In the depths of writing today, the character was reflecting on foods that she felt were comforting. She told her daughter about crisp sandwiches and how she would sneak them into her bag to enjoy at school. I remember when we would do the same at school. All we needed were two pieces of buttered soft white sliced bread and a packet of crisps (or chips).
Depending on where you are in the world, then chips are either the hot variety that are perfect with battered deep-fried fish and crisps are the crunchy variety enjoyed in packets, salty and flavoured.
Upon doing some Google research on this subject, apparently in the UK, the beloved crisp sandwich is enjoyed with cheese (correct me if I’m wrong). I’m not so sure about that though.
Of course, this got me thinking of some other childhood favourites. I do remember loving cheesy eggs, macaroni cheese, Vegemite, Marmite or Promite toast (I was a lover of any ‘mite’). And, if we are talking about all the canteen foods from school, high on my list would be: Chocolate Paddlepops, Zooper Doopers, Razz, Sunny Boys, Redskins, Milk bottles, to name just a few.
All this research is making me hungry.
So, what is one comfort food from your childhood? Do you still enjoy it?
#comfortfood #writing #writingresearch #inthenameoffood #gillianducaurroy
Where to begin?
Have you ever been in a situation where you just haven’t known where to start?
This has been me for the last week. I have everything under the sun to support me, every resource available, every idea that I need – yet I have been baffled as to where I should start. Guess what, I eventually did! Having a lot of ideas and not knowing which idea to expand first can be a problem even though there are far worse problems in the life of a writer, like writers block. If you can relate to this dilemma, whether you're a writer or not, I’d like to share what I did with you, in the hope that it will inspire you to break out of the ‘Where do I start’ syndrome.
Needless to say, the ‘Where do I start’ worries were no longer an issue. Phew!
As Martin Luther King Jr. said “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
#beginwriting #amwriting #procrastinatingwriting #author #lovewriting #novel #wheretobegin #writer #historicalfiction #ideas #characteranalysis #writingforfun #fiction #gillianducaurroy #takethefirststep #nextbestdecision
Definition - “In the intervals between other actions.”
Since last year, I’ve had my eye on a goal (finishing my 4th novel by May 2020). After a holiday in January, and the momentum of the new year was just starting to take shape, we were catapulted into lock down mode in March. Suddenly, things looked very different due to Coronavirus.
For everyone, quite a lot of adjusting was necessary, not to mention new skill sets, adjusted time frames, changed working environments just to name a few. It has not been easy for some and that is a whole other topic to discuss. Today, I am focusing on something that has evolved for me because of all this adjusting and in-between times.
I have discovered that in these changing times, I delved into the deepest resources within me and to my delight, I’ve discovered and actually re-discovered things that I absolutely love to do.
I discovered quite early in the peace, that a day of teaching school children from home required quite a lot of 1) Patience and 2) Balance. I needed to keep the creative juices flowing into the night even if I felt drained and tired!
Grateful as always to have this time for teaching them, I also found that this was my call to action in other areas. I discovered that after the ‘school day’ was out, exercise was paramount and after the usual evening routine had completed, it was time for some balance.
While the editing process is taking place with my novel, painting canvases has become my outlet.
You may have seen a couple of my first attempts at canvas painting – definitely amateur, but since that first painting, I’ve put my hand to so many others (still amateur but loving it). School is well and truly back to normal now but I’m still continuing with my creative endeavours.
My guitar has also been taken out of its case and two songs called ‘Mother’ and ‘Perfect’ have been my focus for the last few months after dinner. Even with short fingernails and sore fingertips, playing the guitar has once again stirred my interest.
So, these in-between times although a little different, have proved to me that I can use all my resources to fulfil that inner well of creativity.
There is a saying: Out of adversity comes opportunity (Benjamin Franklin)
By the way, I did accomplish my goal of finishing my novel by May 😊
Did you start any new projects or re-discover any hobbies in the last few months?
#creativity #inspiration #writer #author #inbetweentimes #gillianducaurroy #fiction #poetry #canvas #painting #amwriting #guitar #playingpinkfloyd #canvaspainting #books #editing #publishing
I wouldn’t say winter is my favourite season, but this winter has been quite mild. With a few horridly windy days there for a while, we then experienced only a few very cold days/nights.
As you would already know if you’ve read any of my blogs, is that I love going for walks. So with Spring around the corner this means t-shirts and tank tops rather than layers of clothing when walking. I have to say though, I do love wearing my favourite woollen hat, scarves and gloves and I love wrapping myself up in a blanket at home while I watch TV or write at my laptop.
