Saturday, 25 July 2015

Cruelty


Yesterday afternoon I was unfortunate to stumble across a rather horrendous image on Facebook; one showing the whale grind in the Faroe Islands. I shan’t share that picture with you. If you feel compelled to see, Google it.

By the way, and I’m just dropping this in as food for thought, and really not suggesting for one moment this makes this hunt right…have you ever watched whales kill? There’s even videos of that online “whales playing with food” comes up as a search. That’s really not friendly!!

The post sparked an awful lot of comments. Some were defending the action as people need the meat for food. Whilst others were condemning it outright, often suggesting the people should move to where there is food. Mmm…try telling that to the millions in Africa!? And the anti-immigrant brigade in the UK would accept them with open arms, would they? Is it really their fault they were born there?

Anyway, it got me thinking. Is it OK to kill animals for food? Well, yes. I know, a whole load of you will be cursing me right now, fingers poised to throw horrible comments on how “we don’t need to eat meat”. But please hold it for a minute. Let’s please remain calm. We are omnivores, and have been since our creation, and we have thus far needed meat to survive. Sorry, that is fact.

However, we are evolving, and perhaps this argument is now slightly less true than once it was.

But OK, I accept many of us aren’t mentally ready to accept that just yet. So, the way in which we treat our food is important. The most objectionable thing about the whale grind seemed to be how it looked inhumane. A whole pod was destroyed (although you could argue this means no animal was left to grieve; flimsy at best). From the brief glimpse I allowed myself it did seem savage, but then these animals are massive and powerful.

I began to wonder what people think happens in a slaughter house. We have become so far removed from our animal sources, we simply try to put that out of mind, so our conscience allows us to east the yummy meat our bodies crave. Some don’t even know where their meat comes from. When asked they reply “the supermarket”!! Standards have improved in slaughter houses, but it’s still not exactly a pretty sight. There is still panic, fear and blood.

So, if we can’t imagine ourselves directly killing, or even bear thinking of others killing animals for our plates do we have a right to eat meat? Are we being a tad hypocritical?

“So become vegetarian”, I hear you cry! Yes, that would stop a lot of animal slaughter, granted. But as a vegetarian do you still eat eggs? There are few things less humane than eggs. When I was a little girl I went into a battery hen house; it is my very own ‘Silence of the Lambs’. The scene was horrific; it was dark, it was smelly, it was noisy, and the hens were crammed into tiny cages. As an empath, the feelings of fear and distress were too much and I ran straight back out before I was suffocated. To this day I get this image if I reach for anything other than free range eggs.

So eating free range eggs is OK? Well no actually. The animals have happier lives. But did you realise hens aren’t supposed to lay that many eggs? They are fed specific feed and kept under certain conditions and have been specifically bred to lay more and more eggs. And what happens to the male chicks? Only hens (the girls) lay. Uh oh, ever seen the images of that? Huge carriers filled with male chicks (well, mainly male – it’s incredibly difficult to sex chicks). They’re not being taken for a happy ride. Nope, they’re heading to their doom, and none too gently.

Turning vegan is the answer! We then can avoid killing animals for leather, clothes, cosmetics etc. Great! But we really do start putting a lot of strain on our bodies. We can do it, but it is difficult. Apart from the effects on our body, the practicality is a nightmare. What’s in your soap, your sweets etc.? And are you telling me that plants don’t feel? If you cut them, do they not bleed (sap)? They absorb the elements as we do. They process the sunlight, and absorb the rain and they grow and breathe. Trees actually breathe out the oxygen we can breathe in. So, is it really OK to eat plants/vegetables/fruit? Ever heard a lettuce heart scream as you cut it?

OK, I’m taking this all a bit too far now.

Now, hopefully, you’ve not hit that button to send me hate mail just yet, as the real point I was going to make is this…

The post on whales was merely ironic. There were clearly two opposing sides with really strong views. The views tended to be either “killing any animal is bad, if you disagree you’re a fuckwit” vs “I love eating meat and am defending it by attacking you”.

You see, when our incredibly strong opinions are challenged we will defend it. Of course we will. But the defence on both sides ended up as vicious attacks on the other party. One guy kept dropping in anti-vegetarian images, taunting them with meat!  Each side was so quick to condemn the other it ended up being filled with hatred. Really vile things were said. The very people chanting they wanted to save the whales out of love ended up being cruel to other humans.

The problem is there are arguments for and against (for practically anything in life).

