Date: April 26th, 2019, Posted by mollie
Many people have a romantic vision of the writer’s life. They imagine us creating our stories and our art in beautiful writing rooms, or looking out to mesmerizing landscapes, secluded from the realities, and sometimes, harshness of life.
They don’t consider mundane things like how we cook, clean, run errands—or worse, deal with family crises or dramas.
Some successful authors don’t have children, they don’t have a partner, or husband or a wife. They devote themselves, seemingly, entirely to their craft. This was the case for many male artists, including Leonardo da Vinci. But also women, like Coco Chanel.
Other writers who have happy home lives often have a white knight or significant other who helps them focus on their writing, or artistic pursuits, by taking care of domestic chores or financial concerns, while their ‘writing other ‘ enjoys or earns money from their craft.
For women, in particular, trying to balance motherhood, domestic realities, and perhaps even the breakdown of dissolution of their relationships, it can be difficult to focus on the work at hand or to maintain belief in your dreams. This is especially the case if your white knight does a runner or becomes a warlord.
Whether, you are an artist, photographer, dancer, or work in some other creative career, these less traditional roles don’t always reward you with the steady income you need. For Indie and traditionally published authors in particular—with the advent of Amazon Kindle and other online publishing and other sales platforms—many books have become so cheap.
Some authors offer free books on Amazon, for example, as part of their sales ‘loss-leading’ strategy. Competition has become so fierce. As a result, many authors are working longer and longer hours. Which begs the question—how do we find time for love and life?
As artists, we are driven to express ourselves. We have to. As the psychologist, Dr. Jordan Peterson says, “the artist must create, or she dies.”
A friend of mine told me recently how after many years raising a daughter on her own, and living many more years without a loving relationship, she made the decision to pursue her dream of becoming a writer when her daughter left home. She decided that writing would become her great love.
She began studying the craft but gave up her dream when her fiancé (at the time) ghosted her. That experience had been devastating, but more so, when, some years later, trapped in a series of unfulfilling jobs and struggling to pay her bills, she realized that had she persevered, she could have already published many books and earning a living in a job she loved.
Rather than write through chaos, instead, she had found a job that would enable her to earn an immediate income, but offered no long-term security.
She decided to again pursue her dream and become a writer on the side and work towards making this her primary source of income. She was part way through making this new side-hustle career lucrative when she met another seemingly dashing hero. Everything was beautiful in the first flush of romance when they first started dating.
Last year, to her horror she realized she was about to make the same mistake. Her new partner resented the time she spent working on her writing projects and sulkily said, “you’re not spending enough time with me.” He began to resent the fact that her writing wasn’t earning much money.
“I was faced with a choice. Writing or love,” she told me.
She knew this time she couldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past. She knew this time she had to make a different choice.
“All I need,” she said, quoting much-loved author J.K. Rowling, “Is to be able to sit down in peace.”
She tried to tell her resentful partner that all his ranting and raging and arguing with her was really taking a toll on her writing.
And she wanted her partner to be her white knight and honor the commitment he had made to her that he would support her. “Men want all,” she lamented bitterly when he didn’t follow through on his promise, “they want a whore in the bedroom and a woman who wears the trousers when it comes to finances.”
She envied the woman who were financially protected by their men. But then she read stories that showed her that sometimes a man’s shelter was a gilded cage. Recently she read the autobiography of Queen Noor of Jordan. Born in America she had trained to become an architect and had done very well in her career before she met the King of Jordan.
King Hussein made it clear that there was no room for an architect wife in the regal role, and reluctantly she conceded. In her memoir, she recounts how she married for love, not any material or financial advantage. She shares how she struggled to give up her financial independence—but he was insistent.
Queen Noor tried to talk about her Western life and the things she missed, and he replied dismissively, “I really do not want to know.”
Frustrated, Queen Noor turned to other projects that would support her husband’s career. She chose ones that would give her some glimmer of purpose.
In her memoir, she wrote, “He was so sure about our future life together that his confidence was infectious. His unfailing conviction was beginning to win me once more. I had an incomplete picture of what the future might be, but I knew that no matter what happened, that I would always have my work and the contribution I could make to the country to see me through. The King had let me know in so many words that he was offering me a partnership. That realization too, help me make up my mind. I had a job to do for a country I already loved, and an extraordinary man as a partner together we could make a difference.”
My friend, sighed, “My partner used to jokingly call me his queen. He too offered an incomplete picture about what our life might look like when we co-joined our finances and moved away from my family to the other side of the country. He turned out to be a tyrant,” she said, sadly.
As my friend was telling me her story, I began wondering how instead of being distracted by all this emotional drama which was preventing her from writing she could actually use the experience constructively—writing, a story within the story as the drama unfolded.
