Leaving The Page Blank*

I have developed a bad habit, over the years, of putting things off, or worse, not finishing them. Not necessarily out of laziness, but out of the idea that ‘One Day’ I’ll magically get a brainwave and do what I’ve been meaning to do. Until then I’ll leave the page blank, or leave the ending of the story unfinished.

Let me explain what I mean.

An example: whenever I get a new sketch book, a new note-book, even a new diary, I’ve always left the first page blank. I have this idea that I’ll be randomly struck by inspiration and be able to use that front page to design a beautiful front cover or write a something amazing and funny (because of course you need a spectacular front page. As a kid, most of my diaries said Keep Out So-and-So in bedazzled glitter). So I have in my possession a few sketch books that I use now and then, with the front page blank because I’m waiting for that unspecific, magical point in the future that I’ll be practiced enough in my skills enough to draw something amazing that I’m happy with. So that the first thing people see if they flip through is that page. Most of my diaries in the past (I say past because in the age of laptops and social media, I no longer keep a diary, I think the last time I wrote in one was about 7 or 8 years ago) have had the front cover black so I can stick something pretty there or draw random doodles or even just my name on the front.

I’m also a really fussy artist and writer. I’m not necessarily great what I do, but I revise what I write A LOT, and I often correct drawings because they don’t ‘feel’ right – I’m sure you can guess that I am my own worst critic and I hate everything I create. This has applied to a few other things in my life, and it has taken me time to realise that it is not down to talent, circumstance, or even things like time or taste – but purely down to mentality and approach. So sometimes I have put off things in my life, thinking I can do them later – learn to drive, save money to travel, take that class I wanted to take, invest in that exercise programme.

Which brings me to the whole point of my post – I’ve come to a realisation over the years that there is never a right moment to fill in that blank page. No epiphany moment of ‘ah-ha!’ which inspires me to write a beautiful story or draw an amazing piece of art – for me it will always involve a little patience, hard work and practise, and a positive attitude. I have often put off doing something or not done something at all because I thought I was terrible – hundreds of discarded storylines which I never followed through because they didn’t sound good when I wrote it, artwork I didn’t complete and even mini projects that I stopped mid-way. Partly due to laziness, but a lot of do with the fact that it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not this much of a perfectionist in every aspect of my life – I don’t cook a meal then throw it away if it doesn’t look great (if anything I follow a philosophy which prioritises taste over aesthetics, who cares what a dish looks like as long as it tastes good?). Neither do I fall into a mire of depression because a something didn’t go the way I wanted, or because my planned day out/make-up/role at work didn’t go the way it wanted. I think perhaps because writing and drawing is such a personal thing to me which I don’t share with many people, I tend to get a lot more fussy, a lot more self-conscious and easily put-off.

I’m learning though. I try not to let these things get to me. I have always said to my husband that it’s no use waiting for that magical moment where everything will be okay – next week, next month, next year. It will never happen that way. Change your approach, be positive and your can-do attitude will do wonders. Sometimes it’s sensible to know when to give up and not waste your time, and other times it’s important to persevere and keep at it.

I’ll add a few hashtags to sum this post up, because lets face it, who doesn’t love a good hashtag: #existentialproblems #firstworldproblems #stopbeinglazy

Just a few things I started and then gave up mid-way:

  1. Embroidery
  2. Learning to apply eyeshadow
  3. Writing a ‘How-to’ about Instagram blogging
  4. Planning several tea parties
  5. Restoring some vintage shoes I bought
  6. Jogging in the park (that lasted a week)
  7. Drawing my own adult colouring book
  8. Batman: Arkham Asylum the game (I kept dying, my husband still keeps telling me to finish the game)
  9. A trip to document every underground train station and its art
  10. A mission to try every restaurant in London (back in my skinny days!)

There’s more, but I’m sure you get the gist!

