Sunday, November 7, 2010

Alone Again - A poem

Alone again, I’d grown used to your absence,
To the sounds of silence and the hum of my hitched breath
Something whispered to me,
Urged me to slay the deafening emptiness that felt like death

You were not gone, you were not with me,
But you stole moments here and there,
As if to say, “She’s still with me” to stave off your despair
Alone again, I did not want to see the deep game you played,
I did not want to see what over the tracks of my approaching train was laid

Alone again, I struggled, I weakened, I finally tapped a line into the mist
Along you came to resume your game, hoping I wouldn’t see what you resist
I can’t live this way, I can’t be yours
While with my questions you stay silent and you declaim

Alone again, my questions gutter silently into the ashes of an unfed flame

© Brooke London 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fabulous, Darling!

Recently, I started patronizing a Second Cup (like Starbucks) near my home because I like the coffee drinks more there. Most of the time, I get the same barista. I always ask her how she’s doing and her answer is always, “Fab-u-lous!” in this British Caribbean accent. She draws out the “fab” part and shakes her short curly hair out of her eyes, almost poses like a supermodel and flashes an impish smile. This is her standard answer to everyone, I’ve noticed, and everyone walks away from her with a smile on his or her face, along with their coffee. She is one of those wonderful people who welcome the world.

It’s amazing to see how people relate to her. One simple word, one flip of the hair and one smile and she has you. Yes, it is part of her schtick, part of how she deals with the world, but it’s very effective. I don’t think anyone walks away without tipping. I don’t think anyone walks away without smiling at the woman. And isn’t it nice to have someone smile at you whenever you walk in? And isn’t it nice to have someone walk away from you with a smile on their face?

Such a simple thing makes a big difference.

Growing up, it was understood in my family that I would be some kind of professional something. I would get a meaningful university education and go on to do challenging, thought-provoking work. No doubt being paid more than a barista, at any rate. But who is better off? Someone who greets people and makes them smile and feel good about themselves, or someone involved in "serious work" who can’t smile because they’re too miserably aware of all their pressures and deadlines. Working 70 hours or more a week. No time, no energy to actually live a life. As opposed to someone working a less stressful job, not expected to continually hit efficiency benchmarks and baselines for performance —just show up at work, do your job, go home and live an actual life. Make people happy. Make yourself happy. Don’t drive yourself crazy.

Maybe it’s better to be a regular person. My barista has learned or instinctively knew that stressing yourself out only leads to an early death even before you hit the grave. I have a streak of curiosity a mile wide. This curiosity seems to necessitate me having to try everything, examine everything, analyze everything to freaking death. I’ll tell you, it’s a pain in the ass. 

I often ask myself why isn’t anything just straightforward and simple. The most obvious answer is because I’m not straightforward and simple – my world reflects who I am, just as your world reflects who you are. In this barista’s world, she is fab-u-lous. And she is. That is what the world reflects back to her. What the world reflects back to me is different—a torturous rat’s nest of ups and downs is what I’m getting from this mirror of life. The next logical question is, how can I change this? To which I have no answer. Everyone talks about simplifying their lives, minimizing the junk they’ve accumulated over a lifetime. I have donated probably in the range of 600 books now that were formerly cluttering up my bookshelves. I’ve weeded out my kitchen and my closets, trying to get rid of the stuff cluttering up my life. I don’t need more stuff in my life, I need more life in my life.

Those of you who have been following my blog posts for a while know that I divorced last year. It’s taken me some time to figure out what and who the hell I am since leaving. I’ve had to do a lot of work to heal from that disastrous, hell-bound mistake. A lot of work to trust my judgment again. And it’s coming, slowly. I’m listening to my emotions, instead of only my logic. Pure logic has not served me well. And perhaps I went a little overboard on the emotional side of things at first. But I think I had my emotions buttoned-down and suppressed for so long, that when I finally gave myself permission to feel what I was feeling, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emotions. I thought I’d drown in my emotions but instead washed up on the shore of my new life, like so much flotsam and jetsam. My life—the undiscovered country. I was Christopher-freaking-Columbus and had just escaped the savage sea.

