Paying it forward is not always easy

butterfly-shoulder-tattoo-croppedDo you ever get fixated on something? For me there are two things, butterflies and the whole idea of paying it forward. These two items are a song in my head, a tune that haunts me, delights me and often astounds me. The music can also disappoint the hell out of me but then that’s life.

Let’s take butterflies.  They are beautiful, fragile creatures with a short life span. Yet within that short period of time they change from something ordinary to something quite extraordinary.  My love affair with butterflies began with a television series I can’t remember the name of about a city with eight million stories to tell. There is only one place in the world where that might apply – New York. And, as we were living there at the time I think the show may have been The Naked City. I googled and it is the only one that fits. What would we do without Google?

New York was the first time I saw snow. It was a place where in winter children wore hoods where only the eyes and mouth were visible, wore gloves and beanies to cover the other two extremities, and thus the colour of skin was rendered irrelevant. New York was Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn where the smells of foods from all over the world blended, and co-existed before the word multi-cultural existed.

I remember that in the series the main detective’s wife could neither speak nor hear; an unusual casting for the era where inclusion was a word yet to be invented. He was investigating a murder that involved a tattoo parlour, something which the detective explained to his wife via sign language. At the end of the show the wife surprises him with a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. A few years later Goldie Hawn starred in a movie where butterflies represented freedom. I recalled this too when at age 40 I walked into a tattoo parlour and asked for a butterfly.

My mother threw her hands in the air (she was Italian) and be-moaned the fact before the event – that people would talk and I would be considered a fallen woman.  I am still waiting as it may have lent a certain excitement to my life it lacks. I have time I guess.

I have never been sorry, the butterflies roam around my books and give Lia reason to remember her mother, and a butterfly sits on and will continue to sit on the front cover of my first and last book in The Unexpected Series. This is by virtue of Chris Brunton, my very talented artist (he has two links which I have provided) who understood I needed this and was very creative with it.

Why do we fixate on particular points or things? I don’t know but the same thing occurred when I watched the film Paying it Forward. The whole premise fascinated me and still does.  It too has a kind of fragile beauty that makes people afraid to reach out and be a part of the world it represents. Can something good be frightening? Yet if we all paid forward imagine what would return to us in bucket loads. With authors, paying it forward comes in the form of support for other writers, and for their readers.

By re-tweeting their tweets, liking them on Facebook, reading their books and reviewing them, writers help other writers stay buoyant in a competitive world. Writers support their readers by trying incredibly hard to improve on what they do. Readers support by reading and reviewing and recommending, and if we are lucky, by following us. It’s a cycle and a beautiful one when it flows. I love being a reader as much as being a writer especially when I come across books that I enjoy.  Shifter's Magic

I have another two this post, both rural and both full of warmth, family feeling, romance and naughty behaviours that people indulge in when they find the one they truly love. I have no hesitation recommending them and have provided links. The first, Shifter’s Magic, had such a lovely flow of feeling. I wanted to live in that community.  The second Finding Home was tender and sweet and full of nice people.  I wanted to live there as well. These two books were very different but both had people paying it forward in their own distinct fashion.

Finding HomeIn life strangely enough paying it forward is pretty much the same. We support our families and friends, the people around us, and we teach our young to be generous, helpful and loving, and they spread the word and teach their young the same.  My one-year-old grandson can already blow me kisses. It isn’t hard to be a community yet somehow we make it so by being too busy with our own thing, our own lives. We fixate on that rather than finding butterflies. I think I would rather the butterflies, lots and lots of them.

What do you find fascinating and how does it impact on you and your world? I’d love to know.

Alla prossima


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  1. What a fabulous blog, Barbara!
    I too love butterflies – love that in their short, fragile lives they must live to the fullest and make the most of the little time they have.
    And I love the concept of paying it forward. So many have helped me on my journey to authordom. How could I not do the same to help others?
    Thanks so much for sharing your story.
    Michelle xx

  2. Hey Michelle,
    Thanks for the kind words. I totally agree about people helping although stardom is eluding me and I’m worried its because of my authordom. lol. Seriously though there is a joy in helping others. Please stop by again.

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