Twogalsandabook recently read Just Around the Bend by Renée Paule. Please see our reviews and our interview with the author below!
Apparently, just around the bend is where we’ll find everything we’ve been looking forward to including; world peace, winning the lottery and a blissful retirement. That’s great, but if they’re what you’re looking for you won’t find them in this book. What you’ll find is a series of essays that examine some diverse topics about human nature, looked at from an unusual perspective and written in a way you may not have read before – plain English. I know the daily grind keeps many of us way too busy to stop and consider – or care – about the mysteries of life let alone homilies like ‘Know Thyself’’; we have enough problems with ‘Where are my keys?’ But if you’re up to examining your ‘mind’ whilst I examine mine, then turn the book over and let’s get started.
Paying close attention to our thoughts, reactions and feelings can be scary at first but it reveals a great deal about us and is well worth the effort. You’re not alone and help is always available … far closer than you imagine.
‘Just Around The Bend: Más o Menos’ is my second book. Unusually, for its genres (self-help, philosophy etc.), it’s illustrated with a little character I designed and call Dilly (which means something or someone remarkable). Dilly is a thought form that thinks and he depicts some of our most endearing (and not so endearing) human traits. – From: Goodreads
Stacy’s Review: 3***
Just Around The Bend definitely gives one food for thought. I disagreed with some things, but agreed with others. I disagreed with the religious views, but agreed whole-heartedly with Renee Paule’s take on social media and how our children are being educated. I found Renee’s perspective on those refreshing and totally going contrary to mainstream thought. I think her viewpoint on these should be broadcast loudly. Too many people are seeming to base their worth on whether vague acquaintances or complete strangers “like” something they have shared on a social media platform. I think that is insane. As far as the educational system goes, it seems to be a black hole for money. The more money poured into it, the worse the test scores get, and children graduating that can’t make basic change. All the while, more and more pressure being put on kids at younger and younger ages to succeed, piling more and more work on them at younger ages, and is it working? Obviously not. When I was a child 40 years ago, we were not sent home with homework until 2nd grade, and you look at the national average for test scores from 1988 compared to now, when the poor little children get reams of work to do at home starting in kindergarten, and it seems what the educators did then as compared to now was working. The system now is not. Something has got to change. I have had teachers say they gave up teaching because they were seeing children, at young ages, from all the pressure and stress, already suffering burnout. It is not right.
The book encourages one to ask questions about everything, and not to accept the popular view just because the is the way “everyone” thinks, but to think for oneself. It encourages introspection, and well as looking at the world around us with new eyes, with the blinders and veils removed.
So I would recommend reading this book just to read Renee’s views on these things. Her viewpoints gives a person a lot to think on, and I do think it is a valuable exercise to ask questions. I received this book from the author. Thank you Renee.
Just Around the Bend by Renée Paule is a book about letting go of the past and living in the now.
I was forewarned ahead of time that Renée Paule’s books make you feel like you’re looking into a mirror. As I continued reading, this became a reality to me and I was pulled into the book and couldn’t put it down. There were many “Aha” moments for me. I also felt a direct connection to some of the author’s experiences and feel I’ve made many mistakes because this is something I haven’t truly gotten over and accepted. It’s amazing these pent up emotions we hold on to inside and don’t even realize it.
What I loved especially about the book was that the author speaks as if this is something we are experiencing together by using the word “we.” It’s not like someone telling you what you’re doing wrong, but more of an observation on how we as humans handle our emotions and how we should realize that we’re the ones in control. We’re on a journey together. What are we feeling, why, and how are we supposed to react? This book won’t give you answers or instructions like a self-help book on how you can fix yourself, but will give you the insight and awareness needed to guide you in the right direction to stop this cycle of thinking and behavior.
My favorite sections included: A Bit of a Rant, Completeness, What If and Other Worries, and Attachment. The simple (Dilly) illustrations make very powerful statements alone.
I think everyone could take something from this book and hope more will read it.
I’m looking forward to reading more from this author and feel lucky to have met her. I’d like to thank Renée Paule for sending me a complimentary copy. Now, back to the first book! 5 Stars
Interview with Renée Paule
Twogalsandabook: Did you always want to be an author?
Renée Paule: Yes, I always wanted to write, but wasn’t sure what to write and never thought of it as a profession. As a teenager I spent a lot of time writing sentimental, but also meaningful songs. I kept them until I was in my early thirties and then one day while I was having a clear out, made the decision to burn them all.
Twogalsandabook: What inspired you to write this book?
Renée Paule: It was more momentum than inspiration – I just had more to write about. After finishing my first book, I found myself jotting down further thoughts and they developed into chapters. I also began to get ideas for illustrations, which was a little weird as I’ve never been particularly artistic. One illustration led to another and I had great fun developing my skills.