The bigger problem is how we react to those arguments.

So many seem incapable of saying, “You think that way. I think this way. I respect that there are differences between us.” People are entitled to their own opinion; we have free will. We don’t have to agree with them. We don’t even have to like them. But we should all respect that they have their own opinion. I have unfriended many on Facebook whose opinions varied from my own too much. I cannot change their opinion, as much as I would want to try. And in some cases I have indeed offered more information so perhaps they can have a more informed opinion. But there comes a point when you have to realise this person just doesn’t fit with your ideals and you need to release them with love and light.

Even typing this is hard; I want to fill it with my opinions of right and wrong. I accept there are certain subjects I want to say, “No, you’re wrong! You should…” I’m human! And therefore imperfect.

I guess what I’m trying to say is; be kind to one another!

Disagree, fine. But don’t be cruel about it. Otherwise we perpetuate the hatred we were trying to avoid in the first place.

 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Technology - Love it or Loathe it


This blog topic is inspired by my loss of access to this beloved blog for 10 days!

I’m of an age where I can remember life before iPhones, CDs, portable computers; let’s just say pre 24/7 jacked in. fyi this historic/ancient period is featured in my book Rekindled Love. I consider it an education to "da yoof, innit" ;-)

These days you send an email and expect a response almost immediately. When did this happen?

Not so very long ago we sent letters via “snail mail”. One found a nice piece of writing paper, thought about what message you wished to convey, and carefully constructed a wonderful piece of communication. You’d then wander (not very far) to a nearby post box and send said letter. In a day or two it would reach the recipient, and a few days later you could expect a response.

With the popularisation of computers and therefore email this long wait has been eradicated. This on the surface seems a good thing.

However, particularly on social media the temptation to put out every thought (or details of every bowel movement of your newly arrived child for some) is now too great. We end up filling our walls and newsfeeds with what is, let’s face it, mindless drivel.

I have read some very good books by Ben Elton, but his scary version of a future where everyone is obliged to post every last little thing online seems to draw ever nearer.

If you watch horrendous trash TV such as Jeremy Kyle you cannot fail to notice how often “but she said that he said on (social media of choice)…” is mentioned in arguments. The common gossip and mud flinging that now happens has increased.

The phenomenon that is the “troll” has emerged. Once upon a time a troll was a rather ugly fearsome creature which lived under bridges, and took pleasure in scaring people (or goats) who trip trapped over said bridge. These days a troll is a cowardly person who hides behind the anonymity of the internet to torment others, often complete strangers, to try to destroy their fragile ego. These trolls have been cited as causing some to take their own life. A truly awful side effect of this insta-messaging. Can you imagine a troll taking time, effort and expense of doing the same in a letter? No. It is purely because they can infuse their poison instantly and with little effort. I do feel sorry for them though; their own loves must be so devoid of interest or love. It is a pity they feel so bad about themselves they find it necessary to try to demoralise others.

And as a wider spectrum, technology causes us great stress. At work my computer often seems to take on a mind of its own, and in the middle of the office I have often been reduced to requesting my PC to ‘fornicate off’. The amount of people who now have access via phones to emails etc. that it has become an expectation that you still look at work emails whilst on holiday; it’s preposterous! One needs to go on holiday to relax and unwind to help us cope with the overloaded world we now live in. Give us a break!

It also fuels consumerism. We can actually live our lives now without ever stepping foot outside our own home. In theory, there are jobs where you can work from home – source of income. With that income you can then order food, clothing, items of all sorts with a click of a button and within a few days (or with Amazon’s new service, within hours) it arrives at your door. This in turn leads us to becoming more isolated and insular. We have started to become more about ‘self’ than ever.

If we have an accident, instead of shrugging it off and dusting ourselves off we have to blame someone else and sue the pants off them, as we ‘need’ more money to buy more stuff. But does this stuff makes us happier? Seemingly not, as we as a people are now unhappier than we were even 50 years ago. People were actually happier during World War 2!! It makes my heart and soul cry for our race.

However, we are also able to use this resource for good. We can use tools to help us whittle down prospective partners, and find good relationships via online dating. It saves our precious time.

But why are we so time poor now? We have many many labour saving devices, yet we are all crying out “I don’t have enough time” or “I’m too busy”.

Many of my holistic friends share their positive messages online. It reaches a wider audience. Even the wonderful man who is His Holiness the Dalai Lama is on Facebook, and puts out wonderfully inspiring messages of compassion. So there is hope.

