Our Purpose for Blogging


So I contemplated the problem of what do I write about in my blog after so little writing in the whole of this year.  How do I explain the quiet? What do I now have to say for myself?

But then I thought…so many of us probably go through it.  We just get too caught up with the helter-skelter of life.  I have been an avid reader all my life and yet I suddenly find myself struggling to get through a book without dozing off.  It’s not that the book is boring but I am exhausted! Work takes up most of my time  and energy and leaves little room for much else.

Last January, Elizabeth Gilbert had this to say in a post on her facebook page:

‘We live in a real world that is heavy sometimes with real-life obligations, but we also have souls that deserve care and attention. We can pay attention to our worldly ambitions and pleasures (hobbies, jobs, careers) without neglecting our mystical, otherworldly, beautiful and often impractical vocations. We can pay attention to all of it — but this requires sitting still at times and really thinking things through, with courage and dignity. And it requires an understanding of terms.’

The above is only a small part of a larger post which I found very thought-provoking! I am reminded about this post again and again by a very persistent nagging…muse? spirit? sub-conscious of my own?  You pick!

As bloggers, we may all come to a point where we have to ask ourselves the question, ‘For what reason do we write?’  Why do we choose to give up our time to do this?

Is it to help our career?  Is it a job or way to make money? Is it a hobby?  Is it a vocation?

When I began blogging two and a half years ago, I began because I had an instinct that I needed to do it. I thought perhaps it was a way of me discovering what career path to take or perhaps it would be just a hobby.  I had no idea, just an instinct and a curiosity to see what would happen.  For me personally, it was one of the best choices I ever made.  Writing became a conduit through which I learned more about God and what it meant to be spiritual.  I think now I was definitely called to blog for my own personal and spiritual development.  It started with an instinct…

Recently, my daughter Brittany asked me at the end of a phone conversation, “Mom when are you going to write on your blog?” It makes me wonder whether she too senses that it is something important for me to do.  So I am back and determined to make more time for blogging and writing of other kinds! I write because in lieu of what Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, I do not want to neglect my mystical side, what I would call my true self.

So why do you blog?  Have you asked yourself the question lately?

Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


Recently, the wonderfully inspiring author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things published a new book for aspiring writers.  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.  Big Magic is her first self-help book and as is as witty and humorous as Eat, Pray, Love.  I took it with me on my solo trip to the Isle of Eigg and it was the perfect book to bring for those long rainy days when I couldn’t get out but needed some inspiration and motivation to write.  I haven’t read other books about writing but I am sure after reading this that this is in a class of its own. When I first started reading it I thought that I probably wasn’t going t get much out of it but I was still loving EG’s style.  She writes like she is speaking to a friend in the room.  Big Magic is written openly and honestly and so therefore rather courageously I thought.  One of the things which impacted me was the way she expressed the magical things that sometimes happen when one if writing.  Perhaps some will scoff when they read about her theory that inspiration is floating around looking for creative people to birth these ideas or perhaps some will think, it’s a good enough explanation as any.  Elizabeth Gilbert offers quite a lot of sage advice as well as some wonderful personal anecdotes.  I was totally wrong when I thought I would get nothing from it but an enjoyable read.  This book is extremely encouraging and so much fun to read.  At times she had me chuckling to myself and even laughing out loud.  I was so inspired to write for the pure joy of writing that I ended up having an encounter of my own with ‘big magic’.  I wrote (or perhaps channeled) a short story of over 5000 words without hardly a pause except it was getting late and I was fighting sleep to keep going.  It was an exhilarating experience which I won’t forget.  I am not saying that if you read Ms. Gilbert’s book, you will also have a magical experience.  Read the book because it is an enjoyable book or because you have lost that spark you use to have and need some igniting.

Having a Bothy Time, Wish You Were Here!

Staying at Cuagach Bothy felt like a leap back in time.  When I thought about it, I have always had a sense of attraction to long ago rural living.  I have read enough books in my life time which took place during time periods where people’s lives were lived a bit more simply and yet a lot more vigorously.  The characters in the books I read included those real live men and women in history and the fictional characters often written by people living within that time period themselves.  These people were born into their lives.  They were taught their way of living by their parents or care-givers.  They were physically strong and mentally obstinate and persistent.  They lived their lives with the conviction that it was a thing of merit to always get their jobs done.  Life was harsh compared to the lives we normally live in our present Western society but though they were aware of that fact, they knew it was just life the way they had it and they had to go on with things and survive.

