Photo of Brainy Quote by Helen Keller

Really, Herr Cummings?

Hello out there, how are you? I hope you and yours are well. I also hope that you can keep up the good spirits in these times of heightened tension.

I wrote this post a day after Dominic Cummings did his statement in the Rosegarden of Downing Street Number 10 on May 25th, 2020. I was angry and needed to let it out but decided it might not be a good thing to post it directly. I’ve re-read the post and think it’s still important to post it. Because it shows a kind of behaviour of often (but not always) white nationalist men, who think they are better than others. I also feel that this sort of behaviour plays a role in the George Floyd case in the US.

Image by Sumanley xulx from Pixabay

But it’s also the kind of thinking of Bolsonaro in Brazil, Putin in Russia, Orban in Hungary, Modi in India, die AfD in Germany… you name it. I start to believe that we are lead to concentrate on our own countries racist problems that we oversee it is a global problem. I think we need to ask: “Why is the racist plague again spreading everywhere? While a the same time the countries of the allied forces praise themselves for having defeated Nazism in WW2. Why now? What are the roots of this kind of thinking? And what are these people gaining from spreading hatred between people?
And no, I do not think of conspiracies. I see a world-wide trend and wonder why it suddenly has so much appeal to some people even though we are more connected than ever.

But now my thoughts about Herr Cummings’ actions and his explanations from last week:

I watched the press conference Dominic Cummings held on Monday in the Rose garden of Downing Street No 10. And I felt for the umptieth time that we somehow ended up in a bad horror film.

What we are experiencing not only here in the UK would have been considered science fiction or Dystopia when I was born 50 years ago. No self-respecting democratic government would have so openly disregarded democratic principles like many governments do now. Yes, people with right-wing political views always somehow got away with it more than those who leaned towards the left. Well, at least in Germany. But every single government would have made sure to look like they at least care a little for their populace.

What am I talking about?

Two British newspapers (The Guardian and The Sunday Mirror) investigated where Dominic Cummings had disappeared at the end of March. He is the chief advisor for PM Boris Johnson and was head strategist for the Leave EU campaign in 2016. According to these newspapers, he went with his family from London to Durham in the North of the country. That is a distance of about 260M/418KM. Britain had already been under COVID-19 lockdown a measure that he had supported and advised the Prime Minister to implement. Supposedly, both he and his wife showed signs of having COVID-19, and they took their 4-year-old son with them.

More and more information came to light, and more and more people called for his resignation. So he (or someone) decided to invite journalists to a press conference in the rose garden of Downing Street. Usually, only heads of state do press conferences there. Also, in the British democratic system, political advisors are supposed to stay out of the limelight.

If all this would not be bad enough, he made clear he did not regret this trip, nor would he apologise or resign. And I haven’t even mentioned his supposed reasons for this trip.

Please consider for a moment the situation: Britain is in lockdown. Hundreds of Covid-19 patience start to die from the illness. Family members are not allowed to be with them when they are dying. Only a few people are allowed to funerals. Many single parents still have to go to work because they are in low-paid jobs which usually can’t be done from home. They are not allowed to drive anywhere to get help from family members for their childcare.

The British public was told to stay at home to safe the NHS from being overwhelmed. No one is allowed to go to their second homes as to not to bring the virus to less affected places and overwhelm the NHS in more rural areas. And most of the British public do as they were told. A huge sacrifice. So many can’t see their family because they stay away to keep their vulnerable family- members safe. So many can’t celebrate births or mourn together when they lost someone. No one is allowed to go to the beach or other beauty spots to not spread the virus.

Image by J Garget from Pixabay

In this situation, Herr Cummings gets a call at work from his wife, who tells him she is showing signs of a COVID-19 infection. Some time later, he shows similar signs. So they decide to take their young son, make a 260M/418KM trip up to Herr Cummings’ parents. They stay in a house on the estate of his parents. Later they make a day trip to a nearby castle and return to their London house. All that time the press had wondered where Herr Cummings was.

In my opinion and not only mine, Herr Cummings behaviour is outrageous in itself. But then, on Monday he started to explain why he made all these trips. And it gets worse.

According to Herr Cummings, his family was not safe in their London home. I am not sure what the threat was, but as far as I can see, neither he nor his wife informed the police and asked for protection.

