Creativity brings with it endless questions and endless questioning (mainly of ones self). So here I shall voice some of those questions, address and question self doubt and talk to others about their thoughts, experiences and words of wisdom.

This will be a page of random and predominantly unconnected things... stories and stuff from day-to-day living, events and news.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

#NotSilent - Remembering the courage and inspiration of Anne Frank

Today is the 70th anniversary of Anne Frank's death and the Anne Frank Trust have launched a campaign to remember her, #NotSilent. No one minute silence - they want us to speak up and be heard (and seen). With so much humility, bravery and beauty, Anne Frank has touched the lives of people and generations across the world. Her story, one of sorrow and horror, but humanity and depths of inspiration too.

So, let's all have our say. Information on how to get involved can be found on the |Trust's website ( where they are asking you to read aloud and record a one minute extract from Anne Frank's diary or a piece you have written yourself.

Here is the reading I chose as it hits personal notes within me. I have sent the audio of this to the trust.

“I’ve often been down in the dumps, but never desperate. I look upon our life in hiding as an interesting adventure, full of danger and romance, and every privation as an amusing addition to my diary. I’ve made up my mind to lead a different life from other girls, and not to become an ordinary housewife later on. What I’m experiencing here is a good beginning to an interesting life, and that’s the reason – the only reason – why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.
I’m young and have many hidden qualities; I’m young and strong and living through a big adventure; I’m right in the middle of it and can’t spend all day complaining because it’s impossible to have any fun! I’m blessed with many things: happiness, a cheerful disposition and strength. Every day I feel myself maturing, I feel liberation drawing near, I feel the beauty of nature and the goodness of the people around me. Every day I think what a fascinating and amusing adventure this is! With all that, why should I despair?”

–3rd May, 1944, ‘Diary of A Young Girl’

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Mapping out a map

I was recently sent a lovely exert from my dad, who has been reading the History of Maps and rediscovered a tip to authors that he had seen some years previously, written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1894:

‘Better if the country be real, and he has walked every foot
of it and knows every milestone. But even with imaginary
places, he will do well in the beginning to provide a map; as he
studies it, relations will appear that he had not thought upon;
he will discover obvious, though unsuspected, short cuts and
footprints for his messengers; and even when a map is not all
the plot, as it was in Treasure Island, it will he found to be a
mine of suggestion.’

So with my head whirring at present with children's picture books and my new project, whilst still working on the research for my grown up book, I have turned my mind to mapping out my books as actual maps. Now I know this is not rocket science or a unique 'wow look what I've come up with' idea, but for me it is genius as it enables my totally creative thought processes to layout my book journey as a pictorial illustrative visual. That's spot on for me - one great big picture that sums up the story I want to tell and the journey that the characters will take.

So, having patted myself smugly on the back and then realising that I should actually be thanking dad (thank you dad), I looked into this idea further by seeing who had done what before me... great travelers and explorers of the literary universe show all. Whilst delving in to the depths of Google I came across a quiz from the Guardian last year, asking if you could identify a book from its map. Whilst testing myself on the quiz I realised that maps of places (fictional or real) tell such a story of the characters and their tales and adventures that these maps become instantly recognisable. Now if I could achieve that then wouldn't that be something to be proud of.

Small steps, small steps...

Check out the Guardian's quiz and see how many maps you can identify >

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Self Inflicted Creative Block

With a thousand ideas jamming up the tunnel in my head, my creative demon shouts out to stop. But quietly and persistently, with calm and enthusiasm, my creative angel urges me on. Do I stop or do I go on? Do I take a different turn or plough on head first?

I have hit creative block, or illustrator block to be more precise. I have put myself in a stupid cage of a (in hindsight) ridiculous time frame for completing my project and now I keep attacking it with near-on desperation. All my reason and process have quite frankly been tossed aside, discarded like unwanted wrapping paper after Christmas.

I AM one of the most organised people I know.
I AM capable of doing this.
I AM of sane mind.
I AM under no obligation to finish by my (blatantly preposterous) deadline.
I AM going to do something about this.

So that project now finds itself neatly obscured on my concepts shelf, tucked away between the-one-I-never-finished and the-one-I-am-too-scared-to-start. I have opened a new file, written down my new project title, concept and initial brain dumps and am happily going to walk away from my desk. My head is swimming, but not with manic demonic-angelic voices or irrational overload, but instead it's full of wondrous colours and characters that will again open up the creative, slighty bonkers, part of my brain.

Little additional note - I have also sent myself back to school with sketching tests... forgot how rusty I was! Check out the random attempts >

Searching for a Syzygy

Today is (the unofficial) National Dictionary Day in honor of Noel Webster, who is considered the Father of the American Dictionary.

This (unofficial) national day marks a day to celebrate the importance of the dictionary and to improve vocabulary. So in honor of that, I have learnt a new word that not only sounds intriguing, it has a very intriguing meaning and it is the only English word with three Ys.

Syzygy: a rare astronomical event involving three heavenly bodies.

What new word will you learn today? Please share...

Love letter to a library

Following a posting from Bookwitch earlier today (link to Bookwitch blog post) I was inspired to write my own love letter to my library...

My Dearest Library

You drew me in and I succumbed to the lure of your long runs of shelves crammed with books. The laughter from the story corner, at the end in the children’s section, set my little one off at a run. She wiggled herself in beside the others, all craning their necks to see the colourful pictures in the book of the day. The Librarian’s soft tones instilling anticipation and awe in to the audience around her, who sit up and stare.

I creep off in search of some me time, some indulgence in pages of well handled titles, with bends in their spines and creases on their covers. They may be worn, but bare life of readership and transportation, taking us off to places we’ve not been. In history or travel or fiction or biographies, from comics to games to films and CDs, I stroll around taking in what you offer, knowing I won’t leave without finding a reason to return to you next week.

You provide me with what I love and I love what you provide for me.

Yours every week,

V R Heal


If your dreams don't scare you...

...then they are not big enough.

I saw this saying posted on Facebook recently and it got me thinking, initially, and obviously, about myself and my dreams.... constantly freaking the living bejigawiggles out of me! But still, I soldier on in the disbelief that maybe, just maybe, I can do it. Well, dreams are dreams hey!

But then I got thinking about the saying from a child’s point of view.

There’s that time in a young child’s life where they move from dreams with no basis or foundation or experience to those where they have awareness of what is playing out in their heads as they slumber. The big bad wolf, the fairies in the wood, the cute little kittens, the dragon in the cave. From fluffy to frightening, their imagination and their daily learnings come in to a dreamality (not really a reality, but feels it none the less). 

So if their dreams don’t scare them, are they not dreaming big enough? I think that the bigger they are in life through imagination, adventure, exploration and learning, the more their dreams will impact them as they sleep. Good dreams, scary dreams... they are all a form of the individual child’s expression. So yes, they are dreaming big enough... they just aren’t quite big enough yet to understand all their dreams.

That’s where mums and dads come in....

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