Category Archives: Memoirs

Diana’s summer book reviews (2)Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein

Why did I choose this book?

I didn’t choose it for myself, but as a small Christmas present for my husband to get him in the mood for travelling to Greece and also to think about life. He didn’t read it. It sat beside his bed for ages and so I decided to take it with us and read it myself.

The premise of the memoir is the author’s search for the meaning of life and the pleasures to be pursued in old age. He did this by revisiting the Greek island of Hydra, where he spent some memorable months when he was a young man. He also reflects on life by reading the works of various philosophers over the centuries, including Epicurus who he quotes frequently, as he tries to glean hidden truths as well as the obvious ones.

Did you feel empathy for any particular character?

To be honest, and I’m being sexist here I know, a man would probably identify with Daniel in his search more then I did and greatly enjoy his travel writing and reflection on life. I also tried to read it through my husband’s eyes. Having said that it set the scene for me, in that there we were on a small Greek Island enjoying the freedom after lock down but also thinking ‘what next?’ ~ when we were not just ‘being’!

Is there a lasting thought or memory of the book which remains with you?

The value of companionship “Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live ones entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship” ~ Epicurus.

I actually bought the book in Waterstones, Princess Street, Edinburgh, since I try to support my local bookshops.

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Book Shops, Memoirs

Spring Bank Holiday ~ May 31st

Happy Spring Bank Holiday to all in the UK!

What does Spring Bank Holiday mean to you?

This is what it means to me. Lots of memories!

I was very fortunate growing up and then teaching because spring bank holiday, and the week’s holiday certainly enjoyed in England, usually meant that I didn’t go to school or subsequently have to teach on my birthday. Rarely it happened. Both my birthday and my Mum’s was around the same time, and so over the years we were often able to celebrate our birthdays together. Such happy memories! One was in 2016 when my cousins came over as a surprise on Mum’s birthday (30th) and visited us in Fife. Here are a couple of recent ones:

A cruise with Mum and Dad on the Oriana in 2017
Enjoying Loch Marie on my birthday 2018

This year we have decided to go away for a long weekend up to Glen Clova, a very special place just on the southern tip of the Cairngorms, with an abundance of pathways leading up glens and into the mountains. It has poignant memories for me of 2020, when we were not able to share our birthdays due to Covid, so it is lovely to look back on happier times.

Glen Clova Hotel

It will be good to recharge the batteries, enjoy a little bit of new found freedom to travel, albeit relatively close by, to have plenty of fresh air and walks and to be ‘in the moment’.

What have you been doing?

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Filed under Events, Memoirs, Scotland

Bereavement, Reflection and Moving Back into the World

Bereavement

There are those touched by this pandemic in a way which will live with them for the rest of their lives;

there are those who have really struggled with the isolation and it has adversely affected their mental well being,

and there are others who have sailed through and managed to ‘get on with life’ quite cheerfully throughout.

Of course there is overlap too.

Sometimes I think it is hard for each group to appreciate the other’s situation.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and sympathy from friends, family and the wider community of Kinghorn when my Mum became ill and my father died of Covid back on 10th January.

Normal life ceased.

Dad died at 93 years old. He had been retired for longer than he worked, he had enjoyed a good healthy life, dancing and travelling with Mum until two years ago…. and the end was thankfully very quick. He didn’t suffer too much so we were told.

Mum is still unwell, but she is being well cared for and we can speak to her on Zoom and phone (which we could rarely do when she was in hospital.) That’s all I can ask until, hopefully, I will see her again.

Reflection

My writing life ceased, although I continued with obligations for others when I could. Certainly at a slower pace.

…but my Dad wouldn’t have wanted me to wallow.

On reflection, two days before Dad  passed away, my last conversation with him was so positive. Looking back, he was thinking of me and the wider family and not himself.

‘You are happy up in Fife?’ he asked.

‘You’ve got a good life there, haven’t you?’

As I stood looking out over the Firth of Forth, as a container ship floated into my line of vision, I remarked, ‘I wish you were standing here with me Dad.’

At the end of our conversation I told him I loved him. Not something I have said very often in my whole life.

Looking back, we were both saying goodbye, and that is a comfort.

Moving On

Neither Dad nor Mum would want me to wallow anymore though.

As well as supporting other authors, part of my psyche is to create, to write and to let the words and ideas flow, later moulding them into  a form just right for sharing.

I hope to begin to focus on my projects again.

And so, slowly but surely, I will return to a ‘real’ world. Not the ‘normal’ before lockdown, but a different normal, building my confidence to be part of the writing community once more.

  Mum and Dad with us on Guernsey only   Three Years ago

 

What am I going to do in my writing life in the next few months?

  • Continue writing my current project ~ another Mystery Inspired by History
  • Publish a little book of encouragement for your adults, needing support finding direction on life following this pandemic
  • Get together poems I have written in the last few months about dementia
  • Promote my two mysteries.

…and that, I think, is enough for now.

MURDER, Now and Then will be only 99p on Kindle from 22nd February to 1st March 2021

MISSING, Past and Present will be only 99p on Kindle from 1st to 8th March 2021

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Filed under Memoirs, Mystery inspired by history series, Writing