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When Someone You Love is Suffering – Be Real

A person I love works hard, against difficult odds, to achieve a goal. It doesn’t happen. This person feels disappointment. I feel it too, and regret: perhaps if I’d followed up on an idea I had months ago the odds could have been reduced, this sadness prevented. I allowed others to dissuade me, wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure, and …

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How Blessing Can Transform Your Life

Have you ever felt resentment towards someone? Did you take time to bless them? I know that probably sounds like a silly question, but that’s what Pierre Pradevand did and it transformed his life and, through his teaching, the lives of many others. You don’t need to be religious to bless someone, just willing. Several years ago, I read Pradervand’s book, The Gentle Art of …

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The Courage to Have Compassion – a #1000Speak post

During World War 1, a man armed only with a revolver and stick destroyed a German machine gun and its killed its crew. When attempting to take out a second machine gun he was killed. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. That’s courage, the kind of courage that wins medals, and is remembered. Yet, it also takes courage to …

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I will not look away

When I close my eyes, I see a world where we love each other, where tolerance and respect win out over anger and hatred. I see a world where everyone has enough to eat, where every adult has fulfilling employment and every child has the education they need. I see a world where everyone has a home. When I close …

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How Do You Fight Hate? #1000Speak

She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisionous. Brendan Cox, widower of Jo Cox, the Labour MP murdered last Thursday. How do …

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Facing the Pain Head On

Until last Monday, if I thought about Stanford University it was as the venue of the infamous Stanford Prison experiment, in which Professor Philip Zimbardo and his team recruited students to act as “prisoners” and “guards.” The plan was for the experiment to last for two weeks but it ended after just six days because of cruelty by the guards …

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These Are My Roots

9th Century AD A ship pitches on heavy seas, swinging to avoid rocks. The thunderous rain and wind matches the fury of the ship’s crew. Norse men set upon each other, and one tumbles into the ocean, sinking beneath rolling waves. As the ship lurches forward without him, a wave tosses him upwards, sending him crashing towards land. He grabs …

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I am who I am because…

More and more these days, I’m not sure who I am. I don’t mean I’ve forgotten the name written on my birth certificate (not even the middle name I’d rather forget.) I even (usually) manage to remember that I have another name for the Health Services – the same surname as my husband and kids, which I never use for anything …

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What Self-Compassion Isn’t (and What It Is) #1000Speak

Self-Compassion is not Self-Indulgence Tweet Sometimes people are afraid to be compassionate with themselves because they think this means they will be self-indulgent. But it’s not the same thing. Think of compassion in the way Buddhists use it, as “loving kindness” and it might be easier to see that self-compassion has nothing to do with indulgence. If you are trying …

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I need them to respect me – is it true?

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a difficult meeting she’d attended, in which she hadn’t felt respected by one man. She considered making a formal complaint about this man, but she felt so angry she couldn’t find the words. As we talked, she began to see that maybe all wasn’t quite as she’d thought.

How to Recognise Gratitude in Daily Life

I’ve been thinking a bit more about the question Lizzi at Considerings posed over the weekend. My short answer, on my last post, was no. When I’m happy, gratitude comes more easily, and gratitude makes me feel happy. I’m not sure why I’d forgotten that a post I’d written a few weeks ago, Thankfulness is a Breeze, and Sometimes a Hurricane, …

People Shouldn’t Judge – is that true?

This blog began life as a way to record my experience as a mother using The Work of Byron Katie to inquire into stressful thoughts – hence the title Inquiring Parent! (What – you thought it meant I rang up supermarkets to inquire about the price of butter, or inquired about the kiddie facilities in my area?) Anyway, life moved …

Thankful for Questions

I’ve read that on average we have somewhere around 70,000 thoughts each day. I did try to work this out, but it seemed too much like hard work. After all, how long does a thought last? I don’t have a standard thought size. “Chocolate.” That didn’t take even a second. “Chocolate.” Neither did that. “I wonder if there’s any in …

Thanks for this? Yes, really.

When I was seventeen a young man threatened me at knife point, tied me up and held me hostage. He was the ex-boyfriend of my friend and he figured this action would somehow get her back. (I know, I know – and yes, I did point out that even if she came running she wasn’t likely to stay. My logical …

What if Self-Sabotage Doesn’t Actually Exist?

Self-sabotage. Self-sabotage. We’ve all heard the term. We get an opportunity and then we blow it. Or we do something we don’t like and so we beat ourselves. And then we feel like c**p, so we beat ourselves for beating ourselves. “I’m self-sabotaging myself again!” we yell. “As always! I’m such an idiot!” And then we beat ourselves for that …

Let Go of Trying to be Better Than Your Parents

In the days since my father died, I haven’t felt much like blogging. Even if I had, at first there wasn’t time. I was travelling back to be with my family, helping with arrangements for the funeral, helping my mother begin to sort out some of the many things that need sorting, and then travelling home again. Then eventually I …

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Let Go of Guilt and Shame

A common theme among mothers is that of guilt. Fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters probably feel guilt too, but mothers seem to be particularly prone to it. I have not been an exception to that. But, I have learned ways to let go of guilt and have come to see that it generally serves little purpose. For me, letting …

Guest Post at I am The Milk

Today one of my articles on the early days after our second daughter was born prematurely is featured on Katia Bishofs blog: I am the Milk.  Katia’s Donate a Post series features blog posts by women who have struggled with infertility or pregnancy loss or other difficulties during pregnancy.  

Teenagers are Difficult: Is That True?

Since last summer I have been mother to two teenagers. We have our moments. But then, with teenagers, who doesn’t? That’s pretty much what you’d expect the mother of a teenager to say, isn’t it? If you’re not too keen on teenagers you might roll your eyes and say that they are selfish layabouts and the only good thing about …

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How to Easily Make Tweetable Quotes

Why make Tweetable quotes? People are more likely to tweet your post from a quote. Some readers will tweet one post as many times as you have tweetable quotes in it! You can include a hashtag and/or direct your post to a person on Twitter. These don’t show up in your post, but form part of the tweet. Which Blogs …

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How To Choose a Blog Hosting Company

(Or – what I wish I’d known when I started blogging.) lmost everyone who is anyone in the Blogisphere recommends that even beginners should have a self-hosted blog. If you start out on a free platform and your blog grows, then transferring to self-hosted can be difficult. I didn’t know that when I was a beginner so both my blogs …

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Why I Love The Ethos Stack of “X – the Ultimate Theme”

udging by the feedback I’ve had, people love the look of this blog. Nice as it would be to take all the credit,  much of it has to go to my daughter (who made the gorgeous header and helped get the colours just so) and to Themeco, who developed the theme X.  It doesn’t stop there: it’s also partly down to the tech support staff …

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Welcome to my New Blog!

It’s taken a while. I bought the domain name a year ago and then decided to keep my writing blog where it was at Writing a River on Blogger. Then, when I did decide become a grown-up writer with her own url, I ran into a few of those things known as “technical difficulties.” Okay, let’s be honest, most of …

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Unexploded by Alison MacLeod – a review

Unexploded is set in wartime Britain, in the south-coast town of Brighton. It takes place between May 1940 and June 1941, during which time the threat of Nazi invasion hands over the town. Bombers fly overhead, mostly en route to and from blasting London to pieces, sometimes dropping bombs on Brighton. Life goes on as normal, with characters going to …

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Book Review: Parenting With Purpose by Nina Garcia

I hadn’t got far into Parenting with Purpose before I knew that I was going to like it. In the first page of her introduction, Nina Garcia says: “We’ve got this discipline thing all wrong. We assume discipline is about punishment… We mistakenly believe that the main purpose of discipline is to stop tantrums at all costs, as quickly as possible.” …

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Mothering Through the Darkness – a Review.

Review of: Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience, edited by Stephanie Sprenger and Jessica Smock My first attempt at reading Mothering Through the Darkness stopped after three essays. The weight of these women’s struggles seemed overwhelming, and I wasn’t sure I could carry on. It didn’t help that I am in the midst of writing …

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The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela – a Review

Leila and I met over 20 years ago when we were taking a creative writing class. The day I first noticed her, she told the class she was delighted to have just finished writing her first ever short story. Since then, Leila has written many more short stories, including The Museum, which won the first ever Caine Prize for African …

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Why I Recommend “Kindness Wins” by Galit Breen

The book description on Amazon for Kindness Wins by Galit Breen says it is, “An indispensable 21st-century manual of manners written for 21st-century parents and their children.” That is true, but I would say it is much more. The book’s target audience comprises parents, teachers and coaches of children Grade school and early Middle school. My daughters, at fifteen and seventeen …

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“Them and Us” by Arthur Deikman – a Reflection

A few months ago, I typed, “politicians as parental figures” into a search engine and Arthur Deikman’s book: Them and Us came up. Those of you who regularly read this blog, may have noticed I’ve referenced him a few times recently, and now I want to reflect more fully on the book. Deikman, who died in 2013, was a professor …

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This Side of Forever by Jo Chandler – A Review and Interview

When author, Jo Chandler, posted a comment about her novel This Side of Forever in a Goodreads group, I was immediately interested. She described her book as about alcohol addiction and redemption. Those of you who have read my first novel will know it contains the same themes. The similarities don’t end there – both books have female protagonists whose …