So, I have this opportunity to re-create my life better than it was before. Like the Six Million Dollar Man but without the super abilities. Things have changed to the more positive for me. Maybe a little older. Hopefully a lot wiser. And maybe, just maybe, I can be "fab-u-lous, darling", too. I think I’d like that. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


I’ve heard it said many times that women are natural flirts. That they are born able to flirt and are able to wrap people around their little, delicate fingers because of this.  In Forbes magazine, apparently, women are now being told to work their way to success through flirting, which seems a little backwards to me. Well, I am here to say, that I am a flirt-free zone. Yes, it’s true. I do not know how to flirt.

So how on earth has this anomaly happened? Is this not an anathema to womanhood? The inability to flirt.  If I were to go out with friends to a bar and if one of my friends said that a man kept looking at me, and that I should go over and flirt with him, I would not have the first clue as to what to do or say or anything.  I mean, yes, I have read the steps of intimacy and there are 12 of them:
  1. Eye to body
  2. Eye to eye
  3. Voice to voice
  4. Hand to hand
  5. Arm to shoulder
  6. Arm to waist
  7. Mouth to mouth
  8. Hand to head
  9. Hand to body
  10. Mouth to breast
  11. Hand to genitals
  12. Genitals to genitals
 Although with flirting, I think I’d probably stop at voice to voice.  It is, after all, just flirting not an all out seduction. I know the signs of flirting, even if (okay, when) I don’t recognize them at the time:
  1. Raised eyebrows—unconscious sign of interest on flirter’s part
  2. Eye contact—make and hold eye contact for significant amount of time; men will not hold the gaze of a woman he isn’t attracted to
  3. Hair flick—women often do this, sometimes unconsciously
  4. Playing with accessories—women play with earrings, twirl hair, fiddle with necklaces; men play with ties, jingle change in pants pocket
  5. Leaning in—nonverbal message the he/she wants to be closer
  6. Active listening—turn body towards other person, make eye contact, nod, show other signs of actively listening to what is said
  7. Open body language—invitation
  8. Sideways glance—demure glances, strong sign of flirting
  9. Looking at lips or body parts—sometimes an unconscious sign of flirting
  10. Laughter—laughing at jokes, silly or unfunny
  11. Light touches—touching someone’s arm, knee, or shoulder shows interest
  12. Ignoring cell phone—purposely ignoring or turning off the cell phone sends signal that he/she is more interested in the other person than whoever might be calling
But as for putting these things into action, I just don’t get it. When I look at the signs of flirting in this list, I think I do most of these all the time except for the touching part because I don’t touch people that I don’t know very well. No, I don’t have some kind of phobia about germs or anything. It’s just that touching somebody is invading their personal space and unless I have a very clear flashing neon sign saying it’s okay to do so, I am not comfortable with it. I hardly ever use my cell phone so that doesn’t count. I do not stare at body parts, i.e. I don’t stare at a man’s crotch. I think that’s just as rude as a man who stares at a woman’s boobs. And I don't laugh at things that aren't funny.

I always look people in the eye when speaking to them. I try to be friendly. I do play with my hair and jewelry routinely but especially when I am nervous but that doesn’t speak towards flirting. So it is quite possible that someone thinks I am flirting with him, when in fact I am just being me. It seems that flirting is about sociability and being open to possibilities.

I think the other part of flirting comes with confidence in yourself and, in a woman’s case, your femininity. It never actually occurs to me that someone is interested in me unless it is in blinking neon lights—even then sometimes I will miss it entirely and someone has to point out. I don’t think of myself as being ultra feminine. I don’t wear pretty pink except on my fingernails every once in a while. My voice is not what could be described as melodious.  I don’t faint – okay, I’ve fainted a few times but that has been very rarely when I’ve been ill. I’m not particularly afraid of insects. I don’t freak out when I see an ant or spider or even a cockroach. Although cockroaches gross me out because they’re filthy creatures but I’m not afraid of them per se. This past summer I had a black rat snake wrapped around my neck, which I found quite interesting instead of horror-inducing. I travel on my own. I do what I want when I want.  I’m highly logical and analytical, which seems to be at odds with the image of a romance writer but… there it is. So I’m not, and have never been, a girly girl.  But does that mean that I’m not feminine? I don’t think so. I think my brand of femininity is more subtle, for lack of a better term.  Growing up in my household, sciences and math were emphasized over softer subjects such as English and social studies.

