Four Lessons I’ve learned whilst writing.

The Daily Post – Faceless 

My alternative title would be “Writing Under a Pseudonym Part 2”. Since this is not the first time that I have written about this subject. When I first began my blogging journey almost three years ago. I decided that I would not write under my own name back then.

I’d figured that since the subjects I could write about, might come out of nowhere and catch me by surprise. It would be better to keep some form of anonymity in case it didn’t work out. As part of my own healing process, I thought that since it was going to help me get over trauma in my life, by writing about the things that have affected me.  It doesn’t always do to be so frank. I could hide behind the other persona somewhat.
I thought about the fact that, since at the time I was suffering with very low self-esteem that if I wasn’t any good at it, then it would simply vanish into thin air. I could put the whole thing away, shut it down if I wanted to and chalk it down to experience and it wouldn’t jeopardise any future career prospects.  I have always been rather too concerned about what others think and it had often held me back.

I have learned some valuable lessons in the past few years doing this.
In no particular order…
I have learned that if you write under an assumed name, then sometimes it encourages you to be the person you hope to become.
1. If you mess it up along the way, then you aren’t called to account as such.
2. I have always been fairly careful in what I publish in that I do not want it to be held against me later. I set myself a rule that I would try to steer clear of bad language even when I am upset or angry about a subject. If you have to write when you are feeling like that, then don’t publish it for all to see, as you may feel differently later.
3. You can be transparent about all kind of things whilst hiding behind your assumed name.
4. It can be very difficult to promote yourself as a writer when you are someone else.  I still haven’t got past this last hurdle. I wrote a book you see, but how do you promote your self-published work when only a handful of people know who you are. If you go out there saying you are this new person, what happens if someone recognises you?

As time has gone on, I have wanted to write more and more under my real name though. To bring the writer within out into the open. I have gained more confidence in my ability to write. It was always something that I had out to the back of my mind, thought about pursuing on several occasions over the years,  but not really knowing where to begin. It was merely one of those skills that became incorporated into the repertoire of my working life.  I wrote good letters for my employers, could word adverts and job descriptions and was also thorough when it came to proofreading as well.   I enjoyed such aspects of my work.

Sure I am not everyone’s cup of tea. My style of poetry does not suit everyone and can sometimes seem like more of the same even to me if I revisit a subject. But there are times when it gives me the freedom to express myself in a different way to the norm, to say what is really on my mind.
I think about the many occasions where I have been going through whatever life has decided to throw in my direction.  I have thought about how I dealt with things and how I got through the hard times and it is there in the background, a constant.  I have poems I wrote in my young adult life, which I found in some papers a couple of years ago. There are bits and pieces, snippets of writing, a storyline which did not get continued which I began many years ago.  My own unfinished symphony. If I have been upset or confused about something in my life, it has always helped to write it down, see it in black and white in front of me, to get my head around it. I am not just a poet though. I write about all kinds of things.
Years ago, I found that a way to deal with things that I felt powerless about was to write a letter to whoever had upset or wronged me. Telling them exactly how I felt about the situation.  These were never meant to be read by the person and often written in the heat of the moment. They were usually burned, offered up to the universe to deal with in whatever way it saw fit. But it certainly helped me and as a consequence, once I had done so, I could let it go and move on. I do not hold grudges, but I rarely forget the lesson I have learned from an experience.

Latterly these past three years I have been writing more and more poetry. I had to find an outlet for it which is how the first blog came about. I had so many poems I didn’t know what to do with them, I wondered if others might like to read them. But I didn’t know where to start. Some people suggested I write a book, but I didn’t have the confidence or the know how to begin it. So I decided to publish it via a blog instead, who knows I might get some followers and later on if it was well received I might be able to write a book.

