Tag Archives: Books

Colour the world, colour your mood

Lately I have been obsessed with coloring books for adults. It’s the new trend and it is nearly impossible to miss them when you are in a Bookshop. Anyway I own a few of them and I really enjoy using those books whenever needed. I believe coloring has a grounding effect.

It all started when my friend Ana (my former Spanish teacher from Colombia) offered me a postcard from the artist: Johanna Basford! When it comes to coloring book, this girl is a GURU, believe me! Her work is amazing: have a look at “Secret garden” (my fav), there is so much poesy in her art, she managed to create a real enchanted universe.

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Colouring book for adults “Secret Garden”, Johanna Basford

So I started with her books and her postcards that I would share with some friends. Sometimes we would go together to the café, with some pencils and we would colour some beautiful magic scenes while chatting. It turned out to be very effective, especially when we were stressed or worried about something. It acted like a colour therapy session and it was a very calming and a comforting activity.

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Texturing and colouring my breakfast bowl: a good way to start the day happy and zen 🙂

It is a combination of little things that separately are just details, but when all combined, it is like a ritual where all your senses are activated. The colours that are dancing in a farandole in front of your eyes, the paper texture under your fingers, the soft  sound of the pencils pressed on the paper, the delicate smell of the drawing in progress and the taste of gratitude as the image starts to appear more and more alive.

 So now I extended my selection to other colouring books such as: Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford, The mini Mandala by Susanne Fincher, the little book of Mindfulness colouring by Holly Macdonald. I really enjoy them as they are a great help to meditate , to relax and sometimes to escape .

What about you? Have you ever tried it? Tell me all about it in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences when it comes to coloring books 🙂

How does sunlight sound?

The sunlight tiptoed in my bedroom, crawling silently in the dark like a cat approaching its prey. Gently, silently making its way to my bed, caressing my face and whispering in my ears, calling my name. ‘A little bit more,’ I implored turning my back. But it did not want to listen, it did not care, it kept going crescendo brighter, making a warm crackling sound on the floor, its loud colour invading my space, knocking on the walls, jumping on the sheets like a capricious child. ‘For the last time I beg you to let me sleep! Just five minutes more, that’s all I am asking for!’ and I hid my face into the pillow. But now the roaring noise was getting louder, producing sharp disharmonious combinations of yellow and white tones, exploding like a military band in my ears, blowing through the windows like a storm: it was unstoppable, it was everywhere! The deafening sunlight had a message to deliver and was determined to make me listen. I could not ignore its voice anymore, it was time for me to surrender, wake up and get ready because today was the day and there was nothing I could do about it!

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class that I wanted to share with you. We were asked to write a paragraph using synaesthetic metaphors. The idea was to create new ways of expression by creating cross-sensory experiences where you can for example hear colours, smell sounds, see music, feel the texture of light and so on… By mixing the different senses you can layer your story and come up with a unique and original piece. In order to warm up our creativity, we were given a list of questions and we had to pick one of them and work on it using synaesthetic metaphors… I was inspired by “How does sunlight sound?” and I built a short story starting from this question. I must say I was pretty impressed with the result because it worked really good and I was really proud and happy about what I came up with! I think this technique helps to describe a scene in a original way and it helps creating a real universe by using lively images so people can truly feel the atmosphere! I hope you have enjoyed this story and I hope it will intrigue you so you want to know more 😉 Please do not hesitate to leave me a comment: Did this text tickle your imagination and if that so why do you think the main character does not want to get up? I am curious to know because it is always interesting to hear about different ideas and then we can compare with what I had in mind when I wrote that piece… Come on, don’t be shy, I am sure it will be fun!

Enchanted Nantu Wama

I really enjoy walking in the parks around Adelaide: there is always something nice to discover! A couple of days ago as I was walking in the North Adelaide Nantu Wama park, I suddenly noticed a hut made of wood. I could not resist getting closer and visit this secret little place! I am always fascinated by children imagination and creativity. It was nicely built and there was a whole little world inside: a door, a window, a bench and even a pot with “food”!

