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

 

 

Knowing Your Worth

Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. —  Oscar Wilde

When I'm not writing my books or writing business proposals for large companies, I help an international concierge manage the playtime for people with money.  These are people who don't have budgets for holidays. They just say where they want to go, for how long and how many people are travelling.  They also have weddings at places like the Palace of Versailles and have weddings on three continents for their coterie of guests, where Krug is drunk like water and stars like Rihanna and Mariah are flown in to sing Happy Birthday.

I have sourced and booked a selection of houses for the world tour for a famous singer and her husband, booked trips to Paris for the Spring-Sumer 2018 Haute Couture Chanel show, plus planned private yacht parties for property developers and arranged bespoke scarves made for a party invitation from Hermes. 

I write books about these people. It is not a life I live but I understand it. 

Someone who is of this world once said to me, 'you understand luxury.' Indeed I do. I am a Taurus who was raised on Nancy Mitford and Tatler magazine. Now I write about lifestyle and love. Children and ambition. Secrets and keeping face.  In my first book, The Perfect Location, I wrote about characters inspired by Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner and others. Some reviewers said my books were implausible. Those things that I wrote about would never happen. Now my plot lines read like newspaper articles. I just knew the rumours about men like this back in 2008. 

Everything I write about comes from a source, a story, an experience, a situation. It's all fodder. 

Lately, I have been thinking about the levels of wealth I see on a weekly basis now. There are several levels of the hierarchy of wealth. They are as follows:

1) Comfortable - You can pay your bills on time and have an overseas holiday every year. You travel on points and take photos of your bircher and croissant when you manage to get into the business club lounge.  You can afford special events or a night at a hotel suite with your partner. You work really hard to maintain the fiscal momentum in your life. You consider stress part of the fuel that pushes you to get to the next level. You still have your old friends from school. 

2) Well off - You pay your bills monthly and in advance, and travel overseas twice a year for the skiing and the sun. You check into the business club lounge on Facebook. You don't take photos because that's not cool. You start a collection of something. Maybe watches, often a good entry level collector's item, or art, if you know a thing or two, or know someone who can advise. You are now asked to donate to your old school, or your children's school. You can but it's not enough to have your name on the Arts Centre. Yet. You get a lot more friend requests on Facebook from people you went to school with but can't remember them. 

3) Wealthy - Your bills are paid automatically from your household account and you don't need to check them or the statement. You travel four times a year, for the skiing, the sun, the music and the food. You also own a beach house and a farm which are visited regularly. You lift your head when you enter the First Class Lounge. You have a small theatre in the middle school named after you and a prize for the best Humanities student. Your circle of friends is smaller, and often well-heeled because they don't ask for stuff. You don't have Facebook anymore.

4) Rich - Your finance manager pays your bills. You pay-pass everything. You have a money clip with a wad of $100 and $50 notes adding up to $3200. You work three months of the year on a project, spread out over the 12 months period. You travel the rest of the year, only fly business, and have no idea about how many points you have. You give a nod of acknowledgement to the receptionist when you enter the First Class Lounge. You have shares in Facebook and a new social sharing platform which is in Beta phase but with better data protection than FB. You have a few close friends now. Maybe two. You all know where the bodies are buried. You trust very few. And either your family is everything, or you and your partner have had a shit storm of a divorce, and the kids are struggling.

5) Ultra-Rich - You haven't paid a bill in ten years. You don't pay for things, or if you do, you have no idea how much it cost. You don't work, but you work out. You own houses where you can ski, sun yourself, have large parties for New Year's Eve, and can land the helicopter. You have a pilot and a Gulfstream plane where your three-year-old has her own booster seat. You own a large tech company, you're developing your own social media platform, along with various other blockchain projects. You're remarried with a serious prenup. You are wondering what happens to the money when you die. You arrange your philanthropic causes according to your passions once you're dead. You worry about your kids and why they're assholes. You wonder when you became an asshole. You think about all the things money couldn't fix in your life. Cancer that killed your sister, the schizophrenia of your son, the drunk driver that killed your best friend. Money means nothing now but if you say that to someone who doesn't have any, then you seem disingenuous.


