Monday, June 24, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… Book 8 - AutoBiography

Little White Dove
 
 Book #8 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

Lessons in Letting Go - Confessions of a Hoarder; Corinne Grant 

Genre: AutoBiography 

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Book 8 / 13 completed. After a birthday party on Saturday, I needed a light weight read so I picked up Corinne Grant's - Lessons in Letting Go. I purchased this book at the Airport last year when I flew to Sydney with every intention of reading it on the flight - however I only managed to read one page, before it was stuffed into the side table, balanced precariously upon a pile of other books (still to be read) next to a purple teddy from my early 20's and above a framed picture quote.

The blurb: This delightful memoir is about hoarding and about how the things we hold on to can end up dictating our lives. Warm, funny, candid and insightful, Lessons in Letting Go is about the pain - but also the necessity and the joy - in learning to let go.

Autobiographies aren't usually my first reading choice (give me escapism any day) I think I could name on ONE hand the amount I have read, however this memoir was easy to read and if you are a fan of Corinne Grant - I highly recommend as it is a light hearted approach to being overwhelmed with STUFF. Which I am.

From the very first paragraph "holding what appeared to be a bunch of sticks in his hand" to "They're the first bunch of flowers a boy ever game to me" she spoke to me in a language I could totally relate to. *raises hand* guilty hoarder right here! 

Who hasn't kept a special bunch of flowers as a dried arrangement??? So maybe they were the flowers from my BFF's wedding and I tried to dry them, truly I did. From the moment the dead flower petals kept falling to litter the bottom of the cupboard, I did contemplate throwing them in the bin. Though it did take me several months to work up the courage to take those 10 steps from the cupboard to the rubbish bin and more courage still to stop from crying.

LUCKILY for me, Corinne did what any good hoarder does when they feel things maybe getting out of control, she wrote and shared a list of Levels of Hoardment. According to her list, I'm a lowly level 5 (out of 10) so I'm sitting pretty for now - though reading her memoir I was more than a little scared at a lot of similarities between us. {and not just our sense of humour and #comedygold moments}

The book covers a year of her life where she hit rock bottom and came to the realisation that keeping stuff for the sake of keeping stuff does not make one happy. It is her journey to discover herself minus the hoards of stuff she has carted with her since childhood. It really was a delightfully entertaining read and if you think you may have an issue with being a hoarder - this one is definitely for you. 

Now as I face reality and kick boxes out from under the desk to give my feet room, I look around my craft room with trepidation and I realise that I am in HIGH danger of becoming a level 7 (needing one or more family member to move out to make room for the stuff) so excuse me while I go do a major clean out of all the stuff I'm never going to use and am just holding on to 'just incase' 

I'm telling you now… baby doll dresses WILL RETURN TO FASHION one day soon, scurries off to find where I stashed that dress 20 years ago… 

      

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… Book 7 - Thriller

Little White Dove
 
 Book #7 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

Above Suspicion; Lynda La Plante

Genre: Thriller

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This one took me a little longer to read than normal, likely because I am also reading Pride & Prejudice at the same time as well as starting a poetry book for the same challenge. I don't normally read more than one book and when I do, I find it slows down my reading overall.

This was book number 7 for the Genre Challenge. Only 6 more to go and with 6 months of the year I am more than happy with where I'm sitting challenge wise. Though I may not be saying that as my remaining genres are

* Poetry
* Spiritual
* Motivational
* Graphic Novel
* Auto-biography
* Fantasy

Apart from Fantasy - the rest I could take or leave, but I will push on because I am surprising myself with how much fun this challenge has become. Some days I almost feel "smarter" simply from expanding my reading.

Above Suspicion; Lynda La Plante I listed as a thriller but really it really should be classed as a crime mystery (? maybe ?) it wasn't quite a "thriller" as I expected as the suspect was known to the police all along, it was more a matter of breaking down the circumstantial evidence and pinning the crime on him. Usually I class my thriller reads as more Mary Higgins Clarke (don't laugh - I loved these a as a teenager) Martina Cole (particularly The Lady Killer WOW!) or Jaye Ford. You know the books you have to keep on turning pages to see whodunnit or to see how the heck they would get out of the situation.

