The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Write like no one's reading

I can't remember where I read that. It could have been one of those inspirational quotes on Pinterest or maybe I read it on someone's blog. In either case, it completely contradicts another piece of advice that I came across somewhere else, which is, to write to an audience. Personally, I find that extremely hard to do. Because, although my audience (such as it is) consists almost entirely of women, they are all so different in personality, that I am not sure to which person in my audience I should be writing. So I write with the notion that no one is reading and, strangely, that seems to be helping me find my voice. After all, in this world of a million blogs, I am just another sentence in a novel. What I have to say, may or may not be of interest - depending on who's reading.
I've long ago resigned myself to the fact that I will never write a novel (though my head is brimming with stories) nor will anyone ever ask me to write a magazine article. But I can live with that, as I can also live with the knowledge that my blog will never attract thousands of hits in one day. I am completely fine with it because I can continue to be myself and to write what I like, without the added pressue of making sure that readers keep on coming. There is a curious liberty in anonymity. I don't even share my blog with my closest friends because, somehow, the interaction with strangers is infinitely more rewarding, more sincere, perhaps. Because these 'strangers' slowly turn into friends and as we read and comment on each others' posts, our lives criss-cross each other like wonderful jigsaw puzzles. You see, they help fill up voids in our life that would otherwise forever remain empty. In spite of the fact that we all try to max out on this one shot we get at life, sometime around my fortieth birthday I realised that no one can ever have it all. That's just an urban myth. The reality is, that we all tend to think the grass is greener on the other side but that our patch could be just as green if we only bothered to water it.

I am sure you're all wondering what I'm babbling about and what the whole point to this rant is. Well, I just wanted to say that we all have our own little niche, and yes, there is a purpose to our sometimes rambling words. We might stumble across each other quite by chance but somewhere deep inside us, we know when we have found a kindred spirit or when someone's writing strikes a chord deep within our psyche; and that is why we keep returning. It is not just about the tenuous connections. It is about the knowledge that we can all be ourselves. Free to explore and discover other worlds within our world. Free to travel vicariously to places that w ould otherwise just be names on a map. Free to share favourite books and recipes; and anything else which catches our fancy. Free to be true to ourselves; to write, like no one's reading.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Finding Avalon

In Arthurian legend, Avalon is a mystical, mythical realm, shrouded in mist and far from prying eyes. It is not so much a place, as a state of mind, and getting there requires a large dose of will-power and a little bit of magic. The air is sweet and smells of apple-blosom there, or so the stories go, and time passes at a difference pace than it does out in the real world.
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And here, in the all too real world, a narrow and bumpy road that starts at the chapel of the Annunciation, leads to a fertile stretch of land that end at a second chapel, this one dedicated to our Lady of Carmel. This place beneath the towering cliffs of Dingli is known as Fawwara. Fawwara is the Maltese word for a natural spring but the root of the word, the verb fawwar, means to fill to the brim; to overflow. That is what this place does in abundance - it overflows with growth and with life.
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Even during this most arid of winters that we have had, nature has worked her magic, just like she always does, and the first signs of an early spring were bursting to life all around us, so exuberantly that you could almost hear each bud and blossom pop open. The giant fennel that grows by the wayside was starting to bloom and the tenderest of green leaves were sprouting from the branches of the fig trees.
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Only the vines are still oblivious to the warmth and the lengthening days, their straggly tendrils biding their time,  because they will not be rushed - their secret is patience. For that I am thankful, because I know that as soon as the baby green vine leaves burst forth, summer will be upon us and for now I am content in the present.
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What's more I am content with this present. With the delicious breeze and the craggy terrain; with the wild-flowers and a sky as blue as the depths of the sea. I feel drunk with the abundance of it all. The air does not smell of apple-blossom here but of wild-thyme and fennel; and no swirling mists linger, except when it rains. But legends abound and time might play a trick or two, it might even stand still or go backwards, here in Fawwara - here, in the place I call my Avalon.
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Location: Fawwara, February 2016
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