Reflections on March 2016:

It was the best of times it was the worst of times; it was devastating, it was fun; it was triumphant it was chaotic.

After rejection, heartache, being ignored, being neglected and facing so much cruelty from every avenue in life I finally got my piece of success and a chance to establish a path for myself.

It felt rough. Although I have since made friends with those that attended my event the doubts of the past crept up because every former opportunity to make friends in the past just crumbled, nothing would stick, people were fake, they would act so rudely to my face for no reason, I hadn’t yet learned that wolves in sheep’s clothing’s are widespread. It made me feel so much unease with people. But now I believe I have found friends for life.

I got so depressed after the event and even when I made attempts to meet up with my new friends I was terrified they’d let me down or abruptly turn on me as so many others have done in the past. And that’s the problem: THE PAST. I NEED TO GET OVER THE PAST.

Before March 2016 I had NO friends, nobody in my vicinity to turn to and I had been single for years. It was an illogical and sickening time. Before I can even discuss the success I’ve had, I have to articulate the pain.

The pain that weighs so heavy on my heart and overwhelms me. The pain of being disappointed by every type of person/social group: friends/peers, family, colleagues, teachers, doctors and even a priest. Most importantly I’ve understood that an omission/a failure to act does not validly support nor does it have the right to exist as a thought/opinion that “oh people do like you, they’re just shy that’s why they’ve not said anything.” NO they made their choice, how are you supposed to know what a person is really like if they are not straight with you, if they keep quiet. It is dishonesty and I have no tolerance for dishonesty. The people of the past failed to show up, they FAILED to acknowledge me and it almost got me killed. There is a natural segment for people who are introverted and I am understanding of that but the rest are just a disappointment and a disgrace. How can you ignore talent, intelligence and beauty when it is in your vicinity? Quite frankly: how dare you?

But I didn’t have to apply these thoughts of disappointments to these NEW people I’ve met. They showed up, they took a chance on me when we were strangers and they’ve been straight-up nice to my face.

The other factor was that maybe people just want a piece of me.. That’s a tough pill to swallow and I suppose it comes with the territory when you pursue and succeed at a path few can achieve.

There’s been something of a grieving process because there’s so much that I’ve just never had, there’s no connection to the past. There’s a huge period of my life where I was just alone, no friends, no boyfriend, no best friend, nobody who knows what my favourite book is, nobody who knows what music I like…. The list is endless. How would you feel if there was not one single person in the world who could answer simple questions about yourself?It’s almost like having to grieve yet again about all that never was and never will be.

All of a sudden literally overnight having people actually speak to me and be straight up nice to my face was a shock to the system, it’s something that I had wanted and needed yet rarely received so for it to all happen at once ended up having the reverse effect when I came home. It was so shocking and it was so long awaited it felt like a slap in the face. It made me depressed. On reflection I see I cannot see things that way as these new faces are nothing like the people of the past and they deserve no comparison to those people from before.  I cannot bare to think of what state I would be in if recent events did not go well. If success made more depressed, I don’t know if I’d even still be here if things didn’t go swimmingly.

I feel I paid too high a price for what I have now made alone by myself for myself.  The only reward I have is to take it as far as I can and even that’s a tough path. I have no other choice the former would kill me, it almost did two years ago. I don’t even dare wander or allow it to enter my my mind about having a best friend or boyfriend because that’s too big a thing to expect from anyone; I can’t ignore the past at the end of the day people are who they are and tend to lean towards simply “just not.” Inaction is commonplace. Why else would there by a million-dollar motivational ‘industry’. It’s like I just need to see things for what they are but sadly the truth can be so obvious it is quite simply becomes HIDDEN in plain sight. But I do have a growing circle of friends which seemed an impossibility even in January 2016. My new friends are so valuable to me.

It’s hard knowing how to acknowledge the truths and harsh realities you’ve learnt from the past yet still give new people the benefit of the doubt and just clearly see them for who they are. I had done that for so long previously yet kept being disappointed it can destroy a person’s outlook. Suffice to say the people of the past were just plain wrong for me and the sooner I forget them the better. It was a series of unfortunate disappointing and rude encounters for no reason. It was at times maddening and nobody should have to face that kind of treatment.

It’s bittersweet because there’s such a huge cut off from age 16 until now that I’ll never have that young love I craved. I’ll never have that simple hometown kinda love and just have someone love me for me. Sometimes I wander if a guy is ever actually going to like the real me or just the fantasy of Catherine Vaughan because by the time I meet someone new I’ll be this established writer and performer there’s a big star shine quality to it and I don’t want a guy to be enchanted by that external shine and miss out on seeing my soul. Then again I never really had a guy like me for me before anyway they just picked whatever side of me they liked and focused on it and it was frustrating anyways which only fuels my sense of loss even more….. It’s just one more sad experience and something else I’ve lost out on.

