Imaginary lives

One of the first week tasks in the Artist’s Way is to come up with five imaginary lives. Things you might have done, people you might have been, if there were no limits and no fear. Lives that are more fun than your real life. Here are mine:

Stictly Come Dancing celebrity learning to dance with Robin and wearing twirly sequinned dresses.
An artist living on the Isle of Muck, swimming in the cold sea and painting glorious colourful pictures of light.
A lecturer with no admin, marking or stress, just enjoying the buzz of teaching students who long to learn. In this one, I wake up excited every day.
I’m married to a man who makes my heart dance.
A great chef, playing with taste, texture and colour to create love on a plate.

I already wrote two of these into books, although I never finished the dancing story. I’m writing another at the moment. And all of my heroines end up with men who make their hearts dance.

What would be your imaginary lives?

Too much fun for kids

For a number of years now I have had a not-so-secret guilty pleasure: colouring in.

Yes, you know. Colouring in. Like you did when you were a kid.




It’s not supposed to be a hobby for adults. We’re supposed to do important and useful things. Colouring in is neither. It’s entirely about the pleasure of the moment. Selecting just the right colour of felt tips and carefully keeping within the lines. It’s nice to produce something beautiful at the end but it’s ephemeral by nature. Colouring books are completed and thrown out (at least mine are. Maybe some people frame their work.) I love that because it means that the end result doesn’t matter all that much. It’s not like knitting, where you really want to end up with something wearable. Or sewing, which is even more stressful because you can’t easily undo it all and start again. Fabric that’s been cut stays cut. It’s not even ‘proper’ art, whatever that is. Someone else has already drawn the picture for you. Your choices are limited. That’s wonderfully refreshing and soothing.

A few days ago, this glorious book arrived on my doorstep. It is the nicest colouring book I’ve ever owned. It even has a dustjacket! I am saving it up for my holiday. I also love this book by fabric designer Jenean Morrisson. And I’ve enjoyed several Usborne books and the old classic Altairs never stop being fun.

I use a variety of felt tips. These Staedtler ones are beautiful to use but expensive and they are all very saturated colours. I like to have some Berol wide tips for large areas. And recently I treated myself to this box of 40 by Stabilo. They’re not the best pens but there’s a lovely range of colours to use. If you’re like me and you always want more colours, it’s worth getting the cheap packs of pens at the supermarket. They won’t last long, but they’ll add variety to your colouring.

If you’re thinking this sounds fun, there are downloadable pdfs from the Secret Garden book at the link above. Why not secretly have a little go? I won’t tell. ;)