The poems came thick and fast. I wrote night and day, sometimes I would write ten in a night and sleep half the day. It was like a tap I could not turn off. I kept notebooks everywhere, made voice memos of subjects if I could not write it there and then, such as when I was out walking the dog, or had been driving in the car, I would pull over to record a thought of lines of this and that that I could refer to later. I kept a notebook in the bathroom, often clambering out of the shower or waking in the night when inspiration would hit with a couple of lines that would then turn into something quite magical. My fiance was concerned, as it seemed to take me over. That may seem like odd behaviour, however I have found out from other writers, this is perfectly normal! Within a few months I had written over 100 poems. I decided that was the goal that I would reach before publishing my book.

I still did not know how to go about it, but a friend also self-published and gave me some good advice about Amazon Kindle publishing.  I decided to take the leap. I selected about 60 poems from the 100 and wrote a little book of poetry.  My failing in all of this and lesson I  learned was that to get book sales, you have to promote yourself. I was not ready to get out there and do this at all. To take my work to a publisher for them to decide that it wasn’t what they were looking for. I didn’t think that I could handle any more criticism at that time. I was my harshest critic. Listening to the inner voice telling me that I wasn’t good enough was crippling me. But nevertheless, I put the book out there and there it remains, largely undiscovered.

But I haven’t given up. I thought about a second book and continued to write my poems, thinking that when I reached 200 then I would select again and publish another which had a title and a cover all ready to go. I also considered a third title.  I have now written over three hundred poems and have yet to select for the second book.  I figured that I was too busy writing them to stop and when self-doubt creeps in, I think what is the point when I did not get good sales of the first one. So some get published on the blog.  Others are put into cards for special occasions for loved ones.  My oldest friend said that I should write card poetry for someone like Clintons, but I feel that it would lack the personal touch.

I would like to use my skills as a writer more. I’ve been putting reviews on Trip Advisor for a couple of years now and thoroughly enjoy writing about my travels. I would love to travel extensively and write about it all. I love taking photographs and include many of them in the other blog that I write.

I had intended that this website would include more of my writing this year. It has been a tough one again and although I had thought that I was ready to unleash myself upon the world as a writer but it has been halted by family tragedy. I lost my brother suddenly in the summer and have had family responsibilities to carry out since then, so my writing has taken a back seat.  But there is hope still. I wrote several poems when he passed away. Although I published some on the other blog, I read one particular one out at his funeral, it was so important to me to do this for him. I am not a confident person and I have never been a public speaker. I do not crave the spotlight in any way, rather I tend to shy away from it. It wasn’t easy to be the first to get up and speak and to read something that I’d written in public. There were around 400 people who attended that day and heard it. Many came up to me later and told me that they were impressed by my poetry and that I should write more and publish it. So it showed me that I am on the right track after all.  What gave me a sense of pride was to hear from some of his friends later that my brother had been proud of my writing and often spoke about it. I had no idea, but I knew that he firmly believed we should both follow our dreams.

What I know now is that whatever direction my working life takes from here on in, I would like to continue to strengthen and use these writing skills.

No More, but Forever In Our Wonderful Memory

IMG_2801579593035

Our beloved boy passed away this week. His departure has left such a gaping hole, we are wracked with grief and trying to stay strong for each other.  He touched lives wherever he went, everybody loved Kato. 

RIP In Memory of our beloved Kato Teddy Bear, Prince of the Night 18/5/11 to 26/7/16

