Books

31 December 2013

New Year

There are just two hours remaining of 2013 (depending, of course, on where in the world you may happen to be), but, however one looks at it, it is not a lot of time to get done all those things that probably should have been done this year. Next year will be different. That said, time is quite insignificant - something that someone at some point devised simply to impose order on things that probably cannot be ordered. New year, with all its promises, could happen, for example, on the 17th March or the 25th November, and there is absolutely nothing stopping the change from old to new occurring at 9.35 am or at 17.38.pm. Every moment is part of every other moment, and what has been is yet to come and that which we believe belongs to something called the future is already part of us. Our only option is to live in the moment.
Happy 2014.

29 December 2013

Altered Perceptions

As you can see, my blog has undergone a fairly drastic change, but, although the name of the blog has changed, the link address has not changed - at least, not at the moment. I will give you plenty of warning when, and if, I decide to change the address. The new blog design will allow for a greater range of topics and will also act as a platform for my second book, which should be published within the next few months.

I trust that you are all having a pleasant holiday season and that 2014 will be a wonderful year for all of you.

16 December 2013

Christmas

Today, I had to organize something over the phone, and the man on the end of that very long, very invisible connection was extremely pleasant, and his 'pleasantness' somehow spread across the entire day. We sometimes forget the effect that a word (or a few words strung together) can actually have on others.


This will probably be my last post before Christmas, and I hope that all of you, wherever you are, have a happy, peaceful Christmas period. For those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, I still hope that the period is both happy and peaceful.    

14 December 2013

Detention on Manus Island

 The following is from an article written by a journalist connected to Amnesty. It tells about Manus Island where asylum seekers, hoping for asylum in Australia, are routinely sent. There is a definite link with the central theme of The Space in Between, but the outcome, unfortunately, is very different.
What we found inside was bleak, and far worse than we anticipated [1]. The entire system is designed to mentally break asylum seekers and force them to return from where they've fled. In one compound we found 112 asylum seekers crammed into a sweltering, windowless shed.
Asylum seekers are routinely humiliated from the moment they arrive. They're referred to by their boat numbers instead of their names. They're denied enough water, medical help, contact with their families. They lack basic necessities like clothing, soap and shelter from the extreme heat. Some told us they have contemplated suicide because of the harsh conditions.
Medical professionals told us that they are unable to treat serious illnesses, and that conditions are contributing to depression, anxiety and trauma. They were frustrated with the lack of mental health services and basic sanitation provided - and the complete lack of response from Australian authorities to their requests.
Most of the people we spoke to had fled war-torn countries, or situations of extreme discrimination in countries like Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. To see people so hopeless and broken was heart-breaking.
I will never forget hearing from an Iraqi man. When talking about his life on Manus Island, he said: "I have lived in war zones, with bombs and explosions. I have never experienced what I am experiencing here with the uncertainty we face. If we had died in the ocean that would have been better."
There are almost 2,000 people being detained on Manus Island and Nauru. The government spends over $1 billion a year to keep them locked up - yet only ONE asylum claim been processed since they opened.
Imagine enduring these conditions each day with no information about when you can begin your life again. Many of the men we spoke to pleaded for Amnesty's help. I won't stop campaigning until they can live in safety and dignity.
Thank you,
Graeme McGregor
Refugee Campaign Coordinator
Amnesty International Australia

12 December 2013

Book Draw




The Book Draw has now been held, and I would like to congratulate the winner,  Margaret Graham. Margaret lives in the UK, and her book will be on its way to her within the next couple of days. Many thanks to all who participated in the Draw, and, hopefully, there will be a new Draw in the early part of 2014. Keep in mind that all names and email addresses submitted for the Draw have now been deleted, and, to be part of the next Draw, you will have to re-register. More about that closer to the date.

In the meantime, if you have not yet read The Space in Between, and you would like to, you may like to check out the list of retailers to the right of this post. 

09 December 2013

E-Book

Having recently heard about a friend who had her e-Book stolen - idea, characters, plot and even the cover - I have shelved the idea of going digital. I can imagine that it must have been one of those 'stomach-dropping' moments when she saw her book with someone else's name as the author, but, as she says, there is not very much that she can do about it. It is sad to realize that such people - devoid of any form of conscience and motivated only by greed - are obviously everywhere...


