Profile of a content writer

I wrote this piece as a timed exercise, modelled on Natalie Goldbergs: “Thunder and Lightning”

I am feeling brave enough to “cut the umbilical cord” to let it fly out here and allow you this little insight into me.

tea, books and kindle to hand

Seated on my couch, in my apartment, with laptop on my lap, mug of tea to hand (teapot within reach) my books close by, my phone clicking beside me, my kindle awaiting my touch and Alexa listening to my every command I feel prepared.

The world is quiet around me. I focus on the clock ticking. It ticks but it is not a functional clock, it is a decorators piece. Time is not important.

I hear the cooing of pigeons, the tug of wind, teenagers gathering, perhaps a car idling by. It is Sunday afternoon, business is for tomorrow.

Taking my eyes off the screen, I notice the sunlight dancing on the ceiling, the shadows cast on the floor. The sunlight highlights the wood of my table, my daughters library chair and adds interest to the ‘rent-neutral’ tone of the painted walls. It also makes patterns of the thin layer of dust settling on the dresser. The ‘cleaner’ will work when she is ready.

Gradually, as I settle into my role, my brain stores the important sensations, records the feelings and recalls memories. Like a huge library of books, chapters and verses it references all for future use….

This is my profile

I am a content writer

I am content.

It took me about 20 minutes to write the original and then a further 15 to re-read edit and make changes. I think it was a good exercise for me. What exercises, writing strategies, lessons do you recommend, follow and use?

*

*”cut the umbilical cord”

Natalie Goldberg Thunder and Lightning pg 186





Let’s play a game….

After a gentle drive along the A12, enjoying the beautiful Suffolk countryside take the B1078 signed to Campsea Ashe. Turn right following the B1078 towards Campsea Ashe, past the village shop turn left into the car park for Clarke and Simpson Auction

But wait, haven’t we been here before? Yes, of course, home of my local auction site; a cornucopia of antiques, collectables, curiosities and one-man’s-junk to my treasure trove.

After taking care of the business end, I enter saleroom 4 and take in the sights, sounds, aroma of history. Today, unusually, I’m on a mission. I am secretly taking part in my own, “Make me a Dealer” (BBC One) challenge.

Working with a small budget of £20 I aim to buy at least one lot that I can make a profit on. Armed with my camera, catalogue and buyer number I tour the room.

Lot 1: A collection of Del Padro figures in the form of Medieval Knights on horseback Estimate £30 – £50

I think that might be what is known as a “come and buy me” estimate. I would love them, but they are going to be too strong for me. My estimate £80-£100. This estimate was later to be proven correct, they sold to an online bidder for £95

This is a possibility. With a personal connection, as it is the year I was born, I would like it. Would it make a profit? Not unless I find the right buyer. Also it is one of several other plates and sundry items. Estimate £10-£20. A possible, but only at £15. Don’t forget the 18% buyers premium.

Lot 294: An oriental camphor wood blanket box – with key. Again above my budget, estimate £50-£80. But can I pause for a while and admire it’s beauty. Exquisite carving, the quality and detail of the lock, the deco style shaping of the rounded corners just the feel of the wood. Open the lid, and the camphor aroma plunges you into the orient, transporting you to far away places with stories of mystery, intrigue, romance and exotic nights. Dream but close the lid now, time to move on.

But the mood to travel afar lingers as I fall in love with these books. A beautiful set, with the original dust covers, and all in good condition. Inside, the text was illustrated with beautiful designs, calligraphy and pencil drawings of the places visited. I think I can honestly say, never was I so taken with the beauty, style and simple pleasure of holding a book and being privileged to enter into it’s story. I wanted them.

Lot 264: Ten volumes of The Silent Traveller by Chiang Yee. Estimate £150-£200

I hope the online buyer likes them. I wish them safe journeys.

Was I ever going to find something? Today, everything was too expensive, too big, or in job lots where I wanted maybe one or two items out of the box or boxes full.

Just recently my interests have been towards various art forms. Auctions can be good places to find that one piece of art you have been looking for to add interest to a blank wall, add a touch of culture to a clinical waiting room, or add colour, history or a story to your office. As usual for this auction there was a good selection. Some job lots of mixed styles, condition and interest. Some single pieces that required some knowledge of the artist before acquiring. But then, there it was:

Lot 436: Eleanor Cowles watercolour study depicting Isaac Lords near Ipswich Docks; together with a coloured print entitled “The Gentle Art of Making Guinness”. and a pair of oil studies depicting desert scenes and camels. Estimate £10 – £20

A small lot, within budget, hopefully, and with local interest making it easy to research and sell on. I set my price to within £10 – £12 pound, rewarded myself to a cup of tea, found a good seat in front of the rostrum and settled in for the sale. The clock ticked round to 11:00, auctioneer in place, the room is hushed with the rap of the hammer and we’re off…

Lot 1……

Auctions are unpredictable. Items of history, age and beauty may be sold for little money, or sometimes not sold at all if a reserve price is not met. Other items, which are damaged, mismatched or apparently of very little value, are sold above estimate. The lots I had circled as ‘interested’ went for more than I wanted to spend. Some started at above my price, others I had chance to bid on, but someone in the room or on-line wanted it more than I. Gradually, lot by lot, my chances of buying were dwindling until we reached that set of art work. My last chance.