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler – a Review

“The strangest thing about my wife’s return from the dead was how other people reacted.” I don’t think I could start this post with anything better than the opening sentence Anne Tyler chose for her novel, The Beginner’s Goodbye. Occasionally an opening comes to me fully formed and never needs changing, but more often, I find openings the hardest part …

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On Writing by Stephen King – a Review

I have never read any of Stephen King’s novels and as far as I am aware, I haven’t seen the film version of any of them either. So you could probably say I’m not a fan. In a way that’s good when it comes to reading and reviewing his book On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, …

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On Writing by Stephen King – a Review

I have never read any of Stephen King’s novels and as far as I am aware, I haven’t seen the film version of any of them either. So you could probably say I’m not a fan. In a way that’s good when it comes to reading and reviewing his book On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, …

The Friday Review: The Economist Style Guide

A book on writing by The Economist magazine may not seem the obvious choice for someone who mainly writes fiction. And yes, I am pretty sure The Economist Style Guide is primarily aimed at writers of articles. Nevertheless, I found it useful. Now in its 10th edition, the book was first published in 1986. Each new edition is updated to …

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Book Review: Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

Becoming a Writer was one of the first books about the writing process I ever read. It was written way back in the 1930s, and remains popular today, almost eighty years after its publication. This is quite an achievement, especially when you consider how many books have been written on writing in the last few decades. However, I done the research then that …

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The Friday Review: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Although The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has similarities to the books about the writing process that I’ve reviewed so far, it also has significant differences. For Cameron, as well as Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg writing is process of becoming conscious. None of them tell you how to create the perfect plot that will propel you to fame and …

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Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: A Review

At first, Bird by Bird seems a strange title for a book about writing. And, well, yes it is. Possibly if it was about to be published for the first time today its publisher would have demanded a new title, something more search-engine friendly. Thankfully, in 1994, when Anne Lamott’s book first arrived on the shelves of booksellers, the internet …

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Review of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

When my children were younger one of their favourite questions to ask was, “What’s your favourite…?” Colour, animal, type of chocolate, singer, television series that I never watched but they did – it didn’t matter what it was, they wanted to know my favourite. And I’d sit there, saying, “Um… I don’t know. I don’t really have a favourite.” “But …

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When Someone You Love is Suffering – Be Real

A person I love works hard, against difficult odds, to achieve a goal. It doesn’t happen. This person feels disappointment. I feel it too, and regret: perhaps if I’d followed up on an idea I had months ago the odds could have been reduced, this sadness prevented. I allowed others to dissuade me, wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure, and …

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How Blessing Can Transform Your Life

Have you ever felt resentment towards someone? Did you take time to bless them? I know that probably sounds like a silly question, but that’s what Pierre Pradevand did and it transformed his life and, through his teaching, the lives of many others. You don’t need to be religious to bless someone, just willing. Several years ago, I read Pradervand’s book, The Gentle Art of …

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The Courage to Have Compassion – a #1000Speak post

During World War 1, a man armed only with a revolver and stick destroyed a German machine gun and its killed its crew. When attempting to take out a second machine gun he was killed. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. That’s courage, the kind of courage that wins medals, and is remembered. Yet, it also takes courage to …

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I will not look away

When I close my eyes, I see a world where we love each other, where tolerance and respect win out over anger and hatred. I see a world where everyone has enough to eat, where every adult has fulfilling employment and every child has the education they need. I see a world where everyone has a home. When I close …

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How Do You Fight Hate? #1000Speak

She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisionous. Brendan Cox, widower of Jo Cox, the Labour MP murdered last Thursday. How do …

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What Self-Compassion Isn’t (and What It Is) #1000Speak

Self-Compassion is not Self-Indulgence Tweet Sometimes people are afraid to be compassionate with themselves because they think this means they will be self-indulgent. But it’s not the same thing. Think of compassion in the way Buddhists use it, as “loving kindness” and it might be easier to see that self-compassion has nothing to do with indulgence. If you are trying …

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It’s Okay To Be You – a #1000Speak post

I was a shy teenager, particularly around boys. If one of those scary creatures looked at me, I went red, even though I knew he would actually be looking beyond me to the gorgeous blonde girl or bubbly chatterbox behind. If there was nobody behind me – then he’d made a mistake and for a moment thought I was someone …

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Dear Inner Tyrant…

Dear Inner Tyrant, Your tactics don’t work. I realise you are trying to help me, that you hope by pointing out my mistakes and short-comings I will be able to correct them. But it just doesn’t work. All it does is leave me feeling inadequate and hopeless. You’ve been criticising me for over fifty years, so don’t you think that if …

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Learning to be Vulnerable – #1000Speak

Some moments stay with us, moments that might seem insignificant, nothing much in the grand scheme of life. Many, many years ago, I was at a college dance, in the washrooms, redoing my make-up or washing my hands or whatever else teenage girls do in washrooms. It’s so long ago, I don’t remember. I do remember the young woman who …

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What Does Happiness Have To Do With Compassion? a #1000Speak post

20 March is 1000 Voices Link-up day. It’s also International Day of Happiness, so this month its seems a great idea to write about the connection between compassion and happiness. What does happiness have to do with compassion? Um… everything. The more compassion we feel, the more likely we are to feel happy. You don’t have to take my word …

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Write Out The Heart – Review and Special Offer

Write Out the Heart is a program Fiona Moore developed after joining 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and seeing that writers often felt self-doubt. For over two decades, Fiona has worked with many creative people, helping them to release blocks to creativity and to “express their authentic self, and make difference with their lives.” Write Out The Heart takes what …

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Connection For Creativity

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. Steve Jobs I was looking for quotes for the …

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This Post is a Waste of Time (or maybe not)

here is a saying that you teach what you need to know. I often write about ways to get beyond writer’s block. Guess why? Actually, it’s because I want to pass on my awesomeness to you. I’m super-uper-duper at writing fast and furious without a moment’s hesitation. I get out of bed at 5 am every morning and I’m at …

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When Writing Won’t Come – A Pig of a Post

So you want to start writing, but you don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you have started, and now you’re having a pig of time? You feel stuck, blocked and can’t come up with another word. Staring at the blank page or screen won’t do it, neither will reading about writing. (Although of course you should read what I write …

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Why You Need to Care For Your Characters

I’m working on a new novel and, after a couple of breaks, I’ve decided to make it my priority. I love the freedom of writing a novel. Freedom might sound an odd way to describe such a mammoth writing endeavour, but I can still remember the buzz I felt when I’d got about 10,000 words into my first novel. Before …

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What’s Your Writer’s Scaffolding?

I’ve been editing a story I wrote years ago. I liked the story, but editors didn’t. I tried to figure out what was wrong with it, cut stuff out and tried again. More rejections, so I gave up. A long time later, I opened up the various versions (some in formats so old that Word didn’t recognise them and I …

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Black Parrot Days: when writing won’t come

I’m thrilled to announce Writing a River has its very first guest post!  Guest Post by Penelope Hart Today’s post is by the wonderful Penelope Hart. Penelope has had a long career as a writer, working on glossy magazines in the eighties, and later gaining an MA – with distinction – in Script writing. Her plays have been performed in …

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Tips on How to Use Adjectives Effectively in Fiction

 Adjectives are like swear words. The more you use them the less impact they have. Is there a rule of thumb for how often we should use adjectives in a piece of writing? The unhelpful answer is: not really. But let’s think about swearing again. Here’s a piece of purple prose with the adjectives removed and replaced with: “swearword.” (You …

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Find Your Own Writing Process

I’m a member of a few writing groups – all online though in the past I’ve been in some off-line ones too. One topic of conversation that crops up over and over is the writing process. I find the writing process fascinating, and I also find our obsession with it fascinating. In particular, I’ve been thinking lately about that elusive …

The Friday Review: The Economist Style Guide

A book on writing by The Economist magazine may not seem the obvious choice for someone who mainly writes fiction. And yes, I am pretty sure The Economist Style Guide is primarily aimed at writers of articles. Nevertheless, I found it useful. Now in its 10th edition, the book was first published in 1986. Each new edition is updated to …

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Busting myths: you get what you focus on

This is the first in a series of posts aimed at demystifying spiritual jargon, debunking myths about the Law of Attraction, and helping people see through beliefs we use to torture ourselves. I am not an “enlightened being,” but I have been questioning thoughts and releasing feelings for many years so I do see through stories that some people might …

Happiness and Gratitude

I’m starting another Ten Things of Thankful post with some reservations. I haven’t written any posts on this blog since last week’s TToT, and I don’t want it to become nothing but a thankful blog. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not my intention for this blog. I mainly want to write posts about parenting and self-development. …

The Many Facets of Grief

Even as I’ve been going through it, even when it has hurt deeply, I’ve felt fascinated by the grief process. Grief doesn’t come in a box marked: “Sad all the time. ” In the first few days after my father’s death, when my sisters, mother and I were together, it’s true we did a lot of crying. But we also …

Giving Thanks, Hurting and Healing

Try not to resist the changes that come your way.  Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come? – Rumi Friday 13th September: Those of you who’ve read any of my recent posts …

Ten Things of Thankful

I have several posts planned for this blog, but they are all in various stages of needing a little more research here or a bit of tweaking there. My writing brain is working at a slightly slower speed than normal, largely due to being more tired than normal. I have read that lack of sleep does this – well I …

Self Compassion by Kristin Neff: a Review

You only need to read a few of the posts on this blog to know that I am not a newbie at self-development. I’ve attended workshops in The Work of Byron Katie, The Sedona Method and Non-Violent Communication. I’ve meditated, and released tension with yoga. Years ago I had several Journeys (à la Brandon Bays.) I’ve also read copious books …

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Let Go of Guilt and Shame

A common theme among mothers is that of guilt. Fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters probably feel guilt too, but mothers seem to be particularly prone to it. I have not been an exception to that. But, I have learned ways to let go of guilt and have come to see that it generally serves little purpose. For me, letting …

Guest Post at I am The Milk

Today one of my articles on the early days after our second daughter was born prematurely is featured on Katia Bishofs blog: I am the Milk.  Katia’s Donate a Post series features blog posts by women who have struggled with infertility or pregnancy loss or other difficulties during pregnancy.  