What if, I wondered—it wasn’t peace she needed after all? What if everything that happened, the environment in which she found herself, was exactly what she needed?
What if a different sort of writing emerged from that? Another genre, perhaps. Something darker with an angry female protagonist. Recently The Guardian ran an article called, Mad women: how angry sisterhood is taking over the small screen.
What if, I wondered, instead of the light, bouncy, ‘everything is beautiful’ love stories she was struggling to write, she worked with what was showing up in her life.
“What if you turned yourself to something deeper with more angst,” I encouraged. “It might just be the career rescue you need, and you’ll heal yourself with writing in the process.”
I told her about something similar I had been through many years ago and a story I had written called The Lighthouse. My male friend at the time (we’re going back quite some years) read it and loved it. Remember he thought he was reading about a lighthouse not him!
Here’s a wee excerpt: (Subscribe to this blog and my newsletter if you’d like to know when The Lighthouse is released).
The woman wandering the cliff tops grew weary from her restlessness and sat, weeping, at the base of the lighthouse. She wore the cloak of a betrayed lover, looking lost and forlorn, wondering whether one day love would come to stay. Through teary eyes she looked to the heavens, beseeching: “why hath thou forsaken me?” The lighthouse, unaware of her presence, stood tall and solid, gazing sadly out to sea. Grieving he searched vainly for his lover. Waiting. Waiting for the lover never meant to be.
Two souls lonely in their loss, united by the yearning for love that would stay, remained unaware of each other and saw not that which lay within the distance of touch. The heavens sought to intervene – orchestrating the elements to throw them further together.
Violet-gray clouds swirled angrily – gaining momentum. Faster and faster. The woman stumbled to her feet as the wind rose. Finally noticing the presence of the lighthouse, she ran to its door and tried to open it. The handle, stiff from lack of use, refused to succumb to her touch.
She persisted – pounding on the cold, steel door, determined in her knowledge and belief that, despite the cold exterior, inside it would be warm. The lighthouse stood firm, unyielding. And yet his curiosity was aroused. Secretly he bent to see her, looking with soft, kindly eyes – wanting to let her in, yet fearful of the returning feelings. Fearful of the stirring in his heart. Fearful of her. What if she came in, settled, filled the house with her scent, her song – filling the void which for so long he had denied existed.
“You have a gift, especially when emotion is involved,” my male friend told me.
I wrote his feedback down in the little ‘writing feedback’ journal that I still update to this day. It always encourages me to read the kind things my readers have said about my writing. Especially if I am having a bad day. I still go to this little notebook sometimes when I think I can’t write or I don’t believe that I have any talent, or I feel like an imposter. It’s a great comfort to me.
Artists have mined their negative emotions and feelings for years—often to lucrative effect.
“I’ve been feeling this sorrow all my life,” wrote UK rock band Genesis. They shapeshifted through different genres throughout their career. The band moved from folk music to progressive rock in the 1970s, before moving towards pop at the end of the decade.
“In the desert, you can remember your name because there ‘ain’t no one to give you no pain,” wrote America in their song entitled, Horse with No Name.
Many writing experts encourage us to amp up the emotion. In my writing shed, I have a quote written in chalk from one of my favorite romance writers Emma Darcy (actually this is a pen name for a husband and wife couple. She/they wrote ‘a how to’ guide to writing romance in which they advised, “Put as much emotion onto the page that you think you’ll need– and then double it.”
At the time of writing, the UK songstress, Adele has announced her divorce, and her fans are delighted!? Something feels ghoulish about this to me. I’m sure it is a deeply upsetting time for her and her son.
“Divorce will inspire Adele’s fourth album which producers are keen to see,” news media reports quickly proclaimed. Whether you agree or disagree with the lack of empathy for her plight, there’s no doubt that heartbreak has inspired all her award-winning hits.
Back in 2011, the superstar said of her creative process: “When I’m happy, I ain’t writing songs – I’m out having a laugh.“If I ever get married, it’ll be, ‘Darling, I need a divorce. It’s been three years – I’ve got a record to write’.”
Insiders say Adele is throwing herself back into work to get over the break-up. Work can be a positive addiction that heals. Something touched on in the books, Mind Your Drink, The Joy of Sobriety and also in Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life—it’s a poignant reminder of alternative sources of healing for those frustrated creatives or people who may be tempted to hit the bottle.
Because an artist must feel. And a great artist mines those feelings, like a diamond hunter mines mud until they find the alchemy that sparkles.
