Reading (a novel) changes your brain

This is news?  No.  I’ve blogged about it before…  couldn’t find my own post anymore so decided to bring it again.

Imagine you are biting into a very,  very sour lemon.  The feel of the peel – rubbery and quite fragrant – and then your teeth splitting the peel, the juice splashing out into your mouth – not into your eye hopefully…

Close your eyes for a second and experience this.  Okay, open them again – you can’t read with your eyes closed!

Okay, now tell me (in the comments):  Who could taste the sour lemon juice?  Who flinched at the idea of some of it splashing into your eye?

Reading evokes sensory responses in the brain.  In plain text:  Your brain simulates the things you are reading.

But it gets more interesting:  When you read a novel, these changes can last even five days after the story.


““The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” said Gregory Berns, the lead author of the study. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

Our brain apparently allows us to “be” the hero in the book we’re reading, by simulating his experiences.

Put that into yer pipe and smoke it, gamers!


Anyone for a good novel?



Hoppy Easter


Hoppy Easter to you all!



A bit of pioneering reveals that there are no less than 26 different bookshops in Cork!  That does not even account for multiple branches of chains.  26 different names.

Of course a number of them will specialize in second-hand. (I’ve been reading and studying such a lot of Richard-Bransonish literature recently that my mind immediately goes to “how can I capitalize on that”.  And there are ideas.  Fun fact: It is much easier to have a lot of bright&shiny ideas than to implement even one of them.  I will go into the “why” shortly.)

One of these shops is called “Time Traveller”.  I’ve been in this shop.  It deals in rare and antiquated books – to my surprise I rediscovered a fair number of titles I already knew well… from my parents’ bookshelves…  Happily, Time Traveller also promotes contemporary poetry.









Today’s Scoop

Cork is full of surprises, especially if one pickles through it “voetsaam” (per pedes).

So I found the offices of the Receiver of Revenue…  (“Sorry, you’ll have to make an appointment” – oh, is that why there is no queue?)


This statue, facing the doors of the Revenue Offices.

So seeing that I had walked there for nothing, I decided I might as well explore the surrounds.  There was a Garden Centre that was advertised, that looked promising…


The weirdest sense of Déjà Vu crept over me as I walked into the garden centre.  I’d been here before.  I recognized the place.  I’ve never been to Cork before last year July; but I had visited the place in a dream.  In 2016.  In May.  It looked different; where the topmost hall was, was a glass house with a café in it; where the middle hall (the exam hall) had been, was merely a wall; where the lower hall had been where Death had spoken to me,  the Grim Reaper, across a table, assuring me that I was going to die but I should not worry…  was – eerily – a children’s play area.

Incongruous, that Déjà Vu in such a creative, happy place!  The garden cafe is a really special place; hopefully I’ll be allowed to be involved in an event they will, hopefully, be putting on later this year.


A playpark for children…


That building on the hill…


The artist who paints the bikes… 🙂

 So, finding the artist, and the bikes, and the garden café made up for having gone into Cork for nothing.  Clearly, as I fail my way to success with every administrative detail (you can imagine what a mission the paperwork for this emigration has been, because I do every bit of it wrong at least twice before getting it right) – there are rewards and discoveries along the way.

I’ll be posting news later this weekend about an impressive endorsement our author Carmen Capuano got for her novel “Split Decision”.  For now, see you later.

I just re-read a post from 2014 – four years back I had the second draft of the Shooting Star done!

I haven’t written or edited anything this past year.  Haven’t been able to stare into the crew’s faces and acknowledge that I’ll never be able to read any edits or stories to Iain again.  Another project we started together and I need to finish alone.

2014 there was a lot of good stuff happening.  I was helping out with the Cubs (I was “Raksha”, the mother wolf); and I was teaching at those 2 schools, partnering with a music teacher at the private school – that is always fun, because class music and instrumental lessons are mutually supportive processes.


Iain would have loved this guitar work:


Currently reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, because I’ve discovered to my shock what a cynical and judgemental person I’ve become.  And that will never fly.

It’s an amazing book.  I’ve owned a copy for almost 25 years without ever reading it.   I really don’t know why.  I can recommend it.  Maybe at the end I’ll write a review, but maybe not – I’m not really into reviewing textbooks, especially if I’m making notes and studying them in-depth.  My father gave me my first copy of the book with the comment:  “Two kinds of people read this book.  Those who want to win friends and influence people.  And the others who want to know by which methods they are going to be won over and influenced.”  😀

Have a sweet evening.