We’ll no more hear the Monday Song,
As by the Wednesday, you were gone.
No more hugs from Sookie Boy,
Who was our huge bundle of joy.
No more sadness, no more pain.
No more dancing in the rain.
No more carrot on Friday,
Now that you have gone away.
No more snoring as you kip,
No more laughing victory skip.
No more Bear Monster under the bed,
Resting there his weary head.
Skipping with tail, excited to hear,
Visitors and animals, come near.
“Have you been in my pots?” and back he’d race.
My angel with the grubby face.
My furry assistant, seated behind.
Will always remain here in my mind.
The one who yells in the garden, “Go Crow”
Huge love for everyone that you know.
I shall wear your favourite top.
No-one there to chase the mop.
No dancing feet or playing paws,
Or mischief breaking Mummy’s laws.
No more sharing Aloe juice,
You are gone so what’s the use?
The furry tummy is not here to rub
No more gathered, after school fan club.
The children will not come and shout
“Where’s Kato is he coming out?”
The Morning Mummy, smiling boy
Would bring my heart so much joy.
The things you knew, were immense
Mixed with happiness and nonsense.
No pussy cats running across the street
“They live there” their parents off to greet.
No sharing morsels when I cook.
Are you coming back? Can’t bear to look.
My heart is aching while this I share
The love we had for our little Bear.
The memories and the love we had,
For you furry son, your Mummy and Dad.
There for me, through thick and thin.
Couldn’t make you well and that’s the sin.
But you never let on that the end was near,
As you sat by my side, smiling here.
Thank you my son, you brightened our lives.
I wish like a cat, you had nine lives.
Your garden is empty, there’s something wrong.
They cannot hear your Monday Song.
The talking when I ask “Who’s there?”
Rushing home to see our little Bear.
Fly with the birdies, sleep in the sun
Over fields and forests, you now run.
Come Back Back Back, to see us soon.
As we lay crying in our room.
For now my darling, you are free.
While Daddy’s here to comfort me,
And I with him and you there too.
I will try not to remain so blue.
As we lay together on the floor,
I barely could have hoped for more.
More time with you, It was too soon.
As darkness filled a quiet room.
I kissed and stroked your fluffy ears
And could not hope to fight off the tears.
As we lay snuggled on the floor,
I kissed and stroked your silken paw.
No more horses with bowed head,
To visit you, Our Son is dead.
So as our memories, far too few.
Sent with love to follow you.
The buried face and cheeky eyes,
I know where your spirit flies.
So as I raise my sorry paw,
To you my darling, wish I’d done more.
So years to fill and much to gain,
Wish I could have helped remove your pain.
We loved you, you knew it for sure
And in return, your love was pure.
Not ‘cupboard loving’ that wasn’t for you.
What we shared, was great and true.
You were waiting for your Scottish trip,
So around your garden, you could skip.
On soft grass and heather to rest your head,
But could no longer wait our little Ted.
So to guide the way a candle you’ll find,
In our hearts as you travel upon the wind.
So when we are up and standing there,
Our spirits will soar for our little bear.
I’ll watch out for you, there’ll be time,
And you’ll let me know, you’ll send a sign.
A kiss to your memory where you stood
And danced around the little wood.
The cows will moo, the eagles will cry,
As we say to you our last Goodbye.
In beautiful memories we’ll place a plaque,
So you will always find your way back.
As life will go on and tears will subside.
A place feeling empty where you reside.
Our hearts are broken and our tears will fall.
Reminders of you, your blanket and ball.
Empty collar and harness, your work is done.
May you rest in peace our beloved Son.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Daily Post – In the Wind

Uncle John’s House

 

This is the house that ignited my passion for houses. The one on the left. I am not sure how old I was when I first saw it, but we had been invited to it and my Auntie Julie was very proud of her husband, who had designed it and their best friend and neighbour who had built it and the house next door, the one with the white gates. The house next door was slightly different. I know that I was a child and at that very point, I wanted to be an architect like my uncle, despite not knowing much about the work, other than you got to design great places for people to live and have fun in. SO that was it really, thus my love affair with houses was born in an instant.

We used to go to family get togethers’ there and I do not know what inspired me to turn down the road for a look when I was out in the car the other day.
I hadn’t seen it for some time, it seemed such a huge house when I was a child growing up. In fact it was a detached three bedroom home when he built it, with the benefits of an open plan lounge/diner leading out to the garden. So different to our semi-detached post war house, but it still looks great today.

It is what inspired me to design my house, in the hope that I could entice him into doing the architectural drawings for it, before he retired, but I’m too late.

 

The Practice of Gratitude and How it can turn your day around.

This is How a little Gratitude can change your whole day.

