Wednesday, November 7

Wait & See

When I got up this morning, at the urging of Leo, I opened the curtains to view the day. The world outside the kitchen window was rainwashed & fresh looking.

As I opened the lounge curtains, & looked East, this is what I saw. Just as the sun was rising. To me it looks rather like a painting... perhaps one of those old religious gloom & doom skies?? If I was to try to paint it, I would take out the ugly ever-present blasted telephone/power poles! Hideous! But of course the services they bring are so necessary. When we lived down in Sydney, we lived in a suburb with underground wiring- so much more attractive, not to have to see the poles, marring the scenery. Those black clouds rolled on by, & the clear patches took over. But then the black won, & we had more rain. Then more rain! Great gushing swatches of rain! Finally around 2pm, a veritable cloudburst!

A visiting friend got soaked in 3 seconds. After 5 minutes the rain had once more stopped, & the sky lightened, & it became steamy, as we ventured out for luxuries like potatoes, bread & dog food.

This is a photo of another of Mrs Nice Neighbour's lovely little gardens. She creates the most lovely enticing little scenes, & uses succulents which are very hardy & take little maintenance. I am always amazed to see her eye for balance & detail. I hope there are Fairies in this world. I am sure this is where they live, should they exist!!
This next pic is a photo Mrs N N took of another neighbour's new plant he has been nurturing. He is a very generous man, who is a Horticulturist, & is in fact, the lovely neighbour who gave us our beautiful cream Clivea. (Which incidentally can be spelt either Clivea, or Clivia. They are native to South Africa, & were name after a Lady Clive.)
I dont know what this flower is, I had it pegged for a Warratah, which is the New South Wales State flower, but on looking at it again, I rather think it is something else, perhaps in the Protea family? I am sure someone out there- Alice?- can set me straight.

Whatever it is, it is a very interesting plant & flower. I really should pay a visit to enquire as to what it is, seeing I have taken the liberty of posting a picture of it on here.
I had fully intended to spend today sewing. Best laid plans & all that! Famous last words...all those cliches. Which do tend to often cancel each other out, haha.
I have been spending time in the Blogi/o/a/e/usphere,(please insert vowel of choice!) laughing & reading & learning.
At Anna's of Thimbleanna, I found a slightly teasing post directed to Kim, & there were wonderful recipes!This site has detailed pictures & truly delish sounding recipes! It is the Pioneer Woman Cooks, & this recipe in this link, is to die for!
It is ok Kim, if you are reading this , I dont think this would frighten you!! I have not tried it yet, but I sure do love olives.

See what I mean by Wait & See?? I never know where these posts are going to lead me.

Which does lead me to a question, or something I have been debating with myself.

I keep getting suggestions along the lines of writing a book. I must confess the idea does appeal. I always used to joke, when living in Hotels, & enduring "Life's Free Treats" or perhaps "Life's Frightening Tricks" , that one day I would 'write a book about all this'.

I have many stories of, shall we say, slightly saltier, spicier, characters, & events which I hesitate to include here, for the sake of 'public non-offense'. Should I decide to write a book, I would feel I could include some of these more 'bawdy', or 'indelicate', or even sad, or dispossessed, characters.

I will have to think about it all some more. Plus there is the fact, that I would not know, how to go about approaching someone- who?? - to get a MS even considered??

Any tips,? suggestions? Clues?

Or you could be brutally honest, & tell me why it could never work?!

Fleetwood Mac, Albatross, for Mary.


bluemountainsmary said...

Meggie - if the music is for me I will gladly take it - very very chilled and very very good for me.

I can't help with publishing tips - but I wonder if it is worth just starting anyway. And perhaps googling about the discipline of writing - which I think you must have anyway from blogging. Hemmingway for example was a very disciplined writer. Writing something everyday, whatever it might be and then revising and polishing.

And looking at your old posts and revising and polishing those to your satisfaction.

meggie said...

Mary, it was for my departed mother Mary... but you are welcome it it fits. My mother Mary, loved that music, & we played that for her fairwell.

Hmm thanks for the tips, I have no idea. "Babe in the woods" so to say. Or... "Old fart out alone"!!

bluemountainsmary said...

Er - a bit embarrassed now!!

The ego of it!!

I have no idea either but am sure you will be visited by far more knowledgeable

and less egotistical commentors than me!!

Ali Honey said...

I like Mrs N.N's planter. The little house looks like it might have a hobbit living in it.

