On The Road Again

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I’m with the wind
I’m on the road
Where am I going?
Nobody knows
Not even me

I’ve loved and lost
And lost again
But lose a lover
Keep a friend
If you know how

There’s peace and beauty
All around
Secret places
To be found
And they are mine

I’ll roam and roam
My heart’s caressed
The open road
Is freedom’s rest
Come out and see

Don’t you fret
I’ll not be far
A picture, a postcard
The shoot of a star
I’ll see you again

(c)2015 Sara Litchfield

A Singular Announcement

SING

I’ve not songed and danced enough about the latest publication I’m involved in. It is a book of blood. It may cause you sweat and tears. And it comes with a wee warning: Tis not for those who cannot read outside the box; tis not for those who are too scared to peek under the bed.

This book is a collaboration. Helena Hann-Basquiat recruited writers of intrigue from around the world to join together and produce something that’s a bit meta. Call it paranormal thriller, call it psychological horror, call it what you will. It comes from the place where the creepy crawlies hide.

The author gathered voices in the same way the grim reaper gathers souls and trapped them in the pages. If you want a taster of the type of things they have to say, read Voices – a short story collection that is teaser and terror combined. To read reviews of Singularity, visit Goodreads. To meet the authors, go to Pen Paper Pad, where the wonderful Tamara Woods explored what makes our characters tick. For some background, go straight to the source and read about the route down the rabbit hole: The Road So Far. Also, there be trailers – character trailers as well as a taste of the whole that you can view below.

At the time of writing, there are sixty hours left to order from Indiegogo. If the target is hit, it will continue to be possible to order bundles and bonuses. If it’s not – this is your last chance to get a starter, side or desert with your main.

Singularity is here. Turn all the lights on, get ready to dive under the covers, sneak a sideways glance at the monster in your closet, and succumb to the shadows.

 

Life Sans Regret

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Queenstown. Seasons change – folk leave. It’s a transient place with transient people, people with one thing among others in common. They live large. They’re larger than life. They go hard, then some go home, or hound it to the next bright light. Others can hack it and hang out. Some keep coming back. But there’s always another adventure round the corner; there’s always something calling. You’ll meet the most amazing people, though keeping hold of them might be a game of catch-me-if-you-can. Perhaps FOMO is the philosophy here, but if you can embrace it, you live life from outstanding day to outstanding day, ride to ride, wave to wave, moment to moment. And wherever you end up in the end, you’ll never forget how it felt to fly…

So here’s one for the thrill-chasers, the moment-makers, the life-livers – the Queenstowners. And hey, who knows, chase a little life yourself, you might see them again.

 

Life Sans Regret

 

I’m a bird, bro

Don’t cage me

 

Things to do

People to see

Shit to learn

Clichés a plenty

 

But if you were gonna see

The things that I’ll see

 

And surf the snow

Ride the water

Hit the dirt

You’d get it with me

How it is just to be

 

Be here, be now

Be free

 

And to all the broken hearts

I’ll leave in my wake

Don’t angst out too much

I’m not a mistake

 

Enjoy me right now

And just don’t forget

Wherever I’ve gone

Whatever the scene

I’ll live sans regret

 

Life on the drop-off

With GCs I’ve met

 

No borders, no boundaries

No fun with a ban

Snow’s sweet for a season

Ride hard while you can

 

(c) 2015 Sara Litchfield

Happiness Is…

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Most people who know me (and, at this juncture, many people who don’t know me at all) have an inkling that I’ve got a lot of love for Instagram.

Getting my first touch-screen phone with a passable camera (which only happened last September – judge away!) made it possible for me jump on the bandwagon, and I’ve been a happy addict ever since. During a darkish time, it motivated me to find a bit of beauty in every single day – it got me outdoors in search of moments I didn’t just want to memorise, but play with and publish with a line that would remind me of what it really looked like, how it really felt.

Social media sometimes gets a bad rap. We’re saturated with images, memes, gifs… smart-ass comments, shares and over-shares… But you can’t deny that amongst the plethora of posts out there, some can be provoking. Some can be show-stopping. Some can reach out a hand and hold your heart, even lift it, spiral it to new heights.

Often, I’m in search of a smile. Often, I have one person in mind in whom I think a post might provoke that delightful lilt to the lips. And that makes sharing worth it for me. It’s not about courting your envy or inspiring your awe – it’s about inviting you in. It’s me shouting a greeting: I wish you were here. It’s beautiful. I wish you could see what I see.