So, they decided to go and hide at his parent’s estate in Durham even though they have family living in London. Also, there is a volunteer group helping parents who are supposed to self-isolate and have no one to take care of their children if ill.

They have COVID-19 symptoms, and as far as I can see, these can get serious in no time at all. If that happens, you certainly can’t drive a car. We assume they stopped at a petrol station to go to the toilet. According to my husband, their Discovery might be able to make the trip without having to fill the car up. With COVID-19 symptoms, we also assume they are spreading the virus. Have I mentioned that he is considered a specialist in pandemics who supposedly has warned successive British Governments to prepare?

When in Durham, they use the health service for their son. Remember no one in the UK was supposed to use the health service outside of their usual home. Later they make a trip to a nearby Castle because Herr Cummings wanted to find out if he can see correctly to make the long trip back home to London. Really? You go for a drive with your wife and child to find out if you can see correctly? I think maybe social services should visit them and find out if the child is in good hands. Supposedly all this was done to keep their son safe.

Then he went on to complain that the media is spreading lies about him. That from a man who instigated a campaign that riddled with lies against EU immigrants and the Eu itself.

And if all that was not enough the so-called Prime Minister said that Herr Cummings acted according to his instincts as a good father and we should move on now. Herr Cummings still has his job and has not apologised.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

So what do we conclude?

If you are Boris the Butchers mate you can do whatever you want no matter if you set the rules for the people or not. The rest of us have to do as the government says not as it and its aides do. If we follow our instincts as parents, we can break the law and then move on. We can also endanger our children to find out if our eyesight works. Anyone who got fined for breaking lockdown rules can get their money back. Or so we hoped. Yes, I am confused too.

I know there are many more facets to this story that I haven’t even considered. There are also many more conclusions you can take from all of this. But I need to leave it there.

I had promised myself to be positive on this blog. I had promised myself to be kind and understanding and to learn from those who are not on my side of opinion.

But I feel, I need to talk about this outrageously hypocritic behaviour because it is wrong. And I am so enraged that I could start a revolution. So I better leave my anger somewhere safe.

Thinking of it now, another of my conclusion is: we are at a crossroad for humankind. Will we stay in ancient tribal behaviour or grow up and work together to overcome the challenges ahead. And I start to wonder if concentrating only on our countries problems is part of this tribal behaviour. Maybe we need to think bigger. Maybe thinking bigger will give us the hope that helps to keep going and throw out all “-ist” behaviour. And create a world where all are safe and live a meaningful life.

All these conclusions do not answer the questions I asked at the beginning. For me, there are more and more questions, and unless we start asking them all over the world, we won’t find an answer nor a solution.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What makes me read a book?/ Was bringt mich dazu, ein Buch zu lesen

Hello out there, how are you feeling? My thoughts and prayers are out there with you no matter what you are facing today.

My thoughts and prayers are also going out to all of you who have lost someone may it be to COVID-19 or any other reason. This candle is for you!

gif source: Giphy – two big yellow lit candles flickering

My thoughts and prayers also go out to all keyworkers who often have to risk their life to keep us going. These are not only doctors, nurses and carers but also bus drivers, cleaners, shop workers, police men and women, bin men and women and many more. Here is my virtual clap for you.

gif source: Giphy – At first the animation of a clapping sheep appears which changes into a high rise full of windows with clapping sheep

Eight years ago I had a time when I read a lot. So I pondered in a post why a book captures me. Since the beginning of this year I am back into my old “reading a lot” phase so I thought it would be interesting to look back:

There is a German translation too after the image.

This entry was first posted in January 2012:

(Attention some links in this entry are in German)

I am not quite sure why I wonder about this question more and more.

Maybe it is because I do read more than ever and I am thinking more and more about how to write a good story or novel. Maybe it is because of the fuzz happening about that German blogger being threatened to be sued by an author who’s books she did not like and I thought “well I do not like to read his books”.

Today I read a blog post by Susan Kiernan-Lewis an author and blogger who followed the question if extensive social media activity really boosts your book. Well, I have not written or promoted a book so I can only answer this question from a readers point of view:

I always had problems with books that had a lot of media attention no matter if social or traditional. It might be a prejudice of mine but I always feel that if a book needs so much attention it can not be a good one. Which made me nearly miss J.K. Rowling‘s “Harry Potter-Series“. Even though I have to say, I did not think her first was that great. If I would have read it first, I would not have gone on. But she grew in her writing with every book and she definitely is a good story teller.

