Tag Archives: raising money for charity

Authors For Nepal (and an Influenza Update)

Time is of the essence with this one – not just, of course, in terms of the people of Nepal and their need for aid after the recent earthquake there, but also because this fantastic auction to raise money for them is coming to an end soon.

Image: nepalpoint.com

Image: nepalpoint.com

There are some brilliant things to be had – signed books, literary swag of all sorts, author appearances, and things of that ilk – but the best bits, in my opinion, are the manuscript critiques which are being offered by some of the best literary agents in the business.

Including, of course, my agent, the redoubtable (in a good way) and fabulous Polly Nolan of Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Here’s a link to the page where you can place a bid to have her critique your manuscript (should you have written one), and included in her prize is a one-hour meeting or phonecall to discuss said manuscript – and, possibly, the publishing business in general, because she’s a fount of terribly useful information, is Polly – which means that being the clever person in possession of the highest bid when the auction closes would be a Very Good Thing. Of course, it would help if you’re a children’s/YA writer-type with a completed manuscript for Polly to read, but I’m sure plenty of you gentle readers out there fall into just that category.

And, if kidlit (and, indeed, writing) is not your thing, then perhaps you’d prefer to check out the signed books and/or literary swag which is also on offer. In short, what I’m saying is, get yourself over to the Authors for Nepal auction site and have a snoop about. There’s bound to be something there to suit you, and you’ll be doing a wonderful thing for your fellow humans at the same time.

As for what I’ve been up to – well. Recuperating, is about the height of it. I’m beginning to feel like myself again, though I’m still not back to 100% functionality (and perhaps I never will be, alas. Age is beginning to take its toll, too, and decrepitude is surely just around the corner…) I made the silly mistake of trying to work on two WiPs at once last week, which wouldn’t have been a good idea even if I’d been in the full of my health (then, perhaps the idea to do it wouldn’t have occurred to me had I been in the full of my health), but – needless to say – all it meant was I didn’t make huge progress with either one. This week I hope to pick one project, focus on it, and make some headway. It would also be rather nice to be able to read something without my brain deciding to slide out of my ears and/or waking up half an hour later with my chin covered in drool.

Not that this happened at all during last week. Not at all. *ahem*

In any case, I’m (hopefully) back on the blogging horse, and with any luck I’m here to stay. Perhaps my absence gave you a chance to miss me, and perhaps you didn’t even notice I was gone. Either way, welcome to a new week and I hope it treats us all as well as can be expected, and perhaps even a little better than we’d hoped for.

And I hope it will have a lot less to do with handkerchiefs and self-pity than the past seven days have had…

*parp!* Photo Credit: Auntie P via Compfight cc

*parp!*
Photo Credit: Auntie P via Compfight cc

There Comes A Time

You bring them home when they’re new, and you spend some time getting to know one another. You treat them gently, speaking softly and calmly in their presence, carefully placing them into their comfortable, well-appointed cradles, and then you watch them flourish. They make you laugh, they make you cry, they make you think and feel and sometimes – quite regularly – they break your heart.

And then, there comes a time for letting go. For saying goodbye. For bidding them farewell as they move on to the next stage of their (hopefully) long and love-filled lives. Your life is richer for having had them, just for a short while, and you daydream about where they’re going to go, and who else is going to love them.

And you hope they don’t end up pulped, or in some random recycling bin.

Image: theguardian.com

Image: theguardian.com

What? Of course I was talking about books all along. Great Scott! What else could I possibly have meant by all that?

Anyway.

This weekend, we did something brave, my husband and I. We finally hauled the boxes of books we put away after The Great Book Cull of 2012 out of our shed, where they’ve been languishing in spider-infested darkness for all this time. We dragged them out into the light. We sorted through them (I saved three!) and then, with heavy hearts, we bid them farewell.

The only consolation we have is that – with any luck – these books will be going to good homes, and also earning us some major karma points into the bargain. For we wouldn’t just give away our preciouses to anyone, oh no. Our books, with any luck, will not only enter into a new phase of their life, where they’ll be loved and cherished by new hands and fresh eyes, but they’ll also help to raise money for charity.

Last year, when we attended the inaugural Hay Festival in Kells – which is returning this year, to our very great delight – we met a couple of fellas who hold a massive Book Fair in a town called Delvin, in the picturesque and wide-open-sky county of Westmeath, every year. They were great fun, and very knowledgeable about books, and delighted to talk about them to anyone who shared their enthusiasm. So, of course, my husband and I felt right at home.

‘Bring along your second-hand books to us,’ they said. ‘We’ll sell them at the Fair, and all the money raised goes to the local area, to fund community development and sports facilities and the like.’ So, we took a note and remembered to look them up. This past Saturday was the day when people with books to donate could make the trip to Delvin to drop off their offerings, and so that’s exactly what we did.

Image: business-opportunities.biz

Image: business-opportunities.biz

I thought I’d be okay, you know. I thought I’d cope with driving away and leaving our books there, by the side of the road (all right, so not really by the side of the road, but it adds to the desolation, so go with it), being pawed through by strangers, sorted into genre and age group, separated from their beloved box-mates… *sniff* It was harder than I thought. I may even have blinked back a few tears, but don’t tell anybody.

As we were leaving, one of the volunteers sorting through our donation found a copy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (before you judge us for donating this book, let me just make it clear that when my husband and I merged our book collections, we had several duplicates, of which ‘LOTR’ was one. Okay? Calm down), and the joy on his face was unmistakeable. Then, I spotted someone else flipping excitedly through a book with a pale blue cover, and I thought – for a heart-stopping moment – that I’d donated my copy of ‘The Once And Future King’ by mistake.