So Simple a Child Can Teach It

On the Sedona Method 4-in-1 Audio course a woman asks Hale Dwoskin how to introduce The Sedona Method to her kids and he recommends that with children the best thing to do is live it, and that even more than what you do children look at what you’re being.  Hale goes on to say that many parents artificially try to …

Combining The Work and The Sedona Method

As well as continuing to use The Work to inquire into the stressful thoughts and beliefs that come visiting, for  a year or two now, I have also been using The Sedona Method, and because it has become a huge part of my life it seems time to write a post about it. I’ve written before about the difficulties many …

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Conversations With My Father

Recently I wrote about a birth that came too early, that shook me up, left me scattered – and that somehow brought me understanding of things I’d never grasped before. This post is about a death that did the same. It’s a year today since my father died. He’d been in hospital just over two weeks and that day he …

A Celebrity Dies of an Overdose – Should We Care?

When a young mother dies, leaving behind two tiny children, it is sad. When that mother is a celebrity who dies of a heroin overdose, public reaction varies from sadness to condemnation. I don’t normally write about celebrities, but something about the death of Peaches Geldof and the information that has come out during the recent inquest, strikes me as …

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I need them to respect me – is it true?

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a difficult meeting she’d attended, in which she hadn’t felt respected by one man. She considered making a formal complaint about this man, but she felt so angry she couldn’t find the words. As we talked, she began to see that maybe all wasn’t quite as she’d thought.

Let Go of Trying to be Better Than Your Parents

In the days since my father died, I haven’t felt much like blogging. Even if I had, at first there wasn’t time. I was travelling back to be with my family, helping with arrangements for the funeral, helping my mother begin to sort out some of the many things that need sorting, and then travelling home again. Then eventually I …

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Children as Mirrors

One night when my elder daughter was about eighteen months old, she and I were upstairs getting ready for her bath. She wandered out onto the landing and stood on tiptoe peeping over the stair gate. In a sing-song voice she called out, “Jeh-eee!” (My husband’s name is Jerry.) She stood quietly for a few moments, and then she said, …

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Guest Post on RAWrWords: Short story: Seagulls

RAWrWords.com is a new site that started only a few days ago. It is run by Darla Halyk of New World Moms. This is what she says about the site: As the founder of RAWrWords I hope to give writers a safe place to put their heart and soul into words, words that need to be read, words that deserve …

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One Side – A #1000Speak Forgiveness post.

Her eyes dart away, and her legs shake. She walks past him, slouched on the sofa. She looks away again, doesn’t look in his eyes. He grabs her wrist, and looks up. “Please, Shelley, I didn’t mean it. I’m so, so sorry. Forgive me, please.” His voice tails off, his head bows. “Please.” A whisper. She doesn’t look at him. …

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(Un)Helpful Advice For a Quiet Writer (and Some Other Stuff)

I am not exactly the world’s best at self-promoting or of pushing myself forward. It used to be shyness that stopped me, way back in teenage days. Shyness being a term to describe quiet people with noisy minds – minds that chatter away saying: “They won’t like you if you say that.” And, “You’ll look like a fool if you …

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Ebook Giveaway For Charity

Please Help Raise Money for Bone Marrow Cancer Sufferers Today and all weekend right through to Monday, I’m doing something I very rarely do and giving away not just my short stories collection, but my novel as well. I haven’t been struck with fever, but with a desire to commemorate someone very dear to me who died last summer. Today …

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Solace

The words in today’s post are from Drawings in Sand. Stella is by the sea, a place that always soothes her – a place that always soothes me!  She walked through streets of old fishers’ cottages and out to the seafront. A haar hung a few miles offshore. It could roll in before evening, bringing raw damp air. Now, it …

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Free today! “Looking For America” – Stories from Shetland

Ignore the date on the bottom of this post. I’m writing a new introduction for today the 19th of March and it’s my birthday so instead of asking you for gifts, I’m giving you one! I know many of my readers already have my ebook short story collection, Looking For America, but for anyone who doesn’t, it is free all …

A Proper Arrangement (Novel Extract)

In this an extract from Drawings In Sand, Stella is excited to be going out, so excited that in this experimental chapter she forgets to breathe (or at least to punctuate her thoughts!) It wouldn’t be possible to write a long chapter this way, but for a short one it seemed a fun thing to do! Owlies It was Friday …

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Capturing a Moment of Magnificence

Tuesday’s post this week is a delayed Monday post. I’m not quite sure what happened yesterday. The exams were finally over – not my exams, but my daughter’s. So she arrived home at 11.30 after the last one was over, tired, relieved and ready to chatter. And I read blogs, commented, replied to comments. Then wrote some fiction. Made some …

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Solitude and Delight

I’m excited. Drawings In Sand just got another 5 star review. “Literature at its finest,” apparently. Needless to say I am delighted, overwhelmed, thrilled, and a lot of other similar adjectives. For the Creative Buzz Hop this week, the theme is solitude and I’ve chosen to share with you an extract from Drawings in Sand. In this, the main character, …

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His Grandparents’ House (Extract)

This extract is from the story: His Grandparents’ House, found in my short story collection, Looking For America: Short stories from the Shetland Islands The story is about an old crofter (small farmer) and his elderly dog, named Lad, out in the fields during lambing time. The story was inspired by my father, who went on running a croft until …

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Mountains of thanks

Okay, so the title of this post is slightly misleading. When I wrote the title I had expected that by now I’d have photos of gorgeous mountains to show you.  And I sort of do. After all, this is what you get right in the heart of the city where I live.     Okay, it doesn’t all look like that, but …

Respect – and how to get it

We all love when we feel respected. In an ideal world, everyone would respect each other. My wonderful blogger friend Kristi Campbell blogs at Finding Ninee about raising a child who is not typical, but also does not have an official diagnosis of autism or PPD-NOS. Wondering about how the world looks through her son’s eyes, she created the Our …

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Is it okay to post my children’s photos online?

A few days ago some mothers (including me) in a Facebook groups discussed whether we shared our children’s names and photos on our blogs. Some did, some didn’t. When I began this blog several years ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Also I really didn’t know what I was doing. I knew nothing about blogging, except that …

All that makes our blog-hop possible

As I wrote last weekend for the anniversary edition, I like the purpose of the Ten Things of Thankful hop. I like that it encourages people to think about gratitude, that every weekend there are 50 or so posts about gratitude uploaded to the internet. I’ve been reading a book, Fulfilled, by Deirdre Bounds, which reminded me that this state of …

Thankful for Giving and Receiving Support

This is my second attempt at a Ten Things of Thankful post. The first meandered off so much it was going to end up about a million words before I written anything about gratitude. I’ll save those words for another post. Friday 25th would have been my father’s birthday. As many of you know, he died last year. He died of myeloma, a bone …

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Silver Linings Thanks-Book

No cake this week, though there has been another birthday, and a lot of other stuff. Much of it has not been what I’d choose, but there are silver linings – at least in most things. And whatever life gives to us, however much we might fight it or wish it different, life goes on and the sun comes up …

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Chocolate Cake For Breakfast. Thank You

I just ate chocolate cake for breakfast. Yum. Following advice from a herbalist, I am on a no-refined carbs, no dairy diet just now because of a health issue. I haven’t broken that diet. My 14 year old daughter made cup cakes with Rapadura Sugar (which is the whole cane) and whole wheat flower. (Darned autocorrect! I have never once …

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Ten Things of Thankful: First Ever Blogging Award

There’s a saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Generally, it’s the modern equivalent of: “Buck up.” What people who say this forget is that you need other ingredients to make lemonade. Lemons are too bitter on their own: to make lemonade we need sugar, or maybe honey. Saccharine or aspartame don’t work: they taste fake. Life has given …

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Can You Feel Gratitude in the Midst of Chaos? #1000Speak

It seems almost selfish to feel gratitude at a time when the world is reeling from bombings and gun attacks, when forest fires are raging in Indonesia, sending as much carbon dioxide into the air in a week as Germany’s annual emissions and when a dam has burst in Brazil, causing a massive outpouring of sludge that has made its …

