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Cheerleading Your Flock

I needed to give myself a bit of a pep talk today, and so I was thinking about inspirational women who have been in my life. Without doubt one of the most amazing has been Vanessa Wallace.

An entrepreneur turned athlete who became a medal winning competitor and Paralympian. Nothing beats sitting in someone's kitchen having a cuppa and holding their Gold Medals I am telling you.

When I looked back did I feel intimidated and insecure around Vanessa? especially when she was doing incredible things I couldn't even dream of for myself? I did not.

And why do you think that might be? because she is a natural cheerleader, someone who encourages and supports other women's endeavours. And she did this for me with the sweet review of Laughing At Myself

“Laughing at myself was like reading a snapshot of the mishaps that the universe likes to throw in my path for its own entertainment. Written in an easy to read format, that pulls no punches, but is still rich in empathy and smiles, this book was a welcomed break from the current world events. One to recommend to everyone you know, as well as being one you could read over and over again, this is definitely one of my favs. No pressure Eden, but can we have the next one soon please? I look forward to enjoying it with a cuppa and some custard creams".

What have you done to support the women in your life?

If you would like to be one of my cheerleaders, voting on covers, and reading my new books before anyone else, use the link to join my VIP readers group,

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It’s here!

Hello gorgeous friends, today's the day, you can buy your paperback copy of Laughing at Myself direct from my publisher! It's released on Amazon and all good retailers worldwide from August 2020. So this link is super special!

Laughing at Myself released today!

Laughing at Myself is a collection of stories based on events in Eden's own life, and given her humorous, candid, witty twist. With stories such as Wheel of (Mis)fortune, Cataracts Toilet, Death by Frisbee and How to Take Your Driving Test, this book will make you laugh, and give a sigh of relief that you aren't the clumsiest and scattiest person in the world after all.

https://www.lulu.com/en/gb/shop/eden-gruger/laughing-at-myself/paperback/product-rr77g6.html

 

Cover Reveal

So much tantalising, and teasing, and finally I can reveal that the act going through tonight is...... oh hold on know that's not right. Ahem, here is the all new and improved Laughing at Myself, a collection of stories about the times life makes you look like an idiot, and how to survive the embarrassment cover reveal.

 

Naturally I want to know exactly what you think! what do you like, what don't you like?

TTFN, Eden :-)

I’m inspired by

I read a lot, but there are two writers that I have to pay homage to, for teaching me one of the most valuable lessons in being a writer. Find  your own voice.

This is exactly what David Sedaris and Barbara Comys did for me, and this is all about how they inspired me with their style, wit, and candour; and you never know, they might do the same for you.

Regarding Style, both of my inspirations write in the way that someone might really speak. Not in tangles or high falutin language; which has it’s place of course, they both write in the every-day accessible language that anyone might use.

But, they use those familiar words in such a way that they sing, and carry you along. Yes, I’m that enthusiastic.

You only have to listen to David Sedaris read a story once to forever hear him reading his stories to you, and that’s serious skill. You know you are getting the authentic David. It’s him through and through, he makes it easy to imagine what it would be like hang out with him, to listen to him discussing a television programme, or what we need on our shopping list, or whose turn it is to do the housework.

And that’s something I aspired to from the first moment I read his work, that my voice will become my signature style.

The first Barbara Comys book I read was ‘Sisters by a river’, how I love that book.  It wasn’t written in a classic style, instead being more of a collection of anecdotes, which is exactly how my own brain tends to think. I totally bought into book, and it was only much, much later I found out it it wasn't a memoir, that it was in fact a novel with autobiographical undertones.

So, if you have ever seen me say it was a autobiography there you go, I was sort of wrong, but that’s the power of the book. Barbara writes the extremely dark parts of the story with such a light touch that you can chose not to even see the horrors if you don't want to.  If you have never read her work, get yourself a copy of any of her works, believe me you won’t regret it.     

Regarding Wit, you only have to see David Sedaris book titles ‘Dress your family in corduroy and denim’, ‘Let’s explore diabetes with owls’, ‘me talk pretty one day’, ‘Squirrel seeks chipmunk’.  To name just a few, to know that you are in for a comedic treat. 

What I particularly like is that the title doesn’t necessarily tell you everything, or in some cases anything at all, about what the book is actually about, I love that.  And yes, that did inspire me when naming my first book Down With Frogs.

Once you get into David's books you have such comments as “I hate you' she said to me one afternoon. 'I really, really hate you.' Call me sensitive, but I couldn't help but take it personally.” David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day.  And “Boys who spent their weekends making banana nut muffins did not, as a rule, excel in the art of hand-to-hand combat.” David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

See simple but highly intelligent and effective.