Yesterday was a very grey day, and a Bank Holiday Monday. It threatened to take over the whole day smothering it with Grey when I awoke with the familiar feeling that I was tired, so tired that things ached. I did not want to crawl out of bed, but there was simply no more sleep to be had. My sister was arriving for a visit in the afternoon, she felt the same, we were both lethargic for differing reasons. We have been consciously trying to spend more time with each other lately and I hope that it is doing us both some good.
Foolishly yesterday morning I downloaded an update for my iphone and promptly thought no more of it. Now my use of the phone is limited, but I like to make use of it for photos’ social media and texts, as well as the occasional phone call of course. I merrily went on my way.

When Susie, my sister arrived we sat and spoke about all sorts of things, but mainly projects in the pipeline and what we wanted to do. I spoke about some of my own projects I want to work on some of which she has agreed to assist me with. Susie is a musician and now has new found freedom with the recent purchase of her first car. So she is widening her working area. Attending gigs further out and new experiences are opening up for her, in fact she’s consciously seeking them out, she is now following her own dream. We started to spend more time with each other so that I could help her gain more confidence out in the car, for when she hits the road for gigs up and down the country. It gives me the ideal opportunity to spend time with my younger sibling without other distractions. Some Quality Time at last. I am showing her the local countryside where we have lived for all of her life and she is seeing things with new eyes. All of these wonderful places, right here on her doorstep, but needing to get there by car, they have been limited to her up until now.

So as I try to think of interesting places to show her we jump in her car and head off.
I had a plan to show her somewhere different yesterday, but we sat indoors for most of the day, her singing and playing the guitar, talking about some of the gigs she is about to do, and the dog singing right back to her. She seemed a little surprised that he was joining in, but they soon settled into their song together.

My beloved disappeared off to see a sick friend who had just returned from hospital and we agreed to stay until he returned. He was later than anticipated and quite shaken when he came back, shocked at his friends condition. He wanted to be on his own with the dog for a walk.

 

So we the girls jumped in the car for a short trip out. Heading over to a local area along the river, there used to be a pub there, but it is now closed and the caravan park which borders the river has ducks. We parked up and walked through, looking at the pretty caravans and headed for the river, walking along the towpath we spotted a lot of floating markers which are washed up and decaying rather spectacularly. I wanted to take some photos of them and some of Susie, out in the open air, we had been talking about locations where she could get some new promo ones and although studio shots are great, if she thought about other places as backdrops as well she might get some interesting photos.

It was very windy, we were getting blown about in the wind and it wasn’t very warm, at least we had coats. But we began larking about, taking photos of each other and giggling, a return to kids again. There is a large gap in our ages and you could probably count on your hands the amount of times we have actually behaved like kids together, but we love each other and are alike in a lot of ways once everyone else is removed from the equation. We were just being ourselves, totally natural. Embracing our inner child and each other, with barely any make up and not in our posh clothes looking very windswept. We had fun, thoroughly enjoyed it. I am already making plans for the next time we go out.

Unfortunately the camera on my phone kept freaking out and doing strange things and I had to shut it off to do anything after that. It turns out the new update had messed with my mojo and changed all my images from jpeg to aae files, which my normal PC simply cannot cope with, so I had to fiddle with them to even see them on the laptop when we got home. Thanks for nothing, Apple, it worked just fine before that.

 

IMG_1652

I loved that couple of hours with my sister though, we came home and ate dinner all together and talked some more and the fresh air had put some colour in our cheeks and smiles on our faces. Promoting our own Health and Wellness and enjoying the Nature around us.

We enjoyed ourselves, no expectations to live up to, just being sisters. For this time I am able to spend with my sister, I am grateful. We often say that we would like to spend more time together just us girls, but it took so long to happen, due to our different schedules and now we are enjoying these opportunities.

When you start to think about the small things for which you are grateful, let alone the big things, you start to look at your life and the things around you in a much more positive light. I was encouraged to look at being grateful for small things, by a lovely lady who has been an inspiration to me many times during the past year. Kristin Granger over at www.gratitudeinall.com She posts inspiring quotes via her face book page and reminding me to look for something good in the day she also encouraged me when I told her that I wanted to write and gave me a few pointers on how to start with my blogging.

Despite a windy day, there is sunshine out there within those clouds and you only need look for it. I am Grateful for being able to see, both the wonderful things around me and my lovely sister.