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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Go Litel Bok….


Well, its been well over a month since I wrote a thing!

Not a syllable. Nunca. De Nada.

 

After a madly prolific period in which I hardly slept and wrote till dawn mostdays I then fell into a kind of frozen limbo – not a good place to be when your anxietycan often scourge at your inner core as much as your hidden mind.

Something was triggered, and so began the endless, self imposed isolation; the enthusiastically made yet inevitably cancelled appointments; the languid routine of a ”writer’s day” with bouts of research and thinking interspersed with coffees, punctuated with lack lustre snacks yet not a word of print adorned the empty page.

On April the 10th I launched this.

The Cuckoo in Their Nest

Written 15 years ago, when I was living in a similar remote abode, and writing and home replaced nights out and social whirls – I could never decide! – and it was from a rather dark but rawly truthful place.  Not that much of my writing is not.

Coveted for years, I have always been reluctant to release my etchings on an unsuspecting, and perhaps unconcerned world. It always felt so personal and so private, like exposing my Soul to an undeserving – worse, possibly a non understanding and judgemental – audience!

Well, now it has finally been done.

Entrails and all.

 

The initial euphoria as I hovered above the self publishing key and the ensuing plethora of congratulations and sharp intakes of breath, encouraging reviews – even some tears – from close friends and family soon became tinged with a slight regret. Followed hot on its heels by overwhelming Anxiety.

I was, am, suddenly that 8 year old me again.

Afraid, insecure, grabbing at any attention freely given, lonely, isolated, even at such an early age reading and writing became my salve. Long periods of time would be spent alone in my room. Long silences. Who knew then that this was the beginning of the Anxiety that would then plague my entire Life. No labels back then.

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The chatty, lively former me still wore her expected Mask. Still attempted to meet Their Expectations. Yet more and more she cared less and less. And yet cared too much.

The last few weeks have been ones of deep reflection with many uncalled flashbacks.

The book has clearly shifted the Past and unsettled its dormancy. Clouds of memory whisked up and uneasily resettling around me in the Present.

Yet it has been necessary at this point to finally release who I really was.

Who I really am.

I await some recriminations and maybe some Hurt. I carry Hurt within me still but it is not the work of a Victim. Just the truth of a child who clearly still dwells within me.

 

So, in the words of Chaucer –

“Go litel bok, go, litel myn tragedye,”

― Geoffrey ChaucerTroilus and Criseyde

 

and do what you will.

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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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My Life Encapsulated (circa the noughties!) 2214:You discover my dusty old hard drive in an antique shop – Buyer Beware!


Ebb & Flow of Time

Ebb & Flow of Time

Dear Stranger/purveyor and purchaser of useless artefacts

Please sort the wheat from the chaff but do not neglect to salvage any hidden jewel you may haplessly discover in Aladdin’s outdated cave! While I won’t explore your reasons in what is surely now an even more multi- techno infested era for requiring the hard drives of the hard lives of the old days – I nonetheless urge you to enjoy your treasure….

Amongst the plethora of incessant ramblings,half abandoned novels, layers of dark poetry and frissons of humourous riddles, I do hope you take time to delve deeper still – wherein you may discover …A Life.

A life truly lived.

Raucous parties with friends and salacious siblings

Joyful events of half forgotten days that lie dormant in my memory just as they have in this dusty domain all these years

Gleaming freshfaced cherubs whose images change month by month, year by year recorded for posterity when memory would oft suffice better , the angst of adolescence cringingly portrayed and mercilessly captured – until the groomed and final product – adults! –  emerge – or perhaps the latter is on my updated hard drive.

I hope you can allocate some time to this life half remembered – I rarely did.

And now I know I sit in deep regret of that.

But as I write on this date in 2014 and tuck this pointless missive into the box with the now defunct hard drive – its shiny new, all singing, all dancing counterpart placed mockingly in its old residence – I hope you will tread softly.

For you tread back through the remnants of my Past – the deep dark undergrowth of abandoned thoughts,people,lives and places that in their moment were real, alive, tangible to me…. And should you choose to delete, edit, repair please spare the reaper to some extent.

Had I but known the tools myself to Photoshop, edit and adapt a life at the correct given points perhaps the heartaches and hurt could have been avoided. Yet the healing and lessons learned along that pathway truly enhanced who I  – and they- became.

Our lives are truly in your hands…

Oh and although I will be long deleted from this life I carved out 200 years from now do seek me out in some isolated burial ground and drop by – perhaps I can even be the historical research for your own new creative pennings –  the incomparable Past of my Now will certainly conflict with the hard drive of your present!

If only we had the foresight to apply hindsight to the present….