Self Care …SElF….SElfish?


Practising Self Care has been my damn life saver

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Thank you Jo and Cee Jay for alerting me to its very possibility 4 years ago!

After all, if I dont practise it noone else will for me!

And boy do I practice now!

From…..walking for hours on a deserted beach, meandering along the Medina for miles, swimming in the still cold sea to….snuggling deep into my duvet and allowing myself a complete day to just ‘be’ not ‘do’, treating myself to the odd massage or new nails, ordering a naughty treat online  ..and ….. frequenting music, fun and friends between when my social rancour abides!

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So….I have learned lots too – that eating little and often is far better for my unique metabolism, especially avoiding late night binge fests on both food and alcohol after zero all day. That avoiding wheat esp in white TIGER and cheese bread – but oh the temptation – is ESSENTIAL to avoid morning bloating – belly like a b BALLOON – and stomach cramps.   That I NEED – no make that HAVE to HAVE my 5 a day or I am in an inordinate amount of pain for no conceiveable reason.

That walking, swimming or ANY form of exercise and fresh air out and about FEED my sleep pattern and its soooooo much better when I do this.  Gone are the 5am mental all nighters and the lethargic days that follow.  Gone are the persistent whirling thoughts in fact since I self imposed a complete STOP on that damn medication.

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Sure it got me through and boy those were some difficult times. But I am doing ok without and into my 9th week – and to actually FEEL again is a total eye opener!

Zombification begone!

Most of all – alone time is my salve and my step away from the vehicle of Life saviour!

Closing the cottage door, switching off the phone, shunning social media, indulging in some good drama box sets or simply writing, reading or doing NOTHING -that is right – NOTHING is a godsend. And I am at a stage in my Life where I am lucky enough to be able to do that now.

This may mean that funds are low but I also find that less work means having to live far more simply and this in itself is a revelation.  I almost feel sick at my spending habits of the past. The old me.

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So thank you new me.

Thank you to all the new friends I have made here on this beautiful isle – to the fresh saline air, the clear starry skies, the winds and waves of the Solent – the rolling hills, endless beaches, and pretty harbours.

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Here I am.

Three years on.

Still surviving.

2.11a.m


Its 2am. Later

But what do I care – when did I ever care about Time, Constraints, Schedules, Must-be-there’s, Have-tos, – but I am thrilled its 2am – gone – and I am finally WRITING again.

Because I DID it you know?

I finished the NaNoWriMo with an almighty final push that nowhere near equals giving birth – sorry ladies – and actually finished around this same time on the final deadline date of 30th November. And then I slept at last….and slept…and slept.

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The following day I had booked into a Writers Retreat on the island and intended to start editing this pile of sludge I had manifested from my weary mind. No way. I cancelled that and all other plans the entire weekend, and slept.

I didn’t write a thing. I didnt even look at it. I couldn’t .

It was akin to some mad passionate fling you may have, all obsessive, all consuming and yet finally, spent and weary you realise you cannot continue in this mad unrelenting vein!

November has been a blur. Starting NaNo holed up at my friends where he kindly proffered much tea and snacks, if not much sympathy! – I then retreated to my island haven and spent the final 19 days of the month completely immersed in my plotting, my weaving, my tapestry.  I lived it, ate it, breathed it. Even the poor dog was tired of me hunched over my laptop day and night only pausing to finally walk her and myself, or to reluctantly throw some food together. It was sheer total indulgence but it worked! Some days I wrote nothing – but still mused and thought lots, planning in my mind as I walked over the fields and in the woods near the cottage. Each day I updated both Instagram and the NaNo planner online for word count and running total, sometimes checking in with other Southampton writers, even joining in the odd sprint prompted by the teams mentor or on NaNo Twitter feed. Those sprints kinda saved me!!

Everyday too my outer world slipped by unnoticed. Bills and post piled up as did dirty cups from continual caffiene fixes, but still I wrote on. I would break up the day as it headed into night – I think, who knew? – by lighting a real fire in the grate and using it as futher inspiration as I gazed deep into its flickering life, and traced the splintered sparks fizzling into the chimney with sporadic outbursts. Who knew how many hours passed by. Who cared.

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Years and years I had dreamt of  having this luxury. I had seen myself, invariably alone, in my rose adorned cottage by the sea. Writing.

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If you can manifest your total dream – your Heart’s Calling – into reality then I have done so. Oh, it was not at all simple. Yet it always felt inevitable, if not imminent.  It took years.

Years of study, travel, heartache, family, relationships, bringing up children mostly alone, studying again, teaching, travelling, constantly moving but always, always that one constant throughout it all. My Writing.

Cliched. My Love. My Passion.