Twogalsandabook: At what age did you start writing?
Renée Paule: I was around fifteen if my memory serves me correctly.
Twogalsandabook: Are there any specific writers and poets that inspire you?
Renée Paule: I can’t say that inspiration for my books comes from other writers.
I never found what I was looking for in other books, which is one of the reasons why I wrote my own – in a way that anyone could understand. However, what I did see in some other books was a ‘determination not to quit’ and a ‘challenge to overcome’; the most memorable example of this was in Richard Bach’s lovely little book ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’.
I was young when I first read it and remember feeling a tremendous sense of relief as the little seagull was very much like me – he never gives up; I was not alone in this. I began to see the thread of a ‘journey’ in every book I read and every film I watched and knew that I had to pursue it – it didn’t matter where the path led, only what it led me away from. In other words, I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew for certain what I didn’t want.
Twogalsandabook: Is there anything you’re working on now?
Renée Paule: I’ve just finished co-writing and illustrating a children’s picture book and have sent it off to several publishers. It’s called ‘The Frightened Little Flower Bud’ and it’s about a bud that doesn’t want to flower because it’s afraid of the things it ‘hears on the wind’. The book also touches on the subject of death and has nature lessons in it too. The illustrations are based on a real flower called a ‘Goat’s-beard’. This book is suitable for any age group and I had such fun working on it.
I’ve started working on a new book. For the moment, it’s called ‘The Colour of Doubt’, which as with all my books is the title of one of my chapters. The book title may change – it often does.
Twogalsandabook: What ambitions do you have for your writing career?
Renée Paule: I don’t really. I just write the books and put them out there hoping that they’ll do a little good in a world that needs a lot of it. If they sell well then all the better (I need to eat and pay bills just like anyone else), but it’s not why I write them and I’m certainly not making a living from it at the moment. Writing my books has changed me and helped me to gain a greater understanding of the workings of the human mind and society; by understanding how society has and is evolving I’ve gained a greater understanding of myself. You could, I suppose, call my writing experience, cathartic.
Twogalsandabook: Do you think your writing will stay in any specific genres?
Renée Paule: Yes, I think they must stay the same. I am philosophical by nature and I wish to help others if I can. I can’t see myself writing something like a thriller or a romantic novel.
Twogalsandabook: Do you read a lot? What are some of your favorite books, genres, and authors?
Renée Paule: At the moment I don’t read much at all as I’m always writing, but I have a pile of books on my coffee table that I’m slowly getting through. I sometimes accept books to read from new authors, if they have a philosophical or inspirational slant to them. ‘Notes from Underground & The Double’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is top of my list and it’s been on my ‘currently reading’ section of Goodreads for many months – I would prefer to read it through without distractions and will do that very soon. I tend to like classics and philosophical books, but to be honest, these days I like my mind to be clear of any outside influence.
Twogalsandabook: What was the most difficult part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?
Renée Paule: I don’t find my books difficult to write. I love illustrating them and I love that the very act of focusing on any particular subject invokes an understanding of it on a deeper level.
Aside from the usual editing, I never deleted or altered anything but I did defer one chapter. This was a chapter called ‘Gratitude’ which I tried to write many times including in my first book, but I always felt I didn’t understand it enough at the time to write fluently on it. I deferred it from all my books, but it’s now completed in my latest book ‘Stepping Out of Time’.
Twogalsandabook: Did you have to do much research for the book?
Renée Paule: I did a little for ‘On The Other Hand’, but none at all for ‘Just Around The Bend’ – I felt no need to. Research requires a search for the knowledge of someone else and I seek my own knowledge.
Twogalsandabook: Have you ever experienced writers block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Renée Paule: Yes, I did have a period when a lot was going on in my life and I found it difficult to write for about six months. This was due to illness and relocating from France to Ireland – it was difficult to find peace and quiet with so much to distract me. I’m back on track now though.
Twogalsandabook: Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have a favorite “writing” atmosphere?
Renée Paule: I sit at a desk looking out into the garden and I’m blessed with a gorgeous view, impeded only by my computer’s screen. This is where I tend to write and assemble my thoughts, but I could write anywhere really, either on my laptop or using the old fashioned pen-to-paper method.
Twogalsandabook: Do you have any advice for other novice or aspiring writers?
Renée Paule: If you want to write then get on with it to the best of your ability and never give up! If you don’t like what you’ve written then don’t be afraid to get rid of it, instead of trying to tweak it into something it isn’t, or holding onto it for sentimental reasons. If you really are stuck and staring at a blank screen then read books or go for a walk; the inspiration will come if you don’t put yourself under pressure.
