#Jaye’s Journal: January Week Two

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The New Year and the new month were slipping past me at an alarming rate, as I suffered the throes of one of the worst colds flu I can remember having and I was becoming more and more depressed.

I wasn’t doing anything, couldn’t think straight and I suddenly realised just how close to despair I was getting.

I was having small moments of pull yourself together girl and quite a few just have a look at the WIP… but nothing was working. Two weeks of solid inactivity, but it felt like an eternity.

Every now and then, I would have a day when I seemed better and the head would clear, only to be extinguished when the paracetamol wore off, leaving me a pathetic sniveling heap again. It wasn’t just the aching joints, headache and streaming nose, it had affected my eyesight too and I really didn’t need that to deteriorate too. The cataracts were doing a grand job of that!

I have been trying to keep on top of the emails and other small jobs, but anything else didn’t bear thinking about.

But that was the thing, I had been doing a lot of thinking. Not enough, obviously, to get me doing anything creative but at least the grey matter was trying to function. My WIP was beginning to haunt me. I knew it was a mess, with different piles of pages depending on what I was researching at the time and somehow never tidied up. Before I could move in any direction, I would have to sort through the entire 60.000 words and put them in working order.

And this morning, that was what I did. The germs have retreated enough to allow a little get up and go to creep back into my life, and I now have a working copy of my manuscript.

Yay!

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#Jaye’s Journal; January 2019

 

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As I am still battling germs and feel like a wreck, I will not be running out our resolutions just yet. Although I am struggling to do the daily necessities, never mind anything more adventurous, my eyes keep drifting to that corner of my desk where my WIP lives and I feel really guilty. I shouldn’t before you all say so because it was hardly my fault that last year was a bit like wading through manure. I was being polite there, did you notice?

I tried, but it was a no-go zone from start to finish. They say not to blame yourself when life gets in the way, but it’s hard not to when you are usually better at dodging the bullets and fielding trouble away. I think the only productive thing I did all year was write nearly 60.000 words of PayBack, my WIP.

Anita has been doing well with her poetry, and recently won Poet of the Week with her Double Nonet poem “Broken Ground” for Colleen’s Poetry CHALLENGE

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Some of our trying must have registered somewhere, as the stats on our blog show a remarkable improvement. I don’t understand how or why, which is a shame, for we could do more of whatever it was.

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My brain is on notice to pull itself together and to prepare for battle, as this year is going to be special and I already have a list of possibilities that I want to explore, learn and implement.

Smashwords, Amazon or D2Digital?

Years ago, we had all of our books on Smashwords. We had to opt out of Amazon’s exclusivity to do it, but at the time, we thought having all of our eggs in one basket was a little silly.

Actually managing to put our books on Smashwords was an art in itself and almost impossible, or at least it was for me but I was a newbie back then and didn’t know my arse from my elbow!

Just lately, I have noticed that Smashwords has been promoting themselves quite a lot, probably because Amazon is reported to be losing popularity.

I started wondering if we should go back there. After all, because we are also on D2Digital now, we have already lost the advantage Amazon offers.

I would love to know how many authors are starting to spread their nets further afield, and what they think about it.

 

#Wordle 382 #Poetry

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  Prince Charming

I am always looking for that lucky charm

That hits you like a lover’s kiss

Blue lightning that fills the air with magic.

That special touch that lets you know

 That everything is all right.

Life will not spin out of control

Let the wind howl, I have a

Hundred reasons to be happy.

Learn to play, something I miss.

Take a train, find a new adventure

Make a plan for my future

Wind in my neck, stop looking at the dark side of life

Forget that one who left me on Christmas Eve

Find a new lovers kiss

Maybe this time I will find Prince Charming…

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Memories…

 

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Painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

 

 

 

Memories are funny things, aren’t they? The way certain things suddenly pop into your head, and you think – hey, I know about that, and you remember.
I wonder what makes some memories surface and not others? You could say it’s down to something you have just heard or seen, but I know that’s not always the case.

Just lately I have been remembering a specific time in my childhood, and never realised before how that time must have influenced me. Or was it that threshold of childhood, the time you really start to think and question things? To imagine a future for yourself, that you won’t always be just idling along, not really caring if it snowed, depending on others to organise your life.

This particular time was when I lived in Kent, in a small village called Birchington, a few miles from Margate.. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and up to that point I didn’t really think about anything much. So much had happened to me that I had got into the habit of not questioning anything. Not much point really, as I knew I couldn’t change anything.