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The Man Who Learned to Listen

Two years ago today, my father died. I’ve heard that it takes two years to get over the death of someone you love, but I’ve also heard you never do. What exactly does getting over it mean, anyway? Certainly not that you cease to love the person, or to miss them. Certainly not that you stop thinking about them. It’s …

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Life Is – And that’s enough

Do you ever have the feeling that you are alone in the world? Everyone else is off having some party to which you weren’t invited? They are all more successful than you, have more friends, more fun, more everything? Or, do you sometimes sit alone and imagine millions of other people sitting alone too? Do you wish you could somehow …

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#1000Speak News and Thanks

Whew! I’m thankful that’s over. I’ve spent much of the day doing two things – figuring out how to add a custom domain to the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion blog and messaging with Michelle of Getting Literal as she set up the email sign up form on the Facebook Page. I’m thankful that Michelle is more skilled at using …

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Gratitude, Attitude and a cat

Confession: sometimes I find writing about gratitude really hard. To be even more specific, sometimes I find writing posts for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop really hard. With the Thankful hop, the difficulty is often logistical – because it’s the weekend and I’m busy doing weekendy things with my family or with friends. Other times though, the things …

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Thankful for moments

I’m sitting in departures, ready to fly home after a busy weekend. As if anyone in 1000 Voices Speak or Ten Things of Thankful don’t know that already – Lizzi and I met in real life. We did. The two originators of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion met for the first time on Saturday. We had an absolutely wonderful time. …

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When it’s good not to be good

People tell you that to succeed in life you need to work hard. People tell you that to succeed in life you need to strive for improvement, to develop skills. Work hard. Do your best. There is some truth in that. But you know me, I don’t always believe what people tell me. And honestly, sometimes it’s good not to …

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Conversations With My Father

Recently I wrote about a birth that came too early, that shook me up, left me scattered – and that somehow brought me understanding of things I’d never grasped before. This post is about a death that did the same. It’s a year today since my father died. He’d been in hospital just over two weeks and that day he …

Thankful for machines and love

I am thankful for: Ventilators C-pap machines Oxygen prongs Oxygen masks Oxygen monitors Doctors and nurses who specialise in neo-natal care TPN (total parenteral nutrition) Breast pumps Freezers that stored the milk till she could tolerate it Blood transfusions (7 in total) Doctors Edgar Rey and Hector Martinez of Bogata, Columbia. I have never been to Columbia, and never met …

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Thankful for Connections

Gratitude comes in layers. I’ve written about that before, about how there’s the thankfulness for things, and then the deep thankfulness that is (in my opinion) actually our natural state. For me, the form of gratitude that feels most glorious is the kind that comes from opening to life just as it is, that comes from letting go of old …

A mixed bag of thankfulness

There’s only one week of school left so we’re getting in the holiday mood here. Not that we are going on a grand adventure – we’re just visiting my family up north and later on we’ll take a short trip south. (My husband and I come from opposite ends of the UK.) Still, his leave began today, and suitcases are …

Thankfulness – the Anniversary Edition

The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop is a year old. Happy birthday thankfulness. Of course, a birthday is an anniversary and guess what – it’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow. Nineteen years. It’s compulsory at any celebration to have cake, so here are a few I made earlier: I can even supply the recipe for one of them, the hedgehog …

My Glamorous, Glitzy Life

Hands up if you think being married to a pilot is glamorous. Did you raise yours? In that case I know you aren’t married to one. Most people think this is what we do all the time: Yip, that’s me, in the Maldives. Over twenty years ago, and before kids, but it’s me. We went. It rained nearly all the time, but it …

Gratitude Spreads Gratitude

I have a feeling that gratitude breeds gratitude. The more you feel it, the more it grows. I’m struggling to find the words for this post, because this week has been extraordinary. So I’ll just start at the beginning. Last weekend, to mark what would have been my father’s birthday, both my books were free to download on Kindle, and …

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Thankfulness is a breeze, and sometimes a hurricane

Sometimes thankfulness is barely noticeable, like the lightest of breezes on a hot summer’s day. It’s there, still making my heart beat, still flowing through the me-ness of me. But I don’t notice. I go about my day, taking life and gratitude for granted: picking up a small child, talking with that child – now grown – kissing my husband …

Thankful For A Loss

It’s Mother’s Day here in the UK and after reading Lizzi’s post over at Considerings, I feel inspired to dedicate my Ten Things of Thankful post to motherhood – and to my journey to motherhood. In particular, I want to write about why I am grateful that my journey included miscarriage.  In sharing my story, I do not wish in any way …

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When Writing Won’t Come – A Pig of a Post

So you want to start writing, but you don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you have started, and now you’re having a pig of time? You feel stuck, blocked and can’t come up with another word. Staring at the blank page or screen won’t do it, neither will reading about writing. (Although of course you should read what I write …

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Tips on How to Use Adjectives Effectively in Fiction

 Adjectives are like swear words. The more you use them the less impact they have. Is there a rule of thumb for how often we should use adjectives in a piece of writing? The unhelpful answer is: not really. But let’s think about swearing again. Here’s a piece of purple prose with the adjectives removed and replaced with: “swearword.” (You …

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Find Your Own Writing Process

I’m a member of a few writing groups – all online though in the past I’ve been in some off-line ones too. One topic of conversation that crops up over and over is the writing process. I find the writing process fascinating, and I also find our obsession with it fascinating. In particular, I’ve been thinking lately about that elusive …

The Friday Review: The Economist Style Guide

A book on writing by The Economist magazine may not seem the obvious choice for someone who mainly writes fiction. And yes, I am pretty sure The Economist Style Guide is primarily aimed at writers of articles. Nevertheless, I found it useful. Now in its 10th edition, the book was first published in 1986. Each new edition is updated to …

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The Friday Review: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Although The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has similarities to the books about the writing process that I’ve reviewed so far, it also has significant differences. For Cameron, as well as Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg writing is process of becoming conscious. None of them tell you how to create the perfect plot that will propel you to fame and …

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Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: A Review

At first, Bird by Bird seems a strange title for a book about writing. And, well, yes it is. Possibly if it was about to be published for the first time today its publisher would have demanded a new title, something more search-engine friendly. Thankfully, in 1994, when Anne Lamott’s book first arrived on the shelves of booksellers, the internet …

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Review of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

When my children were younger one of their favourite questions to ask was, “What’s your favourite…?” Colour, animal, type of chocolate, singer, television series that I never watched but they did – it didn’t matter what it was, they wanted to know my favourite. And I’d sit there, saying, “Um… I don’t know. I don’t really have a favourite.” “But …

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How to Edit Your Fiction: Reworking a First Draft

Are You Afraid to Redraft? First, if you feel nervous or resistant to changing your draft, know that’s normal. But it doesn’t mean you should give in to that resistance or fear! Having been in writing groups, and having taught Creative, I’ve seen first drafts from many people.  And guess what? We all tend to make the same sorts of …

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A Question of Perspective

Last year we rearranged our house, and ended up with a spare computer desk. We tried to sell it on Gumtree, but the one person who emailed never turned up. It sat in our living room for several days, and then I wheeled it into the room where I write (a conservatory off the living room.) I thought it might be …

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Jury Service For Absolute Beginners (Sorry.)

This is the second in my Absolute Beginners series. (Being an absolute beginner at “absolute beginners” posts, I had no idea I was going to write a second and can’t promise there will ever be another in this “series.” I can promise this is just as informative as the first.) I had jury service this week. I sort of couldn’t …

Scottish Politics for Absolute Beginners

[I originally wrote this post on the eve of 2015’s General Election, which was for the UK parliament, but since it’s been getting a bit of traffic over the last few days (probably due to Scottish Parliament elections) I’ve made a couple of updates.] In Scotland, everyone is a Tory. In Scotland, everyone hates the Tories. (Maybe that means we all …

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This Post is a Waste of Time (or maybe not)

here is a saying that you teach what you need to know. I often write about ways to get beyond writer’s block. Guess why? Actually, it’s because I want to pass on my awesomeness to you. I’m super-uper-duper at writing fast and furious without a moment’s hesitation. I get out of bed at 5 am every morning and I’m at …

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When Writing Won’t Come – A Pig of a Post

So you want to start writing, but you don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you have started, and now you’re having a pig of time? You feel stuck, blocked and can’t come up with another word. Staring at the blank page or screen won’t do it, neither will reading about writing. (Although of course you should read what I write …

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New Lucrative Genre of Fiction

A while ago, “experts” predicted that novels set at the school gates were about to become the next big thing. The main idea behind these novels is that women meet at the school gates, get coerced onto committees (or bully others onto committees.) And everyone worries about what everyone else thinks of them. The launch of Hive by Gill Hornby …

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Busting myths: you get what you focus on

This is the first in a series of posts aimed at demystifying spiritual jargon, debunking myths about the Law of Attraction, and helping people see through beliefs we use to torture ourselves. I am not an “enlightened being,” but I have been questioning thoughts and releasing feelings for many years so I do see through stories that some people might …

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I need them to respect me – is it true?