My poor father ended up with three daughters all going through puberty at the same time, but he and my mother were determined that we would be independent women. That we would be able to do anything, within reason, that a man would be able to do. Obviously, the same physical strength is not possible— I need help opening jars. But having functional brains in logical subjects was emphasized. There wasn’t much emphasis placed on more feminine stuff. I call it feminine stuff because I don’t know what else to call it—getting Cosmo magazines, getting makeovers, having pedicures and manicures, etc. Talking on the phone forever every single night. Giggling with girlfriends over Playgirl magazines.

In fact, growing up in our house we did not have any kind of magazine delivered until I was probably ten. My mother worked so that my father could start his business, while he worked a full-time job, and I always was very proud of this. My mother was a “working woman” and she didn’t have time for inconsequential things like frivolous magazines. I was so floored when they finally started getting Maclean’s magazine delivered—LOL! For those of you who don’t know, Maclean’s magazine is a news magazine like Newsweek or Time. But it was a magazine nonetheless and I have to say that I was kind of disappointed that my mother would stoop to ordering a magazine. So you can see that perhaps my upbringing wasn’t as traditional as it might have been. Not that I’m complaining.

But what is femininity? This is something that came up in the past couple weeks over one of my posts on Facebook. And when someone brought up this topic of women being feminine and that femininity is a good thing, I really didn’t know in which way I was feminine.  I wear makeup every day, or at least when I leave the house.  I wear skirts sometimes. My hair is long. I do not wear high heels because those things screw up your natural body alignment; they wreck your back, neck, shoulders, knees, ankles and feet. The maximum heel that I will wear is about one inch. In other words, I try to make the most of what I’ve got without killing myself. But I’m not one of these giggly people who spends hours in front of a mirror and has to have her makeup flawless at all times.

I would rather put work into more than just external appearances. I want to be able to understand and like the person that I am. I want to be able to develop myself as a human being, and a good human being at that. No, I don’t neglect the outside. But yes, I believe in the importance to develop one’s intellect, understanding of the world and understanding of oneself. Is that unfeminine? Nietzsche said that stupidity in a woman is unfeminine—something that I agree wholeheartedly with. But stupidity is not just in the things that you can’t see at first glance; stupidity is also in the outward manifestations of a human being, which includes their appearance and behavior.

So in my quest to find out what exactly femininity was, I decided I would Google it. Femininity, on a lot of these websites, seems to be for women who desire to be laid out like a doormat for her man. Obviously I don’t agree with this version of femininity.  I think Audrey Hepburn had a very nice viewpoint, even in these times for modern women. I don’t think she was talking about femininity in particular, but I do think she was talking about being an attractive human being, which is different than being outwardly attractive. She said, "For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness, For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people, For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry, For Beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day, For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others." I think we can all agree that Audrey Hepburn was a very feminine woman. She had an ephemeral grace about her and a regal but welcoming demeanor. And even though her heyday was 50 or so years ago now, let’s say, I don’t think she’s any less relevant now than she was in her own time.

So I think I will take this quote as my version of femininity. I may not always live up to that standard of being feminine but I think it is something that I can strive for. And in the end, isn’t being true to oneself but the most important thing? I’m not going to pretend that I am a pink-loving, giggling lady who loves tea and crumpets.  But I’ll tell you some of those pink-loving, giggling women who love tea and crumpets are vicious people. My version of femininity isn’t as obvious as some but it is something I am comfortable with, something that I am pleased to strive for.

So regardless of my flirtless state, which may not be as hopeless as I think, I believe I qualify as being feminine. I think every woman has to define what is feminine for her, what feels right for her, and not be guided by what some insipid website says is feminine. Being feminine is just as much about the inside as it is about the outside, if not more. One can look as feminine as all get-out, and still not be feminine. Feminine does not mean stupid or witless. I think each gender has unique gifts in their repertoire. If we were all the same it would be pretty boring. And I like men to be men. I don’t appreciate it when women try to be men—I realize that this is a part of feminism whereby women try to be taken seriously but I don’t think men take women more seriously when women act and dress like men. I think people respect others who are brave enough to be what they are, as they are, regardless of gender.