I started with number 4 “The Goblet of Fire” as it was the only English written book in the library I attended in those days. As a consequence I got curious about how the whole thing started and definitely how Harry Potter grew into the whole wizard thing (You might have noticed by my book reviews and through Goodreads that I am a bit of a fantasy-fan 😉 ) To make a long story short I distrust enormous media attention and only read these books if someone recommends them to me or by accident like Harry Potter.

Recommendations are probably the biggest reason why I read a book. If someone I like and trust finds something good, it is worth having a look. I can still stop reading if I do not like it. That is why I love Goodreads a great deal. Even though I do not know a lot of the people I interact with in real life, I know most of them read the same kind of books I like and therefore will have some good ideas.

I also started reading some books lately because I got to know the authors via Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads like Derek Haines or Oliver Wellmann for example. So that is definitely a point for the social networks. Actually, if I think about it social networks, in general, would account for about 50% of the books I am reading. But I would rather count it as a mixture of personal recommendation and social networks and not especially social media.

Then there are all those very tempting bookshelves in the libraries I attend which are created to make me read a book. I have a look if I know the author but I guess the cover also has its “hands” in my choice. If I like the cover I am more likely to read it even though you should not judge the book…… but you know that :-). And last but not least my reading group which makes me read books I would never have thought of and I got interested in at least one new author.

So I read my books mainly because of personal recommendation, social networks, libraries, reading groups and a bit by accident. I do not know if that helps any writer to sell his or her books but it definitely answered my own question about “why I read a book” :-).

This is the German part of the old enry:

Dieser Beitrag wurde zum erstenmal im January 2012 veroeffentlicht:

(Achtung einige der Links in diesem Beitrag sind in englischer Sprache)

Ich weiss nicht genau, warum ich angefangen habe, mich zu fragen, warum ich eigentlich die Buecher lese, die ich lese.

Vielleicht liegt das einfach daran, dass ich mehr denn je lese und auch mehr denn je darueber nachdenke, wie man wohl eine gute Geschichte schreibt. Vielleicht hat es etwas damit zu tun, dass der Autor, der die Bloggerin, die sein Buch nicht mag, verklagen wollte und ich mir dachte “Von dem Mann will ich kein Buch lesen”.

Heute habe ich einen Blog Eintrag von  Susan Kiernan-Lewis einer Autorin und Bloggerin gelesen, die sich gefragt hat, ob intensives Werben fuer Buecher auf sozialen Medien wirklich ein Buch besser verkaufen. Tja, ich habe noch kein Buch geschrieben oder veroeffentlicht und kann diese Frage deshalb nur aus der Sicht einer Leserin beantworten.

Ich hatte schon immer Probleme mit Buechern, die grosses Medieninteresse (egal ob sozial oder traditionel) geniesen. Das mag eines meiner Vorurteile sein, aber ich denke immer, dass ein Buch, das so viel Aufsehen braucht, kein gutes sein kann. Deshalb habe ich fast   J.K. Rowling‘s “Harry Potter-Serie” verpasst. Obwohl ich denke, dass ihr erster Band nicht der allerbeste ist. Haette ich ihn zuerst gelesen, haette ich mir den Rest erspart. Aber sie ist mit jedem Band  in ihrem Schreiben gewachsen und definitiv eine gute Geschichten Erzaehlerin.

Ich habe mit Nummer 4 “Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch” begonnen einfach nur, weil es das einzige interessante englisch sprachige Buch in der Buecherei war, die ich damals besuchte. Ich wurde dadurch neugierig, wie die ganze Geschichte begonnen hat und wie Harry Potter in das ganze Zaubererding hinein gewachsen war (Ihr habt vielleicht schon durch meine Buchbesprechungen und durch Goodreads entdeckt, dass Fantasy ein bischen mag 😉 ) Lange Rede kurzer Sinn: Ich misstraue grossem Medienrummel und lese solche Buecher nur, wenn sie mir von jemandem empfohlen wurden oder durch Zufall wie bei Harry Potter.

