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Having problems with Communication or Money right now? Mercury Retrograde might be to blame

By Life, Money / Finances, Paganism, ThinkingNo Comments

Photo of the planet Mercury, Image From & Copyright © NASA, 2011.

Having problems with Communication or Money right now? Mercury Retrograde might be to blame.

In astrology, Mercury Retrograde is when Mercury appears to travel backwards through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Mercury is travelling so slow, it looks like it is travelling backwards, but this is merely an optical illusion. This is called a retrograde motion.

As the planet Mercury is associated with communication, money, travel, technology, logic, writing and memory, all these things are adversely affected during a Mercury Retrograde.

When is Mercury Retrograde? Here are the dates for the next few years:

2017 2018 2019 2020
  • 1st to 9th January.
  • 9th April to 3rd May.
  • 13th August to 5th September.
  • 3rd to 23rd December.
  • 22nd March to 15th April.
  • 26th July to 18th August.
  • 16th November to 6th December.
  • 5th to 28th March.
  • 7th to 31st July.
  • 31st October to 20th November.
  • 18th February to 9th March.
  • 17th June to 12th July.
  • 13th October to 3rd November.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
According to Astrology Zone.

What should you do during Mercury Retrograde? Here’s some great advice for during Mercury Retrograde:

So, when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts. Review projects and plans at these times, but wait until Mercury is direct again to make any final decisions.

About a week or two before Mercury retrogrades, finish any tasks or projects at hand. You can’t stop your life, but plan ahead, have back-up plans, and be prepared for angrier people and miscommunication.

Some people blame Mercury retrograde for “bad” things that happen in their lives. Instead, take this time to sit back and review where you put your energy in your life.

(From: The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Last accessed: Thursday 13th April 2017.)

If you’d like a good guide to astrology, The Astrology Bible by Judy Hall is great resource.

Blog soon,


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Book Review: Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

By Books & Authors, Inspiration, ReviewsNo Comments
big-magic-elizabeth-gilbert I first discovered the amazing Writer Elizabeth Gilbert when she did a TED talk on creativity (see this TED talk at the end of this post).

Gilbert became a huge success back in 2006, when her memoir Eat, Pray, Love became an international bestseller. It was later made into a film. Prior to this Gilbert had always felt that it was her responsibility to take care of her creativity, so wrote while holding down other jobs. This big success meant she could afford to write full-time. I intend to read and review Eat, Pray, Love at some point in the future.

Gilbert was inspired by creativity, the creative process and the concept of creative living. She began to explore how other cultures throughout history had viewed creativity and the artists that create. This lead her to study the ancient Romans and Greeks. Which in turn led to her quirky and unconventional views about creative living, which she explores in Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear.

Big Magic is split into six parts: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust & Divinity. Each section deserves to be written about individually, which is what I have done below:

Gilbert starts by defining what creative living means to her. She describes it as having the courage to follow your aspirations, longings and talents. Gilbert writes about desires, that you are driven to do from somewhere deep within. Things or activities that have great meaning to you. Gilbert’s examples include: writing, dancing, painting and basically anything with any sort of activity that has an element of creativity within it.

Gilbert writes about fear. She recognises that fear can and does stop some people from living creatively. But as she explains, fear is boring – as fear’s inner voice repeats the same things. Whereas living creatively is never boring. Gilbert advises the reader that fear is not to be conquered, but acknowledged and thanked for its concern. Then the reader should do the thing that scares them anyway.

Gilbert’s key message in this section is that the reader should follow their curiosity without being inhibited by their fear.

Gilbert believes that ideas are disembodied energy that wants to manifest. But in order to do that they need to work with willing, creative humans. Humans that will commit their time and energy to bringing the idea into reality.

A good lesson learned from Gilbert in this section is that you have to make space for the idea. Both physically and figuratively. Which is why in my workspace, my desk has been cleared, ideas have been listed on the wall (in the order that they will be completed) and that time is regularly set aside to work on the idea at the front of the queue.

