Being without a main pc for the last few days, has found me doing things a little differently. I thought ot would be a miserable time, frustration and annoyance dominating everything.
Life with an unaccustomed laptop is certaily slower, giving me plenty of time to think as I am forced to wait for even the simplest jobs. So I have been doing a lot of really deep thinking.
I have come to realise that my life has been slowly changing into something I no longer recognise these last few months. Where once I was a writer/blogger who somehow managed t fit in everything else, I have changed into a carer, someone who tries to do other things. Sometimes I manage it, but more often, I don’t.
I have no problem with any of this, it is what it is, after all, but being a carer is a very responsible job and not easy in todays uncertain times. I pray that I will not need to call the doctor, of have to take Anita back to the hospital. She is determined to stay well enough to avoid this, but sometimes a little reassurance from a doctor would be good.
The second hand pc arrives later today, and I sincerely hope installing it is as painless as the last one. Everything transferred as if by magic, so I have my fingers crossed!
The past seven days have been one hell of a week. So many good moments, but the elephant in the room hasn’t gone far away.
Our marketing/business plan is finally taking shape. We feel optimistic about the future for the first time in years.
I have been signed off as cancer-free from the hospital. The last five years have seemed like an awfully long time.
I had to have a tooth removed, something I dreaded, for the last one had to be chopped out in four pieces! The new dentist turned out to be a genius, it was all over in five minutes!
The re-edit of SPB is going well, with a lot of help from the paid version of Grammarly. Amazing job!
We found out that our local garden centre is open, so we had to go. On one of the coldest days too, so not a good move…
AND TWO STEPS BACK…
It might be a long time before we are ready to start any serious marketing. There seems to be so much to do first!
I don’t feel so confident now I am supposed to be cancer-free. Supposing it’s just waiting to make a comeback?
Turns out that the new dentist has feet of clay after all. He managed to badly mangle my bottom lip, something I knew nothing about until the anaesthetic wore off. It is very sore and is stopping me from enjoying anything!
Right in the middle of editing, an error message turned up, halting the proceedings. Microsoft Office was apparently broken. I had to google the problem and then perform a repair. You couldn’t make it up, could you?
This one is not really a step back, but I did pick up some lovely seeds, some I have been meaning to grow for some time…
I awoke one morning a few days ago, to find the world outside my window had turned white, but it wasn’t the snow we had been promised. A thick frost lay over everything and a mist crawled slowly along the ground like a predatory animal. A perfect picture postcard.
I was up early and had the house to myself. I was feeling so much better this week, so I sat down at my desk to write. That was when I discovered that this part of my brain was refusing to function, and was as cold and empty as the scene outside my window…
We did finally get some snow.
I say some rather scathingly because although the signs were promising and the initial snowfall encouraging, it fizzled out and stopped far too soon, leaving meagre patches here and there.
The temperature fell to bone-chilling depths, increasing my daily trips down the garden to make sure our feathered visitors had enough to eat.
It was after one of these trips, as I sat at my window and watched these lively little creatures happy to feast on the seeds and fat balls hanging from my favourite tree, that I began to think about their lives. They were so incredibly small and delicate; how do they keep warm all night in the bitter cold?
Where do they sleep?
I felt the cold, in the safety of my home. Even with extra layers and thick warm socks. My mind was full of images of all those small, huddled scraps of feathers, spending each night roosting in a hedge while the temperature fell to the floor.
Worrying about them all was beginning to keep me awake at night, fearing the worst. However, the next morning, the same jolly crew appeared, unaffected by having survived one of the coldest nights for years.
They are just like us, each with a tiny heart and blood. Flesh and bone covered with an inadequate supply of feathers. We wouldn’t survive out there, so what supernatural force keeps them safe in conditions that would kill you or me?
This is the post I wrote when I finished writing Silent PayBack, my fourth novel.
I still remember wondering what the world would make of it, but so pleased it did reasonably well. Well, I thought so anyway.
So I have not been pleased with my progress of late, thanks no doubt to the on-going abomination and various other problems.
Are there days when you cannot cope with your chosen occupation?
I have had many jobs in my time and hated quite a few of them, but never thought I would ever feel less than love for writing.
Lately, I have been having days when things seem to be slipping, a digital carrying-on that can plague anyone who switches on a computer.
This week, I had more than one day like this. A fatal mixture of an old and feeble person trying to use an equally old and feeble computer.
