… mood swings …


It is a true gift to share something against the tide of the prevailing ‘pretend certainties’. This post grapples head on with giving the lie to the marching tramp of success boots, the racing to the finish line, and instead offers a cloth on which to lay offerings of doubt, of distress, and near-despair. The comfort comes from sharing the common meal.

Originally posted on Course of Mirrors:

A strong spirit can be dampened, sometimes at birth, sometimes through a later trauma, but with care, it can also be nurtured and strengthened. And like an effective immune system, it helps us to adjust imbalances in mind and body. The link between spirit and the immune system tends to be ignored when resources go into fighting the seeming culprit, historically blamed for imbalances, the intruder. True listening and welcoming a dialogues with the enemy are rare.

Churt Sculptor Park

Churt Sculptor Park

A recent Health Survey reports that nearly half of England’s population is on prescription drugs. And today’s news highlight once more that super bugs are on the rise. Factors that dent the spirit are not taken into the equation. When one observes how some of the dehumanising complexities of our systems wear down the dignity of people, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that depression is a sane reaction…

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Last Chance to Help Launch #ReadTuesday with Thunder (a Black Friday for #Books)


Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps on this petty pace from…. Generous authors needs sustenance ( of belief) Please share

Originally posted on ReadTuesday:

Lightning from NASA 2

Image from NASA


You can help announce the second annual Read Tuesday. It’s a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

Wish you could get Black Friday savings on books, but on a day when you’re not too busy buying electronics, clothes, and other gifts? Well, Read Tuesday gives you the chance to do just that.

Many of the participating books are already on sale. Tuesday, December 9 is the big day.

Browse the Read Tuesday catalog to see our book sale (see below). We’re just helping you find great book savings: You still buy the books at sites you trust, like Amazon. We even have some free books.

You can help us announce Read Tuesday with thunder. We have a ThunderClap promotion that will simultaneously spread the news of Read Tuesday through Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr on the morning of…

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Got this email from a friend….


Delicious story. Needs re-telling everywhere

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life. As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down…

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A Shadow in Yucatan Review Almost- no Very- Embarrassing!

Chris Rose gifted this yesterday and I post it with trepidation. This book has lain dormant on Amazon for almost eight years, but he may have given it the kiss of life!


Ana Grigoriu  gifted me this image

Ana Grigoriu gifted me this image


The Specialist (unequalled), November 4, 2014
This review is from: A Shadow in Yucatan (Kindle Edition)
One of the extended luxuries of reading a book – particularly a good one, but then, at my age, I (we) should know when to abandon the not-so-good – is writing a review: another blank page to dash with blush and beam; pastels afforded by the author – go on, s/he enthuses, five stars in all the colours of the rainbow…And then along comes Philippa Rees, with A Shadow in Yutacán, and I feel very much like the amateur – where to begin? Where then when begun? Philippa Rees’ A Shadow in Yutacán is the kind of book that… well, I’ve noted Dylan Thomas in passing but he was never this good – reviewer scuffs the clichés infesting the corners of his mind.I am honestly at a loss. This – pardon me and every reviewer for saying so – is an absolute work of art. And heart. For, make no mistake, Philippa’s heart is at the very core of this work – a work that would be a rank fail if not. We might then forget genre – how `winkingly’ witty dear Bob Book-Jacket should inform us our “distilled novel fits no category… is not poetry…”Poetry, then, is in the ear of the beholder? And persuasive, indeed, it is. I’m reminded of Arthur Quiller Couch:”Literature is not an abstract Science, to which exact definitions can be applied. It is an Art rather, the success of which depends on personal persuasiveness, on the author’s skill to give as on ours to receive.” ??????????????????????

Stephanie, the book’s MC, who wakes “to a smouldering afternoon pregnant with thunder”, via pregnancy both of the belly and naivety, comes full circle – and in fact recalls a literary character of my own creation; if only she could put brakes on the rumbling rails of life!

But, for me, the `book’ transcends 1960s dreams damned to the frailties of reality; this is Blake’s Innocence and Experience second-done. And this, to repeat the idea of being lost for words, as well as to offer the most audacious of paradoxes, is a flight in animation, where the beauty of Philippa’s poetry becomes mute to the magical carpet-ride of Stephanie’s sensitivities… Come on, then, dear animators, this is the one you’ve been waiting for! Remember what was done with Raymond Briggs’ Snowman?

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all,” scoffs an Irish wit from spirit. What would he have made of this, though, eh? I do but wonder.