So, since I’m back sharing here, I thought I’d invite you to smile at a recent, in-progress Instagram series of mine: Happiness is…

One thing to note: They’re not really pictures of snowboarders or mountains or lakes I’ve seen or book I’ve written. They are posts about passion. Whether with words or phone-photography, I’d love to provoke someone somewhere to find a moment of passionate engagement with something, with anything. A moment that makes them pause, that makes them smile, that makes them think: Happiness is… this.

11402678_10101337395520820_9056833985631954804_nHappiness is: Snow, sunshine, stories, and overhearing conversations that make you smile

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Happiness is: Driving leisurely, singing loudly, pausing frequently.. because it’s so damn beautiful turning corners is a hazard

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Happiness is: Crashing a roadtrip to ride new snow

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Happiness is: Playing out of bounds

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Happiness is: When you make the mountain your office and your snowboard your escape

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Happiness is: Being published. Won’t ever get bored of seeing my novel on a bookshop shelf 🙂

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Happiness is: When the cloud clears, and you remember you can fly

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Happiness is: Snowboard on, earphones in, hangover gone

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Happiness is: Riding to the beat of your racing heart

What is your happiness? Where is your happiness? Find it; treasure it; share it.

Follow me on Instagram: Sara Litchfield

An Open Letter To A Future Me

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Friends and neighbours, I’ve been absent. I’ve been around, about and everywhere, and I have been writing. There are plenty exciting project things in the pipeline. We’ve a book launch tomorrow for a start! But I’ve not been here. And I’ve probably not been round yours so much lately either. I’m sorry. But I’m going to change that. I’m coming back. I’m going to be more present. Recently, the offline world has all been very distracting. I’ll tell you all about it later. Madness on the mountain; exhilaration on the ice; rides in cars and boats and planes. And all sorts of interesting, all-consuming work in the spaces in between.

What to share with you after so long? Perhaps just a piece of me. My writers’ group challenge this week was to write an open letter to yourself – yourself ten years hence. A step through the looking glass…

———–

Dear Me,

I hope you have not changed. I hope you still have no regrets. I hope you still carry a big heart and wear a big smile. I hope that whatever hurt has come your way, you have learnt from it, laughed at it, and sent it on its way.

Perhaps a letter at your end would warn me against life’s foes. Perhaps you would look back at my lost battles, my dips and trenches, my grazed knees, and shake your head. Perhaps you would say, ‘You shouldn’t get so attached.’

But let me let you know – I am happy. I am full. I am boundless.

And so you cannot say to me, ‘Do not get attached.’

That is who I am. That is what I do.

I fall everyday. For places, people, things. For moments. For memories. For little pockets of wonder in the jacket of life.

I tether myself to them with an open cord – I open my heart wide. I cast a net to bring beauty and brilliance to my side and I drown in it with delight.

I cannot do ‘no stings attached’ – I can only make pretend. I am a ball of twine. But I like to think the good kind. I don’t tie people into knots; I wrap myself up and present myself to them with a bow. I am the string on a helium balloon, inviting them to fly with me.

I love people. I can fall for someone in a week, make fast friendships in a weekend. People leave marks on my soul. I can tell a stranger my hopes and dreams. My innermost everything is an open book. I crave connection, affection, to read the story of someone’s life and invite them to be a highlight in my own. It makes my story that much richer, that much more of an adventure. I will love you if you let me.

I hope you have not changed. I hope you still have no regrets. I hope you still carry a big heart and wear a big smile. I hope that whatever hurt has come your way, you have learnt from it, laughed at it, and sent it on its way.

Sincerely,

Me

————-

What would you say to yourself ten years hence, or ten years ago? Everything you do today is the gift of a memory given to a future you. Make it a good gift. 

Singularity. Is. Coming.

Singularity 6 x 9 coverThe time has come.

The time is now.

Singularity is the new novel from Helena Hann-Basquiat, with Sara Litchfield, Sandy Ramsey, Lizzi Rogers and Hannah Sears.

Singularity is the sequel to last year’s JESSICA — a metafictional look into Jessica’s possible pasts.

Singularity is coming August 1, 2015

Singularity is its own novel, and can be enjoyed all on its own, but if you haven’t read JESSICA, GO HERE to read the first chapter or GO HERE to purchase a copy in paperback or e-book.

 

 

Connection: Biophilia In All Its Forms

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The Routeburn: Towards Harris Saddle

This weekend, I ran away. I’ve been burning the candle at all sorts of ends – it’s basically just a puddle of wax on the floor. I’m consistently over-ambitious, over-extended, and aching all over. But I’m more energised than I’ve been in a really long time.

I’m not ashamed to say the last six months have been tough. At times a bit of a warzone I’ve had to battle through, struggling to keep my head up. But if they’ve been a battle, this last month’s been a revolution.