Barbara can be a bit more edgy with her humour, but it’s female, and it works ‘I had a kind of idea if you controlled your mind and said “I won’t have any babies” very hard, they most likely wouldn’t come. I thought that was what was meant by birth-control’ Barbara Comys, Our Spoons Came From Woolworths.

With regard to candour, now this can be a tricky quality to write with. You may want to hold something of yourself back, and that’s fine. But not only do people respond to someone putting it all out there, if you write without putting your heart into it, it shows; and it just doesn’t work. 

That kind of bouncing along the surface might appeal to some readers, but something about it won’t ‘feel’ right, especially if you write about a subject you haven’t lived without really researching it.

This isn’t about adding detail for the sake of it. When I say candour, I am talking about truthfulness, sincerity and integrity.  And both David and Barbara have this is bucket loads, both write about their own families to a degree. David's family really cannot have any secrets left, having been written about in all their wonderful, monstrous and endearing beauty. And if you want to know what it’s like going for a colonoscopy read Calypso.

Barbara on the other hand used her family and husband's as inspiration, using the difficult and traumatic from her life to give her characters life, and an emotional connection to the reader.

The message I hope you to takeaway from this, is that other authors are not your competition, your measuring stick, or a reason not to write. They can be your inspiration, and your teachers.  All good writers read, without exception, so renew your library ticket, visit your local bookshop, or get online and fill up your ereader. Get yourself something to read, and read widely from your genre. 

Let me know what you have been reading and if you have been inspired.

TTFN Eden :-)

Sneak peak

Here's a sneak peek of Catarracts Toilet from my second Laughing at Myself, which is (I promise) on it's way...

Being the fabulous daughter in law that I obviously am, what else would I do when mum in law needed to get to a check-up before her cataracts operation but offer to drive her to the hospital? she was having her first check up with a specialist to see whether her cataracts were ‘ripe enough’ to operate on (I think this expression is gross, but it is the real one, so there we go). We arrived with plenty of time to spare before the appointment so that she had time to ‘settle in’, which translates into had time to take her coat off, pop to the toilet and then chat in the waiting room for a bit. The chatting part is very important, although her husband is still around, she tells me that after 46 years you really are in need of some fresh conversation.

If you want to hear the rest of the story I'll be reading it for you very soon :-)

TTFN Eden :-)

Antedote to loneliness

Blue Zones article that inspired me

I know a lady who has an agreement with three other child free couples, that when they reach sixty they will sell their house and buy one large house,  where they can all live and take care of each other as they age.  What a great idea, from age thirty five this is something I started to think about, the desire to age in a community of like minded people, who have similar cultural references and won't look at me strangely when I mention my Blue Peter badge, or when a Cornetto was 50p.

Women always have that one friend who knows how to make them really laugh

The study also showed the 1 in 3 over 45's are lonely.  That's a horrible statistic, and with everyone being 'so busy' we are forgetting to make real contact.  Go through your phone book and get yourself visiting.

TTFN Eden :-)

Library donation

Eden Gruger local author has donated 50 copies of her first book ‘Down With Frogs’ to Essex library services

Eden Gruger said "the library service has been a vital part of my life, since learning to read aged four, the library has been a land of wonder, peace and connection for me. Libraries offer a vital community service; central government talks about breaking down loneliness barriers, building communities and supporting good mental health, then local government shuts libraries”.

Copies will be in the following libraries from November, and you can of course reserve a copy by going online or asking in your local branch.

• Basildon Library • Billericay Library • Braintree Library • Brentwood Library • Brightlingsea Library • Broomfield Library • Burnham-on-Crouch Library

• Chelmsford Library • Chigwell Library • Chipping Ongar Library • Clacton Library
• Colchester Library

• Dunmow Library • Earls Colne Library • Epping Library • Frinton Library • Fryerns Library • Galleywood Library • Great Tarpots Library

• Hadleigh Library • Halstead Library • Harlow Library • Harwich Library
• Hockley Library • Holland Library • Hullbridge Library

• Laindon Library • Loughton Library • Maldon Library • Manningtree Library

• Old Harlow Library • Pitsea Library • Prettygate Library • Rayleigh Library • Rochford Library

• Saffron Walden Library • Shenfield Library • South Benfleet Library
• South Woodham Ferrers Library • Springfield Library • Stansted Library
• Stock Library • Thaxted Library • Tye Green Library • Vange Library

• West Clacton Library • West Mersea Library • Wickford Library
• Witham Library • Writtle Library

TFFN Eden :-)

Day In The Life Of A Writer

If you are going to have a photoshoot it may just as well be as much fun as you can make it. And I decided that the theme for this one was The Glamourous Life Of The Writer.