Money is fun but if you are chasing it to climb to the next level, think about it for a moment. What will it cost you?
That's what I write about. The cost of living well and how what we think will make us happy very rarely does. 

Self worth is everything. What are you worth? You're more than the latest car or the latest iPhone. You don't need the huge TV. You don't need the latest Givenchy bag to prove you have value, that you matter. If it's a struggle to get these things and keep them, they they're not worth it. Being a functioning member of society who matters is not reliant on your 'stuff' because it's all just stuff. And there will be more stuff you think you need and you don't need it! You don't! You can travel the world collecting stuff, but nothing, nothing is as good as someone who tells you that you are the one they want to make laugh. Or the one who is on the list for 'People to call when the shit goes down'. This is your worth. This is what matters. 

Happy days to you, my friends. xx

 

Goodreads is for readers.

Bad reviews are awful to receive. I have received some shocking ones in my time as an author. Here is one such review: ""Strong" language and sex scenes add nothing to a mediocre story," reads one.

Or this one: " Such a small cast and all somehow related or linked by marriage - totally unbelievable. The story became very predictable and of course, everyone became rich and lived happily ever after. Pure fantasy!"

God help this woman if she ever reads a Jane Austen novel.

I have more good reviews than bad but the bad ones hurt. They stab you in your heart and between your eyes because you put your heart and soul into a piece of creative work and then you ask people if they will buy it and then some people say they don't like it, and often they're explicit and even mean in their criticism. But that is someone's opinion and as the old saying states - I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.

Sometimes authors clap back at reviewers, and while this is their right, in the end, it only makes the author look petty and sometimes, crazy!

The only time I have ever clapped back is when someone on Twitter included my handle in a conversation about how crap my book was. This is the equivalent of being in the room during the conversation, and I politely asked them to take me out the thread. Apologies ensued from their side. It was more thoughtless than outright mean.

Sending a book out into the world and asking people to read it, and then buy it, and perhaps share with others if they liked it is an enormous test on your emotional mettle. However, what has helped me is to think that this is my career and it doesn't hinge on  just one book, unless of course, you screw it up so badly you don't get another shot at publishing again.

There have been authors who have threatened legal action against reviewers, they have threatened to call the FBI, another posted a reviewers person phone number on her site to get people to call and abuse the reviewer, or authors publically calling reviewers too stupid to understand the book.

Okay, wow. Let's just calm the fuck down everyone. Do I think negative reviews harm a book? No, I don't.  I sometimes read the negative ones and the positive ones and make my decision based on my desire to read the book.

Roxane Gay, one of the best reviewers on Goodreads gave a review to a YA book that I had been vacillating on reading. Her review(negative) was a thoughtful, considered piece of writing that confirmed why I might find the book difficult to read. I am grateful for that information as it saved me from being upset by the content of incest, abuse and violence.

I  have read books I would never have found before, if not for reviewers on Goodreads, and I am grateful for the reviewers who take the time to read my books.  I respect they might not like my writing, but I am hopeful that maybe my next book will tickle their fancy but it is fine is it doesn't. Life would be so boring if we all liked the same thing.

As long as the reviewers have considered my books, and can write a thoughtful review on why they like or don't like it, I don't care. State your case for someone who is thinking of reading my books. But don't turn into a bully, because you will lose respect, buyers, and potentially your career.

So all authors out there, repeat after me, 'Goodreads is for readers, not for authors.'

Peace.

 

 

Purple pots and other things

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I'm in love with the colours of the new Le Creuset collection. I have one but it's burned from a spag bol sauce incident years ago but I can't bring myself to let it go. I also can't let myself spend money on decadent purple pots when I have to pay my water bill. But aren't they pretty to look at?

