Tag Archive: Writing


Writing is pouring out of me. I feel like a tree in autumn, in need of shedding its leaves. Autumn Leaves Steeple AstonIn this case the leaves are pages and pages. I’ve always loved writing little articles about things I see or think about. I had the good fortune to have my first writing job in 2007, thanks to the good efforts of Joan Ilott who connected me with the, then, up and running, Banbury Magazine. Sadly, it suffered the same fate of so many adventures of the mind and the spirit when they require money to move forwards. In other words, it is not any more amongst us. I started as a contributor with no payment. After a couple of years I was Editor of one of the last editions and won my first, and so far only, £500 for my literary efforts.

Let’s see what happens when I receive my first installment for the Amazon sales of The Thermodynamics of Love Trilogy Volume 1, The Secret Life of a God. I doubt it has made me rich yet! But since I am an optimist, who knows….

Anyway, I wrote some 20 articles on different topics for the Banbury Magazine and I loved it. After all, anyone who knows me, also knows that I am VERY OPINIONATED! So, now I am pouring my opinions and reflections through blogs, and of course, books. But the books take me a long long time! I am a compulsive editor, particularly since I still struggle with English prepositions. I’ll write a list of my blogs so far, once I have tidied them out. Incidentally thank you to all the people who have been following How to Grow Old the Right Way UP, The Science of the Improbable and my other activities. Here for you, Foreign Wonderer

Dark and mysterious. Alone. An outsider in contemplation

Dark and mysterious. Alone. An outsider in contemplation

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  1. The Fly in the Soup of Perfection

Yes, music matters a great deal to me. It has been an addiction.

On a good day, I will tell you it has given me great joy and heavenly pleasure. But don’t ask me on a bad day, or I will tell you about the enormous trials, tribulations and frustration of considering myself an unsuccessful, failed musician.

Unsuccessful and failed, not only, because it looks as if I never made it – at my age I’m not very likely to get anywhere with it, – but more importantly, because of the impossibly elusive nature of achieving musical perfection, even as a passer-by.

Unfortunately, when you sing or play an instrument, a wrong note, a note produced without the right musicality, the right tone, the perfect tuning, the perfect rhythm, can leave a feeling similar to having found a pebble in your pie or a fly in your soup. You can crack a teeth or feel nauseous.

Sadly, music happens in time, at a particular instant. Once done, it seems you can’t change the fate of it. Of course, I know you can practice and correct, but that moment, that opportunity to reaching perfection, has gone for ever.

So often, the hundreds of hours of practice are ruined by a second of fear. In my case, as soon as I know someone is listening, I become self-conscious and that is the end of the game: the end of pleasure, elation and of course the end of the possibility of achieving the perfect sound, the perfect expression.

Our brain, like an unconscious fly, stops for a millisecond on the dangerous tightrope of a whiff of air, to ponder on the soup, on its possible dangers, rewards and delights … and falls into the soup! to a certain death: artistic death.

In a way, I am very grateful for my failure as a musician. Certainly, if I had been successful as an opera singer or a pianist, which would have been my two main ambition as a musician, I might not be writing.

Thank God, a writer is something I am. Music is just an addiction.

So, today I’ll try to celebrate with a smile, the fly in my soup and my failure as a musician.

But as I often say… if you have to try, you are not doing it!!

15. And the Killer was…

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 12th April 2014

15. And the Killer was…

All of them looked innocent. Further more, they honestly believed they were.

I interviewed them several times after the tragic events surrounding Sarah’s demise. Each of them had a perfect alibi: they were at home; she was in Hospital.

According to them, they had just been performing their functions as they were meant to, without any ulterior motive or dubious intention.

First I interviewed Sofa. These were his exact words: “I’ve always been here; still, soft and comfy… even though Sarah got me in a charity shop and I was already quite battered. I imagine I might not have been good enough for her; I know I have a weakness. I could never be firm with anyone… I am a softy.”

“But, didn’t you notice that something wasn’t quite right?”