After finding a suitable dress in my local charity shop (no, there was no point buying new I don't wear ball gowns in normal life), I was made into a much more gorgeous version of myself by Sophie Matthews. Who managed to install confidence in me, as well as new lashes!

Amanda Hall created some incredibly fin images for me to share, and I think you will agree - on this day at least being a writer really was glamourous.

Amanda Hall Photography

Sophie Matthews of Essex Makeup

First aid, Frisbees & Festivals

Picture it, a hot summers day at a festival, dancing, flirty, laughing in a clearing in the crowd, when I got hit in the head by a frisbee travelling at full speed. Everything stopped, it took a full minute for me to realise that my head hurt, a lot.

Being overly conscious of not wanting to look like a total idiot, I decided to style it out by appearing not to notice what had happened. This involved standing straight up staring blankly into the crowd (I may need to work more on being casual cool), whilst people close enough to see what had happened gathered around me to check that I was ok. Until the crowd dispersed, I kept saying with a laugh, wasn’t that hilarious?

After they have gone, I admit to my friends that my head really does hurt a lot, and not in a fun way, and that I am pretty sure that I have concussion. In a strange twist we were all sober enough to know that we wouldn’t be able to go to the hospital as we were all over the drink drive limit, but were all too inebriated to consider the first aid tent.

Let me know what you think -

TTFN Eden :-)

Deafness and accents

Auntie Elda is a lovely person, I think, I say that I think because although I have known her my whole life, I haven’t actually been able to understand anything she has ever said. She has a beautiful, musical Southern Irish accent, it sounds gorgeous, but is absolutely impenetrable thanks to my dodgy hearing.

I think she must think I am quite ‘special’ too, given that I always just nod and agree with everything she has ever said to me, I imagine her going home and saying to my Uncle ahh poor Laura such a shame.

The one upside to this, is that Auntie Elda has always called me by my sister's name, so at least she thinks it is Laura who is the idiot.

Words in Progress Posts

TTFN Eden :-)

Relaxing Easter breaks

I want to say right now to all you parents and carers out there, I take my metaphorical hat off to you.  How you manage the months of cleaning poop, lack of sleep, constant feeds whilst functioning in semi zombie mode is nothing short of heroic.

Why the sudden outburst of admiration? not a baby, but a puppy.  We obviously love him very much, but he does have some unsavoury habits, not only does he poop everywhere, but then feels the need to stamp in it; Meaning he is more brown than white - lovely.  It just gets everywhere, right now while typing I glanced down and noticed a brown smear on the leg of my jeans.  Lovely.

The house will probably need chemical fumigation by the time he is toilet trained just to get rid of the smell, so my advise is buy shares in cruelty free cleaning brands now folks before I stock up.  People I meet sniff me strangely they probably think my perfume is oddly urinal and that the Tena ladies aren't working.

Besides the natural odours the worst thing was bedtime, for the first five nights he screamed, and I mean screamed like a banshee, all. night. long.  I have gained eye bags and wrinkles that definitely weren't there last week.

Now before you tell me that I am an idiot, or ask if I had ever even met a puppy before this, what did I expect etc. etc. please know that he was a very much planned and longed for furry friend; and despite the wrinkles, the smell, the noise, the stains and the hate mail from our neighbours - he is our little lad, bless him and we wouldn't have him any other way.

TTFN Eden :-)

The Taxi Driver

As I shoved my bags into the back seat the taxi driver grumbles that he was just about to pull away, apparently, I had taken so long that he had thought I was a no-show. ‘Sorry I was just putting my shoes on’ I say, which I hope conveys that I couldn’t have left the house any quicker unless I was sitting on the doorstep; looking disdainfully at me he turns the car around; and we head off to the station where I am being dropped this morning. Now bear with me, at the top of the road an extensive programme of works have been carried out, with a roundabout being swapped for traffic lights with pedestrian crossings; some of the lights have plastic hats covering them, and some do not – but none of the lights are connected and so don’t actually work yet.
As we approach the lights to turn right we find that there is quite a bit of traffic also turning right, so far, so expected, and when he can the Taxi driver crawls forward and stops midway across the road. At this point, a man in a White Jeep pulls forward to our left effectively blocking our path. Somehow managing to honk his horn and slap the steering wheel cabbie raises his hands in a gesture of bewilderment and says ‘No’ irate but at normal volume, when White Jeep looks nonplussed he tries again ‘it’s a roundabout’ this he demonstrates by pointing down then twirling his finger around, the bloke looks amused and shrugs.