The overall tone of the week surprised me, seeing as I had just typed those magic words at the end of Silent PayBack, my WIP, I should be happy or at least relieved, or optimistic reaching the end of what has turned out to be a fascinating if complicated story.
Secretly though, I knew why I wasn’t jumping around like an idiot. I am an idiot (most of the time), but that wasn’t the reason.
I was secretly terrified that, having written this unusual and complicated story, that I wasn’t competent enough to present it in the best possible light.
This is a story that I didn’t know much about initially, or how to write it. It has been one hell of a learning curve. The research alone took almost as long as writing it.
so here I am again, trying to create the impossible. (at least that’s what it feels like!)
I now have the actual storyboard on the wall in front of me, but the plot, characters and possible outcome are all still inside my head. Will any of it ever transfer to the pc screen?
When the world fails you, we just grit our teeth and get on with it.
But when your body starts to fail you, and your teeth are long past being able to chew, let alone grit anything, you know you have just stepped on to that slippery slope.
Very slowly…over the years, various bits of us have stopped performing as we would want them to, but we manage to find ways to get around each problem.
Those handy little rubber mats for opening stubborn bottles and jars. Kneeling pads and handrails, stronger reading glasses and tablets for the arthritis. Little tricks that fool us into thinking we are as good as we ever were.
Secretly though, we know our shortcomings only too well. We just wish the list would stop getting any longer.
This has been brought home to me quite strongly, as I help Anita to regain some of her usual abilities after being fitted with an ICD. Implantable cardio verter – defibrillator. A small battery-operated device to monitor the heart.
All the reports about this procedure said that after the initial six weeks, Anita would be blessed with a new lease of life, stronger and more able to cope with life in general.
So far, we have yet to see much improvement.
Her damaged heart seems to be behaving, thanks to a strict and intensive drug regime, although this is tough going for someone who is rarely ill and never takes as much as an aspirin!
Breathlessness is still a big problem, leaving her weak (and bad tempered) and the site of the implant is still painfully uncomfortable, but as yet, only mild sensations from the device have been experienced.
Between the two of us and help from our family, our life rolls on much as it always has, but for the ever-present shadow of the elephant in the room…
I spotted this hashtag this morning, on my travels around the blogosphere.
And it made me think of all the works in progress that I have now.
Unless I am working on one, I try not to think of the others too much as it can get a little depressing, but they are always there, lurking in the background.
The main WIP is the new story I have been trying to outline for what seems like forever. This involves an old character, so I know him like the back of my hand. The antagonist, however, is new and I’m having the devil’s own job getting to grips with him, for I think the antagonist is just as important a character as the hero and needs to be written well. So far, he is Mr Nobody!
Having caught up with the housework last week, the garden must be the second WIP. So overgrown, I get rather overwhelmed when I look at it, especially when an old tree fell over out there last week, but determined to get to grips with it, even if it takes a while. That’s if it ever stops raining!
Which brings me to what I think is the last WIP. The project I started as a way of relaxing, but which so far has had the opposite effect. Browsing through Pinterest, I saw this amazing stained-glass crochet pattern, and the challenge to master it was born. I love to crochet, but some of the more complicated stitches are usually a bridge too far for my aging brain, but when has that ever stopped me?
Overtaking and more important than any of the above, is caring for Anita.
( she wouldn’t like to be regarded as a work in progress, so this is just between us) I am consumed with the complicated business of getting her back on her feet. It has been a week since the pacemaker thingy was installed and the wound is healing well, but she is still weak, lightheaded, and very breathless. I think at least one of her medications is not agreeing with her, but which one? The nurse will be here this morning, so we will see what she thinks…
I didn’t care that it was raining, or that the wind was so strong it nearly blew me off my feet. I had finally made it to my favourite healing place and that was all that mattered.
I had wanted to come to the island today, to defy the weather and stand on the path overlooking the sea. To climb over the old wooden breakwater and cross the shingle beach and stand at the water’s edge like I always did.
The last time I was here seemed like a lifetime ago now. So much has happened since then, so much misery and heartache, worry and sadness and not much better now if the truth be told.
This was what today’s visit was all about. Time to find some of the peace I always found by the sea, to help make sense of the turmoil in my heart and head. I watched the waves form out to sea, the white horses riding the waves as they galloped to the shore. They crashed down in a roar as the water met the shingle, and I felt myself relax for the first time in weeks.
