T’was the Night Before Christmas | For Bibliophiles

xmas-eve-poem

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house,

Not a kindle was stirring, nor even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the fire with care

In hopes that books would soon appear there.

*

The bibliophiles nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of fairy-tales danced in their heads.

Stories of heroes and villains and such,

And rescuing fair maidens from a dragon’s clutch.

*

Or vampires, and fairies; witches and wizards;

The Fellowship of the Ring fighting through a blizzard.

Romantic tales of getting the girl;

Or thrillers, and bloodshed for diamonds and pearls.

*

All types of stories and genres of book,

Read for the love of an exciting hook.

Oh Santa, please, be a dear thing,

A new novel or two or three with you bring.

*

And in the morning what will you find?

A new box of stationary or machine to bind;

A retro typewriter or flashy new Mac;

Some brand-new notebooks and pens in a pack.

*

Some writer-themed clothing, a bookmark or two,

Any and all could be useful to you.

But the real present we all hope to see

Is something book-shaped under the tree.

*

Merry Christmas Bibliophiles xx

©Abigayle Blood

NY Resolutions: Better late than never!

In December 2015, like most people, I began thinking about what New Year’s resolutions I was going to make – and top of the list was ‘eat more healthily’ (otherwise known as ‘go on a diet!’). But as the 1st of January fell on a Friday, and it’s never a good idea to try and start a diet just before the weekend, I decided it would be more practical to move this to Monday the 4th of January.

This date came and went, as it occurred to me that I still had all the leftovers from Christmas to finish, not to mention the yummy boxes of chocolates and other delicious treats I had received over the festive period to devour. How could one possibly go on a diet whilst surrounded by all these temptations? So I reconsidered the start date and decided that a month should be long enough to consume everything in sight, and thus the diet would commence on the 1st of February.

Again, this date came and went. The problem this time was, how is one to diet when February is full of fattening events such as Pancake day, and Valentine’s Day (when you are guaranteed to polish off at least a box of chocolates and tub of ice cream, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not!)? And then there were other events like birthday’s and fancy meals, and so on and so forth. Realistically speaking, February was not the ideal time to begin a diet either.

So here I am, almost two months into the year, and the start date for my diet has once again moved – to the 1st of March. Still, as New Year’s resolutions have a terrible reputation anyway, I suppose it’s better late than never! 

 

Not today, thank you!

Why is it that no matter how hard you try ‘life’ always seems to want to get in the way? I am a writer, I’ve told everyone that is what I am doing all day, every day. Yet somehow that never seems to mean anything to anyone but me. I don’t have a proper job so I must be doing nothing or sitting on my ass watching TV all day!

Admittedly, there are times when I watch TV to give my brain a little break whilst I’m eating lunch, but the majority of the time I am actually busy. I might be writing or editing, reading, researching something for my book or working on the plot or characterisation. I might even be interacting on social media or updating my blog. But I am certainly not ‘free’ or busy doing nothing!

So why is it that when I say ‘I’m busy’ people think that is code for ‘I’m not really busy, I’m just saying I am because I’m otherwise unemployed!’ and feel the need to invite themselves around for coffee or suggest doing lunch to give me something to do, because let’s face it – you’re just saying you’re busy aren’t you?!

I find life so frustrating sometimes. All I want is to be left in peace with my computer and my imagination, and perhaps a bottomless cup of hot coffee, so that I can allow my creativity to flow from my fingertips uninterrupted. Yet that always seems to be too much to ask. There are endless people (usually the same ones on a loop) vying for my attention. I don’t mean to be selfish, I do want to see you, honestly I do, but I just need some time to myself right now. Just for today. Please. So if it’s not too much trouble, and it won’t put you out, then no, not today, thank you!

 

© Abigayle Blood

Diana the movie: a tragedy for strong women!

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When I first heard that there was a new biographical film being made about Princess Diana’s life I expected a compelling, powerful story about a British female icon. I could not have been more wrong. Instead, we have some flimsy love story with Diana given the leading role as the typical helpless female in need of rescue. Somehow even a woman like Diana, who is well known for all the amazing things she accomplished, has been transformed into nothing more than a weak puppy-dog desperate for love.

What is it about strong women that filmmakers are so afraid of? Are we not allowed to know our own minds, have the courage of our convictions and be independent enough to accomplish our dreams without the aid of a man? We aren’t all damsels in distress desperate for a male hero to save us with happy-ever-afters. Diana was proof of that. She did charity work, helped the sick and dying, worked with the homeless, drug addicts and the elderly. She campaigned against the use of landmines and influenced the signing if the Ottawa Treaty. She did all this in spite of her divorce from Prince Charles and the way she was treated by the Royal Family, effectively becoming a single mother with two young children. She was constantly battling the press and public opinion on what she should and should not be doing, thinking, saying… and so on. Yet she died a strong independent woman that would not be told what to do or how to live by anyone.