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The magic cauldron

I must say it was a pleasant surprise and it reminded me of this artist I am crazy about at the moment. Her name is Johanna Basford and she became in a short time very popular with her colouring books for adults! You have probably heard about “Secret Garden” or “Enchanted Forest”… or maybe not?! Well they have been sold out in NO time and it is very difficult to find them in stores especially abroad (the artist is based in UK).

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Johanna Basford’s hut from “Secret Garden”

I must confess I have never heard about this artist when I was living in London! Actually I had to come here to Australia to discover her amazing work! One day, my Spanish teacher, Ana (from Colombia) offered me a postcard with a beautiful garden scene drawn by Johanna Basford and I really felt in love with the design! I like the poesy she puts in her drawings and all the tiny details that make all the difference. It makes me dream and I wish I could create a little universe full of wonderful creatures and splendid landscapes 😉

So have a look at Johanna Basford’s lovely books and maybe next time you are walking in your garden or in the forest, you will start to see the world differently! A simple hut made of wood would become a secret and poetic hideaway in the trees ❤

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Nantu Wama park’s secret hut!

 

An angel to watch over me

I was seven years old when my mother passed away. I don’t remember much about her but to me she was a loving woman who rarely raised her voice with anger at my sisters or myself. She was also an excellent cook and despite the little money we had, there was always a lovely smell in the kitchen. I remember her beautiful hair piled on her head and her long black skirt under which I would hide when an unannounced visitor would knock at the door of our home. Unfortunately, she died very young at the age of 32. I remember the day well, for it was the first time I’d been confronted with death. My sister woke me up early in the morning saying that mum had pushed on Heaven’s door, but I could not understand. I knew mum was sick. She had asthma and could not breathe properly ; she needed to rest and it was not easy to find a doctor in the countryside at that time. But I was just a kid and all I could wonder was how she managed to get up out of bed and open a door since she was so weak and where had she gone?! My sister brought me to Mum’s room to kiss her goodbye.   Lights had been covered and, despite the lilies, there was a strange smell floating in the air. Mum was lying still and cold on her bed, her hands folded on her chest. She was different and so pale. She looked like a wax doll with her long hair by her shoulders and her eyes closed. My sister whispered to me that Mum’s new home was in Heaven now and that her soul had been set free. Now she could overhear not only what we were saying but also what we were thinking, so we had to behave and make her proud so she would always love us.

From this moment, surprisingly I was not afraid! I knew mum would always look after me and eventually protect me because she was an angel now and her spirit would always be around. I could talk to her about my life, pray to her and ask for help if I needed it, which I did quite often. I guess this thought has empowered me and helped me to go through life, which has not always been easy but she has never let me down. I survived a devastating house fire without a single scratch, I was captured by the Germans during World War 2 and by some miracle I managed to escape. I have reached 96 years of age and have never been sick in my whole existence.

But today is the saddest day of my life and I need her more than ever to help me get through this painful time. I am praying to her to welcome my son, her grandson, whom I am mourning, into her home.

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This sad story is one of my assignments from creative writing class that I wanted to share with you. We were asked to look at old pictures we owned and to write a short story up to 500 words about loss from the perspective of a person we had chosen. The idea was that the loss had occurred when the person was a child and we had to tell what happened and how it had impacted our character’s life. We were also asked to write in the first person subject past tense as it was a recollection and many years had passed since the tragedy had occurred  We had to show what the child had learnt through this experience that stayed with him to adulthood. I must say it was a difficult exercise since generally I prefer to write about fun things and loss is not really my favorite genre. It was also a bit overwhelming for me since I decided to base my story on a true family life chapter. Actually I chose my grandfather who lost his mother when he was only a child and I became his voice for the duration of this assignment. On one hand it made me sad and a bit depressed to write about these past memories, I mean I can only imagine how hard it must have been painful for him. But in the other hand I am glad I could transcribe as a tribute stories I have  been  told a  couple of times by my grandfather. His mother, my grand-grandmother, was a beautiful woman who sadly died very young from asthma and I am grateful she is a caring and loving angel watching over my grandfather in sadness and happiness helping him to go though life giving him hope and bravery.

