A Few Books I Read in 2018

The book I read in two sittings

Educated by Tara Westover

The book I read in one sitting

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

The book that started out great and then went south really quickly

Matchmaking for Beginners

The book that helped me the most with my writing work

Deep Work

The book that moved me the most

Call me by your name

Currently reading

The Rules of Magic

Slow read but worthy of the time it took me

21 lessons for the 21st Century

Poetry book I am dipping in and out of

Later Poems by Adrienne Rich

A wonderful second hand book I adore that I got for $4 and not the price on Amazon!

A Dictionary of Fairies

A book I wanted to be better but still finished

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

An indulgent coffee table book which I love

Bohemian Living

A poetry book I bought after reading one poem of the poet and now love the whole collection

Trouble in Mind

The Sisters

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My new book is out!

This was written after reading about a group of heiress sisters to a skin care fortune.

I imagined their lives and the pressure from family and the invested public for them to be perfect, which is impossible!

I often wonder about the lack of empathy for people who are in the public eye to make mistakes, and learn from them. Imagine being 25 again and having every single mistake reported with imagery in the Daily Mail or the gossip columns?

You couldn’t pay me to do it, honestly. I got up to mischief in my 20’s and into my 30’s for that matter, hell, I am still doing it into my 40’s after recently coming home at 3.30am after a night out with friends. Thankfully no one was there with a camera to record the evidence of my tragic walk to the Uber with a kebab in hand.

The sisters in my book are all so different but connected which those who have sisters will understand. No one can hurt you or comfort you like a sister. You know where their bodies are buried and where their best parts are in their heart.

I am thrilled this is out in the world now and I hope you enjoy it!

Kate

xx

Early reviews are in now:

“I really loved this one. It had everything. Fashion, Art, Horses and women who take their destiny into their own hands, sleazy businessmen and cheating husbands as well as a man claiming to be their brother.”

Pirate Patty Book Review Blog

You can buy here:

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2NZurmU 
iBooks: https://apple.co/2EDsFIT

Amazon: mybook.to/SistersForster
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2JbOZrI

Drawing On Creative Inspiration

There is a time of the day when I am filled with creative possibility.  It's usually at night, after dinner, having the last cup of tea for the day. I have so many ideas and worry I am running out of time and I am low on talent to create them all. But inspiration is a wonderful thing and I love mooching about the internet finding new things that people have created.

Of course, I wish to do things that are beyond my skill set, such a create notebooks like José Naranja, whose work is exquisite.

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Or I wish to draw like Lily Mae Martin, who can pretty much draw anything. Her work is both pensive and optimistic, as though she sees the world as it really is but pushes on anyway.

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Or create a home filled with the scent of coffee and copal, fairy lights, plants and magic, where you can borrow books and take a spell for something that's troubling you.

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Perhaps I could create collages like this one by Rocio Montonya.

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Maybe write a poem like Mary Oliver.

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Amidst the pain and sorrow in the world, there is also so much brilliance in the world. While I doubt I will ever draw or create like Lily Mae Martin or Jose Naranja, or write poetry as well as Mary Oliver, I can appreciate their talent and in the meantime, I can create a beautiful home, a magical garden and write a novel, so that's a good thing. We all have something beautifil to share inside us.

Happy weekend to all the creative bugs out there. xx

 

 

Deep Thoughts About Deep Work

I have been thinking about giving up writing because I have no self-control. I was also thinking of getting checked for late on-set ADD. I had to force myself to finish my personal writing work. I would find distractions and excuses everywhere. I would clean the microwave, lose hours on social media, anything to run away from my writing. Time to bring out the big guns and get a self-help book.

I like self-help books, particularly the ones that are prescriptive and with formulas, you can apply to you every day. I didn't want to unpack why I was avoiding my writing, instead, I wanted to know how to stop the bullshit.The bullshit antidote came in the form of a book called Deep Work. It's by a huge dork called Cal Newport, who is a computer scientist and seems like a bit of a tool in his TEDx talk and I hate TEDx because they don't pay their speakers, but Cal's book isn't tool-ish, which is great news for everyone.

If you are struggling with committing to your work and living in the shallows of life, and need help, then this is the book for you. 

Here are my top takeaways from the book:

1) Social Media is a networking tool and nothing more. People who see it as something more in their life clearly need to get a life. Take a 30-day break and see which ones you miss and which ones you're missed on. This will tell you which ones matter in your life. BUT remember they are products, owned by companies, designed to sell to you and sell your information to other companies with products.