It is last few weeks of August and already, the sweet smelling cherry blossoms have started to bloom. Even the local area is getting loved up for Spring (see love heart picture attached). Soon, the need for mowing the lawn weekly, watering the garden more regularly and swims in the backyard pool will be part of our lives. Let’s hope we have a more peaceful summer in Australia, than the last, after the tragic bushfires.
Let the magic of Spring begin!
#winter #spring #cherryblossoms #wheredidwintergo #gillianducaurroy #writer #author #blog #walk #inspiration #lovehearts #cosy #writing #fiction #publishing
© Gillian Du Caurroy 2020
This morning I walked for an hour and a half – the air was cool and fresh, and the sun shone beautifully through the shifting fog, right before my eyes. So beautiful.
The local area never fails to disappoint, with quiet residential streets leading to peaceful parks and bushland. I love it! It sets me up for a positive day and also inspires my writing. Lovely to get a walk in before the day begins, since they go so fast.
Today, as I walked along footpaths strewn with liquid amber leaves and grass that was wet with morning dew, I found that the rhythmic motion of my strides was so motivating – just to hear the crunching sound on each step.
The following is a simple poem that was the result of my walk this morning. Nothing too deep here, but just my experience. See what you think…
I open my eyes when a new day dawns,
Then the blinds are opened, not masking my yawns.
As I face the east and offer a good morning,
To a new day, a bright start, adorning.
The crisp morning air kisses my face,
I cannot help but feel enamoured in the days embrace.
The crunch of the leaves ‘neath my feet,
Brings the beauty of nature, whole and complete.
As I stride through the park before everyone stirs,
A warm bed, a sleep-in would be what some prefer.
The walk home familiar, the path still wet,
As I pass my favourite house, Somerset.
Happy that I have started on a positive note this morning,
I set my sails to north, all systems go and transforming.
Have a wonderful day!
#positivity #inspiring #inspiration #wintermornings #newdaydawning #love #walking #books #author #publishing #poetryinmotion #poetry #novel #amwriting #gillianducaurroy
sleeping in and sick days
I rarely have a sick day. Yes, I know, I'm lucky I don't get sick often, that's for sure. I am grateful for my good health, but today, I had the unfortunate call from my body reminding me that it was not going to cope well, sitting in an air conditioned office and feeling achy, cold and miserable.
It (my body) refused to budge at 6am. Blatantly disregarding any thoughts and good intentions of getting out of bed, having breakfast, making lunches, pleading with children to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, gel hair, pack school bag and not torment the cat.
It definitely was not going to let me go through all of that.
Instead, it (my body) stayed in bed until 7:39am when my bladder was going to explode and only then it allowed me to get out of bed.
So, in my pink dressing gown and fluffy slippers, I trudged to the bathroom, noticing that no-one was awake yet. The cat had escaped the west wing and proceeded to jump in-between my feet, but not a sound from anyone else.
Do I usually make enough noise at that time that the household stirs? Are they on a time clock that is synced to my time clock? It is usually at 6am when I have the peace and quiet of the house just for myself. A rare event, but one that is much sought after.
Today I had that event at 7:39am. Something was not right.
My body went from not responding to full on battle mode.
I walked from bedroom to bedroom, opening doors, curtains, making loud noises and just as I was about to take the covers down from their warm and cosy bodies, they started to stir.
Well well well. We had movement at the station and only half an hour to get up, get dressed, have breakfast, brush teeth, gel hair, pack school bags and NOT annoy the cat. I still had to drive them to school though.
It's strange you know. The less time seemed to work well. No pleading was necessary. Just the facial expressions, the body language, the constant looking up at the clock and announcing how many more minutes to leave the house seemed to do the trick.
All was sorted. Quiet and peacefulness was restored, and I resigned to my comfy bed, with paracetamol to recover and a peppermint tea.
How do your mornings work? Are they smooth sailing? A mad panic?
Have you ever heard of a birdle?
Have you ever heard of a birdle?
Mornings at my place happen so fast that after the school rush is done and dusted I’m left thinking to myself, ‘What happened just then!’
I’ve found that walking to school is like pushing a magic button, where all the rush, panic, yelling, hurrying and stress is left behind as soon as we step out the front door. From that moment on, the fresh air and conversations take hold, which, in my opinion, is the best quality time I spend with my two boys.
The conversations we have for the next 15 minutes are the best and I’m always in my element, ears tuned in and watching their expressions as they discuss things in such a matter-of-fact way.
For instance, the other day as we reached the end of our street, there was a dead possum on the footpath. I saw this before the boys did and wondered to myself if I should warn them, or leave it for them to discover. I decided on the latter.
