There are nasturtiums growing in pots on my kitchen windowsill. Grown from seeds, given to us by our neighbour. Just a few inches high, the spindly stems crane towards the light. I feel the same, eagerly stretching towards spring light, currently intermittent between rainy days. Hankering for that feeling of renewal and change that spring brings. I’m busy creating a manifesto and intentions for spring, planning Easter holidays. I also decided on some changes. In the meantime, this is what I’ve been loving lately.
Just started ‘The Essex Serpent’, it isn’t pulling me at the moment. My partner loved it and assures me I should stick with it.
I’ve read ‘Grief is a thing with feathers’. Creative and challenging, I liked it, rather than loved it. I did come across someone who hated it so much, she threw her copy in to the recycling.
One of the great parenting-pluses is re-discovering stories from childhood with your own child. Or finding paths back to classics you may have never read. My 9 year old and I are reading ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’, which is one I haven’t read. A simple idea, told cleverly, it gives us much to talk about. We are really enjoying it. Am savouring these moments, he is growing up fast.
For a while, I’ve been meaning to read ‘Big Magic’ Elizabeth Gilbert, it is a book that creates devotees and I had been often recommended it. I expected to skip through it fairly quickly, which wasn’t the case. Maybe it was about taking longer to digest her ideas.
I’ve long wrestled with the labels that I might attach to myself in relationship to this blog, am I a writer, a creative or just a blogger? I think ‘Big Magic’ is a useful book for bloggers, most of us sit alone at home, developing ideas for posts, sourcing and researching or sharing a bit of ourselves. Pressing publishing and then wondering if there will be a response. Blogging has become more competitive, the community that existed a few years ago has shifted significantly. It can be forum to connect and at other times it can be isolating.
I think we often forget to remind ourselves; we are self-taught, self-editors and creative. We may not be paid writers or great writers. As Gilbert emphasises there is much to be said for “showing up” putting a part of ourselves out there and enjoying the party. However that party might manifest, in the simple joy of creating something for yourself or in the joy of connecting with others.
As someone who likes to communicate and connect, for me, taking the on-line off-line has been the best part of my on-line life.
As the weather has warmed, I’ve been out more; to a couple of local digital networking events, learning more about digital marketing, influencers and trends. Loved both events, very much.
Networking and cups of tea with a couple of local women, I’ve met via Instagram. Amy has recently launched a Bristol based on-line magazine/blog called Social Butterflies for digital savvy women (who happen to be mothers), Amy has some interesting plans in the pipeline.
Boden the clothing people, came to Bristol with a big bus of clothes and flower arranging classes via Bloom & Wild. I popped along to see, ended up coming away with gorgeous flowers and caught up with some Bristol bloggers. Which reminded me how important it is to get out and talk to people with shared interests.
While preparing dinner in early evening, I listen to the PM programme on Radio 4 presented by Eddie Mair. I like his dry delivery: “Today, George Osbourne announced a major job creation programme…… for himself” (a reference to the PM for Tatton combination of full-time parliamentarian and new role as the editor of the London Evening Standard). The programme is a deeper delve into the news without being too serious. I’m informed on current affairs, but couldn’t name a track on the new Ed Sheeran album. I trust Ed to have good intentions. My trust in a hard-Brexit, Donald Trump and North Korea is less and I like to be acquainted with their developments.
Aside from news, over the past few months, Eddie has interviewed fellow journalist Steve Hewlett, about Steve’s treatment for cancer. Sadly, Steve died in February. The interviews are full of humour and thoughtful insight. I recommend the tribute recording here, which digests all of the interviews.
I love a good podcast. Current favourites include; Hashtag Authentic. The Instagramer Sara Tasker, talks creativity and Instagram. Recommended episode 5; ‘Avoiding the comparison trap’. I have also enjoyed her conversations with creatives.
Emma Gannon podcasts, ‘Ctrl, Alt Delete’. Emma is a millennial internet commentator, the voice of a generation who grew up on line. I’ve enjoyed listening to her interview older women. Tiffanie Darke, Generation X meets Millennial (episode 61). Miranda Sawyer (episode 42) who has written about the modern mid-list crisis. Most recently, the authors of ‘We. A Manifesto for Women’, actress Gillian Anderson and writer Jennifer Nadal (Episode 65). I’m looking forward to delving into some of Emma’s other interviews, there is a whole list of interesting women; currently on my list are the MP Jess Philips and actress Lena Dunham. Check Emma’s blog and list of podcasts on her blog Ctrl Alt Delete.
Other current spring loves; National Trust properties in spring; Stourhead was beautiful at half-term and my local happy place Tyntesfield. Make the most of fine days. Blossom watching, magnolia and cherry blossom, standing under trees and absorbing the beauty of pink blossom before it is gone. Earl Grey tea and dark chocolate digestives, can’t get enough of this combination. Tulips, currently in a vase the kitchen table and about to burst forth in pots the garden. All the potential and possibilities of spring. What have you loved lately?