Empfehlungen sind wahrscheinlich der groesste Grund, warum ich ein Buch lese. Wenn jemand, den ich kenne und dem ich traue, ein Buch gut findet, dann ist es es wert, da mal hineinzuschauen. Ich kann ja aufhoeren, wenn es mir nicht gefaellt. Das ist einer der Gruende, warum ich Goodreads so mag. Obwohl ich die Menschen, mit denen ich dort kommuniziere zu meist nicht persoenlich kenne, lesen sie oft die gleichen Buecher wie ich und so weiss ich, dass sie ein paar gute Ideen haben werden.

Ich habe auch angefangen einige Buecher zu lesen, weil ich die Autoren von  Twitter, Facebook und Goodreads kenne wie Derek Haines zum Beispiel.  Das ist definitiv ein Punkt fuer die sozialen Netzwerke. Wenn ich genauer darueber nachdenke, so sind die sozialen Netzwerke generell wahrscheinlich fuer ungefaehr 50% der Buecher, die ich lese, verantwortlich. Aber ich wuerde das eher eine Mischung aus persoenlicher Empfehlung und sozialer Netzwerke sehen und nicht speziell soziale Netzwerke.

Und dann sind da natuerlich all die verlockenden Buecherregale in den Buechereien, die ich besuche, die nur dazu da sind, um mich zum Lesen eines Buches zu bringen. Ich schaue, ob ich den Autoren kenne aber ich denke, dass das Buchcover auch dazu beitraegt, ob ich es lese oder nicht. Wenn ich das Cover mag ist es eher der Fall, dass ich das Buch lese owohl man natuerlich das Buch nicht nur von Aussen beurteilen….. aber das wisst Ihr ja :-). Und zu guter Letzt natuerlich meine Buchgruppe, die mich zu Buechern gebracht hat, die zu lesen mir nie im Traum eingefallen waeren. Und so bin ich zumindest auf einen neuen Autoren aufmerksam geworden.

Ich lese also meine Bucher durch persoenliche Empfehlung, sozialer Netzwerke, Buchereien, Buchgruppen und ein bischen durch Zufall. Keine Ahnung, ob das einem Autoren hilft, seine Buecher zu verkaufen aber es hat auf alle Faelle meine Frage, warum ich ein Buch lese beantwortet. :-).

Interesting to see what went through my mind eight years ago. But what makes you read a book?

And just to end this post with something different than usual here is a video how Bill Gates reads:

video credit: Quarz via YouTube

Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.

Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

Thanks my dears, for staying with me until the end. I appreciate your presence. Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!

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Blast from the Past: A spring ritual

 

This post was first published in March 2015 but the above image is from spring 2018:

Some 15 years ago I started a little late winter or early spring ritual.

The house I lived in at that time had a terrace at the back which was well protected from wind and it already got pretty warm there at the beginning of February. One day I took my cup of tea and sat outside and just watched the snowdrops, some squirrels and listened to the birds. I so enjoyed the first time I could sit outside and have my cup of tea.

Later on, I lived in an apartment without a balcony so I didn’t have the chance to do it which I really missed. Many rented houses later I am lucky to have a step to our porch which overlooks the field in front of our house and in summer I often sit there enjoying something to drink or just to sit and ponder life.

Today was the first day that was warm enough for sitting outside. But I was a busy bee and rather did some more weeding than having my spring ritual tea mug or coffee cup. Well, I decided to keep that for Sunday after work. I only work until 12 and I can’t wait to get home and greet spring with a hopeful “cheers mate!” 😉

And how do you celebrate the coming of spring?

Blast from the Past: I had a dream…./Ich hatte einen Traum…

October 2019

A little irony from January 2011:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

…I watched the news in the morning and they showed a famous politician who was very concerned about the situation of a constituent who was dependent on public help that was taken away from him. He personally wanted to have a look at the person’s situation as he experienced how exactly that situation is.
Well, I doubted that the politician ever was dependent on public help as he comes from a wealthy background so how could he know how that feels like? I tried to express that on Twitter. But unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. Twitter just didn’t publish my tweets. 4 different tries didn’t work. In my dream, I started wondering a lot about Twitter and how much I am watched by the state and how much censorship Twitter is using. I wondered about a country that is so proud of having fought against the famous dictator from the continent and having freed the continent but now obviously tries to use exactly the same means as that dictator did. But then I woke up and thank goodness it was only a dream!