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Yes I make a living at it too. I teach writing skills, I persuade others to love Literature with the same zealous abandonment I always have, I even entice some over to the joys of poetry. I help them prepare for and pass exams. Sit through endless group and 1:1 tutorials; I help novice teachers find their feet, gain their certs and head off into the wide blue yonder of modern teaching. I loiter on Skype, and Webex, and Zoom trawling through online lessons but always conscious of my main purpose behind it all.

MY Writing.

My dream, long held, lovingly nurtured, and often rescued from the depths, dusted off and resurrected to its original pedestal.  To be away at last, isolated, indulgent, wake up when I want, write for as long and as late – or early – as I want. No demanding kids – although I adore you all and do not regret a minute – no more demanding husband 🙂 urging me to turn out the light, to stop rustling papers, to put down the book. No noisy street below or bellowing neighbours each side. No school runs, no pick ups, no teacher meetings or report days, no football matches to attend, ballet to watch, knees to patch up, tears to dry, faces to scrub.

No nothing . A nothingness. Which sounds a little sad but that is Nostalgia. I have travelled his beguiling path before and where does it take me? straight back to the Present. The Here and Now. Where I am.

The time I always longed for while I was still ostensibly living my life has somehow finally arrived. The coast. The Cottage. The Roses. The Writer.

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Let’s see if I can do her justice somehow at last.

I owe it to her

I owe it to Myself.

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LETTERS FROM HOME…


There it was…lying unobtrusively on the mat.

Slightly damaged from the rainsoaked step and its hasty wrench from the postie’s bag.

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I was delighted, enthralled, and immediately taken back to the child I once was. The Irish postmark, the unfamiliar stamp, the Gaelic post office franking, ….managing to grab it from the jaws of my overzealous pooch and replace it with some worthless advertising flyer, I clutched it in one hand as I poured my first cup of morning caffiene – my writing fuel – with the free hand. Wondrously, I wondered what lay within as it was definitely thicker than simply a paper letter, and also more substantial than a mere early Christmas card.  Of course it wouldn’t be the well chosen rosary beads nan used to send me,  – irridescent hues of curved stone, beautifully encased in a small glass box; or the REAL shamrock I would receive on St Patricks day with a message written in a hand so like the one on the envelope today.

I felt ridiculously exhiliarated as I had not recieved any mail from ‘home’ in a very long time. I knew it was from my sister as I recognised the writing. I was wrong about which sister though.

How could she time it so perfectly? so beautifully apt and on cue?

In the early hours of this morning I had been lying awake – nothing new – thinking about my family. Thinking of her in particular and the last time we had met, 3 years ago now. A picture from 4 years previously had flashed up on the dreaded timeline and punched a paper hole in my stomach. She had visited me and my children then after the death of my father. Not her father. Her Uncle.

Seeing the picture so unexpectedly online alarmingly spewed forth a torrent of emotions I had held back again for some time. We all smile in the picture but you can taste the sadness of that great man leaving us around that time. I know she was doing her eldest sister duty and care to check on us all and it meant the world to me at the time. I have always been a little in awe of her and that doesn’t change because I’m now much older, if not any wiser.

Two years later, I took the same children to see her as a surprise for her 6oth birthday in Ireland. I remember how excited the kids were – despite being young adults now, and how really good it felt to go away as a family – although minus one – and visit family too. I remember seeing my beautiful sister, hardly ravaged by time and all the tragedies, enter the room and stunned, then breathless, then laughing, then crying as her grandchildren ran toward her and hugged her and her family and friends surrounded her.

I was so, so happy to be included in something so wonderful and for my children to witness it too.  I really felt AT home.

Last night my younger sister text me to say they had landed in Liverpool.

More tragedy.

A far less joyful homecoming.

My heart ached, as it has been since the event, aching for my family, my brother, his wife and beautiful twins. Aching for another loss. Another pointless tragic waste in our family tapestry. More lives and hearts torn apart, more parts of the tapestry of our family removed.

I also ached because I am not there. I am here. Because I feel I can’t be there.

Yet I can hear the echoes of my father’s voice telling me to stop wasting even more time.

Yet tomorrow I will think as much as I have been thinking all this time.

Tomorrow I will light a candle and I will sit in silence, Colin, and I – who never prays – will pray for your Soul.

And I will agree with all the platitudes, the cliches, the well wishing words of all.

That you are at peace now, that you are with your brother, so tragically lost exactly one year ago too, that you will be looked after by many of our family who went ahead of you and especially by your dad’s best friend, also lost the same time last year.

Yet my heart will break. For all I can see all these past weeks are my brother’s eyes.

His deep dark eyes already filled with pain and disbelief,  a head full of questions and whys and wherefores from last year’s heartbreaking events.

All I can feel, have felt, is his heartbreak, his strong determined will crumbling, his beliefs, if any left, chipped and ruined.