I was with foster parents by then with several other children, all from broken families; and surprisingly it was the first time I felt relaxed enough to appreciate the peace and quiet of the countryside, not to mention the freedom from all my mother’s problems.

Every Sunday we all went to church, and right outside the church door was a very impressive grave stone. It was made of a beautiful piece of marble and I thought the writing on it was very ornate and posh. I looked at it every Sunday for a while, when it suddenly struck me that this had to be someone quite important. But why was he buried here in this tiny village?

The name on the stone was Dante Gabriel Rossetti  (12may 1828-9april 1882) and I remember being very impressed by the sound of it, resolving to find out more about him. I was about the right age for romantic flights of fancy and the more I discovered about this tortured man and the life he lived, the more intrigued I became. He was a poet and a painter and some would say that he wasn’t very successful, but history will always remember him as a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

I learnt about Rossetti and how he had ended up a recluse in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea after a nervous breakdown, finally retreating to Birchington for rehabilitation only to die less than a year later. Perhaps he should have spent more time in Kent, for it was making me feel better!  I secretly sympathised with the mess he had made of his life, determined that my life would be better than it had started out to be. I just needed to be old enough to set the wheels in motion.

So you see, I tend to think he was my friend back then, right when I really needed one, guiding me to where I am today…

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti (wasn’t he cute?)

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born 12 May 1828 in London, the second child and eldest son of Italian expatriates. His father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a Dante scholar, who had been exiled from Naples for writing poetry in support of the Neapolitan Constitution of 1819. Rossetti’s mother had trained as a governess and supervised her children’s early education. Few Victorian families were as gifted as the Rossettis: the oldest child, Maria Rossetti, published A Shadow of Dante (1871) and became an Anglican nun; William Michael Rossetti was along with his brother an active member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and became an editor, man of letters, and memoirist; the youngest, Christina Georgina Rossetti, became an important and influential lyric poet.

As a child Dante Gabriel Rossetti intended to be a painter and illustrated literary subjects in his earliest drawings. He was tutored at home in German and read the Bible, Shakespeare, Goethe’s Faust, The Arabian Nights, Dickens, and the poetry of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron. After leaving school, he apprenticed himself to the historical painter Ford Madox Brown, who later became his closest lifelong friend. He also continued his extensive reading of poetry—Poe, Shelley, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Browning, and Tennyson—and began in 1845 translations from Italian and German medieval poetry. In 1847 and 1848 Rossetti began several important early poems—”My Sister’s Sleep,” “The Blessed Damozel,” “The Bride’s Prelude,” “On Mary’s Portrait,” “Ave,” “Jenny,” “Dante at Verona,” “A Last Confession,” and several sonnets, a form in which he eventually became expert. 

Rossetti divided his attention between painting and poetry for the rest of his life. In 1848 he founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with six other young men, mostly painters, who shared an interest in contemporary poetry and an opposition to certain stale conventions of contemporary academy art. In a general way, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood sought to introduce new forms of thematic seriousness, high coloration, and attention to detail into contemporary British art. Members of the group included John Everett Millais, its most skilled painter and future president of the Royal Academy, and William Holman Hunt, Thomas Woolner; Frederic Stephens; and William Michael Rossetti, who as P.R.B. secretary kept a journal of activities and edited the six issues of its periodical, the Germ (1850). Associates of the group included the older painter Ford Madox Brown, the painter and poet William Bell Scott, the poet Coventry Patmore, and Christina Rossetti, six of whose poems appeared in the Germ.

Monday Woes…

 

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Has anyone seen my enthusiasm?

I started the week full of good intentions. It was a new week – new mood – new energy.
There was none of that – ‘It’s a beautiful day, watch someone ruin it.’

But someone did.

BT did. I think someone had tried to mess with my e-mail account over the weekend and I had promptly been frozen out.  To make matters worse, I had temporarily forgotten the answer to my security question, so couldn’t change the blessed password either.

Thoroughly frustrated, I finally managed to speak to someone in an Indian call centre who said she would e-mail me a new password.  Words cannot sufficiently explain what happened to my temper after trying several times to get her to see why this would not work, and I was passed on to someone else. This young woman was so helpful and immediately understood my problem, that my temper had no choice but to high-tail it out of the back door!

So, not a good start, you might say. But this was only Monday, surely the week could only get better?

I should be thinking about what I want to do next. Anita has a book almost ready for proofing, and my latest crime mystery is nearly finished, but something doesn’t feel right. I ought to be re-editing some of our earlier work, as some of the covers need replacing and the descriptions are just not good enough. The trouble is, I’m a bit short of enthusiasm at the moment, my ‘get up and go’ has done a runner!