Greetings with music, from a rainy Cobh.


From a rainy Cobh.  We’ve had fine weather all along for months now (well, a small hurricane and a bit of a showdown between a feisty Atlantic storm and a Siberian Beast excluded), but today there is rain.  And wind!!!

So I’ve been battling to get a fire going in our fireplace (privileged to have one!), and am failing…  conclusion:  Raw natural turf doesn’t burn properly!  It blooming smoulders.  No matter what fire skills I apply.  And I was a pretty good firemaster back whenwe.  I used to be the one who saved the Scouts braai fire (not the actual Bonfire, the Scouts themselves were brilliant at that) from the Guys. But, fire moves differently here in Ireland, where it’s colder and damper (I keep forgetting, this is Land-Under-Wave, a.k.a  Tir Nan Og)…  (holding my breath waiting for all Celts to come jumping down my collar correcting me 😀 )  So, back to the smoke-free firelogs from Londis…

Jaqueline du Pre died when she was 42.  Of Multiple Sclerosis. Far too young.  :’-(  One of the greatest cellists the world’s ever heard.

24th Feb.

Last year, on 25th Feb (being Saturday, like today) we held my husband’s wake.

It was not a typical Irish wake.  There were of course elements who tried to force us to do it “the Correct Way”.  Honestly?  We didn’t hold a classic Irish Wake for him, we gave him a hero’s and musician’s send-off, like he had discussed with me when we were 25. We had agreed back then that we wouldn’t want a funeral or memorial, we’d want our friends and fam to have a party in our honour to celebrate our lives.  So it wasn’t a typical wake following someone’s stuffy “protocol” (somehow I get the impression that that “protocol” is in any case imaginary, having now experienced first-hand a lot of Irish people – they are not stuck-up!), it was Iain’s party.

There was music, alright.  My student ensemble played him Mozart’s “Ave Verum” (because from the first time I played in it, that piece made me cry, it is such a lovely piece), followed by an all-strings rendition of “Viva La Vida”.  (He did love the way we played that song – he heard us perform it at a house concert in December 2016, and at our studio concert.)

Several of his students brought their instruments but were too emotional to play.  The thought alone was worth so much!  Two of my ex-students who had become good friends over the years and had even performed on gigs alongside us, played a whole set of songs and pieces for him.  And our lovely neighbour of many years performed a few of her entrancing Spanish dances.


And needless to say, we played his favourite Queen albums with “Who Wants to Live Forever”, and “I want to Break Free” (one of his all-time favourites, my rebel Iain).


We also played his own compositions & songs, from his two CDs “No Imagami” and “Krag – en Ander Stories”. (People used to ask him, “what is that, ‘imagami’?” and he just used to look at them funny.  Funnily.  😀  Another thing – he was the “grammar police”, as the kids called it.  If you have to ask what “imagami” is – you have none.  LOL.)

And right at the end, when only a small core circle was left of our closest friends and latest-night owls, and my sweet sis, we sat together and sang, loudly and bawdily through the tears, “Let’s not have a Sniffle”.

Why am I blogging this?

Because it’s a year.  A lot of people who wanted to be there, couldn’t – and in my daze I also didn’t manage to contact all.   I’m very sorry about everyone who wanted to be there and couldn’t, for whatever reasons.  The intention alone is appreciated.

Fly free my beautiful soulmate.  I know when it’s my time to join you, you’ll be waiting for me at that door.  You’ll make me smile with the joy of seeing you, like so many, countless times over the years whenever we had been apart – or just in different rooms.  That smile.

But every now and then, just let me know you’re around.






I’ll review

Dear Bloggies


I’m looking for good stories to review.

My favourite genres:

  • Fantasy (in the lines of “Skullduggery Pleasant” and similar),
  • Crime Fiction,
  • Teenage, (Harry Potteresque)
  • Legal (e.g. in the lines of John Grisham)
  • The opposite:  Stories about grand theft, piracy etc – both from the POV of the pirate or thief, and the PI / police officer.
  • Short stories with a nice twist in the end.

But I have to require that it is edited.  I won’t read unedited manuscripts for reviews.  (I would edit them for you though, for a fee – that’s a different story.  NPI.  If you want editing, feel free to get in touch.)

If I like your story (that I’m reviewing), I’ll post a review on Goodreads.  If I feel a review wouldn’t be good for it, I’ll give feedback directly to you – if you want it.

Click here to contact me.


But hurry!  I’m fickle!  Offer only lasts while I 1) have the time and 2) haven’t got stuck into anything else.