Posted in Recommendations, Reviews

Verbose

Last night I managed to make it to the live literature night Verbose and I am so glad I made it. It was a great experience, the room in Fallow Café was full and a few of us hand to stand in the back – yes, I was a little late because I was working until 7.30pm. Verbose happens on the fourth Monday of the month hosted by the lovely Sarah-Clare Conlon and presents three headliners each month, who share a link between them; this month that link was Urbane Publications and the headliners Lavinia Murray (aka FJ McQueen), James Silvester and David Gaffney.

Luckily, we arrived on time to hear David Gaffney reading from his latest novel All the Places I’ve Ever Lived, which I found very intriguing and now I can say that I am the proud owner of a signed copy, which I can not wait to start reading, as soon as I finish Another Country by James Baldwin. You can find more about the book, if you click on the title. They got me at: “All the Places I’ve ever Lived is part ghost story, part murder ballad, part crime thriller and explores the themes of outsiders and difference, with a dark edge. People say it has a Twin Peaks feel.” I’m so looking forward to read it and I will write a review here, for anyone that hasn’t made their mind up yet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for James Silvester, but Lavinia was truly entertaining and got the audience in stitches during her original presentation of her debut novel Out Damned Spot. This is another title for my Summer reading list. The Prague Ultimatum, by James Silvester sounds very relevant and is one that I will try and find out more about, it is to be released in April. Watch this space! If any of my lovely readers gets around to read any of these promising novels, please let me know what you thought of them.

But Verbose is not just about high profile published writers, there are also ten three minute open mic slots and some of the ones I had the pleasure to witness last night were brilliant. Maybe next time, I’ll get to perform too; who know?! If any of my lovely friends wish to join me next month, let me know. I will inform here what are the headlights for March, when the time comes. Until then, happy readings!all-the-places

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Posted in My Planet

Being Selfish is Good !

Love must start with the self, sometimes we treat ourselves the way we wouldn’t treat our worst enemy and that’s just cruel.

Some of us never want to be selfish, it seems such a negative word.Happens with me all the time.

Like Sometimes we feel bad about ourselves because our friends keep calling us to hangout and we just don’t wanna go Or we want to be with our partner, so we keep saying NO but inside we feel bad about it.

Sometimes somebody is asking you to do their task but we wanna go home and just sleep but as soon as we reach home we feel bad for not helping.

Sometimes we are too broke to help somebody financially or we need that money for our family needs.But nonetheless we feel bad about ourselves for not helping.

Or sometimes someone wants to talk about their problem but we keep listening to their problem, feeling like a dump box for their negativity and done! So this time we don’t want to listen to…

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Posted in Recommendations

Turning a Negative into a Positive

This book went straight to my Summer’s reading list, sounds very inspiring and I can’t resist a story of courage and positivity.

 

I’m indebted to the Longreads community for helping my essay (“I Had a Stroke at 33” Buzzfeed Longform October 2014) go viral and then lead to a 2 book deal. Happy to say that the first of my books, a memoir based on that essay, will be out from Ecco / Harper Collins on February […]

via I’m indebted to the Longreads… — Longreads Community

Posted in My Planet

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagates fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

By Pablo Neruda
Translated by Mark Eisner
Poetry Foundation (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/49236)

I never wrote a love poem, I don’t know why. Maybe because I have been busy writing about my children, odd sock, insomnia, anxiety, etc, or maybe because it never occurred to me to write a love poem. What I know is the reason why it never happened is not because I don’t love, because I do and the poem above is one of my favourite love poems, which I happen to have chosen for my first public poetry reading. I love this poem because it describes how I feel about love, I feel that I could have written it, should I be so talented 😉

Posted in Poetry

Wintry Horizon

It was an icy winter day, my parents handed

me to a stranger. We went on a train, to another land.

As I waved them goodbye, I didn’t know

I wouldn’t see them again, after that day.

I wouldn’t come home after school to my

mother’s honey and cinnamon cake, ever.

I wouldn’t be doing my homework at our

kitchen table listening to her singing

while cooking dinner. Nor would I smell

the herbal shampoo in her hair when she kissed me

goodnight. I would never see my father again,

reading his newspaper while smoking pipe.

In this other land, the house didn’t have the sweet smell

of pipe tobacco and no one was afraid. We went for walks

in the park every Sunday afternoon. We were happy and free!

But I can still see my parents becoming smaller and smaller

before they disappeared in the wintry horizon forever!

Posted in My Planet

Should, Should’ve, Shouldn’t

Some of you may have noticed that I have not been very consistent in with my blog writing. The truth is that I have been battling depression and anxiety during the last almost twelve months, I don’t know exactly when it started, to be honest. It has a way of sneaking in ever so gently that you don’t even notice until you’re deep in it. My first impulse is to think, I should have known better as this isn’t the first time depression hits me, but then I remember what I learnt in therapy – be kind to myself! Yes, in therapy I learnt not to use the words like ‘should’, ‘shouldn’t or ‘should have’.

That indeed is a big challenge for me; in my mind, I am always thinking that I should have known better, should have organised my time better, should eat healthier and exercise more, should watch less TV, should read more, etc. I have been feeding a feeling of guilt all my life and it is so strong that is has not been easy to break free from it. I can safely say that feeling guilty has been my worst enemy. This feeling has made me feel unworthy of love and success and peace for most of my life. The first psychiatrist I saw in 2010 when I was first diagnosed associated this feeling with the roman catholic religion; I am not so sure about that. Although I have been raised in a roman catholic family, I have also been taught that God loves me and about forgiveness. So, I’m won’t go there for now as it would probably be another blog post altogether. Nevertheless, my parents raised me to feel guilty, guilty for my mistakes, guilty for my siblings’ tantrums, guilty for my dad’s moods and so on. So much so that it is very hard for me now, not to feel responsible for everyone’s happiness and success.

I have to say, though, that since I had therapy the first time I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I am a lot better. I have learnt that I am not responsible for other people’s behaviour and I can only be responsible for my actions and everyone is responsible for their own actions. But from time to time, it’s like I forgot everything I have learnt. For the last three years, I have been feeling guilty because my youngest sister is the only one in Portugal taking care of our parents and I think it is also my responsibility to be there for them and help. However, life circumstances lead that I have moved to England in 2002 and this is my home now. Should I have moved back to Portugal to help my parents in their old age and sickness? No, I don’t think so because my life is here now, my children were raised here and this is their home. Going back to Portugal wouldn’t be fair on any of us and our life wouldn’t be easy over there right now. What I can do now is to support my sister the best I can, and help whenever I can. I have started going over there twice a year, which I think has helped. And that’s all I can do.

Three years ago, we were told that my dad had cancer and that it was so advanced, he already had metastases in his bones and it was terminal. His doctor previewed that he wouldn’t live for much more than twelve months. I think I started grieving him in that moment. I have been grieving my dad’s lost health and strength, my mum and sister have lost peace and freedom and the fact that I can not be there to support them. This is why I have not been able to start grieving my mum’s death and I am suffering so much with it. And I keep thinking that if I had taken her to the hospital sooner, she might have been saved, that I should have called the ambulance for her.