REFLECTIONS

I’m not a huge fan of statistics! Yet at times they can be surprisingly revealing and this was the case over the holidays as I made a rare excursion to my ‘Stats’ page!

I think it is only fitting that an article about friendship should be the most viewed post of 2021. ‘Friendship’, written in February 2017, celebrates the wonder of friendship and more than ever I believe that:

‘The journey of life, with its highs of happiness and lows of loss and suffering, would be unbearable without the constant presence of friends -– the shared expedition easing the load, doubling the joy.’ (Annika Perry)

Some of my book reviews were in the top ten most viewed posts this year, including ‘The Frequency of Us’ (#2), ‘Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words’ (#3) and ‘Liars and Thieves’ (#5).

A few of my own fiction pieces were in the top ten. ‘Beckoning Light’ (#6) also had the honour of being the most viewed post within a single day in 2021. The comments on ‘Where Did They Go?’ (#10) were uplifting and heartening.

‘Lunch itself had been an unremarkable affair, the legs of the iron-wrought table playing a tuneless melody as the wrap was assembled. Tortilla, lettuce, avocado, parmesan, a couple of drooping slabs of tomato. They angered her, those tomatoes which had lost their lustre, their brightness. What right did they have to give up?’ (Annika Perry)

In the eighth position is one of my many ‘walking’ posts, this time taking a new look at the familiar topic! ‘Duality of Walks’ (#8) featured both a real-life local walk as well as that of the virtual walk as part of a global challenge!

‘Mesmerising Marbles’ (#7) proved popular with many as I captured how a Swedish musician built an incredible musical instrument that uses 2,000 marbles to create a unique and melodic tune.

The last two top ten posts centred around my work as a writer. ‘Creative Haven’ (#9) captured the creation and launch of my very own writing studio whilst my children’s book Oskar’s Quest was celebrated through a heartwarming and touching review in ‘“A Message of Courage, Kindness and Friendship.”’ (#4)

‘’Oskar’s Quest’ is a beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship. Annika Perry has a gift for writing up, not down to children. Even very young children are attentive, curious and observant.’ (Erica Henault)

None of this would be possible without you all, my dear friends! Your amazing, thoughtful and caring comments and engaging interaction has been a godsend this past year, all these years. I was astonished to see the array of nationalities of followers and friends from across the globe. The top two countries for the number of views were not a surprise to me, that of the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The next eight countries included India, Canada, Philippines, Australia, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa and Germany — a joy to see two more continents drawn in by my writing! Thank you so much — your continued support and interest mean so very much to me.

Finally, it is with deep sadness that two of the most gentle yet formidable souls I’ve met here on WordPress, both wonderful authors and bloggers, passed away this year. In this unique digital world, where connections are forged across the internet, often never to meet in real life, the friendships feel as close and meaningful as ever.

Both these authors lived incredible lives filled with adventure and daring; they faced their illnesses with courage, open to the end about their personal battles, sharing in the wisdom, hardships, love and joy. Their missives had me in tears and yet at times laughter.

Your lives exist through your words, your work; through us all touched by your inspirational approach to life.

Sue Vincent

14th September 1958 – 29th March 2021

‘No matter how much the physical world seems to shrink around you, as access to it is cut off by restrictions, health and mobility… the landscape of the heart is an infinitely wide place to run free and play with those we love.’ (Sue Vincent)

Mary Smith

d. 25th December 2021

‘I was riveted by both the epic sweeping story as well as the wonderfully descriptive writing and the beautifully drawn and varied characters in ‘No More Mulberries’.

Mary Smith is an assured writer who unravels the multifaceted lives of her characters with creative skill, whilst retaining tight control of the overall novel. I was hooked from the very beginning and felt a sense of loss upon finishing the book … one of those times I just didn’t want to say farewell to my new friends!’ (extract of my book review of Mary Smith’s book ‘No More Mulberries’)

I will never forget either of you.

‘Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.’ (Khalil Gibran)

REFLECTIONS OF US

Summer slips into autumn almost unnoticed; the body hugging warmth acquiesces to an insipid invasive damp that clings to our lungs.

One minute the green of July and August, then with the next blink there is the hint of the golden copper of October. However, leaves fail to create the usual heart-tugging, breathtaking display. Rather there is an inhaled gasp of surprise. Already? When? When did the trees hearken to winter? When did the leaves scatter and clutter the paths, the lawns?

A life lived indoors … hospital, home, caring, worrying. Fears threaten to crumble the mind, spirit, soul. A battle of chaos and peace ensues.

Some flowers grace us with their presence; their resilience reminding us to remain likewise unyielding. Yes, do bend with the circumstances but do not break.

Outside the storm wreaks its path across the country; its disturbing dissonance a reflection of us all. Swirling of winds, lashing of horizontal downpours, so violent and ferocious; anger captured at its peak. Roads turn into streams; in awe and impotence, we gaze from the security of our homes, behind the safety of glass windows, reinforced from outdoor threats. In a bubble of us … bubble of loneliness, separated from loves, friends precious lives. Aching for ourselves, more so for our children. Wisdom of years gives scant comfort, neither to the young nor to the old. It just IS!

Yet!

Glimpses of unadulterated joy crash without expectation upon us. A song catches us unawares, soul swoops, memories gather like swallows, building momentum before taking off in a glorious flight. Laughter, yes, it still exists, reverberates in the pit of our bellies following the initial sudden gusto of giggles; chuckles which so delight we cannot help but prolong the moment. All else is forgotten.

Note: The extract of my morning pages was written early November 2020 when pen and paper reconnected for me for the first time in a month. Morning pages are advocated by Julia Cameron in her ‘An Artist’s Way” and “the idea is to wake up, open your morning journal, and write three pages of longhand of any thoughts that come out of your head. Julia Cameron created this approach to journaling as a way for people to unleash their creativity”. I can highly recommend her book!