Wednesday, 31 March 2021

THE RULE OF SIX? by Penny Dolan

The first of April, and the Easter Weekend is nearly here. Yet, despite the media jubilation, the barbecue & picnic pull-out recipes or the "jolly fun in the garden" ads showing on screens everywhere, it won't be the big Reunion weekend here. My family are all too far away for us to be together - again, one could say - looking back to 2020. However, I've got over it, as you do, and I know there are lots of people in the same or harder situations.
So this April, I've made my own Rule of Six. Six things to look forward to.
The First: Choose! 
Dream Author Coaching with Sophie Hannah | Home
Over the last year and a bit, Sophie Hannah, poet, novelist and writer, has run Dream Author, a long online course,. that helps writers look after their thoughts, their dreams and themselves. I now have a course mantra is stuck on the screen of my desktop to remind me that my habit of procrastination can be side-stepped. Now, when I am moithering about in a state of tension over some TO DO task - managing to not do it and getting into an angsty state about it needing to be done - I glance at the message and it helps:
"CHOOSE to DO it - or CHOOSE NOT to do it." Works for far more than writing!
The Second: Remember. to re-read some of the books I love.
From Spare Oom to War Drobe | Free Delivery @ 
I am waiting for the 29th April, when a rather special book will appear. Not one of mine, but  a book by  author Katherine Langrish,. It has a slightly odd title: From Spare Oom to War Drobe: Travels in  Narnia with my Nine Year Old Self, and describes how, from the age of nine, she was fascinated by the Chronicles of Narnia, half-imagining she inhabited that realm herself. How does she understand that fantasy now? (Katherine also writes the beautiful, well-informed blog - Seven Miles if Steel Thistles - which you can find in the left hand column of this post. ) There will also be an interview with Katherine on  Awfully Big Blog Adventure very soon.
The Third: Give yourself  time away from the keyboard.
 In April, I'll be starting  "Free Range Writer" Jenny Alexander's online Creative Journalling Course. I  know what  fun Jen's collage workshops can be, so I am really looking forward to the five evenings. I have a plain-paged A4 book, a range of old magazines, two fat gluesticks and a significant quantity of coloured pens here and waiting on my workroom table.
The Fourth: Even introverts need people.
Conversation Clipart | Clipart Panda - Free Clipart Images
I'm lucky, because during all the lockdowns, I've been in my comfortable home, with a husband working away in his own room as I work in mine. We are both, in our way, amiable introverts - or so I like to think. 
However, I've noticed that, as the lockdowns have gone on and on, it has been easier and easier to imagine the talk and words in my head than to actually talk to real people - especially new faces! 
So thank heaven for Zoom, which has kept me in touch with so many different groups of people: a reading group, a local photographic group, a (new to me) fairly serious academic writers network, the usefully chatty and friendly SAS writers group, a group of long-time "writing + gardening + more" friends and those friends who don't fit any of those categories. And of course, thank heaven for the precious screen times with my family.
The Fifth: Discover More Art, Enjoy More Art
In my other, non-zooming reading group, each month we explore a book in a different genres, ended up with this "Books About Art" title in March. The book run through various art movements, from Egyptian art through to Brit Art, demonstrated in cat form, An easy-to-read art book, probably ideal for an upper KS2 /KS3 classoom or library, but one that reminded me to spend  more time looking at paintings, art and images I love - not just the joyous offerings on Twitter or the pleasure of Grayson Perry and his laugh. 

A History of Art in 21 Cats by Nia Gould, Hardcover ...
And the Sixth Rule?
Haven't decided!
Alternatively, whatever you'd like it to be . . . 

When it comes, or how it comes, enjoy your Spring Festival.

White Cherry Blossom Tree · Free Stock Photo

Penny Dolan 


Mystica said...

I've only done the re reading. I've become more isolated than ever before and do not find it irksome (at all). Choices are there to go out or not and I like that.

Joan Lennon said...

Good sense here - and that cat art history book! Wow! Thanks, Penny

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks, Mystica & Joan.

I knew a witty, jokey April Fool's Day piece should be today's post, right now, I couldn't spot any cheering jokes out there. (Too many of the less-cheering.)

Really looking forward to Kath Langrish's Narnia book as she brings such belief to her fantasy fiction, writes beautifully and has such a wealth of thoughtful knowledge.

Another book about the shape of childhood reading I enjoyed is Bookworm by Lucy Mangan, although I feel the - What do you call it? Flavour? Mood? Depth? - inside From Spare Oom will be different.

There was also - some time back - Nicholas Tucker's The Child And The Book, written very much from the viewpoint of the growing boy, as I remember.

Back to the cherry blossom!

Becca McCallum said...

I think the sixth rule should be to enjoy nature in some shape or form, whether it's spotting blossom on a daily walk, or doing work in a garden!

Moira Butterfield said...

I, too, am keen to see more art after lockdown and have decided to go and see exhibitions every couple of weeks if I can (when I can). I enjoy it so much - I realised just how much when it wasn't available! Have you listened to the waldyandbendy's adventures in art podcast? I recommend. There are 3 series to enjoy and a new one every Sunday. A lot of fun and really interesting.

Sue Purkiss said...

I like your rules!

Jenny Alexander said...

Art - yes! I can't believe how much I've missed galleries and exhibitions. And nature for the sixth, I can go with that. And thank you for the lovely mention, Penny - I'm over the moon to be included in your list x