Thursday, 28 June 2012

Happy Ever After!

Do all fairy tales have happy endings?

The simple answer to that question is … No.  Many fairy tales (look no further than they Brothers Grim) were originally written with horrible, gruesome endings.  The philosophy behind that was to scare children into good behaviour?
The next question is why did modern society deem it necessary to alter the original stories and have, “and they lived happily ever after” at the end?  This now appears to be the common practice, with all children’s stories having a happy ending.  Are we as parents trying to shield our children from any sort of disappointment?  Would it be detrimental to their young psyche if the hero/heroine suffered a tragic / sad ending?
Perhaps our modern parenting methods of wrapping our children in “cotton wool” and pretending that all is good in the world has created the anti social / misbehaviour of youth today?  The alteration of fairy tales and the happy ending stories have prevented the child from developing their ability of coping with difficult, real-life problems.  Another problem with the “happy ever after” scenario is our deepening discontent with our real lives and our build up of false expectations.
Yes, we all enjoy the feel good factor of losing yourself in a book with the comforting background thought in our heads that all will be good.  Saying that, I can think of a few books / movies that have ended on a sad note and I can remember how I felt.  I can remember those feelings better than the feelings I feel after reading a happy ending.  I was left feeling sad, sometimes in tears but never disappointed or disillusioned.  I somehow felt at home. 

So now I am thinking …. What if? 
What if I write a story with a shocking twist at the end? 
What if I revert to the style of the Brothers Grim and throw in some gruesome ending? 
Would I shock the reading public?
Would they want to read what I write? 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

serious words written down

I have decided in order to keep my fictional, book writing words separate from the more serious, factual words I have created a separate blog site. 

So words written down will continue to be my random daily ramblings combined with my attempt at writing a novel and serious words written down will be my work / life related thoughts.  This should hopefully clear up the confused jumble I call my brain.  Everything in its right compartment – all neat and tidy.

Idiom: Tidy desk, tidy mind
or in this case
Tidy blog, tidy mind.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Where would you do your best work?

What with all the drama going on in my life again I haven’t had much opportunity to write again.  Not a happy moment for me as I did make certain promises.  So just to keep things ticking over a bit I am going to cheat a bit and post some blog articles I have posted on my work intranet.

This first one about working environments is very poignant for me at the moment.
I recently got into a discussion about work environments and how they can have a major influence on us all.

We have all worked in places that we were less than excited to get up in the mornings and go to; this is an awful feeling. It is much more pleasurable, and less stressful to go to a work environment that is filled with positivity and enjoyment. A positive work environment is not only important for our physical, mental and emotional health, but is also important for the results that we produce for the company. The better we feel at work, the more likely we will take pride in our job activities and be loyal towards our place of employment

It makes sense that people that are happy within their working environment will work far more effectively and happily than those who are uncomfortable: it therefore makes sense to consider certain aspects of your workspace quite carefully.

Now I am not only talking about the normal aspects of space, clutter, noise, ventilation, lighting and temperature.  Although, these are all equally important aspects.  In my case the temperature and clutter are great negatives. (I find myself unable to work very productively if I am cold, and anything below 22deg is cold for me.) 

Physical space matters. I think it is far easier to be productive, creative and happy at work in a colourful, organic, playful environment than in a grey, linear, boring one.  And this is not just the outside of the building; we need to remember that most employees work inside the building.

Now, when your office was furnished, did the shopping list go something like this?
·                 One desk. Gray / brown.
·                 One ergonomic office chair. Black.
·                 One waste paper basket. Gray / black plastic.
·                 One filing cabinet. Gray / brown.
You know – the usual stuff. Typical. Traditional. Boring and very unimaginative.

I’m not saying that a fancy desk or a weird chair is going to magically improve creativity and productivity – but I am sure, that all that sameness and eternal corporate greyness, does nothing good for our ability to come up with great new ideas.

Here are some ideas on how to spruce up a workplace that may actually inject some colour and fun into our work environment.

·         Colour, vibrant and energising.  Not magnolia or grey!
·         Music, upbeat and maybe a bit toe tapping.  (not to loud of course)
·         Plants.  Real ones, not those plastic fake looking ones.
·         Creative areas with white boards, or why not just write on the walls.  Praise for employees is written  across the walls and ceiling in the main area of What If Office.
·         Bean bags, they look great and can be used in a million different positions. Four bags and a coffee table and you have a great meeting room!  I doubt you can get stressed when seated in a bean bag?
·         And what a bout a slide feature?  Whooohooo!!! That’s the sound of someone blazing down the new slick carbon slide in the Red Bull office in London right before a meeting!  Not only does the Red Bull office have a slide they have ping pong table meeting rooms, a floating staircases, a slick slide to a modern bar and cafe, and a comfy lounge area… Now any tie wearing client is bound to be transformed into a cool craving stunt junkie after a quick plunge here.

Now, I doubt I have to mention the office of all offices - the Google offices.  I am sure you have all seen pictures of their work areas!

 What are your thoughts?  Any suggestions on how to transform a drab workspace into an exciting area of discovery you would love to spend hours at?  What would happen if we allowed staff to “create” their own areas? 

AND, if you dare – show us a picture of your work area (before you tidy).

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Internet surfing is a drug

I am disappointed to report that I did not achieve my goal for yesterday. 

Blasted internet surfing is an addictive drug and before you know it the hours have flown by with nothing to show for it.

My aim was to spend a few hours creating, moulding and enhancing one of my characters for my book.  I do have them all in my head, but I felt having the details down on paper where I could just glance at on occasions would help tremendously when my characters got themselves into different circumstances. 

Well, my deadline has been extended forward a day.  Good thing I am my own boss! 

However, just to keep things flowing a bit I am posting the picture my daughter did on one of my scenes.  It is a perfect fit to the picture in my head.  I just hope her amazing depiction of the scene is due to my incredible descriptive writing?

Thanks Heather – you a star. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

Its time for me to stop procrastinating, stop making excuses, stop blaming life and get on with it.  I have not done any writing for so long I can feel the brain cells groaning and finger joints creaking with rust and corrosion.

Yes, life is tough and we all have our ups and downs.  But, I have walked the Drakensburg, clambered around the Pennines and “done” the peak of Snowdon (not by train).  So watch out Everest I am on my way to the top.  Besides I am my mother’s daughter and made of some pretty strong stuff.

Today is my Dad’s birthday.  When he passed 4 weeks ago I promised him that I would continue with my writing and more importantly continue with my book.  I am sad to say I have not written a word.  I have thought long and hard about it as I had lost my way slightly (a lot). 

Writing a novel is not easy.  Silly of me to think it was.  I seem to be going in circles and characters, events, ideas change continuously.  So my plan to start with, is to make an effort to write something everyday.  Yes, everyday.  Even if it is just to say, “Hey world …. What’s happening?” 

The more you write the more you want to write and the more the creative juices flow.  I hope.  Well that is my thinking behind it all.  I find my problem is I want it to happen too quickly and I want it done NOW!  I am impatient and I put too much pressure on myself.  So I’m slowing the pace down (do you hear that brain?)  I’m slowing the pace down and going one step at a time.

Even if I am the only one reading my blog?
My rambling thoughts will come together.
For me
And my dad

Happy Birthday Dad.  Love you and miss you.
PS – Dad, please keep an eye on my English and spelling.  My brain works faster than my fingers at times.