Being broken up with out the blue is a lot like being dropped from a team for no reason. You’ve lost a connection. But the main thing to keep in mind is this: However much a better person someone else makes you, it’s possible to lose them and still become an even better one. Another thing to remember: Just because you’re now flying solo, it doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

In the last couple of months I’ve got back on board with the Queenstown Creative Writing Group, taken photos with the Snappers, joined the triumphant TEDx Queenstown team (the videos are up!), jumped on wheels to spin around with the Roller Derby squad, and hit the ice to become a part of Queenstown’s first and currently only women’s ice hockey team. I’ve also spent time with friends who have cemented into a crew to wind up and down the days with – making a living, of course, taking up the multitude of hours in between.

I’ve been out the loop a little with #1000Speak and the gang, but I’ve been keeping up with posts and marvelling at the continued energy that has turned into monthly efforts to foster a world-wide community dedicated to compassion. The theme this month was connection, so I’d like to add my belated mite.

Being part of a team, whether sports squad, arts gathering or friendship group, is about connection. Connection is what makes us human; it’s what keeps us compassionate, empathetic, enthusiastic – it allows us to come together with a common purpose and achieve common goals as well as individual ones. Being part of team, being connected to anything – it motivates us, lifts us, cheers us. Completes us.

Sometimes, like this weekend for me, you want to get away from the maelstrom and wander about in the quiet. I went with a friend, but it could be you’d rather spend some time alone. Whichever way, there’s still connection there. Wherever you are, even in silence, you can find connection with your surroundings.

Biophilia translates as ‘love of life’. It was coined by Erich Fromm to describe an innate psychological attraction to what is alive and vital – to nature. It’s something I certainly experienced this weekend as I walked the Routeburn, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, to show-stopping views such as those captured above and below.

Whatever you’ve been through and wherever you’re going, make sure you pause to consider the connections you’re making along the way. Make sure to embrace them. Make sure to love life.

Where have you been lately? What have you been doing and with whom? Do you ever pause to contemplate how we’re all connected?

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The Routeburn: Coming up the highest part of the track

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The Routeburn: Also known as Middle Earth

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Glenorchy Lagoon: A warm-down walk at sunset

Ideas Worth Spreading: TEDx Queenstown – Illumination

TEDx Queenstown

“Live for Awesome” – Cam Calkoen

Anyone who’s read this blog regularly since I started winding words together in early 2013 will know that Queenstown New Zealand, of Middle Earth & bungy-jumping fame, is not only one of the most beautiful and vibrant places in the world – it’s where I make my home. It’s where I wrote my first book and where I founded my business. And I love it here.

I can go on and on about the mountains and lakes, the activities and aesthetics, the bars and buzz, and, yes, the real estate and rentals… But have I said enough about the people that put the extreme-ideas-capital of the world on the map?

It was my great privilege to volunteer at TEDx Queenstown this weekend. Queenstown’s movers and shakers have fingers in a great many pies, but the creative cooks of this fast-paced, entrepreneurial hub came together to put on something particularly special when they took up the TED mantle.

For the uninitiated, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It’s a non-profit devoted to communicating ‘ideas worth spreading’, mostly in the form of 18 minute talks. It all began with a California conference the year I was born, 1984, and since then has whipped its way across the world with the help of TEDx events, where the x indicates the event has been independently organised by local volunteers to bring the spirit of TED to the community. All talks are recorded and made freely available on the interwebs.

This year, over 4000 hours of volunteer work went into illuminating Queenstown with the words of some of the finest inspirational speakers the world has to offer. Volunteering, I didn’t get to see everyone live, but those I did get to witness absolutely blew me away.

I’d been looking forward to Trey Ratcliff, local travel photographer extraordinaire, but all I caught was the thunderous applause from the other side of the door I was guarding – needless to say I’m looking forward to the recording! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw he’d followed me on Twitter.

My highlight from setting up on the Saturday was getting to see Graeme James rehearse. On the Sunday I was lucky enough to catch his show-stopping speech, with its powerful instrumental punctuation proving how you can reach people through music.

Mark Balla‘s toilet humour was a juxtaposition to a serious message that really made you stop and think about the things we take for granted – his organisation aims to make sustainable sanitation a reality for the whole world. Jamie Fitzgerald‘s rousing talk was as motivating as they come – inspiration to succeed from an adventurer who’s walked unaided to the South Pole and who holds the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Closing off the day’s brilliance was a name I didn’t previously know but will now never forget – Cam Calkoen. He is beyond a doubt one of the finest and most incredible people I’ve ever heard speak – a standing ovation tells me that more than one person will have walked away believing, like him, that absolutely anyone can live their dream.