You were right it is a Protea (a King or Queen Protea )

You could easily write a book ....or just print out your blog for starters.

Lucy said...

Fabulous sky, very Cecil B. de Mille!
I find I'm quite drawn to cacti and succulents these days, you don't so much grow them as keep them really, do you? That little garden is adorable.

Lucy said...

BTW Meggie, about books; there's Lulu for self-publishing, you can produce books with an ISBN, which means they can be sold on the open market, via Amazon etc, or without. You need to pre-order I think so need some idea in advance of how many you'll need. I get the impression the software needed is a bit of an issue, so it's not the most straightforward option, but you do get a real book at the end.
The other possibility for a DIY book is Booksmart. You just need to open an account and download their software - it's free-, which gives loads of options for layout etc, or you can even just 'slurp' your blog and make a book of it, or a selection from it. The drawback with taking it straight off the blog is the picture quality and layout options are very limited, but your blog is more text-based so that might be OK...
The Booksmart books are 'blooks', that is they look like books, but strictly aren't because they have no ISBN and can't be sold elsewhere. However, you can publish them at Booksmart, and anyone can then order a copy directly from there, so any of your readers here can just go and order their own copy.
Or look for a publisher, but to self-publish like this might be a good start.
I've been looking into it for the 'Compasses/ Handbook for Explorers', I haven't got very far with it yet, but don't mention it over at Box Elder or Compasses because as and when I do it I'd like it to be a surprise fro Joe!
Just google Lulu or Booksmart to find out more.
And don't worry about not telling the 'broader' stories on my account!

joyce said...

I'd say go for it. But I have no idea where you'd start. Good luck if you decide to do it.

anne bebbington said...

Meggie - I love your blog - you nearly always make me smile, often make me laugh and always make me think - a book would be great. An american friend of ours published a book through Lulu and I think the experience wasn't painful - it was his journal following the birth and ensuing battle for life of his very prem daughter. The book is wonderful and an inspiration

Mike said...

I wish it would rain here. Instead, it is threatening to snow.

Look into self-publishing. You don't need to worry about getting a manuscript "approved." You just write it, find your own printing company to design and print and store it for you and then you just go sell it. You might not sell as many copies without the support of a big publisher, but you will get to keep more of the profits from those books you do sell.

You could use your blog to promote it.

Thimbleanna said...

I know nothing of book publishing, so I'll move on to tell you what a beautiful picture that first one is! (Hey, a pic for your book!) Did you see angels flying among the clouds? ;-) And poor, poor, Kim. I just abuse her terribly over her dislike of mashed potatoes. She's such a wonderful sport!

Melinda said...

I think some people do suggest shopping your manuscript to an agent first. They have wonderful ideas about what it takes to get published. I would read your book, just based on what you write here, and love it! I'm in love with Mrs. N N's planter. Gardening is such a vibrant art form.

riseoutofme said...

Go for it Meggie!

But I do hope it doesn't take you away from Life's Free Treats ....

Tanya Brown said...

Oh, dear; I hope I don't harangue you into having a headache.

You have a great gift for depicting characters and events. I think (and this is easy for me to say, since I'm not you) a good place to start would be writing a chapter or two and seeing where it goes and how it feels. That is, think about the book first and put the selling and publishing of it on the back burner for a bit. There are doubtless those who would disagree with me, but I think most unpublished authors will have an easier time getting a publisher's attention if there's an actual manuscript as opposed to an idea.

While you're writing, or perhaps if you're out in bookstores and the like, keep your eye out for books which might be similar in nature to yours, such as humorous or striking memoirs. When you see a book, note down its publisher, author and title and stash them away in a file folder: these are publishers who may be interested in your book. Down the road you may wish to put together what are called "query letters" to ask publishers if they're interested in your book, and the names you've already collected will be a good place to start. As for writing the query letters themselves or approaching publishers, there are guides written on the subject; the reference librarian at your local library may be able to help you find some. If not, there are many titles on Amazon et cetera.

I notice several people have mentioned self-publishing. That is certainly one way to go. I have been through both the self-publishing and part of the publishing route with a client. There are doubtless more options these days, but at that time she had to bear the entire cost of book design, photography, illustration, printing and distributing her self-published book, plus handle 100% of everything else. It's true, she got to keep 100% of her profits. Unfortunately, getting to the break-even point was pretty painful.

