52and39/52 To Our Health

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2015 has been the year for highly serendipitous experiences.

No sooner have I thought one thing then related things have happened, leading my thoughts to necessary places or confirming hunches that what I was thinking was right or wrong after all.

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This last fortnight I’m hit repeatedly by thoughts of mismatched perspectives.  Two people can experience the exact same thing and recount it in jarringly oppositional or wonderfully eye opening ways.  Our eyes have different filters, our minds apply unique emotional processing, memories and logic.

Everyone has their truth – and their stories.

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This post is the very last in the 52and39 series. The first post in the series is here.  Thank you so much to everyone who has commented, shared and read these posts that have given 2015 such subtle but powerful writing purpose for me.  Watch this space for my new blogging series for 2016.  

Slainte, Heather xx 

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52and39/51 Back to the Future

I’m feeling festive in fleeting bouts that buzz like wee jingle belled flashbacks, all present and sparkly then, gone.

Nonetheless, home is hyggelig at this time of year.

Following prelims, my son’s deciding what to do with at least some of his future.  My head tells him to go with his heart.  His heart says he mightn’t be good enough.

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Watching someone struggle with a truth that you can’t wrestle to the ground…  it’s hard, isn’t it?  The future will have to wait a little.  For now, back to the (Christmas) present.

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Then just like that, there’s only 1 more week to go of #52and39. Read all about it here

A Woman’s Work

This year I’ve found my mojo with writing for a minimum of four days a week when the kids are at school.

I have also, touch wood, learned the art of prioritising my work above the other things I can get involved with when at home.   Thanks to affirming conversations with creative friends and Liz Gilbert’s Magic Lessons Podcasts I’ve assimilated the fact that writing is the work I must do because it’s now harder and more crazy-making to keep it in than it is to let it out.

I’ve barred kids from looking at their spyware laden websites on my laptop, lest it dies a blue screened death.  I’ve got excellent at making back ups.  I’ve got way more comfortable with the house being minging at times.  I’ve stopped feeling guilty about the dog, the garden and the invites I’m declining to make space for battering down words.  I fantasise about one day having a cleaner but no longer answer the fantasy by getting up and doing all the cleaning with all the martyrdom.

I’ve realised that just like with running, unless I put one foot in front of the other the movement will not happen and the rewards will never come.  I have at last taken my work seriously, got extremely honest about self-sabotage and made myself accountable.  It’s paying off.

A 2015 highlight has been being a finalist for the 2016 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  Having always been one for swooning about Aesthetica’s beautifully expressed production values I felt it was a creative institution that was light years away rather than within reach.  Then I wrote something that I sensed might have a shot so I sent it in as part of my ‘why not?’ philosophy.  The worse that could happen was that it got rejected and, somewhat weirdly, I’ve got kind of hooked on rejections this year, so even that didn’t seem like too bad of a prospect.

As the Goddess Brene Brown says, ‘when we lose our tolerance to be vulnerable, joy becomes foreboding’.  I keep my tolerance to vulnerability close to my heart and say I’m OK with failing these days; I’m just no longer OK with not trying.

I wrote the Aesthetica deadline in my writing diary and fully expected to be pitching the story elsewhere in hopes of publication come December.

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Then, in late November I received an email to say I was a finalist.

Then, in early December I received another (really lovely) email to say I didn’t win.

And yet……. I feel like I did.

I took a shot and it paid off.  Another potential rejection flipped to validation.  The odds of both are slowly changing.  I love stepping in and out of the process to observe it and then be part of it again.  I love that rejections make me try harder and that if I just incorporate the feedback they make me a better writer.  I love that the positive affirmations of occasional publishing  are more than enough to stoke the fire of believing that I should totally just keep going.  I love the stories that now go everywhere with me in my head; I love that they make me look and listen harder to everything because they are hungry for details, moments and colour.  I love that I feel at last like I’m working on the right stuff even if the pay is absolutely crap – because the pay off is high.

The story I’ve written in the annual is called Mathematics.  Be warned though, the title and structure are juxtaposed to the subject which is about an experience that’s horrific (and alarmingly common for women) viewed through a logical lens.  There’s no soft way of saying it – it’s about rape.  Despite the less than cheery disclaimer I believe it’s a story filled with much more light than dark and that it brings something to the table that positively informs how humans treat themselves and each other.  If you read it and it means something to you I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Aesthetica annual is, of course, completely guaranteed to be packed with excellent short fiction and poetry.  It’s also a stunning coffee table book with a comparatively tiny price tag for anyone who loves being taken on journeys with words.   You can buy it here .

52and39/50 Changed Days

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Years ago I read that the things we struggle with in other people are usually the things we most need to work on in ourselves.

I think we all have a thing or two that we do which doesn’t serve us well, is easy for others to spot and yet rarely (if ever) bleeps on our own radar.

I spend regular time trying to see what’s in my blind spot.  When my mood is balanced and objective, with energy for the exertion of the mental trip, I dare to go there.

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52and39/49 Three Times A Lady

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Triple-thinking is (to me);

  1. Thinking about something and failing to make a decision.
  2. Thinking about the something again then making a decision that’s carried out with rumbling uneasiness.
  3. Regretting the decision and thinking about how I should have done it differently.

It’s an inefficient cycle I started at a time when high stress  collided with an enforced period of time on my hands and in my brain, resulting in diluted mental acuity.

I worried too much about being wrong rather than being.  Now I get more head space for doing.

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Guest What?

Just a quick heads up to let you know I guest posted at the fabulous Zeit My Geist blog last week.  My post is about surviving Post Natal Depression and acknowledging some of the strain it puts on relationships.  More than anything though it’s about love, health and good and bad luck because, at the end of the day, aren’t most things?

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You’ll find fantastic reading on ZmG.  Affirmative writing about identity is always a winner with me.  I particularly adored Anna’s recent posts about owning arrogance as a positive, feminist quality and 10 signs you’ve reached the ‘Fuck You’ level of life.  Enjoy…..

 

52and39/48 Your People

Strangers are stranger, in someone else’s city.

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The smokey stains that gather on stonework seem darker and the chewing gum stuck to the pavement seems stickier and more defiant, in someone else’s city.

The dirt that collects in dried tide on walls, windows, bus stops and doors seems dingier.

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People seem colder, ruder, less helpful, too forward or just never quite right when they’re not your people.

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Cities are untrustworthy, frightening and to be hurried through by people who don’t love cities.

Like life, cities live up (and down) to expectations.

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