A whole lot o' nothing. And then some….
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Posts from — January 2019

Writers Write

I have been writing this blog, in one format or another, for 13 years. T.H.I.R.T.E.E.N. From the earliest and far more frequent blogspot days up until the sporadic postings of today, I’ve been “a blogger”. Now I call this “my website”, rather than my blog, but it is whatever it is: restaurant reccos, film and TV reviews, rants, raves and, of course, my book club. There have been celeb photobombs and selfies, mini-travelogues and motherhood musings. But most of all, it’s been a place I can come to write. Kernels of ideas, nuggets of wisdom, food for thought – name your metaphor, it’s been all that (and more) for me. Often I wonder if there’s anybody out there. So to those who read, bookmark and forward to friends, I thank you. And to the many who ask “why don’t you just write a book?”, I say: believe me, I’m trying. And maybe one day I will. But in the meantime, I write what I can. For myself, for the people who pay me, and for you.

I’m trying to embrace my vulnerability without diffusing it with humour. Sounds cheesy. And feels gross. It’s really really hard. And takes a shit-ton of practice. In the meantime, there’s this…

“Writers write. She’s always known that. She used to live by the rule, writing faithfully every day. Jotting in her journal, completing assignments, even copying out interesting sayings, song lyrics, or what she deemed to be poetic. Writers write. So she wrote. Snippets of overheard conversations. Concerns and frustrations about lovers and family. How she wanted to be treated. How she was treated. How she treated others. No matter what was happening in her life, she was a writer. And writers write. So she wrote too. Articles, reviews, screenplays, television pilots. Imaginary dialogue she wished she herself had the balls to speak aloud. Confessions she dreamed she would hear. She was a writer. She defined herself by the term. She told anyone who asked. She never shirked away from her daily page requirements. That’s just the way it was. Because writers write.

Until they don’t.

Until they find themselves overcome by the day to day living of their lives. She got lucky. She worked freelance. She met the man of her dreams, who loved her right back. They got married. Bought a loft, then a house, and then one more. Got a dog. Had a baby. Had two more. And soon the words on the page became less frequent. At first, she couldn’t find the time. But then she couldn’t find the words. Letters on pages became by meals on tables. Overheard conversations turned into recipe adaptations. The joy of looking up after a day spent at her keyboard, living an imaginary life and creating characters, dialogue, and scenes were replaced with school runs, grocery shops and bedtimes. Meetings turned into appointments.

Just like that she went from a writer who writes to a mom who mothers. From someone who was a respected “something”, to an unheard, oft-ignored nothing. The most important job in the world, she’d hear when she muttered she was “just a mom”. But she knew better. It was so obvious. It was a volunteer position. Where she worked for tiny tyrants who ruled her life. Her home felt like a prison at times, her family its warden.

The years went past and the kids grew more independent. Sort of. They didn’t always want her anymore, though they still needed her. They always would, in some capacity. She didn’t need them, but she wanted them. She loved them. But she was starting to wonder what she had given up to “have it all”. Her freedom. Her body. Her mind. She knew writers needed to write, but she found it almost impossible to do so. And when she did sit down, hands on keyboard and screen glowing brightly, she found herself in a spiral of rage. Her imagination dulled, she would spill out her feelings about her family, her friends, her life and her choices. Typing through tears, she’d feel ridiculous, painting herself as a victim, when she actually loved her life….Most of the time. She would re-read her words and set forth editing, putting a shiny, positive spin on each and every one. And then she’d delete it all, knowing she’d start again, someday soon.

Because writers write. That’s just what they do. “

Share/Bookmark

January 31, 2019   2 Comments

Advertisement

New year, new books!

Happy 2019 MOAM readers of books and site!

I am not a very good resolution maker, tho I am an excellent resolution breaker. Diets, exercise, work hard, be more present, meditate, breathe….Whatever. And the “don’ts”? I do. There is, however, a new resolution in town. One I keep noticing in various New-Year-New-You pieces. One I actually want to make and can totally keep.

Apparently, the latest craze in resolutions is to read more books! I love that. How about “eat more”, “spend more” and “travel more”? Let’s all climb aboard the “more” resolution train.

(And by reading I also mean “listening to” more books. I have invested in AirPods and they have changed my life. First it was music, then podcasts, and now audible. Dog walking will never be the same. )

January is here. Winter is coming. Here are some great books to get you through it… (sorry – no direct links. I’m neither technologically savvy nor patient enough to add them in). Happy Reading!

THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES – John Boyne

The Irish Catholic Church has a lot to answer for. (Surprise!) Born to an unwed mother in rural Ireland in the 19040’s and adopted into an eccentric Dublin family, young Cyril must figure out the world and his place in it in this brilliant novel.  Spanning several cities over the course of five decades, this excellent novel shows us the best and the very worst of what it means to be alive. Horrifying yet charming, funny but heartbreaking, this is so much more than a coming of age tale or story of struggle. I loved it.

