Tag Archives: lent


18 Mar

I seem to be in a strange kind of limbo, writing-wise at the moment. I’ve finished my latest novel, The Sarcophagus Scroll, and I’ve given it to my editor and a couple of beta readers (at their request), but as my editor has just given birth and beta readers (in my experience) rarely do much reading, there’s no news. It almost feels as if I never finished it and it simply doesn’t exist.

Then there are a couple of magazine articles that are due to come out in April – which in magazine terms actually means mid to late March – but as they’re out of my hands, and not yet out in the shops, they are sort of in limbo, too.

And finally there’s Twitter, where I usually chat to writer friends, and plug my books, and roll my eyes at everyone else’s book plugs. I decided to give up Twitter for Lent,* just at the very last minute, so I didn’t even announce it before I left. I don’t expect too many of my followers are wondering where I’ve gone. The sense of community on Twitter is largely an illusion. But it makes me feel cut off from the land of the living (or at least, the tweeting) which adds to my sense of limbo. I’ve started texting my brother-in-law more, because who else am I going to share my current-affairs-related mild witticisms, now that I don’t have about 600 perfect strangers to do it with?

At least my blog is no longer in limbo. And I have started work on a non-fiction book on alchemy (although that will be a very long road), so I am still plodding along in my writing career even if I don’t seem to be externally.

There’s a vaguely appropriate concept in alchemy called palingenesis, which involves bringing something back to life in a new and improved form. It would be nice to think something like that will happen to my visibility as an author, but as the techniques of palingenesis tend to be pretty extreme (you have to reduce the original thing to ash, and that’s just the start of it!) maybe I’ll just be patient a little longer.

*If you’ve clicked through to this from a notification on Twitter, don’t worry, I haven’t slipped; it’s just that I’ve got automatic notifications set up.


Counting My Blessings

14 Feb
Christian Aid's "Count Your Blessings" programme

Christian Aid’s “Count Your Blessings” programme

I don’t remember Lent ever starting before Valentine’s Day before, although I suppose it must have happened. It’s not a very good arrangement, since I have lots of lovely choccies and a nagging feeling that I’m not supposed to eat them. I will quash that feeling, however, since I haven’t given up chocolate for Lent and a woman whose husband books a boys’ holiday over Valentine’s Day deserves all the chocolates she can get!

This Lent I will neither be giving up something  nor taking up something. Instead, I’m going to follow the Christian Aid “Count Your Blessings” programme. At least, I am when I get the leaflet back. I blithely left it at work for other people to see, since Christian Aid’s website assured me that an app was available. It is, but it won’t download onto my phone so it’s back to the paper version.

“Count Your Blessings” give you little daily facts about the developing world or conflicts and asks for tiny pledges of money every day or two. For example: “At the end of 2011, an estimated 42.5 million people were living in a place to which they had been forcibly displaced due to conflict or persecution. Give 10p for every year you have lived in your current home.” While we’re struggling with a horrible recession it’s easy to forget just how much worse off so many people in the world are. Although I said I’m not giving anything up, I am saying “no” to the occasional treat to balance out the pledges from “Count Your Blessings”, which again makes me aware of just how good life is for me.

Back to Valentine’s Day, and the e-book of Foreign Encounters from Writers Abroad is now available. This is a collection of stories about relationships, written by ex-pats or ex-ex-pats (like me), and profits go to a charity that provides books to schools in the developing world. This also requires a tiny pledge of money: £1.90 on Amazon, or $2.99 on Smashwords. Look out for my atmospheric little piece, “Sounion”.