If I were limited to one question only, then it would surely be: `Philippa, how long did it take you to write A Shadow in Yutacán?’ And yet I’d refrain, for fear of either answer.

`Not too long,’ she smiles, `it is of my natural pen.’

Then I’ll place down my own forevermore. Consolation being I’ll order more – books! – I suppose.

`Actually, it was a real slog. A good two years.’

Mmm. Oh, why, by GOD, as I write, has it not yet been bestowed with the honour it deserves?

I will read A Shadow in Yutacán again. And again. And each time will be like the first.

This is a masterpiece.

(If you are persuaded you can find it here on Amazon  or in ebook here on Smashwords)

Takes a commute to read, transports you further

Takes a commute to read, transports you further

Review of Wood,Talc and Mr J by Chris Rose.

Wood,Talc, and MrJ by Chris Rose.

‘You weren’t supposed to be clever where I came from…’

Readers who are used to Walkers Crisps in portioned packets will find opening this unfamiliar shrink wrapped alternative challenging. I certainly did. The first taste is of something indefinable; salty and lime flavoured, with more than a hint of sea, of vinegar, of jellied eels and certainly bracing. This book takes a willingness to be persuaded, but becomes increasingly addictive, as you bite into separate scenes, and ride a great many buses in pursuit of Sheffield United, the possibility of ‘gear’ or a good dust up with Skin heads or Rockers, and those who fail to appreciate the finer distinctions in Motown and Soul. This is not a world I know anything about, yet something in the self-effacing and evocative staccato began to mesmerize. It got better and better, once the idiom lodged, and more compelling.

I am not sure I can analyse why, or even that I garnered half of what its sharp language referred to, for it is a new language, and describes a world as unfamiliar as Bangladesh, although it only asks me to travel as far as Sheffield, Ilkley, Barnsley, Skegness and environs. Names and words encircle. Well that’s not all: it asks me to take on trust Sheffield in the seventies, through the eyes ears and nostrils of Phillip, its narrator and interpreter of the author’s sardonic, nostalgic and dismissive memory. Into Phillip he pours his unstated affection for his home but like a shirt tail that should not escape but does. If a reader is tempted to sympathy, it quickly disappears.

I feel I begin to get a little closer to its hooking summons to travel with it: Phillip is disarmingly devil-may-care on the surface. He refuses any self indulgence; his affectionate love of Grom (his grandmother-Edith) is epitomized by his refusal not only to take the same bus with her to work, (in Hell’s Satanic Mill) but a different bus route entirely. Her habit of torturing him by eating pungent and unsavoury food with gusto (and without teeth) and in public is politely avoided without resentment on either side.

This family understands one another. They are diffident, tolerant, undemonstrative, and loyal, and the influence of Grom permeates, even when she is absent. His father’s moral rectitude about the obligations of work and discipline, however unrewarded (except in affording legitimacy to weekends letting rip) stem from Grom, almost everything retains integrity, below the surface of seeming chaos. Phillip is quintessentially English in his refusal to disclose more than is decent about his feelings, except about music and song titles for these are safe pegs on which to define himself. They were unfamiliar to me but that was unimportant in this rollicking ride through period, seaside arcades, scooter racing, police check points, imminent catastrophe dared to come out by jeering at it, and his friendship with Jed,JustAbout, Paul, Pete, Mick and Uncle James. His names are minimalist,(his girl friends loved and moving past and on) but as expressive of the time as they are of the character of Phillip, who takes all as it comes (and goes). As must the reader, for this is a ride through affectionate memory of those loved and lost and a world being unwrapped from its confines in maturity; from Batty with her purple hair and his brother Sam’s gradual growth, closely observed.

There is little of ‘story’ in any external sense unless a rite of passage from adolescent to adulthood is story, and for most of us writers until it is told, other stories cannot get top billing or full attention. But it is the poetic vernacular that springs the surprises; they allow dandelions to bloom between the paving stones, tossed over the shoulder prolifically and without stopping; those ‘wagged schooldays’, ‘Madame Shake ‘n’Vac’, ‘heart-splintering honesty’ and ‘prematurely ripened humbug’. This is an extraordinarily original writer seemingly with an endless ability to dislocate the image until the cartilage gleams in the joints of small agonies. Because Phillip pities himself not at all, you feel for him and want to steady him with a hand before he trips on his shoelaces or cuts his feet. Poor Phillip. He will remain with you long after the book is closed. Open it and stay with it, for it is rich, and new. Then read it a second time.