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The Artist’s Way ~ Julia Cameron

If you ever wished there was a  - dare i say  “fail-proof” – 12 step programme for blocked writers you have found one. Julia Cameron’s book gently coaxes even the shyest of writers out of the comfort zone of their blockages and challenges them to  start seeing things, to question everything, and to slowly become un-stuck. I have done this book (because doing it is very different from merely reading it) from start to finish once. I plan to do it again.

Please do not imagine though that this unblocking is in ANY way a pleasant experience. The first two or three chapters get you into a smug high where you’re kind of woo-hoo happy about the impending brilliance you are about to unleash on the world. Your unblocking will without a doubt be the best thing that has EVER happened. And yes, of course it is….but….continue at your own peril. The tears will come eventually, as you dig through your life and learn more than you bargained for. Commit yourself to the entire 12 steps and yes you will emerge as a newly cleansed, and freshly detoxed artist. But you have to take yourself seriously, and commit to it, do ALL 12 steps, because I think there’s a possibility that stopping in the middle might leave you more blocked than you were before….

Why I give it ten stars: This book is incredibly user friendly and really is something absolutely anyone can use for anything. I reccomend it wholeheartedly.

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Eat, Pray, Love ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I am loathe to write this review. How impossible to translate into words the blissful experience that is Elizabeth Gilbert. Honestly I don’t have an Oprah book club membership.  And I’m very much not always so in the loop with what the rest of the world is reading. In school I was always the kid who got into a song after everyone else stopped listening to it. My grown up world differs only in that I don’t really care about getting it right anymore. I decided to read Eat, Pray, Love after seeing a TedEx talk that Elizabeth Gilbert did. A fellow writer sent me the link thinking I might find her inspiring. She entranced me completely. Here was this beautiful creature and I swear to God she was speaking straight into my soul. And so I picked up her book over the December holidays and got completely lost in it. I laughed and cried and I sunk in to the deepest of depressions. I wish I could write like that. Because this book was the absolute embodiment of what I want MY writing to be. The naked honesty, the poignant truths, the humanity. Everything about it made me jealous as all hell. Elizabeth tells of her journey in search of physical and spiritual fulfillment in such a brave manner. Her experiences are something anyone would long for. From her relationship with food and wine in Italy to the spiritual awakening in India and falling in love in Indonesia, I couldn’t stop turning the pages At the risk of sounding redundant, it really is the kind of book that every woman should read. And every man should read it too, if for no other reason than to better understand women. It’s definitely a book I will re-read for many years to come.

Why I give it a ten: It’s  an important book. And every woman should read it.

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The Katalina Blog Challenge #8: Screw Yous and Other Taboos

So this week Katalina wants to know about swearing.

Do I swear? Yeah. WAY too much. I shouldn’t, I know this. The whole being a mom thing for one. And apparently I’m supposed to be a lady. Although I don’t regularly pluck my eyebrows though, so the lady ship sailed a long time ago…

Swearing doesn’t bother me as much as it should. Yes, I do cringe at an overly expletive sailors mouth, but that usually has to do with the company involved. You know, like if your boyfriend starts talking about his fucking boss during a nice dinner with grandma…well…that would suck.

I do swear in my writing, though a lot less than in my real life. It doesn’t enhance the work at all. It just is what it is. Sometimes an expletive is needed – both in life and in writing. Perhaps I’m a little weird about it though. I find calling someone a bitch more offensive than saying “the eff word”. Perhaps it’s about being derogatory. I cringe at myself if I say the word bitch – not that I don’t use it from time to time. I really hate it. Weird… Especially considering I use way worse language without batting an eyelid.

I’m okay with swearing in books, just like I’m okay with swearing people. But that said, I’m probably not going to read a book that has more swearing than substance, just like I couldn’t be bothered with a book that has more sex than storyline.

End of two cents.

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Green Pastures & Still Waters

I’ve had an odd two weeks. Actually it’s a bit more than that. More like three or perhaps even four.

First, I had the most bizarre did that really just happen kind of “thing” with one of my writer’s club people. Really the whole incident was mind boggling. Do you ever find yourself trying to understand someone who just doesn’t make sense to you? I find myself doing this often. I nearly slipped into a coma trying figure out my fiancé’s ex. And his mother for that matter. I have this weird subconscious idea that women in general should just get each other, that offers of friendship and hospitality should mean something, and that once you finally get to leave high school the world in general just gets nicer. Wow Nadine. Time to take your anti-naivety tablets. And the dose should probably be doubled for you. Or tripled. Actually why don’t you just go ahead and take the whole bottle. (more…)

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The Katalina Blog Challenge #7: Let’s Talk About Sex

So this challenge is pretty simple right? Of course… Except… Well… I’m not quite sure how to answer it.

I have said before that I devour crime novels in the same way your average desperate housewife devours Mills &  Boon novels  - *but* – can I tell you a little secret? Tami Hoag is my favourite crime fiction author. Why? Because MY GAWD that woman can write a sex scene! And not just  slinky let’s leave it to your imagination sex scenes – toe curling my-god-excuse-me-while-i-find-something-to-shag sex scenes. I LOVE her sex scenes. They are perfect. They are no so obscene as to be “porn for girls” but they are detailed enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Say it with me: YUM! (more…)

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On finishing novels and postponing weddings…

I finished writing my first novel last week. And really I have this feeling that I should be shouting it from some sort of rooftop or at least streaking in the parking lot or something but I am very much struggling to find the words for any of it.

At the end of last year I found myself struggling to get The Poetry Project off the ground. Money issues of course. Among other things. I had hoped that three weeks locked up in a friend’s beach house reading novel after delicious novel would make a difference. Brain sabbatical. Or something. But January came and I was still tearing out my hair over The Poetry Project. *scream*sob*sulk*

So I put it aside. Because feeling despondent about the whole thing wasn’t doing it any good. Instead, I picked up my novel. Well, more accurately, i picked up both of my novels. I have two. Two from start to finish. And I thought, maybe, just maybe, if I could just finish one of them properly – properly enough to be ok with handing them over to someone else to read – maybe that would mean something. (more…)

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The Katalina Blog Challenge #5: Sophisticate Me

This week’s challenge has always been a favourite of mine as far as writing tasks go. It’s one of those that just kind of shows you that while many of the things you might find important are a long way off from gracing your life, there are a few that can be appreciated today.

1. Red stilettos ~ and I happen to own the prettiest pair on the planet! (more…)

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The Katalina Blog Challenge #1: Who Do I Think I Am?

She walked into the room and quickly made her way over to an empty table by the window in the corner. Nervously she slipped the strap of her handbag onto the back of the chair against the wall and pulled it out gently, so as not to make a scraping noise, before sitting down. She smiled politely as the waiter brought her a menu, and he smiled back.

“I’ll have a coffee, please,” she said, a split second of doubt registering in her face as she wondered if perhaps she should have waited. But the waiter was gone. The coffee was on it’s way.

Within a moment her left index finger made it’s way to her mouth and she began to chew the nail. She was having a stupid day. A don’t-touch-me-because-I-might-scream kind of day. That in itself was scream worthy thought. She was not always like this, just sometimes. Mostly she could walk into a bar or a restaurant and be just as happy sitting alone as she would be surrounded by people. She would not fear waiters or dance floors or polite conversation. Most days. But not today. Today she was biting her nail, and anxiously looking at the door every time a movement caught her eye to see if the woman she was waiting for had finally arrived. (more…)