Another Friday, they seem to be coming around faster and faster! Which means it is time for another Friday Night Drinks and this week I am joined by author, blogger, self-publisher and mentor…. Camilla Downs.
Camilla, thank you for joining me on the blog for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
Thanks so much for inviting me for drinks, Julie!! Books and drinks, can’t go wrong! I’m having a spicy, virgin Bloody Mary, with pickled okra and garlic stuffed green olives. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Bloody Marys are the one cocktail I cannot stomach, I’m afraid, I’ll have to stick to the gin. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
We would make our way from Reno up Geiger Grade Highway to Virginia City, stopping to take in the view along the way. Once there, we’ll stroll along the wooden boardwalk, which serves as a time machine to take us into days gone by. We’ll enjoy being immersed in the Old West of gold rush days, touring the mini-museums, the ancient cemetery, learning more about Mark Twain and the time he spent in Virginia City. We’ll end our visit at The Bucket of Blood Saloon, while the Comstock Cowboys perform. I’m including a photo I took of the view as you drive from Reno to Virginia City.
(Geiger Way Lookout)
That sounds perfect. USA road trips are one of my favourite types of trip. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
Billy Idol and Cyndi Lauper …. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, don’t they?
So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
I’m taking this year to press the reset button. Rest, relax, doing whatever is in front of me, or whatever I feel like doing. You see, for the past 15 years, I’ve been on an exhausting journey of healing. Which began with leaving a 10 year marriage in 2006, becoming a single parent to a 5 year old special needs child and her 1 year old sibling, and losing everything. If that doesn’t kick your butt into gear to take a good, long, look at yourself, I’m not sure what will! During that time I published four books, two of which are with each of my kids.
All this to say that I’m taking this year off! No meditating and no writing, unless there’s something that just needs to be written. This excludes my blog as I write whenever I’m moved about life experiences or current events. As this year comes to a close, I’ll begin thinking about what’s next, preparing myself to be guided by the heart. For sure, another book, a return to meditating, and who knows what else!
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
The proudest moment was having my first book, D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance, reach #1 in on Amazon in Special Needs Parenting and #2 in Self-help, along with the feedback and reviews that were received. There’s nothing like the feeling of others reflecting back to you, the areas where you shine. We are mostly blind to this, not able to see ourselves as others do. It’s a true blessing when this happens.
The biggest challenge has been having faith in myself and my projects, during creation, and once released into the world. It was a true blessing learning about imposter syndrome, recognizing when it is discouraging me to move forward with a project. I was incredibly relieved when I discovered about imposter syndrome, that it is something many authors, artists, entrepreneurs, and people simply living life experience.
That is something i can relate to, I am a lifelong sufferer. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!
I would love for Elizabeth Gilbert to endorse one of my past or future books, sharing it with all of her instagram followers, and telling them why she loves it.
That would be amazing, wouldn’t it? What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
I’m really excited about taking this year off. Hahaha! I have to keep reminding myself that this is the case. I keep thinking I should be doing something, with thoughts of guilt and shame for not hustling and working on creating something.
I’m also pretty excited that I’ve finally gotten my daughter’s book, Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories, converted to and released as an ebook and am working on getting my son’s book, Biggest Little Photographer, converted and released as an ebook as well. These have been on my to do list for a while!
I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
Last summer I visited The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The feeling in the air, the calm, peace, and beauty are overwhelming, in a good way! You’ll definitely need a full day, if not two days to be able to experience all of it.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
For the past 7 years, I’ve used organic olive oil as my facial cleanser and moisturizer, and nothing else. I so much like what it’s done for my complexion that I quit wearing make-up about 4 years ago.
Oh, that’s interesting! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
The Sound of the Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.
When Elisabeth Tova Bailey contracted a virus overseas that bewildered the doctors back in the States, she began a roller coaster ride of getting better and getting worse. She spent an entire year bedridden at one point.
A friend who stopped by picked up a snail that was in the yard, a pot and a few wild violets. She set it next to her bed and Elisabeth asked, “What am I supposed to do with a snail?” Her friend responded that she didn’t know, but it felt like the right thing to do to bring it inside to her. This is the story of what she did with it ….
I know it sounds odd. But, I adored this book. I’ve read it twice, and now thinking about it, I’m ready to read it again.
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Elisabeth Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence in a terrarium alongside her bed. She enters the rhythm of life of this mysterious creature, and comes to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world.
In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, she shares the inspiring and intimate story of her close encounter with Neohelix albolabris a common woodland snail. Intrigued by the snail’s world from its strange anatomy to its mysterious courtship activities she becomes a fascinated and amused observer of the snail’s curious life.
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is an affirmation of the healing power of nature, revealing how much of the world we miss in our busy daily lives, and how truly magical it is. A remarkable journey of survival and resilience, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating shows how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own human existence and deepen our appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
That sounds intriguing and very different to anything else that I’ve read. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
When I used to imbibe, I would drink a glass of water in between glasses of wine or other alcoholic beverage. I think I’ve only had a hangover a couple of times. Perhaps that helped? These days if I were to get a hangover, I’d turn to Google, searching for a natural cure with something from the kitchen, or perhaps essential oils.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
A drive around Lake Tahoe. Stopping for hikes and stopping to spend time at the beautiful beaches. Lake Tahoe is an absolute gem. If you’ve not visited, you may want to add this to your bucket list, too. There’s not only Lake Tahoe, but when driving the area, there are many smaller lakes hidden throughout the area. I’d go for a walk or two, taking nature photos along the way. Then, I’d go for a dip in Lake Tahoe’s ice cold, refreshing waters. I’d also make sure to have a few good books with me, spending time relaxing and reading. Let me know if you make it over one day, as I’d love to meet you in person Julie!
(Nevada Beach, Lake Tahoe)
(Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe)
Lake Tahoe is definitely on my bucket list? Camilla, thank you so much for joining me on the blog tonight, it has been a delight.
Make sure you check out Camilla’s book of poetry, Words of Alchemy, which you can purchase here.
In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a heartfelt free-verse poetry memoir.
During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.
Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow. The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens.
Camilla Downs is a bestselling author, indie publisher, mentor, and mom. Nature and life experiences are a constant source of inspiration for her writing. She enjoys living a minimalist lifestyle, practicing meditation and mindfulness, reading, going for walks, and capturing nature’s essence with photographs. Camilla is the founder of MeetingtheAuthors.com and lives in Northern Nevada, USA with her two kids.
Please join me again next week when I will be having Friday Night Drinks with author, Katherine Mezzacappa.