Category Archives: A Writer’s Notebook

A Writer’s Notebook – Paronella Park

Photos taken at Paronella Park. The ruins of the castle were the inspiration for Castillo de Suenos the castle in my novel Castillo de Suenos, Castle of Dreams, to be published in April, 2016.



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A bright star in the firmament.

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A Writer’s Notebook-Maud Gonne MacBride

Maud Gonne MacBride (Irish: Maud Nic Ghoinn Bean Mhic Giolla Bhríde, 21 December 1866 – 27 April 1953) was an English-born Irish revolutionary, feminist and actress, best remembered for her turbulent relationship with William Butler Yeats. Of Anglo-Irish stock and birth, she was won over to Irish nationalism by the plight of evicted people in the Land Wars. She was also active in Home Rule activities.


Many of Yeats’s poems are inspired by her, or mention her, such as ‘This, This Rude Knocking.’ He wrote the plays The Countess Cathleen and Cathleen Ní Houlihan for her. His poem Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven ends with a reference to her:

I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Few poets have celebrated a woman’s beauty to the extent Yeats did in his lyric verse about Gonne. From his second book to Last Poems, she became the Rose, Helen of Troy (in No Second Troy), the Ledaean Body (Leda and the Swan and Among School Children), Cathleen Ní Houlihan, Pallas Athene and Deirdre.

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A Writer’s Notebook – Anais Nin



AnaisninAnaïs Nin (Spanish: [anaˈis ˈnin]; born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell; February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an author born to Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an established author. She wrote journals (which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death), novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and erotica. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously.

Quoted: Wikipedia.

One of my favourite authors, Anais Nin wrote of dreams and the communication through signs and symbols of the human psyche.

Anais wrote of the novels that were appearing in the 1930s and 1940s that they over-simplified the human psyche and reduced it through rational analyses. ‘To much lucidity,’ she says, ‘creates a desert.’  

Her work is defined by a poetic and universal reality.There are enigmas and mysteries. Her world is peopled by individuals and she finds their reality by observing and not by analytical procedures. Anais was much more in touch with European poetry than American realism.

She writes in Seduction of the Minotaur:

Lillian’s recurrent dream of a ship that could not reach the water, that sailed laboriously, pushed by her with great effort, through city streets, had determined her course toward the sea, as if she would give this ship once and for all, its proper seabed.

And in Collages:

What I wanted to teach you is contained in one page of the dictionary. It is all the words beginning with ‘trans’: transfigure, transport, transcend, translucent, transgression, transform, transmit, transmute, transpiret and all the trans-Siberian voyages.

Since I first discovered Anais Nin I have collected all her work. Her diaries can be dipped into and beautiful words are always found. Words that link together into sentences that show us how to live. The artist’s life.

Anais lived for many years in Silver Lake, a residential neighborhood in Los Angeles, California.

She was married to Rupert Pole, magnetically handsome, who was first an actor and then became a forest ranger. He was Anais Nin’s California husband. She had a New York husband, Hugh Guiler, whom she always called Hugo, and had married when she was very young.

From The Journals of Anais Nin, Volume Seven 1966-1974

The pool is steaming like those pools in the mountains of Japan, everything through glass, through prisms, the amethyst water squires a different dimension, it enlarges itself, its colours: it is so beautiful.

My friend designed a very beautiful diary book, handmade, with soft Japanese rice paper and in gold on the red leather cover, my handwritten diary signature: “Mon Journal–Anais Nin”. I was determined that no illness would be recorded in this diary. So I decided to make it a diary of music. I will only write in it when the musicians come, when I hear music. And it will be a separate part of my life.

Anais Nin sort luminosity and the quality of phosphorescence in her work. I have always loved fairytales and her work is made up of fables and signs and omens so I relate to it and understand the power of these things: the labyrinth in which one loses oneself and with luck finds the way through, the boat that is pushed through city streets to the sea.  Her work possesses a magnetic quality I am drawn to and reread often. What better books to have in my life but hers.

Good writing,



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A Writer’s Notebook

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A Writer’s Notebook – Eartha Kit

The incomparable Eartha Kit.

Season’s Greetings and Magical New Year to All.


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A Writer’s Notebook – Shared from Katherine Martinko

The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve
Katherine Martinko
Katherine Martinko (@feistyredhair)
Living / Culture
December 21, 2015

Book lovers will want to adopt this lovely holiday tradition, which melds literary and holiday pleasures into a single event.

Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving.

At this time of year, most households receive an annual free book catalog of new publications called the Bokatidindi. Icelanders pore over the new releases and choose which ones they want to buy, fueling what Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association, describes as “the backbone of the publishing industry.”

“It’s like the firing of the guns at the opening of the race,” says Baldur Bjarnason, a researcher who has written about the Icelandic book industry. “It’s not like this is a catalog that gets put in everybody’s mailbox and everybody ignores it. Books get attention here.”

The small Nordic island, with a population of only 329,000 people, is extraordinarily literary. They love to read and write. According to a BBC article, “The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world… One in 10 Icelanders will publish [a book].”

It seems there is more value placed on physical, paper books than in North America, where e-books have grown in popularity. One bookstore manager told NPR, “The book in Iceland is such an enormous gift, you give a physical book. You don’t give e-books here.” The book industry is driven by the majority of people buying several books each year, rather than the North American pattern of a few people buying lots of books.

When I asked an Icelandic friend what she thought of this tradition, she was surprised.

“I hadn’t thought of this as a special Icelandic tradition. It is true that a book is always considered a nice gift. Yes, for my family this is true. We are very proud of our authors.”
It sounds like a wonderful tradition, perfect for a winter evening. It is something that I would love to incorporate into my own family’s celebration of Christmas. I doubt my loyalty to physical books will ever fade; they are the one thing I can’t resist collecting, in order to read and re-read, to beautify and personalize my home, to pass on to friends and family as needed. Combining my love for books and quiet, cozy Christmas Eves sounds like a perfect match.

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A link of hope:

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A Writer’s Notebook – Paris


A Beacon of Hope

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A Writer’s Notebook – Paris

Hemingway’s famous passage from A Moveable Feast:

‘There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were nor how it was changed nor with what difficulties nor what ease it could be reached. It was always worth it and we received a return for whatever we brought to it.’

In times of trouble as we turn to our loved ones and remember those lost remember also to turn to our beloved and hopeful companions: books.

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