Christmas is literally just around the corner and the newsletter I wanted to write is still just a vague idea floating around somewhere. What I cannot understand is why some days are good and optimistic, and then you get that other kind. The ‘what the hell do you think you are doing’ days. Closely followed by (give it up, you know you are too old to bother with it) ones.

I am basing my understanding of this writing business on what I have observed with my sister Anita. She has six good books to her credit and just seems to get on with it (and enjoys the process!) She does have bad days of course, but they never seem to be writing related.
I know we are all different, and that is how it should be, it’s just not very helpful.

I think it is my age that seems to be the problem. I forget far more than I remember and find myself wondering where all the time has gone and know that I have wasted most of it. Why didn’t I want to do this when my brain was younger?
Don’t get me wrong, on a good day I quite like my brain and how it works. It’s just that my good days are getting pretty thin on the ground these days. Today, for example, I’m not even sure I have a brain!

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Second Tries, or how to make the right decisions?

 

 

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My brain must be like swiss cheese these days, soft, spongy and full of holes. I am getting really fed up with trying to think and decide what to do, or even knowing if the final decision is the right one. As they say, if I had half a brain, I would be dangerous!
I can’t decide (or remember) if I have always been like this, or if this state of affairs is yet another symptom of my advancing years.

Time is becoming problematic, far too much of it is spent second-guessing. Wouldn’t life be more efficient if all deliberation could be removed? Easier to pick a winkle out of its shell with a pin, I hear you say. But I am heartily sick of wondering which item to buy, which programme to watch, whether to cut my hair, the list is endless.

Added to my inability to choose anything, is the sure and certain knowledge that whichever one I pick, it will be the wrong one. Always is. I never get anything right on the first try.

Could life be more like plotting a book?
I know many writers don’t believe in plotting. They believe their characters will do most of the hard work for them, and I have experienced this first hand too. But other writers firmly believe in careful plotting, even a story board.

All my life, I have been a ‘winger’, hurtling from one idea to the next. Sometimes getting it right, but more often not. Advancing age has changed all that. I no longer have the time for hit and miss. Decisions I make now, have to be right, although how this will happen, remains to be seen.

Now, I am still virtually new to this writing business, and with the idea of getting it right first time (could be a novelty in itself!) I tried plotting. With a lot of practice, I’m getting better. So much so, that my latest WIP has been thoroughly plotted, storyboard and everything. But this is not something you could really do with your life. Too many decisions, and so many ways of dealing with them.

In addition, other people tend to make your life awkward, sometimes it seems, just to be bloody minded.

Could it be as simple as throwing a dice?

 

Then I remembered something. (It does still happen sometimes!) I once read about a man who always made every decision with the turn of a dice, and apparently, his life was glorious. Maybe it was worth a try, as my way was getting me nowhere.

On second thoughts, that sounds worse than ‘winging it’.

But if I were younger…

They say there are ‘two sides to every story’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’, but what if neither of these things is true? What if it is as simple as right or wrong?
Could it be that when life gets too difficult, we are simply trying to force wrong into being right?

Should we blindly follow our instincts?

 

Recently, I have been thinking back through my life and all the different choices that I had to make. To that small, persistent voice that nags you, insisting you do this or that. How many times had I ignored it, thinking my own choice was better, usually for all manner of reasons? Would my life have been better if I had obeyed that still, small voice? If I had not always chosen the path of least resistance, the path that always looked inevitable. Maybe the choice that looked the hardest, the most impossible, would have turned out better than what actually happened?

Maybe then, I wouldn’t have so many things to be sorry for, so many people I should apologise to.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation and I get another chance to live a better life, I hope I remember some of the things I have done wrong, all of the people I have hurt, and do it better next time…

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A Little Trumpet Blowing!

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I just have to blow Anita’s trumpet this morning, as just found out she made Poet of the Week over on Coleen’s Poetry Challenge Blog.

https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/12/10/colleens-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-recap-no-113th/

 

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From Colleen…

“…Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week, who has shared an exceptional message, or shown an impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception, so don’t be shocked if you don’t feel the same way about a poem that I do.

Once again, you’ve all made it very difficult for me to pick a single poem. I’m so pleased with the turn out for this challenge. Your poems are getting better and better. This week, I’ve chosen two special poems.

First up, is Anita Dawes, from Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie’s blog. I was taken with this double Nonet poem because of its old-world tone. Anita skillfully weaves a tale of disaster that grabs you and holds you until the suspenseful end…”