“Sorry, I am very ignorant. I am not like TV or Computer who know all the answers. I just made sure that Sarah as comfortable as possible. I did notice that she spent more and more time on me and I felt really cherished. Not as much as Computer or TV though: they were her favourites.”

“Are you sure you didn’t notice anything?”

“Well… I noticed she became more comfortable herself: bigger and softer. I loved it. I could tell, week by week that her behind was getting better for me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.”

I had no choice but to declare Sofa, free of all evil intentions.

Then I interviewed TV, who I knew was all excited and ready to be turned on…

“I’m always innocent!” She declared enthusiastically before I managed to ask any questions. “My jobs are to entertain and instruct. Mind you, Sarah liked to be entertained, best. I did my best; therefore Sarah spent many hours sitting on THE SOFA…” TV ended, looking accusatorily to whom she believed to be the culprit.

I ignored her and decided to interview Chair. Same as the others he denied all responsibility.

“Look,” he said quite indignantly: “I was the only one doing any serious job in this house! Sarah only used me when she was doing some proper work, and besides, at least I am firm!” Then, he signalled me to come closer and murmured in my ear: “If you are looking for the assassins, look no further: I know Computer and TV did it! Sofa also… and you haven’t asked bed!”

Bed? I thought. It hadn’t occurred to me that she might have anything to do with it, but I decided to interview her also;

“I did nothing!” she swore. “All I did was to provide her with a place to sleep and rest.”

“What about the hours she spent doing crosswords in the morning? You knew she was getting pain in her neck. You know you did much damage!” Chair shouted from his place.

I realized that Chair definitely knew something, even though I didn’t like his self-righteous attitude. “So…” I addressed him again: “Can you tell me how the symptoms started?”

“I am innocent! I am innocent!” cried Sofa, TV, Computer and Bed in unison. I suspected neither of them was innocent; not even Chair, but at least he was ‘firm’ as he had said, and he might be able to provide some answers and make the other’s chip in.

“I’ll tell you what:” I said trying to pacify them. “Let’s say that all of you are innocent until proven otherwise. I just need to know what happened, and the order in which it happened.”

“It was while working with me that Sarah first complained about her right shoulder…” said Computer Sheepishly, “I think you should ask Mouse… He was never good for her.” He ended.

“Sorry… Sorry!” Mouse squeaked, sniffing loudly. “I didn’t know. I’m just made this way. I’m so sorry!”

“Actually, she was also complaining about her sitting bones… particularly the left side…”

Chair confessed, losing his initial arrogance.

“And I know she always got a neck ache when the cross words took her too long.” Bed admitted, avoiding my gaze.

At this stage Sofa begun to cry: “I knew I wasn’t firm enough! I never was! Her poor lower back was aching awful when she sat on me for too long!”

“But, what did she do, when she had all those aches? Did she stop doing whatever she was doing?”

“No!” they answered mournfully.

“She took painkillers.” Said bed.

“Did she change position? Did she do some exercise?”

“No.! The mournful choir burst again.

“But, Computer and TV: you could have told her to do more exercise… to move more.”

“We tried.” They answered “But she was too busy to pay any attention.” Computer ended.

“She just got worse and worse, ended in a wheel chair, then in hospital with liver dysfunction. She was taking lots of remedies: painkillers, anti-depressants, laxatives, remedies for her liver and digestion, vitamins and minerals…We couldn’t do anything to stop it!” Bed sobbed, hugging Bedside table who had opened her mouth to show a drawer full of medicines, pills and bottles of all ages, colours and sizes.

“Don’t worry guys…” I reassured them writing my final statement: –Slow suicide. – on my notebook. “I can see it was not your fault. You are all exonerated of all blame. Try to take care of your next owner, but I know that we humans are able to use, even the best of our inventions against ourselves.”

