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Dear Planksters,

I hope this post finds you as well as can be.

I was very excited this week to receive my copy of ‘The Year I Stopped to Notice’ written by Miranda Keeling and superbly illustrated by Luci Power. (

If you haven’t come across Miranda’s observations, then you are missing a real treat! I found them on Twitter (@mirandakeeling) and each one is a joy to behold. As I read them, I’m filled with an inner glee – the type that makes you want to hug yourself and laugh whilst your eyes sparkle!

Miranda manages to make you feel as though you’re also observing what she has seen first-hand. As someone with aphantasia, whilst I don’t actually ‘see’ the images of the observations in my mind, I do ‘feel’ what it would be like to be present at each scene and her outlook on the world is empathetic, kind, and very witty.

Some of these observations had me laughing out loud and the illustrations just added to my mirth!

The book is divided up into months and there is one illustration to go with a specific observation for each month. Initially, whilst flicking through the book, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t more pictures, however, when actually reading it, I realised that it’s perfect as fewer pictures give you space to create your own images/feelings in your mind with Luci’s occasional illustrations injecting sheer delight into your book experience!

But, my dear Planksters, not only is this book perfect as something to enjoy whilst relaxing with your favourite drink and nibble, it is also a wealth of creative prompts – both for illustration and for writing! What a bonus!! Each observation is a launching pad for a story, a poem, a play, a painting, a cartoon, or whatever you can possibly think to create.

I was inspired to create ‘Special Moments’ after reading Miranda’s;

“Women in hijab of many colours gather to chat in a coffee shop in Leicester. The red brick houses surrounding start to disappear a little in the twilight.”

If you don’t yet have a copy – place your order – it’s so worth it - and it makes a brilliant gift option for friends and relatives!

My eyes are peeled for book two! (Hint hint!!!)

With a rather long and indulgent chuckle to myself,

Thalamus Plank

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