

Ah. Agony.  One book.

Which one would you take?

[Note: smart bloggers have already enquired about a time limit. And rightly so. It makes a huge difference, doesn’t it? You’d probably take a different book if you knew you were on this island for the rest of your life, compared to one week, right?  War and Peace as opposed to Breathe.

So, I’ve decided on a two or three week stay. Hopefully, that’s enough time for you to relax, unwind, dance, swim and play, and finish your favourite book.]

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Filed under authors, blogging, books, fiction, I should be editing right now, Reading, writers, Writing

If books are like babies, then blogs are like lovers

I must admit, dear blog, you are definitely exciting to be around. I love spending time with you. You make me laugh.  You’ve made me cry but I forgive you. When I’m with you I see the world through different eyes. You’re full of fun and occasional mischief, you’re intelligent too. I love your sense of humour and appreciate the way you lift my spirits when I’m feeling down.

But you are very addictive.  Aren’t you?  I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you this.  And I sometimes wonder how faithful you are. I suspect you lavish attention on other people when I’m offline.

So, I’ve decided to cut down a little.  No, I couldn’t give you up completely. You know I’m hooked. But the baby is almost due, and the house need cleaning and someone has to do the day to day mundane household chores. And you certainly won’t.

Did you hear me?

No?

You know the saddest thing is; you won’t even know that I’ve gone….

xxx

Lisa

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