And that’s the truth. Anyone can make their mark on the wall of the world. Not only the speakers proved that to me, but the people behind the scenes, seeing it run smoothly, but, above all, making it possible for inspirational ideas to spread – for people to catch fire and light up others upon leaving, in keeping with the theme of illumination.

How wonderful, how powerful, how world-changing words can be.

Who is the most inspirational person you’ve heard speak? Are you a TED fan? Have you ever been involved behind the scenes of something special?

What To Do When It’s Impossible To Park

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I’ve not felt like I’ve been very inspirational or motivational here lately, mostly because I’ve been struggling with finding inspiration and motivation for myself. Since being stirred up by compassion posts for #1000Speak, I’ve mostly floundered finding something meaningful to say. And my latest manuscript has been moulding.

But today I woke up feeling different to the new normal (partly due to the cold – winter is coming (and, on a tangent, DRAGONS – bring it on GoT! (Gosh it’s been a long time since I parenthesised in parentheses))… but partly something else). Still with me? Good.

I’ve been waiting for it – a turn, a switch, a flip. I knew it was coming. Week by week since The Return, I have felt better. There have been smiles & laughs amidst the crash landings; I’ve found my feet amongst old and new friends; I’ve taken up old and new tasks. There have been challenges around the setbacks – but overall, an upward curve that’s becoming a grin. Heartbreak’s a bitch, but what kind of writer could I be without being eviscerated once in a while? And if you’re never brought low, how will you know how good it is to fly high?

I have a million things to do, so I’ve been writing and re-writing lists rather than achieving much of any of them. I’ve fire-fought – dealing with the urgent tasks and letting the important-but-not-immediate ones slide into the next day’s list – Future-Sara’s issue. I have been kinder to myself when it comes to time and goals. And I have thanked my lucky stars for my friends and for my resilient sense of humour, which between them have softened several assaults on my recovering sunny nature with their sense of the ridiculous.

One wee issue I’ve been wrestling is my faithless steed, Imp Lannister. Many of you will know by now that, much like my love for people, my love for inanimate objects can know no bounds. Take Bella (“I neglected to realise that while living in her would be a dream, getting anywhere would be a nightmare”), Enid (“Life always throws a herd of cows in your way when you want to get somewhere”) & Nicki (“A teddy bear can be so much more than a possession”), for example.

I adore The Imp, and it breaks my heart that he’s on his way out. But I still have him on the road at the moment. And the roads are busy. It’s often a nightmare finding somewhere to park – sometimes plain impossible.

Life can be like finding a parking space. A massive pain. You can sometimes be over-ambitious or under-discerning, attempting to fit into a gap where you just won’t fit, whether due to the lack of space, your lack of spatial awareness, or your pure inability to parallel park. This can lead, at best, to jokes, jeers and jibes, at worst, to bumps, bruises and insurance claims.

You can find yourself circling the same spot, the same taken spaces, close to your destination, hoping for an opening, feeling frustrated. You can curse those who take the places you were aiming for, nipping in before you.

Or… you can go a bit farther afield and make peace with a longer walk to where you want to be. You can practise patience. You can understand that if you don’t give up, you’ll find somewhere eventually.

At the beginning of the year, I was turning in frustrated circles, cursing people stealing my parking spaces but obstinately refusing to change tack and make life easier for myself. I was wasting time. Now, I’ve realised I needed to keep driving. I’ve woken up more willing to walk a little to make it work. Even uphill.

Anyhow, in a week, I’m moving into town from the ranch, where I will retire my wheels and learn to use my legs again (Yes. I am moving. Again.). Life is a lot like walking – but that’s a story for another day…

Who hates parking? Who has felt that turn – that twist that’s like coming back to Spring?

Dropkicked Heart – A Song

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Dropkicked heart

You’ll be okay

What’s a war wound anyway?

You’ve had ’em before

And you’ll have ’em again

Dropkicked heart

 You know you’ll mend

Dropkicked heart

Who can say

Why it is they walk away?

You know, you know

They’ll come and go

Dropkicked heart

It’s how you’ll grow

Dropkicked heart

Don’t you cry

A waste of time to wonder why

Climb and climb

And rise above

Dropkicked heart

You’ll find true love

Many times before you’re done

Many times before you’re done

If you walk with coat cast off

You’ll find the ones who’ll be enough

To keep you laughing everyday

You’ll cry out when they’re off away

But keep on trying

Keep on flying

Keep on going

Keep on flowing

One day you’ll be scooped right up

And treasured like a precious cargo

They will go as far as you’ll go

Help you heal forever and oh

Dropkicked heart

You’ll keep the scars

But they’ll be stories

They’ll be ours