Description for visually impaired readers: black and white photo of a wooden sculpture: a sleeping woman on a bench

Oktober 2019

Ein bisschen Ironie von Januar 2011

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

…Ich habe die Nachrichten am Morgen gesehen und sie zeigten einen beruehmten Politiker, der sich sehr besorgt um einen Waehler zeigte, dem die oeffentliche Hilfe entzogen wurde. Der Politiker wollte sich der Sache persoenlich annehmen, da er diese Situation kenne. Ich bezweifelte das, da der Politiker von einer reichen Familie kommt und ich wollte das auf Twitter aeussern. Ungluecklicherweise lies Twitter mich nicht. Ich versuchte es 4 mal aber es hat nie funktioniert. In meinem Traum habe ich begonnen mich zu wundern, wie sehr ich vom Staat beobachtet werde und ob Twitter zensiert. Ich wunderte mich ueber ein Land, das so stolz darauf ist, den beruehmten Diktator vom Kontinent bekaempft und den Kontinent befreit zu haben aber nun offentsichtlich die gleichen Mittel benutzt wie der Diktator. Aber dann bin ich aufgewacht und zum Glueck war es nur ein Traum!

How to save money and still bake delicious cakes and cookies

This was first posted on the old “The Bee Writes…” in January 2018

It is nothing new that most of us live on a budget. Constant rising prices of everyday products make it more and more difficult to make ends meet. That is a constant worry for many of us.

I am not different. I am a worrier. Always have been and having to count every penny doesn’t help. However, I am also someone who often looks into history to find solutions that modern day people often do not think of.

When I started to worry about the money again a couple of years ago I suddenly thought: Well, my grandmother started literally from nothing after the war and never was rich but managed to save up quite a sum so if she could manage I can!

My grandmother was a brilliant cook and baker. She did enjoy to go out for a meal every now and then but ready meals were not her thing. She made pretty much everything at home and I learned a lot of what I know in the kitchen from her. Besides our wish to not let corporations dictate what goes into our food it was her example that made me wonder what we could make ourselves rather than buying it.

I have already shared with you my husband’s easy bread making recipe and our favourite cookie recipes but one ingredient can be rather expensive and might make you stop baking if you are on a budget: Vanilla Essence. Now I know you do not need a lot of it in many recipes still it does add to your grocery shopping once you run out.

However, making vanilla essence is a doddle. Really! You just need two ingredients: Vanilla beans and vodka. I admit both are not too cheap either, however, the amount of vanilla essence you get out of it makes your homemade vanilla essence a lot cheaper than the shop bought one.

But first, a video that shows you how easy it is:

via Laura in the Kitchen’s YouTube Channel

One thing the video does not tell you is the fact that you do not need to throw the vanilla beans away once you have used up your homemade vanilla essence. Just top them up with more vodka and re-use them. We use ours at least twice and only add some new beans to make sure we still get enough vanilla taste.

If you are worried about the alcohol: it does evaporate and just leaves you deliciously smelling vanilla. However, I know there are readers out there who do not buy alcohol for various reasons. Here is another video that shows you how to make vanilla bean paste without alcohol:

via Eda Gul’s YouTube Channel

To make sure you find the best price for the vanilla beans and the vodka do a google search and buy online. However, if you do not feel confident doing that MySupermarket.co.uk offers a comparison of prices of 15 supermarkets in the UK. That is also helpful for buying other ingredients for your baking.

And last but not least bulk shopping is a huge hit in the UK lately. It does make sense if you stay with products that do not go off easily and you buy things you really use. There is no point in buying lentils in bulk if you hate them and never cook with them.

So far I have not found a page where I could get all our groceries we could buy in bulk in one place. However, we do buy our flour at Shipton Mill in 25 kg bags for roundabout 24£ plus VAT. We do bake a lot so it makes sense to do it that way. Shipton offers smaller amounts too if you do not bake that much.

Do you have any money saving tips when it comes to baking? Please let us know!

Ingermanson on Tricks how to get motivated

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 16,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Randy Ingermanson:

I did the following interview with Jim Rubart via Skype and then transcribed it. We started out talking about motivation, which is a terribly dull-sounding topic. But by the end of the interview, I realized I’d been thinking about motivation completely wrong. Here’s how things ran:

A Novel is Mount Everest

Randy: A lot of writers I know have a problem with staying motivated. Writers love writing. So when they finally have a chance to write, what is it that would cause them to lose their motivation?