Friday, September 10, 2010

All You Have to Fear is Fear Itself

Yesterday, I was corresponding with a friend looking for information on how to do a public reading in front of a live audience. I’ve never done a reading in front of an audience but on November 2nd, I will be doing just that.  The Prana Café and Teahouse in Toronto is going to host my very first public reading. I’ve been doing readings on the radio but those were a little different. Doing a reading in front of a group of people I don’t know is somewhat intimidating.

 My friend congratulated me on doing this, saying that most people wouldn’t do something that scared them. When I first became published, I made a decision to say yes to any promotional opportunities that came along and, with one exception, I’ve done exactly that. Even though every time I’ve done one of these promo opportunities it has scared me to death.  

The problem is these days that writers are expected to have a number of personalities. One is the writing personality who is an introvert. Writing is not something that I can do with somebody else.  All of it comes from somewhere within and I dump it out into the computer. The other personality is the one that’s supposed to know how to deal with people, how to do readings and how to look confident and comfortable doing everything. It’s a dichotomy, and it’s one that every published writer these days has to deal with.

It’s not just in writing where this expectation has happened. I’ve been in information technology for many years. I started off as a computer programmer and I’ve done just about every job in information technology. It used to be, as a programmer, that you could hide in your cubicle and nobody bothered you as long as you were doing your job. Now, technical people are expected to have excellent soft skills as well. Companies want their technical people to not only be technically proficient but be able to relate to other people. There are places for pure technical people but, more and more, technical people are expected to be more than just technical. They are expected to be socially well adjusted and not scratch or adjust their privates in public.  Most women don’t do this but some men still haven’t caught this part of social etiquette. But aside from the very obvious like this, social skills are vital.

I have never considered myself an outgoing person. But since being published and doing signings, doing interviews and doing all the external things related to writing, I’ve learned how to be more comfortable in social settings. I’ve learned how to reach out to people to a certain extent. I’ve learned how to be more outgoing and confident in myself. I attribute that to directly to the peripheral writing activities.

The thing is with fear, unless there is a very real possibility of being physically hurt, it’s all in your head. People will say they can’t do something whether that’s public speaking or traveling by themselves or meeting new people or any number of things. But what they are actually saying is that they don’t have the guts to try, that they won’t do certain things because they’re afraid.

I think with fear you have to break it down. Some of the questions I ask myself when something scares me are:
1)    Am I going to be physically hurt?
2)    How realistic are my fears? I mean, are people going to throw rotten fruit at me at this reading? Are people going to start laughing at me? Are they going to be unkind, are they going to hate me? Am I going to lose my voice suddenly? (At the first public speaking event I did a number of years ago, I actually did lose my voice because I was so nervous. Perhaps some people at this point would have thought, oh my God, that is the worst thing ever to happen and I’m never doing that again; my thinking was, okay, the worst happened, it will only get better from here. And it did).

When I look at things this way, I realize that very few things are actually going to harm me. In fact, doing these things will help me. I have what I call the “bubble theory of life”. My bubble theory of life is that life is like a big elastic balloon. If you’re not pushing on the balloon from the inside, breathing life into it, pretty soon your balloon turns into a straitjacket and you can’t do anything—you have allowed your fears to immobilize you. So, breathing air/activities into your balloon expands your boundaries.

I’m not talking about throwing yourself off a building or mountain climbing. I’m not talking about things that could possibly hurt me because quite honestly I have a fear of heights and I’m quite comfortable with that fear. J Now some people could turn around and say well your bubble theory of life says that you should be throwing yourself out of an airplane and they could be right, but I really don’t see any point in doing that. It doesn’t help me. So it’s not a priority for me. 

What is a priority for me is anything that will help me in my day-to-day life. I try to be pragmatic about the things I do. Everything is for a purpose. If I need to do something to get to where I want to go, then I’ll do it.  I’m also not talking about the things that I have to do as opposed to the things I want to do. Having fun is just as pragmatic as being responsible. Everyone needs a balance for good mental health and an enjoyable life.

So instead of turning down opportunities and adventures because they scare you, give it a shot and just say yes. Yes, I will do that. Yes, I will go there. Yes, I will do that public reading. Because after all, you only get one shot at life and you might as well make the most of it.

