Monday, 31 December 2012

Slow but steady wins the race

Perhaps my daemon for 2013 should be a tortoise instead of a hare?

I am very hare-like in an Aesop sort of a way. Bursts of manic energy followed by slumps of inactivity - then more bursts of energy and other slumps.

I get stuff done but probably not in the best way for my well-being because I'm either going full-speed ahead or backwards.

Over these last few days what with the holidays, the appalling weather and my stupid earache, I've very much slowed down.

It feels good.

Yes, full of good resolutions for the New Year, I am.

Ask me again when I get an urgent deadline from a client...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

“Winter is the time for comfort..."

" for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

Edith Sitwell by Roger Fry
Of course, the one day I decide not to ride, the sun's out!

I have enjoyed the rotten weather though, because it's meant that I could lie on the settee with impunity in the afternoons. (Impunity is such a good settee companion, nearly as snuggly as Roly the yellow labrador) and read and read and read...

So far in three days I've read Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (Jeanette Winterson) and My Animals and Other Family (Clare Balding) and am winging my way through Mal Peet's Life: An Exploded Diagram which is wonderful. (It shouldn't amaze me, but it does, that novels described as Young Adult are very often THE BEST)

I think I'm going to have to lie on the settee without impunity this afternoon to read some more!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The more you earn, the less you keep,

And now I lay me down to sleep. 
I pray the Lord my soul to take, 
If the tax-collector hasn't got it before I wake.

Love you, Ogden Nash. Well, not so much you as your wit. (I'll draw a veil over your ability to scan.)

Yes, I just completed my tax returns. In a really grown up way, using the services of an accountant. This is not because I earn so much I need an accountant to add up all my towering stacks of bright shiny pennies, but because I thought it would make my life easier.

It did not.

The thing is, the accountant, bless him, and it is, after all, his job, required evidence and receipts for EVERYTHING where I have been used to approximating and estimating and hoping for the best.

It was a serious wake up call.

I simply couldn't provide a lot of what he asked for. I am now waiting for thirty lashes via email which can be quite painful in black and white.

Next year, year...

Things will probably be just the same.

Friday, 28 December 2012

“The richness of the rain made me feel safe and protected."

"I have always considered the rain to be healing -- a blanket -- the comfort of a friend. Without at least some rain in any given day, or at least a cloud or two on the horizon, I feel overwhelmed by the information of sunlight and yearn for the vital, muffling gift of falling water.”

The quotation from Douglas Coupland, author of  Life After God

I was looking for a positive interpretation for the current weather conditions and I believe I found one!

You know me, optimistic, a morning person, leaps out of bed every day at 6.30 or thereabouts to go to see to the horses. But at the moment it's HARD. It's dark at that hour - so dark I can't see the numbers on the padlock to unlock it so have to squeeze round the side of the gate. And it's cold and it's windy and it always seems to be raining.

So thank you, Douglas Coupland, for giving me something different to think about.

And thank you horses, always pleased to see me, waiting by the field gate, calling a greeting, no matter how drenched they are after a long night in the field.

There's no better way to start the day - even in the rain.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin' at all.

Always did love Thumper.

I'm not bad at that - saying nothing when I can't think of something nice to say.


That principle should surely apply when you’re talking to yourself, even inside your head?

I don't know if it's the British in me but somehow self-love seems so arrogant...

Yesterday, I read the whole of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? and Jeanette Winterson explained the dichotomy better than I ever could - so here it is:

" I try to understand how life works - and why some people cope better than others with adversity - I come back to something to do with saying yes to life, which is love of life, however inadequate, and love for the self, however found. Not in the me-first way that is the opposite of life and love, but with a salmon-like determination to swim upstream, however choppy upstream is, because this is your stream..."

Yeah, Jeanette!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

They know me so well family.

What perfect presents I received for Christmas! Too many to mention - lucky me, but here are the highlights (in no particular order)

A 'Grow Your Own Anfield Pitch' from Jamie and Breanna, for Mum, the Liverpool supporter from childhood, with three sons and a husband who are not the slightest bit interested in football!

Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II from Tim - for Mum the meal-preparer who idolises Nigel Slater and his food philosophy and covets his kitchen. (This book is FAR too beautiful to risk greasy fingerprints and getting splattered with food!)

A Little Miss Sunshine Wallet from Laurie and Irene, for Mum, who DOES try to spread sunshine and this made me smile until my cheeks ached.

 A beautiful hare print from David and Gilly, for me whose daemon is a hare.

This autobiography from Pete, for me, the writer who adores Jeanette Winterson and finds daily inspiration from her way of being.

And, of course, lots of horsey presents for me the horse-rider...

I feel so blessed and cherished and understood. So much THOUGHT went into these gifts.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

“I know what I really want for Christmas."

"I want my childhood back. Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try."

"I know it doesn't make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded and terribly vulnerable to joy.”

Robert Fulghum


Caroline Coxon

Monday, 24 December 2012

“Mistletoe," said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry's head.

He jumped out from under it. "Good thinking," said Luna seriously. "It's often infested with nargles.”

I won't insult you by telling you where that quote comes from...

All I will say is 'May your mistletoe not be infected with nargles!"

And my dream of a white Christmas is just that - a dream. Christmas here is mud coloured. I've just spent an hour washing Poppy's legs, drying them and coating them with Vaseline in the vain hope that the mud won't stick. Her Christmas treat.

A Caroline's weird thought association alert:

Possibly the crassest Christmas song in the ever ever.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Thoughts will lead you in circles.

Silence will bring you back to your centre.

Rasheed Ogunlaru, author of Soul Trader: Putting the Heart Back into Your Business, said this.

I need more silence in my life.

Except for the fact that when it's silent, I have more time to think and...

By Zorana
 thoughts will lead me in circles.

I just realised, though, that circular thoughts don't HAVE to be negative and destructive.

So silence doesn't have to be scary.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

The perfect Christmas

 "We shall find peace"

"We shall hear angels."

 "We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.”

Thank you, Anton Chekov.

And today, shame about the horizontal rain, lashing wind and almost complete darkness when I was sorting out the horses at 7 a.m.

Not so perfect!

Friday, 21 December 2012

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ”

...said Roy. L. Smith and for that thought, thanks. And you can substitute 'She' for the 'He'

by Dixie Allen
Rush, rush, hassle, hassle, stress, stress.

That's what the lead up to Christmas has become for me in the last few days.

Why, why, oh why? The meal to prepare is only like a Sunday lunch. The presents and cards are like a lot of lovely birthdays all rolled into one. It's a time to be thankful for friends and family...

SO - away with all the silliness.

Here's my favourite carol:

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day.

Only, I'm going to make it today.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”

So said Katharine Hepburn. (Beautiful lady.)

It's a risky strategy, as a writer, possibly. My personal taste is a little quirky - no, let me rephrase that - a LOT quirky - so I'm pretty much bound to alienate huge swathes of the general population with my work if I write to please myself. Which means my work may never get published...or be appealing film-wise.

Writing to please other people? Can be soul-destroying. Feels like a sell-out. But perhaps gives you (me?) (one?) a better chance of success?

Filth, as a script, is fairly quirky. Lots of people don't get it. I begin to conclude that I'm WAAAAY too subtle and obscure...

So - yesterday, the director came down from London with the first rough cut. Me - excited but anxious in case I didn't like what he'd done...

It was good! As I imagined it, for the most part. Some bits made me laugh out loud. (It's a black comedy)

And the director asked for another script of mine.

So, at least TWO people are pleased by me doing what interests me!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

If my films don't show a profit, I know I'm doing something right.

Yeah, Woody Allen!

 So I'm DEFINITELY doing something right!

Today is an exciting day for me. The director of my film Filth is coming down to show me the rushes and bringing possible soundtrack music too. The final product is bound for Cannes next year.

By the way, I wrote Filth a few years ago - LONG before the feature film of the same name came out. So THEY copied ME!