Image: thewrittenwordreviews.wordpress.com

Image: thewrittenwordreviews.wordpress.com

I hadn’t, of course. But I came within a whisker of demanding that my husband pull over so that we could rescue our beautiful darlings, such was my panic.

Then, even if I had demanded we pull over, I’m quite sure my husband would have given me a Look, one of those where your eyebrows practically walk across your forehead on stilts, and told me to Get a Grip. He’s a little more realistic than me, and is well aware that this is what we risk happening to our house unless we find a few more book fairs to which we can donate:

Image: jamsidedown.com

Image: jamsidedown.com

And I know he’s entirely, one hundred percent, without a doubt correct.

But I’m going to be buying books until they nail the lid down over me, no matter what.

So, let’s hope we don’t end up swapping one shed-load of books for another – because, of course, we plan to attend the book sale in Delvin in a few weeks’ time. It’s all for charity, right? Right. We’re practically obliged to go.

And if some of our abandoned lovelies find their way home with us again, well – it’ll all have been a grand fine adventure for them, won’t it? Of course it will.

 

Woman Power

So, I’m alive. I’m awake. I’m functional, even. I’m a little bit late with the blog post, but what’s that between friends? I hope you’ll forgive me.

If you can't forgive me, then maybe you'll forgive this cute kitten in a bonnet. Image: fourms.catholic.com

If you can’t forgive me, then maybe you’ll forgive this cute kitten in a bonnet.
Image: fourms.catholic.com

Yesterday was a hard day. Doing a 10K walk is not necessarily difficult in itself – I’ve often done long walks before – but the extra complicating factor in yesterday’s Mini Marathon was the heat. Yesterday felt like one of the hottest days I’ve ever lived through, even though I’m sure it wasn’t. But if you take a hot, dry, bright day and add upwards of 40,000 people all in close proximity to one another, it’s going to feel ten times hotter than it really is. There was a lot of perspiration going on. So much for the old maxim that ‘horses sweat, men perspire, and women only glow’: this woman right here sweated litres yesterday. Sorry for the gross image, but it has to be done!

It feels great to have completed the Mini Marathon, and I’m very glad I did it (with a lot of encouragement from my lovely mother-in-law), but I must admit that the build-up to it was nerve-wracking. I wondered if I’d be able to do it, and I worried about letting people (and myself) down if I failed. I worried that I wouldn’t be physically or mentally able for it – walking for pleasure, which I do every day, is a different thing from walking in a sporting event like this one, despite the fact that the participants weren’t in competition with one another – and I feared I wouldn’t be up to the task.

But I was. I did it! I have a lovely shiny medal now to be proud of, and my father-in-law and brother-in-law were kind enough to take high-resolution, sharp-focus photographs of me as I came away from the finish line so I’ll have those to admire in perpetuity, too. The cameras looked big enough to be capable of taking photographs of deep space, so I’m sure they captured every open pore and strand of sweaty hair, not to mention the lobster-red of my face. Thanks, guys!

Something which struck me yesterday was the amount of women who walked and/or ran the Mini Marathon in memory of someone else, and in honour of someone they loved. People wore images on their t-shirts, lovely photographs of lost children or friends or parents, sometimes with a note of their age and what had claimed their life but sometimes not. I found myself very moved by some of these memorials, especially those in memory of babies who hadn’t managed to survive being born too prematurely. I was awed by the strength of these women, the mental and physical power it took to undertake something as strenuous as yesterday’s event while also carrying the weight of memory and loss. I’m sure they were taking part in order to raise some money for all the excellent charities and causes out there, and I hope they managed to raise as much as they wanted to. Nowadays, there’s not a lot of extra coinage sloshing around, and things like this – really worthy things like this – are suffering.

Anyway.

Women are amazing. So are men, of course, but today I want to celebrate women and how strong and fantastic they are. I’m very proud to be one, and I’m proud to know so many wonderful women and to have taken part in an event so full of strong and capable women yesterday. I’m glad to live where I live, and I’m glad to live at this time in human history, where my life is important and my personal sovereignty is respected and my opinion is listened to and my vote is counted. I’m proud of the women who’ve come before me, and I hope I’ll leave the world in as good a state for the women who come after me.

Image: envisionus.com

Image: envisionus.com

Happy Tuesday!

Marathon Monday

Morning, all.

Today is a Bank Holiday in lovely Ireland, and I’m just popping in to say that I’m off doing this:

'Hello, Mum!' Image: irishheart.ie

‘Hello, Mum!’
Image: irishheart.ie

As a result, I won’t be able to do a proper blog today.

The Flora Women’s Mini Marathon, for that is the event being depicted above, is a wonderful endeavour; upwards of 50,000 women take part every year, raising plenty of money for charity and also testing their stamina, resolve and determination.

I’m just hoping I survive it.

It’s my first time to try it, and I’m definitely a walker, not a runner. I’m not doing it for sponsorship this year, just in case I make a mess of the whole thing and end up collapsing in a heap halfway through. If this year doesn’t turn out to be a fiasco, then next year I’ll do it again and earn all the money for all the charities, like a huge fundraising android.

Anyway, I must be off. My trainers are laced, my heart-rate is up, my muscles are warmed, and my water bottle runneth over. And, if you never hear from me again, you’ll know what happened. Send word to my folks and tell ’em I love ’em, won’t you?

Wish me luck!