I read thirteen books this year. I’m happy about re-establishing reading after years of total drought. Some say it takes twenty-one days to form a habit. It’s taken me nearer twenty one months. At first my concentration was so poor I had to read every paragraph repeatedly, forcing myself to put down my phone for twenty minutes at a time. Then, slowly, I began relishing phone dumping; books morphing into pacifier and portal; a way to slow down time and accelerate perspectives.
How long does it take you to make a change?
More about the malarky that is #52and40 here.
If you like my soapbox moments or share my passions, grab a coffee or a gin and get comfy as you’ve happened upon my read me here update and it’d be great to have your comments along the way.
Firstly, I’ve written as a guest blogger on The History Girls Frae Scotland recently. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love The History Girls Frae Scotland site for all its content, best described by themselves as ‘History, Heritage and Hilarity’, it’s a total delight. The post I’ve written for them is about why, pushed by modern and historical politics, I came to create the website and online community I run called The Grantidote.
The Grantidote is a collection of real women’s stories from people’s knowledge of grandmothers and other women who impacted their lives. The Grantidote’s purpose is to create an intervention to a male-centric society in which toxic masculinity’s been normalised. This may sound like heavy work but the reality’s different – it’s a pleasure and change never felt so accessible to me than through this simple but profound portal. If you think you’ve a story about a woman to tell with me for this important archive, regardless of your gender, please get in touch. Contributions can be little or large and I’m interested in getting graphic storytelling and spoken word included too. Basically, the door’s wide open and the mood’s uber welcoming. Dive in!
Second up, I was recently interviewed by Jane Woods for Changing People. Changing People works with businesses and individuals to address gender imbalances in workplaces. As someone who doesn’t have a career, this chat was terrifying and affirming and had me thinking so much about the discomfort and inadequacy I’ve felt over the years about the informality of my work. My insecurities here are informed by quite extreme anxiety about money and security dating back to my teens, compounded by adult experiences with post-natal depression. It was therapeutic to be able to step back from anxiety about my identity and see a bigger story I’m tentatively proud to call my own.
Third and last (and really joyfully) I’ve been doing a wee bit of novel writing and nurturing short stories and poems for competitions. Words, words, everywhere…
I’ve been waking for weeks feeling badly misaligned. We had builders in, next door have builders in, two houses adjacent had builders in. With all the banging, shouting and stress there’s been little chance for creativity; each time I transported to inner space interruptions brought me clattering back. In parallel, feeling predated a notch too far when I moved around in workout clothes for running and yoga, I switched to just walking.
Muted, twice over, my connections to peace.
‘Sad’, as the predator in chief himself would say.
Fuck that. Comeback time.
Read all about #52and40 here.
I’ve been working on a new project called The Grantidote. Last week it took me west, to where I come from.
The Grantidote’s centering women, pausing to understand how a woman’s wholeness is made up of fragments big and small, some chosen, others delivered by circumstance.
The Grantidote’s about acknowledging the marks women leave on our world. I believe by fully registering women’s impact we begin to rectify an error that’s made how we organise, experience and understand humanity feel ill-fitting and wrong.
Toxic masculinity needn’t control the whole narrative, after all.
Hop on my hashtags too, won’t you? #52and40, Instagram and #TheGrantidote