Thursday 22 June 2023

Balancing Act

Life is often a balancing act, I find. Trying to keep a good work/life balance or just good life balance can be really hard. And there are always those times when life tips me over, and I wobble on the tightrope, trying very hard not to fall off. I do, sometimes, and it can take a while to get back on again.

Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry, gave a very good talk at the Poly in Falmouth a few weeks ago, and she said she found humour was a good way to add lightness to those dark moments in her book. (I find humour a lifesaver - where would we be without seeing the ridiculous in life?) Of course we need balance in our books, too. I wouldn't want to read a book where it was all gore and guts, or where nothing ever happened, or the characters were too black or white. And she achieves an excellent balance of underlining the importance of women being treated equally, celebrating women's excellence as well as their frailties, and wrapping it all up with some really engaging charcters, one of which was the dog, Six Thirty.

As a dog lover, and one who writes from a dog's point of view, it was gratifying to see how many of the audience adored Six Thirty - and if you did, there's a chance that you will LOVE Moll and Lainy in The Rescue and Lainy's Tail....

Elizabeth, the protagonist in Lessons in Chemistry was short on friends at the beginning of the book, but made her own "family" out of her select friends. And this made me think, as I often do, how vitally important friends are. My friends are my support network, and I value them all so much, so I hate if ever there’s been a misunderstanding, which there has been recently. Hopefully, we can restore that balance before too long.

On another writerly note, I went to the launch of The Red House by Roz Watkins last night, and what an amazing evening - as well as a Red House cake…!! It was lovely to meet some new writing friends and celebrate Roz’s new book in style.

So here’s to life balance, good friends and good books…

Thursday 1 June 2023

Books, writing and gardens - the importance of all three

One of the lovely bonuses of being an author is meeting readers, and other writers.

This morning I had a text from someone I met through our blogs. She lives in Penryn and is a very talented gardener, and wanted to buy a copy of The Rescue, so I said I'd drop one round as I sing in Penryn on a Thursday morning.

And what a fabulous time I had. Her oldest daughter is an avid reader and writer, and sat and scribbled with quiet determination while we had tea sitting in the garden. Having talked a lot about books and writing, we turned to gardens, something I've come to late in life, but I find it a really lovely antidote to sitting in front of a computer.

It's different from walking, which is about being in nature, but sometimes exploring, often with friends, always with Lainy. But growing stuff is almost meditative, I find, and I can see why my dad got so much pleasure from growing all our veg as well as loads of plants. At the moment The Fella and I are growing spuds, onions and carrots. The former two look good, the carrots haven't deigned to make an appearance. I've also planted broad beans which are, touch wood, looking quite healthy. The perpetual spinach isn't looking very perpetual at all, however, and the rhubarb disappeared without trace.

It was fascinating having a guided tour round Lou's garden - she knows so much - and I left with several Californian poppy seedlings. I then got home and Mel gave me some sunflower seedlings, so I've had a happy half hour potting them all up and feel content in the sunshine.

Now it's back to editing....but as I start again at Chapter 11, I am thinking how lucky us writers are to meet other readers, and writers in the making.