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I am reading this book on cleaning. I am not a messy person but I like the idea of having intention behind my cleaning routine. So far it's told me to get a bucket and a special monk suit for cleaning which is cute but I don't think they have one in my size. I will review when I finish. It's a small book.

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I have cut down my sugar intake, because, health, right? So far I have had splitting headaches, heart palpitation, skull pain from low blood sugar, and mood swings more violent than Trump during a Tweetstorm. So, yes, super fun times. Have also lost 1.5 kgs in a week, so not all bad.

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I watched The Florida Project. I cannot say enough good things about this film. So beautiful, and so heartbreaking.

Also, some January tasks for me and you, if you like:

  • Do a cull of the house and an op-shop drop
  • Go through your emails and unsubscribe from those you never read
  • Drink more water
  • Eat better food
  • Call that someone you were meaning to call
  • Say hi to strangers as you pass them on the street
  • Take it easy yet stay on task. Think relaxed focus.
  • Know what you want out of this year
  • Be kind to others and yourself.

Kate

x

Ending The Year 2017

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Because my blog is really just a journal that I leave open on the kitchen table for passersby to leaf through, this post is being written without fear or favor. It is three hours until 2018, and I doubt anyone will be reading a blog post on New Year's Eve.

So I will tell you things.

My year has been about work and will carry over for the next year and the year after that. I have enormous pressure on me, but us Taureans are built to stand long days drifting into the evening.

Everything comes down to the work. My life is changed and better. I work long hours and have little time for anything else. I chose this. It is not the time for me to wear the hair shirt. I like to work. I like to learn. I like to see results. I pay for things with my work. I struggle sometimes but I continue because this is what chose to do.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed and worry into the night but everything seems like the end of the world in the middle of the night, thus I have learned to pay it no heed. Nothing good happens after 2am, especially ideas and thoughts.

Good things came to be, such as writing TV shows and a new book deal.

Remarkable things happened such as when I saw my friends child go into remission from cancer.

Sorrow came when friends child  died suddenly and tragically. He was so very, very loved.

Other notes:

I saw the country where my ancestors were sent on ships for stealing a shirt, and a bunch of carrots. It resonated within me. How did they survive? If they can survive that, then I can survive anything.

I saw my sister stand taller and stronger than before. Her spine strengthened and mind resolved.

I saw my brother rejoin the world, better but still healing.

I saw my mother move forward with grace and love, with Dad's ashes still in the wardrobe. He is our very own Mr Tumnus.

I witnessed my daughter own her space at University and excel in every way.

I watched my son work towards something and walk out with the results, which he deserves.

I felt incredibly lonely at times. Just me and my work. The rabbit and I are friends now. She lets me pat her but I have to lie on the floor to be at her level.

A friend sent me an animation of a clock today, counting down the year.

At the end, it read on the screen - 12 Months - 12 chapters.

I like that idea. What will each chapter be in your coming year?

What did you think at the start of 2017 that no longer stands? What new knowledge and lessons will you bring with you into 2018?

Me?

To pause more.

To reach out when I'm drowning.

To trust my emotional intelligence every time it sounds the alarm.

To leave things that aren't making you smile anymore.

To be brave enough to follow through with audacious plans.

To not waste time.

To stop worrying about other people's opinions about your work and just do it anyway.

To look after my health.

To trust in the work.

To trust in the voice telling you what you know deep inside yourself.

To tell that person that thing you were meaning to say.

To give the compliment.

To stop worrying about what people think of you. They're not thinking of you, they're thinking of themselves.

To feel the love. The love in the sun-dappled plane trees on St Kilda Road. The love for the view on top of the Bolte, back over the city. The love for the turn at Green Point, looking over the beach boxes at Brighton Beach. The love for my friend and husband sitting in the seat next to me, as we watch the kite surfers at St Kilda. The love for the dogs as they run through the park at Halifax Street. The love for the hustle on Collins Street, and the tiles in the Block Arcade.

Am I happy? I am content, which is better than happiness.

I love my family, I love my work, I love my city, and I love you for reading this little missive for the end of 2017.