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This week has been difficult. I have written nothing, because I don’t want to remember the thoughts I’ve been having. But they were real.

Last week, Himself convinced me to buy a notebook. No big deal, I have many.

But this one is different.

This notebook is blank. Unlined. Bare pages. All waiting to be marked.

This book represents such a huge fear. Of making my mark and being wrong. Of mess, of failure, of ruining something that could have been more.

This is nonsense, of course. But like those awful thoughts that I’d rather forget, still real.

I want to mark these pages. I want to write, to draw, to sketch and scribble, with no judgement. I want those voices of illness to be drowned out by what I AM doing, rather than what I’m afraid to do.

My marks may be good or bad, but they will be mine. And true.

Battling onward. Still here.

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Re-Beginning

It’s been a while. Illness mostly, but this meant a certain anxiety about exposure, wanting to snuggle in and hide instead of expose myself… but this page was intended to be small. Daily sharing of things that inspire me, to remind me and keep me moving, while hopefully sharing that energy with others as well.

Plus, any writing is good for momentum in creating More Writing 😉

I’ve been finding mornings very difficult lately. I used to be up and doing, loving that fresh feeling of the air before the day truly begins. But the thought of all the things the day might hold has been scary recently. Overwhelming. More than I can cope with, physically and mentally.

So today I’m taking it gently. What am I doing… right now.

I have a pup cosily asleep on my leg.

I’m writing.

I’ve been knitting a madly-coloured cosy thing with beautiful yarn, that makes me smile and feels good to touch.

The rain is beating down against the window.

These thoughts can inspire grins or worries. I have to take the dogs out in the rain soon – I’m letting the thought bring a smile, anticipating the rain washing my hair naturally and bringing the scent of damp grass. I could let it bother me, whinge and moan… but I can’t avoid it, so I choose to welcome it, as the dogs will.

Writing has been daunting. What can I say? How will people react? I’m not clear enough in my mind to put ideas ‘out there’… But this is my space, and I’m doing it anyway.

Even the knitting – in a crazy mixed-up bunch of colours that I really shouldn’t like. But I do. It makes me happy, in the act of creation and the result.

I’m doing my best to dig deeper than the surface miasma, the fog of depression. I want to see, to determine that Yes, I’m doing something because *I* want to. And I can. And it will be whatever it is.

I’m looking at the potential of the day, not the fears. Heading outside soon. Let’s see what comes.

Much love, my friends.

Connection

Today, after a long drought, I write again. This most solitary of activities, and yet so intrinsically linked to the things that inspire me – that make me want to write about them, and which kick me into actually doing so.

Today, I am fuelled and encouraged by the voices of friends, silly and profound, but which I see, hear and feel across the miles, through the screen and even within their own pages.

I battle through some pretty difficult physical and mental challenges, knowing that I’m not alone. Humbled and still wanting to move forward, for myself and those who cheerlead me efforts.

The trick is balancing the ‘me’ time with this connection, which isn’t always easy, but when achieved – when you’re not pulled in one direction or another, but simply stand your ground… magic can be made.

What are you doing, what are you creating, who are you inspiring? Pause, realize and smile.

Thank you, friends. Today’s words are for you. x

Small Accomplishment

I had such plans for today. Chores around the house, yes, but also my own work – I was even looking forward to my morning run.

All of which was effectively scuppered by a total lack of energy, combined with a brain which refused to focus on anything. Even the easiest novel.

I think this might have been a mild migraine. I get them occasionally, and do my best to manage, but …

Sometimes you have to ride the downward waves, of course. So I did as my body asked – and fell asleep. When awake, it was simple TV or dozing. I could do nothing.

By 4pm, this had become actively depressing. A wasted day. I felt bad for not giving my pups the playtime they’d been hoping for (fortunately brief stints of frisbee in the garden were sufficient, I’m glad to say). I had to do something… but what?

Finally, the frustration was too much. Laptop was grabbed, typing began. I anticipated a stream of utter rubbish.

Instead, I blogged – on my ‘main’ page, the original blog that started it all, ‘The Catbox‘. And I’m actually rather pleased with the result.

Writing is my joy. When the words flow, there’s no sensation like it. Inspiration strikes and, if you’re really lucky, begets more – and that’s something to ride, until you physically (and mentally) have to stop.

It’s early evening now and the day is so much brighter. My head feels clearer, I have a little more energy. The pups will be walked as dusk falls when Himself returns from work, and I’ll prepare food for a relaxing evening. On our terms, my little family.

No wasted day after all – because something was created and shared.

Ride the flows, my friends.

Returning

Here I am again  thank you for your patience, lovely reader! As I’ve said before, I knew this would happen. Summer is my busiest time, and there will be lulls in bloggery, due simply to Life. But this is about as a real as it gets – I’d rather be honest with my posting than force things under duress. This blog is to be written As It Comes to me. No pre-recorded work here!