Regardless - I chose to try and read new authors as part of this challenge so I could expand myself beyond the Twilight-ish books. I enjoyed the book, thought I felt it could have been stronger in certain areas. The murders were gruesome and I felt the horror of them was sort of glossed over - compared to other books on the market for me, the descriptions were bland. I always remember reading The Lady Killer & being absolutely shocked by the brevity of his murders. Maybe it was because I was only 17 (& I was so NOT supposed to be reading this book - I nicked it off dad when he went out one day and sat mesmerised by it) however I digress. I also thought the killer (a sociopath) could have been written in a way to make the reader feel real fear. Anna Travis is the young female detective who discovers the link, while I can see that the writer was setting up this character to become a female lead in future books, unfortunately for me she was a bit too unfamiliar. It probably didn't help that I kept seeing her as a sandy blonde when she was actually carrot top - I hate when that happens!            

I will be reading the other books in this series eventually, as I feel the next ones will evolve as the characters are cemented into the storyline. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

{home} a five sentence fiction prompt

Lillie McFerrin Writes

 

 As the town car rolled into town, her little face remained glued to the window memorising every possible image she could during their long journey home.

Slowing to a stop outside the Doctors surgery, a crowd of people surged toward the car frightening her in their eagerness to catch a small glimpse.

“It’s okay Rose” her mum patted her on the arm, “it looks as though nearly all of your cousins have come to town to welcome you home, at long last.”

“My cousins?” Rosie stared in wonder at the sea of strange faces staring into the car, it had been 7 long years away from this small town and her family had grown in both height and numbers.

With every letter received from her cousins over the years, she had dreamed of the day she would return home and be a part of this huge family once more; now the day had arrived, she was terrified to step outside and let that dream come true.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Have Confidence

Somewhere between last week and this week - I have completely LOST my confidence. 

Losing confidence for me, means a whopping big welcome to my anxiety… and well its not been pretty! 

While lacking confidence can actually enrich other areas of my life - the important stuff gets shoved further and further down the list and I fast become overwhelmed. Incapable of seeing clearly enough - where to start. 

So I've taken small steps. To gain back my confidence and keep stepping in the right direction. 

Step one. Purchase a brand new Moleskine 18month Diary

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All because I got an email from Notemaker with *new stock* and because I already have two weekends away booked in for 2014 and I needed somewhere to write them. Yes I know I *could* have written them into my computer calendar - but where's the fun in that? 

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A little cute washi tape & perhaps the control has gone a little too far - planning 18 months in advance? IN MY DEFENCE - I created a diary for this year it took me months to draw up and plan - when this one popped up it was all kinds of Awesome and it can be used horizontally as well as landscape. Perfect for my needs. Right now.

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Step Two. Open my daily diary and journal my feelings.

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I have let my daily writing fall to the wayside. It began to get tedious until a light bulb moment on the weekend with the help of this blog post made me realise that my writing has come full circle and I am now entering transition mode. No longer am I able to write word after word upon a page, without prettying it up a little. If I continued down the path of just words, I daresay it would take me years to fill this particular journal and considering its been on my desk for more than 2 years already - something had to change. I finally feel I have a direction with it. Who knows - maybe it will all fall over next week and it will return to gather dust - maybe this new phase will keep me going. All I know is it is giving me a chance to delve into my worries. And be a little creative with them. 

Addressing the worries - I am a firm believer that words when written down can ease the pressures of the mind. By stating my lack of confidence here on this page, I have forced myself to accept that this is but a phase and I have already done as it says and picked up my camera. I am also now aware that my issues with confidence and shying away from my camera over the past week is because I feel overwhelmed in having to take and collate 50+ pictures for my course over the next few months. The thought of it is freaking me out. Being able to write about it - gives me the confidence to start again.

