Thursday, 28 May 2015

An Opportunist's Question and A Determination to Reach Perfection

I don't have much time to be writing this as I am feeling very very guilty that I am leaving the house in such a mess to catch up with my commitments and this is the only couple hours I got to try and get it in some kind of proper shape. However I decided I just had to unload my thoughts so here they are (random thoughts mind you):

I was at a dinner Monday last week, which I very much enjoyed for the food was better than delicious (and that's not something I say often of food other than what my husband cooks) and the company was even better. And for once I had something going in my life worth talking about and which people were interested in hearing, namely - my freelance writing. One person at the table, who I would easily have classified under the 'opportunist' trait even before his comment of that day, was quick to ask is it making me any money. He seemed to realise he'd made a faux pas and quickly told me he understands it's not about the money but might as well be getting something out of the effort. Well true, I must agree with him that given the long hours I put into the writing/research/even admin work at this point that goes into keeping my new career going, it would be sad to be doing it all for 'nothing'. But it wouldn't be nothing would it? Because writing is something you have to be passionate about if you want to be writing anything worth reading at all. I do get paid for my work, yes, obviously outside of this blog which is just my 'thing' and pays itself in that it is advertising my works and getting more people to know me. However it is comments from readers that give me more joy than the paycheque - I think it's marvellous to be receiving comments and private messages even as far as from New Zealand, or in a particular case even from someone relatively famous!

I am an advocate for "I do what I love so I love what I do", which was a phrase that fascinated me ever since I was young and still watching Mary Poppins. Another similar saying is that if you do work you love then you won't have to work a day in your life. I also remember a university lecturer once said that a 'job' comes from the word 'gobbo' in Italian, which means 'hunchback' and so refers to literal and figurative 'back-breaking' work. Meanwhile, he said, if we strove for knowledge and a degree (which I opted out of and don't really regret that much) then we'd be free to do whatever 'work' and not 'job' we wanted, far from anything that breaks our spirit. Unfortunately whilst I agree with all the three instances mentioned in this paragraph, I also believe in the reality that it is not always possible to do whatever you want in life. The bills must be paid, as does the home loan, whilst food isn't exactly cheap and however much you try to stop yourself from buying new clothes to avoid the cost, children do grow up fast and need constant new updates to their wardrobe. What I'm trying to say is, life is not exactly a fairytale and unfortunately I do not believe that it is always possible to just do what you love and leave the rest. As I mention in my profile on here, I would love to live in Central London but it doesn't mean I do! Same goes for making a living out of writing - unfortunately an office job can pay the bills much better than freelancing in this small country ever will. So the most I can do is strive for perfection in any imperfect situation, aiming not only to be the best I can be at whatever I do have to do, but even always striving to find that perfect state/place that interests me, cajoles me into aiming always higher and for the best, a place to call not only my workplace but also a friendly second home. Whilst still keeping writing - which is not a 'job' but a 'joy' - in my life too and giving it the importance it deserves. :-)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Some Good Reads

Until I post a new entry, here is a link to my latest article on EVE, which is a set of mini-reviews of my all-time favourite novels:

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Clearing up my Life

I’m on a mission. I am not sure exactly what it is, but it is definitely to do with bettering my life, which feels once again like it’s spiralling out of control.

I mentioned last time that it’s about time I did another good decluttering around the house and I intend to be as ruthless as necessary. Maybe then I’ll find it easier to tidy up on a daily basis, rather than look at stuff that’s lying in places very obviously ‘wrong’ for them but unable to do anything but stare, trying to think where on earth this or that should go. Now I do not have one of those clutter-filled homes like you see in programmes about hoarders but I do need some more order.

However this is more than just about decluttering the house - it’s about decluttering my life. Once again. Because I did this already around three years ago and the effect was one of peace. At the time I was reading a lot about minimalism, which suggests you should say ‘no’ whenever you don’t want to commit yourself to something. Now my husband says I’m very good at saying ‘no’ and he’s right - I say it way too easily as a rule (I can be very difficult, I know). However I have lately found myself taking more than I can handle.

Some commitments I can’t remove from my life due to necessity, like for example my job. Despite worrying constantly about babysitting problems that do coincide with the three days that I am at work, I can’t exactly quit as the bills still must be paid. So regardless of how much more serene I’d be if there wasn’t that constant nagging feeling in my mind that tomorrow, next week, next month, I would have to see how on earth to present myself at work when there seems to be no one to care for my child, I cannot exactly make my life easier in this.

