“Write hard and clear about what hurts” – I’ve had this Hemingway quote stuck in my head for months. There’s this thing I’ve been struggling to write. No, that’s not quite true. There’s this thing I’m writing that I’ve been struggling to make sense of. This week I realised that it’s actually multiple things and I’ve been trying to push words together, even when they don’t fit. Last Friday I took myself out for lunch, trusty notebook in hand, and I wrote and I wrote. It felt good not to stare at a screen for a while. It felt good to remember what it’s like to write by hand. It feels good to finally make sense of things that haven’t made sense in a while. It feels good to have my faith in my ability to write restored.
I realised that a couple of years ago I stopped listening to new music. I stayed up on new releases from old favourites, but most music from the last few years has passed me by. After some recommendations from friends I’ve been listening to music more often. Here’s what is catching my attention at the moment; it’s a mix of new(ish) tracks and old favourites.
If there is pasta in house I’ll never go hungry. Carbonara is a particular favourite. It’s not a particularly authentic version, so I’m sure Italian people would roll their eyes if you put it in front of them, but I love it. When I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, the thought of not being able to eat pasta freaked me out more than the lack of bread. So began my search for good gluten-free pasta. Of course good in gluten-free terms is always second best to the gluten filled version of anything, but there had to be an edible alternative out there somewhere. Trial and error ensued. Pasta made with rice is OK. Pasta made with corn is better. Pasta made with a mix of rice and corn is only so so. Pasta made with corn, potato and lupin is the best. And so my love affair with pasta continues.
Here’s the thing about coffee, l love it but my body doesn’t. A few years ago coffee was the only thing that kept me going during a particularly long bout of insomnia. Eventually my body screamed STOP. Vicious migraine after vicious migraine resulted in me giving it up all together. I dabbled with decaf, but for obvious reasons it wasn’t the same. Yet we live in a world of “but first, coffee” and I never really stopped craving the stuff. I’ll never be a daily caffeine drinker again. But nothing beats people watching, over a cup of coffee, a couple of times a week.
TIPS FOR WRITING
Have an idea. Compose paragraphs in your head. Jot down some notes. Come up with a title. Scribble some more notes. Sit down at laptop. Open Word document. Stare at the blank page. Consult notes. Struggle to read your handwriting. Vow to makes notes on your phone in future. Stare at the blank page. Check emails. Re-read notes. Figure out what the title is. Jackpot. Type the title onto blank page. Save document, just in case. Stare at the page. Design a really basic title graphic. Check Facebook. Stare at the page. Check Instagram. Stare at the page. Decide music is needed. Open Spotify; decide which playlist to listen to. Stare at the page. Open new document. Write a book review. Check Instagram. Decide silence is needed. Turn off playlist. Stare at the page. Admit defeat. Stand up. Grab the lead and take the dog for a walk. Breathe in the spring air. Breathe. Just breathe. Know that you can try again tomorrow. The words will eventually come. They have to.
New Year Resolutions and I never really got on. The only one I’ve stuck to is the one I made three or four years ago about using up skincare products and make-up before purchasing new ones. I used up my, not insignificant, stash and largely stick by a one product in, one product out system. Yet, in the run up to January 1st I found myself full of ideas.
I read a lot, be it articles, books or blog posts; it’s why I started my This week I’ve been reading posts. I love discovering new writers, re-visiting old favourites and I’m grateful to authors, bloggers, columnists, journalists and writers for putting pen to paper, so to speak, and sharing their work with the world.
To mark the new year I’m sharing 12 thought-provoking articles from 2016. These articles have all resonated with me in some way and I find myself returning to them frequently. They’ve helped me understand the world a little better. They’ve challenged my views on certain issues. They’ve helped me come to terms with things in my own life. They’ve reminded me of the importance of words and the power of telling our stories.
It’s time for another round up of articles, blog posts and stuff from the internet that caught my attention this week.