Tag Archives: Minimalist

A Little Story Of Synchronicity From My Tuscan Desk

I was a little way into my writing streak when I happened on a heron. I was out running. I hadn’t seen a heron for a while so I had to stop. In the past I’ve written about heron’s.  What are you here for? I wondered. Why am I seeing you now? And yet, of course I knew. I didn’t get the message last time. I wasn’t ready. I had more hurdles to jump.

I see a lot of myself in the totem meaning of a heron.

It’s the resourcefulness and self reliance of the heron I’m drawn to. It’s the reason I think it continues to show up for me. Use what you’ve got. Adapt to your setting. Grow something new with this opportunity. It’s something I’ve done my entire life. But in this phase it’s been more of a struggle.

Writing here daily, my #writingstreak happened after I had a fall whilst out running. I wrote To Fall Or Not To Fall. Deep down I knew I hadn’t tried hard enough with writing this camino story of mine. And yet I didn’t feel ready or able to go back to the book.

It felt like too big a challenge to simply go back to writing the book. So I decided to write daily. Running daily had proven to be an excellent way to start something with running. Why not see where writing each day would take me? It could only be good!

The night I’d seen the heron I started to watch some YouTube videos about writing a memoir. Meh interesting but lots about plans, order and software. I like the idea of all of that, but it’s not me. I’d have to change too much. Then I happened on a video interview between Joanna Penn and Rachael Herron on how to draft you memoir.

This interview completely engaged me. Rachael basically says Just.Write.The.Book. Don’ edit, don’t stop, just get on with and write a draft. She talked about NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. The annual writing project where during the month of November people use the month to write a  50,000 novel. Yes, an entire novel. Each day 1,667 words.

Hmmm I thought. There’s something in this. I’d heard it before. Just write the darn thing.

Later that night I looked up Rachael’s website. It was then her surname dawned on me. Herron. Sure it had a double ‘r’ but still it’s not a stretch for me to find some synchronicity there. I signed up to her email subscriber lists and let her ideas sit with me.

That week I also received a comment on my blog from a writer whose blog I went on to read. I happened on this post of his. Write A Shitty First Draft. I Dare You. The penny was starting to drop.

“The only kind of writing is rewriting.”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I already had the structure, a plan. I blogged my camino. I already had the backstory behind it. I’d lived it. I’d even blogged that too! Those of you who have been around for a while remember Choosing Simplicity and The Gentle Intention? What I didn’t have was a first draft to start rewriting, or to call a book.

I continued to write daily. Through the easy days and the blocks. I kept my eyes open for little stories to tell. I tried different things. I learnt that I can write each day. I learnt there are stories everywhere and I realised how I write is how I write. I write non fiction and non ‘how to’s’. What I write is personal stories. This is my style. This is the style I find meaning in. It’s the style that flows from my dreamy world and into the keyboard through my fingers.

I am a memoirist.

I also learnt to not feel guilt or scared or ashamed of the time I give to writing, or of my writing. It became something normal I did. ‘Are you writing your blog’ the kids ask. They’d watch Bondi Rescue and I’d write. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes the afternoon. If time was short I’d shorten what I wrote but I still wrote. Everyday.  Every day for 31 days. I’d notice errors after I’d posted. I’d correct them and move on. I’m sure it will happen today too. No confidence has been lost to mistakes. It’s all practice. It’s being unafraid to fall.

‘Let us risk the wildest places, Lest we go down in comfort, and despair.’ – Mary Oliver

To write for me is to take the risk into the wildest place. The risk of failure is far more attractive to me that the risk of comfort and despair.  Except there is no failure. I am writing a book and let’s face it, the chances of it being published are next to slim. I am totally cool with that. I am writing the story because I want to write it. The story wants me to write it. I am prepared now. I have the skills to get the first draft written. Beyond that I’ll develop the skills required. I’m resourceful, I’m a heron. And dear heron I’m in the wildest place. Writing myself into adventures and creating a story from a story. To me there is no wilder place.

 

#writingstreak

#day31/31

#theplacesyouwillgo

#cookthebook

#writethebook

#steertheship

#fromwhereIstand

 

 

Sun Kissed In Tuscany.

Behind the brown shutters are windows and doors with bright red frames. Opening these are how a sun kissed morning begins in Tuscany. Closing them after a long and late night spent eating and chatting is how evenings in Tuscany end.

Food that is grown under kiss of the sun makes for a perfect lunch. There’s a flavour that can’t be ignored. And a reminder of how simple one’s lunch can be.

Herbs for the kitchen, grown in the  garden are illuminated by the kiss of the sun.

A healthy glow and contented manner,  the evidence of a sun kissed boy’s day of play.

A house built to withstand the kiss of the sun. Terracotta tiles on the floor and in the ceiling, thick walls of concrete and brick archways.

