Ink and Blood #Poems inspired by #Poet T. S. Elliot #Bornonthisday

Blood and Ink

You ask me why I write

And I answer, frankly,

To shed the excess blood

Threatening to drown me

If I stop spilling it

Wildly, mercilessly,

Over the blank, white page,

Begging to be tinted  

With the secrets of my soul.

 ****

T. S. Elliot was born on this day, 26th of September, in the year 1888. His famous quote, ‘The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink’, reminds us that writing a poem is often a painful and emotional, soul searching experience.

Find out more and read some of his wonderful poems here 

By Lady Ottoline Morrell. Public Domain. Wikimedia.org

Writers translate feelings into syllables and words which are painstakingly plucked from our conscious and subconscious minds and poured onto a blank page.

As I wrote in a previous post, writing a peom is, ‘excruciating, disturbing, and always frustrating, but there’s no alternative. It’s the only option for the poet, condemned to pursue that perfect combination of phrases, sounds and emotions, she will never find.’

And yet, it is cathartic. There is peace, for a while, when a poem is completed. And then, we begin again, because the search for the perfect poem may be closer, but it is never over, is it?

 

 

#MarcosPlaylist ‘For Once in my Life’ by Steve Wonder #Spotify #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka

Last month I made a playlist with some of my favourite melodies on Spotify. I chose those which had a mellow rhythm and would hopefully lull my newborn grandson, Marcos, to sleep, or at least calm him down!

I’m not a great fan of most nursery songs for helping children to sleep or relax, they’re either too short and repetitive or too lively to encourage rest!

As I compiled some of my some of my favourite,  calming songs, I also use this playlist sometimes while I’m writing, although mostly I prefer silence. 

I’ll be posting one of the songs with a haiku or tanka on Saturdays with the spotify link to the song.

Singalong, enjoy and have a great Saturday!

 

For once in her life
She has someone who needs her,
His voice fills her hopes,
His smile fills her heart with love,
Her dreams shine in his wide eyes.

For Lidia.

****

I love Steve Wonder’s songs! They’re so feel-good and emotionally energising. There’s more than one in Marcos’ playlist. 

Which is your favourite Steve Wonder song? Let me know in the comments.

Do you have a special Spotify playlist you’d like to share? Go ahead and share in the comments.

Stay safe and remember…

Autumn in Jane Eyre

The autumn months of September, October and November witness major events in both Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester’s lives.

Jane Eyre starts narrating her autobiography in autumn, specifically in November, ‘a drear November day’ she calls it. The novel has an oppressive and gloomy beginning in which she tells the reader about her loveless and lonely childhood at Gateshead, with her heartless Aunt Reed and bullying cousins, Georgina and John.

Jane is trapped in a freezing outdoor climate with an equally frosty atmosphere inside the house, as she states in her very first paragraph.

‘There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.’

And there we have one of the major themes in the novel, freedom, or in this case lack of freedom represented by the confinement she is subject to outside, due to the weather, and inside as she is denied access to family reunions and even locked in a room.

However, Jane’s experience of Autumn is not always so miserable.

Eight years later, after graduating at Lowood and taking on a teaching position there, she decides she wants to widen her horizons, so she advertises for a job as a governess.

‘…towards the close of a pleasant autumn day, I found myself afoot on the road to Lowton. A picturesque track it was, by the way; lying along the side of the beck and through the sweetest curves of the dale: but that day I thought more of the letters, that might or might not be awaiting me at the little burgh whither I was bound, than of the charms of lea and water.

My ostensible errand on this occasion was to get measured for a pair of shoes; so I discharged that business first, and when it was done, I stepped across the clean and quiet little street from the shoemaker’s to the post-office: it was kept by an old dame, who wore horn spectacles on her nose, and black mittens on her hands.

‘Are there any letters for J.E.?’ I asked.

And this is when she receives Mrs. Fairfax’s reply, offering her a job at Thornfield. Jane travels to Thornfield Hall that same autumn, specifically in October and she finds everything there pleasing.

She arrives in the evening, but she describes her first morning there as a ‘a fine autumn morning; the early sun shone serenely on embrowned groves and still green fields; advancing on to the lawn, I looked up and surveyed the front of the mansion. It was three storeys high, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman’s manor-house, not a nobleman’s seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look. Its grey front stood out well from the background of a rookery, whose cawing tenants were now on the wing: they flew over the lawn and grounds to alight in a great meadow, from which these were separated by a sunk fence, and where an array of mighty old thorn trees, strong, knotty, and broad as oaks, at once explained the etymology of the mansion’s designation.’