Creativity - I have been missing my creativity these past few months. With my head down bum up studying has been at the forefront of my mind. I have been studying 3 days each week in order to finish these tutorials. By focusing so much energy into study. Other areas are lacking. Work - which is nearly at the point of needing a second day each week. Housework - I'm flat out keeping the surface clean; let alone tackling the big chores like windows. Crafty life - is non-existent. Apart from a little crochet each night, I have barely done anything. I yearn to have a sewing day. A day of painting. A day to create. Anything really.   

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Step three - Take a MRD (mental rest day) 

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So I didn't go here. Though I should have; probably would have had it not been raining. I took a self indulgent day of rest earlier this week (after waking at 3:30am; I was shattered and my body was shaky and not playing nice) I decided to just rest my mind. 

A pleasant day spent on the couch, watching chick flicks and surfing Facebook. 

Some journalling. 

It has been good for my soul. I am refreshed and I'm ready to tackle the coming weeks with CONFIDENCE. and my Camera. 

(you will need to go to you-tube to view this video) 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… Book 6 - Non-Fiction

Little White Dove
 
 Book #5 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

Down to Earth; Rhonda Hetzel 

Genre: Non-Fiction

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Another book finished - for the non-fiction part of this challenge; I decided to finally read my copy of Rhonda Hetzels' "Down to Earth" Maybe you've heard of the Down to Earth Blog? When I'm feeling all homely, or when I'm feeling like I am not living simply enough, Down to Earth is my go-to blog to read. 

I have had the book sitting in my cupboard pretty much from the day it was released. While I picked it up and flicked through every now and again, it seemed like the sort of book I would reference rather than sit and read in one sitting. 

So when this challenge was created, I thought it was a great opportunity to pull it out and read it cover to cover. 

It covers a lot of what can already be found by searching Rhonda's blog but the beauty of it being in book form means that when I want to look up the bread recipe or a quick knitting project - I don't need to go to the computer and subsequently become sidetracked by other parts of the internet.  It is handy having all the information in one spot. 

The book covers living simply, from budgeting, to growing your own fruit and veges, to cooking from scratch. Areas I want to work toward into the future. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

I take my Challenges…

Shaken… not stirred! 

Actually that's not quite right; although I am usually drinking something shaken not stirred as I graciously accept said challenges. But in all seriousness - I do take my Challenges, well SERIOUSLY! 

After the Pride and Prejudice challenge was issued for Winter, I had to take a hard look at my allowable time frame because I know what I'm like when it comes to reading the 'Classics'. I struggle to concentrate and before I know it the time will waste away. I have decided with my already busy schedule (of study / work / being mum) that I needed to plan for a little bit every week. As opposed to all at once and not fulfilling any of my other reading pursuits.

I present you with THE SCHEDULE.  

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Luckily for me, the lovely Miss Dove linked us up to a website that had a reading / viewing schedule for 20 weeks. Check it out here. My schedule is based on that one, except I've had to scrunch it down into 13 weeks. Thought I might share it with my cohorts seeing how they may well be struggling with time constraints as well. Except for Miss Dove who has pretty much FINISHED the LBD videos AGAIN! As you can see I have also chosen to watch the optional videos as part of my viewing pleasure. 

I don't challenges lightly!

Week 1 is finished tomorrow and I have successfully watched 10 episodes of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and read 6 from the 7 chapters required.

Oh but that's not ALL! No Sir! I got all excited and when I felt like death warmed up one day a couple of weeks past - I pulled out the big guns and viewed:   

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I do believe that is PART ONE of the challenge Completed! Now to decide if I watch the BBC / Colin Firth remake too for extra points?

Now that I finally have an inkling of the actual storyline - I'm really enjoying it.   

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… Book 5 - Mystery

Little White Dove
 
 Book #5 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

Dark Horse; Honey Brown 

Genre: Mystery

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I had originally intended on reading James Patterson; "First to Die" for the Mystery genre of this challenge. However after some searching on KOBO earlier in the week I stumbled over this book instead and started reading it on Saturday.

