Hawaiian stop, Time to recharge

2017,Jan

I am in Hawaii, having a chance to recharge my batteries. It’s been a busy year, and it took a good week to unwind before I began to relax and really enjoy myself. Nothing like taking a break, but especially in such a fabulous place and climate.

Have I been doing any writing? Not much. Going to the gym every second day, and taking a swim every day, except when the wind blew so strongly the waves were fierce and dangerous. Otherwise, into that fabulous water.

I’ll be back in time for the end of the month. Hope you have a fabulous rest of January.

Full Monty – movie, Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson

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Unemployed men in the north of England are willing to try anything to scrape together a living and at the same time, uphold their dignity. The plan is to hold a fund raiser in the bar, with male strippers.

This is a compelling story on many levels, for there’s more at stake than a bit of money and having some fun. Fatigued and out of work, the men wonder if they’re still men. Dave is afraid of losing his wife, Gaz is already divorced, and their suicidal pal Lomper is living a dreary celibate life

Given the programme, the film seems oddly innocent. It’s a comedy about male full-frontal exposure, or, as one character puts it, men prancing around Sheffield with their widgers hanging out. Rife with nudging and guffawing, the steelworkers turned male strippers are less raunchy than awkward and well-meaning.

What The Full Monty is, though, is political, in a gentle way. Great characters and very good acting by Tom Wilkinson and Robert Carlyle, among others. Worth watching even now, sixteen years later.

Cruise to Spain via Portugal

Our cruise to Spain was exactly what we wanted — kind of like the slow boat to China. We left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a Sunday and spent twelve days at sea. It was eight days from departure for our first stop – the Portuguese island of Madeira. By then we had begun to unwind and felt like we were finally on vacation.

P1040170The ancient barricade wall at Funchal

P1040159Painted on the barricade

The capital of Madeira is Funchal and that is where our ship docked. What a beautiful place. The trip up to the peak of the mountain in a taxi allowed us to stop at some spectacular gardens.

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Then we rode the cable-car back down to the city. It was hair-raising but worth it for the fabulous views. Old buildings, beautiful churches, tiny gardens clinging to minute spaces on the steep hillside. Definitely a must see.

P1040219A resident of the gardens

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Travel to Florida

We had a fabulous trip, starting out from Vancouver airport. We had a stop in Montreal, then straight down to Fort Lauderdale. We were lucky enough to stay in Florida for five days. It was lovely, we visited friends in Fort Myers on the western side of the state, who live in a gated community — quite different from our sprawling landscape. Then we travelled over to Cayo Costa which is west of Fort Myers to visit some Canadian friends who spend the winter down there on their boat — again very different from our ability to take up as much room as we need. It was beautiful, we saw manatees, a gorgeous lagoon and were fed a delicious lunch.

P1040133The ferry taking us to Cayo Costa

P1040145The bay of Cayo Costa

When we sadly left our friends to return to Fort Lauderdale, we were ready to board our cruise ship for a trip across the Atlantic. Never imagined we would ever do this, but it was fascinating. More to come. 🙂

Robert Dugoni workshop – author encouragement

 

R DugoniI attended a writing seminar taught by Robert Dugoni. He’s a bestselling author of police detective mysteries and about 35 people arrived from all over Vancouver Island to hear what he had to say, which turned out to be quite a lot. And it was not only interesting but useful information.

I’ve written a few books now but am still learning and I learned even more on Saturday. Here’s a sampling . When  creating a character –

  • make him strong, along with other attributes he might need for his role such as leadership, cunning, loyal – all great virtues
  • give him an Achilles heel, such as depression, over-stubborn, jealous – any one which will allow him to be vulnerable
  • make him believable so the reader can identify with him, but also larger than life so he can be admired
  • make him sympathetic, where the reader can identify his fault, not pathetic where the reader can’t relate

But the most compelling part of the workshop was the ending. Dugoni reminded us to enjoy writing, and not to get so caught up in the marketing, readings, production of material that we lose the fun of it. Good words to write by.

To learn more about Robert Dugoni, check out his website at http://www.robertdugoni.com/