makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Sunday, March 29, 2015

One + Four = Life

Once a week.
Four photos.
To document your life.
One + Four = Life

Ever since I was given my first camera, I've been more than a little snap happy (I'm the sort of person who comes back from holiday with 200 photos), and having three cute small people in my life has only made it worse! I get a little bored and over-enthusiastic, and post way too many photos on Instagram, which is why Pip's (Meet Me at Mikes) idea of sharing four photos that document your week, each Sunday, appeals to me so much. Here are mine:

United in Lego/Early morning sky/A moment of peace on the back-steps/Making crumpets

My Instagram
Meet Me at Mikes

Friday, March 27, 2015

You know those weeks that end up being something quite different from what you expected? Well, this has certainly been one of those! My children have taken it in turns to be sick, so I have been outsourcing the school run and spending long days at home. This has actually been surprisingly enjoyable, although it has also reminded me of the roller coaster experience of the preschool years: one minute you are enveloped in a wonderful sense of well-being, delighting in the little lives you are nurturing and the next moment, all hell has broken loose and you want to run away screaming, or pull your hair out, or both. I'm hoping for a restful weekend before the homestretch to the school holidays... Anyway, here are a few fabulous sites I discovered this week. Happy weekending!

The Planthunter is an online magazine devoted to celebrating plants and the varied ways humans interact with them. Plants have been inspiring, feeding, sustaining and soothing humans for aeons. The Planthunter documents and celebrates these connections.

At the Kitchen Table is Sophie Dahl's beautiful collaborative website with recipes, reviews, fashion, beauty, and short stories.

Fuck Yeah, Book Arts! is a blog for creative types interested in the (un)conventional world of Book Arts.

Creative Women's Circle: "If you value the handmade, the personal touch, the word-of-mouth, the friendly tip or the grassroots movement: you belong here." Creative Women’s Circle is a community of women involved in creative industries who share information, inspiration and ideas.

Sam Meeking's #5minutestories: "These are the shortest of short stories to experience on a busy commute, or while stuck in a waiting room. They are the perfect length to be enjoyed on a coffee break, or with a cup of tea (biscuits are optional but certainly recommended). They will entertain you, and always leave you with something to ponder."

Kate Berry's Lunch Lady, where I found a delicious, easy, and healthy recipe for chocolate mousse. Yum! Gorgeous photographs and lots of inspirational recipes.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

So I don't read nearly as much as I should, mainly because I get distracted by other things like Instagram and online shopping and iview and the interesting articles people share on Facebook, but I have read some rather amazing books over the last few months. Here's a list and some links:

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Hills of Apollo Bay by Peter Cowan
Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey
The Sinkings by Amanda Curtin
Listening to Country by Ros Moriarty
The Golden Age by Joan London
That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott
Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany
Shallows by Tim Winton
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ten years ago, I celebrated my 25th birthday, dancing in a nightclub in Edinburgh. I drank vodka and soda and smoked my last ever cigarette. I was pretty miserable at the time. The next day I came down with flu and was in bed for a week. Today, I went to the beach with my three kids, ate lots of amazing food cooked by my husband, and drank some old and delicious red wine. I was given flowers and plants and some money to spend shopping for vintage furniture. So much has changed, it makes me think ten year plans are kind of ridiculous! I may have crappy days, but I'm so much happier now than I was back then. I know what motivates me and what I want from life. This morning, I lay in bed with my two year old sleeping next to me, and thought about what I'd like to change. Mostly, I just want to get on with doing some of the things that I procrastinate about; to overcome my fear of failure and to give it a go. In the words of Nick Cave: "The worth of the idea never becomes apparent until you do it." Amen to that.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I'm in the thick of writing my first draft and 33, 000 words into a manuscript that will probably be about 80,000. Sometimes, I feel completely lost and I have no idea where it's going or what to write next. It feels a lot like making my way through the house on a pitch black night. Panic nudges at me but I have to push it aside and just keep moving, accepting that I can't see clearly where I'm heading. I'm trying to accept the fear, the sensation of falling, as part of the process. I just write and add to the word count, comforting myself with the knowledge that I will one day have a first draft, a substantial chunk of writing, to mold into something that makes sense and conveys what I want it to. You have to be brave to write a novel and I don't feel very brave, but I'm more afraid of doing nothing or saying nothing and that's what drives me on through all the self-doubt. I don't yet know how it's going to end, but I'm very keen to find out. And I take strength from this quotation:

"Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.” Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I don't think I've ever valued friendship as highly as I do now. Even as a teenager, when friends seemed like everything, I didn't really understand what a difference they make.  I was a bit of an island - I thought I could do just fine on my own. Friends were fun, of course, but I didn't need them.

But children, as previously discussed (many times), change everything. I really do believe, with all my heart, in the expression: "it takes a village to raise a child." We aren't meant to be doing it the way we are - in little, isolated family units - and that it why we feel so much pressure and inadequacy when we fall short of the impossible. The friends, I have made through parenthood, really are the silver lining, in what is a very tough gig. I have met so many beautiful, interesting, kind, perceptive people in the last few years, and they make all the difference to my days. But friendships need nurturing. Like all good things they require effort and work, and this can be hard when there are so many busy aspects to our lives. Plans are made and plans fall apart. Someone is sick, too tired, working, just plain over it. Sometimes I get disillusioned. I feel like every time I'm excited about some upcoming event, forces conspire to ruin it. I get a little paranoid about being pushy; am I more lonely than others? Is my life less full? Do I need others more than they need me? Am I not in the least bit interesting? But then I think, NO, that it is a very bad way to live. I'm not going to close off to possibilities because of insecurity and fear. I will keep trying, keep making connections and nurturing friendships because they really are the glue that holds us all together.

Photo by my dad

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

So, it is almost five year since I started this blog, which is kind of insane! A lot has changed in my life over those years and also in terms of the content of this tiny plot of cyberspace. Back then it was all about long days at home, cooking and crafting, with an abundance of photographs and only a few words. Now the emphasis is much more on writing, with fewer photos and plenty of words. I post less frequently, but when I do, I have more to say. I may still spend my days at home with a small person, but I am now a school mum and this has, of course, dramatically changed our lives. The days, weeks, months, years are structured and busy, and it is a struggle to give the kids enough unscheduled time to be free and creative. I do however have more time to write now, than I did back then, and more energy to pursue my interests.

I settled on the name, Mama Makar, because I wanted my blog to reflect the two major preoccupations in my life: motherhood and writing. Over the years, the content has moved away from being almost entirely about the very consuming role of mother, to focus far more on writing and creativity. Despite this, I see the two as intricately linked. Someone asked me today if having children has helped me to be more imaginative, and the answer is yes, I think it has. Observing my children play and witnessing their impulsiveness and determination, their inquisitiveness and wonder, their joy in the world, and their fearless approach to a creative undertaking - how could that not be an inspiration? But it is certainly not easy to balance the two major parts of my life, and sometimes it leaves me feeling frustrated and dispirited.

In some ways, I wish I could go back to posting more frequently about cooking and crafting and the simple things we do everyday. I like sharing our days and celebrating what might otherwise seem mundane. I have never intentionally changed the course of my blog; it has just evolved over time, as I have done. I remain unsure as to how interesting any of this is to anyone else, but I like writing it, and that surely is the most important thing of all.

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