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The Art of Lifelines

The Art of Lifelines

theroux quote - the art of lifelines

Everyone knows them: a friend or family member who cannot stop talking about this singer or that painting or whichever books. They sing praise and gush over its details to no end, while you gaze at them in bewilderment and wonder which of their screws came loose.

That, my friends, is the effect of art.

“But my sister is a Justin Bieber fan. That’s not art!”

Well, that depends on how you define ‘art’.

By Definition

Before anything else, art is subjective. Countless discussions notwithstanding, it’s simply not possible to give a viable objective definition of concept. Even the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary leaves rooms for interpretation:

“The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Yet many will concur that the likes of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon or David Bowie are great artists, and not just because they are (long) dead. We enjoy watching our favourite actors perform on screen or on stage, or reading a book by our favourite author. These may not be tangible visual forms of art, as the Oxford Dictionary suggests, but they are art all the same.

So the heart of the matter must lie in the “beauty and emotional power”. A subjective matter if ever there was one!

Or is it?

On a summer night in a London street, someone showed me the common denominator that defines art. Empiric as I am, I put that factor to the test. With remarkable results.

The Boy Under The Bed

The Boy Under The Bed

boy under the bed

The first time I saw him was at 2 o’clock one morning.

My husband was already asleep when I sneaked into the bedroom. Unlike me, he works office hours, so I changed into my nightshirt without turning on a light. In the darkness, my fingertips searched the blankets for the hem of the sheet. As I do, something brushed my ankle.

Startled, I lifted my foot to nudge the blankets back. Only the blankets were hanging no further down than my calves. A prank? At the time my young son was lithe and mischievous enough to wriggle himself under our bed, but if it were him, he would have been giggling by now. No giggles. Not a sound except my husband’s snores, and he wasn’t within arm’s reach either.

Then what did I just feel?

I focused on scanning the room with my mind rather than my eyes. This wouldn’t be the first time we had unexpected visitors. For the most part we hardly notice them, but on occasion they do seek attention. My attention, usually. For various reasons.

My hunch was correct: there was something under the bed…

 

5 Signs Your House is Haunted

5 Signs Your House is Haunted

Haunted house

Hollywood and horror stories have graciously spoiled our conception of hauntings.

Unless at least one wall drips blood, most people will not believe that strange occurrences can be a real haunting by a real ghost. Ghost fans who decide to stay at a haunted hotel are disappointed if they do not see at least one clearly defined apparition. After all, anything less could simply be explained away, couldn’t it?

And there is the catch when it comes to your house…

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Blog Resolutions With Impact

Blog Resolutions With Impact

As the darkest day of the year draws near, it is time to focus. Why wait until the New Year, when there is no time like the present to take stock and make changes?

I will be frank and admit that 2016 has been a terribly chaotic year. Not a bad year – quite the contrary – but it has been difficult to make heads or tails of anything, never mind get anything constructive done. As a result, my website and my writing have been all over the place in an attempt to keep up.

That is about to change.

resolutions blog

Blog updates

All outdated and off-topic posts have been removed. In future articles, I will stick to the subjects closest to my heart:

  • ghosts, ghouls, and things that go bump inside our mind;
  • ancient places and forgotten history;
  • the craft of storytelling;
  • my stories, books and other publications.

On my “About” page, you will find a few links to show you around the website’s highlights.

My email letters to Café Members will pick up again, too, but from now on, off-topic outbursts and spontaneous shares will remain confined to my Facebook and Twitter – along with links to my blogposts, of course!

More to come soon. Until then, have a wonderful holiday season!

Love,

Blog resolutions

Three Magic Words To Dissolve Lethargy

Three Magic Words To Dissolve Lethargy

Once a month I permit myself to discuss the challenges of being a (self-published) author. In this month’s post:

Three Magic Words To Dissolve Lethargy

Do you ever struggle to gather the energy and momentum to actually get something done?

defeat lethargy, gain momentum

I’m quite certain you do, because it’s a very common problem.  It is what makes us break away from a routine after we have been forced to interrupt it. Just imagine skipping your regular workout a few times – or any other good habit, for that matter. For some, even a night’s sleep is an interruption of life’s routine that makes getting out of bed in the morning nearly impossible.

This effect causes what I call the Blank Page Syndrome. And as it turns out, there is a terrifically easy way to solve it!

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“After the Happily Ever After” – Anthology

“After the Happily Ever After” – Anthology

Newly Published

Hot off the press! A nice new publication is coming up, because Transmundane’s latest short story anthology includes my short story The Thin Blue Breadcrumb Trail! 

After Happily Ever After - FB Optimized

After The Happily Ever After

The curtain doesn’t fall once love is recognized or evil is vanquished. Wicked stepsisters, malevolent rulers, and hideous creatures still have lives after their sinister roles play out; heroes, lovers, and dreamers often find their victories lead to more troubles.

Within these pages are more than seventy continuations, retellings, and eldritch stories that explore the dark forests, magical castles, and grotesque monsters After the Happily Ever After.

Transmundanepress.com

Update: The book is now available on Amazon.

2 Indispensable Writing Instruments

2 Indispensable Writing Instruments

Once a month I permit myself to discuss the challenges of being a (self-published) author. In this month’s post:

Two Indispensable Writing Instruments

I’m terribly ashamed that the first few words I have typed in the past two months. What in blazes? I write creepy stories, but had to skip posting on Halloween? How on Earth did that happen?

Simple: as I type this, my hands are pulsating continuous warning signs. Have for weeks. Going on to long means they will seize up.

dead hands

This strike is caused by a rather classic case of repetitive strain injury. Where I live, RSI is interpreted as either you’ve sat behind a computer too much, or you play tennis. But apparently packing and hauling 100+ boxes, most of them filled with books, isn’t beneficial to your hands either.

Pianists work keyboards, too. They’re taught to take care of their hands. So why not writers?

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Readers’ Question: Writer’s Block

Readers’ Question: Writer’s Block

writers block
Photo by Shira Gal [cropped] – Source: Creative Commons

“Being a writer, you have surely stumbled across a writer’s block. How did you overcome that?”

The garden variety of writer’s block is what I call the Blank Page Syndrome: a persistent kind of fear of failure that gets in the way of writing. I don’t always manage to beat it every day, but when I do, it’s a matter of “close your eyes and jump”.

Real writer’s block is uglier.

Some people claim it doesn’t exist, because “plumbers don’t get plumber’s block either”. True, but plumbers don’t rely on a volatile chemical-electrical tool that can short out on you, without a warning and for an undetermined time. Writers do. It’s called “our brain”.

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To Horror or Not To Horror?

To Horror or Not To Horror?

Once a month I permit myself to discuss the challenges of being a (self-published) author. In this month’s post:

To horror or not to horror?

So, I’m a horror writer.

The ‘horror’ adjective implies fear dripping off the pages and you dreading to read another sentence. But when did I last feel such a fright while reading? I can recall a few times, but those stories were not classified as horror.

Books that scare me are few and far between. Stephen King? His books tend to bore me to tears. Edgar Allen Poe? Interesting, but not frightening. And they are considered the founding fathers and masters of the genre.

Oops.

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Memento Mori Photographs

Memento Mori Photographs

memento mori photographs

Taken from life: The unsettling art of death photography

This is a very interesting article in BBC News about the 19th century tradition of having (family) photographs taken of deceased loved ones. While macabre, it is also touching.  Today’s society shuns death, but when this was popular, death – especially the death of children – was exceedingly common.

We would do well to remember that time, and remember that we all must die: memento mori.