Gilbert writes that if the reader commits to an idea, that they should try to keep their end of the bargain. Otherwise the neglected idea will eventually get fed up of excuses, waiting and will continue on its travels looking for another human collaborative partner.

Gilbert gives an example from her own life, writing about an idea for a book that got away from her and found its way to Ann Pattchett (another author who has an especially special place in my heart for writing The Magician’s Assistant, but I digress). Gilbert tells the story of a conversation she had with Pattchett:

I tried to summarize my ex-novel as concisely as possible. I said, “It was about this middle-aged spinster from Minnesota who’s been quietly in love with her married boss for many years. He gets involved in a harebrained business scheme down in the Amazon jungle. A bunch of money and a person go missing, and my character gets sent down there to solve things, at which point her quiet life is turned into chaos. Also, it’s a love story.”
Ann stared at me from across the table for a long minute.
Before I continue, I must give you to understand that – decidedly unlike myself – Ann Patchett is a true lady. She has exquisite manners. There is nothing vulgar or coarse about her, which made it even more shocking when she finally spoke:
“You have got to be fucking kidding me.”
“Why? I asked. “what’s your novel about?”
She replied, “It’s about a spinster from Minnesota who’s been quietly in love with her married boss for many years. He gets involved in a harebrained business scheme down in the Amazon jungle. A bunch of money and a person go missing, and my character is sent down there to solve things. At which point her quiet life is completely turned into chaos. Also, it’s a love story.”

(From: Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert, p. 53-54, 2015. Copyright © Elizabeth Gilbert 2015.)

Gilbert explains that she never felt the need to be given permission to begin writing; but that some people do feel the need for permission to create. So she advises the reader to give themselves permission to start living creatively. She advises the reader to label themselves, i.e. I am a Writer. Gilbert advises the reader to be authentic and live creatively, first and foremost for themselves.

Gilbert advises the reader to avoid getting into debt. According to Gilbert debt leads to trappings that will greatly influence the ability to live creatively. Being debt free is likely something that most readers will need to work on.

Gilbert encourages readers to keep going and don’t be disheartened if the first thing created gets no recognition. Take your time. Learn your craft. She reminds readers that people go to great lengths to create, often maintaining a day job, having busy lives, but always making the time for creativity.

Gilbert motivates her readers to protect the space and time to create from intrusions, distractions and most of all procrastination. Procrastination can be fear’s way of avoiding starting, continuing or finishing a creative project. So watch out – because fear can be sneaky in its tactics.

Gilbert advises of the perfectionism pitfall for creatives. She writes that done is better than good. Yes, by all means work hard to make sure the work is good, but good enough will do. Aiming for perfection is where most people set themselves up to fail, because perfection is an unrealistic goal that either drives a person insane or causes them to give up on an idea.

Gilbert writes that a creative should go where the idea takes them, even if it’s emotionally uncomfortable. Gilbert states that you should trust in the idea and continue with Stubborn Gladness.

For Gilbert, living creatively is all about following where curiosity takes her. She encourages the reader to follow their own curiosity.

Gilbert concludes by writing that creativity is scared and that the reader should start creative living immediately.

Throughout Big Magic Gilbert’s writers voice is warm and engaging. Gilbert tells many wonderful, meaningful and great little stories as examples of her ideas on creativity in action. She tells these stories exceptionally well.

Stories are not the most scientific form of evidence. But does there need to be empirical evidence for creativity and the creative process? After all, even those at the heart of creative processes struggle understand or explain how their creative process works.

What matters in Big Magic, is that Gilbert writes her truth. Every word is written for herself – so that she can further her study of creativity.

The audience for this book is anyone that wants to live a creative and fulfilled life. Gilbert is undoubtably clever, wise and inspiring in Big Magic. The reader will find that some, most or all of Gilbert’s work will resonate with themselves.

