#SilentSunday ‘Back to the Keyboard!’ #Haiku #amwriting

Back to the keyboard,

After plotting and planning,

One word at a time.

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After over a year writing and rewriting various drafts of The Ghost Wife, I still wasn’t satisfied, so I stopped to plot and plan, all over again, from the beginning.

I Stared from scratch, back to basics, with main character arcs, secondary character profiles, scenes, sequels, and three-act structure.

No more excuses!

It’s time to write!

Happy Sunday!

#WorldMentalHeathDay Prevention and Support #Joker

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This year the focus is on suicide prevention, there’s more information and videos for classroom use on the topic here

Firstly, I’d like to remind everyone to take the time to listen and spare a kind or encouraging word to those we interact with every day, especially if they look as if they need it,  because we all need a smile, a hug, or a supportive word.

Secondly I’d like to share with you my reflections after watching the film, Joker, earlier this week. I wasn’t planning on seeing the movie because I had heard that it was too violent and disappointing, not only by US critics, but also in the UK, where a recent Guardian review describes it as ‘the most disappointing film of the year’. Fortunately, one of my best friends, Elena, convinced me to go with her, and I’m so glad I did!

Joker does include violent scenes, although they are not more graphic than most action movies or video games kids play, and they are not just thrown in for effect, they are embeded in the story line.

It is also dark, because it portrays a heartless and cruel society, and distressing because it proposes no explcit solution to the subsequent violence, and foreshadows an increase in madness and bloodshed.

On the other hand it does accomplish a positive goal, and that is creating empathy with the main character’s life and circumstances. I want to make it clear at this point that I am in no way condoning or justifying Arthur’s behaviour. There is no justification for such extreme violence.

Some may think encouraging empathy is not a positive or necessary goal, that there is nothing to be understood, because the mentally ill should be locked away to protect the rest of the population, but that is neither a long term nor an ethical solution.

There are two solutions implicitly hinted at throughout the film.

In the first place prevention and in the second place adequate, professional and pharamcological support for those who need it.

Arthur was an illegitimate son, born to an unstable mother, herself having been in institutions, while he was physically and mentally abused by step-fathers, rejected by his biological father, ignored by social services, dismissed by mental health services, laughed at by colleagues, ridiculed by passers by and attacked by bullies and gangs.

I kept thinking that so much could and should have been done to prevent the escalation of the decline in his physical and mental health. I am convinced he would have been a different person if he had had better parenting, education and social and mental care.

Whatever you believe, the film certainly encourages debate and analysis of how societies could imrpove mental health issues and social welfare, and that in itself is an invaluable benefit.

Other reasons to watch Joker are, great acting, directing and photography, a moving and action packed story, and a fabulous soundtrack. Here’s my favourite song taken from the staircase scene towards the end of the film.

Here’s the complete playlist on Spotify

There are plenty of great songs such as, Send in the clowns, That’s Life, Put on a Happy Face, Stormy Weather, White Room, Smile, and many more.

Have you seen Joker? What did you think?

Are you planning on seeing it? Why or why not?

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Half a World Away’ by @MikeGayle #BookReview

Today an uplifting and complex novel about disfunctional families, birth and adopted parents, and the emotional ties that bind siblings.

Half a World Away: The stunningly heartfelt new novel from the bestselling author of The Man I Think I Know by [Gayle, Mike]

Blurb

Strangers living worlds apart.
Strangers with nothing in common.

But it wasn’t always that way…

Kerry Hayes is a single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past.

Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a child, Noah always looks forward, never back.

When Kerry reaches out to the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.

Mike Gayle

My Review

Half a World Away is a touching story about a brother and a sister (same mother different father) separated at a young age and taken into the foster system.

Years later, when they meet again as adults, under complex personal circumstances, their lives have taken drastically different directions, but the biological and emotional connection remains. Their bond as sibings is undenieable and strong enough to see them through a devasting crisis.

The main characters have birth, foster and adopted parents, and yet the birth parents were the least supportive. It made me think about the nature versus nurture debate, and whether our DNA has anything to do with who we will become, as opposed to our life experiences and the affection of those who love us in spite of not sharing any biological factors.

The novel will make readers laugh, smile and cry. A moving and uplifting read. Set in the streets of London, which is always a treat.

More reviews by Luccia here! 

 

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words #SixSentenceStory ‘Sorrowful Interlude’

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Sorrowful Interlude

Ruby welcomed her unfailing, weekly customer, handing him his usual two dozen daisies. Ralf nodded, smiled and limped towards the cemetery, carrying a cane and their favourite flowers.

He shook his head, reading the familiar inscriptions; Jane, beloved daughter of Ralf and Ada Grimmer, 10th August 1980 – 23rd September, 1999, and Ada, beloved wife and mother, 5th May 1950 – 23rd September, 1999.

He arranged the flowers, knelt and told them about his week, before saying his usual farewell, “Goodbye for today.”

Ralf refused to believe their separation was definite. “We’ll meet again soon, after this sorrowful interlude,” he whispered.

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Sorry it’s a little sad, but that’s where the two prompts took me.

Ralf refuses to believe that death is anything but a brief, albeit sorrowful interlude, between this world and the next.

We’re all certainly going in the same direction. Nobody leaves this Earth without dying first, whether we meet again is an option which some refuse to believe and others refuse to deny…

I’m taking part in the Carrot Ranch weekly challenge with ‘Interlude’. I’m afraid it’s been a while since I took part in this challenge, so this post is the end of that interlude!

I’m also taking part in the weekly ‘Six sentence story‘, with this week’s word prompt, ‘regret’. It’s my first time taking part, I think.

The two words merged as Ralf’s story popped into my mind. My mind’s elusive and impulsive creativity will never cease to amaze me!

Hope you’re having a creative Monday!