The kiss of the sun willing a writer to write on. A day spent in the first 13,000 words of a story. A memoir of a long walk and a time leading towards this life now. A time where questions were asked, actions were taken and the leap of faith that happened. The Tuscan sun enabling the needs of all to be met and comfort to the writer when the doubts set in. The power of his kiss is strong. Write, write he assertively guides. Now is the time. It matters not if the written words see me, the light of day. It matters they are written. That the writer writes the story. For her. Her story.

 

*edited to change her to him, my instinct was that the sun is a more masculine energy and a little note from a friend confirmed this. xx

#writingstreak

#day29/31

#writingon

#writingthrough

#writing

#ishibernationcalling

#thewindsarechanging

 

 

 

Under The Tuscan Sun.

‘Life Offers You A Thousand Chances. All You Have To Do Is Take One.’ – Under The Tuscan Sun.

I have a little longing for the is’ness of a place that is just a Sydney to Melbourne drive away. I promised her I’d return when it was safe to support her people. With three weeks of school holidays left and weeks of rain forecast we made plan C today, or is it plan Z! We’re going to take a trip South and into one of my favourite member states. I finally committed. It finally felt right.

I’ve been so unsure about how to travel or if we should travel in these surreal summer times. So we sat it out, cancelled all the plans (as many of us have) and decided to wait it out and see. It was the right thing to do and I have no regrets. I didn’t want to contribute to the movement of people at a time when perhaps we shouldn’t move. I needed to wait, to ‘be’ where I was. If we did travel I wanted it to be safely, gently, sustainably and as always slowly. 

Yesterday as I watched my son paddle off into the lake I think I knew deep down it was time to leave for a while. I’m happy pottering but the kids need time off grid, away from the fallback of screen time and into a nature experience where they bank resilience and we bank family stories. We will travel in a way that is mindful and also supportive of communities that need support. I think it matters that those of us who like to explore continue to work for a caring approach to travel. 

We only have such a short time until life changes. Our eldest two are 16 and 14 and now while they’re still family holiday kids I want to soak it up. My husband needs a break from the bedroom office he’s sat in since Feb and will likely sit in until next year. This is our season, this is our time. When school returns the kids will be in the situational noise that is life, and soon after Autumn will arrive to take us into the deep cold.

It feels sad to see my family and friends at home in their second quarantine, it is always hard to watch people doing it tough at home. Aussies here are beginning to feel increasingly like we’re getting locked out of Australia and away from our families for a long time to come. Perhaps the situation here will again take us into some form of quarantine, it’s all so uncertain. So for now I will choose to continue to live in the world alongside the virus, safely and responsibly of course. 

In a few days we’ll make our way and road trip down to a Tuscan farmhouse in the middle of Italy. Off the regular tourist trail and in the middle of two small hill top villages. Next to a national park and far from the coast (by Italian standards), we’ll be in the guts. Further than Melbourne to Syd, maybe Melb to Coff’s.

We’re going to park ourselves for a few weeks to immerse in the local produce, language and is’ness of each other and the Italian warmth. In many ways we will continue to live in the small bubble we are currently in, but where we can also experience the reason we gave up so much to move here. European life. Perhaps I’ll write something longer, perhaps not. I’m excited and I’m nervous, they’re like the same thing sometimes. It feels good to feel, to ponder, to be doesn’t it. 

 

P.s. completely utter shit that I get to write about something so frivolous and luxurious as to making a decision to travel sth. I know. I struggle with sharing travel because of the complete privilege of it. But I guess we’ve been on a journey together this month and this is where I’m at and hopefully I can be a voice for less pillaging type of travel, more soul involvement. 

 

#writingstreak

#day24/31

#finallycommitted

#allroadsleadtoItalyrightnow

 

 

 

 

Multi Layer. Is It The New Multi Task.

‘Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable’ ~ Mary Oliver

I’ve deadset found a key to a door. A door into some serious kitchen flow. For a while now I’ve wanted to get back to basics. Into some serious low waste, budget conscious, healthy from scratch eating. We eat well but there is room for more from scratch and less waste. And I think the key for me is layering. The type of layering I’m finding by working through a style of cooking.

Now I’d love to cook a range of cuisines but as a cook my skills are not capable of that. And I am lucky in that I have a partner who can do this. But I do want to be less boring. I want to be able to go to the pantry or fridge and have options. Tasty options. Healthy options. I also have a family of six to feed. I don’t want cooking to be a chore but something more. Something where my creativity and passions are happily at play.

I often think about meal planning and then fall at the first hurdle because getting six cookbooks out is overwhelming. It is not and never will be my style. Pleasing six people is overwhelming with modern cookbook recipes. And we’ve moved and changed so much in the past years that I’ve lost my rhythm in the kitchen and where to go for local ingredients (also there’s the language thing and the hormones, that peri-meno thing never helps). But it’s about stepping into the right door though isn’t it. The one that is built and waiting for you. Your personality, your skills, your interests, your tastes, your style, your confines and basically your timing.