Some other commitments I sign up for willingly. This includes writing. Regardless of how many hours of research and film-viewing go into each one of my articles, I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

However with some other commitments, it should not be difficult to say ‘no’. So no matter how much it breaks my heart to not be able to provide my son with more play dates, more fun, more outings, I must admit that when I overload myself and try to be superwoman, I usually only succeed in making myself into a sulky tired woman with a headache to boot. Maybe I should give some of these kinds of opportunities a miss from now on? (Add trying not to compare my home to that of the non-working mothers whose homes I've visited on play dates as obviously mine is more usually in a mess or not in complete order, even at the best of times).

Meanwhile I will follow what Gretchen Rubin, in her happiness books, has revealed: that whatever is fun for you is not necessarily the same as your expectations of what should be fun and that you must always strive to be yourself, no matter what. So the next time I feel dismay in my stomach at an invitation, I will politely decline it. Sometimes I’ll be able to tell the truth, if I think the person in question would understand. But just in case you ever invite me to something, anything at all, and I do not turn up, then please do note that we’re talking here about me getting some time off from the world.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Page 74… Daniel Cleaver is finally back :-D

I mentioned last time how I think of favourite characters in books like they are my best friends (and at times actually follow their twitter accounts too). As I mentioned another time, I’ve started on Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy and finally got to the page I’d been waiting for… @danielcleaverxx is back! Who cares that Mark Darcy is dead when I can still read about darling Daniel’s cheeky phrases and ways? He has got to be the most adorable of cads (ok ok, only second to About a Boy’s Will Freeman who is a much nicer person and less predatory).
Point is, his character is quite an addition to Bridget’s life diary and probably the main reason I read on through the second book, despite disappointingly finding very little Cleaver in that second instalment after all - a fact accurately pointed out by Hugh Grant during an interview with Oprah about the second film Bridge Jones: The Edge of Reason, which film is full of the character, complete with a second literal fight over Bridget.

Now it does help that in my mind I always picture Hugh Grant when reading about the incorrigible Daniel but I am sure that even without that connotation, I’d still be taken in by the suave Cleaver (by the way, I do think Helen Fielding had a reason for giving him that surname).

I am secretly hoping Bridget does marry Cleaver at the end of it. I know I know, the heroine should marry the hero at the end, like she kisses (and actually in the book more than kisses) Darcy at the end of the first instalment. But then I am always one to fall for the villain or the foil rather than the hero and excuse their ways and point out… maybe he’ll change his ways after all? Who knows… this question applies only to those who, like me still don’t know the ending… What do you think of a Mrs Bridget Cleaver?

PS - You may read all about the Daniel Cleaver portrayal in the films in this article I had written:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Chris Evans - A Hero in Hollywood

My latest article on EVE is another feature about a hot actor... this time the American blond Evans, best-known for his role as Captain America:

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

My Best Friends The Characters

I've started watching an old miniseries, which I will be reviewing once I've seen it through to the end. However this is not exactly about it but about something that came to my mind as an after-effect of watching it. I have watched up to now more than two hours in between two sittings and both times, afterwards, I couldn't stop thinking about it and, more to the point, about main character Charles as well as his two lady loves.

Does it happen to you that you get absorbed in the story (and this being biographical it counts all the more) to the point where you perceive the characters as real people you have somehow got to know? After the first part, which I watched in the evening before going to sleep, I woke up the following morning and directly once again thought of Charles and what he'd been up to in those last couple of minutes before I'd stopped the DVD. Somehow not only was I curious to know what would come next, but also felt compassion for his wife as well as trying to understand his mind and why it had led him to what he did. (Am trying here to avoid spoilers!)

This 'friendship of sorts', if I can so call it, with characters, applies even when I'm reading. I very rarely pick up a book to read that is not a novel, though I love reading articles and therefore non-fiction, on a daily basis. And with every good book (see how I specify 'good' here!) comes a set of characters so three-dimensional that it would be a pity not to let them take over a part of my life.

Some of them disappear back into the pages after I am done reading, but others accompany me through days, weeks, months, and sometimes never leave my life. Among these last I can easily mention Will Freeman (About A Boy) and dear Bridget Jones, who could only ever be the one person to understand me totally, given we are so alike (this refering to paranoia, clumsiness, bad-mothering guilt feelings and all the rest of her personality, rather than to the fact that two hot men pursue her throughout the first book!)

I must off now to real life and away from all thoughts about those fictional beings that I know better than some of my real friends! And with this good night, I invite you to pick up a novel of your choice and immerse yourself in it to that point of no return.