When they approached it, it was a case of, ‘Mum, what is it? Is it dead? I think I saw it move! His eyes are looking at me! How did it die?’ They circled it a few times as I looked on, amused by all the questions and their brains ticking over at this poor creature.
As I coaxed them to keep walking, the dead possum monopolised the conversation, until something else took their attention. The ‘spooky house’ had movement today. Not a day goes by that they don’t stop and peer through the gap in the fence at…nothing. I don’t understand, but figure there is something that attracts them (or should I say intrigues them). On this day, they stood open mouthed as someone walked out of the back door. I took a quick look and given their expressions, I rushed them along. To be perfectly honest I was a bit freaked out myself, given the vacant look of the house and the 1970’s outfit that the man had on.
Getting a move on now and we had 7 minutes to get to school. I took hold of my 6 year old’s hand to power up the hill and lo and behold, a dead bird lay right there in the gutter. Well, that was it - they stopped, examined it and saw a little blood. We didn’t have time for this. I said, ‘Poor bird. It must have flown into a car window perhaps’. The questions started again, but as I continued walking, they caught up, continuing the questions. ‘What will happen to the bird now? Who will take it away?’
In my haste to hurry and also puffing from the slight hill, I replied, ‘Bird’ll just lay there. It isn’t in pain anymore.’
My 6 year old says something to the effect of, ‘Will the birdle go to heaven?’
I absolutely lost it. I should have answered this question, I really know that I should have, but I couldn’t stop laughing at his usage of the word ‘birdle’. In my hysterics, I tried to explain that I shortened ‘The bird will…’ to ‘Bird’ll’, but they couldn’t understand me and were utterly confused as to why their mum was laughing so much, so they quietly walked beside me, glancing my way every few steps until we reached school.
So, in essence, our walks to school are gold. The conversations we have are ones to cherish. And yes, the word ‘birdle’ is now a word in our household.
(I promise this is a positive post!) 2 minute read - 555 words
It’s raining where I am today. Perfect weather in my opinion for writing, however, I’ve been pondering something I read recently from another writer. It was referring to a low period in his life that halted his writing, and how he likened it to a dreary rainy day. It’s all about life’s little ups and downs and how ‘a rainy period in one’s life’ effects the writing flow – in other words, being bitten by writer’s block.
I’m in the depths of writing my fourth novel and when the flow is working, the process is seamless. However, this isn’t always the case. A little thing called ‘Life’ can happen and sometimes can throw all sorts of spanners in the works. I’ve seen it happen to people close to me, and yes, sometimes things happen in my life that take my attention away from my writing…so I thought I would put my thoughts on paper as they may help someone out there!
The other writer was referring to an unexpected upheaval that overturned all manner of inspiration and therefore the words were just too hard to come by. He was referring to a rainy period in his life. Quite the opposite of how I see an actual rainy day as inspiring.
I was considering this writer’s agony and realised it’s a universal feeling that we must still carry on no matter what life throws at us. The basic requirement is, you still need to get the inspiration and write those words. Right?
But how do you do that when you’re in a rainy period?
Using the emotions that arise at any given life circumstance is a fantastic way to make use of inspiration for writing.
As an added incentive to keep moving forward, I personally also use the tools of a foundation based in my meditation practice as a positive influence. I feel that this approach to writing may just help that other writer, or anyone for that matter if you’re faced with a little ‘rainy period’ in your life.
When you are trying to move forward in writing your novel which can sometimes be a very lonely journey – look at your writing practice just like a meditation.
Each word you place on the page is like an inhale. Each sentence that forms from these words is like an exhale. Soon enough, all those inhales (words) and exhales (sentences) form together allowing a simple flow of connectedness. Before you know it, a paragraph is formed as it connects all those sentences. Then, as you repeat this process, allowing each word, sentence and paragraph to flow, you find yourself completing a chapter. Then a new chapter starts (new beginning) and the process begins again. All the while, you are gaining momentum, working through your ‘rainy period’ and soon enough the sun will start to shine, and your story will be finished!
I urge you to try it. There is absolutely nothing to lose, but so much positivity to gain.
One word at a time.
All my love,
PS…For those of you who know how much I love when synchronicity strikes…I literally finished writing this blog and then turned on my Spotify music and surprise, surprise ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by The Beatles started playing. All is good 😊
The Little Things
Since my books were published, I find that people I meet want to talk books with me all the time. If the conversation isn’t about my own books, then it will be about the books they are reading, or they ask me what I’m reading. Some people might remember a scene from one of my books and recite the scene in the middle of a conversation, (which I find awesome!) then ask me how I go about constructing a scene. I love this!