I hope that I will see some of you at my first public reading of Pitch Dark. The Prana Café & Teahouse is located at 2130A Queen Street East, on the corner of Queen and Hammersmith in The Beaches in Toronto. The date is Tuesday, November 2, 2010, the time is 6:30pm - find a seat, schmooze and order one of their fabulous coffees.  The readings begin at 7:00pm.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Truth - A Poem

Many roads lead to a city named Truth, 
but few find the path and are lost forever, 
never knowing why or what to say 

To those who blindly followed and prayed for a better day,
surrounded by the blooming lilies of hope and joy so wild

Many roads lead to a city named Truth, 
how I wish I could turn back the feet that led to sorrow and a forever-lost child 

For on the road to Truth, 
though I faithfully followed the signs and arrived on time, 
Truth betrayed me and left me behind

© Brooke London 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Story Begins…

... late. At night. Just as I’m tired and ready to crawl into bed. Listening to a piece of music. And my muse takes flight.

I close my eyes and pictures take form in my mind, painted by the strains of music, a scene laid out before me, waiting to be captured in words. The scene raises so many questions, questions that will not be answered until the end of the tale. Now, I don’t know what the ending will be. I only have a starting point. And all those questions.

So I confine the words into a chapter; the sights, the smells, the sounds, the tactile sensations of what I see. And I put it away to simmer on the back burner of my mind.

Over the next weeks, maybe months, I’ll find out who my characters are: what they want, what they would live for, what they would die for. I delve into their minds. I find out what nightmares disturb their sleep. Events that challenge my characters are thrown into the pot. The plot grows organically out of my characters: what is their story, what will force them to reach for everything they’ve ever dreams of, ever cried over and never wanted.

And one day, I sit down with my simmering characters and events and write their stories. I have basic events and crisis’ lined up for my characters but I don’t know when exactly these things will happen. They will happen when they are meant to happen. I can’t tell anyone the story because it is still unfolding for me.

It unfolds until I type the words “The End”.

I like creating stories this way, it keeps me entertained while I am writing – I’m like a reader with the advantage of being able to write the story as it comes to me. I think every writer has his or her own method of writing.

This is mine.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Can’t Go Back

Back in May I visited my family near Edmonton. And I decided I wanted to see the places where I grew up and lived during my childhood and young adulthood. It was strangely depressing.

There were two houses and three schools that I visited. The first house was the one I lived in until I was fifteen. It was an older suburban area, middle class. The house looked small. Years ago, Dad had put in a small brick retaining wall across the lawn near the sidewalk with a little built up spot next to the driveway. My older sister’s boyfriend had backed up into it and knocked it off. My dad had put it back on all those years ago but not cemented it in. It still wasn’t cemented into place – I won’t tell you how many years that was, but it was a loooong time ago. The street looked Alice-in-Wonderland tiny, maybe because I had been so short for most of the time I lived there.

The elementary school I went to looked old and broken, the asphalt playground area strewn with asphalt debris and forgotten toys. It also looked much smaller than my memories. The portables were gone and the church next to it had converted to another denomination. It had been a Roman Catholic church attached to the school when I attended. I can still remember Sister Ryan telling me to stop fidgeting in my seat when we went to visit the church – had I never been in a church before?? I was seven years old. Sister Ryan scared the hell out of me but, looking back, she was a good woman who took me aside and taught me to read when I needed the help.

We then drove to the house where I lived from ages fifteen to twenty-two, when I finished university. It had been a rather posh area when we moved in. Now, the front yards were cluttered with dandelions, rioting amongst the new and dead grass. The street also looked smaller – probably because now people parked their cars in the street instead of their driveways. The yards were unkempt and messy – it was obvious that neither the yards, nor the houses had seen any upkeep or improvements since I left all those years ago. Now, it looked like people didn’t care about the high grass and the once beautiful houses. It looked destroyed and it slumped at its heels. I was disappointed, surprised and a little let down.

The places where I grew up did not match the vibrant memories I had. The places where I grew up were not what I expected. The places where I grew up no longer existed anywhere but in my mind.

Maybe I shouldn’t have gone back to see. Maybe I should have left well enough alone. Maybe it’s best to leave past homes alone. Let sleeping dogs lie. I was a little depressed after my visit to the past. It’s amazing how things tend to look good in retrospective inner mind context but so much different in reality. I guess I had romanticized the places where I grew up in some way. In my mind, the houses and areas were pristine and now…now they were run-down wrecks that had seen much better days.

