Things are strange right now in the human world but Nature still moves forward. If you can get to a park or other outdoor spot, go for a walk today and look for new growth. Listen to the birds chirping. Enjoy the greater hours of daylight that are about to begin. Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever.
Wishing everyone a safe, happy, and healthy Spring (or Autumn, for those in the Southern Hemisphere) ♥
I’m getting ready to move, an event that’s overdue, stressful, exciting, and exhausting. My days are consumed with organizing and packing, with the last couple of weeks focused entirely on books (and no, I’m not done yet). But as I’ve been sorting through them all, I realized I’ve ended up with a small collection of signed copies, which I’ve decided to share here, along with their stories. Enjoy…
The Recipe of Love is a cookbook by the owner of a (sadly, now closed) Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto, Addis Ababa. Aster, the owner, was a big part of the warmth and appeal of Addis Ababa and I didn’t hesitate to buy a copy of her book the first time I was there. Of course she was kind enough to sign it. It’s still one of my favourite cookbooks.
This obscure little book on photography used to belong to a friend of my SO’s family, Lillith Black. When Lillith was 98, I spent some time reading to her at her nursing home (it was only for a couple of months before she died, unfortunately). My SO’s dad ended up with a few of her things and gave us some of her books, including this one. As I was getting ready to pack it a few days ago, I took a look inside and realized the author had signed it for Lillith. Book friends never really die.
Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book was a fun find. Written by Terry Jones and illustrated by Brian Froud, this is “Lady Cottington’s” album of pressed fairies (think pressed flowers but slightly grosser). I wasn’t expecting to find this at a hospital fundraising book sale, and was even more surprised when I got home and realized it was signed by the author.
I few years ago I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Anthony Bourdain (RIP) and Eric Ripert. Afterwards they were selling books, including some that were signed. Get Jiro! was one of the few Bourdain books I didn’t already have. Everyone seems to focus on his TV career, but for me his writing was where he really shone.
I bought The Blind Assassin on a whim at a secondhand shop (I’m not normally a Margaret Atwood fan– heresy, I know– but the story sounded interesting). I didn’t get to it for a couple of years and it was only then that I noticed it was signed (I even checked online to make sure it was really her signature– definitely looks authentic). I really need to learn to look inside books right away.
This next book is my favourite, not only because I loved reading it, but also because of what happened the day I got it. My friend had convinced me to go see Salman Rushdie give a talk. This was sometime after the fatwa had been lifted and I think he was starting to do more events. That talk ended up being inspiring in ways I hadn’t expected. Rushdie touched on what it was like to be a writer and what his process involved…and I could relate. I loved writing and wanted to spend my life at it, but I was new enough that I still had doubts that I had any chance at it, or that I really “belonged” among real writers. But everything Rushdie said that day made sense to me and confirmed what I was doing. This isn’t to say I’ll ever be anywhere close to the talent that he is, but, yeah, I made the right choice with my life (maybe not the sensible choice, but the right one). Afterwards I bought a signed copy of The Enchantress of Florence, and every so often I peek at what other authors are saying about being a writer– just to make sure I’m still on the right track.
I have a couple more signed volumes by fairly obscure authors, but I’d already packed them by the time I thought to do this post. How about you– what are the interesting books in your collection? Share in the comments…
Aspasía S. Bissas
PS: I have signed copies of Love Lies Bleeding available for $21 (S&H incl.; price is for North America). Contact me if you’re interested.
Peter Wyn Mosey nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! Even though sunshine and vampires don’t usually mix, we’ll make an exception this time. Thank you, Peter– for the nomination and your kind words about me 🙂
How this Works
Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
• Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.
• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.
• Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award [I’ll be honest, I’m not going to do this. The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules and Standards Committee can take it up with me. Hopefully word will find its way to the nominees] and ask your nominees 11 new questions.
Peter’s Questions and My Answers
1.If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I’d love to fly and sing on key (both superpowers, as far as I’m concerned), so I’ll pick a songbird (preferably in an alternate universe where humans treat animals with respect and compassion).
2. What was the first ever creative effort that you remember really being proud of?
I wrote and illustrated a “short story” (it was probably two sentences) when I was very young (can’t remember exactly how old, but under 6). It was about a flower that killed you if you picked it. Clearly, I was honing my literary style right off the bat.
