Has the New Year started well for you?

Picture by AFP

I have never once thought that blogging could be detrimental to your health, but just lately, I have come to think that it could be.

Surely not, I hear you say, and I will admit it doesn’t seem likely, not on the surface, anyway.

I was nervous when I first started writing/blogging. Could I get to grips with the technology involved? Would I be any good at it? Would anyone ever talk to me?

I had a million questions, which are all very natural when you embark on a new adventure, and although at times it has been a frustrating and difficult journey, overall I have enjoyed every single minute of it.

So what on earth am I on about?

Just lately, a strange feeling has been creeping in, insidiously, like wisps of smoke. The internet is like a mirror, reflecting everything we bloggers do.  As a good proportion of bloggers are writers, you get to see what their lives and careers are like and it can be very reassuring if they are struggling just like you, facing the same problems and difficulties, but the more successful ones are an inspiration, showing you what you can accomplish if you work hard enough.

We have been blogging for nearly eight years now, and have met some amazing people.  Helpful, considerate people, generous with their advice and friendship. You gradually become part of their world, a world where anything is possible and you can afford the luxury of dreaming.

I can hear some of you tapping your fingernails, wondering where all of this is going, so I will try to explain.

Everyone says that with patience and hard work you can achieve your goals. But I have been patient and worked as hard as I can, but no nearer to anything even remotely like my goals.

And this was my epiphany… maybe my goals are wrong?

Something must be wrong with me, for on a bad day my enthusiasm wanes. All that wonderful optimism seems to leave the building.

I have been thinking about this year and it is clear that I must come up with some resolutions that work before the men in white coats come to take me away!

Not that this year can be the same as before for so many things are different now, starting with trying to get my head around it being 2020!

Then there was my number one symbol of the New Year, Big Ben. Seeing him up to his ears in scaffolding was a little upsetting on New Years Eve…

Big Ben has always been a very special symbol in my life. I grew up in London hearing the deep resonant sound of the bell. The imposing majesty of the building is one of my most enduring memories of my time there.

London has many such landmarks and I love them all, but that tall clock tower on the river Thames embankment is by far my favourite. By rights, my favourite should be the river itself, feeling as I do about water, but no. Very close though.

‘Big Ben’ is really just a nickname for the great bell itself, inside the famous clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. Built in 1858 and 96 metres high, it is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. But the bell itself is not the biggest. St Pauls Cathedral has a slightly bigger one, weighing in at 17 tonnes.

Scarily, the tower leans slightly to the North West, apparently caused by the tunnelling for the Jubilee Line Underground train.

I came across this picture of Big Ben a few weeks ago, and I was instantly transported me back to another New Year’s Eve so many years ago.

That particular year, my friends and I had decided to celebrate the coming of the New Year in style. We would attempt some kind of pub crawl, visiting as many bars and public houses that we could manage, in spite of the volume of people all doing the same thing; ending up at the embankment for the fireworks and Big Ben’s majestic chimes.

We had such fun that night even though I knew I would not contemplate doing it again, as the number of people all seriously intent on having as much fun as possible, created more madness and chaos than I ever thought possible and a lot of the time I was scared to death.

You see all the crowds on television, but could you imagine being there?

Of course, there could have been so much more trouble than there actually was. That many people, most of them hysterical with excitement and booze could have deteriorated into a riot. But it never seems to. No matter how squashed, drunk or freezing cold you happened to be, there is some kind of reverence going on, as if it would be a sin to ruin that night in any way.

Our journey around London that night was exciting, but I was glad when we found ourselves by the river just before midnight. We had left most of the throng behind and it was almost eerily quiet by the water. The fireworks were further up river and we seemed to have Big Ben all to ourselves.

It was very cold that night, but at least it wasn’t raining. I was one of the few people in our group that didn’t have a partner, something I knew I wanted to change in the New Year. I had no idea of the direction my life would be taking, no plans and not many dreams either, for I had already learned that dreaming was futile.

So that evening ended on quite a solemn note, and as the hands of the clock above us moved closer to the 12, the tears were not far away.

I had never been that close to Big Ben before and was not prepared for how loud the chimes would be. First came the melody and the vibrations seemed to travel up my legs until my whole body seemed to be humming. When the big bell started to chime the hour, the vibrations became longer and deeper and it felt as though my heart would break.

More than fifty years later, the sound of that bell has the same effect, instantly transforming me back to that lonely young woman who had already taught herself not to believe in dreams.

I obviously knew a thing or two back then, for my life has not been full of the stuff that dreams are made of, rather the opposite. But I am still here, not quite ready to give up. So is Big Ben, although undergoing major refurbishment along with the Houses of Parliament. Seeing all that scaffolding around the tower was worrying. If anything went wrong, we could lose Big Ben forever…

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

 

 

A Conversation…

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Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

A Conversation

 

I knew I had to say something.

