Tag Archives: journaling

A thoughtful gift

I haven’t posted any pictures yet, but I just had to share this one with you.

I bumped into Mrs Creative Writing while, once again, propping up the wall outside the classroom. She wanted to thank me for giving up some of my valuable time to help inspire her budding writers. She then presented me with a ‘Thank You’ card, and two new journals. It would appear that they had really taken notice of the kind I like, the ones with the coiled spine so I can keep a pen handy, turn the pages back on themselves and tear out unwanted pages easily. I must have also mentioned that I like dividers because they also made sure it had those too!

The card was written by one of the students and has been signed by the whole class, with little personal comments from some of them – I don’t really think I am awesome but maybe to a 9 year old I am! When I commented last week on some of the parents cursing me about stopping at the dollar store, I had no idea that would really happen, but it did! Apparently some of the students have already started journals to record and draw story ideas, I genuinely didn’t think I could have that much impact. I sense I will feel a warm glow when I use those journals, knowing the sentiments behind the gifts.

It has come as part of a good week in my little world of self publishing. I’m over half way through reading the copy edited version and I have two cover designs to work with. Honestly, I sat down with my husband to look at the designs for the first time and we both spontaneously gasped when they popped up on the screen. To see the title… the back cover information… and my name – well my pretend name – I have to say it’s a pretty amazing feeling, and it’s not even finished yet. I must remember to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. I still have a lot of work to do…

A thoughtful gift

A thoughtful gift

Famous for 40 minutes!!

All right, so it was just a class of 9 year olds but still. A girl has to start somewhere, and no, I’m not branching out into writing children’s books – well not yet anyway. There I was, minding my own business outside my younger son’s classroom, waiting for the teachers to open the door, when a voice from the office behind me asked both my boys what their favorite book was. They stumbled over answering this question because they read a wide range of books, but if you asked them who is their favorite author, they would probably say the wonderful Julia Donaldson. If I’m honest, even I get excited when I see her latest offering in the bookstore. Anyway, I helped them out by prompting them to tell the mystery woman which book we are currently reading at bedtime. A chorus of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone rang out (HP is another simply marvellous series of children’s books that every grown up should read). A discussion followed, which led me to the conclusion that the mystery woman was maybe a Creative Writing or English teacher.

The doors to Junior Kindergarten finally opened and my 5 year old disappeared without so much as a goodbye (what it’s like to feel loved!), while my 7 year old continued to talk authors with Mrs. Creative Writing, who told him about her book-hungry grade 3 class who would give anything to meet an author. I don’t know why I said it but it was out of my mouth before I could stop it; I jokingly mentioned that I’m an author (well almost), though my genre would be a little inappropriate for discussing with 9 year olds. Undeterred, Mrs. Creative Writing jumped on this straight away and before I knew it I was thumbing through my diary to fix a date that coincided with her class.

Skip forward a week and there I am being shown to a large black comfy chair at the front of the classroom, 18 curious pairs of eyes watching my every move. As Mrs. Creative Writing introduced me, the students sat patiently with their pens hovering over open notebooks waiting in anticipation of something, anything they could write down. As predicted by their teacher, they were blown away by the fact I have written a real book, that will hopefully one day fill the ‘Hot & New’ section of the shelves – my hope obviously, not theirs!

So, my first ‘official’ interview! For the most part they asked relevant and appropriate questions, wanting to know things like ‘how do I choose names for my characters?’; ‘how long did it take me write my first book?’; ‘who inspires me?’; ‘how many chapters are in the book?’. I showed them notebooks that were falling apart and drawings my elder son has produced to accompany his own book idea. I tried to give them insight into how I arrange my own thoughts and ideas. They were interested, easily engaged, genuinely impressed, and fun. However, I fear their parents will have been quietly cursing me on the way home from school after being asked to make a detour via the dollar store to purchase a cheap journal. I’m trying not to think about what they might think when they find out what exactly it is I write!

The Notebook

Over the years, and especially very recently, I have asked myself ‘why am I being punished?’ I have never done anything to harm anybody or anything – well I might have plucked up the courage to kill a few spiders in my time! – And yet I feel as if I am not allowed to have a break from pain and suffering. When I started out along the path towards publishing my novel I began a handwritten journal. A notebook I carry around so I can just write stuff down. It can be anything from the way I’m feeling to where I am on the path. Somebody once said to me that I should write a book about living with an autoimmune disease, and why it led me to writing a novel in the first place. ‘Great idea!’ I thought, however, in the short time I have been writing I have discovered that now there would need to be chapters in that book I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever have to write. ‘No! that happens to other people, not me!”

The notebook is getting quite full; it is becoming a cesspit of emotion, unanswered questions and some parts, violent outbursts of anger that I don’t want my children to hear. It has inky tearstains, shouty capitals, bits crossed out & bits added with little arrows, diagrams, purple, red and black pen, lists, dividers… you get the general idea! It has evolved into becoming a good listener because I can write whatever I want, in no particular order, without grammar, punctuation or spell checking. And the best bit, nobody else can read, or understands it but me!

I think it will be a very long time, if ever, before I gather all the ‘stuff’ in that journal and put into some sort of sensible form, and tell my own real story. I would need to be in a much more stable place before I could share this part of my life with the rest of the world. Why? Because the ultimate goal would be to provide the reader with a insight into the harsh realities and devastation inflicted on a person, and their family, living with a chronic disease.