Jaye’s Week ( In the garden, not the Office)

Yesterday afternoon I had planned on writing and working on a trailer for one of Anita’s books, but the sun was shining, and I couldn’t be asked.

We sat outside, drinking coffee, surrounded by all the jobs I have been neglecting so far this year. Not really my fault, for the weather hasn’t exactly been conducive for gardening lately. It’s either been freezing cold, raining, or both. So, I wasn’t feeling too guilty.

Maybe a little guilty about some of my bonsai perhaps, as there are a couple that desperately need repotting as they have used up all the goodness in their soil. There was also an orange blossom that I bought earlier in the year that has outgrown its pot.

Before I knew it, I was hard at work, and enjoying every minute.

I was also promising to spend a lot more time in the garden in future.

My favourite, at the moment

They say you are closer to God’s heart in a garden, and all I know is I am always happier when up to my elbows in rich garden soil, surrounded by all the wonders of nature.

I thought I would close with some of my favourite bonsai, the acres. Especially the ones with different colour variations in the leaves. I love the Lacy ones too and have included the one that refused to be a bonsai. It outgrew every pot I put it in, and eventually I planted it in the garden.

I hate to say this, but in a way, I hoped it would rain tomorrow so I could catch up on my writing! (or maybe not!)

Anita Speaks…

I don’t know if its old age, pushing inspiration so far back, but my mind has this large empty space. It keeps telling me I will never write a new novel. That those 400 white pages scare the bejesus out of me.

So, I tell myself, try a novella, as it seems weeks ago when I last held the pencil. It would seem I am only good for short pieces and poetry. These, I still love to do.

Words press against my mind, asking to be written. Late at night, there are different kinds of thoughts. Words that do not want to be read by anyone.

Thoughts I must keep to myself. The kind of things you wouldn’t speak in daylight. They pop up like some kind of evil demon, a black shadow most of us would rather deny. Keeping the beast well caged, we try to get on with the day.

The rains stops, there is a rainbow. Sunlight through your window reminding you of the magic this world has to offer.

Old age disappears for a while. I grab at this new enthusiasm with both hands, wondering what I will make of it.

Watch this space! They are right, old age is just a number.

It’s as loaded as you want it to be…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Why Books & Bonsai ?

When we first started blogging nearly ten years ago, we had no clue as to the right or best way to go about it.

Looking around didn’t help like I thought it would, as there seemed to be a million ways to become a blogger.

What didn’t help either, was that I’m not computer literate, at least I wasn’t back then, so needed to find something simple that wouldn’t tax my poor old brain.

Many bloggers were using something called Blogger, so that is where we began our journey.

I found it relatively easy to use, but as time went on, I noticed a lack of traffic. This wouldn’t help with telling the world about our books, so I looked around to see what else I could manage and found WordPress.

The learning curve was a bit steep for me, but I liked the atmosphere and the possible connections. It was positively lively!

It cost a bit, too, but a small price to pay to finally get noticed.

Then there was a difference of opinion over what to call ourselves. We were not fans of the gimmicky labels, and as writers we were advised to use our names, basically so people can get to know us.

We noticed that most bloggers don’t do this. Their sites have proper names, like Myths of the Mirror, Daily Echo, Sun in Gemini, and Pensivity, to name but a few.

Eventually, after much thought and mucking about, we settled on a name that suits both of us. Books & Bonsai.

Books, because we both write, and Bonsai because I love my miniature trees almost as much as writing.  Of course, other subjects find their way onto our website, as our interests are not limited to books and trees!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends and followers. You really make it a joy to get up in the morning!

Jaye’s Week…

Which is better? To be mentally busy or actually getting your hands dirty?

Figuratively speaking. Of course, there are a few jobs to do that will involve a fair amount of grime.

Suddenly it seems, the catch-up list has grown out of all proportion. At least, it seems that way to me at the moment. Especially when this is the first time I am on my own in the help department. Of course, there have always been those jobs that have my name written all over them, usually because I am taller, stronger, and/or probably far more determined than is good for me at 77 years.

Yesterday afternoon, I attacked the garden. I thought I would get in first for a change, but even with a long-sleeved jacket, the lethal brambles managed to draw blood. Most of these are now in a pile awaiting removal. Revenge is sweet, even though my back is killing me!

