Sunday, 6 May 2012

We had ten glorious days in Greece with Costas' family and both our kids, spouses and the wonderful baby Alex. No fighting, no snapping, no complaints - just smiles, laughter and wonderful places to see.










Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Day

My husband is such a romantic. he took me to a hole-in-the-wall Gyro shop near the old walls of Nicosia for the best gyro in the country with a foil tray of rigani sprinkled fries on the side (one each no less) and a bottle of water. In the cold, on the street, it was better than any steak and bottle of red wine. Then we drove to the Cineplex to see the new Sherlock Holmes film. Now we're talking - that's what I call entertainment. Bloody fantastic - smoke and mirrors, stuff and nonsense - any cliche you want to roll out. All done with the delicious chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, not to mention the deep, dark molasses timbre of Downey's voice
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNxhpNpnAkk

We have never celebrated Valintine's Day. Years ago when I got in a huff about his not remembering, Costas silenced me for all time by saying: 'I don't need a special day in the year to tell you I love you.'
I wonder if he thought of that by himself?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Left or right sided brain?

This came up in our lecture notes on the course and gave a 21 question assessment. Tricky things those questions and they determined I was moderately left brain.
I found this in google and liked it better, except when I shifted my eyes the direction changed but I'm going with the first impression.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/weird/the-right-brain-vs-left-brain/story-e6frev20-1111114577583

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Genres

Genres I understand

Webster’s Dictionary defines genre as a ‘… a category of art or literature characterised by a certain form, style, subject matter or atmosphere.’

It is a mystery to me that people who write, know so certainly which genre they are writing to. I am amazed that writers limit themselves to such a degree. Books might fall into certain genres, but I do not understand why a writer puts themselves there. I have a deep suspicion that these labels lead to formulaic writing, doomed to rejection through lack of freshness regardless of the writing talent. Genres have become the clich├ęs of style.

I write stories. Where they fall depends on all those things but they do not define what I write when I start something new.  I don’t want to write to a recipe, I don’t want to conform for form’s sake. Surely it’s like saying to a chef, you can only cook fish entrees or only vegetable soups or tagliatelle or pork chops etc. Does this mean I have not found my niche? That my writing has not developed enough to master specialised disciplines? Perhaps. I don’t know. It’s like music these days – there are so many narrow labels and they all end up sounding the same in any one genre. Oh for the 60s and 70s when diversity reigned. In my youth there were broad categories which allowed originality within and crossover without. You were not defined by your music choices as people are now. I feel the same is happening to writing.

I understand the need for publishers and bookstores to create order and so genres for marketing, but that is the end product.

As a writer, you sit down and begin to write because you have an idea, be it a story, a character, a setting or a what if idea. Who knows the best form to realise that idea until you start? I am writing my first novel which started as the story of the dynamics between three sisters, but along came a murder and a policeman, who might fall in love with one of the sisters. He is a bad cop but he is a good man. So far nothing is resolved. Not sure if it will be. It’s not a crime novel, it’s not a romance, it’s not even well done. So far. But I will work until I have resolved those issues and made it as good as I can write it.
Check this website genre list - scroll down to the alphabetical list - oh please!

absurdist

Gothic

Sci-fi


paranormal romance



Space opera

Genre starter kit!

My partners in crime


Here are Rhay and Fiona - the two women who keep me sane and happy in Cyprus. Fiona has the food and Rhay is with her wee pup, Capuccino - after one of our afternoon dog walks in the Athalassa forest.
Rhay who reached Domestic Goddess level last night with her orgasmic Creme Brulee - although I did provide the blow torch!

Wow!

Just started a month's course - Empowering Characters' Emotions - from Margie Lawson. Incredible input and exciting - she knows her stuff.
I have an editing partner from Auckland, and a couple of other Kiwis have sent nice emails. Looks like this might be a happy cyber-community. Rhay recommended it and I am thankful she did. I'm still on the Writers Digest Course 12 Weeks to a first draft but it isn't a patch on this, apart from making me write. It is also three times the price so I won't waste my money there again.
http://www.margielawson.com/

I've had to sacrifice the chance to do a 2 week trip to Vietnam and Cambodia later this month, partly because of the courses but mainly because Sophie needs me to go over to her to look after the gorgeous Alex when she and Andy both return to work. Mmm Alex & writing vs Vietnam - Alex! Writing! Yay!









Two weeks ago we went to see the Degas exhibition of the bronzes made from the wax sculptures found in his studio after he died. The bronzes reveals every finger caress of his hands and the desire to reach out and touch was intense. He also did horses and catches their motion in a second with grace.  I know his paintings are his most famous work, but these are the models he did to capture the movement for those paintings. Utterly beautiful and I came away feeling that this was a man who loved women for their womanhood, deeply.

Friday, 27 January 2012

War Horse:
Just got back from the film - everything I thought it might be - cliched, sentimental and essentially a children's film. Not bad, not great. Only one sequence stood out - when the horse, Joey, runs through no man's land and gets caught on the barbed wire. Otherwise not worth seeing - wait for it to come round on TV.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Tom and Viv

Trying to listen this morning to a strong play by Michael Hastings about T.S. Eliot and his first wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood, on BBC Radio 4, but am constantly interrupted by the central heating repair man, an Armenian who doesn't speak great Greek nor English. Bless him he has pitched out on Sunday morning, because the system has started a tympani of loud rhythmic banging each time it comes on. Probably needs bleeding for air or water, but we have no key and he can't find where his wife,   put his in his work van. She usually comes with him,a Chinese lady who is his working sidekick. So he and Costas keep tramping in and out with heavy sighs and manly grunts.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00g3ycd
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivienne_Haigh-Wood_Eliothttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._S._Eliot

Give me the radio anytime over the television - I spend too much time looking for something to watch, only to give up and settle for a re-run of comedy classics or the Good Food channel.
Radio 4 is a rich source of drama, arts, comedy, current affairs and factual programmes. It is my lifesaver.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Now for the less than happy news

It was also a year of sadness.

My darling father died in May, a dear friend, John Dyson, died in October and in December a close friend of Costas' since university, Michalis Mousxoudis, died. I don't have a picture of Michalis, but I do have of Father and John.
Lovely men who will be very much missed.

Away too long

It's been a momentous year for me - Sophie had the beautiful Alex in April and in October, Allan & Michelle did the big wedding thing here in Cyprus.
Now I am finally back to some serious writing and am in the middle of a novel writing course, which means I do have 'a work in progress' (WIP) which I am loving. My only question is why do I do my best thinking in the shower where it is really difficult to write the stuff down? The appearance of my dashing downstairs wrapped in towels and soap running down my legs is frightening the dogs. However, it is such a successful place for me to think that everytime I hit a snag - which is several times in any given day - I consider the shower and the inspirational power of a head full of shampoo.
I am starting another course, in tandem with this current one, in February, on 'Empowering Characters' Emotions' or something. I'm told by a trusted writer friend, the woman who runs these courses - http://www.margielawson.com/  - is well worth the effort as she loads you with work. But hey, at $40US it's a snip.