As this does not convince White Jeep to reverse out of our way, the cabbie undoes his window and tries again louder ‘Move back, THIS IS A ROUNDABOUT’. However, the provocation of White Jeep’s laughter pushes him suddenly much closer to the edge; and he moves his taxi forward until there can only be a hair’s breadth between him and us. Purple-faced he screams ‘this is a f**king roundabout, the f**king traffic lights are not f**king operational yet, you f**king tosser, get out of the f**king way’ complete with hand signals. This escalation encourages White Jeep to concede, and he moves back leaving the way clear, obviously having decided that the next stage was probably having his tyres slashed before his very eyes, or being dragged from his car and beaten unconsciousness with a rolled up copy of The Sun. I chose to say nothing, having decided it is far too dangerous to be risk comment, and thankfully, the rest of the journey goes without incident.

When I arrive at the office, I retell the story to the gang as everyone is getting settled in for the day; and add that the most shocking bit of the whole experience was that the angriest taxi driver in the world had a Buddhist emblem hanging from his rear-view mirror. Cassie shook her head sadly and said ‘imagine what he would be like if he wasn’t a Buddhist’ while Mags our resident expert says ‘Well, yes, Buddhists are some of the worst, what did you expect?’

As always, let me know what you think

TTFN Eden :-)

The Curry Question

white dinnerware set

This is the first draft of The Curry Question, which became one of the stories in Down With Frogs.

Neil offered to cook me a romantic dinner, given that the last time someone cooked me a ‘romantic dinner’ they ended up in A & E I wasn’t as keen as you might think; anyway, he wanted to cook, so I said yes and hoped this time dinner wouldn’t involve a burns unit. On the chosen evening I was greeted by an indefinable smell, it was spicy, it was sort of something, it wasn’t instantly recognisable, and I was mildly concerned. Neil wouldn’t let me near the kitchen, which is quite tricky in an open plan house, so I sat on the other side of the living room listening to his day with 15% of my mind still trying to work out what that smell reminded me of. The moment arrived, the plates were coming to the table, and I saw… something blobby orange in the style of, a fresh cowpat. Now, this is not a story about ha, ha, men cannot cook, they are domestic idiots; many men can create culinary masterpieces, which have their partners rubbing their hands together and smacking their lips with glee when it is their turn to cook. All I am saying is that Neil was not one of those men.

I wondered whether he had forgotten that he was cooking and so had grabbed something from the ready meal aisle and was passing it off as his own; sadly I was not that lucky. Moving the orange around I thought I saw pink, prawns? But no, there was nothing of that shape, no point trying to guess, so I ask ‘what have you called your masterpiece?’ ‘Crabstick curry’ says he proudly. I try not to look visibly horrified and feel instantly annoyed with myself that I hadn’t thought to practise my poker face lately. He had planned this meal, thinking crabsticks are very low in calories, so by definition must be much healthier than the traditional lamb, prawn or even chicken. He had bought the supermarket’s cheapest own brand of curry sauce as ‘they are all basically the same aren’t they?’ Hence the colour, and hadn’t remembered any veg but stated confidently ‘I don’t think it needs them’. Holy crap, a jar of curry sauce with crab sticks, which I wouldn’t eat by themselves, let alone covered in cheap sauce. That explained why I couldn’t identify the smell, crabsticks are actually made from fish, but I had heard an internet rumour once that they were made of cow’s intestines, and have never eaten one from that day to this; also I wasn’t sure that they were supposed to be cooked. The texture achieved was both stringy and slimy, which is definitely not something that every foodstuff could accomplish, so well done crab sticks, or should I say crabstick manufacturers.

I did pick at it, and really did try to eat some of it, but after the first forkful I knew I wouldn't be able to finish it, and didn’t think throwing up on the table would be proper guest etiquette. In the end, I had no option but to admit defeat and pleaded a large lunch, and having eaten as much as I could, he really had given me a massive portion, far more than I could manage. Neil was suspicious, having seen me barge children out of the way in McDonald's to get my post-gym Big Mac, and he knew I wasn’t a ‘one lettuce leaf and I am full’ kind of girl. I had to give a full five minutes praise about how inventive he was, and how much I appreciated all his efforts. Maybe I was coming down with something, and yes I did usually eat like a plague of locust (I wasn’t too happy at having to agree to this, but I needed a smoke screen to blot out my plate). And in a move, which both revolted me and excited my admiration, Neil managed to eat his own plate of food and then mine - what a trooper. The next morning I had a text from him saying he hoped I was alright as he had been up most of the night with my stomach bug. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to have passed it on to me.

TTFN Eden :-)