Yesterday morning we had one of our brainstorming sessions. Anita isn’t strong enough to help with the catch-up list, but her mind is as sharp as ever, and she is keen to change our way of thinking when it comes to our writing. Some of our enthusiasm seems to have faded a little, which is not surprising, considering the past year. So, we have both agreed to work on novella-length fiction to introduce some excitement AND increase our output.  I can see the merit in this. I am still struggling to improve our blurbs, and one or two covers need replacing, but Books & Bonsai are all set for a lot more productivity!

I prefer to work in my office rather than anywhere else, which is probably why my gardening and housework enthusiasm is sadly lacking. There isn’t the time to get around to everything or the strength and energy to rattle through them. This year should be all about doing what makes us happy, and in our house, that means writing.

How about you?

Not all doom and brambles in our garden!

Jaye’s Week… Signs of improvement all round!

This week has shown definite improvements in Anita’s wellbeing. At first, the signs were so small, we feared she would never get any better, but gradually, almost inch by inch, she is getting back to her usual self!

There is an air of normality beginning to creep into the office, too, and this is more than welcome, I can tell you. The new pc gave in and behaved itself; writing hasn’t commenced yet, but there has been much thought, and I have begun to work on some some overdue projects.

Last week was a nightmare, and hopefully won’t be repeated in a hurry.

Coping with Anita’s sudden hospitalisation was probably not the best time to instal a new pc, but I had nothing else to do but worry, and I mistakenly thought it would keep me busy.

It certainly did that, and if all of this seems a little familiar, it’s because this was the second time in two weeks that I have had to do this. The pc company agreed to replace the faulty one, so all my work installing it was for nothing!

I can tell you that trying to cope with the worst case of worrying, added to Windows 10 and Microsoft’s vagaries, didn’t work well for me. I was a wreck by the end of the week…

This week, however, is shaping up to be something I recognise.

The bonsai are on the move, tiny buds appear every day, and most of our bird visitors are gathering nesting material.

I was beginning to doubt I would find any normality, but suddenly, everything seems to be sprouting – just like my bonsai…

Jaye’s Week…

Being without a main pc for the last few days, has found me doing things a little differently. I thought ot would be a miserable time, frustration and annoyance dominating everything.

Life with an unaccustomed laptop is certaily slower, giving me plenty of time to think as I am forced to wait for even the simplest jobs. So I have been doing a lot of really deep thinking.

I have come to realise that my life has been slowly changing into something I no longer recognise these last few months. Where once I was a writer/blogger who somehow managed t fit in everything else, I have changed into a carer, someone who tries to do other things. Sometimes I manage it, but more often, I don’t.

I have no problem with any of this, it is what it is, after all, but being a carer is a very responsible job and not easy in todays uncertain times. I pray that I will not need to call the doctor, of have to take Anita back to the hospital. She is determined to stay well enough to avoid this, but sometimes a little reassurance from a doctor would be good.

The second hand pc arrives later today, and I sincerely hope installing it is as painless as the last one. Everything transferred as if by magic, so I have my fingers crossed!

Jaye’s Week…

ONE STEP FORWARD…

The past seven days have been one hell of a week. So many good moments, but the elephant in the room hasn’t gone far away.

  • Our marketing/business plan is finally taking shape. We feel optimistic about the future for the first time in years.
  • I have been signed off as cancer-free from the hospital. The last five years have seemed like an awfully long time.
  • I had to have a tooth removed, something I dreaded, for the last one had to be chopped out in four pieces! The new dentist turned out to be a genius, it was all over in five minutes!
  • The re-edit of SPB is going well, with a lot of help from the paid version of Grammarly. Amazing job!
  • We found out that our local garden centre is open, so we had to go. On one of the coldest days too, so not a good move…

AND TWO STEPS BACK…

  • It might be a long time before we are ready to start any serious marketing. There seems to be so much to do first!
  • I don’t feel so confident now I am supposed to be cancer-free. Supposing it’s just waiting to make a comeback?
  • Turns out that the new dentist has feet of clay after all. He managed to badly mangle my bottom lip, something I knew nothing about until the anaesthetic wore off. It is very sore and is stopping me from enjoying anything!
  • Right in the middle of editing, an error message turned up, halting the proceedings. Microsoft Office was apparently broken. I had to google the problem and then perform a repair. You couldn’t make it up, could you?
  • This one is not really a step back, but I did pick up some lovely seeds, some I have been meaning to grow for some time…

Cannot wait to start gardening!