 

For the last few weeks I have been suffering the consequences of my favourite activities. Two weeks ago, my shoulder seized up due to too much writing (and here I am again!) and too much sewing (proud about my accomplishments, but in pain!) A body like mine doesn’t take kindly to any excesses. I’d love to write, play the piano, and sew, in excess. For good or for bad, my body gives me the pain signal, so I have to change to an activity that doesn’t involve sitting down or using my right hand and arm. I have let it go too far this time and going for long walks, stretches and yoga, writing standing up, watching TV squatting or doing stretches, won’t do the trick. I will have to take myself to my osteopath on Monday, and for today, I will have to resort to a (one!) painkiller with anti-inflammatory properties. I can’t remember the last time I took one. At least three years ago. By the way, my wonderful Osteopath is Clive Lindley-Jones from Helix House. A real magician. I’ll tell you how I do, next week, although I will try first to intensify the yoga and back exercises.

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up
Saturday 29th March 2014
13. The Limitations of the Unlimited

I confess I hate limitations. I hate to be told that I can’t. And yet, I have to accept that we are shackled by Limitation even in our affluent, prosperous society, where those limitations are generally self-inflicted through our own excessive desires and expectations.
I fall painfully into this last category. My unlimited mind, a mind like yours or anyone’s, can imagine worlds, situations and possibilities that are beyond my physical capabilities and the limitations of time… I was going to call it my worst enemy, but I think I better befriend it!
At 8.00 am, a day extends ahead of me with a promise of a million small and large projects that I am sure I will be able complete:
• Today, I’ll edit my book for 6 hours: around 4000 words at the current speed, if no more scenes and dialogues decide to sprout on the way! (14 years on the go! I don’t dare to plan anymore a publication date! It is an embarrassment, but being my first novel, it has to be the best I can achieve at this stage.)
• Today, I will do 2 hours of piano practice: I will finally master that little Scarlatti sonata (at it, on and off for 10 years). I might even improve the Mozart sonata (2 years on the go.)
• Today, I’ll write my blog and I will do it in 20 minutes instead of the usual 2 hours.
• Today I will finish at least my sewing project No 7 (at least 6 more on the go, all unfinished; all piling up in my basket.)
• Today, I will give the kitchen a proper clean.
• Today, I’ll go out for a two hours walk…
• Today I will watch that David Attenborough’s Documentary.
• Today I will do a bit of gardening… after all, it is sunny…
However:
• Today, after 20 minutes at the piano I have to stop to do yoga because my back aches. My fault as I did too much writing and sewing yesterday. For once, the three 10 to 20 minutes yoga sessions, and the 3 hours cleaning, baking and stewing the last of the autumn apples, weren’t enough to compensate for the stillness. (Arthritis is being wo-man-handled, but not yet defeated. Flares up if I sit or don’t move for more than a couple of hours.)
• Today, I sit to write this blog, planning to continue editing… but my carpal tunnel syndrome is making its appearance again, numbing my right thumb and making it difficult to write…
What shall I do?
• I shall be gracious, and not complain about having an active mind;
• I shall be grateful for my health being as good as it is. After all, I rather have problems sitting too long instead of not being able to move.
• I will re-read/check extracts of my novel and I’ll use my thumb as little as possible.
• I will do some gardening… hands and back permitting.
• I will go for a walk indeed, and enjoy this beautiful sunshine.
I might be exercised enough later on, to afford some writing, sewing and playing the piano!
Tomorrow at 8 am, the day will seem limitless… again…
If anyone out there would like to be my Executive Secretary/Editor/Personal Assistant, let me know. I am considering winning a lottery or becoming a Best Selling author in order to pay one! Of course I need to finish the book first, don’t I?

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

1. I am not a health practitioner of any description. The tips I will be giving are directly related to my personal experience and my experiences with family and friends who seem to have benefited from those tips. Please if in doubt, always consult a qualified practitioner.
2. With their permission I will be mentioning in these pages the names and expertise of many people who have contributed to my current state of health. See also the Links page. Whenever possible and relevant, I will be leading you to their websites or giving you a direct contact if you ask me. Nobody is or will be paying me or rewarding me in any way for doing so. I will be doing it because they are wonderful practitioners, to whom I owe much and to whom I am very happy to direct people to, for the benefit of all. I don’t and won’t recommend anyone whose help and expertise I haven’t experienced and benefited from directly.