5 Inspirational Books for the Journey from Lover to Mother

Listography – My Life in Books

Different books may have accompanied you on this journey through life, sometimes just turning up with the right words at the right time. If you reminisce about the books that have made a difference to your life it can sometimes make you see how much you’ve changed over the years.

Today I’m joining in with Kate’s Listography and it was so hard to just pick five books!

1. Wuthering Heights

My passionate and dramatic teenage self was introduced to Heathcliffe and Cathy during one fateful English Literature class. It reassured me that romance should always be crazy and desperate, wild and destructive. I loved it it too much.

“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.”

2.Women Who Love Too Much

A self-help book for women who think that romance should always be crazy and desperate, wild and destructive. I read this in my twenties and began to understand why so many of my relationships had made me unhappy!

3. The Prophet

If I was only allowed to own one book ever, this would be the one. It’s like a guidebook for life; and poetry for the soul. It makes everything alright and answers some of life’s big questions.

“When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.”

This book made Kahlil Gibran the third bestselling poet in the world after William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.

4.What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing

When I gave birth to my first baby my entire perception of life as we know it completely collapsed and realigned itself into something different. There were a million guidebooks to this strange new territory and author Gina Ford wrestled in my mind with Sheila Kitzinger, Tracy Hogg and Janet Balaskas. Thank goodness for Naomi Stadlen whose sensible book reassured me that I myself was the best childcare guru for my own child. I think this book began to bring me back out of the depths of postnatal depression. It gave me confidence and reassurance.

5.Ramlin Rose: The Boatwoman’s Story

However, you need more than confidence and reassurance to bring up children on a narrowboat. Sheila Stewart’s fictional biography of Rose Ramlin is based on the stories of many real life narrowboat wives. It is a joyous story of struggle and triumph and a unique insight into a part of English culture that no longer exists. It inspired me, entertained me and reminded me what I loved about living on a narrowboat.

So what books defined you so far? If you’d like to take up the Listography challenge write your post with your 5 Books of your Life on your own site and then head to Kate Takes 5 blog to link up.

Inspire yourself! Use creative writing to issue a suggestion to your subconscious mind in this free 10 day e-course.


What Jack Kerouac Can Teach Us About Life

I love Twilight Saga actress Kristen Stewart and I have loved the novel On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) since I was a teenager, so I was biased in favour of this film before I even saw it. But when I watched it recently I noticed with new eyes that what Jack had taught me as a teenager and what he can teach me now are two completely different lessons.

The book is an exhilarating freedom-grabbing, lust-for-life, crazy journey about a passionate friendship, rattled out in lyrical prose that washes over you like jazz and whisky. As a teenager I was infatuated with Jack’s hedonistic enthusiasm, and so I planned to live life to the full and never to say no to anything exciting.

Lesson 1: Live a Life of Passion

Now that I’m a grown-up I notice that I’m already close to Jack’s age when he died. (A dead brother in childhood and an alcoholic father contributed to a tormented life of alcoholism for Jack.)

The story is a loosely disguised tale of the adventures Jack had on the road with Neal Cassady. He renames himself Sal Paradise and calls Neal, Dean Moriarty. Dean was “tremendously excited with life,” and constantly looking for “kicks”.

Jack (or ‘Sal’) writes;

“The only people that interest me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to live. Mad to talk. Desirous of everything at the same time. The ones who never yawn or say a common place thing. But burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.”

As a teenager and all through my twenties I was also in love with people like this; the mad ones.

“Dean does not feel responsibility towards others. He does not know the concept. Then again he feels others have some mysterious obligation to support him. I find it unspeakably distasteful.”

Sal: “But Dean gives everyone a damn good time just being himself.”

“He gives the losers tricks!”

Sal: “Maybe that’s cause you’re not seeing what’s really holy about Dean.”

“Oh! So he’s a holy man now? A religious figure in your eyes? Oh Paradise. What I see in him is compulsive psychosis, dashed with a jigger of compulsive psychopathy and violence.”