06 December 2013

Don't Miss Out

It is not long now until someone wins a free copy of The Space in Between, and, if you have put your name on the list, it could very well be you. For those of you who have not yet got around to registering for the Draw, don't leave it until the very last minute. To those of you who have already registered, I wish all of you the very best of luck.

05 December 2013

The ABC


 This post is also off-track, but it is very important. The National Australian Broadcaster - the ABC - must be allowed to retain its uniqueness and its integrity and not be swallowed up by those commercial entities that are already gathering on the sidelines, waiting to swoop. The following is taken in full from GetUp:

The attack is on again.
Today, members of the Government - including Cory Bernardi, Bronwyn Bishop and Ian Macdonald - agitated to defund Australia's favourite public broadcaster.

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi called our ABC a "taxpayer-funded behemoth", and suggested that "we could perhaps cut the ABC budget and allow the commercial media operators to compete."

Let's sign and share this petition, and create a huge, instant response to stand up for our ABC: http://www.getup.org.au/ourABC
Here's why we need to oppose this now: they've pulled this move before. This is the Coalition throwing out a test balloon, so they can see how the public responds to their long-held desire to slash the ABC.

Pulled straight from the Christmas wishlist of Rupert Murdoch and right-wing think-tank the IPA, defunding or commercialising the ABC would ruin a rare, educational and uniquely Australian public resource.

We like our ABC free of ads, free for all, free to remain fair and balanced.

Will you make sure Tony Abbott knows to keep it that way?

http://www.getup.org.au/ourABC
the GetUp team.

03 December 2013

Writing Comments

As you probably already know, you are more than welcome to comment on any of my posts. You don't have to agree with what I have written, but, of course, it is always nice when someone does agree. Although some people feel that the idea of adding a comment to any blog is a little daunting, you can always remain anonymous; on the other hand, you can add not only your name but also a link to your own blog or website.


30 November 2013

Muckle Fulga

Completely off track again.
I happen to know a wonderful lady, Helen, who grew up on the Shetland Islands, and she recently told me about Muckle Fulga being the most northerly lighthouse in the British Islands. When she was a child, she often went there, climbing up the very hazardous stairway to the lighthouse perched on the top of the rock. Things have changed since then, and I doubt that anyone would be allowed to even contemplate the stairway without a very long list of insurance policies.


 We started talking about the lighthouse after my exhibition because, as Helen pointed out, I had paintings of water but no lighthouse. Since then, I have rectified the situation, and this painting is for Helen, who so willingly and vividly  shared her memories.

28 November 2013

E-Books

E-book, eBook or ebook? Difficult to answer, as I've seen so many different versions of the word; however, I would say that there is probably an imperceptible shift towards the word ebook. Whatever the spelling used, I am still finding it difficult to accept that books should be read on small plastic contraptions. By the way, has anyone noticed that the word ebook looks a bit like chook?

Despite my misgivings and despite the fact that I still feel that a book is a physical, sensory thing, I am being persuaded to consider the possibility of offering The Space in Between as an ebook.



I have to accept that there are now a lot of people who will not read anything that cannot be downloaded to a plastic contraption, so I am throwing up my hands in defeat. At the moment, I am reformatting the text to comply with ebook regulations - a demanding and frustrating task - and will, in all probability be able to offer the book as a digital option in the very near future. So, dust off your contraptions and get ready to push the download button.  

23 November 2013

Exhibition

I mentioned the Exhibition a while back (for those of who interested in popping in, tomorrow, 24th November, is the last day). You can see lots of photos on the Art-in-Sync website.

20 November 2013

Book Draw


Don't forget to register for the Book Draw. The last day for registration is the 11th December, so don't miss out...


17 November 2013

Thank You

Thank you to all of you who were able to attend the Exhibition Opening yesterday afternoon. It was great seeing you all, and I think that everyone had a pleasant time - even the rain held off until later in the evening.

13 November 2013

Exhibition

I am part of a four-person exhibition with the Opening this coming Saturday, 16th November, at Gosford Regional Gallery. If any of you happen to be in the area, you are more than welcome to attend the Opening. The Space in Between will be on sale, so for those of you thinking about purchasing a copy, it could be a good opportunity. For those of you not in the area but interested in purchasing the book, all details can be found on my website


11 November 2013

Book Draw

As I mentioned a while back, there is to be a new Book Draw on the 11th December. To be part of the draw, you must register (otherwise I won't know that you are part of the draw...). Registering is simple: all you have to do is to click here

I wish you the best of luck; someone has to win, and that someone might very well be you.

