Tag Archives: reading

Sleep!

When you survive on very little of the stuff normally it can be tough, but I have had one full night (Sunday) in I don’t know how long, and that was only thanks to half a sleeping pill. It didn’t help that, after the grandparents left early last week, we shot up to Whistler to take advantage of the fact our kids were not back to school until this week. Honestly, how is it you can pay for a good education but they spend less time there? Friends kindly let us use their lovely townhouse, so we had a comfortable base but – sadly for me – not a comfortable bed. I had already made the decision not to even consider skiing until the weekend, but my go-getter boys blasted around the mountain with ski school for three days while my husband disappeared off into the backcountry – always a worry, even though I used to do it myself BC (before children).

What did I do with my time? Well, every morning my girl and I had a very Baltic dog walk, but thanks to good gear and little hotties (disposable handwarmers in case you think I hooked up with a member of Thunder from Down Under; sadly not!), I was snuggly. The rest of my days were filled with crafting. I don’t often get the opportunity to spend all day sticking bits of paper together and tarting them up with expensive ink to turn them into cards. This project was Thank You cards for all the kids who attended the boys’ birthday party. I know they will be looked at and admired for all of 4 seconds and binned, but this is just something I love doing and, being a bit OCD, I have to do it right. I also kept up my 2015 challenges, and played with my new iPad mini – thanks hubby! The evenings might have involved drinking wine, but you guessed that already, right? And reading. Again, I don’t often just sit in the evening and read. I should, but I don’t, so I did!

Icy snow conditions and major fatigue made the decision for me not to ski at all, and the backcountry had broken hubby anyway. However, the conditions did not stop my 8 year old; he broke his teacher on the second day. Leaving him for dead at the top of the glacier. Poor guy didn’t look fit for a haircut when I signed out my very proud son, who looked like he’d spent the day just cruising down green runs. It didn’t stop there – tubing and some very extreme sledding at the weekend left me with my heart in my mouth several times, and I was just watching them. We then returned to the real world and a busy day before back to school. I was very proud to take my generous children to our local children’s hospital, where they presented the Foundation with $200 of their birthday money. I then spent the evening in the MRI scanner having full neck to pelvis images, and had to be helped off the VERY hard bed like an old crumbly – awkward! Thanks to that, I enjoyed another night of not very restful sleep…

Me before ‘it’

It’s been sometime since I read (rather than wrote!) a book I haven’t been able to put down. I’m a ‘read a chapter every night in bed’ kind of reader. I have just finished reading the type of book I wish I could write, and maybe one day I will. Amusing, romantic, and emotional… ‘Me Before You’ by JoJo Moyles. It was the kind of book that helps me put my own pain and suffering into perspective, especially when I’m having a bad few days, which I am right now. Even though I am reduced to tears when my husband is digging his elbows into all those nasty tight knots, really, it’s not that bad. Even when my physio is sticking needles in my backside and the pain is so intense I want to scream the clinic down, really, it’s not that bad. Even when I can’t do something I used to do with regularity and complete ease, before I was diagnosed with ‘it’, really, it’s not that bad.

It controls. It plays games with my mind. It chips away at everything, claiming little pieces of my life. It makes me rebel. It makes me angry. It has changed parts of me, both mentally and physically, so much that I’ll never be able to go back to being ‘me before ‘it’’. One of the biggest physical changes has been losing muscle tone through lack of exercise, and significant weight loss due to dietary restrictions and medication induced nausea. I used to be curvy, but fit, toned and healthy looking. Now, I find I’m unable to purchase a particular item of clothing I like because they don’t make it small enough, and I have women telling me how amazing I look, which is a great confidence boost, but they have no idea how and why I got here… ‘it’ led me. I used to love all kinds of food – there was very little I wouldn’t try or eat – but now, food and I are not very good friends. When I hear the compliments, it gives me a greater understanding how those with eating disorders can carry on doing what they do. The compliments drive them on to continue. Thankfully I actually do want to eat, but ‘it’ is in control of that, not me.

Once again I give you the reason why I wrote a book. I’m not looking for a new career, or to be recognized as great writer. I’m not looking for fame and fortune. Granted, if it all comes good and those things happen, well hey, bonus! It’s out there now, and it’s even being read somewhere in the world, because people have bought it. It is something that ‘it’ can NEVER take away from me, it can’t even get close. ‘It’ has no claim on any part of my publication, this is all about me… and not ‘it’.

You can buy a copy of my debut novel, Bruises directly from my publisher. It is also available on Amazon and other online bookstores around the world.

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!

Back to reality!

Well, I have safely returned from ten days of lazing by a pool and being waited on hand and foot. Why do you always feel like you need another holiday on your first day back to real life? My feet haven’t touched the ground and, to add admin to hassle, my elder son had a Pro D day. To be fair to him, he helped with the grocery shopping, the laundry mountains, organizing all the pet food, litter box and the gathering of our many furry friends from their various vacation locations. My physio is always telling me that there are reasons why I was given boys; days like this suggest that he may be right.

As well as wicked SI pain, presumably from travelling, I am also suffering severe Margarita withdrawal and sun deprivation. Sadly only one of these symptoms can be reliably fixed but unfortunately, as I no longer have minions, I will have to make it myself now and, of course, it never tastes the same. Also can’t have one with lunch, in the afternoon while cruising around the lazy river, or while perusing the dinner menu! A little ‘drying out’ required, I think (well, until the weekend anyway ☺).

So far there is no further news about my manuscript or the cover design, which is fine – I’m not expecting anything for another couple of weeks. While away, I really wanted to down tools and just read, but it was no good. My mind has been buzzing with ideas for a third novel for some time now and this was the perfect opportunity to start making some plans – you didn’t honestly think I was going to completely relax, did you? So yes, a new story, with new characters, very different issues, more medical drama, and of course some steam, is in the making. I now feel much better for emptying my head. There is nothing like filling a brand new notebook with multi-coloured pen notes, mind maps and magnetic page markers – sad but satisfying. However, I have promised my husband that I will make the dining room curtains before I lose myself again in another fictional world… but I can’t make curtains in a coffee shop while my younger son is learning Spanish, now can I?

Eats, shoots and leaves!!

Apparently I absolutely need to read this. I have no recollection of being taught grammar and punctuation at school, it is quite possible I was off that week having my leg set in a cast (first attempt at ice skating, only ever been once since and clung to the side the entire time, never again!). All right I know that they will have taught this for more than just a week, and it should have been reinforced throughout my schooling, but I clearly did not retain this information.

My husband is very OCD about this sort of stuff. Honestly, if you’d seen him reading my book the amount of huffing and puffing, eye rolling and sighing was just not true. Since then, bless him, he’s made several desperate and frustrating attempts to teach me the rules. Unfortunately part of my brain my has been pickled by gin, red wine and very expensive prescription drugs! Now what’s left of it is desperately trying to retain 41 years of other useless information.

So, we cut a deal. He would help me publish if I agreed to allow Lynne Truss to teach me what I should have learnt over 30 years ago. And, now that I’ve signed the contract I guess I have to keep my side of deal, especially as it happens to have now made it to the top of my ‘to read’ pile so I now have no excuse not to. However, between you and me, I was hoping to get away with it because now I now have a proper laptop and isn’t that what all those green wavy lines are for?