A couple years ago, during a day in the summer after I left my ex, I went back to my former marital home. Just to see. My ex was probably at work. What I saw was expected but still depressing. This is where I had spent nine years of my life, not happy years, but years nonetheless. The yard was a mess with the grass and weeds growing to my knees, the foundation of the house was cracked even more. It looked like the ‘Trailer Park Boys’ had moved in. And that hurt too.

The places of my past are not happy places. They actually weren’t happy places when I lived in them but memory had given them a gloss of happy unreality.

I won’t visit those places again. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brooke London Internet Radio Interview podcast

This is a clip of The Asylum for your Soul Show Whistle Radio 102.7 - A Soul Asylum Poetry, and Double K Records Production from March 30, 2010 with Brooke London. The clip is just over 30 minutes long and includes the interview and music for the show.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

All the Angry People, Where Do They All Come From?

It seems like the world is one big blob of pissed-off-ness. Walking down the streets, driving on the roads, malls, airports, churches. Everywhere I see people who are ANGRY for some reason. And do you know where all this anger is taking us? Nowhere. It’s a dead-end road.

I grew up in an angry, chaotic childhood. I traveled around an angry, chaotic world. I’ve been employed in angry, chaotic workplaces. I’ve lived in an angry, chaotic marriage. The one common element? Me. And the world at large.

Have you ever known a truly calm, peaceful, unflappable person? A person who doesn’t let anger creep into their lives, who lives life in harmony with themselves and others. I haven’t. Everyone seems to be living in his or her own personal hell.

There always seems to be a reason to be angry. Oh, he cut me off, the bastard. Oh, my boss is a jerk, the bastard. Oh, my workload is so unfair, those bastards. Oh, my life is hell and I am going to blame the whole world, you bastards. Oh, life is so hard for me while it’s so easy for everyone else, those bastards.

People walk around thinking everyone else is the enemy. The politicians, the economists, the terrorists, the intelligence agencies, the countries that populate the world. Anger is fear. Fear that someone else is going to hurt us or take something away from us. Fear that our circumstances will never change. Fear that we are alone in the world, without support and without love. They say that love makes the world go ‘round but that seems unrealistic. It seems that anger makes the world go ‘round. And that’s not a good thing.

Angry people make stupid choices. Angry people are so busy being self-righteous that they don’t see anything good in the world. They are crippled by unreasonableness. Everything and everyone is a target for their anger – why should anyone else be happy when I’m not? they ask themselves. Bitter, vindictive people go out of their way to spread their fear and paranoia.

Anger is like a contagious virus. I see it on the 401 Highway in Toronto, the busiest highway in North America. One person, apparently having a bad day, cuts off another motorist and flips him the bird. The second motorist responds by becoming angry and starts driving more aggressively, cutting other people off. Pretty soon, the 401 becomes an arena for gladiator road warriors. The 401 is crazy and so are most of the people who drive it. Because of this, I drive very defensively in Toronto – too many people having too many bad days, doing too many reckless things. I try to be aware of what is happening 100 meters behind, ahead and to the side of me (the 401 is 16 lanes wide – there’s a lot of space for aggression).

I turn on the news and everyone is angry. I go onto news websites and all the comments on all the stories are angry. I speak to people who seem ready to explode with anger – those ones scare me.

Anger is a natural emotion. Angry responses are each person’s choice. None of this but you did this wrong so I’m pissed off with you and I’m going to demonstrate how angry I am – I have no control over my emotions – you made me do it. No personal responsibility, no integrity whatsoever. Well, you may not have control over your emotions, but you do have control over what you do with your emotions. We all do, but rarely do we see people exercising control over themselves. They just erupt like Mount Vesuvius and rain their rage down on everyone within spitting range.

After I left my ex, I was angry. I was angry about how I let him treat me. I was angry with him. I was angry with me. I was angry that he took my piano out of spite (he didn’t play but he didn’t want me to have it because he was angry that I was leaving him). But anger doesn’t help me. Anger eats you up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t spit you out; it devours you until your whole existence is one of chaos and turmoil.