It's true that if one self-publishes, one doesn't have to go through the hassle of finding a publisher and getting one's manuscript approved. Self-publishing can also be a good option for those who are writing about subjects which are so obscure that they'll have very limited audiences. (Which wouldn't be the case with your book.) Unfortunately, self-published books often suffer from poor editing and amateurish layouts. (This doesn't have to be the case, but it often is.) It's also true that no matter which way you go, if you want your book to sell, you're probably going to have to get at least somewhat involved in marketing it.

So ... it all depends upon what you want and what your goals are. Some of that may not be clear just yet, but I'll bet by the time you get a few chapters written it will be. 8>)

Emma said...

Memoir writing is pretty popular at the moment. In fact, the Queensland Writer's Centre is holding a "Year of the Memoir" series of seminars next year. There are some great books about writing out there. "Bird By Bird", by Anne Lamott, is a favourite of mine. The key is discipline, sitting down and writing every day. Once you have a first draft, put it aside for a couple of weeks or months even, then go back and revise what you've written. It's easier to spot issues if you've distanced yourself from the manuscript a little. Then get a couple of trusted readers (the sort who will give constructive criticism) and get them to have a look for any problems. They don't have to be grammar experts, or editors, just be able to tell you whether they lost interest or didn't enjoy and why. Then maybe it's time to start looking for agents and publishers. Good luck!

ancient one said...

I love Nice Neighbor's garden in the dish. I love the picture you took ...telephone poles and all. And I do really love to read your blog. I was asked to do a "writer meme" and I told the person who nominated me that I sure don't consider myself a writer... but I do think you ARE a WRITER... your stories always interest me... yeah, you could do a book!!

Stomper Girl said...

If it's your wish to do it then yoou should, for sure! But I'm guessing it would seriously interfere with your blogging-time!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Isn't a waratah also a Protea? I don't know much about plants.

meggie said...

Hi All, thank you so much for all your useful tips! I had no idea about the self published books really, but imagine they would be costly to produce.
I can keep dreaming. I did think to write in a slightly more disciplined style for a book, & already feel quite comfortable working for a few hours every day-- to the detriment of my sewing life!
I would think it fun, if I found people who enjoyed my 'book'.
As to the having to get out to 'sell it'... well that doesnt sound much like me.

I have been told the flower is definitely a Protea, & yes, LGS, the Warratah is from the same family, - is that genus?

Mrs N.N. is thrilled that you like her garden. She had forgotten she had sent me the pic, so she was surprised to see it a hit!

Marja said...

Meggie you are are great storyteller. You are already a writer. The only difference is that's not in a book. Up you go.
And all these pretty garden thingies I love it.

Kris said...

That sky - it is out of a painting. It's very much like any number of Turner's paintings. He was famous for his light and his skies. You're lucky you don't h ave to go to a gallery to see that.

Ragged Roses said...

Hello! Yes I am reading this and the last thing I expected to see was a mention of me and Anna's long running tease about my dislike of mash potato! It goes back to dreaded school dinners and grey lumpy mash - as I said to Anna as far as mash is concerned I'm a no-hoper, cream cheese or not!!!
Kim x
Ps Love your sky photo, it does look like one of those religious paintings. I also think that the fairies should be living in Mrs Nice Neighbour's garden too!
I'm off now to think of something to tease Thimbleanna about.

Bren said...

DEFINITLY write a book! You could write several and should. Publishing would hardly be a problem I am sure.
I love the sky photo...I don't see the doom and gloom but the clearing shining through the dark clouds. It is beautiful.
I tried to e-mail but it was sent back undeliverable for some reason...I did feel very wonder woman-y after my shopping trip ;)

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Melbourne,

Love that first shot! As a photographer, I always reckon clouds add great value to any image.

Molly said...

Meggie! What a coincidence....I was just yesterday reading about a woman who published her memoirs/family history through a university press. The attraction for them was its historical value.......
Love Mrs. NN's dish gardens and your cloud studies....

Josie said...

Meggie, I love the photograph of the sky, and you know, a painter would keep the power pole in, because it actually adds some energy to the picture. Painters often add something like that where it didn't exist before, for that reason. If you look at the painting again, without the pole, it loses something. The pole sort of connects the earth to the sky in a subliminal way.

I like the picture. I might even try to paint it. If it turns out, I'll let you see it. :-)

It's a gorgeous photograph, by the way. You have a good eye.

fifi said...

hi meggie! how are you?

i think the manuscript needs to be written, and then some professional editorialism. I think the university
idea is good: you can get together with other writers..

Lee said...

I'm jealous about the rainwashing.

Love the sunrise.