Jane is finally feeling calm and happy which contrasts to the opening chapter which starts with a dreary autumn.

The reader and Jane can presume that her luck is changing and that a better life full of new opportunities lies ahead. She has her duties, which enable her to earn a salary, but she is not trapped at Thornfield. She is her own boss. No one bullies her. She’s starting to live her life as a free person, which is what Jane desires.

One of her most famous phrases in the novel is:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Jane is a prisoner at the beginning of the novel, and she’s started her road to freedom once she arrives at Thornfield Hall.

The following November, Jane learns that she has inherited a fortune from her uncle John Eyre, a wine merchant who lived in Madeira, when St John gives her the solicitor’s letter and she confesses her real identity. It’s also when she learns St John and his sisters Mary and Diana are Jane’s cousins.

Another crucial event to the plot, which took place in autumn was the fire which burnt down Thornwood Hall. It occurred during the harvest, so probably between late September and early October.

It was a ‘dreadful calamity’ as Jane is told when she returns to find Rochester, but really, it meant that Rochester had become a widower and consequently a free man. It was a perfect end to her rival, the first Mrs Rochester, and although Mr Rochester was injured, he survived and was able to remarry.

Curiously Mr Rochester had married Bertha Antoinette Mason in Autumn, too.

‘I affirm and can prove that on the 20th of October A.D.—(a date of fifteen years back), Edward Fairfax Rochester, of Thornfield Hall, in the county of—, and of Ferndean Manor, in—shire, England, was married to my sister, Bertha Antoinetta Mason, daughter of Jonas Mason, merchant, and of Antoinetta his wife, a Creole, at—church, Spanish Town, Jamaica. The record of the marriage will be found in the register of that church—a copy of it is now in my possession. Signed, Richard Mason.’’

So for Rochester his ill fated and according to his account, mistaken marriage, began and ended in autumn, specifically in October.

The novel ends in summer, but it is because of the events which occurred the previous autumn that they are both free at last.

Jane has refused St John’s offer of marriage and she has inherited a fortune, while Rochester has lost his main property but he is still a wealthy man and overall, he is free from his ‘mad’ wife.

‘I sat at the feet of a man, caring as I. The veil fell from his hardness and despotism. Having felt in him the presence of these qualities, I felt his imperfection and took courage. I was with an equal—one with whom I might argue—one whom, if I saw good, I might resist.’

They are both financially, emotionally and legally free, so they are able to marry for love and live as equals.

Jane believes she has her happy ending and urges her readers to believe it too, but as Orson Wells once said, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”

 

I couldn’t let it go.

Jane Eyre leaves too many spaces between the lines. There are countless unanswered questions about Bertha, the first Mrs Rochester’s life and death, her brother, Richard’s role in his sister’s marriage and confinement, and Mr Rochester’s abundant lies and manipulation. On the other hand, what about Jane’s intelligence and fiercely independent nature, would she be content to spend the rest of her life exclusively devoted to an ailing and irritable husband in a remote, manor house?

There was so much that I wanted to explore, and that’s what led me to write The Eyre Hall Trilogy, but I warn you, it is not for any unconditional fans of Mr. Rochester.

 

Writers in #Autumn #Tanka

Writers in Autumn

Season of Memories,
Weighing heavy on our hearts,
Bursting to be told,
Minds whirl with inspiration,
Words pour out like aged wine.
****

Welcome back to my blog!

I hope you’ve been coping well with the uncertain and unexpected times we’ve all had to deal with.

Some challenging situations have come my way, as well as the epidemic we’re all coping with, fortunately the storm is ebbing, and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

However, not everything which has required my undivided attention has been disheartening, I’ve also had the joy and privilege of meeting my fifth grandchild, Marcos, who is a real blessing for our family.

I always feel a bit nostalgic in September, after the long summer months and change of season, but I also have lots of new projects on the go, which I’ll be sharing with you shortly.

Meanwhile, stay safe and be happy!

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Other You’ J. S. Monroe @Scribd #BookReview #Tanka #MedicalThriller

The Other You: a gripping and addictive new thriller for 2020 by [J.S. Monroe]

From the Blurb

Is he who you think he is?

Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.

At least she has Rob. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health in his high-tech modernist house on the Cornish coast. When she’s with him, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.

Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew – and knows, with absolute certainty, that he has been replaced by an impostor. Is she right? Have her old recognition skills returned? Or is it all in her damaged mind?