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a difficult meeting she’d attended, in which she hadn’t felt respected by one man. She considered making a formal complaint about this man, but she felt so angry she couldn’t find the words. As we talked, she began to see that maybe all wasn’t quite as she’d thought.

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My Child Should be Different – is that true?

A few days ago Katia, who blogs at iamthemilk, wrote a post after noticing how polite her young son is with other kids. She expressed concern that in putting the need for acceptance first, he would surrender control over his feelings to others. I could understand Katia’s feelings, having felt that way about one of my daughters many times. What …

People Shouldn’t Judge – is that true?

This blog began life as a way to record my experience as a mother using The Work of Byron Katie to inquire into stressful thoughts – hence the title Inquiring Parent! (What – you thought it meant I rang up supermarkets to inquire about the price of butter, or inquired about the kiddie facilities in my area?) Anyway, life moved …

Teenagers are Difficult: Is That True?

Since last summer I have been mother to two teenagers. We have our moments. But then, with teenagers, who doesn’t? That’s pretty much what you’d expect the mother of a teenager to say, isn’t it? If you’re not too keen on teenagers you might roll your eyes and say that they are selfish layabouts and the only good thing about …

Inquiry: Children spend too much time at computers and watching TV – is it true?

Most parents seem to believe some version of this, and I certainly have my moments. But a few things have led me to wonder about this recently. First of all, if a  belief causes me stress (and this one definitely does) then it’s worth investigating. And secondly, someone told me recently about a woman who is now in her eighties, and …

Inquiry: Parents should always be consistent – Is it true?

I haven’t updated this blog for a long time for several reasons. First of all, over at HubPages, where I write as Melovy, I have been busy learning how to better optimize my writing for search engines. Meanwhile my kids have been growing into teenagers and they are not so keen to share the foibles of our family life. I believe …

Combining The Work and The Sedona Method

As well as continuing to use The Work to inquire into the stressful thoughts and beliefs that come visiting, for  a year or two now, I have also been using The Sedona Method, and because it has become a huge part of my life it seems time to write a post about it. I’ve written before about the difficulties many …

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Judging a Book by Its Cover

That familiar saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” has had its day. Everyone judges books by their covers now, so it seems. According to Book Baby your book cover is the most important part of your book. That’s kinda a shock to those of us who spent years, years and years completing our first novels. You mean what’s …

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How Can We Overcome Stigma About Indie Books?

Once upon a time the only people who went it alone in publishing were those whose books would never get a publisher. Their books were of little interest to anyone except the author and their Great Aunt Mabel, proud parents and less proud teenage kids. The self-publishing author forked out hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds or dollars, handing it …

When Did “Daddy” Become a Dirty Word?

The darker side of e-book publishing The meaning of Daddy, you would think, is pretty clear. If you were to go onto any on-line bookstore, you might expect that a search in the books section for “daddy” would bring up titles such as I Love My Daddy by Sebastian Braun or Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz. Kiddies’ books.And yes, when …

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Editing a Self-Published Novel

photo: imagery majestic/freedigital photos  One advantage that authors who go to the traditional route have over those of us leap into the  independent unknown is  an editor. Without one of these, we have to either be extremely detached when doing our own revision, or find some other people to help us see the flaws in our work. Because, as one …

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These Are My Roots

9th Century AD A ship pitches on heavy seas, swinging to avoid rocks. The thunderous rain and wind matches the fury of the ship’s crew. Norse men set upon each other, and one tumbles into the ocean, sinking beneath rolling waves. As the ship lurches forward without him, a wave tosses him upwards, sending him crashing towards land. He grabs …

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Where is Home?

Where is home? “How long are you home for?” I’ve heard this question many times, every year, sometimes several times a year, for decades. It always causes me to pause, to wonder. I grew up on an island in the far north of the UK. On it, we had the most northerly house, beach and post office. We had long …

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The Ugly Ones

He stopped by my desk. I held my breath, and kept my head down. He strode on, and his big black stick thudded onto the desk of in front of me. The girl stood up and muttered. “I don’t know, sir.” She remained standing, stooped over her desk, her legs bent and trembling. The stick thumped onto my desk. I …

The Light in Her Eyes

“You’ll be hoping to have her home for Christmas.” Those words still have the power to bring tears to my eyes, fifteen years on.  In heat of July, a scan suggested our new baby would be a girl. She was due in November, so  my husband booked time off from work with her delivery date in mind. In the grey, …

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Aftermath of the Attack

This is the sixth post in a series about the time when, as a teenager, I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the earlier posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son, The Knife, The Rope, and Breaking Free and Breaking Down. Do read them first and then come back!    That night, I couldn’t bear …

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Breaking Free and Breaking Down

This is the fifth post in a series about a time from my teens when I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the first three posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son, The Knife and The Rope.  Do read them first and then come back!  It is so dark in this empty street, with deserted …

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The Rope

This is the fourth post in a series about a time from my teens when I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the first three posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son and The Knife. Do read them first and then come back!  I was quiet and sensitive as a child. To escape from the world, …

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The Knife

 This post is the third in a series about a dangerous situation from my teens. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you start by reading the first two posts, How I Got Drawn In   and A Minister’s Son. The knife he is holding is pointed at me. “Don’t try anything,” he says. “This is crazy,” I say, hoping …

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A Minister’s Son

 This post is the second in a series about an incident that happened in my teens. If you haven’t already read it, I suggest you read the first post, How I Got Drawn In  before reading this one. It seems wrong not to trust him. His father is a minister, his older sister is my sister’s friend, and his younger …

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How I Got Drawn In

It begins in a dance hall, dark and noisy, with dancers packed so closely that elbows and feet collide.  On this island, the dancing begins when the pubs close at ten, and ends at midnight when Sunday begins. Two girls are dancing with two young men. I am of the girls, out on a late pass from the school where …

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When Someone You Love is Suffering – Be Real

A person I love works hard, against difficult odds, to achieve a goal. It doesn’t happen. This person feels disappointment. I feel it too, and regret: perhaps if I’d followed up on an idea I had months ago the odds could have been reduced, this sadness prevented. I allowed others to dissuade me, wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure, and …

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I am who I am because…

More and more these days, I’m not sure who I am. I don’t mean I’ve forgotten the name written on my birth certificate (not even the middle name I’d rather forget.) I even (usually) manage to remember that I have another name for the Health Services – the same surname as my husband and kids, which I never use for anything …

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Dear Inner Tyrant…

Dear Inner Tyrant, Your tactics don’t work. I realise you are trying to help me, that you hope by pointing out my mistakes and short-comings I will be able to correct them. But it just doesn’t work. All it does is leave me feeling inadequate and hopeless. You’ve been criticising me for over fifty years, so don’t you think that if …

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Can Mindfulness Be Harmful?

It was bound to happen. When everyone from recipe box delivery companies to knitting retreats are proclaiming themselves to be mindful and when government ministers are urging the rest of us to be (though perhaps not taking their own advice), eventually there had to be a backlash. Earlier this year, the Guardian ran an article Is mindfulness making us ill? …

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I wonder why I write…

Sometimes, I’ve noticed a niggling thought lurking in my mind: “I’m not good enough.” Mostly, in the last few years at least, I haven’t given in to the thought. Instead, I have taken it out into the open, let it have its say and then let it go. Logically, I knew it wasn’t true. Logically, I knew I was as …

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Thoughts About Thoughts

Do your thoughts make you who you are? Sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes when I have thoughts I deem “good,” whether they are wise, kind or clever, I feel good. When I have thoughts that seem unkind, selfish or ignorant, I don’t so feel great. Those thoughts come with another one: “You are unkind, selfish, ignorant. Stupid.” Then, it …

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Write Out The Heart – Review and Special Offer

Write Out the Heart is a program Fiona Moore developed after joining 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and seeing that writers often felt self-doubt. For over two decades, Fiona has worked with many creative people, helping them to release blocks to creativity and to “express their authentic self, and make difference with their lives.” Write Out The Heart takes what …

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What Does Happiness Have To Do With Compassion? a #1000Speak post

20 March is 1000 Voices Link-up day. It’s also International Day of Happiness, so this month its seems a great idea to write about the connection between compassion and happiness. What does happiness have to do with compassion? Um… everything. The more compassion we feel, the more likely we are to feel happy. You don’t have to take my word …

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A Question of Perspective

Last year we rearranged our house, and ended up with a spare computer desk. We tried to sell it on Gumtree, but the one person who emailed never turned up. It sat in our living room for several days, and then I wheeled it into the room where I write (a conservatory off the living room.) I thought it might be …

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These Are My Roots

9th Century AD A ship pitches on heavy seas, swinging to avoid rocks. The thunderous rain and wind matches the fury of the ship’s crew. Norse men set upon each other, and one tumbles into the ocean, sinking beneath rolling waves. As the ship lurches forward without him, a wave tosses him upwards, sending him crashing towards land. He grabs …

View Post

Where is Home?