After Charlie dropped me off at the bothy and made sure I was settled (thanks Charlie!), I looked around and actually chortled.  It reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie only made of stone instead of wood.  Actually, the bothy is probably bigger than the Ingalls’ home and it does have electricity, a calor cooker and a stove and an adjacent room with a shower and toilet which is more in keeping with 20th century than 19th.  Still…I was elated!

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This was going to be fun!

This is an adventure!

However, unlike the Ingalls family or other people in history, I was born in 20st century New York City.  I was also used to certain luxuries which leads to this one rather humbling fact: I am a bit of a soft wuss.

One challenge I had was keeping the fire going in the stove so that the water for my shower was heated.DSCN2016 (2)  I didn’t quite get the knack until the day before I left.  I think this was because I was for the first few days trying to conserve wood and coal. DSCN2017 There was a generous supply of this left in the bothy but I didn’t know how much I was allowed to use or what the added expense would be until Maggie (the owner) assured me I could use as much as I wanted to keep warm and that the charge would be minimal.


The other small challenge was the notice hanging in the cottage stating that as a precaution, water should be boiled.  I boiled it the first feDSCN1761w days but then the water started to come out of the tap in a not very pretty yellow. (I found out later this is the norm on Eigg when it rains). In the end I did what men and women did for hundreds of years, I fetched water from the well, St Columba’s well to be exact which was a short walk away.  From my last trip here I remembered the water being clear, drinkable, delicious and above all safe to drink.  I loved going to the well each day and filling my water bottles up.    It offered another feeling of oneness with the island…and well it gave me some work to do.

Bothy living was certainly different than what I was used to having been raised a city girl.  One week was probably not long enough for me to get the full experience of it all.  Yet, it stretched me and it was where I feel I was meant to stay.  Cuagach bothy is rather charming and considered one of the best bothies on the island (from what I gathered from both locals and visitors).  I enjoyed my stay there. It beats camping for me and at least the loo was within the bothy unlike other bothies which have the use of an outhouse.  The views from my window were gorgeous.


I was prepared for the colder temperature with a warm sleeping bag, hot water bottle and thermal clothing so I was warm and comfortable. Best of all, I had days of quiet stillness and no interruptions which was what I had been craving.  I had brought with me Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic which gave me lots of inspiration and offered me a sense of freedom and purpose.


I got hours of writing done which I wouldn’t have had if I had been staying at a place with a TV, strong wifi signal and mobile network.  I had a nice welcome too, as Maggie had left a vase of hand-picked flowers on the windowsill.



Praise for The Signature Of All Things

Picture Source

Picture Source

The best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love could have decided based on the book’s success to play it safe and write more autobiographical books about her life and spiritual journey.  After reading The Signature Of All Things, it is apparent to me that Elizabeth Gilbert did not play it safe.  In fact this 600+ page novel is quite an ambitious undertaking.  Having read both Eat, Pray, Love and Committed and loving both books, I was a bit dubious about The Signature Of All Things.  If I am honest, it just did not sound like a book I wanted to read.  What I had gleaned was that the book was a period novel based on the science of Botany with the main character being a female Botanist.  Oh dear! Yet, the conundrum was that I really did yearn to read more by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Still, I kept putting it off until after hearing more and more of the book’s success and it being printed in different countries and in many languages I finally succumbed to reading the book.  I am truly very glad that I did!

I am also glad that I knew so little about the book when I began reading it for this book really surprised me.  It is so much more than just a period novel about a Botanist.  This book causes the imagination to bloom in panoramic proportions so that what you envision is breathtakingly beautiful.  Besides that, it is exceptionally well-researched.  Those with an adventurous spirit will find themselves soaring. Contemplatives will find their minds being further challenged while lovers of science will find satisfaction.

Partly into the book, I thought I knew what the book was about; then surprise after surprise enters into the story.  It isn’t as if the story changes direction.  It was more like a flower bud opening layer upon layer of petals so that each time something new was revealed it added to making the story more captivating.  I found myself often wondering, “Now where is this story going?”

My conclusion is that The Signature Of All Things is Elizabeth Gilbert’s current masterpiece.  How she will top this, I don’t know but I will never again hesitate to read more by her!