Also, I realised I'm a tool on social media.  So I unfriended myself with Facebook and keep it now only for my gorgeous and private writing group which I run and love. Twitter was taking up too much of my time, as I tried to be clever and pithy, endlessly scrolling, but really avoiding writing pithy and clever dialogue for my book characters. 

Keep social media for networking purposes only and don't log in unless you have to, and I mean really have to! I promise, you're not missing anything in the general feed. 

2) Put more thought into your leisure time. God, how often did I sit and scroll looking at shit on my phone? Don't answer that, because it will hurt me like a punch to my colon. Finding ways to get the most out of your leisure time is personal. Some people might like to garden, or do craft. I like to read, and if I want to be a craftsperson in my writing, I need to read more. In a week, I have read three books, because I'm not scrolling in a vacuum of echoed, irrelevant content, wishing I was doing something better with my time.

3) Respect your time. This isn't just about social media, it is about using your time properly. This week I have written a huge tender, taken on a new paid job, edited a 50k manuscript, and written a treatment for TV show, because I showed up and respected the time I had allocated to work. And I did work in this time, without any distraction. No phone calls, texts, messages, no internet besides for research reasons if needed, and I set myself up for success. Coffee made, water bottle on the desk, some snacks, and a quiet space. It is kind of embarrassing how easy it was and how long it's taken me to commit to this style of work but my output is the evidence that it works.

4) The work you do at night is shit. I would often work at night, and it was usually always shit. Tired thoughts, distracted ideas, messy structure. No wonder I wasn't inspired to keep working. By deciding to not work at night means I am giving myself permission to read or I am allowing myself to take a break and watch Killing Eve and become obsessed with Villanelle. I am refilling my well.

5) The less information I am exposed to, the more I am learning and mastering my craft. The other day I was getting petrol, and I could hear someone was talking about the weather. I looked up and there was a TV, attached to the pump. I knew it was cold. I was outside getting petrol. Why do I have to be informed about everything all the time? Turn it all down. The radio, the news, the internet, social media. You have so many wonderful thoughts and idea everyday, but how can you hear them over the din of information clamouring for your attention.

I do think that social media has damaged my attention span but this week has also shown me that I am able to repair it if I set my rituals and routines up to do the deep work. I actually found myself wanting to go back to my work for the first time in two years. It was exciting and that felt like a freaking miracle!

I recommend this book if you want a solution to your concentration issues but like anything, it only works if you work it.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

When A Blog Dies

What happens when someone stops feeding their blog and it dies, much like a Tamagotchi from the 1980's?

Perhaps it's ghost stays online forever, particularly if it's on the old Blogger or Blogspot platform. Or some are eaten by another blog, new ideas and new ventures, and some, those whose parent no longer want to pay the cost of hosting their baby, euthanize it quickly and painlessly, except for those who miss it.

Below is the list of blogs I have bookmarked over the years.

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Many of these are now ghosts. Some are dead. The death of some make me sad, such as You Can't Call It It.  This blog had best collection of baby names I have ever read. In fact, I used it to name many of my characters. The loss of this blog cuts deeply. I wish I had saved it somehow. Is that even possible?

Othe blogs I still read, such as Meet Me at Mikes and Penelope Trunk. I have been reading Sixth in Line by Elisabeth Hanscombe for years and was thrilled when she recently joined the writer's group I have formed. Others I dip in and out of but knowing they're there is comforting. Reading Down to Earth, with its incredibly daggy format and casual chatty tone is like going to my Nana's for lunch. Many others I have left behind. Their content isn't relevant to my stage of life, or they went crazy because some people do when they share too much personal stuff on the web.

I have been blogging in some form since 2006. It's not always easy to think of things to write about but its a lesson in commitment and a form of practise for my writing. I have no idea who reads this blog, as I have never monetised it, nor had any statistic software added to it, other than what is offered and even then I don't understand it.When I read that blogging is dead, I shrug. Blogging is as alive as you wish it to be. Medium is blogging. Longer Facebook posts is a form of blogging. Threads on Twitter is blogging. Morning pages online is blogging. 

The term blog came from Web Log, which turned into Weblog, which became Blog. 

Logging the web. Logging the day. Logging your life.

Software developers log their day. The run a “Programmer Log”, which is the dates and time of what you had done that day, and you begin to see what takes time, what doesn't, what is hijacking your time and how much output you achieved. It's a great snapshot of your day. How can you improve?

I consider my blog as logging my thoughts, my life in some form, and logging my evolution. I can be a petty, shithead, and sometimes when I go back and read my posts, I see that I don't care anymore about whatever I was bitching about. I can also see great humour and love and loss and joy. In some ways, my blog is my diary, my confession and my explanation.

Read it or not, it will still be here tomorrow.

Happy Monday.

xx