*I even put off this post as well. It actually had a different title and was a little different in content until I re-read and re-wrote :/

Unexpected Elephants and Moustache’d Inspectors

On the day that he was due to retire, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovered that he had inherited an elephant.

And thus starts a novel which takes Inspector Chopra on a journey which no one could have expected at all. Full of murder, conspiracy, domestic dramas in the complex they live in and a cute little elephant, this novel has it all. This novel was recommended to me by a friend who thought I would like it, and I’m glad she did – it reminded me of a lot of things in different way which made me enjoy the story all the more. There’s scenes of the manly hero, Inspector Chopra chasing the ‘baddies’ through meandering roads and hiding in warehouses a la Bollywood style (albeit the 60s and 70s action movies kind). There’s conspiracies, corruption and secrets, with the weak poor classes against the corrupt rich. And at the heart of it all is the focus of traditional values and the importance of honesty.

The story also reminds me a little of another detective series, Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, which has the similarities of infusion of local culture, wonderfully drawn characters and quirky, gentle humour. The story follows the retirement of Inspector Chopra in the richly-described Mumbai, following two mysterious cases; firstly the inheritance of a baby elephant left to him by a loved uncle for reasons unknown, and secondly the drowning of a young man whose death is suspicious, yet keeps being brushed under the carpet. With this, Inspector Chopra’s retirement suddenly feels too peaceful and boring, and the hero is led to investigate on his own, leading him to more serious issues like the corruption of the upper-classes, the activism of lower classes for more rights, into the dark Underworld and slums.

The story is quirky and whimsical enough that there are a few sweet, silly lines which keep the story entertaining, although there are also more serious issues which are given their space, which balance the story well. This isn’t a serious, thriller-type crime novel, but it is a story which draws you into the busy, colourful world of Mumbai and see it through the eyes of a native. This is something which feels a little more old-fashioned, quietly showing us the story yet charming, the characters are very likeable, such as the sub-plot of the Inspector’s marriage with his feisty wife Poppy (and her mother!), and the impact of the baby elephant on all of their lives.

I really enjoyed this novel, if only because I loved the story is brought together, the two mysteries running alongside each other, with the colourful voice of Mumbai, street-life and the gentle humour which gives this story the whimsical touch. There are some who have said that this story isn’t credible, or even very original, but I think that it’s hard to depict the characters and city-life of India the way this story has, and it has been quite well done. I’m already looking forward to the next in the series on my book reader, and I’ll wait to see if the baby elephant is still in the next novel!

Lazy Sundays

I’ve had a pretty busy week this week, so I’m finally settled in this Sunday and multi-tasking with some yummy home-made chocolate cake, blogging catch-up and getting on with that (digital) stack of books I’ve been waiting to read.

I’m hoping to do a few book reviews for this week, so watch this space! In the meantime, here’s my view today : )

Happy weekendings, all x

Weekend Reads…The Good Liar

I went on a e-book downloading spree a few days ago, and have been spending my free time trying to catch up on that long list of books waiting to be read! I’ve noticed that a few of the books I’ve read or reviewed recently have not been new one, so I’m aiming to review books that have released in 2017.

I’m still catching up, so bear with me – this is an interesting book about a con-man who may or may not get his comeuppance – I’ve only just started it but it looks promising!

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Weekly Tiny Sweaters Links

That time of the week again! Here’s a few links to keep you going through Monday…!

Some beautiful rocks. Beats the crappy pebbles in my garden (and probably cost a lot more!)

Thought this was interesting – what do your doodles say about you? I think I’m definitely the messy multi-tasker!

Tiny animals in tiny sweaters for your daily ‘awwwwww!’ It’s enough to make me consider taking up knitting.

We all know that Bill Murray has a habit of wandering into parties. weddings, random tours and even weddings to make a brief appearance (and telling guest ‘they’ll never believe you”) – his latest audience was at the White House! Have a look at some of his random comments here.

So these are new – ice cream rolls. It’s too cold for ice cream in London now though, I’ll stick to sweater rolls and hot chocolate.