Jim: They don’t realize what kind of mountain they’re climbing. They think it’s one of the hills in the Blue Ridge Mountains, when in reality, it’s closer to Everest. I love the old anecdote about the brain surgeon and the author who were chatting one day when the surgeon says, “I’m going to take six weeks off this summer and write a book!” The author looks at his friend and says, “What an amazing coincidence! I’m going to take six weeks off this summer and become a brain surgeon.” Writing is hard. Which is good news for those willing to keep climbing, because most toss their gear halfway up and trudge back down the mountain.

Randy: Yeah, come to think of it, I’d like to try brain surgery sometime.

Jim: Let’s do it!

Randy: You bring the brain; I’ll bring the knife.

Jim: Umm …

The Silent Killer of the Soul

Randy: I do think it’s true–writing a book is a major challenge. What keeps you going when you’d really rather watch Netflix?

Jim: There’s a number of specific techniques I’ve developed that kept me motivated early in my career and also ones I use now, but for the sake of brevity let me mention a quick thought that might help your readers, Randy. Regret is the silent killer of the soul. Whether it’s having that extra piece of apple pie when you’re trying to lose weight, or wasting time watching a show when you promised yourself you’d write instead, regret sits inside us and eats away at our spirit. So imagine yourself a day into the future. Maybe two days. And consider what you’ll be saying about yourself a day or two days from now. Will you be saying, “Well done, another ten pages closer to the dream!” Or, “Another nail in the wall between me and stepping into my destiny.”

Randy: So if I’m staring at the screen trying to get started for the day, how do I take the leap forward to type that first word? And what is this vendetta you have against apple pie? Apples are very nutritious.

Writing is Playing

Jim: I want you to know the rumors of me eating half an apple pie at one sitting are almost entirely false. When we were kids, drawing with crayons or building with Legos or creating tea parties with friends, we weren’t working. We weren’t judging ourselves. We were simply playing. Often I find writers staring at that screen, judging their words even before they’ve typed them. They’re working! Stop working. Start playing again. Create sandcastles and if you don’t like them, knock ‘em down and start over. Another way to say this is, “Kill the editor,” but it helps me more to think of being on the playground, reveling in the joy of playing with stories.

Randy: I think that’s really key. To remember that this is all about having fun. I went to my critique group last night and was kidding one of the writers about her tendency to judge her own work and prevent herself from writing. I told her, “Stop crushing your soul by telling yourself that your work is terrible! That’s our job!” And she laughed and promised to stop. But it’s a tough habit to give up–crushing your soul.

Jim: Yes!

Randy: But I like your insight there about playing. Great writing comes out of just playing around. Writing something that you don’t have to show anyone because it’s just for you.

Jim: Many people speak of getting great insight when they’re in the shower. Why? They’ve turned their minds off and ideas flow from their hearts. Same with writing. When we get past the mind, our heart often give us wonderful stories. Play gets us past our minds

Randy: Yes, showering, shaving, and driving–the three great fountains of inspiration.

Jim: You gotta do that book, Randy.

The 20-Minute Club

Randy: But I’ve also discovered that when I’m really angry at someone, that’s also a great source of inspiration. I used to tell myself, “Write your rage.” Meaning that if you find something that makes you angry, you can tap into that and say something deep. Of course, then you also have to tone it down a little, because raw rage is not all that interesting. It’s the thing that the rage drives you to say that’s interesting. Do you have an exercise to prime the pump and get you going?

Jim: For me, that binding, legal contract I signed with my publisher always seems to motivate … I think for many writers, the idea of completing a 90,000 word story is overwhelming. They see the hours and days and weeks in front of them and it becomes too daunting. The trick I used for myself was commit to writing just 20 minutes a day. That was it. I figured I could do anything for twenty minutes. Didn’t have to be good, no set word count, just give me twenty. I wrote the majority of my first book that way. So the exercise would be reduction to the ridiculous. For other writers it might be half an hour, others might say they can only do ten minutes. Great. Just do it. (And I probably should let you know that 20 often turned into 40 ‘cause I was having so much fun.)

Randy: That’s a powerful tool–setting the bar so low, making it so ridiculously easy, that you know you can jump it. Because once you’ve jumped it, you want to raise it a little and jump higher. And then you’re off and running.

