Hey there. How was your summer? Long-time no see. Well, I’m back. You may (or, most likely, may not) have noticed, I’ve been unusually quiet over the course of the summer. And now, like a fairy in a pink tutu (?) I’m skipping into autumn, humming a tune and it’s all systems go. The reason I’ve been away is, to be honest, I needed a break and wanted to have some family time. My kids are getting bigger and I have a sinking feeling in my heart that this may have been the last summer they truly want to spend the whole of it with me. I know. I am a lyrical drama queen, but then I guess I am Irish.
Anyhoo, the great thing about having a break is that it gives you time to think. And read. And I do love a read. A writer can’t write if she doesn’t read. Right?This year, we went to France camping (rained so heavy one night the tent nearly caved in – me and hubbie drank neat Cointreau out of the bottle while we guarded the tent. Slept surprising well after that…). France was followed by Centre Parcs in Holland and that was where the real reading began, um, for no other reason than I could actually see the page at night (turns out camping torches don’t work so well…). With the iPad Kindle app thingamajig loaded up, I turned to one book that may surprise you. It was the autobiography of Bear Grylls. Mud, Sweat and Tears, it’s called. As a writer (of sorts), I always go everywhere with my Moleskin (get me) note book and pen to scribble ideas on. Turns out I needed it a lot this time, because Bear gave me a fair bit to ponder. For those of you who don’t know the big Bear, let me shed some fairy dust on it for you. He’s a British adventurer who was once in the SAS, climbed Everest (at 21!) and is now a huge TV person type man who, as the Stranglers say, is Big In America. Oh, and he fronts a show called Man vs. Wild (or Born Survivor in the UK). You’d think a fellow like this – old Etonian, posh voice – would be a bit of arse. But turns out he’s not. Just goes to show you, we must never judge. The delight is in the discovery, as they say. Bear has wise things to say – and I ended up spending every night of our first few days in Holland reading his book. I even got up at 3 a.m. unable to sleep – and read his book. What is it about certain autobiographies that make us look at our own lives and question them?
Grylls scribbles down pearls of wisdom, some passed down to him from older generations, some learned from his own experiences. How could I ignore that? ‘Dig deep’ is a phrase of his that sticks in the mind. Along with ‘Who dares wins’ the SAS motto. Other phrases stick too. Like ‘roll with the punches’ – a phrase from his mum. This one made me really think. Rolling with the punches means excepting whatever comes your way, don’t always fight it because you never know where it may take you. I repeated the phrase to my kids. It didn’t quite go to plan. ‘Why do I have to roll?’ asked the youngest, frowning. ‘Do we roll down the hill?’ said the eldest. ‘’cause that’s fun!’ I guess I need to explain metaphors a little more. Reading a couple of other books on holiday helped all round. I got through While I was Asleep by SJ Watson, a debut novel and well worth the hype. Cracking writer. Also read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ book, News of a Kidnapping. Highly recommend it – the man is a Nobel prize-winning genius.
Anyway, now I’m back in Blighty, rolling with the punches is the new me. In fact, the new me is soon to be a new weekend columnist for another local newspaper. I know! What were they thinking? I’ll let you know next week which paper it is, but what I can say now is that I’ll be writing a regular column for the re-launch of their new glossy weekend magazine. Nerves, woman. Control the nerves. I have to do new pictures (aargh!), and an interview sort of thing to introduce myself. Gulp. I am really looking forward to it – and it will all be alongside my weekly Gazette column. Happy, happy days.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with it all. I don’t even know if it will all work out. But as Bear says (alright, well, his mum), I’m going to roll with the punches. I’ll have a laugh and see what happens. In the meantime, I’m going to keep editing my next novel in which I am knee deep (still no bloody title, mind) and I’ll also be changing the blog post line up, just to enhance it a touch. Think of it as a blog makeover, if you will, but with just the same amount of wrinkles. It’s like a fairy in a tutu skipping into Autumn. New season, new look. Let’s roll with those punches then and see where it takes us. Put ’em up!
**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about why our town shop fronts should be better**