February 23, 2014
A little over a year ago, I bought my first car. For the first time I felt like a grown-up, even more so than when I had a child (strange, but true). I can now go wherever I like, whenever I like. No more looking at the clock when leaving, five minutes doesn’t make a whole lot of difference when travelling by car. I don’t have to keep the weather in mind as much when going out – there’s always an umbrella in the trunk and I don’t have wear shoes in which I can do a lot of walking in.
But, a year on, I realise that I really miss the train and other modes of public transport. My reading time has diminished. I suddenly realise that I did about 90% of all my reading when travelling to get somewhere. I didn’t mind waiting for a bus because the time always flew by when I had a book. Delays? Oh well, I just texted my next appointment that the trains were acting up again and I had another half an hour to read.
But now that’s gone. I tried listening to an audio book once, but that was sooo dangerous. I was off fighting werewolves in my mind instead of concentrating on the busy Dutch highway. I don’t know how people can even think about texting while driving. Even talking to someone on the phone takes my mind off the road. I look at the road but I’m not seeing it. So, I leave my phone tucked somewhere deep inside my bag, I’ll respond when I get to my final destination. I just turn the radio up high and sing along to be entertained.
So why not just ditch the car and go back to public transport? Simply not possible with two little kids. I need to be on time – no half hour delays possible when picking them up from day care. I also don’t want to haul them in and out buses and trains. So, I’m going to have to start getting into the habit of reading a chapter before bedtime because I’ve seriously been reading too little the past year.
January 30, 2014
The second edition of Cecile’s Writers Magazine has just been published. In this edition we have three new and unique stories. You can read all the stories on our website: www.cecileswriters.com or you can see the complete magazine online by going to http://eepurl.com/NgMsz.
Due to personal reasons, mainly positive life changing events within our team, we have not been as active as we would have liked to with publishing this second volume of Cecile’s Writers Magazine and on our blog. However, the good aspect about a new year is that it is a great incentive to pick up all the loose ends and refocus on one’s goals, so, our New Year’s Resolution: back on track with publishing fresh content for Cecile’s Writers. Join us in our New Year’s Resolution and help us spread the word of Cecile’s Writers, so that the intercultural writers and their stories can get the attention that they deserve.
Cecile, Samir, Sofia and Vanessa
Cecile’s Writers Magazine editorial team
January 29, 2014
On the long journey doubts were often my companions. I’ve always admired those reporters who can descend on an area, talk to key people, ask questions, take samplings of opinions, and then set down an orderly report very like a road map. I envy this technique and at the same time do not trust it as a mirror of reality. I feel that there are too may realities. What I set down here is true until someone else passes that way and rearranges the world in his own style. In literary criticism the critic has no choice but to make over the victim of his attention into something the size and shape of himself.
John Steinbeck from Travels with Charley
A recommended read for any Steinbeck admirer, fan of literary reflection and autobiographical works, or the enthused reader of high quality ‘on the road’ texts. Steinbeck sets out in a camper to rediscover America, which he believed had changed and that he had lost touch with it. Steinbeck’s use of language, descriptions and imagery of the unfolding landscape and the hubbub of cities are a testimony to his keen observations and his style of writing.
January 10, 2014
I’m presently reading Virginia Woolf’s Diaries vol. 1, when I stumbled on the following passage that I figured would be nice to quote and share. It’s about her husband, Leonard Woolf, having a melancholic day where he’s unable to write:
It’s a bad habit writing novels – it falsifies life, I think. However, after praising L’s writing very sincerely for 5 minutes, he says “Stop”; whereupon I stop, & theres no more to be said. When I analyse his mood, I attribute much of it to sheer lack of self confidence in his power of writing; as if he mightn’t be a writer, after all; & being a practical man, his melancholy sinks far deeper than the half assumed melancholy of self conscious people… There’s no arguing with him.
The Diary of Virginia Woolf vol. 1 1915-1919
How easy is it for writers to become melancholic, much less due to a lack of self confidence? I personally find it a daunting profession where one constantly battles one’s own self in terms of memory, beliefs, experience and abilities. I suppose it gives me a measure of joy to know that many greats also suffer. In the end though, one has to keep writing.
December 20, 2013
While I certainly enjoy reading a lot of books, for some reason I haven’t read as much as I’d like the past few weeks. Even worse, I’ve hardly noted down my reactions to the books I’d finished on my last good reading spree, much less written the extensive reviews that some of you know me to write and are kind enough to read and comment on. I guess I’m having a reading blues, if there is such a thing. Then again, maybe I’ve just not picked up the ‘right’ book, if you know what I mean. The kind of book that makes me fall in love with it and gives me sheer joy from reading something so beautifully written. Continue reading
December 13, 2013
As my post Top-13 Goodreads Quotes still gets a lot of hits, I thought it was time for an update. So, in honour of Friday the 13th, another 13 quotes that I like that were emailed to me by Goodreads. All of them are about writing or reading in one way or another.
“There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.”
– Christopher Morley
“O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.”
– Leo Rosten Continue reading
November 27, 2013
About one and a half years ago, I began reading “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. I got half way but couldn’t keep on reading (see: Books To Keep You Awake). I liked the story and loved the characters, but I just didn’t like the writing style. The book contains so much redundancy and scenes that I think add nothing to character, setting or plot. It’s such a slow read, I just couldn’t take another 700 pages of it, so I stopped. Continue reading