It’s funny, but in my hazy memory of the charming and exciting Dean I didn’t remember him being so selfish, or abusive:

“Where’s Mary Lou?” (Dean’s 16 year old wife.)

“We got in a ruckus and she called the cops on me!”

Lesson 2: You Don’t Have to be Wasted to be Passionate

I know that sounds obvious but it took me many years to learn that one!

I love Jack Kerouac’s passionate, lyrical, poetic, rhythmic writing, his lust for life and his thoughtful spiritual musings.

“Who are we now? Are you gonna tell us Carl?”

“I know that I rely on my friends and my family for money. I know there’s no gold at the end of the rainbow. There’s just shit and piss. But to know that; that makes me free.”

Do you have to be a Kerouac fan to love the film? Probably. It’s about jazz, poetry and drugs on the road with the Beat Generation. It’s about a quest for meaning and belonging in life which very much appealed to the teenage me.

Now as an adult, having survived a decade of excessive partying in my twenties I made a note to myself: Don’t die like a Kerouac. (Mediate instead of drinking!) I spent a decade travelling the English canals in my thirties and began to write a ‘beatific’ account of my life ‘On the Cut.’ Jack wrote On the Road in three weeks, typing continuously on a teletype paper roll. I know now that writing is a healthier passion than alcohol, and I know that the way to write my own book is as one passionate, intensive, undistracted project.

Lesson 3: Growing Old is a Privilege

The book ends with Jack’s whimsical, lyrical musings…

“…and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

And here in Devon when the sun goes down and I watch the long, long skies over Dartmoor and sense the roads I haven’t yet travelled, and remember fondly the time my friend once said to me that my poems are a bit like Kerouac’s; and I think of all the people dreaming in the immensity of it; and the people that never grew old, the people I loved who died young, I think of Jack Kerouac. I wonder why his father drank and if his father drank before him, and I think of lives cut short by alcohol and dreams that never happened, and I know that I owe it to this world to write and write some more, just because my teenage self was once inspired by Jack Kerouac. Yes I think of Jack Kerouac…

What’s your passion?

What are you going to do with your brief time here on the planet? Pick something right now and tell me in the comments below!

How to Take Charge of All Your To Do Lists

Productivity, To Do lists and goal setting can all sound very dull and business-like sometimes. If like me, your desk is littered with sticky post-it notes and paper To Do lists then this brilliant tip from Leonie Dawson could just change your life, and open up a world of possibilities.

The one thing I’ve been dreading on my own To Do list was to begin recording training videos for the new e-course I’ve written. This is a real challenge if you’re camera-shy like I am. This weekend I asked Star Khechara to help me overcome this problem. I hope you’ll agree that in this new video I am more confident than I was in my last video! (How to Vlog.)

It’s still a skill that I need to practice though so please do watch this three minute video and support me and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thanks 🙂

Get the: 2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook, Planner and Calendar now!


Click to Tweet: “This is 2014 Madam! Anything is possible!” via @boat_wife http://ctt.ec/aMN3d+

REALLY excited about this…

life3DOn New Years Eve I began what has turned out to be an ongoing project for January. I’ve been completing the exercises in Leonie Dawson’s yearly best seller, The Create Your Amazing Year workbook: The Life Edition.

I cried

‘Releasing’ the year that has just ended, I cried. I wondered if that is because they are such powerful exercises, or because I had some BIG STUFF I had to let go of this year? It might have been the Prosecco I was drinking… My New Years Eve was a quiet but bubbly celebration, with just me and this colourful workbook. Despite the crying, it couldn’t have left me feeling more positive about the year ahead!

Just the parts that sing to you

Some of it may be a bit hippy for some but I found it to be a simple colourful bit of healthy ‘releasing’ the old and welcoming the new. I couldn’t think of 100 things to do in 2014, but that’s OK. Leonie says “Fill it all out or just the parts that sing to you, (either is perfect.)” There’s goal setting, dreaming, list-making and collage-creating. The thought-provoking exercises are fun.

It’s become something I’m working through bit by bit and I’ve found I really begun to look forward to each little evening session where I grab some time to quietly muse over my plans, dreams and schemes. You can’t help but feel cheerful about all the goal setting and the other creative exercises when it’s all painted in such crazy beautiful bright colours with cartoon stars all over it.

