Do you remember my Monthly Inspirer?
For ten years, from 2002-2012 I sent out a monthly newsletter by email to up to 3,000 people.
It was a simple formula:
Well, I am delighted to announce that The Monthly Inspirer is BACK and this time it is all about writing.
That’s it. That’s all it is. Past subscribers told me they loved it and it was the one email newsletter they would save and read with a cup of coffee. They bemoaned its demise. In my infinite wisdom I decided to stop producing it and move over to blogging. It didn’t work. I went from 3,000 subscribers to an embarrassingly small number overnight.
If you want a taste of what was in a decade of Inspirers, then feel free to download a free PDF you can read on your iPad or Kindle Fire called The Inspirer Collection.*
The Inspiring Bit
We were experiencing a European heatwave when I wrote this…
It is currently 33 degrees inside my office and that’s with two fans on and the blinds drawn. I’m stifled – but my creative inspiration is certainly not on a slowdown. As it was only (only!) 28 degrees at 8 am I decided to head for a walk in the woods and deliberately left my phone behind.
A walk in the woods is what I do whenever I need to mull something over and for several months now I have had a massive project to mull over. It’s called the Life Story Jar and is the largest, most multi-faceted, scariest project I have ever created and is taking over my life. It’s a bit of a foray into a new area while putting all the things I have learned and taught over the years into a programme I consider to be my legacy. But that’s for another time. For now, suffice it to say that my head is all over the place.
So, I headed off in the shade of my wide-brimmed hat, up Bankastraat towards the Bosjes, which means ‘woods’. Out there in the cool of a leafy pathway it came to me. My mind was so full of ideas that it felt soupy, thick and hot. But now and again a rather good idea would emerge from the gloop and I’d take notice. I’d try my best to look at it in isolation and examine it long enough for it to not have disappeared back into the soup by the time I got home. How I wished my mind were as transparent and uncluttered as a consommé; a rich, tasty, nutritious bone broth that, like my thinking, was crystal clear. The perfect consommé were I to ever achieve such a state of mind would have one single exquisitely formed idea floating in the centre, like a truffle raviolo or a soft quail’s egg. But no, my mind was a permanent minestrone and I realised that I had to accept and embrace it for what it was – a muddle, but a good muddle in which there really were some good ideas.
As I walked more ideas flew in, some stayed awhile, some disappeared but still the soup metaphor remained. Like the best minestrone soup, made with a perfectly chopped mirepoix of vegetables that swim in a delicious, see-through broth. And like a minestrone, some ideas float while others sink. All have the potential to be great someday, but I don’t know about you, the ones that float on the top get taken first. Just as this post today persisted for the length of my wander and was still floating on the surface by the time I’d switched on the fans and sat down at my desk.
What’s On in September
September In The Hague
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Congratulations to Summertime and Springtime author, Ruth Van Reken, on her honorary degree — a Doctor of Letters — from Wheaton College for her lifelong and visionary advocacy for third culture kids.
Ruth Van Reken is the author of Letters Never Sent, and co-author of Third Culture Kids and Life in Motion.
Books to inspire from Jo Parfitt, author, journalist, teacher and poet.
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