08 November 2013

100 Posts

Isn't that unbelievable? I have now written 100 posts on this blog (I'm afraid I have to thank Blogger for keeping track of the number - I would not have had any idea that it was so many.). I started the blog in June 2012, so I don't suppose 100 posts is so amazing - there would be people who could probably manage that number of posts, if not in a week then certainly in a month. But, as you know, I don't post every day, not even every second day.
Anyway, I suppose it is always nice with things to celebrate... 

06 November 2013

Follow by Email

To all of you who follow my blog regularly, or even only now and then, don't forget that you can register to follow by email (link on left-hand side of blog). This means that every time I post something, you will be immediately notified by email. To all of you - both registered and unregistered - many thanks for popping in as often as you do.

03 November 2013

Small anecdotes

I recently read a book called Mördaren i folkhemmet by Lena Ebervall and Per E Samuelson. It is a true story about a man who was wrongly accused of three murders (and convicted for two of them). The book itself is an eye-opener regarding the justice system, but that is not what I wanted to talk about here. In the epilogue, the authors write (in loose translation):

When one writes about real events and real people, one often wishes that one could first write one book and then a second book on the same subject. Because, when the book is finished, after all the years of research and writing, and is finally published, it is only then that it reaches a wider audience - and it is then that all the really unusual and interesting small stories come to light...

There is a lot of truth in this. I recognize it in relation to The Space in Between. As more and more people read the book, I am treated to anecdotes - most of them historical, a few actually connected to the family - which, without changing the actual story, could have added their own small strokes of interest.

However, this is how life is, isn't it? It is impossible to include everything: the author can only hope to grab an instant in Time and then hand it on to others. In the end, all a book can hope to do is to stimulate thought in those who read it, and, if it manages to achieve such a thing then it has obviously done what it set out to do. 

01 November 2013

Lidköping

I was in Lidköping recently, and the local newspaper, NLT, did an article on The Space in Between. As many of you already know, one of the localities that figures to a large extent in the book is Lidköping, The article is, of course, in Swedish; however, if you read Swedish, you are more than welcome to read the article. Otherwise, you can always look at the picture that accompanied the article. 

30 October 2013

Kariong Book Club

Last week, I was invited by Kariong Book Club to give a talk about The Space in Between. Everyone was extremely pleasant, which helped to calm some of the butterflies, though probably not all of them. To those of you who were there, thank you for your many questions and your obvious interest.
 

24 October 2013

Lidköping

At least three weeks have passed by (from where, to where?) since I was last here, so you have had plenty of time to look at the images from Stockholm... I will now try to stay in one place for a while and, hopefully, post more regularly.

Another place mentioned in the book is Lidköping. This a middle-size country town on the western side of Sweden. The following images are all from Lidköping, though, as you will realize, not all taken at the same time.


















30 September 2013

Stockholm

I have not been around for a few days - I've been around, but not near a computer. In the last post, I included a few photos from Kolka, this time I am posting some images from Stockholm - another place that figures in The Space in Between. I hope you enjoy them.













10 September 2013

Kolka

This is a place on the north-west coast of Latvia: the closest point to Sweden on the other side of the Baltic Sea. The area figures in the second part of The Space in Between.








06 September 2013

E-Books

I've been here before, and I'm back again at the same point simply because someone was saying to me that The Space in Between should be made available as an e-book. What do you think? I, personally, would not read a book on a small screen; part of the reading experience is the weight of the book, the smell and the texture of the paper, the actual feel of the cover... but, of course, you've heard all this before. When I think of a book I have read, the physical appearance of the book is often part of the memory, and, while I remember the content, I also remember the book as an object in its own right. This experience cannot exist when a book is simply a file on some electronic contraption.

01 September 2013

Look Inside

You can now Look Inside  The Space in Between and read the first pages for free.

29 August 2013

St Petersburg

A number of people have said how much they liked the last lot of photos, so I thought I should probably post some more. Those of you who have read The Space in Between know that Rundāle Palace figures in the story, but even St Petersburg (then called Petrograd) is an important location.