Randy sez: This concludes the part of the interview on motivation. Let’s review the four key points Jim made that resonated with me:

  1. Writing a novel is a Big Project—an Everest. Don’t approach it like it’s a nothing-burger.
  2. Regret is the silent killer of the soul. Live your life so that your future self won’t regret what you didn’t do today.
  3. Writing is playing. If it’s not fun, then stop taking it so seriously and get back into making it fun.
  4. Set the daily bar low. 20 minutes. Or 500 words. Something so ridiculously easy that you can get started. Don’t be surprised if you jump FAR over that bar.

#Quote of the Day: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

This quote was first posted in April 2015 when “Writer’s Quote Wednesday” still existed. Coleen has now moved her blog to “The Fairy Whisperer“:

Today I want to share a quote with you from an author or maybe more a dramaturg who has influenced my views on religions a lot with his play “Nathan the Wise“. Having been educated in Germany of course I had to read the play and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I also saw it once or twice in theatre which was much better.

The name of the man is Gotthold Ephraim Lessing one of the main representatives of German Enlightenment. His advocacy for religious tolerance had a deep impact on me when I was teenager and it still holds on to me even though I am quite suspicious towards organised religion.

The quote I am talking about is

Think wrongly, if you please, but by all means think for yourself!

For many years I thought the quote is Doris Lessing’s but I must have gotten that one wrong. Well….. 😉

How does that motivate you as a writer? Well, it is especially important for writers to go their own way and to think their own thoughts. It is easy to copy what is out there, but like that, you won’t impress any reader. I even believe that we have to challenge the habitual thinking patterns of our readers to make them think for themselves in turn.

I really love the age of Enlightenment because it gave us a lot of freedom that we take for granted today. And it seems to me that we need a New Age Of Enlightenment as so many of our fellow human beings only seem to regurgitate what they heard or read on the internet, the TV or in the tabloids. If they think at all that is. Some only seem to live for feeding and coupling. Sorry for being negative….

Well, today I encourage you to think for yourself even if it is wrong….. I certainly try to day in day out!

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This post takes part in Colleen’s wonderful “Writers Quote Wednesday”. Please head over and find more motivating quotes both in her posts and the comments. Thanks!

Image of a pebble beach and metall poles in a row, blue sky above

Blast from the Past: Societies come and go/Gesellschaften kommen und gehen

September 2019

I start to think we are at the very end of ours….

August 2017

I have been wondering about this topic a lot lately. And the question still remains:

May 2011

I do not assume we want to think about this: There have been great cultures like the Romans, the Babylonians, the Mayans and many more. They had their time and then they vanished due to different reasons. There are more or less written and painted documents about them maybe great buildings but there is hardly anything living left of their cultures.
Lifes reality is like this: Something is born, grows, has its crowning point and then it dies. Life does not happen in a straight line that never ends. Life happens in circles if we want to see that or not. That is also true for societies and cultures. The question is: At what point are we?

image of goyne from right to left over which sun rises behind menacing clouds.

September 2019

I fange an zu glauben, das wir am totalen Ende von unserer sind….

August 2017

In letzter Zeit habe ich oft ueber dieses Thema nachgedacht. Und die Antwort auf die Frage ist immernoch offen!

Mai 2011

Ich glaube nicht, dass wir darueber nachdenken wollen: Da hat es grossartige Kulturen gegeben, wie die Roemer, die Babylonier, die Mayas und viele mehr. Sie hatten ihre Zeit und dann sind sie aus verschiedenen Gruenden verschwunden.  Da gibt es geschriebene und gemalte Dokumente, vielleicht auch grossartige Gebaeude, aber da ist kaum etwas Lebendiges ueber von ihrer Kultur.

Die Realitaet des Lebens sieht so aus: Etwas wird geboren, waechst, hat seinen Hoehepunkt und stirbt. Leben funktioniert nicht wie eine gerade Linie in die Unendlichkeit. Leben funktioniert in Kreisen, ob wir das akzeptieren wollen oder nicht. Und das trifft auch fuer Gesellschaften und Kulturen zu. Die Frage ist nur: An welchem Punkt stehen wir?

Let’s get spiritual

August 2019

I walked the dog this morning and all along the way the calls of crows followed me. Later on in the garden they didn’t stop either. Looks like spirit of the crow is telling me something 😊.

So I’ll take my time to figure that out and leave you with a blast from the past about animal spirit guides 🙋‍♀️🐝.

