FIRST NOVEL AWARD NOMINATIONS FOR GABRIELLA!

Much has been happening with Gabriella, as well as with me, since I last blogged.
Let’s start with Gabriella news first. She has been nominated by my publishers for not one, but two, first novel awards. The first is the prestigious Costa Book Awards, formerly known as the Whitbread Literary Awards, and the second is part of the Guildford Book Festival. I will keep you posted on those.

I have also been the guest of honour at a number of book clubs who have chosen Gabriella to read. What a privilege it has been to hear the responses of circles of women to the story. There are two more of these events up-coming this autumn. Thank you all of for your insights and your support.

Along with this, I have begun work on my second novel. It is a very different story to Gabriella; but in a strange sort of way they are also quite a lot alike. It is a story of healing and redemption, of moving from fragmentation to wholeness. I will tell you more about it as it unfolds.

Another new development is that Gabriella will become an audio book this year. I have received so many requests from people who have visited the website and listened to the recorded excerpts there, that I have decided to go back into the studio and read the story in its entirety. I am very excited about this and will let you know when it is available for purchase and downloading.

Finally, I have accepted the position of Creative Director at The Kripalu Centre here in Dorking. Kripalu USA is the largest yoga-teaching institute in the world and we, in England, are the European centre for Kripalu. I, personally, will be developing workshops and seminars that explore the links between creativity and well being, as well as facilitating the introduction of other teachers and creative people to our students, as well as the larger community. It’s going to be a great year.

I will be in touch more often, as this will be a great resource for me to process all these different pieces of my journey.

Blessings

Valentines for Gabriella

 Well, it has been 3 months since the launch of Gabriella in the US & the UK. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years have passed, Valentine’s day is only a week away, and Gabriella is receiving love letters. She really is. Notes and cards and emails are pouring in from readers, on both sides of the Atlantic, from readers who have been deeply touched by the book and want to tell me the experiences they have had. I am amazed by the generosity of their spirits. Firstly, that they have taken time, that most precious of commodities, to read Gabriella’s story and then, that men and women, boys and girls, from ages 10 to 85, would invest even more energy making a connection with me, is humbling. I am filled with gratitude. In so many ways this is a long season of celebration, of new beginnings, and an awakening of something within me that has long lain dormant. Thank you, all of you, for joining me on this most remarkable journey. 

Autumn Thoughts

October 2007

It is autumn in the Northern hemisphere. For most of my life, it has been my favourite season.

These are the days of lengthening shadows, of shorter days and frosty mornings. The trees put on a display of riotous colour, their leafy forms, all golden-red, contrasting boldly with skies awash in clear, crisp blue. Underfoot, those leaves that have given their final show, lay scattered across my path. And each day the branches, the skeletons of the deciduous trees, reveal more and more of their unique and rarefied beauty, no longer hidden, no longer masked by foliage.

As my novel, Gabriella, is introduced to this world, I am grateful to have autumn as my companion. It is helping to remind me, in a profound and shockingly beautiful manner, that I, too, have cycles and seasons, that each moment of my life has given way to the next, that what has looked like death, has actually, been birth.

To quote Edwin Way Teale:
Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is, is change.

Judy’s First Post

Five years ago, nearly to the day, the seed for Gabriella was planted deeply within my heart and mind. Bringing that seed to fruition has been a profoundly healing journey, in so many ways, on so many levels.

Early in the process, I became acutely aware that I had spent most of the years of my adult life finding way to give voice to other people’s words and music, lending my creativity to amazing and beautiful stories that other writers and composers had given birth to. And, until the story of Gabriella came to me late one night, as I sat high upon a hill, above the Mediterranean Sea, gazing at a glorious display of swirling stars, it had been enough.

And then, in an instant, it wasn’t…It really wasn’t enough to be an interpreter of someone else’s symbols on a page, of someone else’s notes on a staff.

That first glorious spark of inspiration was also one of recognition. I love that word, recognition, its root is from the Latin and means, “to know again”. I think that when I began to follow the meandering path of character and story, I was invited, in the unfolding of Gabriella’s world, into a new relationship, with, not only her, but with parts of myself as well. Parts I had long ignored, neglected, belittled and abused. I began to re-member and, very slowly, pieces of my personal puzzle began to fit together, as fragments of me came forward, gently asking to be reintroduced to my consciousness.

It has been a remarkable season, filled with paradox and grace, and an ever-deepening understanding of how to take good care of this emergent creative expression. How to balance the joy and sorrow, confidence and insecurity, excitement and disappointment I experience. I sometimes strained, trying to hear each word, to clearly see each scene, every nuance, as it magically unfolded in the sacred place within some quiet corner of my Spirit. And then, when I found that place, all straining ceased.

Maybe that silent mystical space is where imagination abides. In my yearning to visit there more often, and with far greater ease, I have learned two lessons, which have changed my life:

I do best when I write in pencil. I guess the childlike nature in me finds the sound and feel of graphite on white paper incredibly freeing and so I play without judgment.

And…

When I have asked for help, and boy, have I asked for help, people have responded in ways that have literally taken my breath away.
Or, to quote Gabriella,
Giving love is half the test.
Receiving it is all the rest.

Published in: on October 9, 2007 at 7:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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