Where is home? “How long are you home for?” I’ve heard this question many times, every year, sometimes several times a year, for decades. It always causes me to pause, to wonder. I grew up on an island in the far north of the UK. On it, we had the most northerly house, beach and post office. We had long …

The Light in Her Eyes

“You’ll be hoping to have her home for Christmas.” Those words still have the power to bring tears to my eyes, fifteen years on.  In heat of July, a scan suggested our new baby would be a girl. She was due in November, so  my husband booked time off from work with her delivery date in mind. In the grey, …

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The amazing, healing power of holding

The lift doors lurched open and I stumbled out. The posters on the board opposite were different to those I’d seen last time. That meant I was on the wrong floor. I pressed the lift button again, and waited. It wasn’t fear I felt. Something more than fear made my legs feel shaky, my throat sore, my stomach in knots. …

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Aftermath of the Attack

This is the sixth post in a series about the time when, as a teenager, I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the earlier posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son, The Knife, The Rope, and Breaking Free and Breaking Down. Do read them first and then come back!    That night, I couldn’t bear …

View Post

Breaking Free and Breaking Down

This is the fifth post in a series about a time from my teens when I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the first three posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son, The Knife and The Rope.  Do read them first and then come back!  It is so dark in this empty street, with deserted …

View Post

The Rope

This is the fourth post in a series about a time from my teens when I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the first three posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son and The Knife. Do read them first and then come back!  I was quiet and sensitive as a child. To escape from the world, …

View Post

The Knife

 This post is the third in a series about a dangerous situation from my teens. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you start by reading the first two posts, How I Got Drawn In   and A Minister’s Son. The knife he is holding is pointed at me. “Don’t try anything,” he says. “This is crazy,” I say, hoping …

View Post

A Minister’s Son

 This post is the second in a series about an incident that happened in my teens. If you haven’t already read it, I suggest you read the first post, How I Got Drawn In  before reading this one. It seems wrong not to trust him. His father is a minister, his older sister is my sister’s friend, and his younger …

View Post

How I Got Drawn In

It begins in a dance hall, dark and noisy, with dancers packed so closely that elbows and feet collide.  On this island, the dancing begins when the pubs close at ten, and ends at midnight when Sunday begins. Two girls are dancing with two young men. I am of the girls, out on a late pass from the school where …

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Solace

The words in today’s post are from Drawings in Sand. Stella is by the sea, a place that always soothes her – a place that always soothes me!  She walked through streets of old fishers’ cottages and out to the seafront. A haar hung a few miles offshore. It could roll in before evening, bringing raw damp air. Now, it …

A Proper Arrangement (Novel Extract)

In this an extract from Drawings In Sand, Stella is excited to be going out, so excited that in this experimental chapter she forgets to breathe (or at least to punctuate her thoughts!) It wouldn’t be possible to write a long chapter this way, but for a short one it seemed a fun thing to do! Owlies It was Friday …

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Solitude and Delight

I’m excited. Drawings In Sand just got another 5 star review. “Literature at its finest,” apparently. Needless to say I am delighted, overwhelmed, thrilled, and a lot of other similar adjectives. For the Creative Buzz Hop this week, the theme is solitude and I’ve chosen to share with you an extract from Drawings in Sand. In this, the main character, …

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Write Out The Heart – Review and Special Offer

Write Out the Heart is a program Fiona Moore developed after joining 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and seeing that writers often felt self-doubt. For over two decades, Fiona has worked with many creative people, helping them to release blocks to creativity and to “express their authentic self, and make difference with their lives.” Write Out The Heart takes what …

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This Post is a Waste of Time (or maybe not)

here is a saying that you teach what you need to know. I often write about ways to get beyond writer’s block. Guess why? Actually, it’s because I want to pass on my awesomeness to you. I’m super-uper-duper at writing fast and furious without a moment’s hesitation. I get out of bed at 5 am every morning and I’m at …

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What’s Your Writer’s Scaffolding?

I’ve been editing a story I wrote years ago. I liked the story, but editors didn’t. I tried to figure out what was wrong with it, cut stuff out and tried again. More rejections, so I gave up. A long time later, I opened up the various versions (some in formats so old that Word didn’t recognise them and I …

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The Friday Review: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Although The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has similarities to the books about the writing process that I’ve reviewed so far, it also has significant differences. For Cameron, as well as Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg writing is process of becoming conscious. None of them tell you how to create the perfect plot that will propel you to fame and …

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The No-Na-No diary: This Moment is All We Have

I’m not sure if this is part of my No-Na-No diary, or just some random thoughts –  but here goes. I am so, so pleased to have taken the pressure of myself and decided not to force words that don’t need to come. The last two days I have carried on working on the novel I began for NaNoWriMo, at …

Lessons in Writing From a Mouse

This mouse is my new guru. I came across it on Facebook and it has had me captivated for days, helped me rethink my approach to novel writing and reminded me of what’s important in life. I’ve already shared this video on Facebook and included it in a post on my other blog, but this time it’s getting a post …

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NaNoWriMo Diary. Putting Pen to Paper.

I’ve started. It’s only the 2nd of November and I have written 170 words so far of this year’s NaNoWriMo novel. Last year I didn’t bother at all, and the year before that the month was halfway through before I put pen to paper. Or, more accurately, before I tapped the keyboard and formed some words on a – what …

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Is it Writer’s Block or a Writing Break?

Sometimes when a writer hasn’t written much for a while he or she can feel stuck, unable to write, convinced no words will every flow from the pen or keyboard again. This feeling of being stuck is so common that we have the extremely familiar term “writer’s block.” Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of books have been written about how to …

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7 Ways To Help You Write When You Feel Depressed

My first daughter was six months old when I began studying for an MA in Creative Writing. I wrote in snatches when she slept – which wasn’t often – and I was often exhausted. Towards the end of the second term, I was pregnant again. I was allowed an intermission and also planned to find a  babysitter for our older daughter for when the intermission …

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Why Do I Write? Why Do You Write?

There’s something about seeing someone you love stare death in the face and voice regrets that leads to pondering life’s big questions. At least, there’s something about my father nearing the end of his life and talking about his regrets that has got me thinking deeply.Isn’t it strange how much we dwell on what we think we’ve done wrong, on …

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Make Friends With Your Inner Bully

“People who feel shame and self-judgement are more likely to blame others for their moral failures.” So says, Kristin Neff in her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. Neff is a professor at the University of Texas, and has spent over a decade studying the effects of having or not having self-compassion. She says that anger …

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Conversations With My Father

Recently I wrote about a birth that came too early, that shook me up, left me scattered – and that somehow brought me understanding of things I’d never grasped before. This post is about a death that did the same. It’s a year today since my father died. He’d been in hospital just over two weeks and that day he …

Thankful for machines and love

I am thankful for: Ventilators C-pap machines Oxygen prongs Oxygen masks Oxygen monitors Doctors and nurses who specialise in neo-natal care TPN (total parenteral nutrition) Breast pumps Freezers that stored the milk till she could tolerate it Blood transfusions (7 in total) Doctors Edgar Rey and Hector Martinez of Bogata, Columbia. I have never been to Columbia, and never met …

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2 Picture Books to Introduce Mindfulness to Kids

Why introduce mindfulness to kids? If you already have a mindfulness practice – whether it is meditation, mindful inquiry, releasing or all three – at some point you may feel you’d like to introduce your children to your practices. With mindfulness we learn acceptance of feelings and thoughts that are often judged, punished and suppressed in Western culture. This releases …

A Celebrity Dies of an Overdose – Should We Care?

When a young mother dies, leaving behind two tiny children, it is sad. When that mother is a celebrity who dies of a heroin overdose, public reaction varies from sadness to condemnation. I don’t normally write about celebrities, but something about the death of Peaches Geldof and the information that has come out during the recent inquest, strikes me as …

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I need them to respect me – is it true?

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a difficult meeting she’d attended, in which she hadn’t felt respected by one man. She considered making a formal complaint about this man, but she felt so angry she couldn’t find the words. As we talked, she began to see that maybe all wasn’t quite as she’d thought.

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Thankfulness is a breeze, and sometimes a hurricane

Sometimes thankfulness is barely noticeable, like the lightest of breezes on a hot summer’s day. It’s there, still making my heart beat, still flowing through the me-ness of me. But I don’t notice. I go about my day, taking life and gratitude for granted: picking up a small child, talking with that child – now grown – kissing my husband …

Let Go of Trying to be Better Than Your Parents

In the days since my father died, I haven’t felt much like blogging. Even if I had, at first there wasn’t time. I was travelling back to be with my family, helping with arrangements for the funeral, helping my mother begin to sort out some of the many things that need sorting, and then travelling home again. Then eventually I …

Self Compassion by Kristin Neff: a Review

You only need to read a few of the posts on this blog to know that I am not a newbie at self-development. I’ve attended workshops in The Work of Byron Katie, The Sedona Method and Non-Violent Communication. I’ve meditated, and released tension with yoga. Years ago I had several Journeys (à la Brandon Bays.) I’ve also read copious books …

Teenagers are Difficult: Is That True?

Since last summer I have been mother to two teenagers. We have our moments. But then, with teenagers, who doesn’t? That’s pretty much what you’d expect the mother of a teenager to say, isn’t it? If you’re not too keen on teenagers you might roll your eyes and say that they are selfish layabouts and the only good thing about …

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Thankfulness is a breeze, and sometimes a hurricane

Sometimes thankfulness is barely noticeable, like the lightest of breezes on a hot summer’s day. It’s there, still making my heart beat, still flowing through the me-ness of me. But I don’t notice. I go about my day, taking life and gratitude for granted: picking up a small child, talking with that child – now grown – kissing my husband …

Teenagers are Difficult: Is That True?