Enter my new kitchen challenge – to cook Roman food. Food that is centuries old. A cuisine that’s often described as peasant food. Highly flavoured, peasant food. Alleluia peasant is the opposite of fancy! Perfect for someone who wants to make beautiful food from scratch without the finicky fuss. Without the need for technical knowledge. This sounds like me. It’s my version of fancy! And this is my time. I’m ready, I need it. So I walked in through the front door, the door that beckoned me. The challenge to cook through the bright red Rome cookbook.

Any cuisine has basics. Herbs, spices, ingredients, pastes, dishes that compliment each other. Take the pesto I made last week on my first cooking day. We had it on crackers and bread. The following day I had it with my egg. Today I added it to a focaccia with leftover roast chicken from last night for the boys for lunch. And tonight the last of the leftovers were added to a pasta for the vegetarian and her vegetarian friend. This is a staple. Easy to make and can also be frozen in ice-cubes and bagged for further use! Pesto chocked full with herbs and veg. Pesto that went four ways, in four meals. Pesto flow.

Last night we ate roast chicken and the bones were added to a stock pot with veggies and brewed today to produce stock. Literally a 5 minute prep and then it sat on the stove brewing without any needs for hours. My eldest son often calls me a witch with my herby salves, so it does suit me to be brewing. A jar for risotto later in the week and the rest frozen in 300ml reusable containers for future use. Boom. Massive saving in buying stock, eating unknown ingredients, food waste and packaging. Kitchen flow.

I did not set out to become a better cook when I started writing this month. But as always when I write daily my world expands, I expand. Perhaps it is because I notice more. Perhaps it is because I get to express my real self so this flow continues in other areas of my life. The key to this door is definitely the honing in, the focusing on what’s important. I have tried to be political in the past with the issues I care about but I’ve found it spirit crushing. I am far better working away in my everyday life to create change and expressing myself from this place.

From the beginning of this writing challenge I’ve really focussed only on what I need to be focussed on. And also by ignoring the doubts when they creep in. Actually stopping to recognise the triggers of these creepers, the thoughts, the people and the habits that contribute to them.  And then I stare them out. I choose excitement over fear, seeing wildflowers rather than things, intuition over the noisy world, embracing flux over stagnation and good busy over idle thinking. I want to be excited about life! I am excited about life. I want to be surprised by what I am capable of finding in myslef. I want cycles of layering. Layering one thing that matters with another thing that matters.  You wouldn’t go out in winter without layers to keep you warm. Why risk wasting life without the ‘good’ layers.

 

#writingstreak

#day21/31

#reallyonly10daystogo

#cookingchallenge

#staringoutthecreepers

 

Yes, Yes And Yes.

So we’re not camping in France. So it started raining just as we packed the picnic into the car. So the certainty of anything that we may possibly do in the future is basically uncertain. So I couldn’t just book a date with my friend in Luxembourg to come visit because numbers are up and they’re awaiting their prime minister’s announcement as to new restrictions. And so, tonight, we swam, and so we picnicked and so we did it in the rain! Because the only SO that is certain right now is the NOW and saying YES to it.

For so long I’ve been an advocate of learning and practicing to say ‘no’. Of speaking out about the ‘ok’ of no. No to extra curricula, no to excessive parties, no to situational relationships that don’t feel right, no to letting your mind be consumed with bullshit, no to the inauthentic crap that floods our senses. And now the world has flipped! Flipped. Actually flipped. It is about saying ‘yes’. Yes because there is nothing to say no to. The ‘busy’ has vanished. Lol. Not that I did busy or multi tasking, I haven’t got the capacity for it. But now, no one is asking me to ‘be’ busy, no one wants my time. I don’t have to say ‘no’. It almost feels like in my world, the world is swinging the way of the introverts, in the way that encourages creative living, spontaneity and in the way of ‘good’ busy of slow living (busy with intention). 

Yes, I’ll go for a long ride this Sunday morning. Yes, let’s take the long road home – no plans. Yes kids, we can go to the lake tonight and yes, we’ll take a picnic because it’s summer. Yes, the rain has started but we can head down incase it stops. Yes, you can go for a swim in the rain if you like and we’ll have the picnic at home. Yes, take the boogie boards in. Ok, yes, you can pump up the SUP. Hungry? Yes, we’ll improv and picnic from the boot of the car. And YES, friend, Louise, as soon as it’s a Thursday and neither of us have plans and the borders are still open we will drive down and visit you because YES. YES, to good friends, good food, forest walks, lake swims, late night chats and laughter. Yes, to spontaneity and yes, to embracing all that is free, close, meaningful and soulful. 

#writingstreak

#day20/31

#yes