So this is an artist I’ve been following for a little while, and I LOVE her work – the Pakistani Martha Stewart; a mix of Bollywood, Pakistani idioms, satire and outright humour!

Candles which have smells inspired by books – how can you not love that?

If you were a 90s child like me then this is heaven – watch your Nickolodeon favourites from the 90s here!

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Weekly Dali-Disney Links

Time for the weekly links!

So these look cool – trainers which can let you upload any digital design on the surface, so you can change them to match your outfit! ShiftWear sneakers – there’s debate about whether these are a scam or not, but it’s cool idea! You can see a demo here as well.

The famous Salvador Dali and Disney made a short movie together – and it’s available to watch more than 50 years after it was made! You can watch it on Youtube now – it’s got the signature Dali style to it, very surreal and dreamy, but I kind of loved it.

Buildings designed to look like other things – some of these are bonkers.

Smart-ass vandalism, gotta love some of these.

I thought these were brilliants – a gif of 11 actors and their most iconic film roles summed up.

Harry Potter – re-done by Pencilmation! The entire movie done in two minutes in a pencil, cartoon style. Check out their other movies too (I love the Ghostbusters one!)

I thought this was interesting – a photo series by artist Baljit Singh to highlight the mentality of dowry in Asian culture, and how this can affect a girl’s life from a young age.

Cat heads placed on owl bodies – it’s weird how well some of these fit.

Gemma Correll’s guide to the mundane, everyday worries of life.

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Friyay!

It’s that time of the week – time to snuggle up with a good book or three, a big bar of chocolate and get the TV remote ready for that late-night comedy film. I haven’t been making much time for myself recent to relax and read books – probably because London’s recent and sudden heatwave has been making us lazy and not in the mood for much except ice-lollies and cold drinks. I’m promising myself some book-time this weekend though, not least because I want to review them, so watch this space!

friyay

Weekly Rainbow Pizza Links

I’ve been reading a lot murder mysteries lately, so I’m in a mood for something silly today – weekly links time!

I’m loving these beautiful funkadelic rainbow lightbulbs which throw patterns on the wall – probably not the best light for when you’re trying to cook in the kitchen, but hey, it’s so pretty!

Unmasked superheroes – some of these are not what you’d expect!

History’s most powerful and poignant letters and diary entries – prepare to feel moved.

So this is 6,000 matches being lit at the same time which is weirdly satisfying to watch.

So this is a receipt for rainbow pizza. Eat it at your own risk.

Me and social media.

A little dose of Disney – Disney characters in the real world. I quite like the idea of little mice from Cinderella running around, although it’s probably not a safe scenario there! More from the creator, here.

A review of every James Bond movie by animated spy agent Archer. Don’t expect much from this guy.

Some of these are beautiful – photos merged with fantasy for some very cool pictures. Something to try at home, perhaps.

And now, a rap.

Weekly Beautiful Libraries Links

I’ve been looking for books to read, but have ended up finding silly links and games to play – so far I’ve played 5 rounds of Battleship on my mobile and only won twice. Here’s some links while I play again.

If 2016’s Oscar-nominated movie posters told the truth – let’s see which one of them wins tonight!

When Frozen meets Star Wars. A mashup by artist Katarzyna Witerscheim.

And while you’re at it, here’s some hijabi-fied Disney Princesses.

A magnetic collage – a short story with GIFs.

Thought this was good – a piece of fiction on an alien’s take of human behaviour.

This is one for Londoners – cute and quirky cafe shops around London to visit for something a little different.

This white chocolate sphere dessert. Surprisingly not that difficult to make!

An interesting article on China and it’s women-only mosques – part of BBC’s documentaries about China.

I’m a real library freak, and I always look for pretty bookshops and libraries whenever I travel abroad. A list of beautiful libraries around the world to add to my bucket list.

5 second films – enjoyment and wasting less of your time. Or more of your time depending on how many of these you end up watching.