Victory

This morning, I was trying my best… but sadly, it was not enough. 

Massive depression meltdown. 

Held up only by Himself, I made it through. I sank deep and had to kick up again in order to see daylight. But I did it. And am so very thankful for my family supporting me through it all.

Now, I’ve got myself moving. Not overdoing it, but I’m writing this from the gym. On my own (well, with a friendly trainer lady and a couple of other busy bodies). And I’m battling this time for positive adrenaline. 

Cycling for miles in a safe environment, watching Bettany Hughes on my phone screen. ‘Divine Women’, a documentary about the Goddess. 

I may not be quite a Wonder Woman, but I’m doing my best. This is more than I thought I’d accomplish today, by a long way. 

So I play on these fitness toys while listening to ancient tales of mighty women. 

This one’s for Nike – not the sporting goods manufacturer, but the Goddess of Victory.

Lessons in Story

It’s been a busy few months. I anticipated pauses in this blog, but the lapse shows how frenetic things have been (or how my own tiredness). But doing my best to resume with quality writing, rather than just a concession to mark a day…

Yesterday was Pagan Pride in Nottingham. The fifth year, and I’ve attended every one. So many people (always more each time), varied opinions as much as outfits, ideas and reasons for coming along.

The talk I gave was about Priesthood, but in the course of it, one small idea stuck with me. It’s still there now, and so it is being caught in a WordPress net, to share – as seems appropriate.

We all tell our stories. We live them, every day, uncertain of what will come next, but having to face the adventures as they arrive in front of us. Good or bad, and often without any sense of overarching plot or control. But these are our stories, and none are as valid or invalid as any other.

Yesterday, I spoke with so many people, listening to their stories and giving a little of my own. Today, I’m exhausted – all that energy deployed in that rush of hours and chatter, shared hugs and space.

I force myself to work, though. I have to, or I find myself dragged down with the sense of ‘should be doing something!’ So I’m picking up review books that I’ve been asked to write about.

Today’s offering has gripped me and pulled me into its world. The review will come in full, but suffice to say it’s an anthology of fiction, short stories of such breathtaking originality that every one makes me rather wish they were longer (even though that might well spoil the effect).

Stephen King said that a novel is a relationship – a short story is like a kiss. Both intimate, but in different ways. Each story I hear from people feels similar, as they open themselves just a crack to show me secrets, thoughts, anecdotes… and so I listen. I may review these in my head, but I try not to judge.

The good stories stay with us. Every one has a lesson, and not necessarily the one you might think (even a bad tale reminds us not to do things that way again!). If we pause to consider, to listen and review, we learn. That relationship touches us, just for a moment… and there lies its value.

People in front of us or via computer screen, voices from the pages of the past or across continents. Me, now. What stories do you hear today, and which do you hold on to moving forward? And what stories do you tell?

Bibliomancy

Sometimes, what is needed throws itself at you.

After writing about my proposed ‘book diet’ yesterday, my mind was clearly pondering the idea as I looked about the multitude of titles on offer in my own home. Exciting prospects, all.

As I prepared for bed, one title in particular caught my eye, almost falling off the shelf, shouting ‘Me, Me, Me!’

So this morning, I took it down and opened it up. And was caught.

‘Too often our lives automatically get channelled into narrow, secure patterns, set into deadline routines. Some of us want out…

To do this, we have to live on the edge, between the lines, somewhere between matter and spirit, masculine and feminine, darkness and light, leader and follower, stillness and motion. We venture like tightrope-walkers over the abyss of the unknown. I like it on the edge. I take others with me. This is my work.’

(From ‘Maps to Ecstasy’ by Gabrielle Roth)

Stephen King said that if a long novel is an love affair, a short story is like a kiss. An autobiographical tale is an invitation to an intimate relationship, sharing secrets and seeing parallels between your own experience and that of another person. The words contain memories, experiences and ideas, and can inspire the same in the reader with that shared truth.

I love to hear the voices of others telling their tales. I walk with them on our brief journeys between the pages. And in the case of this tremendously creative lady, I dance with her, along the edge. Her voice speaks to me precisely at the time it is needed; I am both glad and grateful.

I read on.

Everything in Moderation…

I think I might have to go on a book diet.

The shelves are heaving in every room, even after a ‘bagging for Charity’ session. Every visitor tends to leave with at least one book – that’s just the way I am, as I love to share the stories. But I can’t justify any more right now, due to space, money and time. Resolve and determination is called for…

As I rummage through the stacks, however, I can’t help but smile. I remember buying (or acquiring) each and every one of these titles, read and yet-to-be-explored. That feeling of interest at cover or blurb, flicking through the pages to feel its individual character – the font, the sensation of the pages, the scent. New and pre-loved, they are all there, patiently waiting for my attention at last.

And that, more than anything else, is what makes the proposed ‘diet’ a good thing. I picked up and kept these worlds-in-paper for a reason. Let’s go back to them and give them the time they deserve.

There will always be new worlds to explore, after all.

Now, when I drop this lot at the Charity Shop, the challenge will be to leave without looking at their shelves… 🙂

Subtle Tactility

It can be the tiniest things that raise a smile, wandering in the world.

The rays of bright sunshine through stormclouds.
The change in the air as dusk begins to fall.
A single blackbird, singing because he can.
The rustle of brand new leaves in the breeze.

Or, closer to home:

The scent of sandalwood as I walk through my door.
The glee on a puppy’s face as he brings back a cunningly-acquired ball.
The taste of my favourite tea.
The feel of soft yarn through my fingers.
The sound of words in my mind, from my latest story.

This is the one-month anniversary of this blog, every day without fail (albeit some days harder than others). So many things which inspire me – I’ve no doubt I’ll repeat myself, but the perspective will change, as I move on through my life.

Every day, so much is out there. I will continue to share – and be grateful to you for accompanying me on the journey.