Little Miss Sunshine plans her amazing life!

Little Miss Sunshine plans her amazing life!

Leonie says,

“The 2014 Create Your Amazing Year workbook & calendar is an incredibly popular & useful tool to help you plan out & make happen your most incredible year in life or business (or both!). Over the last five years, thousands of women have used this workbook with the most amazing results. It’s the best planning tool available to help you make your year your most exceptional yet!

Used by entrepreneurs, artists, mamas, creatives, coaches, teachers and women of all ages, the Create Your Amazing Year in Life and Biz workbooks are filled with dozens of pages of powerful worksheets & a printable calendar to help you create your amazing new year.”

Peggy says,

“There’s also a business edition, in which I will create my amazing business for 2014 – so watch this space. I’ll be reviewing that one too!”

If you’re ready to make 2014 amazing check it out now! Create Your Amazing Year – Calendar and Workbook 2014

Create your amazing life

Leonie Dawson

The attitude of gratitude

Buddha Doodles gratitude journalHave you discovered Buddha Doodles yet? Mollycules is a “spunky cartoonist with an appreciation for spirituality.” Her doodles appear regularly on the Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha.com. At Molly’s website you can signup to get free Buddha Doodles delivered to your inbox.

As well as publishing books of Buddha Doodles she’s also created two gratitude journals. This is something I may treat myself to I think. Sometimes I write a daily list of things that I’ve enjoyed or things that I’m grateful for, but it’s a habit that I don’t always remember to keep up. I think that if I placed a gratitude journal beside my bed then perhaps that would serve as a reminder to write three things in it every night.

Keeping a gratitude journal may reduce stress and negative emotions, increase happiness and improve the quality of your sleep. Each page of Molly’s gratitude journal displays a different cartoon and a page to write what you are grateful for. On the Amazon website you can peep inside the book and see some of the beautiful drawings.
Buddha Doodles Gratitude Journal: Shining Your Light

I am quite thankful that I discovered Buddha Doodles! What are you grateful for today?

Disclosure: The link is an Amazon affiliate link.

What does your bookshelf say about you?

BookshelfYou are the sum of the 5 books you think you are reading.

OK, I’m paraphrasing the statement ‘You are the sum of the 5 people you spend your time with’ but recently my friend donated her old bookshelf to me, and as I happily filled it with my own books I noticed what topics I love, the subjects I like to learn about and the stories I like to immerse myself in. Then I noticed the things that I ‘should’ read and haven’t.

Try this.

I thought it would be fun to make one of those ‘What I Think I Do’ memes. This series of internet memes compares the various ways others may see you with your own self-image and the ordinary everyday reality of the job. I first saw the one about being a mother; but they’ve been created for every role and career imaginable.
1) Take pictures of your books. I laid mine on a white piece of paper and snapped them with my phone.

2) Load them up to your computer.

3) Visit http://uthinkido.com/ or grab the template image from knowyourmeme.com

4) Create your meme and share it on social media. Post on to my page if you like.  Once I had the photos on my computer it took about 20 minutes to create the meme image. But then the ‘generate image’ button wouldn’t work for me so I pressed ‘shift’ and ‘print screen’ and then pasted the image to Paint to create a JPeg.

Looking at my bookshelf you might think that I am a social media magpie, feisty feminist and wine-lover that dreams of being an online entrepreneur; but I actually read romantic vampire novels from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga!

What do you actually read?!

U think i do meme

Reinvent yourself with books

If you want to reinvent yourself as a feminist wine-buff, without being a social media magpie, whilst also reading to your kids, becoming an entrepreneur and falling in love with a fictional vampire then here are the Amazon links for your Christmas list.

How To Be a Woman
The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club: Everything you need to know about wine – and much, much more by McGinn, Helen on 14/02/2013 unknown edition
Shiny Shiny: How to Stop Being a Social Media Magpie

I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola)

Making Money Online
Twilight (Twilight Saga)