Not being able to be there. Not being able to comfort him and his family like they so lovingly did for me 4 years ago when I lost my dad. Not his dad.  Remembering words at the time that my father would like him to look out for me now.

But I haven’t looked out for you babe. I promise to try harder.

RIP Colin.

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My Freelance Life


Awake since the early hours – nothing new – and suddenly realising as I look ahead across my day – how truly freelance my entire Life has become!

Freelance writer

Freelance tutor

Freelance House Dweller

Freelance Mother

Freelance Lover

Freelance Daughter/sister/aunt.

Even a freelance dog owner!

I am reminded of Dido – My Life is for Rent – nothing I have is truly mine!

Yet how did I get here? Well, for once in my life it was by design not sheer fluke.

Halfway through NaNoWriMo – see my tentative start 2 weeks ago – and I am suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of the final 30,000 words I am committed to and also the epiphany after years of moodling over this novel that there are so many damn HOLES.

I always said it would be faction – fiction and fact combined, but now I am really understanding the depths of blending the line between the two. If I dress it up with speech and other fictional adornments will it remain true to the essence I wished for? If I do not use artistic licence I have already seen that it comes off dry and lacklustre. Yet it’s proving so very difficult to repaint a story I have known, have lived with all my life and now that I finally commit its truth to paper I find myself wishing I had opted for pure fiction. Which surprises me!

Perhaps its the picking open of old wounds, the smattering of emotions that I had not fully delved into like this, the deep hurt that is released when I am in my Character’s minds as past events unravel. The reality of their lives. The nerve of me to enter their world and dare to reinvent their sorrow. Almost like therapy, it is far harder than book one.  Yet book one was only possible because of book two. Its ok …at least I know what I mean. Book two caused the events of book one and yet although I solely own them I feel less ownership of the events that actually happened to me – to us ALL in book two.

I have written this blog post in two parts – 16th and now 24th – I have done very little writing between so am really not sure I will reach my goal. Holed up this entire weekend to push it along. I also went along to my 3rd writers club – a new one – on the 20th and it totally re-inspired me. I found myself writing on cue to the task provided in the club that night, along with 10 other writers, and managed to produce some work of which I am slightly proud. It also allowed me to integrate and externalize the sad events of the past two weeks – the internal feelings and thoughts manifested onto the page into a concrete being – and intriguingly the same thing that seemed to halt my writing reignited it.

Uncannily, the given theme of being underwater was exactly linked. Thus the inspirational tool I needed.

I hope all of you committed to NaNoWriMo this month are doing well – we CAN crack this!

 

Please check me and my writing progress out on instagram – YvieSheaHourihane

Happy Writing moments to you all!

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Getting Geared up for NaNoWriMo #octoprep


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So here I am, long aware that stencilled in my diary amidst work commitments and social promises is the NaNoWriMo start date of November 1st 2018

Earlier, flicking lazily through Instagram, I realise there is now a newly added diary entry of Octoberprep! Mmmm, methinks this did not exist and is also a rather naughty pre addition to what is supposed to be a full 30 days of writing to reach a set amount of words by the end of November. To the unintiated National Novel Writing Month in November gives one a kick up the rear end to get our acts in gear and get writing and finishing that novel. While I want to lament that its unfair to prep a novel you should write in only 30 days…I have to confess my copious notes and character visualisations, my endless plotting and structuring, my playing with various beginnings but I hasten to add, not endings – is surely of the same ilk?

Yet I began years ago I counter in my defence….ah, therein lies the rub. The long awaited novel gets dusted off but its premises and original plot rejuvenated ready for The Big Write. My aspirations then to sit languorously at a neat desk – or was it neatly at a languorous desk – to bang out, churn out, spurn out, force out, 3000 words a day may in fact materialise after all.

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The main planning of course needs to be the desperately required endless cups of coffee, and simultaneously someone with endless patience to keep providing them to my hunched. oblivious to reality figure, to fuel and oil my ceaseless thoughts, stroke or should that be stoke? my brain into further creativity.

Publishing my short story in April with 2 more to add to the trilogy plus a small volume of poetry, entering a local competition and attending to my other blogs makes me sound prolific. Sadly untrue. Those were the culmination of thoughts etched into ink long ago and then botched together when it finally hit me I could indeed selfpublish and that my long held notes and ideas did indeed actually have a structure to slot into. A structure that had eluded me for many years, yet once I stopped thinking too hard appeared to me confident in its knowledge it would work.

The novel is a whole other Entity. It breathes of its own accord and haunts me in shadows, beset by memories and indecision, shrouded in mystery and a very opaque ending preceded by a long drawn out journey.

Lets hope it can breathe Life into itself over November.

Good luck to all else involved!

 

Note to self@2.am the following morning ….its actually called Preptober ….oops 🙂

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