Monday, 16 April 2012

Inspiration from 'Tea at Sam's'.

I have just finished reading a book written by a friend of mine, Sue Cross. The book is titled ‘Tea at Sam’s’ and features the stories of three expatriate women whose lives become entwined together as they meet at a local art class and then go on to arrange to meet over a cup of tea at Sam’s or Samantha’s place.

But the meeting becomes symbolic for them all and more than just a cup of tea but a meeting of lives and a new start for them all.
Sue has attempted a very difficult task as a new writer, that of combining a number of different stories into one.  Well done Sue for attempting a such a daunting task and aiming high. Her characterisation is fantastic and she clearly understands the expatriate life completely with her firsthand experience.
I am left feeling a little over awed by this as a first book. I’m not sure if I can aspire to write even half as well and cannot imagine attempting such a difficult plot with so few problems. I recommend a read and look forward to more from the pen of this writer who has taught me so much. Thanks Sue.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Struggle to take part

What a weekend this Easter time! Down to Putney to share the boat race with all my many New Zealand relatives and cheer on the only Kiwi in the race.

The Friday night (Good Friday) saw us out for a meal with all the supporters. After the meal a young man and former rower spoke of the point of the race being the struggle to take part – gruelling months and years of early rising and relentless toil -and not the win as often portrayed by the media. But what a struggle even the win was, from the protest swimmer in the water which stopped the race to the broken Oxford oar and the Oxford bowman struggling to breathe and needing hospitalisation. Yet in spite of all these difficulties the Cambridge team prevailed and saw it through to victory even though there was no presentation either or sense of triumph. There must be a lesson here.

Often as writers we struggle to believe in ourselves and struggle to see the win at the end of the tunnel or water (all 7km of it). But if we battle on with obstacles, unpopularity and flying in the face of public opinion, maybe our win will come. It may even mean no accolade or obvious triumph at the end of the battle. But, in the words of the speaker ‘it is the struggle to take part’ that’s important and not ultimately the win. Sobering words but true words nevertheless. My cousin has given me the courage to keep going. Thanks Alex, may your moment of glory be sweet for you.