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My grandfather’s mother who died at 32

Red

She stopped the car at the red light. She looked briefly into the rearview mirror and she noticed her eyes were still red from crying.  The roses were lying next to her on the front seat. She was wondering who was sending the flowers; probably somebody who wanted to feel good about it! Each damn year on Valentine’s day it was the same old scenario: a beautiful deep red bouquet would be delivered to her work place without a card or a message. In a way it felt good that somebody cared about her, but at the same time it hurt so much because it also reminded her of the passion and love she once had, which had been tragically and irremediably taken away from her.

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class. Rather than starting to write from an idea, I was encouraged to start with a word that would act as a trigger for writing. The idea is to explore the sounds and meanings of words, to get new ideas and perspectives. I was asked to write only a paragraph (short story) using the trigger word: RED by sound or by meaning… it was up to me! I must say it was interesting because I never proceeded this way before… generally ideas or images drive my creativity! So it was interesting to start from a simple word as “red” and build a story around it! I am happy with the result because I managed to create a story in just 100 words! What I really enjoyed about this exercice is the fact that at the beginning I had no idea where my story would go… I just knew I would use “valentine’s day”, “roses”, “traffic light”, “passion” because they are deeply associated to the red colour but my story really took life under my pen with the words I was using one line at a time, growing like a deep velvet rose on the heart of my white page filling it with its warm colour! 

With or without you…

One of my first assignments in creative writing class was to write about an object without letting the readers know what the object is until the end of the story. I was also asked to add some dialogue to my text and to keep it up to 300 words. It was a challenging exercice but it was also very interesting. I had fun working on that piece and I thought it could be a nice idea to share my text with you… so try to guess what is my object before the end of my story 😉 and let me know what you thought about it!

With or without you…

His adjusted wide and round eyes were following me. His long and curved arms trying to surround me. I could perceive his soft cold touch on my face as he was bending over my ears.

‘Hey, look at me! Am I that transparent!?’ he whispered.

‘Leave me alone! I don’t like what I see; when I am looking in the mirror I don’t recognize myself anymore. You have turned me into something I don’t like! I don’t want you!’

‘Can’t you see beyond the end of your nose?! We are a perfect fit! Deep inside, you know you need me! I am making a huge difference… without me you are confused and lost and without you I am worth nothing!’

‘I don’t need you! To me you are just an accessory! Go back to your confined place with your black suit and fancy tattoos! I hate you!’

When I entered the cafe, I was so angry I nearly missed a step and bumped into a young man. The waitress asked me what I wanted to order. I spotted the board menu hanging… it could have been Chinese!

The waitress stared at me waiting for my answer… painfully, I realised that I had been lying to myself: I desperately needed it!

I reached the unloved black pair of glasses in my crumpled bag so I could see now: cascade of words, cakes appearing on the counter, intensity of colours, faces around me and the expression of surprise in my fiance’s eyes! He had been standing here, witnessing the whole scene and I had not noticed! Only he could see through me!

He said, ‘Even with your glasses on, I think you still look pretty!’

Fifty shades of Grey book critique

Fifty shades of grey E.L. James 2011 528 p. 100 million sale

Erotic romance novel written by British author E.L. James. The story traces the unconventional relationship between the naive college graduate, Anastasia Steele and the mysterious business magnate, Christian Grey.

The reader becomes the voyeur of this singular initiatory journey featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism. The author uses this taboo universe to explore basic themes such as: How far would you go for love, can love change someone, opposites’ attract.

E.L. James is placing her characters in uncomfortable situations: struggling with their emotions, fighting and finally compromising. The interest of the story lies on the conflict of sentiments between the two central characters. Besides all of their differences and deviances, they share a universal feeling: LOVE. That feeling cements their relationship and helps them to grow together and to explore new shades of their physical and emotional boundaries as the story progresses.

It could be a tale of love that triumphs over the odds. Unfortunately the characters are not believable and dialogues are dull. The author’s style is colourless and the plot is blindingly obvious.

Fifty shades of grey, despite all the leather and spanking, is pretty harmless!

 

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class. I was asked to write a book critique in 200 words. I have picked “50 shades of Grey” first because I read it not so long ago (so I remember it quite well) and also because this assignment was scheduled in February at the exact time when the “steamy” film inspired from this book was released and everybody was talking about it for Valentine’s day… so I thought it could be interesting and fun to write my critique about it!