December 2017

December is always a time for me for reflection. Where have I started the year, where do I stand now and where do I want to go. I let myself be guided by the spirit world in all its forms and am always interested in learning more about animal spirit guides. A couple of years ago I wondered why we are so into crabbing and what the crab as a spiritual guide has to offer us. This is what I found out then:

July 2014

Those of you who know me a little bit better know that I am very interested in Shamanism especially in the concept of animal spirit guides. The idea simply explained (nothing is ever that simple though) means that certain attributes of animals give us guidance as to what we need to take care of in our lives or what we need to learn. The lesson to learn is either given by an animal suddenly popping up in our lives like a deer running over the street in front of us or a bird of prey that we spot. That is a lesson that is important just at that point in time. Or it is one that has been important to us all of our life like our favourite animal. That would be a “life lesson” something we need to take care of or learn all of our life.

I was not aware that the crab is connected very closely to the moon. Which of course gives the message of cycles. Are we going with our personal cycles and that of nature or are we trying to break those? Protection is another theme important when crab crawls into your life. As the crab has a strong exoskeleton which protects it from predators. And of course its funny way of walking on land: Never straight always sideways. A lesson that our life’s path is not always a straight one.

Resource: What’s In Your Sign

Video credit: Paranormal Radio via Youtube

Image of a pebble beach and metall poles in a row, blue sky above

Blast from the Past: Absurdity of life/ Die Absurditaet des Lebens

August 2019

It’s again on my mind… 😊

August 2017

That’s what you call synchonicity I think: Was thinking a lot about Albert Camus Sisyphos lately and which post re-appears?

July 2011

I do not know why I started thinking about Albert Camus lately. The French philosopher born 1913 in Algeria has fascinated me since I heart of him for the first time in my French lessons. We read ” The myth of Sisyphus” and “La Peste/ The plague” and I liked that idea very much that life is totally senseless and absurd but at the same time sacred and we must not give up on it. I always wondered though where to get the strength from. Both main characters Sisyphus and Dr. Bernard Rieux spend their lives in a total senseless struggle. Sisyphus has been punished by the Greek gods for his trickery in life to roll a huge bolder up an enormous hill. Just before he reaches the top the boulder would always roll down hill and he has to start again.

The bubonic plague that broke out in the town of Oran has such an enormous scale that all efforts of doctors and other staff make not much difference. And there is not a big chance for a antidote either. But both go on and on and refuse to give in to the senselessness and absurdity.

Well, maybe you do not need any strength for it. Maybe that is just the only way to live life happily.
You find out more about Albert Camus’ philosophy here: http://www.camus-society.com

August 2019

Ich denke wieder daran… 🙋‍♀️

August 2017

Das nenne ich Synchozitaet: Ich dachte oft an Albert Camus Sisyphos in letzter Zeit und welcher Post taucht wieder auf?
Juli 2011
Ich weiss nicht, warum ich in letzter Zeit angefangen habe, an Albert Camus zu denken. Von dem franzoesischen Philosoph, der 1913 in Algerien geboren wurde, habe ich zum ersten Mal im Franzoesisch Unterricht gehoert und hat mich seither fasziniert. Wir haben “Der Mythos des Sisyphos” und “Die Pest” gelesen und ich mag diese Idee unheimlich gerne, dass das Leben absolut sinnlos und absurd ist aber gleichzeitig heilig und man es nicht aufgeben darf. Ich habe mich aber auch immer gewundert, wo man die Kraft dafuer herbekommen soll.
Die beiden Hauptcharaktere dieser Geschichten, Sisyphos und Dr. Bernard Rieux, verbringen ihr Leben mit ziemlich sinnlosen Aufgaben. Sisyphos wurde von den griechischen Goettern fuer seine Verschlagenheit gestraft und muss seither einen riesigen Stein einen steilen Berg hinaufrollen und kurz bevor er oben ankommt rollt der Stein wieder hinunter.
Die Pest brach in der Stadt Oran in einem so grossen Ausmass aus, dass alle Versuche von Doktoren und anderen Mitarbeitern keinen grossen Unterschied machen. Und es gibt auch keine grosse Chance auf ein Antiserum. Aber beide machen weiter und weigern sich, die Sinnlosigkeit und Absurditaet gewinnen zu lassen.
Tja vielleicht brauchen wir dafuer keine Kraft. Vielleicht ist das die einzige Art, unser Leben gluecklich zu leben.
Ihr findet hier mehr ueber Albert Camus heraus: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Camus