Procrastination: Worse Than Writer’s Block

I’m supposed to be doing some freelance work today. The problem is that there’s no hard deadline (‘sometime in the coming week or so is fine’). So what do I do? Procrastinate, of course. I’m a deadline kinda girl. And while I was supposed to be working, so that I won’t have to work nights next week, I’m flicking through YouTube videos. A favourite is Ted Talks where I can convince myself that I’m actually doing something useful with my time because I’m learning something. Then I watched this one:

 

 

OMG! That’s me. That’s so me.

I realise that although I always make my deadlines and I do the work well, I’m unable to do non-deadline work. It’s the reason I still haven’t finished all those novels on my hard drive. It’s the reason I’ve hardly sent off any of the picture book stories I’ve written to publishers. It’s the reason I’m bummed on Mondays because I hardly managed to do any writing the previous week. It’s not performance anxiety. And it’s not writer’s block. It’s the absence of the panic monster.

It’s time I worked on this. Right after I’ve finished this blog post. And I’ve done the freelance work I’m supposed to do. And…

Vanessa

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There Are Now 100 Cecile’s Writers!

This week our magazine has published work from the hundredth intercultural writer. We are so proud that there are now a hundred Cecile’s writers living in almost 30 countries all over the world from Algeria to Vietnam. We have authors from 44 different nationalities, showing that many of our writers are writing in their second language.

Our Cecile’s writers have the following nationalities:

Algerian, American, Australian, Brazilian, British, Canadian, Chilean, Chinese, Costa Rican, Dutch, Egyptian, Estonian, Filipino, Finish, French, German, Greek, Guyanese, Hungarian, Indian, Irish, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Kenyan, Kuwaiti, Malawian, Maltese, New Zealander, Nigerian, Pakistani, Peruvian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, South Korean, Spanish, Sudanese, Swedish, Swiss, Taiwanese, Tunisian, Turkish, Vietnamese.

And live in the following countries

Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malta, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Suriname, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam.

We are so honoured that these hundred writers have shared their high-quality stories and poems in Cecile’s Writers Magazine. We are looking forward to further expanding our community and publishing more wonderful works from intercultural writers all over the world.

CW Team

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Reading to Your Children: A Treat or a Chore?

The best part of my day is story time at the end of the day, just before bedtime. Of course, partly because I know that me-time is not too far off, but mostly because I love sharing my love of stories with my children. I enjoy how they laugh, gasp and sigh as I read. I even enjoy the upset faces when the chapter has ended. “No mum, just one more chapter! Please, I need to know what happens next.”

The upside of story time is that it’s really good for children’s creative and linguistic development. It’s known to improve vocabulary as well as empathy. It gives you some calm ‘together-time’ after a usually hectic day, and it will teach kids to love reading for themselves. I think this is something known to most parents, yet surveys have shown that less and less parents are doing it regularly. Read More

The House of a Famous Character

This year, we spent our holidays in the Lake District in North West England. The plans was to go for hikes, which we had practiced for the last couple of weeks. Taking a 16-month-old with us was a bit of a gamble. We had no idea what his reaction would be to sleeping in a tent; we expected the walking part to be fine, since he did not mind the walks we had done so far.

One of the walks we set out for would go through a hamlet called Watendlath. A place where we not only could enjoy a lovely cream tea in the teahouse, but also visit the farm where Judith Parish lived. The house has a plaque and everything. The name did not ring any bells. Luckily, the description of the walk informed us who this illustrious person was. A famous character from a best seller in the 1930s.By not available (Hampshire Bookshop Collection) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the early 1920s, writer Hugh Walpole moved to the Lake District. Walpole was a famous writer in his time, he wrote countless books between 1909 and his death in 1941, an average of one book per year. An impressive feat that critics used against him, they considered his work outdated and described Walpole as “a sentimental ego” and “workmanlike writer who was not much appreciated among other writers”.  In 1921, he settled in Keswick, Cumbria, where he wrote The Herries Chronicles – a series set in the Lake District. Read More

Tsundoku – the looming stack of books…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/austinevan/1225274637I know you have one, admit it. If you like to read, you are definitely guilty of having the TSUNDOKU (cue the ominous thunderclap). It sounds like a Japanese horror movie. Well, it is Japanese and the kanji (or written characters) are: 積ん読.