So go and buy Big Magic to lap up some creative living inspiration. Big Magic is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,


TED Talk – Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
(From: TED, Last Accessed: Thursday 3rd December 2015.)


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The ‘Recently, I’ve Been A Bad Blogger’ Update

By Amazon, Life, Music & Radio, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments
imac-contact-me-large Recently, I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve had so many things on that I’ve felt like I’m plate spinning. My daily creative play has stopped. My blogging and book reviews have stopped. But now I hope to get back to normal – whatever that is.

While I have been exceptionally busy, I have managed to listen to some new music, watch some good TV, re-watch some old films and do a bit of reading.

Musically, I’ve been enjoying Ed Sheeran’s new album X. I’m particularly fond of the first track, One. It’s sentimental and mellow. Perfect chill out music and believe me, I’ve needed to relax. I’ve had Sam Smith’s album In The Lonely Hour on repeat, appreciating the sound of his voice.

I bought Matt Fishel’s new album Cover Boy, but have to say that it was a disappointment. It was nowhere near as good as his first album Not Thinking Straight. I did like his cover of Finally, but I’m afraid that was all I liked.

I’ve watched season 2 of Under The Dome, well all but the final episode. It’s a brilliant show based on a short story by Stephen King. In Under The Dome the people of an American town are trapped under a giant dome. The plot is intricate, ever twisting and full of intrigue.

I’ve been watching the new series of Dr Who and have very mixed feelings about it. Peter Capaldi isn’t a convincing as The Doctor. Clara’s character feels a bit conflicted, not because of Mr. Pink (Danny) but because of the writing.

The Walking Dead has started again and I’m super-excited, thrilled and ecstatic during every episode. We’re only a few episodes in and it’s already my TV highlight of the week.

I’ve watched some old films like Jurassic Park 1, 2 & 3 as I love dinosaurs. In my mind, there just aren’t enough dinosaur films out there. The Adams Family 90s film has made me laugh, especially Cousin IT and thing who never fail to make me chuckle.

I’ve watched good triumph over evil through working my way through the complete collection of Harry Potter films. Mum and I are going to Harry Potter World (London) in November, so I wanted to be adequately prepared.

I got my essential hit of zombie versus kids by reading The Hunted by Charlie Higson. You can read the review I’ve wrote for The Hunted here. I felt elated reading Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella, which I will review soon. I’m currently reading the ridiculously funny Good Omens by legends Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman and the love story Us by David Nicholls.

I was organised enough to write two articles for The Gay UK. One for National Coming Out Day and The Gay UK‘s digital magazine entitled My Come Out Reactions. It’s people’s responses when I’ve come out as a gay to them. The other article I’ve just finished is 14 Reasons It’s Great To Be In A Relationship.

What music, TV and films are you enjoying? What literature are you reading? Anything I’d like? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Blog soon,


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Buy The Book!

By Books & Authors, Money / Finances, ThinkingNo Comments
buy-the-book-stats Since the release of The Hunted by Charlie Higson, I’ve had loads of visitors to my blog post The Latest Book in The Enemy Series: The Hunted by Charlie Higson. While I appreciate the hits, I don’t appreciate people looking for a free download of the book.

Charlie Higson has spent at least a year of his life working on this book. Carefully writing, editing and crafting this story. Writing a book is hard work. Consider that he has probably spent at least a year on each book in the series. That’s six years of his working life telling this story.

I don’t think the prices of the various formats are unreasonable for the amount of work he’s put into the book:

The publisher has probably considered that this is a children’s book and as such children may have a limited amount of pocket money. This is because they have provided the book in various formats and with varying price ranges. All of the formats being published at the same time, so that children who can only afford a Paperback copy or Kindle version don’t have to wait an additional year for the story – unlike most mainstream publishers.

So support Charlie Higson and buy the book! There’s a format in everyone’s price range.

Write soon,


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