I had been avoiding this conversation for a while now, but now was as good a time as any.

“Could you stop for a minute and listen to me?”

A silence descended in the room and I knew a pit of doom had just slid open somewhere. I decided to plough on and get it all off my chest.

“I need to know what your plans are. Do you actually have any, or are you planning on wandering through life until something interesting turns up?”

Nothing.

Had I picked the wrong moment after all, or was I being ignored?

While I waited for some kind of response, I started thinking of different ways to force the issue. Maybe it was time I stopped working, give up the constant battle to create something worthwhile on my own.

Retire?

That idea was certainly appealing.

The silence was making my headache, the feeling of knowing I was on my own in this was depressing to say the least. I could feel myself getting angry. Angry enough to say something I would probably regret later.

I searched my frustrated brain for something, anything that might provoke an answer. I wanted to hurt or threaten to hurt but been there before and it never worked.

I knew I wouldn’t be spoken to until it was deemed necessary.

I was on my own, as always.

If I received an answer now, it would mean nothing, and I wouldn’t care one way or another…

 

©JayeMarie 2020

 

It’s lonely out here in the inter-ether…Talk to me people!

 

My Head… #Poetry

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Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

My Head

I hear you whispering

Inside my head

As if you think I’m dead

Have I lost all sense of reality?

Did the bell toll for me

Am I taken to a new realm?

If I could turn up the sound of your voice

Would you tell me

I died while sleeping and

The bell did toll loud and clear for me…

©anitadawes 2020

Is There an Elephant in Your Room?

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Image by Dmitry Abramov from Pixabay 

 

The New Year has begun and already I’m running late!

Week two and I haven’t written my first journal entry yet.

Actually, I haven’t done much of anything this year and I hope this isn’t an indication of the rest of the new year, but I have the feeling it might be. The elephant in my office is rather small, but his presence is disturbing.

Probably time to remove the constriction of the week numbers, so I can just write when the muse dictates, no regular Journal.

A lot of writers/bloggers have been waxing lyrical about all their plans for2020, but the more I read, the more I realise I cannot be like that anymore.

Something has been changing inside my head and it is time to sort out the rather sweet animal that lurks in the corner of my office!

Towards the end of 2019, I was getting more and more depressed about my stress levels and the lack of activity in my brain. Wondering if I really was getting too old for all this blogging/writing malarkey. So much so, I was beginning to wonder if it was even possible to be a blogger and a writer, or does one always suffer from the competition of the other?

Maybe it should be more about quality, not quantity, shouldn’t it?

This sounds hopeful but exactly what does it mean and how can I apply it to my already complicated life?

The little grey elephant is shaking his head, so no help there…

A lot of people have been looking at their stats, so I staggered over to WP and looked at ours, looking for inspiration or confirmation I suppose.

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Our progress since we began blogging has been slow and steady. Pretty impressive for an ageing technophobe, I thought. But maybe not exactly reassuring now that my brain is seriously out to lunch these days.

There is a lot we want to do this year, that’s if I can find out where my get up and go is hiding!  I refuse to believe that this could be the year that the elephant wins, even if he is only a little one…

 

Jobs Outstanding:

 

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Finish editing Anita’s brilliant new book, Running Moon…

 

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Finish creating the book of Anita’s poetry

 

 

 

 

 

And possibly start to write the new story that my character DI Snow has been nagging me about!

And finally, introduce more automation to our website, to give the elephant a few days off…

 

©Jaye Marie 2020

I’d love to hear from you, so leave me some comments?

 

Mother and Daughter…

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Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

 

‘You’re late, where have you been?’

‘Out…’

‘You’re twelve, I asked you to be in by nine…’

‘I know…’

‘I’m your mother…’

‘I know that too…’

‘So where have you been?’

‘Just out, mum…’

‘Is there some strange universe out there that you can’t speak about?’

‘No, mum. I’m just having fun. Why must I tell you everything?’

‘I need to know you’re safe…’

‘I am, mum. There’s nothing sinister going on. We just play music on the jukebox and I don’t want to be the first one to say I have to go home now. We like to walk home together, laughing about the boys.’

I hadn’t meant to say that last bit. Mum went quiet for a while. I guess she must be thinking about the boy thing I let slip out.

‘If I let you stay out until ten, I don’t expect you to take time and stretch it. No excuses, no being late, no telling me your watch stopped.’

Trying not to show my excitement, I said, Yes mum. Wondering why she had been so generous…

 

©anitadawes

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 52 ~ End of an Era!

