Thursday, July 24, 2014

When did you last sit by yourself and daydream?

Do you have ten minutes?

If yes, then try this: switch off your phone, TV, put away books, music, games, in short any sort of distraction at all. Just be alone with your thoughts-- don't meditate or write or play with any object around you.

How do you find the experience? This is what I read in an article today:

"Most people are just not comfortable in their own heads, according to a new psychological investigation led by the University of Virginia.
The investigation found that most would rather be doing something – possibly even hurting themselves – than doing nothing or sitting alone with their thoughts, said the researchers, whose findings will be published July 4 in the journal Science.
In a series of 11 studies, U.Va. psychologist Timothy Wilson and colleagues at U.Va. and Harvard University found that study participants from a range of ages generally did not enjoy spending even brief periods of time alone in a room with nothing to do but think, ponder or daydream. The participants, by and large, enjoyed much more doing external activities such as listening to music or using a smartphone. Some even preferred to give themselves mild electric shocks than to think.
The period of time that Wilson and his colleagues asked participants to be alone with their thoughts ranged from six to 15 minutes. Many of the first studies involved college student participants, most of whom reported that this “thinking period” wasn’t very enjoyable and that it was hard to concentrate. So Wilson conducted another study with participants from a broad selection of backgrounds, ranging in age from 18 to 77, and found essentially the same results."

I was relatively ok during this experiment I did by myself.  But I didn't enjoy it, say, as much as writing, or reading. In case you're interested, more on the research here.

Do you ever sit and daydream? Would you like to conduct this experiment for yourself? Do you think the modern lifestyle has taken us away from our own selves?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Do You know about Il Dolce Far Niente?

Dolce far niente at Grado: a seaside Italian town
I've been away from this space for a while, traveling, recuperating, coping.

But mostly, meditating. 

Practicing being in the moment, trying to experience the fullness, and the sweetness of doing nothing ( Il dolce far niente, a very Italian pastime) even as I absorb myself in writing, or cooking, or gardening. Cleaning, even.

The Internet has seemed like a faraway space in the last few weeks. Only now that I'm back home, I'm beginning to spend some time online.

What have you been up to, in my absence? Busy, relaxed, overwhelmed, happy, upset?

Have you tried practicing il dolce far niente in your mind--a sort of emptying, of watching thoughts till they all disappear, leaving only a lazy stillness behind?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Does Travel Change You?

For me, every time I travel, I grow a little, and my mind expands.

Each snapshot on my mindscreen, each accompanying thought make an impression on my attitude to life.

I'm blessed to be able to travel every once in a while, and each new silence, new emotion feeds me and my writing.

What effect does travel have on you?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What do the books you read say about you?

I'm currently reading September by Rosamund Pilcher, There but for the by Ali Smith, and The Summer Before the Dark by Doris Lessing.

All books by women, about women. All of them well-known, one way or the other.

I've never really thought about what my reading says about me-- but I guess if someone were to judge me by the books I'm reading this week, they'd call me very focused on women's issues.

What book/s are you reading this week? Do they say anything about you? If so, what?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Have You heard about Annnalisa Crawford's new #book ?

Recently, I've been talking about supporting our fellow-authors-- and wondering what counts as mere encouragement, and what is real support.

While I'm still on the fence about reviewing books by fellow authors, I have no hesitation at all in giving them coverage on my blog. Annalisa Crawford has been a good blog-friend and a regular commenter on this blog-- it gives me great pleasure to help with her cover reveal for her upcoming release "Our Beautiful Child", published by Battered Suitcase Press on the 10th June 2014. 

I found this book's premise exciting, and of course, am going to download it the moment it is available-- and who knows even gift it to a blog-friend-- as part of my Support Fellow Authors program (Once a month, I buy books by fellow authors, and gift them to readers who I think might enjoy them. It is not about reviews, or pressure-- just the plain and simple pleasure of gifting books to friends while doing my tiny bit for the community.) 

On May 16th, I gave away 3 Author-friends' books I liked, to other blog friends, besides gifting 2 books by the author I featured. The next gift-session is on the 20th June, and I'm hoping to include Annalisa's book, Our Beautiful Child for that one!

Here's more about her book:

“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”

… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.

Three women. Three stories. One pub.

I live in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on my doorstep to keep me inspired. I live with my husband, two sons, a dog and a cat.
Despite my location, I neither surf nor sail, and have never had any inclination to try. I much prefer walking along a deserted beach and listening to the waves crashing over rocks. For this reason, I really love the beach in the winter!


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 Do you know Annalisa Crawford? Do you support your fellow authors? Would you like a book gift? Would you consider giving books away to support your author friends? Would you share this post on social media to generate buzz for Annalisa?