Two thousand and seventeen...

posted on: Friday, 6 January 2017

I welcomed the new year in the French Alps, eating the obscure menu of a French banquet which included a steak which I am sure never saw the heat of the pan; the French like it rare. Do I like it rare? Less so, but we embraced the experience. New year in the mountains is a thought-provoking thing, I find myself pensive now that we are back.

Christmas was a storm of jolly activity. I received one of the best ever gifts from my brother; a pure white ceramic pineapple. I heart it. We ended up hosting both sides of the family and had, in amongst this, booked two trips to London so there was shuttling back and forth in the days that followed the festivities. I was so ready to go away. Skiing, though not my best ever thing is a curious convergence of stamina and beauty. I still believe that unless you are a very good skier it remains a pursuit that requires Herculean effort and yomp; getting up the mountain, all the kit, those stupid boots, ski lifts and mountain conditions, the snow (or no snow!) then that sublime shoop down, all over so quickly. I find that it has the same affect on me as yoga though, I concentrate so hard that I can think of little else and the result is that my mind clears for a few days. Coming home and it's filled up again and now my inner monologue wails plaintively: I have so much to do! Then followed by: what shall I do? The indecision of my life troubles me. I am sure that busy and indecisive are the worst bed fellows. And don't get me started on the cheese fest that went on in the Alps. I ate so much cheese in so many forms I could now leave it for another year.

So here we are again.

I face January with the knowledge that I need step it up in my work, this Masters degree is not going complete itself. There are plans buzzing around my mind about what I might do afterwards and whether I can get this book published. As the edit evolves there is a darkness to the novel that I hadn't anticipated. I hadn't planned on writing a dark book, but dark it is. I find this interesting. Whenever I write the blog there is a conscience on my shoulder saying make it light and breezy. No one wants to see the dark places of your mind. Yet whenever I have shared the shadows here I get the biggest response from readers. Isn't that so very human? We like the darkness, that is what pulls us in, but we want it presented in a fictional form so that we can re-enter the light when we need to. I have written the book about life and marriage and parenthood yes, but also about those nuances of human interaction, the inner thoughts we have - at least that I (my characters) have. It's not me of course, but it comes from me if you see what I mean.

People often say they have a book in them. I suspect we all do. But getting it out is not for the faint-hearted and that is why relatively few make the transition from mind to paper. I consider whether I could have managed it without the academics to back me up. For re-entering the academic world has reminded me of where I started; by learning. To learn is to open the mind. To study is to immerse. Both of these disciplines have helped me unlock the book in me. So I continue to toil away, even though the editing process is so much damn harder than the writing process of last year. To edit is to make it better, to make it perfect. Therein lies the problem; it never feels good enough. So I adopt what I used to do in my previous profession and to some extent with this blog. I press 'send' and hope for the best. I have to have faith it's good enough.

On a more binary level it's midwinter, I am swathed in wool and daily I long for my palm trees and the sun. Where is the sun?! School is still not back so my children are in the holiday stupor of sleeping in and asking for/eating shit food and we all go along until the next milestone of the term starting next week. My daughter is revising, it's exam year this year. To study is to immerse. Do you see the theme?!

I am trying to resist the sales, to turn my back on the emails that come each day promising further reductions. What I want to do is to buy all those bits I have had my eye on all season but couldn't afford but what I am instead do is talk myself out of it and wish I'd saved some money. Story of my shopping life. I am, it seems, the person who buys full-price at the start. Oh well...

Lovely to pop in here, speak soon...


  1. Happy new year Lou! I think it's human nature to question the merits of one's work, especially when one is an artist like yourself. It's natural and a good thing because it makes you strive higher. How do you manage to find time for all you do? Keep on writing..(well now, editing)

  2. Quick question Lou.. Do you remember that pic you posted of a painting a while back of a little boy and a slightly older girl looking out of a wintry window in awe... If I remember correctly, you wrote it reminds you of you and your reminds me of my kids and I'd like to purchase it. If you know, I would really appreciate it.. Thank you

  3. Oops.. Forgot to write if you could please let me know the name or painter's name..

    1. Hi there! So I think I know the one you mean; it's by Christian Birmingham and features here:

  4. ­čÄëHNY­čÄë
    Love the flower picture.

  5. Wow! Thank you so much for your response! I appreciate it..

  6. Can't wait to read the book!

  7. A belated Happy New Year to you and your family Lou ..... Your Christmas sounded perfect and you have the best brother .... how many brothers would buy a pure white ceramic pineapple !!High five to him !!
    Sounds as if 2017 will be a busy one for you and I look forward to running along with you ... keep us posted. XXXX

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