Friday, 20 December 2013

Things I Have Learnt This Year OR One Thing I Have in Common with Madonna

Everybody is piling the internet with things they've done this year, books they've read, good wishes they want to share, more stuff that they've done, anything they can think of. Well I'm going to add to that pile of virtual, often useless and sometimes warming information.

What have I learnt through another year in northern Italy, trying to write my way out of a wet paper bag?

That I love getting up before dawn. I like the blankness, the unwritten quality, the last coursing of the night between trees in the yard. The way stars fade or the moon delivers its final beams. I like having a clean mind, breathing in cold air.

That I dislike jellyfish. Although I have a gigantic shark phobia that makes each swim I take in Corsica a risky trial (I see them snaking along the sandbed, I imagine fins.. everywhere), I have now realised that jellyfish are not-so-loveable. I had my first huge jellyfish sting this summer and it lasted a month. Ha! And due to global warming the global jellyfish population will only double, triple, quadruple in the next few years. Jellyfish have no predators - not even man! They appeal to certain Chinese palates but otherwise none of us have devised a culinary way to cull the jellyfish population. This could mean more jellyfish stings for all of us. Speaking from experience, it ain't funny.

photo:Paul McVeigh/Word Factory
That I like reading in public. When DLC came out last year I had shaky hands and BREATHE written all over my speech. I even had a speech! These days I've learnt a couple of reading tricks. Practice your piece as though it were a sonata to be played for Carlos, my maestro. No mistakes! Oh and a pint at the pub around the corner is essential.  


That there is a God. This higher entity encouraged my current favourite writer to walk through the bookshop door at my reading in Soho last Saturday night. This higher entity allowed the tongue in my head to move and speak words in English.

That I understand the rain. Going to London quite a few times this year means I've learned what it means to have rain trickling down your face, into your scalp, down your back, in your shoes. It means nothing. It means that you will dry off later. It means that you will go into a bookshop and drip on the floor. It means you will smell like a dog on the tube. Before, I used to despise the rain. Now I've bought chunky boots that are as eager as frogs for a good puddle. As Madonna says, damp weather is good for your skin.


That it's hard to sell books. This is not a surprise to me, although it is. I thought some uplifting force would thrust my books into the public eye and they would be purchased over and over. That uplifting force is me. And I can't even lift more than three bags of shopping. I am skinny and distracted and my internet connection is weak and my computer makes me cry. I have learnt that my efforts are not in vain, but just about. This no longer upsets me. What sells, sells.



That a writer should go home and write. Ha! you laugh. She didn't know that? Oh I've heard it bandied about many times. Writers write. Builders build. Musicians perform. But I wasn't connecting the dots. I was writing - yeah - but I wasn't putting up a brick walled fence between my writing time and my social media time. Things were getting mushy. Lately, they are not.

That most of our problems are very minor.


Let me know what you think you have learnt this year. Are we taking ourselves too seriously here? No chance.

MERRY FESTIVITIES AND DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE

*  * * * *
IF YOU ENJOY THIS BLOG PLEASE POP OVER AND READ MY ENTRY 'WHY ITALY WILL BREAK YOUR HEART MANY TIMES OVER' FOR THE EXPATSBLOG ANNUAL COMPETITION AND LEAVE A COMMENT.  GRAZIE MILLE!

MY COLLECTION PELT AND OTHER STORIES IS PRICED AT £0.99/99cents ON AMAZON.CO.UK AND AMAZON.COM ON 19-20-21 DECEMBER. SHARE SOME SHORT STORY JOY!




64 comments:

  1. Swoon. I know you've written other things in this post but they have left my head! Ha! You lucky thing. I am glad you enjoyed your reading. God knows where your writing will take you in the New Year, but I'm certain it will be memorable! Have a wonderful holiday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's to a productive 2014 for both of us. I think we have LOADS of work ahead, and hopefully some good luck and moments of illumination. We should pick a country where we can meet up ! Xx

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  2. You like it, you like it! I'm so thrilled to know that your nerves have settled and you now enjoy reading in public. It's a Christmas miracle! (Also, you look pretty hot up there in your lovely green dress and glasses.)

    XO

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Averil - you wait, it's actually quite fun! The dress is Alberta Ferretti, an amazing find several years back. Just divine. I believe it's nearly birthday o'clock fir you too? Have a wonderful one and I'll be drinking for Alice on the 31st! Xxx

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  3. Drip! Drip! No!...not me! It's wet & windy in London...y'day I got a dousing of 'rain on the wind' at the football.My team,Crystal Palace lost 3-0 at home to the 'Geordies' of Newcastle...but,perversely,I enjoyed the rain...have always appreciated its contribution to life in England! I love early morning too; a great time to let the mind wander wherever...& at my first public reading of my poetry (to an intimate gathering of 6 in The Maquis in Covent Garden!) I was told I should go to 'an open-mike evening' at the Poetry Society!..."I think you love performing!"... I think I'll take a rain-check on that one,Catherine!...leave it to the virtuosi...I hope you do more readings soon...maybe a recital with musical interludes on the ol' joanna?...Enjoy your holidays...greetings to your lovely daughter,G....& all of your brood! See you soon!
    Andy "Singin' In The Rain" O'Byrne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm looking forward to more readings, and will definitely be going back there. It was a lovely crowd, real short story lovers. Merry Xmas to you and family and do drink a pint for moi Xcat

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  4. WONDERFUL end of the year reflections, Catherine. Ha. Never knew we were both shark phobic. : ) I blame it on Jaws. So glad to see you enjoy readings now. I enjoyed our private reading in Matera, and look forward to the public version next September. Happy 2014!

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    Replies
    1. I also blame it on early exposure to JAWS. Next time I'd like to hear you read some of your work! Enjoy the holiday. Are you travelling anywhere exotic? Baci cat

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  5. Hi Cat, I am happy to learn something new every day. This year I learned that material things are not important. I was in Vanuatu and saw so much happiness from people who had so little. It showed me that all we really need is food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and loving family and friends close by. Buon Natale Cat. I look forward to reading your posts in 2014 Lyn

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words Lyn. I look forward to reading more about your travels in 2014 and hope you have a joyful year.

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  6. Hmm ... now you're putting us on the line. I plead age. I've learnt lots of things but I don't remember them - which is good because I can learn them again this year! Seriously though, what I have learnt is that there are things I still need to learn - about myself, as well as practical things. I am learning to say no more, though this is hard, and I'm still learning how to get my priorities right.

    Oh, and I don't like jelly fish either - unless they are in an aquarium and I'm looking from the outside.

    All the best for 2014, Catherine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Priorities and saying no - both so essential. I've been working on these for a long time. As for being on a life-long learning curve, I'm with you. Life needs to be savoured every which way, every day!
      A great 2014 to you too WG.

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  7. What an enjoyable post Cat ! And I can SO relate. I've never been able to enjoy being in the same water with creatures that have sharp teeth and stinging tentacles although I admire the fearless ocean swimmers that do. It requires a type of denial I just can't fathom. And I loved hearing about your improved readings and the practical pain of selling a well written book...now I shall have to think about what I learned this past year.. I'm sure it has something to do with letting go and getting comfortable with change. Although I think that's on my permanent list of things to learn...
    xo
    Leslie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Leslie glad you enjoyed. And letting go is still a very big thing with me - especially on the ski slopes!! Sometimes writing feels like the most natural thing of all .. Xcat

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  8. Hello, I really like your article. I will keep coming here, Thanks for this post.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Mandy and hope to see you in the New Year. Where are you in Indonesia? Best, cat

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