My oldest drew me this picture and challenged me to write a blog to go with it. Here goes!
When I think about becoming what society calls beautiful, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about becoming what society calls financially successful, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about not ever buying anything that is remotely close to the latest fashion, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about having a fancy holiday in the sun every summer, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about other people’s religion, ritual or practices, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about how other people choose to parent, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about other people’s taste in music, I think: yeah, whatevs.
When I think about what pre-teens say about almost everything, I think: it’s usually ‘yeah, whatevs.’
For the last six weeks, I’ve been escaping from the teatime/bedtime routine and driving myself into Edinburgh.
I’ve been learning how to build a character, a setting, dialogue, and how to put these elements together into a short story, all under the magnificent captaincy of Dr Claire Askew.
But by far the best part has been meeting the rest of the group. My WLAG colleagues. Writing with them, sharing with them. We have already started championing each other’s work and projects – a meet up is planned at my next spoken word gig! I can’t wait to see what each of them go on to do next. I’m looking forward to saying ‘yes, we did Write Like a Grrrl together.’
Writers work alone. But we need that community, too. That encouragement. The busy silence of a roomful of writers, writing.
I have always told my kids that I’m built for comfort, not for speed, but it seems to become truer the longer I live. ‘Asthma often comes on in middle age,’ says the nurse. Ouch, I think. But he’s got a point.
I’d been cycling three times a week and doing yoga most days, and I’d wondered why I still couldn’t climb the stairs without getting out of breath. At least that mystery was solved.
A few weeks later, and I’m at the GP with the huge list of THINGS I tend to have to talk about these days. One of which was my hip. ‘It’s been a bit sore,’ I said, ‘but it’s OK if I stretch it out.’
Yeah, I’m not a doctor. I have ligament damage and/or bursitis and I’m not to do yoga for a month.
Yesterday, I tried to write a nature poem.
Walked into the reality – the grime of outside. Cold shot-blasting my forehead, my fingers.
And yes, the long-tailed tit looked at me, all chipmunk-cute face and feathered arrow tail feathers.
And yes, there were green carpets just waiting for the bluebells.
And yes, the deer picked around the edge of distant fields.
And yes, the buzzard rose in a majesty of idle flapping.
But it all reminded me of the mess of the world: sporadic starlings strung across the telegraph lines, not enough for a murmuration.
The crow scolding the buzzard, haranguing it to stay away from her eggs.
Acres of wire and concrete, even here, in this ‘wilderness.’
Snow on the distant hills – a winter coming ever closer.
And I thought, ‘maybe I should take “nature writer” out of my bio.’