Wrestling with Stories and Tissues

Tuesday 21.11.17

Things are difficult. I’ve fallen into the working week with less than my usual energy (which isn’t great at the best of times) and I’m coming down with a cold. Crossfit was out of the question today. Let’s focus on survival!

I had a great couple of days of brass-banding; conducting my Beginners to third place in the North Wales Competition, coming first with Seniors, and helping to support our local library with Intermediates on Sunday afternoon. Much as I loved it, it was draining to have a full-on weekend.

I’m lying in bed in my pyjamas, sipping coffee, and typing my assignment story; a story that is talking away at me constantly. Sometimes it’s in a good mood and gives me tingles up my back. Other times it yells and nags and complains Continue reading

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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

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