Jaye's Journal x12

 

All Change…

 

In the last few months, after what seemed like a lifetime of inertia, the world has begun to change and not just because of Christmas and the approaching new year and century. Our world seems to be changing both politically and socially.

I think we have been doing some changing too, and not entirely for the best. We seem far more tired than I can ever remember being, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with our ages.

At this time of year, we are usually talking about the new year and what we might expect or plan to do with it, but honestly, for once we cannot be asked.

Since we began blogging in 2012, our followers and stats have grown rather well considering how much there was to learn. However, I have the feeling we won’t progress any further until we find new areas and ideas to develop. We also need to figure out what else we need to know, for although we have done well in some areas, we haven’t sold a huge amount of books, and worse than that, the writing has ground to a halt.

Maybe our goal for 2020 should be to stop worrying, slow down a bit and smell the roses?

I usually feel sad on New Year’s Eve, but I have a feeling I won’t this year, for it has been a right old mixed bag of pain, frustration and depression, with hardly any good bits!

I normally open all the doors when Big Ben chimes at midnight, to allow the old year to limp away. Tonight I will be sorely tempted to help it on its way with my foot!

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Come on in 2020 and show us all a little more peace and joy, pretty please?

 

 

 

#Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 50

Jaye's Journal x12

 

I suppose it was inevitable that an element of Charles Dickens a Christmas Carol should have descended on our house. Anita is very fond of this story and always watches at least one version of it at this time of year, but I have a feeling it has something to do with it being a new century and not just a New Year that is due to start in approx. 19 days’ time.

I am always a little apprehensive at this time of year, wondering what Fate has in store for us all, and at the same time trying to imagine new ways to make it better than this one.

A new century is rather special and needs to be planned with a bit more care than usual, I think. We have been blogging now for nearly 7 years and we have made some amazing progress and friends in that time, but so far, the sale of our books hasn’t exactly improved our lifestyle.

We would love to increase the number of our subscribers /friends, write more books and actually sell some of them.

Although I am very proud of all I have learned, I know there is so much more I need to know out there. Already, the to-do list is growing, headed by getting rid of that dreadful subscription pop up and replacing it with a better sign up form, coupled with finding new ways to connect with more readers.

Our newsletters need improving, and our presence on some media sites could be better too.

And I also need to find the time to start enjoying my long-abandoned hobby of craftwork again, and if I can, I think this would make 2020 a special time for me…

 

What do you want to do differently in 2020?

 

We would love to hear from you…

 

Jaye’s Question…

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

 

This morning Jaye asked me how I come up with the words and poems for some of the prompts we do, as she is convinced she couldn’t do this quite as well herself. I dispute this.

I am not good with questions, they normally have me running for the hills.

That inner part of me belongs to me, I don’t like to spill it.

One of my many muses prompted an answer.

First, I think of something.

It could be a word overheard on tv, something I have read, the words of a song.

Whatever it is, one of my muses will jump in, I assume because they liked the thoughts in my head at the time. Then we work hand in hand.

I know the difference when I try to write without one of them. It’s mostly rubbish.

Thank God for outside help, or I would be very bored.

It’s as simple as that…

©anitadawes

Jaye’s Journal ~ Week 48

Jaye's Journal x12

 

 

I may not like growing old, and I really don’t, but I have discovered something far worse.

The worst thing of all is watching everyone else grow old too.

And this isn’t restricted to the people you love, your family and friends, but animals too.

I noticed the tell-tale signs a while ago, but it didn’t ring any alarm bells then. Now it has. All those niggly aches and pains caused by overdoing things have now begun to look more sinister.

Somewhere along the line during our lives, I think we get complacent, confident that we can go on forever, that somehow we are indestructible. In my own case, this is mainly due to all the things I have managed to survive and walk away from. So it came as a bit of a shock to realise that this may not continue to happen after all. That one day I might not wake up in the morning.

This is where the fear begins, as you watch the people you love struggle with ordinary everyday activities and see the pain they try so hard to hide. You can’t help it, but you start to wonder who will go first, and selfishly pray it isn’t you.

One of the worst things I see every day is the difference in our magnificent Merlin, our rather large, black and white cat. Always so strong and fit, suddenly he cannot jump up on his favourite chair and seems to be walking slower these days. He is talking far more these days too, and appealing to us with wide, imploring eyes. I wonder if he worries about the future too.

Living each day as it comes, and refusing to think about tomorrow, seems to be the best way. Make each day the best it can possibly be, rather than living every day as if it will be your last, as that gives out entirely the wrong attitude, I think.

None of us knows what will happen tomorrow, but we can only hope there are more days left than we think!