Tuesday, 12 December 2017

With the turning of the year

From time to time over the last few decades I’ve attended many writing workshops, usually ones run by the wonderful Roselle Angwin. The most recent (in 2009, I discover to my astonishment) was a weekend entitled ‘Stranger than Fiction’ and involved writing our life stories. I disgraced myself in my eyes by sobbing for almost the whole two days but nobody seemed to mind and, as I kept saying, it was such a relief to be in a place where you could be unhappy. Not that I was unhappy, but I’d tapped into a place within myself that didn’t normally find expression.

Over the last few months I’ve found myself in some dark places. This is I suppose partly because of everything that’s been happening, starting with my mother’s death in February. It’s also because of the blog in which I’ve opened up several subjects I normally keep under wraps. And now, with the turning of the year, the world itself is darkening.

December sunset
I suspect that my migraines are the dark places struggling to get out, and for the last two weeks, in advance of the visit of my brother and sister-in-law J and K, I’ve been suffering on and off with the condition. This is not because of J and K, because nobody could be kinder, but because they represent Family and for me the negative connotations of Family outweigh the positive.

Yesterday evening, 36 hours after J and K left, I thought I was better and I celebrated with a glass of wine. Big Mistake. I woke in the night feeling dreadful again. My emotions were in turmoil. Obviously the blog, which was supposed to be a healing exercise, wasn’t working. What’s more, I’d upset another member of the family with some of the things I’d been saying.
    ‘I’m going to stop blogging,’ I said to Frog, ‘and delete everything I’ve written.’
    ‘No,’ he mumbled with admirable perspicacity given that he was at least three-quarters asleep.
    Immediately I felt better.

This blog – at present – is revealing a side of me that I’ve kept hidden for my family’s sake for much of my life. It’s bound to cause trouble. But to be whole and healthy I need to come clean about that side, and this blog is the only place I have at the moment where I can. I just have to keep going. 

January sunrise

Monday, 4 December 2017

Back to fiction?

Creativity takes energy, and since mid-October I’ve had none to spare. Hence the dearth of blog posts.

Now however, with the dog mended, my computer working again (fingers crossed), and a pause in the sorting of stuff and in building work because my lovely brother J and sister-in-law K are coming to stay, life is easing up and I can feel the creative urge returning.

I don’t yet* have anything important to say, however, so here instead are some pictures of, or rather from, ‘my’ semi-island where the dog and I spent another dreamy hour or so at the weekend.

I’ve been transfixed recently by the beauty of the elements – a white sky, a grey river. Sometimes I wish I could paint or make music as those media surely would express that feeling so much better than words, or even photographs.

Maybe I should get back to writing fiction. Maybe that would say what I want to say.

* Whoops. That 'yet' just slipped out but as I read it back it sounds rather conceited. I shall leave it in, notwithstanding.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Synchronicity or what?

I’m a firm believer in synchronicity. By synchronicity I mean that what happens in the external world mirrors what’s going inside us, that we create our future with our intentions and that everything that happens is part of a web of meaning. This has been borne out so many times in my life that I’ve given up doubting it in spite of the majority view that the whole idea is complete boxxocks.

If you’re clever you can use consciously this quality of the universe – you can tap into the web, getting exactly what you want and finding signs everywhere as to what’s going on. Sometimes however – like now, for me – the whole blinking thing is a mystery.

I’ve told you about Ellie and her injury.

I’ve told you about our building work inside and out – the new bathroom, the knocking down of wall, the earth-moving - and I've told you about the sorting out of shed, garage and house.

The new bathroom
I've told you about my mother's death earlier this year and about my mental and emotional clear-outs – the two events from 40 years ago that have haunted me ever since and of which I want to be free.

I haven’t however told you about my email and computer problems. (Skip this bit if you want.)

During the summer I lost all my old emails and destroyed the email programme I was using through my own carelessness. Then, around the time Ellie was injured, I was unable to send or receive messages with the new programme I'd installed. (Not my fault this time.) I'm now unable to keep any records of messages sent, received or deleted and have lost my email address book.

Two weeks ago I got a new computer and as soon as it was plugged in up in my room it started to misbehave. Because our computer expert Ian had had no problems with it in his workshop, Frog and I then tried every possible combination of peripherals (luckily Frog-the-hoarder has a good supply) – screens, keyboards, mice, leads, connectors, sockets, printers, scanners – at the same time running my old computer as a control. The old computer which had appeared to be on its last legs behaved impeccably while the new computer continued to crash. It’s now gone back to Ian for re-testing.

My study looks like computer repair shop. I’m limping along with half an old computer. My files and pictures are all over the place on memory sticks. I'm using four different email programmes. We think we're going to have to try a completely new system of broadband.
The computer repair shop (my study)
Yes, now I come to think about it, there probably is a connection somewhere in all that. But what it means and what the heck I can do about it I don’t yet know.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Colour everywhere

On Saturday,  Frog, Ellie and I go for a walk by the sea.
Even though it’s a grey day and nearly winter, there's colour everywhere.

In the evening another bird flies out of the black hole:

I cry for my lost innocence, so precious to me and so unimportant to the other person.
I cry for all the pain those events have caused Frog and me, and my family.
I cry for the person I was over forty years ago, so frightened and so alone.

I hug that person in my imagination and tell her that everything will be all right.

Friday, 10 November 2017

The short version. So far.

Many years ago when out with our dog (not Ellie – a previous one) I heard something that sounded like canvas in a gale. The noise got louder and louder until eventually I stumbled on its source – a tiny crate in which were imprisoned three black crows who were beating their wings against its wooden slats. Shaking, I started to undo the knots in the string that held the crate shut. At last, after about five minutes, I had them undone and was able to lift the lid. The crows rose like rockets, turned south and vanished into the distance.

Freeing those crows was probably the naughtiest thing I’ve ever done and I’m shaking, writing about it now. What they were doing there, I don’t know, but I do sometimes see dead crows hung up at the edge of fields and I believe farmers use them to deter other birds.

I remembered that incident this morning when discussing with Frog how I could possibly follow the last two posts. Since lifting the lid on one of the most painful incidents of my past, so many emotions have rocketed out that I haven’t known how to begin to explain. The two strongest however are anger and shame.

I was angry because I felt I'd been treated as a disposable commodity. I was ashamed because I’d been an idiot and because I’d been immoral (since he was married).

And why the black hole? Three things, I think. It was the sink into which I put all the emotions I couldn’t deal with. It was the culmination of an upbringing (and I include school in that) that valued only the intellect and neglected body, emotions and spirit. I wasn’t equipped to deal with life and I had no one to turn to except friends who were as confused as I was. Thirdly as a woman, for lots and lots of reasons I felt like a non-person. The black hole was the lowest point of my life and the springboard for everything I’ve done since.

So what did I do next? I left my job and joined a friend grape-picking in Australia. After a year working my way round that generous, exciting and beautiful country I came back to the UK, went to university as a ‘mature’ student, and met Frog. Some of the rest you already know.

Well, that’s the short version. So far.

And here is a picture from my walk this morning. I tried to capture a picture of crows but they kept flying off. So this will have to do instead.