I’ve also encountered receiving emails or text messages from people, only to receive a follow up saying, “Sorry, I misspelled a word” or “That should read…” and they change the entire sentence, apologising profusely for the error. I recently received a lovely long email from a friend, and truly, even though I saw the error, it didn’t bother me in the least, in fact I just smiled because we have a joke about this very subject. Within about 30 seconds of me opening the email, he sent another one with the correction saying, “being a writer, I’m sure that type of thing would be quite annoying.” It makes me smile to think that he thought about that when sending it to me.
It's lovely to engage in conversation about books and writing in general, but really nice when in mid conversation, someone may ask me about a certain character or scene in one of my books, or care so much about spelling – that really puts a smile on my face!
#gratitude #inspiration #writer #gillian_ducaurroy_author #journey #journeyofloveandbetrayalbook1 #inquisitivemindsbook2 #anotherpathanotherlifebook3 #inspired #motivation #meditation #love #friendship #reading #books #author #thelittlethingsinlife
walking for inspiration
I’m sure people who know me well, know that I love going for walks. I absolutely love just setting out with the intention of relaxing and exercising, but it is so much more than that!
For those of you who love rainbows, I was out walking yesterday afternoon. The sun was out, then it started to rain. I love the fresh smell of rain especially if there is sun to enjoy at the same time. So, I knew there would be a rainbow, and sure enough – a double rainbow! I took a moment to stop and look at it, making all my usual wishes and showing gratitude for these little wonders of nature. As I turned to get back on my walk, there was a ten dollar note right in front of me on the footpath, with absolutely no-one around who could have just dropped it! So, I’m thinking, I may have just found that pot of gold 😊
These gorgeous mushrooms were discovered on one of my walks recently. Truly, this little bit of garden was like something out of a fairy-tale and also holds some significant details for my latest novel that I’m writing.
I get a lot of inspiration for my writing while I walk. The characters in my story get a good working over as I take each step. Recently, I passed a beautiful home that I’ve admired for years, yet until this day, didn’t realise the home has a name. I have now named a very significant place in my latest novel, after this home.
During the planning process, I may write my ideas on paper, but the freedom of creativity while I walk outdoors seems to bring about a broader depth, the more I let it unfold. In which case, I whip my phone out and type in the idea before I forget!
I also find that meditation is a wonderful way to enjoy a walk. I put my earphones in and enjoy a meditation while I take in the scenery. That too is an inspiration, and often just after I’ve completed the meditation, ideas will start to pop in. It’s like a window of opportunity has just unleashed all these ideas.
Next time you feel like some inspiration or need a few new ideas or a pick me up, try going for a walk. It does wonders! As a bonus, when you see these little beauties in nature, it really makes you feel grateful for every little thing.
#goingforwalks #nature #writing #gettinginspired #writerslife #friends #writer #gillian_ducaurroy_author #travel #journey #healthy #journeyofloveandbetrayalbook1 #inquisitivemindsbook2 #anotherpathanotherlifebook3 #inspiration #motivation #meditation #love #friendship
Get out on the Highway
Recently I was lucky enough to spend the day with my good friend in the Hunter Valley. It was an early morning start, driving in the thick fog to begin our journey, and then as the sun beamed through the fog, we arrived at our destination to perfect weather. The occasion was for our birthdays, which happen to be a couple of weeks apart.
I am reflecting on this, because even though we live nearby to each other, spending uninterrupted time for the entire day is a rare occurrence. We must do it more often, because spending time with your closest friends is the best kind of therapy.
The enjoyment of cruising up the freeway, with music playing and not even having to have a conversation if we didn’t feel like it, was just the best. Not to mention the singing! No restrictions of time, and both of us in a relaxed frame of mind.
Given, we were blessed with gorgeous weather, the surrounds were picturesque, the atmosphere at the festival was relaxed – the day could have been just as good if it rained, and we were in a cosy pub with a fireplace, and a live band playing!
Actually – that’s a great idea for next time! I see no need for an occasion to do this sort of thing anymore. This type of therapy should happen more often at any given time!
Have you done this recently? I'd love to hear about it.
#friends #enjoyinglife #metime #huntervalley #success #adventure #food #bestie #bff #coffee #cupcake #writer #girlsdayout #gillian_ducaurroy_author #travel #journey #healthy #journeyofloveandbetrayalbook1 #inquisitivemindsbook2 #anotherpathanotherlifebook3 #inspiration #motivation #meditation #love #bestbuddies #sisters
*Gillian = Lover of writing, music, travel, walking, meditation, reading, inspiration, positivity, poetry, life...*