And I myself could not be an author without the internet. I have written my books on my laptop, self-published online and indeed publicised my books on social media and varying websites (admittedly with little effect), but they are at least there. And they are not having to conform to a traditional publisher’s ideals. I can be my own person, and write in my own style. It leads to a broader spectrum of reading material, and hopeful thought flows. We can expand our own consciousness and find like-minded souls to link with and share these wonderful ideals exponentially.

Unless some mass extermination event or massive EMP goes off, we have technology. It is a massive part of our lives. If we have communication problems we suddenly feel cut off from the world, and we go into panic. As we retreat into our homes we rely on technology to reach friends (often in far flung places of the world).

So, whether you love it or loathe it (or a little of both), technology is here to stay.

You can make a difference in its application.

I think I’ve mentioned “The Universe” before – a great resource for positive thinking. But “The Universe” says “Thoughts become things, choose the good ones!”

I would ask you to bear this in mind. Please; when you use technology do so responsibly.

If you must post online, take care to post from a place of love. Share the good, and together we have a chance of reducing the bad.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
Love and light,
TL

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

My Crafty Side

 
Thanks P.J. Maclayne for passing on this blog topic from your blog
 
For those who aren’t aware; as well as being a full time Admin, author and all round busy person, I am also a witch! “Aaargh!” I hear you cry, “She’s going to cast an evil spell on us!! Run awaaaay!!!” Actually, people’s first response to this is usually a rather worried, “What kind of witch are you?”
 
Well, let me reassure you that you’re quite safe; I am a hedge witch. This is a “good” witch, mainly concerned with herblore. It’s all part and parcel of my goody-two-shoes, I want to heal people side.
Although, technically I could access dark magic and curse you with a big warty nose, it’s really not worth it as the law of thirds comes into force, and whatever I dish out I get back threefold, so unless I want a full face of warts I’m just not going to do it!

So, what do I do? I’m still very new, and am studying lots of things. But the sort of things I do are observing the moon's phases, honouring Mother Earth (sister moon and father sun too) and offering thanks. Some of this involves 'craft' work.

This weekend I harvested some of my lovely fresh herbs. I was feeling all grumpy Friday night, and despite a good night’s sleep I was still in a bad mood Saturday morning (how vexing!). So I went out into the garden and picked lemon balm like there was no tomorrow! Some of which I brewed into a fairly pleasant tea (the gorgeous smell as I picked the herbs and the tea had me feeling quite a bit better instantly).

I also plucked a rose to get petals, and a few heads of white lavender (most intoxicating!).

I laid these ingredients out on a sunny windowsill to help dry them out (having washed them to get rid of bugs).
 

I drank the tea whilst I waited for the herbs to dry, and having spent some time standing in the sunshine, absorbing the light and re-energising my heart chakra (my very own ‘familiar’ cat in my shadow whilst I did), I was ready to make my bath bag. So simples even I can do it; square of muslin, whack herbs in, crushing a little, and tied up with a bit of string. Hang from faucet as you run bath! I then took it off the tap and had it bobbing as a flower bomb whilst bathing and relaxing.
 

Also this weekend I picked a whole bunch of mint leaves, washed, dried, bruised and tore into a jar. And then poured loads of olive oil on top. All air sealed, and now brewing in a dark place for 4-6 weeks, so I can get some yummy mint oil. My main intention is to help ease headaches, but I’m sure I’ll find many uses for it.

 
 
Gasp! No cauldron, no newts, nothing. Just herbs and oil!
 
So now you know a little about my witch self. Please feel free to ask any questions.

 

 If you liked reading this (or indeed if you just fancy reading about a different kind of craft/DIY project) please hop over to my author friend Paula Shene's blog here to read 'Splatter Platter'.
She's also written this rather lovely book:


Saturday, 4 July 2015

Advice for New Authors

Wow; that was a spectacular disaster! So, you’re happy to read, but don’t want to talk to me? That’s OK. It’s your choice. So with an overwhelming majority with one vote, this blog will be ‘advice to new authors’! :-O

Sit down, make yourself comfortable. Have you a cup of coffee/tea? OK, listen up people. What I have to say on this subject is important.
 
