Sometimes you wish for something so hard and then it actually comes true. Has that happened to you? Against countless odds and still, your wish actually came true. Does it count as being lucky or should you be careful about hitching your hopes up too high? I’ve been thinking these thoughts for a while now. I’ve been thinking so much about it and I’ve also been trying not to think at all.
So much has happened since the last time I was here, blogger friends. So. Much. Where do I start from and how do I explain any of this? I am not sure. But I want to take it one step at a time. Keep my emotions in check. Make sure I’m not borrowing more happiness than I deserve to have in my share.
I can’t write like I used to. I’m putting that out there so you can…
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The concept of time is fascinating. From physics to philosophy, the notion of time is difficult to define.
From our normal existence in the world, we often define time as ‘fleeting’ in the sense there is never enough. Frustration builds as the majority of time is spent catching up on work…work that is always running further and further away.
The more worry about time, the less there is.
This has been the script for me this year. Just as I am ready to celebrate and enjoy autumn, this great season is fading fast.
Back in September, I noticed the leaves turning color. But instead of picking up my coat and heading out, I dropped my head for a quick analysis of work and business only to look up a couple of months later to find winter staring me in the face.
Pushing open the window, a gust of cold wind…
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In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, ‘We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.
However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…
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Almost two thousand years ago Pompeii, a bustling port of 20,000, fell silent to the power of Mount Vesuvius. Having been badly damaged in an earthquake 17 years prior, 30 feet of hot volcanic ash would silence the then unfortunate souls of Pompeii once and for all.
Today 2.5 million visitors rain down on Pompeii annually. As two of the curious onlookers at the grim scene we really can not point fingers at the potential extinction of the site from foot traffic and nature’s elements.
We felt as though a million or so tourists showed up the same day as we to the historic site. Under the blazing sun and dripping humidity we dodged swarms of tour groups. If you thought cycling in Rome might be dangerous try getting in the path of a tour guide herding his potential tip paying guests in ancient Pompeii.
1.Rome 2.Pompeii 3.Positano 4.Cortona 5.Montepulciano 6.Bagno Vignoni 7.San Casciano 8.Sorano 9.Orvieto 10.Camogli 11.Nice
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If walls could talk.
If concrete could confess.
If soul could seep through cement.
If only one of those monochrome apparitions could reach out and take me by the hand, leading me into a world of smoke and ale and revelation.
The woman stood by the door on the right of the picture is my great grandmother. The two little girls are my grandfather’s older sisters. The guy on the far left, in the bowler hat, is my great grandfather. The other two younger men could be family, I don’t know. Will probably never know. Posing with a football and a trophy of an unknown triumph, they remain silent, anonymous ghosts. Enigmas of imagination.
The building itself, its very brick and mortar, contains more than can be revealed in a two dimensional image. It contains that which is valued in meaning.
Ancestors of mine dwelt in that place between 1901…
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Make yourself comfortable at the dining room table. Take a seat. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble, so relax your steaming breath. I have so much to tell you.
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One lovely afternoon, I began chatting to my grandpa. I was completely unaware he was about to say something that would change my view of happiness forever.
In the middle of our conversation, I felt a lull so I pulled out the classic question. “If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?” I couldn’t wait to talk about my long list of dead presidents, dead Beatles, dead scientists, and a really cute living movie star. But I was also really eager to hear what he’d say.
Then he simply answered, “My wife.”
I immediately assured him it’s not necessary for him to answer like that. We all knew he loves his wife, whom he eats dinner with every night and was currently over in the other room…
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As I write this post I am sitting in the Caltrain, passing through various suburbs of the San Francisco Bay peninsula on my way to the city. It’s comforting to be surrounded by so many familiar sites once again.
My wife and I have had quite a journey: 17 countries, dozens of cities, and countless airports/train stations/bus stations. We’ve witnessed both staggeringly beautiful phenomena (Northern Lights in the Yukon Territories) and horrifying moments (a mob beating up some dude in the streets of Istanbul) along the way. Fortunately, my wife and I came out the other end of our trip completely safe and with a lifetime of memories.
I’ve delayed writing this post as long as I could; it’s been taking me a while to process what I’ve learned from this trip. The short answer is: a lot.
I may not be able to cover all the lessons I’ve learned…
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Whilst reading about the tragic death of the great Robin Williams I repeatedly stumbled upon the narrative of choice. Places like Psychcentral spoke about suicide being an “insidious choice”, but a “choice” nonetheless, so much so that they repeated the word to drive the message home. Meanwhile, whilst perusing social media I repeatedly came across variations of “people who commit suicide are selfish”, “how can anyone do that to their family?”. These sorts of comments make me twitchy. We’ve all heard them before.
In my own case they were personalised and weaponised, “How could YOU do that to your children? Do YOU not care about them?” I did, that was the problem. For some time I had felt like a millstone around the necks of my family. I loved them, but hated myself and could only see the ways I made their lives worse. After 2 failed suicide attempts in…
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