Category Archives: Inspiration

Parts of the process

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

– Benjamin Franklin

All the mistakes, all the bad decisions, all those missed opportunities, all the moments of indiscretion – these are parts of the process.

And the triumphs, the opportunities seized with cautious yet eager hands these, and all the glorious moments are also part of the process.

The people who took advantage of my insecurities, the friends who showed me the way, the colleagues who offered me a drink when I needed to drown my sorrows, the lovers and the dreamers- they too are part of the process.

The times I had to fight back the tears, the time when I felt free driving a tractor through a corn field, the times I felt trapped in my body, the time I  felt complete dancing in the street with children I’d just met – these times are part of the process.

The tequila I drank like water to make everything feel right, the ice cold watermelons I devoured under the scorching Israeli sun, the gelato I ate in a small Tuscan square which made time stand still, the cheap vodka mixed with chocolate milk which made me sick to my stomach – all these things are part of the process.

The house in Ghana with it’s cold showers and turtles in buckets, the apartment in the clouds with shiny floors and bath-time cigars, the cottage surrounded by vineyards with a wooden spiral staircase, the house I grew up in with gutters full of leaves and closed doors – these places are part of the process.

The months I retreated from the world when my friends needed me, the nights I walked the streets yearning to be part of something bigger, the days I felt completely numb, the Christmas I spent alone in a strange house eating pizza, the day I said goodbye for the last time – these times are part of the process.

The relationships that taught me to be kind, the relationships that forced me to be brave, the relationships with no strings attached, and the ones that made me believe in fairy tales – these are part of the process.

So don’t mind being at odds with the status quo. Embrace this new age which allows us to choose any path we like. Sometimes it’s a highway, sometimes it’s a slow and meandering lane. Choose one that is full of experiences rather than just achievements. Enjoy the transformation. The process that follows the rhythm of your heart. A process you can’t stop. For once you stop changing, adapting, evolving and growing, you cease to be you.


The reasons for change

A change in search of happiness. A change to realise my goals. A change because I am brave. A change to escape repression. A change for the thrill of the new. A change because the wind makes me restless. A change for all that is good. A change in the name of love and wine. A change to meet my expectations. A change beacause I get bored easily. A change to ease my longing for change. A change to cure my trepidation. A change  to keep myself young. A change because my feet are itchy. A change for the sake of my heart. A change because life is short. A change for all the right reasons. A change for all the wrong reasons. A change because I seek adventure. A change because I love cheese.  A change so I can walk the long road home. A change because the light is fading. A change to make my candle burn brighter. A change because I am a soldier. A change because the avalanche inside me is imminent. A change because love will tear us apart again. A change to make me stronger. A change because I’m claustrophobic. A change because I hear footsteps in my mind. A change because I want to be better. A change to sate my appetite. A change so one day I’ll look back and smile. A change because I see it in his eyes. A change to mend the broken pieces of my life. A change because ‘what-ifs’ poison the mind. A change to learn the language of love. A change so I can look up and see the stars. A change to release all those words. A change in order to grow. A change because I can. A change because the time is now. A change to complete the transformation. A change because change is inevitable.

Remember, remember the fifth of November

I should have been born on Guy Fawkes, but I decided to stay in for a bit longer. As usual I was in no rush. A week later the doctors pulled me out with salad spoons leavings bruises on my cheeks. This is why I have such rosy cheeks.  Well, this is my theory at least. Perhaps, because I was due on Guy Fawkes and born shortly, after I developed pyromaniacal tendencies.  This is a pretty rubbish theory I realise, but nonetheless it’s a theory. Bonfires, candles, fireworks, barbeque’s, matches, fireplaces, lighters, you name it – they all hold a kind of magical allure for me. If it burns or explodes I want to be the one that’s making it burn or explode. I can’t explain it, but lighting fireworks or throwing logs on a bonfire fills me with glee. The term ‘pyromania’ comes from the Greek word ‘pyr’ meaning fire. Us pyromaniacs aren’t like arsonists who start fires with the intention of inflicting harm, we start fires to induce euphoria.

Blowing up snails used to be a favourite pastime of mine when I was about 11. My best friend and I would collect snails in her garden and then position ourselves behind her front wall which over-looked a busy road. We would jam a tom-thumb (one of those little green or red fire-crackers) into the snails shell, light the fuse, and then hurl the poor creature at passing cars. We shrieked with delight at every exploding snail. Once I managed to throw one of these snail bombs right through an open car window and the snail exploded inside the car. Bang! The unsuspecting woman screamed and nearly swerved off the road when the flying snail blew up in her face and splattered all over steering wheel. Not the most intelligent way to spend an afternoon and I’d have probably been arrested if she had actually crashed, but it was so much fun.

I indulge myself in slightly less dangerous activities these days. Fireworks must be one of the pinnacles of human achievements; I cannot fathom how they make some powder in a cardboard tube launch into the sky and explode in all these different colours, shapes and sizes and the bigger and louder they are, the happier they make me. But as much as I like watching a firework display, what I love the most is letting them off. Lighting the piece of string that sticks out the end, watching the spark snake up the fuse, waiting until the very last second before running away screaming, and then looking up to see the sky light up with colours. Whoosh. Bang! Kerpow! Aahh… Sometimes I’m so easily pleased.

My week of: Murdering my darlings

I had to kill them. All of them. This is the only way to make it better apparently. It’s been hard and I think there might still be a few left, but the majority are gone now. It was my mum and Stephen King who encouraged me to do it. I owe them. Things are going to be much clearer from now on.

And just incase you think I’ve finally gone round the twist and become a serial killer like Charles Manson (who, incidently, I share a birthday with), ‘murdering my darlings’ is a metaphor. It means taking out all of your ‘best bits’ when it comes to writing. All those unnecessary adverbs and adjectives. All that annoyingly flowery loquacioness and those seemingly, completely irrelevant descriptions.  See? It only causes clutter in a sentence.

This week I have been reading  ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. It has helped me more than any text book, writing guide or journalism course ever has. The first half is autobiographical and very funny. The second half is advice for aspiring writers. It covers all the nuts and bolts of writing: style, dialogue, narration, editing, proofreading. The book is aimed at wannabe fiction writers – I’ve never considered writing fiction but I’m feeling rather inspired to after reading it. My mother has also been dishing out advice. She calls every Sunday evening and critiques my latest blog posts: “You write really well my darling, but you tend to be rather… verbose.” Ouch. I know she feels bad criticising my work, but she knows and I know that she is right.  I am ever grateful for her advice. Your best critics are usually those closest to you.

So there is a possibility I might try my hand at writing a novel. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to write about and I wouldn’t expect any Booker Prize nominations just yet.. (I can dream can’t I?) And for those who read my writing, please do let me know if I’ve left any ‘darlings’ alive.