 
1)      You will NOT be an overnight success!
Get that idea straight out of your head. Now! Go on; clear it. That way disappointment lies!
Let me tell you about some of the ‘greats’…
·         Agatha Christie – 5 years it took her to get a publishing deal! She now has sales totalling over £2 billion (a feat only outdone by Mr Shakespeare himself). Om mani padme hum Agatha.
·         JK Rowling got 12 refusals, and was told to get a day job! Doh! She now has set records with four of her books! I hope those publishing houses are crying themselves to sleep!
·         I love this one as a fellow indie: Beatrix Potter…heard of her and her “bunny book”? She was rejected so many times she turned to self publishing (which was a lot harder back then, I can assure you!). Now sold over 45 million!
·         Louisa May Alcott was told to “stick to teaching” when submitting ‘Little Women’, but she is still in print 140 years later! That publisher is not!
·         Stephen King’s Carrie was turned down no less than 30 times!
·         But even that’s outdone by ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach was rejected 140 times! That’s some grim determination right there! Kudos to Richard!
·         Even Jewish sweetheart Anne Frank was rejected 15 times. Shame on them!!
 
Am I getting through here?
 
2)      So, if we learn anything from the above it has to be: if at first you don’t succeed try try again (and then keep on trying. Try until you think you can’t possibly go on, and then once you’ve done that, guess what; try harder!)
 
3)      Please write something good!
I’ve read some books that make me cringe! Get a proof reader or two!! Spelling and grammar mistakes in books are a massive turn off. You can get away with a few; to err is to be human. But if your book is riddled with errors you will never succeed.
 
4)      Don’t be needy!
So, you must set up social media accounts. That’s a given. You knew that already, I bet. You clever folk! But don’t just sit there harping on about how wonderful your book is, buy buy buy! Boring!!! Get some interaction going; talk to people, pretend you’re interesting! ;-)
When asking for reviews don’t just blurt it out within the first sentence of your social interaction; how rude!! What I’m saying is just don’t ram your book down people’s throats.
 
5)      Write because you love it!
So few people actually manage to quit their day jobs even with their book sales. I know that’s the dream, but please don’t expect it. See, I’m trying to protect you from disappointment again. Write because you feel your life is empty without it, not to try and make a quick buck.
 
6)      You will get frustrated!
Jealousy is a very natural reaction, especially when a talentless chav bint like Katie Price gets announced “best selling author of the decade”, outranking the great JK Rowling. She doesn’t even write the novels, she has a ghost writer, and hasn’t even read them – for crying out loud!!! You’ll want to seethe with rage and jump up and down shouting, “WHY GOD, WHY???” Just me?? ;-)
Do not envy others’ success; they have their own life path, as do you. What will be will be.
Now breathe, and relax, let it go (sorry; instruction to myself; got a bit worked up thinking about Katie!) ;-)
 
But then, what do I know?  I’ve been self published for 2 years, and almost made back the cost of one of the covers of my four books!? Don’t take my advice!!
 
Interesting facts…I just looked up the best selling authors of all time (since records began, but not sure when that was), and the list was created in 2012, but quite interesting:
 
1)      JK Rowkling - £237.6m
2)      Jamie Oliver – £126.4m
3)      James Patterson - £100.7m (American)
4)      Terry Pratchett - £93.5m
5)      Jacqueline Wilson - £83m
6)      Dan Brown - £ 82m (American)
7)      John Grisham - £74.6m (American)
8)      Richard Parsons - £69.5m (for GCSE guides, really??)
9)      Bill Bryson - £67.6 (aweseome American)
10)   Delia Smith - £64.4m
If you want to see more, the link is here
I make it 35 out of the 50 are English; yay, I may stand a chance yet!!
And yes, my nemesis is there at number 46 (and another at 26)!! Thre’s a lot of food books in the list, maybe because we don’t have the same family culture any more, so we turn to books and not our mums to teach us to cook? Or maybe because of all the new foods we can choose from, and we want to have a clue what to do with a starfruit?
But I’m chuffed to see Mr Man author Roger Hargeaves is in the top 50; those books were a staple of my childhood! And Bill Bryson makes me laugh. Many of the authors on there get the thumbs up from me actually (I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know that!?).  “Oooh, I’ve sold £x million, but now TL Clark praises me I know I’ve made it”!! Haha!
btw, if you want to read what other authors have to say, take a look at Self-Publishing! In the Eye of the Storm! Yours truly makes an appearance (but takes no royalties at all from this).
OK, enough of my mind vomit for this blog? Yeah, go do something interesting now. Go! Shoo!