3. If you could choose between true happiness, or a greater creative skills, what would you pick?
Happiness is very tempting, but it’s also very empty. What’s to strive for if you’re already truly happy? Where’s your motivation to grow, learn, improve? In the end, I’d rather have greater creative skills while I keep seeking happiness.
4. Does politics have a place in the arts?
All art is political.
5. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
One of my cats, usually.
6. Where and how do you do most of your writing/ art?
Right now I do about two thirds of my writing on my laptop in the family room and the other third in my head while I’m busy with other things.
7. What famous work do you wish you had created?
Harry Potter. Or pretty much any painting or sculpture because I have no talent for it and I wish I did.
8. Is there anyone in the world that you actually hate?
I wouldn’t say hate, but close, and not an individual but a type of person– the ones that actively work at making the world worse, usually for their own gain (sometimes because they enjoy it). I also have no use for those that enable them.
9. Where is the furthest you have been from home?
Geographically, Greece. Culturally, I think Cuba.
10. Would you prefer to wake up early, or stay up late?
I do both anyway, so I’d prefer to be able to do it without getting tired.
11. If you could give a new writer who was setting up a blog one piece of advice, what would it be?
Get to know your fellow bloggers 🙂
These 11 blogs represent a sample of the many great sites I follow. I have eclectic tastes, so the list ranges from writing/author blogs, to travel blogs, to food, spirituality, history, environmental, and pop culture. Thanks, everyone, for giving me something to look forward to reading every week!
Let me start by wishing everyone the very best in the new year and new decade!
The 2010s seemed to drag by, especially these past couple of years. To be honest, the last decade wasn’t a good one for me. Although some great things happened, I also lost my mom. Longtime friendships ended for no good reason. Things I’d been counting on working out, didn’t. Things I’d been hoping would happen never did. My much-loved car got totalled. And, oh yeah, my house was destroyed (sadly, I’m not being melodramatic– thank you, ice storm of 2013).
But all of that is in the past now and I feel a change in the air. Things are about to get good.
As we look ahead to a (hopefully) brighter future, I’ve put together a quick list of things we all need to leave behind as we start a brand new decade…
Regrets. Unless you’ve got a time machine and can go back and change things, let go of ‘what ifs’ and ‘should’ve dones.’ On the other hand, if there’s something you can still do– go for it. It’s never too late.
Facebook. There are many reasons to quit Facebook (this article goes into some of them). Although the site is helpful in promoting my books, I’m seriously thinking of leaving (or at least shifting my focus to other social media sites).
Outdated thinking. When the wheel was invented, there were undoubtedly people who didn’t see the point of the new invention; those people quickly got left behind (where they were probably picked off by sabre-toothed tigers). Things change, including the way the world thinks. It’s time to reconsider the beliefs we hold on to that are holding us back.
The myth that working hard = success. People who have done well in life like to claim that hard work is what got them there. If you look closely, though, what you’ll find is that they actually owe their success to good connections, plenty of help, and a lot of luck. I mean a lot. Hard work might help you maintain it, but if all you needed to succeed was to work hard, the 1% and the 99% would have switched places a long time ago.
The idea that there’s only one way to live. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to life. What works for you won’t necessarily work for anyone else (and vice versa).
Conspiracies. You haven’t discovered mind-blowing super secret knowledge that everyone else is too blind/asleep/indoctrinated to see– you’re just delusional. Bonus fact: real evidence isn’t found on the internet.
Cats vs dogs. This isn’t a thing. All animals are awesome.
Anything vs anything else. We create artificial divisions to give us a false sense of belonging and it’s stupid. We’re all in this together: it’s time we started acting like it instead of going out of our way to create problems. We don’t have to be identical to get along and work together.
Plastic. The entire planet is choking on the stuff, and recycling isn’t working. There are more and more alternatives to plastic every day, including products made of green materials, and products that come in plastic-free (or no) packaging. Seek those out.
Bizarre humanoid singing-and-dancing CGI cat creatures. Let’s all just pretend that never happened, shall we?
What do you think– anything to add to the list? Share in the comments. All the best in 2020!