And there has been much busyness. Handfastings, general work, heaps of travel… and recovery. This can sometimes be the hardest part, as I’d rather be getting on with something that sitting about. But rest is needed.

For the past week or so, my mind has simply not wanted to get on with ‘work’. I have the (kind of) luxury of being able to indulge that, being self-employed, but on the other hand, if I don’t get on, work doesn’t get done – simple as that. I have to prioritize.

But it’s not just always about the body needing rest. The mind and spirit need recharging as well, of course, and that’s very hard to quantify in time-slots or achievements.

So I’ve been letting things come as they wished, indeed. Knitting commissions and gifts, writing short articles, being there for those who’ve called. Still working, but gently.

The ups and downs have come and gone, as they will. From happiness to anger, enthusiasm to lethargy – I try to tap into each as it arrives, transforming it where I can, flowing with it if I can’t. Sometimes I’ve been overwhelmed. Surfacing again after such engulfment is the reward. I survived again.

This morning, I’m up and out the door with the dogs, enjoying the crisp air before the day properly begins. The birds are up, a few other dog-walkers and their friendly charges, but the peace of ‘early’ is so valuable to me. Time just spent being, without obligation or urgency.

And it’s possible anywhere – necessary, in fact. I used to take the time on the walk to work: from sitting quietly on the commuter train, to walking up the Thames (literally with the flow)… even being stuck in traffic more recently. Not exactly Zen, but in the moment, allowing the dreams and thoughts to come and go. That’s where ideas come from.

So here I am now, back at my laptop, tapping my thoughts. Inspiration for the day once again – and more writing ahead. We do what we have to, but these are our lives we’re living. The alternative is to stop, and so very much would be lost if we do.

We keep moving. Onward, as always.

Brimming Over with Wrongability

Like everyone, I’ve been told throughout my life when I’ve been at fault, whether it be by family members, teachers or friends. Nothing wrong with that – it’s how we learn, after all.

Except… for those times when your secret self cannot possibly believe it. Even if you can see why the other would call your thoughts, words or actions ‘wrong’, the determination rises to prove yourself right. Sometimes this is a battle. There can be casualties.

I’ve been seeing evidence of this in various places lately, contemplating the balance that is needed but often thrown askew by limited perspective or information. Notably in the rhetoric of politicians versus the op-eds of the Press, and the sound-bites of social media. Those who don’t want to see the full picture, because it would clash with their agenda – far easier to call ‘true/false’.

But it’s the voices of the artists that resonate most strongly with me. Those with fire in their heads, often called mental illness; I recall hearing once that the poor man is mad, while the rich merely eccentric. I may be somewhere in the middle, myself.

My fire isn’t stoked by madness – the black dog drags me away from the creative flame. But then from that darkness comes the determination once again, to strive forward and prove myself. I might not be ‘right’ (I’ll be the first to admit that!), but I want to explore the journey, the reasoning, the full story in each of its’ multitudinous hues. By burning your hand, you learn not to touch… but you learned this yourself, through truly feeling, experiencing, knowing that truth.

I’m not advocating attempts to fly by jumping off a roof to see if you can. As the late, great Bill Hicks said, ‘Start from the ground!’ But do start… and keep striving on. Because if we don’t, if all we do is believe the voices of others, then we surely lose our own.

‘Some day I must make a list of the reasons for which I have been thought mad and by whom: it would make such an amusing medley.’
(Explorer Dame Freya Stark, writing in 1930. From ‘Passionate Nomad’, by Jane Fletcher Geniesse)

‘The contrariness that others saw was really just the persistence of longings too important to let go of: images in his head kept alive by a fierce imagination that overruled an increasingly contrary world.’
(From ‘Van Gogh: The Life’, by Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith)

Dropping the Ball

There was no entry in this blog yesterday, for the first time since it began. This is due simply to Life – higher priority matters going on (both challenging and exciting) which meant that when the evening grew late and I hadn’t written anything, I simply did not have the energy.

This was inevitable. A daily post is a big commitment. I’ve known this, and so refuse to allow any guilt. But of course, it’s been on my mind.

I am a worrier, and am concerned about each and every piece that I write. I’m repeatedly told that my blogs are simply that: My blogs. People can take them as they wish. This is true. I still do my best.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given, just prior to the release of my first book, was that once something is done and out ‘in the world’, to let it go. You can’t change it then; you can’t influence what people think of it – it just has to be, to exist on its own. I’ve heard it compared to the birth of a child as well: not necessarily easy, but a unique experience… which you then have to separate yourself from.

Missing one day won’t stop me writing. The function of this blog continues, and I hope that people still enjoy it. I will continue to explore my inspiration, whether that comes from beautiful landscapes, fine writing, evocative art and music, or those darker, more challenges sides to life. I do write what I know, to explore it and aim for greater understanding of it as I tell each individual story.

Even if it’s just me reading this, I’m still writing. Sometimes, just the act, the doing – that’s enough.