As I found myself turning each page of this book, it soon felt like more of a psychological thriller than a mystery. Disappointed because I had also found a paperback version of the thriller book I intended to read, I put the call out on Facebook to my two favourite cohorts: 

What would you classify as Mystery??? I started reading one that was listed as Mystery / Suspense over the weekend - but I think it would be more classed a Psychological Thriller. It seems to be a very thin line between the two genres - so what to do? Should I read an Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes. Any other suggestions welcomed

It would appear I was looking for a challenge to expand my reading further and yet no one called me on it. Sigh. I have however already downloaded Sherlock Holmes because it was free.

So I awaited a response and was soon met with some cheeky commentary {read Nancy Drew… honestly how much time does one think one has in her day} alongside a firm okay you can include it if you want. The voice of reason arrived back with the following:

It is a fine line. The one I classes as a mystery I did so because the main character had to work out what was going on, why things were happening as opposed to working out who had done a clear cut crime. 

Working on that - I am including this one as my mystery because the Main Character has to work out what happened. And boy. Oh Boy. Should you read it? The twist at the end is not what one would expected. And that is all I'm saying. It had me turning pages until far too late last night (even had to resort to reading it on my iPad when my silly eReader went flat!) today I am tired, but I got closure! 

My only negative is I believe the ending could have been wrapped up a little sooner. It sort of hit the climax (you know that point you wipe your forehead and go "woah, never saw that coming" then the book went on a while longer. From a writers perspective I can see why it had to be done this way and honestly I think the author handled it really well. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cold Feet

Day152 Signs of Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is 1st June and that means it is the first day of winter AND the start of JuNoWriMo. I sit here with a severe case of cold feet. Both figuratively and literally.

I don't know what's wrong with me? I have been so excited, so keen to kick off the 1st June with a bout of daily writing. Putting down an average of 1667 words. every. single. day. So excited in fact I didn't stop to think - when? 

When do I find the time in a schedule that is ALREADY bursting at the seams. My house is neglected, my real day job is piling up around me due to missing days for sickness and my course studies are eating into every spare moment I have left. The sewing machine sits neglected gathering dust and crafting, apart from a few colourful journal pages mocks me from afar. 

I can't move in my room I call my study and I am slowly falling under all that overwhelms me. When I feel like this I need to stop and take stock. 

Yesterday after madly completing yet another tutorial for my Creative Writing course,  ideas still buzzing through my head, I raced over to the Island to pick up Miss 5 and headed to Ballet classes. When I finally sat and had time to think, only one thought hit me "I am being crazy" 

"PLEASE, Please, please… talk me out of contemplating JuNoWriMo this month. I feel my time would be better spent studying for my writing course. I can always attempt NaNoWriMo come November" says I to the computer screen. 

"Great Idea! Lets call it CarJuWriCoMo" says the lone computer screen. 

A few more messages back and forth and it was settled, I felt I could walk away guilt free from this crazy challenging notion. The next few months I will be spending my spare time attempting to finish my assignments.  

I am hopeful in these precious months I will continue to learn new ideas to novel writing, plotting and planning. Yesterdays tutorial opened my eyes in a way I'd never thought possible. It showed me ways to design a building for my novel, rather than build first, create a plan for it later. So I'm stepping back. Cold feet not withholding to continue studying and soaking up every possible bit of information and knowledge I can on all things writing. 

With the bones of my story half buried in a hypothetical archaeological waste land, I intend to spend the next few months deviating ways to brush back the sand and re-build the storyline from the bottom up. 

Because inside me a light flickers and I know I can do this; and I think I can do it well. 

However right now - for my own self preservation - I need to know I'm doing it the right way for ME. And my for characters as they deserve to be portrayed correctly. 

I have to admit that it was a balancing act with my decision. The need to write my story, to develop it with more words was great, but greater still is the need to learn while I can and weave my tale into one of beauty. At the end of the day, I know that my story line has strength - if I am to do it any justice then it needs the correct bones to connect all the dots and for that I need to learn more, research more and most of all be patient.