If it’s something you’ve never had they why bother thinking about it? Well it feels integral to one’s well-being. It’s just something you’re supposed to have. Its absence is a strong presence…. It’s bad enough when on top of everything you’re entire existence: childhood, teen years just everything was so unhappy, no consistent parental connection, no memories of having grandparents and family gatherings. Just nothingness and wasted youth. People doing nothing but wasting your life away. The list of have-not’s is endless you just have nobody and the worst part is you’re this creative genius and nobody can see it or worse they don’t want to acknowledge it and worst of all they go to great lengths to ignore you, block you and try to stop you getting opportunities.

The saddest part is that I cannot perform again not for a very long time because it just makes me more depressed and near suicidal from the stress and anxiety of having to organize and set up the before/during and after elements of the event and the fact that these poems I write bring back painful memories from childhood and beyond. It’s like reliving the past and reading your diary out in public. I hate the huge price I’ve had to pay to get a chance at anything in life, everything was bought with my blood and I wander when will the pain end, when does it get easier?

I guess all I can do is keep on keeping on and just hope people get on my wavelength because truthfully that is the only thing that has changed. I’ve just finally had a circle of people accept and embrace me. Life is nothing without people accepting and just acknowledging you’re alive. If you don’t have that you honestly have nothing. You can be the best brain surgeon on the planet but if there’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing in the way you’ll lose that job and won’t be able to save lives. Your talent, skill and dedication to health care will become negated. What’s worse is that such scenario’s exist in life and it’s such a waste. You really are nobody until you have somebody. Essentially if the people around you are not the right people they are the wrong people.

People need people, we just have to pray that people choose the right people and don’t let the good get beaten down into invisibility which is the cruelest state to put a soul in by the scum of the earth: wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Love Catherine Logo Trans

 

Facebook Event Listing for Poetry Night this Thursday 3rd March

FB event listing

Hey guys!

If you’re in Hereford this Thursday check out this event on my official Facebook page. If you can come please hit the going button.

And while you’re on Facebook why not click L I K E to show your support on my fan page.

Thank you!

– Love Catherine xoxo

 

Visual Merchandising

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There was a designated spot in the window for the Picture book signing, the poster’s were made by Head Office.

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At the Heart of the Children’s department was a noticeboard that promoted the event and the latest release at the time: “Superworm” which was illustrated by Axel Scheffler. In store we ensured to have promotional material to highlight the beloved Gruffalo, Donaldson’s back-list of books and related products such as these cute plush toys hanging on the board!

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The actual signing took place (where I’m standing)  in the kids department next to the fittingly age-related under 7’s area where picture books also live.

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This is the display I made. It includes Donaldson’s most popular picture books plus other editions her beloved character’s are found in such as baby board books, puzzles and stationary. This is a unique selling point because it provide’s customers with a broader range of products from mini board books for babies in buggies, to pencil cases for school kids and non-book items and collectibles for fans young and old!

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The front of store/F.O.S. is prime retail space for booksellers so more of Julia’s back-list was on display including her early reader’s selection of books.

Top Visual Merchandising Tips:

  1. Put display’s in prime retail spots such as front of shop.
  2. Make the display creative and eye-catching.
  3. Incorporate a broad range of products i.e. books in various editions and non-books such as stationary or toys.
  4. Keep it age or theme appropriate.
  5. Mention your displays to customer’s. If they are specifically asking for Julia Donaldson picture books show them a relevant display, let them be immersed in the product choices. Invite them to pick up the books so they know the display is not just to look at, they can help themselves to the items.

The Waterstones Hereford Julia Donaldson Signing 27th September 2012

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It’s been three years since Hereford Watertsones bookshop had the Queen of Picture Books grace her presence in this most quiet and small city. Three years ago I was the multi-tasking account sales manager, event-planning bookseller running the children’s department. I also had the privilege of hosting my first ever book-signing for the one and only Julia Donaldson.

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It was a chaotic time, it was back to school season and a lot was going on. I had newly taken on the kids department and was learning the ropes. It was all perfect timing!100_0438A  100_0439A

The day after I got confirmation that Donaldson could come to Hereford we had a visit from both a Divisional and Regional Manager and you can imagine how impressive it was to hear that not I been with the company for almost half a decade, but in less than three months into my new Kids Bookseller role I had a Top-Selling Children’s Author come to our store for a signing. It was nothing short of Catherine Vaughan’s Magic & Manifesting + Talent….