Twogalsandabook: There were two different quotes in the book that got my attention. “The only thing worth striving for in this world is That which is eternal” and “We can stay in the gloom or unhappy crowd or leave and reconnect to our point of Origin.” In these two quotes the words “That” and “Origin” are capitalized. What exactly are you referring to here, a higher being?
Renée Paule: This is a leading question and I shall reply with a leading answer. Capitalisation is for emphasis of the things we can’t know or understand in our lifetime; the things that can’t be seen at our current level of consciousness. Can you see what’s at the top of a mountain from the valley? No. However, we can see that there is a mountain to climb and we can each make our way up it, if we choose to. That which is certain but unknown, deserves reverence – it also deserves our effort.
Twogalsandabook: Are there any books that you can recommend to others that have helped you on your journey to who you have become today?
Renée Paule: Books can’t help us on our journey – we have to walk every step ourselves and some books could turn out to be more of a hindrance. What we absorb becomes a part of us so it’s a good idea to be selective about what we read. The real help we need comes from a determination to change ourselves and once we reach that point everything acts as a guide. What we need comes to us at exactly the right time – when we’re ready to see it.
Twogalsandabook: Can you elaborate on the “profound experience” you speak about on your About the Author section, revealing the connection between yourself and the Universe? A Divine Intervention?
Renée Paule: One of the miracles of our world is that we each have our own unique experiences and no one person can share their experiences to the satisfaction of another; there will always be mistrust, suspicion, conditioning and resistance to block our understanding – in some cases, to prevent it. My experience can’t be put into words, though I have attempted to do so in my books, particularly in ‘On The Other Hand’ (pasted below). When words fail us, we’re onto something worth thinking about and can choose whether or not to go down that path, as it were.
“The most profound and magnificent moment in my life was when I walked one evening along a beach on the Sussex coast in England, watching the most amazing sunset. I stood still for a moment to admire it and I found there was no separation at all. I felt the waves, the sun, the sand, the rocks and the Everything. It lasted just a few seconds but it was deep, informed and I was so moved by the experience that I haven’t stopped or left my path since that moment. It was another new beginning and the closest I’ve ever felt to home. The more I consider the questions, but dispense with the urge to answer them, the more I make sense of my world.”
Twogalsandabook: Have you had any experiences with people outside the realm of writing in which you have helped them improve their journey through life?
Renée Paule: We can’t ‘improve’ anyone else’s journey through life. I can best answer this question with a quote I put in my last book “For what are we born if not to aid one another.” – Ernest Hemingway. If we’re not helping someone else then we’re helping ourselves. Some people want to be helped and some don’t. Yes, I have received positive feedback from certain interactions and seen a ‘change’ in several people. I’ve also received negativity from people who wish to save me from my ‘delusions’. Most people are happy the way they are and don’t want to know about journeys, especially difficult ones. If I leave this world having helped just one person then my life has not been wasted, and that, I already know I have done.
Twogalsandabook: Who would you recommend read this book?
Renée Paule: Anyone who like I did, wants to change their life and find a deeper meaning. Anyone who has reached the point where they think they’re living in a madhouse and realise that they can’t change it. Anyone who needs to see that they’re not alone. Anyone who’s questioning what we’re doing here and doing that with an open mind. Anyone who has reached a low point in their life and is genuinely determined not to stay there.
Twogalsandabook: Is there anything you would like to add that we have not inquired?
Renée Paule: No, but I’d like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to answer these questions – as always I had to think about them.
Are there any social media platforms or websites that readers could connect with you on?
That’s about it. I’m not too active on these sites, but I do check and respond to messages.
Twogalsandabook would like to thank author Renée Paule for her time in completing this interview and for the giveaway below…
About the author:
Many years ago I wrote my autobiography – probably more as therapy than anything else; but life continued happening to me and I got to thinking: what good will this story do, isn’t there enough misery in the world without me adding to it by writing more? I subsequently burnt it. It was around this time when I began searching for meaning in my life that I had a profound experience – a realisation that we’re all connected, we’re One. I began to question everything I knew, accepting nothing at face value, writing down these questions and the thoughts surrounding them. From this, my first book On The Other Hand – The Little Anthology of Big Questions was born. In my books I take an honest look at our quirky and often bizarre behaviour in society, challenging the status-quo we accept as unchangeable; questioning and pushing the boundaries we set ourselves – and those that have been set for us. I’m convinced that if we want to change our lives and change our world then we must first change ourselves – to take responsibility for the things we do and in doing so, take back the power that – in general – we don’t realise we’ve given away. In my writings I give no answers to life’s questions – we already have them and only need find the courage to recognise them, accept them and then act. I invite you to join me on my journey, questioning the society we call ours and the role we play within it. – Goodreads
Click here to find Renée Paule on Goodreads
Click here to find Renée Paule on Amazon
Genres: Philosophy, Self Help, Young Adult
Other Books by Renée Paule