Move complete!

I have moved but not decorated my new abode fully to my liking. I hope you will still want to follow me over at http://amlewriting.wordpress.com/

All posts previously posted here are available for reading over there now too.

Hope to see you reading!


Feline Friday, introduction

My friend BubbelBoo has started a weekly meme. I am not usually one to participate in such things but since this was a subject very dear to my heart I decided to give it a try. It’s Feline Friday and my favourite biology subject, muse and constant companion will be on display.

I felt that some sort of introduction to how my relationship to cats came about might be appropriate and I hope you don’t mind this turn of subject form my usual odd excursions.

When I grew up there was always a cat around: Tiger, Pärlan (the pearl), Pyret (the tiny tot), Coco, Lucky.. Naturally when I moved away from my parents house I was rather rootless and didn’t want to get a cat of my own until I had a firm ground to stand on, a place I wanted to call home and wanted to stay at for a longer period of time. I didn’t want to put any pet of mine in the horrible ordeal of flying or other long distance travels.

When I came to Toulouse I felt “This is it, this is the place for me” and I did a little search for some kitten in need of a home. A picture got sent to my inbox and this adorable little ball of fur was on it. I have no idea how, but I instantly knew that this was my cat.

The brother of the kitten on the picture had previously been promised to someone else. But those people had changed their minds at the last moment. So I stood there with a kitten in each hand and looked into their little faces. The owners asked which one I wanted to take home and I squeaked out a faint “Both of them?” as I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I really couldn’t decide.
It wasn’t just an ordinary oh-what-a-beautiful-cat kind of moment, it was love.

Needless to say, I returned home with a pair of beautiful twin boys that I named Tony and Jeffrey. That was almost two years ago now and so much has happened since they came into my life. I’ve also had the fortune of getting a cat girl named Marie, in my house through the people I live with.

Unfortunately Tony ran away from home in February and his absence is difficult to get used to. But I have many stories and adventures to tell you about all my cats and I hope you won’t mind some feline intrusion here every now and then.

Have a purrfect Friday!


My treasures

At the back of the storage. Underneath a box of Christmas decorations and behind the fold-out table we only use if we have more than five people over for dinner. In a tattered cardboard box that once, many years ago, carried “quality baking potatoes” from some, to me, unknown farmer in Ireland to a small greengrocers in the West End of Glasgow, Scotland.

That’s where I keep them, my treasures. My songs.

On coffee stained, weatherbeaten pages that almost fall out of their covers I read the blue and black ink. I travel in time to the days and the places I wrote them down. I feel the love, sorrow, anger, elation and excitement again. I hear the melodies and feel them play in my heart. As clearly, as if I had just put down the pen after writing them down.

I’m a firm believer of living in the present, but I can’t help to notice how much of what I do now takes power from what I have been through. Every page of my novel comes out of what I did “back then” and my songs all focus on the past.
I don’t see anything wrong in this but it sure makes me wonder when the songs about the present will come and what they will say.

“Some day we’ll look back at all this and laugh” doesn’t cover it. All things are not funny in retrospect, but they are easier to understand. I smile and place yet another fully scribbled notebook in the box.

I was digging for treasure today and found it. In the margins of the over-edited renderings of a conquest, I found gold. Very frank notes that spoke so much louder than I had ever imagined they would when I wrote them down.

At the back of the storage I hide my treasures once more, until the next time I will need them again.


Dream diary

All people dream, many dreams and every night. The only problem is that most of us forget what we dreamt about. Imagine all the amazing stories we are forgetting every morning as we wake up.

That thought annoyed me slightly so I decided to do something about it. I have, for a while now, kept a dream diary. In it I write down all my heroic adventures, my love stories and the random happenings that shows up in my subconscious during those nocturnal moments of intense cerebral activity.

Since the diary is filling up at a fast pace I forget them almost equally quickly and I spent a few minutes earlier today browsing through it and was amazed by what I read. I found a few dreams that I’m sure would become great inspiration for stories some day, if only I took the time to write more on them.