I have been learning how to let go of anger. It hasn’t been an easy process. I’ve had to cut some things out of my life such as news reports and negative, angry people. Driving in Toronto used to be a real problem anger-wise for me – so instead of reacting to the stupid things people do, I sing at the top of my lungs in the car and let it go. I don’t have to take on someone else’s anger. I’ve talked to people who are in my life, who will always be in my life, and explained how their anger affects me.

I am an emotional sponge, something I am working on not being. I suck up negative emotions around me very easily. So now, I work on controlling whom I come in contact with. Yes, I have de-friended a couple of people on Facebook, who only seemed to spew and stew with anger. I don’t need this garbage in my life.

I meditate. I try to concentrate on the positive instead of the negative. I don’t always succeed but at least I am aware of my shortcomings and I work on my issues to understand why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. Walking around angry without knowing why you feel like crap is no way to live a life. And your body knows this – anger causes stress hormones to flood your system and you become prone to all sorts of health problems.

I think many of us are angry because of the pace of life these days. Between jobs, family and friends, we’re loaded down with more than we can handle. I think at least a partial solution to this problem is to simplify one’s life as much as possible. No, your kids do not have to be in some sort of organized activity seven days a week, requiring you to be licensed as a taxi driver. No, you don’t have to do everything yourself – you can ask for and require help. No, you don’t have to be perfect. No, you don’t have to have everything your way. No, you don’t have to walk around angry.

Even simple things, like your physical environment, are important. If your physical environment is messy, then it affects you emotionally. Try to pare down what you have. What do you really need? What are the things that are just getting in your way and bogging you down? Make a distinction between wants and needs. Yes, I would like to buy that cute pair of shoes and a few hundred dollars worth of books, but do I NEED to? No. I don’t need another pair of shoes, I don’t need more books and I don’t need more STUFF that I forget about as soon as I buy it.

And I definitely don’t want to go to the mall where there is temptation to buy stuff everywhere. Have you ever noticed that people in malls have this glazed look in their eyes? You know. The “I must buy something or die” look. They gaze longingly through shop windows at some item they’ll wear or use twice and then never look at again. Mall people are especially bad at Christmas because they get aggressive. They wait until the last possible moment and then desperately run around angry and upset. This is why I don’t go into malls between November 15th and January 15th – those people are crazy.

At any rate, anger is yours to deal with. You can let it eat you up or you learn how to deal with it constructively. Your choice. I’ve made mine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Milk, please?

I just watched a commercial on television that extolled the virtues of a nice cold glass of milk. The milk looks wonderfully white and clean in a clear glass on a wonderfully white and clean background. One can almost forget that the milk came from a somewhat smelly animal in a barnyard. And milk comes out out the cow very warm.

When I was traveling in Asia, I landed in Bangkok coming from the beach area of Phuket. Beautiful beaches – I highly recommend them to anyone adventurous enough to go to Asia. But I digress…

Anyway, I landed in Bangkok – and why would I land in any city in Asia during the day??? Just never seemed to happen – at night. I was a bit leery being on my own, so I grabbed a taxi and asked the driver to take me to a hotel than wasn’t too far down on the price scale (that would come later). I got to the hotel at around 11pm and, after the staff chased a four-inch cockroach out of the room, I realized I was hungry.

I perused the English room service menu and didn’t recognize a thing except toast and milk. So I ordered toast and milk. I couldn’t figure out why it took 45 minutes for it to arrive. Until it did.

The toast was bread that it appeared they’d waved over an open flame for a minute. And then there was the milk. I took a sip of it and found it was very warm, body temperature warm. And something got stuck to my lower lip. Hmmmm. I pulled the offended piece of whatever it was off my lip and gagged.  

It was a hair. From a cow. The hotel obviously had a cow somewhere in the vicinity of the kitchens and they had milked this cow for me. They absolutely gave me what I asked for. I poured the rest of it down the drain, nauseous and definitely not hungry any more.

Now I realize that any dairy farmers reading this are going to scoff and say, “So, what’s the problem?” But for me, that was about on par of being chased around the room by a four-inch cockroach.

I refused to drink milk for a long time after that. I took calcium supplements. For the past several years, I’ve seen commercials encourage people to drink milk – ice, cold milk. So I started drinking milk again but every time I see one of those commercials, I think ‘cow hair’.