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It was a lot of hard work but I learned a lot on the go and it was an experience to encapsulate what I do best: organization and magic! People wander how someone with no event-planning experience can accomplish such a huge task. I just respond saying I learned everything I needed to know about events management from reality television. And it’s true! Thank you Kimora Lee Simmon’s: Life in The Fab Lane TV show.100_0444A  100_0445A  100_0447A      100_0451A

This is me in the Kid’s department.

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The 1st customer who queued up was a Super Fan! She had nail art of The Gruffalo character’s on her hands- Wow!    100_0457A        This is Julia signing my hardback copy of “Superworm.”100_0467A

Here is my specially dedicated copy of “Superworm.” I was so delighted that Julia was happy with the running of the event!

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Hey Hay! On my way….

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Tomorrow I shall be seeing Tim Marlow Art Historian extraordinaire interviewing Steve McCurry the award-winning Magnum photographer.

Tim Marlow is a wonderful broadcaster and journalist every once in a while I’ll catch an old episode of his Great Artists series on Sky Arts. I could hear him speak for hours. 🙂

And we all know Steve McCurry’s magnificent, iconic photographs. For more see @steve mccurryofficial

Another event I am attending is “Memory and mental time travel” which sounds incredibly fascinating and is a talk by a scientist and artist! 🙂 Jpeg

💔 🎸🎤 John Mayer was my 1st… 🎤🎸 💔

Ever Musician I got concert tickets for!!!

It was literally the most exciting thing at the time. I was living in Cardiff studying Law & Politics at Uni there and when Mayer announced extra tour dates in Cardiff I was so happy. 🙂 This was back in 2010. I had been a fan of John Mayer since I was 14! It was well worth the 6 year long wait to see him. Prior to that Mayer was little-known in the UK. He was NEVER on Top of The Pops-ha! My local Virgin Megastore at the time and stores in the West Midlands did not even stock his music a decade ago.

Coincidentally his supporting act was Ellie Goulding who is from my Hometown Hereford and she was two years above me at the Sixth Form college.

I must confess I had such high hopes of watching his show that I was sorely disappointed when he arrived on stage in a red severely creased shirt! It was a little underwhelming purely because he looked scruffy and his hair was not on point-it was at that messy, awkward short-yet growing it out phase. He was also a bit of an A$$h*le and essentially criticised the crowd for shouting happy cheers like “We love you John” etc he was saying how weird it was and how people would never do it in real life. Just a fucking pointless and annoying comment really considering the fact that he was essentially a nobody in the UK. The Gobshite! I don’t ‘like’ John Mayer, I just like his music.

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Hay Festival 2014: Travel Tips (Part 1)

Hay-On-Wye is a magical and whimsical little market town on the English/Welsh borders-near my hometown. Plenty of charming bookshops, cafés and gift shops. And once a year there is an inflow of literary and artistic minds gathered to educate, entertain and inspire.

Ironically for the past 5 years I had not attended an event because I was too busy working in a bookshop or always seemed to book my annual vacation in Malta on the exact same week!

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I was fortunate to get a Monday afternoon off and scoured the pages for events to attend. Of course nobody around me gives a damn about reading, the arts so I knew I would be riding solo yet again.

I was very nearly going to attend Mr Hook of Sotheby’s talk on the Art World and his book but then there was a picture book panel with three illustrators/creative extraordinaire’s so being as ridiculously frugal as I am I figured it’d be a three for one which would be a more efficient use of my time.

JpegJpegAs you can see the festival like many other literary ones are a series of connected maze-like tents. The entrance to the festival can get very muddy and you would not be out of place to wear wellies particularly as our British Summer may decide to drizzle on us or worse! My Clarke ballet flats fortunately got over the very unbearable though brief exposure to wet mud.  JpegIt does understandably get very busy and jam-packed as you walk around the tent but it is not that gigantic, you will not get lost and the loos are onsite and easy to get to though the queues for them can be enormousJpegFor some reason I did not eat a thing that whole afternoon so have no idea what the onsite cafés and food stalls are like. There is plenty of seating area in some open café areas.

A note on travel:

Because I live nearby I simply hopped onto my local 39 Hereford to Hay-on-Wye bus. It is an hour ride possibly £9 return ticket if my memory serves. I did notice that the special Festival Bus link last year were late. From what I heard from other festival goers the Festival bus was an hour late and it’s route were delayed (on the Monday I went.) So a lot of people that previously purchased festival bus tickets paid again to use the local 39 Yeomans bus. This Yeomans bus is not in service during the late evening. Anyhoo the drive/ride from Hereford to Hay is beautiful, scenic and quintessentially British. Once you arrive at Hay there are buses going back and forth regularly to the festival site and it’s £1 return to and from Hay and the site. It’s a very quick journey 10 mins max. I hope that helps!