*****

My Review

The Other You is a spine chilling techno and medical thriller.

It’s a well plotted and tightly written novel. It has engaging characters; some are the good guys, who are led astray, and others are villains, who are very, very cunning and evil. Part of the suspense is figuring out who the good and bad guys really are.

The plot of The Other You brings us face to face with actions which push well over the limits of ethics, by using technology to fuel unlimited greed.  It makes us think about how far science and technology could go to literally take over our lives and even our minds.

It is an enthralling, entertaining and fast paced read, with a frightening, but believable premise and engaging characters. A 5-star read!

I listened to the audiobook version which was brilliantly read by Eilidh Beaton.

Especially for lovers of disquieting psychological and medical thrillers.

By the way, you can get it for the price of a coffee on kindle, right here!

Amazon.com author page

Amazon UK author page

Scribd

My Double

If I could live twice,
I’d be both saint and sinner.
My double and me,
We’re under your very eyes,
But you will never see us.

****

#Lockdown ‘Every cloud has a Silver Lining’ #MondayMotivation #MondayBlogs

I live in Spain and we’ve been on Lockdown for ten days now due to the Covid-19 virus and I haven’t written a single post, until today.

I’m not going to talk about facts and figures, prevention, medicine or science, because I’m not an expert on any of those major aspects and there’s plenty of reliable information online.

I’m going to write about my personal reflections, feelings and how my life is being affected by the lockdown. This means owning both the positive as well as the negative experiences derived from imposed isolation, because every cloud has a silver lining.

First I’m going to tell you about the clouds, or what I miss:

 

1) Hugging my children and grandchildren. 

I have four wonderful grandchildren (ages 3,5,6, and 9, and a fifth on the way!) I love playing board games, ping pong, telling stories, going to parks and fun fairs, or just chatting with them. 

My husband and my daughter walking in the countryside, near where I live.

2) My daily walks.

My husband and I have retired recently and we enjoy long (2-3 hour) daily walks. We choose different parts of the town and countryside, have a coffee or a beer on the way there or back, depending on the time. We chat, take photos, pop in to museums or exhibitions, wherever takes our fancy. No walks allowed now.

I took this picture of some of my oldest friends last year at a local flower festival ‘Flora’

3) Going out with friends.

I enjoy going out with friends. We go to the movies, to a coffee shop, window shopping, real shopping, or out for drinks and tapas. No going out with friends.

 

Last year we popped over to Bari, on a bargain Ryanair flight, just for the fun of it!

4) Impromptu outings

We love getting in the car and popping over to Malaga (an hour and a half drive) to walk along the seafront, or to meet up with friends and family, or to any other city for a day trip, weekend at home or abroad.

60th Birthday Party at home with some of my best friends!

5) Receiving guests

I love cooking and having guests, especially when the weather’s nice and we can eat in the garden. On other occasions, friends come over for tea or coffee, some home-cooked cake and a chat. 

Secondly, this is my silver lining, or what I can appreciate about this situation.

1) More time to write. 

I’ve just finished and sent the umpteenth draft of my latest novel to my editor, Alison Williams. I managed, to block out the lockout and get on with it with no one to distract me. I plan to continue with other unfinished novels and literary projects, too.

2) More time to read

My TBR pile is slightly smaller! At the moment I’m reading and enjoying When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal, on my kindle and listening to L J Ross’s Alexander Gregory Thriller, Impostor, its Book 1 in the series (I read Book 1 first by mistake!). She’s a wonderful author as I learned when I read her DCI Ryan Mysteries.

The Alexander Gregory Thrillers

3) Watching series I never have time for.

I’m not much of a TV viewer, but I was able to binge watch over a couple of days, eight episodes of The Stranger, by Harlan Coben staring Richard Armitage.

4) Phoning + texting friends and family 

I’ve spent the last few days contacting friends and family all over the world, by phone, text and email, making sure they’re all OK. I haven’t finished yet, there are still a few more to contact.

With my three best friends from London University, celebrating our 60th birthday, last July, back on our College site, now luxury residential homes.

5) A time for introversion and reflection.

I’ve never been faced with so much time for myself or so much worry about family, friends and myself. Facing one’s own vulnerability in such an unpredictable world is daunting. Facing our finite and limited time on earth and the possibility of illness, or even death in complete isolation was not how I expected to spend 2020.

Momento Mori is not welcome, but it’s a necessary reminder that my life is brief and finite and every moment is precious.

Stay safe, virtual hugs and love to you all.