Sunday, February 21, 2010


I want a man to be a man. I know they exist, these men, this man I look for. I just have to see past whatever they’ve gathered around themselves, hiding who and what they are. For all know, my perfect man could be five feet tall and ninety-eight pounds. I’m sort of hoping he’ll at least be somewhere around my height (5'5") if not taller, but who knows what lies in a human heart, under mystifying package? So I talk to them all, the short and tall, the big and small, the wide and thin, the wiry and slim. Wondering. Is this him? Is this you? And why does it matter so much that I find you? To say I want to dive into your ocean seems trite. And dangerous if I dive in only to find you’re two inches deep. Break my damn neck.

So I am left with this inexplicable urge to be skin close in a relationship with a man and yet run like the Hounds of the Baskervilles are on my heels, like a squirrel darting up a tree to escape from danger. But the danger is not really from someone else, it’s from me. What if I can’t handle more than what I’ve already handled and fear locks me in, locks me down, won’t let anyone in. The question becomes, “will I choose what is best for me?” The question becomes, “will I be alone for eternity?” I’m not settling this time. Settling set me miles backward last time. I was careless with my life, I was careless in my choices, like one more cigarette to be burned and thrown away.

Just some things running through my head lately. Just wish they weren’t sprinting.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Start 2010 with Places to Find Pitch Dark :D

Pitch Dark, my debut novel of Romantic Suspense, is available in both e-book and paperback formats in many places for your convenience. The updated book trailer is on YouTube  for your viewing pleasure :)

Paperback is available at
Cerridwen Press

Barnes & Noble

Amazon USA

Book Depository USA

Alibris USA

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Eruditor Low Cost Book Store in the UK for £13.95

Amazon Germany/Austria

Amazon France

Booktopia Australia

Fishpond Australia Australasia's Biggest Online Bookstore for $34.97 AUD

Eden Terrace in New Zealand for $NZD34.12

Libreria Universitaria Italy

Ebook is available at:
Cerridwen Press

Amazon Kindle for $9.99

Pitch Dark has been receiving great reviews:

RT Book Reviews Magazine, November 2009 issue, gave Pitch Dark an impressive 4 out of 5 stars, saying "This story has the perfect mix of romance and suspense, with plenty of twists to hold your interest. London has created two strong-willed and passionate characters. Connor and Alyssa strike sparks off each other whether they're fighting or making up."

Night Owl Romance, Reviewer Melinda, gave Pitch Dark its Reviewer Top Pick designation, saying, "Pitch Dark was an awesome read from beginning to ending. I loved the whole suspense, betrayal and lies twisting in the book.

The attraction between Connor and Alyssa was great. You can tell they both are afraid to love because of their pasts but man the heat between them is explosive. Even the grandfather in the book was great to read. His attempts of matchmaking will really make you smile. This is the first I have read of Brooke London and it won’t be the last. Brooke London knows her men, action and how to create chemistry between her characters. All of that just makes her books worth reading.

Joyfully Reviewed said, "I thought that Alyssa and Connor were the perfect foil for the other, being so different. I just loved learning new things about both of them that enhanced their personalities. While the sparking passion and corky humor would have kept my attention, it was the thrilling suspense that kept me turning the pages to discover just what would come next. If having espionage, betrayal, spies and danger along with your romance has you grabbing for a story as it does me, then Pitch Dark is a must read for you."

Madame Butterfly gave Pitch Dark an 'A' grading, saying "Pitch Dark is one of the best romantic suspense novels I’ve read in a while. There’s a nice easy flow to Brooke London’s writing style and from this book, she has an ability to write well rounded, complex characters while keeping them from coming across as stereotypical and stale. Her ability to slowly build up on the plot and keep the tension going at just the right pace is just as fine. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of her books.
Sex rating: Crotchless panty- the sexual situations are written with a lot of intensity and passion, but with soft, non graphic, sensual language. This is not an erotic romance on that level. Still, very spicy though."

Literary Nymphs gave Pitch Dark a 4 out of a possible 5 Nymphs: "An impressive read. Quality literature, recommended for anyone who enjoys the genre." The reviewer noted, "Pitch Dark is a good suspense story...I did not want to put it down."