Since last summer I have been mother to two teenagers. We have our moments. But then, with teenagers, who doesn’t? That’s pretty much what you’d expect the mother of a teenager to say, isn’t it? If you’re not too keen on teenagers you might roll your eyes and say that they are selfish layabouts and the only good thing about …

Inquiry: Children spend too much time at computers and watching TV – is it true?

Most parents seem to believe some version of this, and I certainly have my moments. But a few things have led me to wonder about this recently. First of all, if a  belief causes me stress (and this one definitely does) then it’s worth investigating. And secondly, someone told me recently about a woman who is now in her eighties, and …

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Where do we go from here?

I strive to write balanced posts whenever I venture into politics. I tiptoe cautiously, aware that kindness comes in all political colours and so does bigotry and self-centredness. I strive to have compassion for all, not just those who see the world through the same political lens that I do. But yesterday, I cried. Our general election results will almost …

Scottish Politics for Absolute Beginners

[I originally wrote this post on the eve of 2015’s General Election, which was for the UK parliament, but since it’s been getting a bit of traffic over the last few days (probably due to Scottish Parliament elections) I’ve made a couple of updates.] In Scotland, everyone is a Tory. In Scotland, everyone hates the Tories. (Maybe that means we all …

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Is Mental Health really a Priority for Politicians?

“1 in 4 people have a mental health problem. I want the NHS to work for people with a broken spirit as much as those with broken bones.” Those words belong to Jim Murphy, leader of the Scottish Labour party, speaking at the televised Leaders’ Debate – Scotland.  He went on to say that we need to remove the stigma …

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The Referendum is About People, About Lives

In last few hours before the referendum takes place, I notice that I am on the “opposite side” to many of my friends, and on the same as many others. 
After being sure and then undecided and then researching everything I could, I became sure again. This happened when a leaflet came through my door with words I could relate …

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Racism and the Scottish Referendum

In the run-up to the referendum,  a lot has been written about anti-English feeling among some Scots. This has taken a number of forms, including Alistair Gray’s (and others) comments about “settlers,” incidents of verbal abuse during campaigning and rants against “Westminster.” However, another type of racism has barely been mentioned in referendum coverage. It is the racism by white …

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When Campaigning Turns Ugly

Why do you (in effect) support the UK-US military-industrial complex, which has killed many hundreds of thousands of innocents around the world, both directly and indirectly (which I can detail for you, if necessary)? We have an opportunity to weaken this entity considerably. On Saturday morning I found the above comment on a link to my last blog post (which …

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Solace

The words in today’s post are from Drawings in Sand. Stella is by the sea, a place that always soothes her – a place that always soothes me!  She walked through streets of old fishers’ cottages and out to the seafront. A haar hung a few miles offshore. It could roll in before evening, bringing raw damp air. Now, it …

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Aftermath of the Attack

This is the sixth post in a series about the time when, as a teenager, I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the earlier posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son, The Knife, The Rope, and Breaking Free and Breaking Down. Do read them first and then come back!    That night, I couldn’t bear …

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Breaking Free and Breaking Down

This is the fifth post in a series about a time from my teens when I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the first three posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son, The Knife and The Rope.  Do read them first and then come back!  It is so dark in this empty street, with deserted …

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The Rope

This is the fourth post in a series about a time from my teens when I was held hostage. If you’ve missed the first three posts, here they are: How I Got Drawn In,  A Minister’s Son and The Knife. Do read them first and then come back!  I was quiet and sensitive as a child. To escape from the world, …

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The Knife

 This post is the third in a series about a dangerous situation from my teens. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you start by reading the first two posts, How I Got Drawn In   and A Minister’s Son. The knife he is holding is pointed at me. “Don’t try anything,” he says. “This is crazy,” I say, hoping …

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A Minister’s Son

 This post is the second in a series about an incident that happened in my teens. If you haven’t already read it, I suggest you read the first post, How I Got Drawn In  before reading this one. It seems wrong not to trust him. His father is a minister, his older sister is my sister’s friend, and his younger …

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How I Got Drawn In

It begins in a dance hall, dark and noisy, with dancers packed so closely that elbows and feet collide.  On this island, the dancing begins when the pubs close at ten, and ends at midnight when Sunday begins. Two girls are dancing with two young men. I am of the girls, out on a late pass from the school where …

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I wonder why I write…

Sometimes, I’ve noticed a niggling thought lurking in my mind: “I’m not good enough.” Mostly, in the last few years at least, I haven’t given in to the thought. Instead, I have taken it out into the open, let it have its say and then let it go. Logically, I knew it wasn’t true. Logically, I knew I was as …

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Why Writers Write

Way back last summer, Kenya Johnson tagged me in an Author Blog Tour, where authors share their writing process. Then Susan Zutautas tagged me in another tour, asking why I write. I wrote a post combining the how and why, but for myriad reasons, I never got round to publishing. Now I’ve been tagged yet again. This time, Heather and …

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The Loneliness of the Genreless Writer

 live in a house of sci-fi fiends. As I write this, everyone else – yes even the cats – is glued to Agents of Shield. The tropical fish have stopped swimming in circles and now stare out towards the blue glow of the television. Their little mouths open and close in shock at the revelation that the good guy is …

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Changes and Things to Come

For a while now, most Fridays I’ve been posting reviews of books in some way related to the writing process or that I think writers will find interesting for their techniques or expertise – like Anne Tyler’s The Beginner’s Goodbye.  I was going to post a review today, but I’m holding it over to next week, because it’s going to …

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Find Your Own Writing Process

I’m a member of a few writing groups – all online though in the past I’ve been in some off-line ones too. One topic of conversation that crops up over and over is the writing process. I find the writing process fascinating, and I also find our obsession with it fascinating. In particular, I’ve been thinking lately about that elusive …

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Who Writes Your Stories?

Many times, I have sat down to write with a plan in my head of how an article or novel chapter should be, and when I’ve finished writing it is something very different to what I’d imagined. Writers talk about this frequently. Fiction writers often say that a character wouldn’t do what they wanted, or that the characters took over …

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The No-Na-No diary: This Moment is All We Have

I’m not sure if this is part of my No-Na-No diary, or just some random thoughts –  but here goes. I am so, so pleased to have taken the pressure of myself and decided not to force words that don’t need to come. The last two days I have carried on working on the novel I began for NaNoWriMo, at …

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NaNoWriMo Diary Continued… (or maybe the No-NaNo diary)

Okay, I know that technically a diary is  something you write in every day. I should probably have called this a journal instead. And since I’m way behind, here’s a few entries all at once:  Tuesday: wrote 600 words today,  falling further behind. Now expected to finish April 2014.Wednesday: 150 words. Crawling now. Expected to finish May 2014Thursday:  2050 words, …

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7 Ways To Help You Write When You Feel Depressed

My first daughter was six months old when I began studying for an MA in Creative Writing. I wrote in snatches when she slept – which wasn’t often – and I was often exhausted. Towards the end of the second term, I was pregnant again. I was allowed an intermission and also planned to find a  babysitter for our older daughter for when the intermission …

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Why Do I Write? Why Do You Write?

There’s something about seeing someone you love stare death in the face and voice regrets that leads to pondering life’s big questions. At least, there’s something about my father nearing the end of his life and talking about his regrets that has got me thinking deeply.Isn’t it strange how much we dwell on what we think we’ve done wrong, on …

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What Self-Compassion Isn’t (and What It Is) #1000Speak

Self-Compassion is not Self-Indulgence Tweet Sometimes people are afraid to be compassionate with themselves because they think this means they will be self-indulgent. But it’s not the same thing. Think of compassion in the way Buddhists use it, as “loving kindness” and it might be easier to see that self-compassion has nothing to do with indulgence. If you are trying …

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It’s Okay To Be You – a #1000Speak post

I was a shy teenager, particularly around boys. If one of those scary creatures looked at me, I went red, even though I knew he would actually be looking beyond me to the gorgeous blonde girl or bubbly chatterbox behind. If there was nobody behind me – then he’d made a mistake and for a moment thought I was someone …

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Self Compassion – Does it Work?

Although this post was one I wrote a while ago, its message is entirely relevant to 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, so I’m republishing it for today. It’s a little over a year since I read Kristin Neff’s book Self Compassion and the topic seems to keep cropping up everywhere – in conversations with other bloggers, and just in life in general. …

Self Compassion by Kristin Neff: a Review

You only need to read a few of the posts on this blog to know that I am not a newbie at self-development. I’ve attended workshops in The Work of Byron Katie, The Sedona Method and Non-Violent Communication. I’ve meditated, and released tension with yoga. Years ago I had several Journeys (à la Brandon Bays.) I’ve also read copious books …

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Guest Post on RAWrWords: Short story: Seagulls

RAWrWords.com is a new site that started only a few days ago. It is run by Darla Halyk of New World Moms. This is what she says about the site: As the founder of RAWrWords I hope to give writers a safe place to put their heart and soul into words, words that need to be read, words that deserve …

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One Side – A #1000Speak Forgiveness post.