I watched each wave reach further up the beach before it became swallowed by the one coming up behind. The sight and sound enthralled me as it always had, soothing my soul into acceptance. I tried to ignore the wind that was numbing my face and the rest of the pain, disappointment and anger slowly faded away and the tears began to fall, as salty as the sea I loved so much…
The Next day…
The following day we were invited on a trip. This time to Southsea on the south coast, just twenty miles away.
After the battering I received yesterday, I wasn’t keen to go out again, but the sun was shining and the only clouds in the sky were soft, fluffy, snow-white creations, promising a lovely day.
On the way, the view of these clouds through the car windows was mesmerising. Against the clear crystal blue of the sky, the clouds seemed to glow, and the formations were amazing.
The day couldn’t have been more different to the freezing gale lashing of yesterday.
While we ate our lunch outside in the fresh air, we were visited by a crowd of starlings. Such beautiful birds with their iridescent plumage and intelligent chatter. They waited patiently for any morsels we felt like offering and made excellent luncheon companions.
When this huge seagull landed among them, we watched to see what the starlings would do but they simply ignored him, and he soon flew away.
After lunch, we were lucky enough to witness the departure of Southsea’s Hovercraft, a huge noisy beast of a machine and we were all sprayed with seawater as it fired up and took off.
I watched it travel across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight, leaving a trail of froth in its wake, gleaming in the sunshine.
This was a short visit, but we all agreed it had been well worth it. It had been a lovely few hours, where we laughed together and enjoyed one another’s company for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime…
Every now and then, we get a wake-up call, a wonderful moment when a magic light bulb illuminates an area in our brain. This usually heralds a brilliant idea, something groundbreaking or so incredibly sensible, you wonder why it took so long to surface.
Then there are the other kind. The ones accompanied by that awful stomach churning, as you realise how stupid you are or have been.
Today, I had one of these, and it has done absolutely nothing good to my self-confidence. I was rechecking the enormous pile of helpful notes (I use this term advisedly) when the realisation hit me between the eyes.
We make all these lists of things to do, things to remember or try. Then we get a sense of achievement when we actually cross something off. Today, it was brought home to me, just how stupid that is.
I had been watching a trailer someone had made using a company called Animoto. That name rang a bell, but the memory didn’t follow on. Had I already checked them out? And if I did, what did I find?
Those of you with fantastic memories will not need the advice I am about to share, but I suspect quite a few of you, like me, will find it useful.
When we read something that needs checking out, we should have a place to record our findings. Either a page in a notebook or an index card in our follow up box. Write a simple assessment, was it good/rubbish/too expensive/unsuitable…and if you logged on to the site, record the URL and your password.
I have no idea why this has never occurred to me before, as I seem to spend my life revisiting sites, only to realise I had been there before. It will be so helpful to be able to see at a glance all the info.
All the indications are pointing towards a much better week for all of us, a little more freedom in the world and less problems for us to deal with, so feeling extremely optimistic.
Last week I really found myself rolling with the punches so often I lost track of everything. The truckload of family troubles had gathered momentum and what with worrying about Anita’s health, a large part of me wanted to just crawl into a dark cupboard and stay there.
The weekend was a game changer for most of our troubles. Fate obviously decided to play fair for once and with a bit of wangling, most of the bigger problems have faded away like a bad smell.
No news from the hospital yet about the MRI, but Anita seems to get a little stronger each day. She is really fed up with all the restrictions (and me being on her case!) I must be really careful not to overdo the nagging as she is a bit like a dodgy stick of dynamite! I mean, how do you stop someone worrying, when they were obviously born to worry?
The book tour for Anita’s new book, Annie’s Song began on Saturday. We will be posting all the websites involved every day to allow people to comment. This is the first time we have enlisted the help of Silver Dagger Tours, which has turned out to be more than lucky, for one way or another we didn’t get to do much promoting of Annie’s Song.
Best laid plans, eh?
With the dust barely settling, my mind is already wondering what to do next. I had some serious thoughts about the current WIP and might shelve it to make way for something different. Maybe something that has nothing to do with detectives?
We have been a bit lax with the newsletters this year, so must do better there too…
And finally, has anyone anything to say about STORY ORIGIN?
Sounds a bit like Book Funnel, but is it something we should be looking at?
Hoping this is a much better week for all our readers too!