The choice, dear readers, is to choose love. The love that sustains you. If love between a man and a woman fails you, the love of your metier will always sustain you. Perhaps not financially, perhaps not immediately, but love of your work will save you. And the right partner for you will know that. They won’t resent your work, they will love that you are inspired and deeply happy.
And if the relationship doesn’t survive—you’ll have plenty of material to write about.
Oh, and you know my friend that I wrote about, the one with the warlord. Her man transformed into the White Knight. He went from being stressed out and resentful to being totally encouraging.
She started a feedback journal like the one I keep and the first sentences in it were those he had said to her, “My job is to protect you so you can tell your story like no one else ever will.”
Yay, she got her happy ending after all.
Live an exciting passionate life, dear friends. Remember that we are surrounded by an invisible world—one that is sometimes polluted, toxic and harmful (with suspended particles, lightgases, heavy metals, sun radiation, and peoples moods)….and one that is beautiful, healing, and healthy (infused with magic, alchemy, and spiritual guides).
Perhaps this inspirational quote I have on the wall of my writing shed will speak to you as much as it does me, “Always picture succeeding. Never let it fade. Always picture success, no matter how badly things are going in the moment.” ~ Jessie Burton, author of The Muse
Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and newsletter to receive notifications about more inspiring love-filled content and to learn when The Lighthouse and other stories are being released.
If you’re going through a tough time, you may enjoy my wee poem. It’s inspired by an old oak tree in my garden. I also wrote about an inspirational magical tree in my love story called Love Me Forever—download a free sample or purchase here
The Oak Tree
The oak tree grows toward the light
the gnarly cypress towers above
pushing against the oak, stunting its might
the oak stands its ground and grows proudly,
its roots arch and spread and burrow
down, down, down it grows
down, down, it goes
down, down, down it reaches
seeking Mother Earth
up, up, up it reaches
up, up, up it goes
up, up, up it grows
its branches arch and spread and borrows
borrows from the energy of the earth and sky
borrows from the whispers of the wind
the song of the birds
the comforting touch of those just like her
and she grows where she can
and she stands her ground
and she flourishes and thrives
and lets go of the parts of her that die
And she knows
yes she knows
she really knows
that what she releases is past
and there will be a time to weep
a time to cry
a time to say goodbye
and she will rest
she will sleep
and then one day,
again, she shall meet
the little seeds of hope so sweet
and the tiny buds of dormant growth
which, in a whisper unfurl
and the growth will be new
and the growth will be vital
and the growth will delight
This is nature
This is natural
This is how magic happens
And who knows what tomorrow will bring
Every day is another opportunity
To start again
And to be better.
Check out this delightful little story called The Living Tree (recommended by Drew Barrymore) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFQZfeHq9wo
Posted in: Mollie's Blog
Date: April 22nd, 2019, Posted by mollie
Hi every one
I hope you are all well. As I’ve been finalizing my WIP (Claimed by the Sheikh), I’ve been inspired by the symbolism of animals and the way they can comfort and empower us all.
Giraffes are gentle creatures with gracefully long necks that are said to stretch out onto the heavens. This gives them the ability to reach opportunities that are not available to others. It is also said that they can see the cosmic plans of the gods and inherently the possible future.
I have long been inspired by giraffes. In fact, the publishing company for my self-empowerment books is called Blue Giraffe Publishing. My beautiful (then) six-year-old niece Freya and four-year-old nephew Finlay drew my logo.
My muse, who ‘coincidentally is also my heroine’s muse in Claimed by the Sheikh, Coco Chanel, once said, ““If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”
So we gave my logo of the giraffe wings—and spots to remind us to stay playful in the face of any obstacles.
Inspired by a combination of these sources, as the time of writing this post, I am sitting in a cafe writing a first draft for a new scene where my hero, a handsome sheikh and also the formidable ruler of the kingdom of N’avana goes to the room where the boy he believes is his brother’s son, lies in a coma.
Here’s a wee (draft) excerpt from Claimed by the Sheikh….
Tariq lifted Salim’s tiny hand and lay the soft, pink, giraffe beneath the three-year-old’s arm. Pink, he affirmed Not blue – or brown or anything even moderately manly or remotely true to the animal’s true colors.
Melanie had been right. Tariq was so shut down, so closed, so hard-hearted he was incapable of showing emotion. His own upbringing had been so frozen of femininity, so malnourished in favor of warrior-like masculinity, so deliberate in the demarcation and devaluing of the female gender. As a result, he went about his life with no more emotion than a terracotta warrior.
A tide of anger surged through his gut and churned with the pain of his lost childhood. He clenched his fists. He wanted none of that for his brother’s son, he realized with punching clarity.