Her eyes dart away, and her legs shake. She walks past him, slouched on the sofa. She looks away again, doesn’t look in his eyes. He grabs her wrist, and looks up. “Please, Shelley, I didn’t mean it. I’m so, so sorry. Forgive me, please.” His voice tails off, his head bows. “Please.” A whisper. She doesn’t look at him. …

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(Un)Helpful Advice For a Quiet Writer (and Some Other Stuff)

I am not exactly the world’s best at self-promoting or of pushing myself forward. It used to be shyness that stopped me, way back in teenage days. Shyness being a term to describe quiet people with noisy minds – minds that chatter away saying: “They won’t like you if you say that.” And, “You’ll look like a fool if you …

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Free today! “Looking For America” – Stories from Shetland

Ignore the date on the bottom of this post. I’m writing a new introduction for today the 19th of March and it’s my birthday so instead of asking you for gifts, I’m giving you one! I know many of my readers already have my ebook short story collection, Looking For America, but for anyone who doesn’t, it is free all …

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His Grandparents’ House (Extract)

This extract is from the story: His Grandparents’ House, found in my short story collection, Looking For America: Short stories from the Shetland Islands The story is about an old crofter (small farmer) and his elderly dog, named Lad, out in the fields during lambing time. The story was inspired by my father, who went on running a croft until …

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A Man Who Inspired

My lovely father died 12 days ago. As I mentioned in my last post, he had cancer for several years and we knew the end was near.  Yet when it came, it was sudden and a shock. In fact, we had been expecting him to go home from hospital that day or the next and to have a few more …

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I will not look away

When I close my eyes, I see a world where we love each other, where tolerance and respect win out over anger and hatred. I see a world where everyone has enough to eat, where every adult has fulfilling employment and every child has the education they need. I see a world where everyone has a home. When I close …

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How Do You Fight Hate? #1000Speak

She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisionous. Brendan Cox, widower of Jo Cox, the Labour MP murdered last Thursday. How do …

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Facing the Pain Head On

Until last Monday, if I thought about Stanford University it was as the venue of the infamous Stanford Prison experiment, in which Professor Philip Zimbardo and his team recruited students to act as “prisoners” and “guards.” The plan was for the experiment to last for two weeks but it ended after just six days because of cruelty by the guards …

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Gifts From the Homeless – a #1000Speak post

Sunday morning, late 2002, York, UK. With my husband and two small children, I stroll through cobbled streets, passing a medieval tower, and a Gothic cathedral. Intricately decorated walls grab our attention, until the children tug our hands. “We want to see the trains!” Our four-year-old stops every now and then to admire pretty things: weeds growing out of ancient …

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What if?

What if? What if we stopped seeing success as material wealth? What would that look like? Would the beggar you passed yesterday be more or less successful than the film or pop star who died this year or last of a drug or alcohol overdose? Would the woman picking tea on the foothills of the Himalayas be more or less …

Where do we go from here?

I strive to write balanced posts whenever I venture into politics. I tiptoe cautiously, aware that kindness comes in all political colours and so does bigotry and self-centredness. I strive to have compassion for all, not just those who see the world through the same political lens that I do. But yesterday, I cried. Our general election results will almost …

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We Meet in Emotions

Saturday would have been my father’s birthday. Would have been: in those three words you know something of how I felt yesterday and feel today. As you read my opening sentence, you probably remembered the people who have gone from your life, and whose leaving still causes you, at times, to feel a lump in your throat and prickling behind …

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Is Mental Health really a Priority for Politicians?

“1 in 4 people have a mental health problem. I want the NHS to work for people with a broken spirit as much as those with broken bones.” Those words belong to Jim Murphy, leader of the Scottish Labour party, speaking at the televised Leaders’ Debate – Scotland.  He went on to say that we need to remove the stigma …

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Make Friends With Your Inner Bully

“People who feel shame and self-judgement are more likely to blame others for their moral failures.” So says, Kristin Neff in her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. Neff is a professor at the University of Texas, and has spent over a decade studying the effects of having or not having self-compassion. She says that anger …

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Thanks for this? Yes, really.

When I was seventeen a young man threatened me at knife point, tied me up and held me hostage. He was the ex-boyfriend of my friend and he figured this action would somehow get her back. (I know, I know – and yes, I did point out that even if she came running she wasn’t likely to stay. My logical …

Giving Thanks, Hurting and Healing

Try not to resist the changes that come your way.  Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come? – Rumi Friday 13th September: Those of you who’ve read any of my recent posts …

Let Go of Trying to be Better Than Your Parents

In the days since my father died, I haven’t felt much like blogging. Even if I had, at first there wasn’t time. I was travelling back to be with my family, helping with arrangements for the funeral, helping my mother begin to sort out some of the many things that need sorting, and then travelling home again. Then eventually I …

Teenagers are Difficult: Is That True?

Since last summer I have been mother to two teenagers. We have our moments. But then, with teenagers, who doesn’t? That’s pretty much what you’d expect the mother of a teenager to say, isn’t it? If you’re not too keen on teenagers you might roll your eyes and say that they are selfish layabouts and the only good thing about …

Inquiry: Children spend too much time at computers and watching TV – is it true?

Most parents seem to believe some version of this, and I certainly have my moments. But a few things have led me to wonder about this recently. First of all, if a  belief causes me stress (and this one definitely does) then it’s worth investigating. And secondly, someone told me recently about a woman who is now in her eighties, and …

Gratitude and Guilt

Since you’re reading this there’s a good chance you also read personal development blogs and books. If so, you will probably have read that feeling gratitude is essential to finding happiness. It makes sense: there is nothing quite so joyful as feeling waves of gratitude pass through you, and there is little more painful than feeling consumed by resentment. One way …

Are We Ill At Ease With Illness?

The girls have both been ill lately, and one or the other has been off school for weeks, which is largely the reason it’s taken me so long to post.  I find it fascinating to notice the mass of contradictory beliefs in society, and in me, connected to illness. Western cultures seem to believe that we have to fight illnesses, …

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A Question of Perspective

Last year we rearranged our house, and ended up with a spare computer desk. We tried to sell it on Gumtree, but the one person who emailed never turned up. It sat in our living room for several days, and then I wheeled it into the room where I write (a conservatory off the living room.) I thought it might be …

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Jury Service For Absolute Beginners (Sorry.)

This is the second in my Absolute Beginners series. (Being an absolute beginner at “absolute beginners” posts, I had no idea I was going to write a second and can’t promise there will ever be another in this “series.” I can promise this is just as informative as the first.) I had jury service this week. I sort of couldn’t …

Scottish Politics for Absolute Beginners

[I originally wrote this post on the eve of 2015’s General Election, which was for the UK parliament, but since it’s been getting a bit of traffic over the last few days (probably due to Scottish Parliament elections) I’ve made a couple of updates.] In Scotland, everyone is a Tory. In Scotland, everyone hates the Tories. (Maybe that means we all …

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This Post is a Waste of Time (or maybe not)

here is a saying that you teach what you need to know. I often write about ways to get beyond writer’s block. Guess why? Actually, it’s because I want to pass on my awesomeness to you. I’m super-uper-duper at writing fast and furious without a moment’s hesitation. I get out of bed at 5 am every morning and I’m at …

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When Writing Won’t Come – A Pig of a Post

So you want to start writing, but you don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you have started, and now you’re having a pig of time? You feel stuck, blocked and can’t come up with another word. Staring at the blank page or screen won’t do it, neither will reading about writing. (Although of course you should read what I write …

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New Lucrative Genre of Fiction

A while ago, “experts” predicted that novels set at the school gates were about to become the next big thing. The main idea behind these novels is that women meet at the school gates, get coerced onto committees (or bully others onto committees.) And everyone worries about what everyone else thinks of them. The launch of Hive by Gill Hornby …

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How Ambiverts Can Recharge When Life Gets Busy

ome people thrive on interaction with other people. It makes them feel more energised and alive. They’re extroverts! Others, including many writers, feel exhausted and anxious in large gatherings. And by large gathering I mean, oh, maybe three people. They are – of course – introverts. Introverts get their energy from time spent alone. The classic idea of writers is …

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Judging a Book by Its Cover

That familiar saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” has had its day. Everyone judges books by their covers now, so it seems. According to Book Baby your book cover is the most important part of your book. That’s kinda a shock to those of us who spent years, years and years completing our first novels. You mean what’s …

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How Can We Overcome Stigma About Indie Books?

Once upon a time the only people who went it alone in publishing were those whose books would never get a publisher. Their books were of little interest to anyone except the author and their Great Aunt Mabel, proud parents and less proud teenage kids. The self-publishing author forked out hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds or dollars, handing it …

The Friday Review: The Economist Style Guide

A book on writing by The Economist magazine may not seem the obvious choice for someone who mainly writes fiction. And yes, I am pretty sure The Economist Style Guide is primarily aimed at writers of articles. Nevertheless, I found it useful. Now in its 10th edition, the book was first published in 1986. Each new edition is updated to …

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