Dear Bloggers

Photo from Insomniac City by Bill Hayes

I hope 2018 is treating you well so far. As it’s been a while since I last posted, I thought I’d write an update.

I’m currently busy with another writing project, which means I have less time to blog, but I’m slowly working on a piece on Japanese architecture, and I hope to expand on some sections from the post I wrote on habits at some point.

I also post on Instagram quite regularly – mostly extracts from and comments on books I’m reading. Please have a look at @oneblacktreeblog if you’re interested.

Following my New Year’s resolution to reduce the time I spend online, I’ve been able to do a lot more reading this past month.

[If you’re trying to cut down on the internet and social media, I’ve found the simplest solution has been to restrict myself to one hour a day across all platforms (I break it up into about three twenty-minute sessions – you can even use a timer). I’ve also taken Facebook off my phone and mostly send voice instead of text messages.]

Here are some of the books I’m reading now:

  • Twinkle, Twinkle by Kaori Ekuni: a quirky novel about a couple who marry to please their parents, although the husband is gay and in a relationship with his lover from school days;
  • The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen, my favorite writer: to read her books is to forget where you are and be immersed in another time and place, in this case 1920s Ireland. Her writing is rich, idiosyncratic, and I think needs to be read slowly to appreciate fully;
  • Insomniac City by Bill Hayes: a life-affirming memoir and ode to New York and Oliver Sacks, it also has beautiful black and white portraits and photos of the city;
  • The Myth of Sisyphus: Albert Camus’s essay on suicide which I’m reading alongside Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being and the Shobogenzo, trying to come an understanding of how attitudes towards suicide differ in the east and west;
  • Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson: a fascinating look at how the western phobia of death has had profound and far-reaching consequences for society;
  • A Religion of One’s Own by Thomas Moore: It is such a pleasure to read someone who advocates living life in the questions and embraces all religions.
  • Sex and Rage by Eve Babitz: A coming-of-age story, semi-autobiographical, set in seventies LA. I’ve wanted to read Babitz for ages.

What are you reading? What are you writing or working on? What should I read? Please feel free to add links to your or others’ posts, or books in the comments. I love getting recommendations.

6 thoughts on “Dear Bloggers”

  1. I’m working on surviving a colder than usual, snowy Upstate NY winter while fending off demons at work (Im a special ed assistant at a high school) My blogs been quiet too. Ive been writing but cant post it because of district confidentality protocols. Loved your Instagram photos of the recent snow in Tokyo. Says something of how much I love Japan to find joy in snow pictures right now . I’m rereading Gratitude by Oliver Saks. Its tremedously reassuring in the current storm phase (this too shall pass)

    1. Thanks for your comment, it’s lovely to hear from you. And I love seeing your snowy pics, too — your part of the world looks so beautiful.

      I sympathise with feeling restricted in what you can and can’t post. And Gratitude is a favorite of mine 🙂

  2. Dear friend,
    Good to hear from you. Well done on persevering with those New Year’s resolutions well into February! Also been cutting back seriously on online and screen time after my blog titled ‘Just a moment’. As I was writing that, it was revealing to me how unwisely we utilize our (limited) time. Also off Facebook for starters and cutting back!

    I’m loving spending time with my grandsons, the eldest is in Grade 1 this year so big excitement with school sports and following his steps into a new era.

    I went to Latvia in December and found it a fascinating experience. I was just in time for good snow and the Christmas markets. What a perfect spot to attend a performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ in the opulent Riga Opera House – some girls have all the luck! This, I will always remember. Riga old town, snow on the beach of the Baltic Sea and Jurmela where I stayed for a week are all Postcard pretty and the people are super friendly and warm-hearted.

    As motivation on a health journey, I’m reading ‘Radical Remission by Kelly A. Turner’ – fascinating real life stories of courage, healing and victory. I was kindly gifted this book in Latvia, so it will always have special memories and I will read it again and again.

    Also another gift, this time from my lovely friend and hair stylist of almost 20 years, before my departure to Riga Latvia , was ‘Brenè Brown’s – Daring Greatly’ which I am loving. (Slowly – don’t ask why, everything happens slowly nowadays for me).

    I am stuck with these two at the moment because I also find myself delving and really craving for really deep messages from The Bible which to me, remains a fountain of hope and guidance in my determined physical combat program. I find strength and comfort there.

    I wish you many happy days in 2018, may you find what you are looking for, and may happiness find you!

    Warmest regards


    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Rain 🙂 It’s so true and may sound like a cliché, but life is too short to spend hours on Facebook or mindlessly surfing, and it’s all too easy to get trapped online for hours.
      Your Latvia trip sounds wonderful as do your grandchildren. And thank you for the book recs, both interest me and I haven’t read either (though I’ve heard a lot about Daring Greatly). Thanks again for getting in touch and I hope this year brings you much happiness too x

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