Stop Being So Certain!

I’m tempted to trust people who don’t claim to know it all. I’m not encouraging people to be vague, or lack confidence, or sit on the fence, but isn’t there sometimes wisdom in uncertainty? How many creative activities and social issues are less certain than people pretend?

I’ve been reading a book called On Writing by A.L. Kennedy, which contains blogs and articles. One of the things that has struck me, aside from her often dark humour about the writing/publishing world, is her reluctance to tell young writers what to do. She does give advice, and is perfectly qualified to do so, but she seems to encourage distrust of her advice and everyone else’s. She suggests. It’s beautifully refreshing.

I love reading ‘how-to-write’ books. I have discovered several that have been incredibly helpful to me as a developing writer, and yet some make me nervous: the ones that lay down the law. They are professional, well-conceived, ‘true’ (or at least contain plausible information), heavily researched, backed by ‘names’ and titles and degrees…They scare the life out of me because they contain more than a sprinkling of ‘my way or the highway’. Last time I checked, Continue reading

Advertisements

Graduation

I walked into the impressive auditorium of Cardiff Millennium Centre – on my own, because guests were seated upstairs, which was a little intimidating. It took me a while to work out where I needed to go, not having noticed the seat number on my ticket.

I felt like a wizard in my robes; a dishevelled, dehydrated wizard, in navy blue, with yellow and pale blue on the hood. I’d joked to a few people that there was no way I’d come to my next graduation, because I didn’t like the robes worn by the MA graduates!

I eventually found my seat, BB39, three rows from the front, and immediately got talking to the woman next to me, Rachel. She was bright, lively, and extremely chatty – we bonded instantly. I didn’t even see where Mum and Ruth were sitting, because I was so engrossed in conversation.

‘I’m glad I got Continue reading

Small Things Can Have Huge Consequences

I was in agony with my teeth a couple of months ago. The gums on one side were already tender and then I chomped on a cashew nut. It was swollen, inflamed, and extremely painful over one tooth.

It wasn’t much better the following morning; I booked an appointment. The dentist said it was probably just a bit of food caught in there and that she’d ‘give it a good clean’. She proceeded to blast the life out of it. I would have screamed had there not been so many hands in my mouth! Rinsing my mouth was an experience – let’s just say, the mouthwash was a very different colour when it came out.

I cried on the way home. I told myself, ‘It’s only a bit of gum pain – the dentist said everything’s fine.’ That made no difference whatsoever. The whole right side of my face was stinging, my legs felt wobbly, and I had to lie down.

It may have been a small trigger, but it wasn’t the scale of the issue that was the problem – the problem was Continue reading

We Don’t See Things the Same Way

We all make assumptions.

I recently went to the opticians. I haven’t been for a few years, so I’d forgotten some of the more torturous tests – for instance, when they take a picture of the back of your eyes. I put my head in the chin rest and willed myself to stay still as the lady shot air into my eye.

‘Try to keep your eye open this time,’ she said, patiently, as if she was talking to a young child.

‘I’m trying,’ I whimpered.

Things were better when I saw the main optometrist. After a few simple tests, he was confident that there was nothing wrong with my eyes.

On my way out, he smiled and said, ‘Your eyesight is four times over the driving limit – your vision is in the top 1%!’

I can see better than 99% of the population. * I had a surprising sense of achievement, considering that I’d had relatively little to do with it! Well done, eyes!

It was a useful reminder that Continue reading

Life is Risky: Crossfit or Couch?

Should we take the risk of exercising, or the risk of not exercising?

You can’t avoid danger. Not completely. You might be the most careful person in the world, but there’s still a chance you’ll be walking down a path one day and not see a little step…BAM! There we go, a badly-sprained ankle. Life is risky.

Crossfit is labelled as ‘dangerous’ by some, as if the athletes are let loose with ‘all the gear and no idea’, damaging their bodies with movements they don’t understand. This is the total opposite of my experience. I have never been injured. My coaches are knowledgeable, experienced, understanding, and wise in their dealings with athletes of a wide range of age and ability.

But still, training your body at high-intensity is not risk free. In fact, no exercise is risk free. Even the most careful and competent athletes get injuries, whether it be general wear-and-tear or a specific incident. Is it more sensible not to exercise? Continue reading

A Day in Cornwall

Tuesday 3rd October 2017

9:00

The view from this window is like a moving postcard. I watch the blue horizon and the low waves that are queueing up to break on Porthminster Beach, where the morning dog-walkers are scuttling back and forth.

The town of St Ives looks small from here, stretching out onto the peninsula, and I wonder what sort of wave could… No, don’t think about that. Everything is perfect today.

I had some deep sleep last night, only waking twice – yes, that’s good for me. Each time I turned over I thought for a moment that I was at home. Don’t tell Continue reading

Eating on My Own

Wednesday 4th October 2017

I am sitting in a restaurant on my own and have never felt less lonely. Why doesn’t everyone do this? Well, I suppose not everyone is introverted – and many introverts would still feel uncomfortable eating alone in public, because of the dictations of society.

When I’m by myself, I tend to feel awkward if I don’t know exactly where I’m going. I worry that someone might steal my bag, and my senses are heightened, as if I’m on red alert. It’s wearing.

So, this is a breakthrough for me. I don’t know why it’s been different today, wandering Continue reading