(Read all about Cecile’s own TSUNDOKO here.)

I can’t read kanji and I hope that I don’t offend anyone or the beautiful Japanese written language, but don’t they just look like stacked books, then a whimsical line, and then more books?

These lovely kanji, literly mean to pile up reading. (A word of caution, the link is to a wiki. However, there is a blog post on it at oxforddictionaries.com).

Mine accumulates with every passing year, because I love books! Books, books, glorious books! Can you smell them? New or old, whichever your prefer, heck, even dusty books smell great, moldy ones, why not? They smell like words and stories and things I don’t know yet. Far away places, imagined spaces, even ‘getting real’ with Dr.Phil sounds like an adventure.

While looking at “There’s a Word for That: 25 Expressions You Should Have in Your Vocabulary”, I found this little word: Tsundoku.

My Tsundoku has, a couple of classics, several ‘science for the layman’ type of books (think Dawkins, Gleick, etc), several self help books (I love reading those), and a couple of half finished best-sellers books.

What does yours have?

Happy reading!

Sofia

 

Raping Africa

Chinweizu is a powerful and persuasive writer, and his views on Afrocentrism are extreme—as they rightfully should be. But for those who know little of this vociferous person and his singling out and attacking Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka’s Eurocentric Africanism, here is an excerpt from a poem of his (in the anthology that he also edited: Voices from Twentieth Century Africa):

Ah, this land

This black whore

This manacled bitch

Tied to a post and raped

By every passing white dog

The dog of the crescent sword

The dog of the militant cross

The dog of the red star!

Listen! Listen to the pack

Of scavenger dogs from white heartlands

Snarling in their gang rape of Africa!

excerpt: Admonition to the Black World

This anthology contains gems of African writing that are difficult to come by, including oratory tales, folktales, poetry, excerpts from translated novels and so on. Highly recommended for any avid reader of African literature.

 

Samir Rawas Sarayji

Discovering a New Library

I moved house this year, and I only just managed to get to the central library of my new home city. I was stunned when I walked through the doors. The setting is really impressive. I did a quick Google check when I got home and learned that it is considered to be one of the best libraries in the Netherlands.

Here a few pictures to give you an impression:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I prefer old-fashioned libraries with spiral staircases, rusty ladders to access the top shelves and lots of areas for private reading. But this space does inspire too. It’s huge and even when it’s full, it’s quiet. Books and writing are central—everyone working independently on a common love.

I think I can do some writing here.

Vanessa Deij

(All photos courtesy of Bibliotheek Eemhuis, the Netherlands)

The World’s Most Mysterious Book

Some time ago, I signed up for TED talks, as a fun and somewhat time saving way to learn new things. It’s certainly  fun, although I haven’t watched as many videos as I’d like. Despite the videos not being too long, it’s rather hard to sit down and view them on a regular basis, what with a child and all. But last week, my interest was triggered again.

‘The World’s Most Mysterious Book’ — now how could I ignore this video? It describes the Voynich Codex, a peculiar book from the fifteenth century that still keeps scientists puzzled.

After watching the video I searched the internet and found the following website that shows scans of the individual pages.

The Voynich Codex is shrouded in mystery simply because we do not have an inkling on what it is about. It makes me curious whether the author has made it all up to confuse people back in those days. Perhaps the language was created like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Elvish, which might confuse future scientists just as much if all they have is a single text without any context whatsoever. Whatever the reason might have been, it is fun to fantasize about its origins.

Cecile Koster