WASHINGTON BLACK – Esi Edugyan

The epic story of a Caribbean slave taken in by his master’s eccentric brother won the 2018 Giller Prize. At age 11, Washington Black meets Titch and together they embark on a life of adventure and learning. It’s not long before Wash must go on the run, travelling from Barbados to the Arctic, Canada to England in search of the true meaning of freedom. Disclaimer: This book started off super-strong but, for me, ultimately traded intricacies and details for plot points. Still, a great novel from an excellent writer.

THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS – Laurie Frankel

Rosie, a doctor, and Penn, an aspiring novelist, live a hectic, unruly life with their four sons. And then their 5th child, Claude, arrives and is a lot more complicated than they could have ever imagined. Secrets kept and shared, family dynamics, nature, nurture and how to be to do the right thing by your child are all issues touched upon in this page-turning, heartwarming book. Very loosely based on the author’s own experiences, the writing can feel a little simple at times, yet it’s always moving and, ultimately, a damn great read.

THE RESURRECTION OF JOAN ASHBY – Cherise Wolas

Joan Ashby is on course to becoming the next Great American Novelist – until she gets married and finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. She soon shelves her literary aspirations to tend to her family. Besieged by great love and, eventually, great betrayal, this is the story of “what could be”, the paths we take, and the choices we both make and are given. Interwoven throughout the novel are pieces of Joan’s work, making this a truly literary piece of art. I love how this book was crafted and wish I was still reading it now! Spectacular.

THE FAMILY TABOR – Cherise Wolas

This book received terrific reviews and I was more interested in this one than the author’s first book (above). But because I adored the debut novel, this one couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. When a philanthropist patriarch is being honoured, his entire family turns out to fete him – until he disappears. Family dynamics and age-old secrets play out over the course of one weekend as it explores the stories we tell each other – and ourselves. If that hasn’t been snapped up for a film or TV adaptation, it will be soon enough….

EDUCATED – Tara Westover

I feel like I was a little late to the party on this one. Everyone seems to have read – and loved – this crazy-ass memoir of a girl who, born into a survivalist family, starts school at age 17 and ends up graduating from Cambridge. Tara’s upbringing is unconventional, to say the very least. Turning these pages I couldn’t believe she managed to survive her childhood, let alone thrive. But thrive she did – because she is beyond brilliant. This is an uncomfortable read, but well worth it.  If you think you have have obstacles in your life’s path, wait ’til you get a load of these…

HOME FIRE – Kamila Shamsie

I loved, loved, loved LOVED this book. I couldn’t put it down (and neither could my man, FYI). This is the story of two very different Pakistani families living in London and it’s one helluva ride. Told from several points of view, this is gorgeously written and a total page turner. I was completely transported and duly devastated when I finished it. Of course I had to find out more. Like the fact that it’s based on the myth of Antigone (google it). Or it was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. And it won the Women’s prize for fiction. Don’t ask. Just read.

THE GREAT BELIEVERS – Rebecca Makkai

There were two intertwining parts to this acclaimed novel. One is all about friendship, love and loss in 80’s Chicago. And then there’s the other part. To be honest, the “other part” (set in Paris today) left me cold. But the thrust of the book, set among a group of wonderful friends, the specter of AIDS looming over them, was amazing. This is the story of growing up, branching out, finding passion, and trying to stay alive.

A PLACE FOR US – Fatima Farheen Mirza

An Indian-American family must balance expected tradition with the progressive culture in which they now live. Family dynamics, parents and children, love and estrangement are all here in this magnificent book. As the family struggles between faith and choices, the fallout becomes devastating. This is a quiet and stunning book, the debut of a supremely talented young writer who is totally impressive.

NINE PERFECT STRANGERS – Liane Moriarty

I am a huge Liane Moriarty fan (since long before Big Little Lies on TV, thankyouverymuch). I pre-ordered this book and couldn’t wait to read it. And while the author’s talent for spinning a yarn is crystal clear, I didn’t love this one as much as I’d hoped to. I didn’t even like it all that much. I’m adding it to the list because everyone keeps asking me if I’ve read it. I have. If you’re looking for a Liane Moriarty book, check out The Husband’s Secret…

DARING GREATLY – Brene Brown

After reading the excerpts, watching the Ted Talks and hearing the podcasts, I convinced myself that I had read or heard everything Brene Brown had to offer. And then I downloaded this book on Audible and walked my way through it. Guess what? I’d barely skimmed the surface. This book was everything I’d hope it would be and so much more. Narrated by the author herself, it really should be required reading/listening for anyone and everyone. Genius.

LOVE WARRIOR – Glennon Doyle

Wow. This memoir is the story of the beginning, middle, end and rebirth of a marriage. After surviving her own childhood and adolescence (bulimia! alcoholism!) and starting a family (surprise!) the author’s marriage implodes. With depth, sensitivity and introspection this is the story of hitting rock bottom and rising back up, over and over again. Despite sometimes wading into spiritual new age areas that weren’t for me, I still loved this book – so much so I found myself stopping to take notes. Often

As always, I welcome feedback and suggestions. And yes, I am almost finished Becoming by Michelle Obama. Swoon…

January 9, 2019   1 Comment

Advertisement