Exciting and also a little nervous-making. What if I HATE it?


Bet I'll love it though.

I'll let you know.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones.

For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.

Who said this? I'll tell you shall I? Save you looking it up on Google.

He did! The scarecrow. And to think he also said, "If I only had a brain..." because, even without one, he's quite profound.

I have to confess, I've never seen The Wizard of Oz. And, here go my rather random thought processes; whenever I think about it, I think about Somewhere Over The Rainbow and then I think of my dear departed dog, Quink.

Quink, the stick-meister.
When I had taken him to the vet for the very last time to be put to sleep to end his suffering from liver cancer, I was driving home in pieces and this came on the car radio:

 It seemed just perfect and now, each time I hear it, it makes me smile with happy memories of a lovely dog, chasing sticks in heaven.

To the beautiful Israel Kamakawiwo'ole -unusual and so much worthy of consideration

And to Quink who didn't live and die unnoticed.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Someday is not a day of the week

(Oh - when I looked for a suitable image, all I got was pages of Justin Bieber. I'm sure he's a lovely little chap but not before my first cup of coffee on a Monday morning.)

So here instead:

Anyway - I've spent far too much of my life saying 'someday I will be a writer.'

I AM a writer already, I know that - what I mean is that someday I will do nothing else but write fiction. Someday it will be my life.

It's quite hard to say anything other than someday. Hard to specify a day when the dream will become reality.

I could just declare 'as from this minute IT IS MY LIFE.'

Oh, go on then.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

“A quiet secluded life in the country"

 "...with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness.”

Me and Leo Tolstoy.

Like that, we are.

Ever since I read War and Peace as an extremely pretentious fourteen year old.

Here's me and Alfie enjoying our quiet secluded life in the country:

How very, very lucky we are!

The rest is up to me.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

“It is not light that we need, but fire."

"It is not the gentle shower, but thunder.We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

 So said Frederick Douglass, the great American abolitionist.

 This is my call to action for today. (Yes, pretty pathetic to compare the anti-slavery movement with my own feeble objectives, but hey...)

The thing is, half-measures are simply not enough anymore - and today, half measures are about all I feel like.

The weather's foul, I'm tired, I've got yet another chill coming after my thorough drenching of yesterday, there's far too much to do...

Moan groan moan groan.

I really don't like myself very much when I complain. (Me with the countless blessings in my life.)

So here's to fire, thunder, storm, whirlwind and earthquake... not in the meteorological sense, thank you very much, but in my heart and soul,

so I can just


Friday, 14 December 2012

Always do whatever's next.

It's as easy as that, isn't it? George Carlin, thank you!

And here's the perfect image:

Me this morning:

Flap, flap, flap. So many projects. So little time. What shall I do next? I don't know where to start...

Flapping. Hyperventilating even. Crazy! Not only crazy but very ineffective when there's a lot that needs doing.

Flap, flap, flap.

I know, I'll write my blog first...on the subject of 'What Next?'...right, find a suitable quote...

And there, within 30 seconds, was my answer:


Thursday, 13 December 2012

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”

One day, I had to quote from Anthony Robbins. Today is that day.

Yes, I'm grateful, there is abundance...and other weird cosmic things.

It seemed as though the minute I accepted the fact that I DO want to be a full-time creative writer, the universe took that on. Good old universe.

Or, to put it another more worldy way - misquoting Wendy Cope from Serious Concerns - a favourite anthology:

Bloody Film Directors

Bloody film directors are like bloody buses
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

(By the way, none of the aforementioned film directors are in the slightest bit bloody, either literally or metaphorically!)

SO a week or so ago, my script Filth was produced. The director is coming down next week to show me the rushes and discuss future projects.

AND I received a mail out of the blue from a director in NYC asking to option Caught In The Act. He has also asked me to write a script for him from one of his ideas

AND I received another mail out of the blue from a young film maker wanting to make The Other Side of Silence

AND a good film-making friend of mine wants us to create a film for next year's Raindance Festival.

by Henry J Cowdery