I am so frustrated that a woman as iconic as Diana, historically known for her strength and charisma in the face of so much adversity, has been reduced to a pathetic ‘Mills and Boon’ character; that such a powerful woman of our time has been subverted into a non-threatening fiction when she could have (and should have) been so much more; this is a tragedy for both female-empowerment and for Diana’s legacy – a car-crash of a movie that should never have been made!

My quest of self-discovery

Undertaking a blog is turning out to be a real process of self-discovery. After reading many articles and blogs (such as Writer’s Digest which I wholly recommend), it is suggested that to be a great blogger (and writer for that matter) you need to first know what you are all about, essentially ‘who you are’ – a mission statement if you will.

This sounds great in principle, but then you start to think “well hang on a minute, who am I? What am I about? Do I have a mission statement…?!” I mean we all have many parts or sides to our personalities that make up ‘who we are’ but it becomes very difficult to express when you suddenly have to decide which ‘parts’ of yourself you want to promote publicly… For instance, I am many things – a graduate, a cat owner (mummy to, as I do not have any ‘actual’ children yet!), a woman, a campaigner for women’s rights and sexual equality, an LGBTQ activist, a law student, a believer in human rights, anti-abuse and equalitarian society, and of course a writer and aspiring author.  However these many things about me just make up a snippet of ‘who I am’.

There are other things that are more difficult to share that make up a person’s personality – gender, sexuality, political and religious views, past history and difficult experiences all make you ‘who you are’ and it is not easy to decide which bits to promote and which to leave out when throwing yourself open to the public for comment and review AND trying to present yourself in a cohesive and reader-friendly manner. How much do you need to say and what should you leave out? These are all questions that I have been battling with since embarking on my blogging journey, and if I’m honest I still don’t have all the answers yet. I have so many things that I want to say about the world as I see it, but again it’s putting those thoughts together into a cohesive way so as to adequately represent who I am and as such abide by whatever mission statement I choose. It seems to be a writer, and particularly writing a blog, begins with a long hard look in the mirror and an acknowledgement of who it is you really are…  as such my quest to answer those questions begins here.

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Obstacles to walking the (w)right path…

There are many obstacles to walking the (w)right path. Typically those commonly mentioned in careers information and the like are: it’s a competitive industry, it’s getting harder to find work, blah blah blah…

However, there is a lot more to it than first appears. Here are some of my own personal obstacles to walking the path:

Confidence or lack thereof in your writing ability despite constant praise from those who read it is a typical one. Self-doubt that really you’ve written a load of old tosh and that no one will be interested in it or read it can plague your thoughts. Be reassured that in spite of what you might think every writer has these fears, even some of the greatest authors of all time had doubts. Have faith in yourself and what you have to say.  It is important. You are relevant. Now get writing..!

Opportunity to write can be tough to find, especially if you are from a small town like I am. Local experience if you can get it is great but if you, like me, have very little media sources available in your area then perhaps you need to consider moving further afield.  Another option is writing via social media or online. As technology has grown so too has potential access to opportunities that you would otherwise not have had. Do your research; see what’s available and where you would best be placed to really make a go of things. Be brave and get yourself out there..!

Relationships are probably one of the biggest obstacles to following your dreams. I don’t say this because I am any kind of romantic cynic, on the contrary, I have been ruled many times by my emotions, and that is exactly why I have this opinion. Good old-fashioned experience. I didn’t go to university when I was 18 partly because I wanted to preserve a relationship (although thankfully I did go later). Many times since then a partner has persuaded me not to pursue certain hobbies or changed my mind about where I want my life to go, and in each and every case the relationship has ended and I have regretted my decision. If a relationship is meant to be your partner will respect what you want to do and your relationship will find a way. You shouldn’t need to compromise who you are or be dissuaded from following your dreams for anyone. Be you and be proud..!

Now obviously, all these things are easier said than done. Leaving home and/or loved ones in pursuit of something you are not completely confident about is a difficult task, but one that may be highly rewarding intrinsically. It may be a hard journey, but it’s one worth taking.

Perhaps the best advice for walking the path can be summed up in the following quotes:

“Don’t let people make you feel bad or guilty for living your life. It is your life. Life it the way you want” – Unknown

“Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who don’t give up!” – Unknown

Now, let’s get walking!