Even if you have no ambition to write stories, a dream diary can be very interesting. I don’t really believe in the “if you dream of teeth rotting, you’re afraid of getting old” and all other set-in-stone interpretations of dreams. But I do believe you can learn from the dreams and that they don’t appear at random.

A dream diary is not such a bad idea as long as there is enough time in the morning to scribble them down. The trick is to do it before you start thinking about doing anything else. If I start thinking that I need to make some coffee or I have to remember that very important meeting/phone call later that day, all the good details get lost. I still might have the basic idea there but all the details get blurry. It gets better with time, just like any other daily habit it takes getting used to. At the same time as I open my eyes I reach for the notebook and the pen next to my bed.

My first notes in the dream diary are quite boring “Dreamt something about a car” but after a few months one first sentence looked like “I played golf with Dolly Parton in a hot air balloon that transformed into a desert and to my right there appeared a choir of teddybears singing Christmas carols, me and Dolly joined in the singing” and it went on for over half a page before the scene changed in the same dream.

The more details, feelings, colours, impressions etc. that you can get on paper, the more you can tell from your dream.

All that I really was curious about is if anyone else are keeping a dream diary or have done so in the past. How did you find the experience? Or have you been thinking of starting a dream diary and my ramblings about Dolly Parton and Christmas carols have scared you into hiding?

Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you.  ~Marsha Norman


Honest Scrap

I received a challenge and an award from the lovely BubbleBoo, over here, called Honest Scrap award. Thank you so much! In accepting this I am to reveal ten random things about myself, so let’s see how that goes.

- I would love to bungee jump but have a bad case of vertigo so I would probably faint before I actually managed to get high enough to actually jump. If I got the chance, I would really want to try it (along with a few other adrenalin inducing and probably very stupid activities)

- I dance and sing when I cook.

- One of my personal goals is to one day consider myself fluent in at least eight languages.

- My first crush was a bus driver named Markus. I was six years old and he drove me and my brothers home from school every day.

- My biggest pet peeve is native English speakers who can’t spell... I know it’s probably harsh, but I can’t help it.

- I think fish tanks and Kate Bush are two of the scariest things in the world. No, I’m not joking.

- I never gamble for money.

- I have dyscalculia which is like dyslexia, but with numbers and mathematical concepts and sequences. This gave me a lot of problems in school when I didn’t even know it existed. It takes me forever to write down phone numbers and addresses correctly since I need to check them many times and I can never trust my mental calculations of costs when I’m out shopping.

- I love red hair. The more ginger the better.

- I always laugh out loud when I write it online. (but my behind doesn't literally fall off during lmao and neither do I clean the floor while rofl)

The ten bloggers I pass along this Honest Scrap award to have been chosen because of your openness and honest writing:

Tales of a city
Red Rawlins
Astrid Paramita
Cat's Wire
The First Footsteps of Poetry
Quo Vadis Cowboy
Northern Light
Broken Cricket

and back to BubbleBoo, because she really deserves it.

A "real" post will hopefully come as early as tomorrow. I'm feeling inspired but I can't promise anything, to be honest.


Pulling my hair

A friend asked a long time ago what I do when I don’t have any ideas of what to write about. I realize now that the list I started doing in my head and the tips I gave my friend were good, but I really don’t follow them as much as I should. If I followed it, I would have had daily blog posts, at the very least. This is where I insert an apology and you all forgive me. Thanks!

My absence is just a temporary writer’s block. Nothing more serious than that.

Since I’m a terrible procrastinator and an incorrigible scatterbrain I have started writing many blog posts, but ended up never finishing or just not posting them here. I now have many half dissected subjects and ideas molding away in a folder on my computer. They’ll hopefully pop out of there eventually, when the time is right.
There seems to be a maturity process in my mind. I start thinking about something intensely, turn it over this way and that to see if I can understand it. I start brooding for a short while over not being able to figure it out and then I leave it. After some time, sometimes minutes, sometimes days, it all differs, I get one of those bulbs shining over my head and the oven timer says “ping” and then it’s done.