He leaned over and stroked the child’s hair. Tariq’s heart kicked as Salim’s eyes fluttered. Was it possible that, against all medical wisdom, the boy was aware of his presence?
Impossible. He was lost to everyone, deep in a coma from which the doctors said he may never wake. The irony, the injustice, the torture, Tariq thought, tightening his grip on the metal frame of the pediatric bed. He was powerless.
What did the child dream of, he wondered, as he watched the boy lying lost in his unconscious mind? Tariq envied the peacefulness that enveloped him. He was thankful the child knew nothing of the car crash that had killed his parents. At least he had been spared that unspeakable trauma.
Tariq’s gaze drifted to the pink giraffe. It was the perfect totem to accompany Salim on his sleepy journey. Wide-eyed, the giraffe appeared to agree. Tariq remembered the words of the African shaman he had met on one of his many rescue missions to liberate the endangered animals.
The gentle creatures, with their gracefully long necks, were believed to stretch into heaven. It was a spirit animal who wants you to hold your head high and rise above trivial earthly desires, she had said.
‘They have the ability to reach opportunities that are not available to others,’ she told him. ‘They can see the cosmic plans of the gods and inherently the possible future. As a spirit guide, the giraffe provides you the confidence to get through the toughest situations. Their luck will rub off on you as you come across great opportunities. You have to realize that these opportunities don’t come around often so you have to grab them while you can.’
Longing flooded his body as he gazed at the child. More than anything he wanted to clutch the boy to his heart and kiss him awake. It wasn’t trivial to want the boy to rouse; it wasn’t trivial to want the boy to gain consciousness. it wasn’t trivial to want the boy to live.
Teach your children love.
His grandfather’s words floated through the air. The very words Hamza had spoken to his own son, only to find the wisdom fall on deaf ears. Wasn’t this why there was so much hate in the world?
Tariq’s mind drifted to a news article he had read recently. A 10-year-old child whose family had escaped persecution for their beliefs, hoping to find a safe haven from Islamic State terrorists in New Zealand, had been taunted and bullied at school. Feeling so much pain he had tried to commit suicide. The hate-riddled children, the article said, had held a knife to his throat as they yelled, Isis lover.
Rage ripped through his chest. Melanie was right. The child needed love. All children needed love.
Tariq clutched his heart, feeling the pain, the emotions, the trauma he had suppressed for so long, flood to the surface. No, he vowed, clenching his fists, Salim would never know hatred, brutality, nor quiet contempt.
Tariq had vowed never to become his father and yet as Melanie had so bluntly reminded him, he had become a tyrant. He had spent a childhood marinated in trauma. He would dedicate his life to ensuring the boy swum in a buoyant sea of love.
He reached over and gently, tenderly, softly pressed his lips to the child’s cheek. A tear, shaped like a diamond, plopped upon Salim’s lips, but his sleeping beauty did not wake.
Tariq stood mesmerized as a finger of light from the setting sun anointed the tear in a prism of light. He leaned closer, perplexed as, like a crystal ball, a vision of his future appeared.
Thank you for reading this excerpt from Claimed by the Sheikh. I hope you loved it. If you did…
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I’m celebrating the unity that unites us—the quest for peace. It is Palm Sunday as I write this post. It’s a timely reminder that for many peoples of different faiths it is not a war that unites, but the deepest desire to create Heaven on Earth.
I am immersing myself in my Arabian inspired love story, Claimed by the Sheikh. I feel beautiful beneath my silk veil. It’s not hard to see why so many women love wearing their veil. The floaty fragile silk protects, drapes and flutters in the breeze, it cocoons me in a spirit of peace.
I have always, always worn long dresses and believed showing less skin was more attractive… and (perhaps) more beguiling. Not for me thigh-high skirts and billowing cleavage that attracts unwanted attention. I see now why many Islamic women feel that the way they dress is a spiritual act of true empowerment. Perhaps I was an Arab woman in a former life. A queen, like the, now exiled Queen of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, who, a Libran like me, honors love, peace, freedom, education, and dignity for all.
How a woman dresses, including the colors we choose, should be an act of freedom born of free choice. One of the first acts of barbaric terrorism that the self-proclaimed, non-democratic Islamic State maniacal monsters did was to ban color and plunge the beauty of Islam into darkness. People were ordered to wear black on the threat of death.
Lets us rise this Easter. Let us rise to the light. Rise reborn. The world has changed, the veil is lighter, multi-dimensional energy abounds.
“Iran wants freedom, democracy, and a government to be friendly with the rest of the world. Light will overtake darkness and Iran will rise from the ashes.” ~ Farah Pahlavi
Wishing you much love and peace
All my love
Posted in: Mollie's Blog