#atinylife busy again

Oh it must be Spring. I’m busy!

I like to be busy, but not as much as the average … person? Person in the UK? Person of my generation? ‘Busy’ doesn’t take long to develop into ‘stressed,’ and ‘stressed’ has developed into psychosis – only twice, and a long time ago now, but… I don’t have the option to push myself like other people.

Busy Bee

What has been particularly wonderful about this year, as opposed to other Springs, when I was busy with the kids, or busy with work, or busy writing things no one was interested in, is that this year I’m busy with paid, creative work. Sometimes. Other paid work has to fit around the writing, not the other way round.

Meanwhile, the children have to fit around creativity AND paid work, and are no doubt feeling very hard done by!

 

 

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@atinylife second novel

There is no news about my second novel.

Here is the news about my second novel.

I was very fortunate to meet a lovely agent who read the whole thing, and she really liked it. This was beyond exciting! She had loads of great feedback too, including ‘what’ it is (a comedy) and what the main themes are (parenting insecurity, female rivalry, the pressure felt by, and put on, children).second novel

I re-wrote the draft with all her comments and observations. This is draft 15, but it’s very similar to drafts 7 and 8, (except draft 7 was in the present tense, of course).

Then I did that thing I always do when I’m nearing the end of a redraft. I slow right down because I’m afraid to finish. But I did finish. It’s 10k words longer and it’s back on submission. Wish me luck!

#atinylife sing

You know I try not to think about male privilege all the time…

Right, now everyone else has clicked off this post – it’s just – OK, I admit that I have never learned to play an instrument. I play oboe, but that doesn’t translate into a folk session environment. I’m lucky to have several people in my life who play the guitar for me – and I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

sing

 

But without them, I can’t sing at a session. The men usually have huge voices, and can sing away. Folk join in, or listen, or sometimes they don’t, but it doesn’t matter – because they can be heard.

It doesn’t often happen that I’m at a session without anyone to play for me. But when it does, I’m left feeling less-than. Because my voice, literally can’t be heard.

#atinylife Grateful²

Grateful for another thing that might not be considered classic gratitude material this week.

My notso successful writing career.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s going OK. I have crunched this year’s submission statistics, and not only are they a huge improvement on last year’s, they are above the average (which I believe is 1/7 acceptances: I had 1/4.2 this year!).

But despite this, I’m not working with multiple deadlines or receiving lots of requests for work. So when I wake up, like I did on Sunday, with a wee cold, I can stay in bed, drink Lucozade, and the edits and submissions can wait another day.

wee cold

While I’m (not) on the subject, it’s OK to take sick leave when you are ill. My feelings on how this is perceived in UK workplaces would require more than 140 words for me to rant about!

#atinylife game on

‘So hang on, you say you have social anxiety, but you perform, sing and do spoken word, and go to events to make contacts?’

Well now. Here’s how I put my game face on.Game Face

  • Have an aim. If I have to, once I’ve tried to achieve, or achieved it, I can leave.
  • Get close to the beginning of the line up if possible. Once I’ve done my ‘bit’, I can relax.
  • I don’t drink alcohol if it’s a work thing.
  • I don’t eat garlic for three days before the event.
  • I leave myself extra time to sort out my hair (I could conquer the world if I thought my hair looked good).
  • I recognise and accept the presence of ‘anxiety sweat.’ It smells different from exercise sweat.
  • I check my teeth in the mirror.
  • I (never) have tissues.
  • I floss.

Guest Post from our new Intern Cheryl Smith #atinylife tiny?

Begin AgainI had a normal-sized life, albeit with a tendency to uncomfortable swellings, until recently. In the months after my memoir was published, though, it became tiny.

There’s only five-foot-one of me, so I’ve never taken up much space. Tiny is my natural state, and as I was past middle age with no notable features, I was perfectly placed to reduce this life to near-invisibility. In producing a book, I had written it large – or in 12-point Times New Roman at least – and ventured way beyond my comfort zone. It was exhilarating and I loved it, but playing it tiny felt much more me.

But life won’t be played like that, and comfort zones won’t contain it. The tiny life whispers increasingly, incessantly, that it too, deserves to be written. So here I am, at the keyboard, ready to begin again.

#atinylife poetry inspiration

Things I have written poems about,

an incomplete list:

My stretch marks

My grey hair

The incompatibility between birdwatching/cycling, and being a parent/creative

My nephew’s shoelaces

A bird I didn’t see

The village I live in

Batman’s Hot Pants

Art by Kirsty Whiten

A window

Mental health recovery

Food banks

My house

My partner

 

Domestic drudgery

Men sewing

Walking on a beach with Jesus

Washing up with Jesus

Being a jumped up little madam

Eavesdropping in a coffee shop and judging the people around me

An official council planning meeting

Michael Rosen (in the style of Michael Rosen)

Radio 4 (in the style of Hollie McNish)

Parenting (in the style of Helen Fielding)

Reading (in the style of Vicki Feaver)

Playing cards

tinylife Poem

Dragonflies

A tent

Metaphor, via the vehicle of paper aeroplanes

Gender

Cancer

Time

and

Kindness

 

What’s on your list?