My biggest inspirations for lyric writing has always been the people in my life. It’s incredible the amount of things they make me see and understand, most of the time without knowing it themselves. I’m not sure how I can describe it in any other way than keep your eyes and ears open to the little things. The smallest sigh can definitely be more powerful than the loudest scream.

A thing I’ve learned from experience is to always, ALWAYS have a tiny notepad and a pen with you. If you can write on your phone or whatever you else you might prefer doesn’t really matter. It’s just that I feel more inspired with pen and paper. As long as you have something with you at all times to take down ideas as they come. Believe me, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a vague memory of the perfect phrase and just not being able to conjure it back again.

When I try to get forward on writing my book I use a lot of pictures. I go to Flickr (or any other similar place) where I can do some mindless picture browsing and click away without much thought. Eventually something happens, some connection is found, the wheels start turning and I’m back on track with the novel.

I have had many thoughts about what else could unblock the mind
- idea jar with random sentences or quotes or words or pictures.
- taking walks alone without music in your ears
- my ever so full dream diary
- reading everything and anything I can get my hands on
- mundane physical activity leaves the mind free to fly away. Don’t use that time to balance your checkbook. Use it to imagine, fantasize, daydream...
And so on...

I really wish I could make my writer’s block a moment of peace and new experiences but I think I fall into the trap of pulling my hair out in frustration, much like the rest of my fellow writing friends. But let me make a deal with you, if I haven’t posted anything here in a week, you get to choose a suitable writing punishment for me. How does that sound?

Now, since I hope I won’t have to make up a short story about crocodiles dancing ballet, write a poem about garlic or whatever else you might think up for me.. Until next time, enjoy your writers block, don’t curse it.


Alone vs Lonely

I wasn’t really planning on writing a blog post. I was happily ignoring almost all forms of communication when I suddenly realized that there’s nothing I’d rather do right now than to talk to someone.

I had not been very interested in internet communities and never really had the time for them until I moved to France. I understood that to stay sane I had to be able to get some type of breathing space. I had to find somewhere I could talk to people without having to struggle with insufficient vocabulary and lack of knowledge of grammar. Since I lacked a natural gateway to meet new (English or Swedish speaking) people in real life, I joined a few social network sites.

I wonder if it’s when you have no one to talk to, that’s when you need it the most and when you’ve gotten the habit of keeping to yourself it can be very difficult to share. Just a thought.

Much too often I hear people saying that they don’t like being alone. I know what they mean but I can help thinking that the definition of the word “alone” should be changed somehow. I know many people don’t agree with me. But since I’m the one writing here I will take my chance and throw my opinion out in the open anyway.

Being alone is a marvelous thing. No disturbing sounds and noises, you can listen to whatever music you want or just have it quiet, you can dance around in your home unseen (as long as you pull the curtains shut so you won’t put up a show for the neighbors) if that’s what you feel like.

I work (and function in general) best on my own, undisturbed. I have the ability to concentrate fully on the task at hand and switch to doing something else if inspiration pulls me in a different direction. I love the freedom it gives me to not have to adapt too much to those around me.

Loneliness for me is a different thing, it’s a state of mind and the times I feel most lonely are the times I’m being ignored when looking for contact or when I’m in a place with people that I feel that I have nothing in common with.

Sometimes the loneliness penetrates my alone time and I start brooding and worrying. I guess it happens to us all from time to time but it’s never an enjoyable experience. That’s when I should try to seek refuge with my online friends, but for some reason I stop myself, thinking they have enough worries in their lives and I need not add another. I have been trying to break this, but old habits die hard.

However, I am determined that alone physically is not the same thing as being lonely.

And to those who feel lonely I just want to give you a hug and say: You are not alone