Lot 436.. a set of mixed oils and watercolours, a nice little lot here, can we start at £20, (silence)… £10 then?, still nothing….£5 queries the auctioneer a little desperately, I hesitated, and some one started the bidding at £2, here we go, I bid $4 a counter bid, £6, I nodded, £8 a counter bid £10, I hesitated slightly, before bidding £12, but that was it… they refused, to the lady in the room at £12, looking for £14 is there anymore.. hammer held in the air, the auctioneer peers round the room, once more I’m looking for £14…. make no mistake I’m selling at £12…. the hammer falls, the price is set. I grin and show my number…. I am the proud owner of 4 pieces of art!

Game on……………………….home to research and sell them on for a profit.




Flower power

Poster advertising church flower festival

One of the projects that kept me busy soon after arriving back in England was the church Flower festival. As part of the Parish council I was involved in the planning, organising and preparing for the festival.

Although not an expert by any means, I am always an enthusiastic flower arranger, so was happy to take my share. This year I was given the three wall arrangements. A challenge I was nervously excited to take on.

This year I was also put in charge of the refreshment tent, serving tea, coffee and cake throughout the day, and lunches over the lunch period. This role I took on happily, although nervous about how little time I had to prepare, but our saying was, “It will be all right on the day!”

And you know, it was.

Some photographs to prove it. Slight apologies for the quality of the photographs, I didn’t have a lot of time, just slipped in to the church during quiet times at the refreshment tent.

Everyone did such a great job, and unfortunately, I did not manage to get photographs of all the displays. The Church was filled with wonderful arrangements, displaying God’s bounty in many ways, and such a beautiful aroma from the lillies and stocks. The wall displays that I did, needed to have height, but also I wanted them to appear to tumble down the wall. My vision was, to represent the prayers of the people ascending in gratitude to the gifts God showers upon us. I loved the gladioli’s, iris and sunflowers that added strength and structure. To give display an individuality, yet similar in theme I added different small flowers. In the centre I used more patriotic colours, to represent the memory of those giving service in war, by inserting red roses, and a touch of blue. On the right I used beautiful creamy lilies for peace and on the left more delicate, softer pinks and mauves. I was able to pull some lovely strands of ivy from the church yew trees, which gave me the downward sweep I wanted it. Fun to do even though I probably broke all health and safety rules, having to balance on the pews and the organ stool between the pews to reach up to the stands.

During the afternoon I managed to snap this shot of our wonderful Rev. spending quality time with his children using the lawn games which were a huge hit with the visiting families.

Visitors enjoying the wonderful refreshments

The best part of the two days has to be enjoying the company of friends and family, sitting in the beautiful setting of the church with tea, coffee, homemade cakes or lunch of rolls and side salad, or a ploughman’s lunch. We were blessed by the weather as the rain held off for most of the week-end and the slight breeze was refreshingly cool for most people.

As Sunday drew to a peaceful close, our Evensong service was replaced by a traditional songs of praise which is the only way to close a week-end of celebration and gratitude to God for his wonderful blessings.

I don’t have a recording of our singing, but here is a beautiful performance of one of the hymns chosen by the congregation, “The Day though Gavest”

Yes, it was all right on the day, in fact both days, and with thanks to generous visitors we raised money, but much more was the wonder of fellowship, the joy of creation and the love of service. Now we look forward to next year…..




Goodreads make better writing

After my return from Canada and a busy June, getting back into routine, and starting on some new adventures, I made the conscious decision to take some time out from wordpress to do more reading, process my ideas, and put more time into other projects.

So today, August 1st, I had planned to write. However I spent most of the afternoon trying, unsuccessfully to sort out e-mail issues with yahoo.

This will now be a short news update. My wordpress subscription runs out in October, and as I don’t want to renew it, I have between now and then to plan, design and create my own website. Which will mean serious research and work in making that a reality. Advice, recommendations and offers of help all accepted!

If I thought July raced by, August will fly, as I am away on travels to Paris later on in the month. Look for interesting travel posts. Maybe I will be braver and use more French than I did in Montreal? Probably not, but I will at least have family to help me.

During my time in July, I have been reading. They include

Writing as a Sacred Path By Jill Jepson

Thunder and Lightning and Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

And one out of my comfort zone, to expand my reading horizon, and which pleasantly surprised me and I quite enjoyed it. Amber Wake Gabriel Falling,

I chose to feature these as they had most impact and challenged me as a writer. Follow me on Goodreads

Now, dear readers, you are all up to date. August will be busy and exciting and I look forward to sharing it with you.

A little night music to end this discourse

A reflective prayer

To all a good night