Jaye’s Week…

I awoke one morning a few days ago, to find the world outside my window had turned white, but it wasn’t the snow we had been promised. A thick frost lay over everything and a mist crawled slowly along the ground like a predatory animal. A perfect picture postcard.

I was up early and had the house to myself.  I was feeling so much better this week, so I sat down at my desk to write. That was when I discovered that this part of my brain was refusing to function, and was as cold and empty as the scene outside my window…

We did finally get some snow.

I say some rather scathingly because although the signs were promising and the initial snowfall encouraging, it fizzled out and stopped far too soon, leaving meagre patches here and there.

The temperature fell to bone-chilling depths, increasing my daily trips down the garden to make sure our feathered visitors had enough to eat.

It was after one of these trips, as I sat at my window and watched these lively little creatures happy to feast on the seeds and fat balls hanging from my favourite tree, that I began to think about their lives. They were so incredibly small and delicate; how do they keep warm all night in the bitter cold?

Where do they sleep?

I felt the cold, in the safety of my home. Even with extra layers and thick warm socks. My mind was full of images of all those small, huddled scraps of feathers, spending each night roosting in a hedge while the temperature fell to the floor.

Worrying about them all was beginning to keep me awake at night, fearing the worst. However, the next morning, the same jolly crew appeared, unaffected by having survived one of the coldest nights for years.

They are just like us, each with a tiny heart and blood. Flesh and bone covered with an inadequate supply of feathers. We wouldn’t survive out there, so what supernatural force keeps them safe in conditions that would kill you or me?

Image by Wolfgang Zimmel from Pixabay

Jaye’s New Year…

Reporting in for the New Year…

I am sitting at my writing desk, pen in hand but I am looking out of the window. Or trying to.

It is still dark outside, the faint outline of the houses opposite beginning to show in silhouette against the slowly changing tones of the dawn sky.

The window in front of me is a dark mirror. The ghostly image I see reflected in the glass is of an old woman, care worn and tired, looking back at me.

What is she doing?

She is not writing, not yet but I can tell that she will.

Emotions twist and turn as I consider myself and what the past, slowly receding nightmare of a year has reduced me to.

A year that has thrown everything it could lay its hands on at all of us, leaving bitter flotsam in its wake.

I intended to start the new year with a good deal of positivity, to try and rebuild the dreams that took such a battering in 2020.

Finding most of them wasn’t easy, as they didn’t want to be found. That was when I realised that rebuilding them wouldn’t be easy either.

I can sympathise, for I am bruised and battered too.

The trouble for most of us, is that all the bad stuff didn’t magically vanish on the stroke of midnight. Some may never go away completely.

So what will happen in 2021?

All I know is this – we may be battered and a bit ragged around the edges, but we are not beaten, not by a long shot.

We will simply do our absolute best, like always…

© Jaye Marie 2021

Throwback Thursday ~ Jaye’s Journal ~ sometime in 2019

This is the post I wrote when I finished writing Silent PayBack, my fourth novel.

I still remember wondering what the world would make of it, but so pleased it did reasonably well. Well, I thought so anyway.

So I have not been pleased with my progress of late, thanks no doubt to the on-going abomination and various other problems.

Are there days when you cannot cope with your chosen occupation?

2019

I have had many jobs in my time and hated quite a few of them, but never thought I would ever feel less than love for writing.

Lately, I have been having days when things seem to be slipping, a digital carrying-on that can plague anyone who switches on a computer.

This week, I had more than one day like this. A fatal mixture of an old and feeble person trying to use an equally old and feeble computer.

The overall tone of the week surprised me, seeing as I had just typed those magic words at the end of Silent PayBack, my WIP, I should be happy or at least relieved, or optimistic reaching the end of what has turned out to be a fascinating if complicated story.

Secretly though, I knew why I wasn’t jumping around like an idiot. I am an idiot (most of the time), but that wasn’t the reason.

I was secretly terrified that, having written this unusual and complicated story, that I wasn’t competent enough to present it in the best possible light.

This is a story that I didn’t know much about initially, or how to write it. It has been one hell of a learning curve. The research alone took almost as long as writing it.

2020

so here I am again, trying to create the impossible. (at least that’s what it feels like!)

I now have the actual storyboard on the wall in front of me, but the plot, characters and possible outcome are all still inside my head. Will any of it ever transfer to the pc screen?

If I have anything to do with it, it will…

© Jaye Marie 2020