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

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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

I Needed to ‘Pretty Up’

14.9.16

I haven’t been wearing much makeup recently. I’ve been wearing more casual clothes too, and I feel good about it.

There’s something freeing about going ‘bare-faced’ when in the past you would have been reluctant to leave the house without makeup. I should be completely honest, and say that my skin is a little better than it was, which makes it easier.

It’s not just that, though. I am more confident in general. And, unlike my teenage self, I realise that everyone has much more important things to worry about than the state of my face! I now enjoy not wearing makeup – it’s far quicker to get ready, I don’t have to spend ages trying to remove mascara from my lash line, and I feel like myself. Pretty good, I’d say.

This morning, I felt differently. It’s been a rough Continue reading

Being Kind to Yourself Won’t Kill You

‘Today, I’m going to focus on being kind to myself,’ I announced to an empty room, on Friday morning.

What a shame that it had to be said!

I removed a few things from my to-do list that didn’t ‘need’ to be done, and set about writing in my journal instead – little, ‘unimportant’ thoughts and observations.

I had already done my Morning Pages (two pages of freewriting as soon as I wake up) during which I realised that for the past couple of days I’d been Continue reading

The Summer Blues

I could never handle the summer, or the school holidays in general, particularly in my teen years. The alluring break from work is dangled in front of you – six weeks that you look forward to for most of the year, during which there are fewer things that you must do. Mum used to smirk when I said the words, ‘I can’t wait for summer.’ She knew… Continue reading