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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Heal Your Life


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A good weekend spent with a lovely friend – who gave me a timely reminder of the book

title above.  Having not read my copy for some considerable time I have now unearthed it once more and realising its truth yet again.

Suffering from severe throat and larynx problems for years I remind myself that trying to heal is a conscious decision that you WILL be heard, that your symptoms can only be allayed by refusing to stay mute, to be silenced. Yes, the chart that lists your particular ailment and offers an affirmation to overcome it and a diagnosis of the reasons your body has manifested your mind via some physical outcome is an analogy.

Yet it still rings true. And after months of being perfectly fine the last few weeks have now cancelled out my self remedies and my hoarse, unworkable, inflexible and very painful larynx issues have resurfaced.

With a vengeance.

So thank you, Louise Hay, for revisiting me with your wisdom.

I am well aware of my need to escape the last few weeks, of my need to suppress my true thoughts, of my shock at events thus rendering me speechless again, at the chaos of my tangled thoughts affecting my sense of Self and in turn my speech ability.

The tool of my trade once again tarnished.

A few months ago I asked you to visit me again after A Visit From Mother.

Little did I know a revisit would be so sharp, so vivid, so real and so shocking.

The lady I described in March had my full compassion and willingness to understand.

The lady in ICU the last few weeks had my entire attention and dismay, hurt and anger, pain and disbelief.

How and why could someone still so active and vivacious be here, inert, slipping away in her clinical bed before our very eyes?

When had her health dissapated before us without any of us realising how frail and weak she had become?

Because she is The Matriarch. She always has been. She holds it all, us all, together. What a sharp poignant reminder we have all had of that fact.

The toneless doctor, advising us, Well she IS 81… we can do no more…..

Seeing the effects of days of drugs, seeing her incoherent and out of control was surreal in itself. Always controlled, and very much presentable, who was this wild eyed woman in this bed, vulnerable and susceptible to the hands of the medical staff…or God.

And I havent talked about God in a very, very long while indeed.

So it hits me, all of us, as it did last year when she lost her partner, did this year for me when this lone version of her visited me in March, and does now with a full, staggering impact that just will not subside. We cannot lose her yet.

Did she hear us? Did she know?

Refusing to sleep again, so afraid of sinking back into the deep oblivion of her recent coma state that lost her weeks of Life, and purged her memory. Sitting beside her day after long day until she awoke, a different woman who ‘fell asleep’, talking to her, reassuring her. Staying beside the ward in a kindly proffered room and ladelling full respect onto the ICU staff who fought tirelessly to save her.

Save her they did. Yet more than that.

This strong, sassy, elegant woman saved herself. Her strength of Spirit shone through. After her ‘condemning’ the doctor in question avoided our eyes, our questions as this amazing woman astounded all by pulling slowly but very surely through. Laughter at her demands, her jokes, her admissions of hating lying so still and resting despite her trauma – the staff grew to love her on the ward and were sad to see her go when, finally and thankfully, she was deemed well enough to leave ICU five weeks on and join the respiratory or heart ward.

And now, in the blink of an eye she is home! I have lost most of the end of the summer and all of September into mid October. Yet she is home. Not listening to a word of our advice, finding it impossible to rest or sit still, but deeply aware that she must. All this exactly one year on from losing her dear partner. It would have been so easy to have given up, given in, to have turned away from a life now lonely, days now long, hopes and plans now dashed.

Her family. She tells me her children, our children – her grandchildren and her great grandchildren have begged her to stay. In their hearts, minds, souls. So much life, love and laughter left in her yet. So many more memories to make.

Welcome home strong, sassy, indomitable Mother.

 

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Falling off the edge of the sea…


An illogical premise?  A literal impossibility?

Yet that is how I feel.

A wide unending expanse of water beckons me, entices me. I go. I dance on the waves like one of them. I inevitably fall.

 

I just smashed a new plate. Well, not a new one exactly – but had only just unwrapped a few finds from an antique fair a few months back. How is it anything valuable, or unique, or promising I touch this year seems to disintegrate rapidly? Just an Italian blue and white, handmade, pottery plate. Yet still. Destruction of its unassuming and undeserving stencilled spectrum of blues and carefully placed white swirls that someone lovingly crafted – torn apart by ME in one, obliterating moment.

