I headed out for a crisp January walk with my friend Rach, intending to have a stroll under Menai Bridge and around Church Island while the sun still shone. As we passed RibRide, Rach (who works there) said, ‘I just want to check who’s working today.’
It was another friend of ours, Jo Quinney, who saw us before we were even through the door and said, ‘You’re going on a boat!’
I hadn’t seen Jo since last May and this is how she greeted me! I said, ‘Um, HELLO,’ quickly followed by, ‘Yeah, sure.’
A few minutes later, we were sporting ‘boiler suits’, thick gloves and goggles, and hanging on for dear life on Continue reading
Pay attention. There’s that person sitting a few feet away from you and your circle of friends. She’s sitting alone, maybe because she wants to be alone, or maybe because she sees a barrier between herself and your happy, oblivious little group. You didn’t put up a barrier, of course you didn’t, you’re not unkind – but the barrier is still there for her. It appeared when you weren’t looking.
You think if she wants company, she’ll ask. She won’t. And neither did you. Do you remember that time when you were the one sitting alone, and someone smiled and asked if the chair next to you was free? They made that chair sound special. It was; it was next to you. How happy you are now! And yet you still assume she Continue reading
I’m moving back to North Wales on Sunday.
‘I mustn’t forget to leave the house key!’ I joked to Mum, who has arrived to help me pack and drive me back. (Rhyme unintentional.)
And then it hit me. I’m leaving the house key. I’m leaving.
I haven’t been able to process it much over the past couple of weeks, apart from a couple of, Continue reading
My friend Yasmine and I found out today that we’ve been longlisted in the same short story competition! Yasmine is a fellow-student on the OU Creative Writing MA and has quickly become one of my best friends, even though we’ve never met in real life. She is a professional writer, a playwright.
A couple of months ago, we wrote a list of story competitions that we would both enter, encouraging us to not only write new material but also to get our fiction ‘out there’. We hold each other accountable.
It was exciting to see that Continue reading
I once overheard a group conversation about the value of online friendships. One woman said, ‘The thing is, I’ve had long email exchanges with you, Hilary, but I wouldn’t say we really know each other. We don’t exactly have a relationship.’
Hilary (or whatever her name was) looked upset. To her, she had finally put a face to a very real friendship, which until that point had been conducted through the written word. Talk about a communication breakdown!
My approach to online friendships has developed over the years. I didn’t use to add anyone on Facebook/Messenger who I hadn’t met in ‘real life’ – a safe approach, especially as I was young. This changed when I became more involved in the writing community. I started adding people I’d ‘met’ on the OU forums – some I’d seen at tutorials, but not all of them.
My personal Facebook became more public. I wanted people to have the option of sharing my blog posts, for example. And I decided that I would only post things that I wouldn’t mind anyone seeing. (My posts aren’t to everyone’s tastes, but I’m happy for them to unfollow me.)
The more I think about it, the more I realise I have a lot of meaningful friendships that have either begun online or take place almost entirely online.
I met my Continue reading
On January 23rd, 20-year-old Adam went for a hike along the coastal path towards Clarach. He didn’t return. He was found a few days later by the RNLI, but despite their best efforts, he passed away.
I cried when my brother Jonny phoned to tell me the news about his housemate. I cried along with Mum when we had a video chat to talk about it. I cried on and off for the rest of the evening. I cried as I did the Bible reading in chapel the following morning. And I cried as I came across One More Light by Linkin Park, a song about losing a loved one.
Grief often seems to come with a Continue reading
At this time two years ago, I started my blog. I had been thinking about it for a while, waiting for the ‘right’ time, and it basically came down to just do it. I’m so glad I did!
I started off not having a clue what I would write about, but I optimistically aimed to post twice a week. It quickly changed to once a week. Pretty soon, I struggled to do even that and went for the whole of June without posting anything. Still, I finished 2016 with forty blog posts, covering a variety of subjects.
I started 2017 knowing it would be a busy year. I didn’t want to make any goals for my blog schedule that would inevitably lead to failure. Instead, I decided to only post every two weeks. If I had the time or inclination to write more than that, then I would post them anyway, or hold them back for another time.
I surprised myself Continue reading
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
We sat on a bench on the prom, overlooking Llanelli Beach, with an assortment of food beside us. We weren’t hungry, and neither had we particularly wanted to go out again, but we dragged ourselves out of the Travelodge at 7pm, to make the most of the day. Our last evening.
We picked at the cheese and cocktail sausages, and mustered some enthusiasm for the chocolate-caramel doughnuts. The sea was advancing across the bay and the sun sinking towards the horizon. It was like a race, watching which would reach the finish line first! We were still. We were silent. To move or to speak would have burst our bubble.
I was tired by that point. When I’m at home, I usually escape to my room at the earliest opportunity! We had taken it easy for a lot of the trip, but I was still feeling slightly over-socialised and my mind over-stimulated, not helped by broken sleep. There are many advantages to being slightly introverted, but the lack of social stamina can be frustrating at times. Somehow, this week, it didn’t matter so much… Continue reading