It seems all my over exerted optimism in my teens, twenties and 30s has somehow dissapated along with the disappointments of my 40s! A diluted pessimism that cannot even be bothered to raise its weary head either at times

 

I lit a fire tonight for the first time in months. There was a strange chill in the air despite the warm day and I needed comfort of a shape. The rise and fall of the flames is reassuring…somnambulistic in its drawing in of both the mind and your fascination.

I love that a dying ember can suddenly link to a stronger wood and flare up again unexpectedly, inexplicably. I love that it flares into life, burns then gradually dies. I love that with it and my candles lit and the arched windows wide open to tonight’s crazy storm here on the island it exonerates my pain, and rejuvenates my Soul. After a very tough few weeks it has almost exorcised some ghosts, and refuelled me in my beliefs.

 

” What if I fall?

Ah…but what if you fly?”

 

 

NApoWRImo! Jumping on the bandwagon day 10 – not that I procrastinate much.


Somehow I missed the build up – and the launch to this months National Poetry Writing month – time to join the hype!

I have read some wonderful poetry tonight and been inspired by all the past prompts but decided to start today with prompt 10.

It called to me and reminded me of a song my daddy used to sing long ago. And then my brother.

The idea of simultaneous events has always fascinated me and I often match past actions with a new friend or lover to see where we both may have been at the same time, say , 10 years ago and have often discovered we were in the same place or passing by yet never met till now. Or equally find that we could never have met as our lives were on very different parallels at that point. Veering toward the inevitablility – or chance? – coincidence? – of meeting one day.

Enough to-do! Its 330a.m in the Uk .

Here is my poem.

 

 

As I lay wakeful, twisting in my insomnia, my insomnambulistic unbliss,

You lay sleeping, curled, as ever, in your embryonic stance.

As this island lays peaceful, lapped by familiar waters, its coastlines quiet yet bathed in Spring moonlit rains

Your mainland is crashed, smashed, with the continual onslaught of doubt.

We are but two worlds in between, a non-collision of existences, never the twain shall meet.

 

Passing passengers in the jaded journey, eyelids flicker and glance away

Meeting Souls on deserted pavements, footsteps falter then run away

We head home with our bubbles, we see all yet encounter none

Are we aware this is our trouble, our loss, our lack of home.

 

As I fall weary, into sleepless dreams

You rise quickly, life ripped at the seams.

As this world keeps turning, this nation of extremes

A global manifestation, nothing ever as it seems.

 

Lives passing lives. Dreams outstripping Dreams. Fate tempting Fate.

 

What will be, will be.

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Associative Memory Syndrome


Is that a real term? label? condition?

Or did I just coin it myself at almost 4a.m on a frozen, snow-blasted morning –  somewhere betwixt the witching hour and dawn?

I just went to sup some water – too cold to brave downstairs in the scullery as it would have been back in the Victorian hey day of this cottage – brrrr! – and my modern day scullery has heating! I found myself cupping my hands under the cold water tap in the bathroom.

Suddenly, I am back in the ’70’s – with the senior sister’s skirts swishing ominously past as my playmates and I spend that little bit too long at the cute little washbasins after using the toilets at break.

“Class!” she barks. “Now!”

We scuttle by, hastily rolling down shirt sleeves and surreptiously avoiding her keen eye.

Except me.

I never avoided her eye.  As my paternal grandmother often said in her dulcet Irish brogue – ” You’re a bold, bold girl – so you are!”

Yet in that formidable senior sister, who most cowered and hid from, I saw something far softer.  I never forgot her. As a simple trip to the bathroom to drink from my hands proves.

She inspired me.

She took me seriously. In a home where my passion for writing was highly ignored and even scoffed at, my random musings dismissed by my mother as mere scribblings of a half wit, to go to the school with such offerings and have them applauded and praised was pure balm.

Somehow, too, with the Mother Petronella’s sanctimonious blessing they seemed to matter more to The Adoptive Mother too.

So is associative memory syndrome real? Our brain never ceases to amaze me – its breadth, depth and capacity to harbour such long-anchored moments, to glimpse in an instant that scuffed corridor of Our Lady & St. Hughes, to audibly recognise Mother Petronella’s fearful swishing approach!

 

 

Yet without AMS where would we be as writers?

Nostalgia is my main tool, and adds poignancy to memory – even if, as suspected, memory is somewhat rose-tinged, polly-fillered over the cracks of Time, and loosened of its grip in that very present back then.

Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste, Sight – eternal olfactories – unending Muses.