Tag Archives: writing

Looking ahead- a new blogging adventure

30 Jul

I’ve started a new blog. 

It felt like the right time. The right time to start writing again. The right time to start thinking and wrestling. 

It feels different this time. My brain is much more fuzzy. My time is much more limited. My words get stuck more quickly.

But I’m setting off on this new adventure nonetheless.

And I really hope you will join me.

You can find me at Mama in Africa – I look forward to seeing you there soon.

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“If there’s a b…

21 Apr

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

I’ve been thinking about writing this weekend. And this on-hold blog. 

I am not really sure why I stopped writing here. But I did. And I’ve realised that I miss it.

I love writing. I love words. I love thinking and wrestling and find the right words. Editing and re-writing. And posting little thoughts when they come.

I love talking about failure. The things that others find it hard to talk about. Life-when-it-is-not-perfect. I love finding community through this blog – fellow travellers who choose not to hide their lack of perfection.

So, I think, it’s time to resurrect a story of failure. To write again. 

For, sometimes, “you must write it”.

The savagery of schizophrenia

22 Oct

I recently wrote a blog post on Elyn Saks’ TED talk about living with schizophrenia.

Here are some truly beautiful, sad-making and true words about the same condition. This is a must-read article by Caitlin Moran (and – if you are in a rush, read anyway for it won’t take you long).

I love how words can be a force of life: a rampage against darkness or an acceptance of this darkness, an articulation of truth or its denial.

Words can heal. And hurt. Encourage. Or destroy.

Words can create. And they can shut down.

I love reading the words of true wordsmiths. These ones made me want to cry. And that is good – for they reveal truth, love and life in all its messiness and ambiguity.

Thank you Caitlin.

Words, they elude

19 Oct

As I chatted with a friend the other day, I realised – again – how much life has changed over the last twelve months.

October 2011 was a truly bleak month, followed by several more. No work. No money. Life felt like a weight, a burden, rather than a joy. And my coping methods didn’t seem to help.

October 2012 is here and I feel so different. Work is abundant, we are financially more secure, we have a new home and are starting on a new adventure.

I am so grateful that the darkness – the days of depression and despair – are no longer my ever-present companion.

Grateful for life itself.

Have all the “problems” disappeared? No.

Of course not.

They just feel less overwhelming at the moment.

And I want to celebrate this – the fun times, the joys and gift of life itself.

And yet, these times seem harder to write about.

I am struggling to know what to write here on the blog.

I struggle to find words, they elude.

I don’t want to stop writing. I don’t want to write only occasionally. I don’t want to write only when life is painful.

It feels as though my blog about failure is failing.

What can I do?

Fresh perspective

11 Aug

Today I return, with slight trepidation, to the blogosphere. My “blogoliday” has rather taken me by surprise – a result of both busyness and intentional time out. I wanted to take a bit of time to reflect on why I am here. Why I put myself out there via this blog. Why I might continue to do so, or not. And (I think) I am back. For now at least.

I’ve been reflecting, of late, on the question: “what really matters?”. The London Olympics has been a wondrous staycation – a fortnight of multiple-hours-in-front-of-TV, a collective joy and pride in our city, amazement at the human spirit, inspiration to “get off the sofa more” (once Olympics is over obviously!) and a sense that “real life” has been suspended for a while. This unexpected, joy-filled time has – I think – helped me to put life into perspective. To remember that work is not always the number one priority. To remember that community and shared experience is often much more fun than “solo viewing”. To remember that, around the world, many athletes overcome extraordinary adversity to represent their country at this global party/competition.

And, in some strange way, this new sense of (forgotten) perspective has helped me as I’ve reflected on blogging too. For a while, number of readers really mattered to me. Now it doesn’t. For a while, I worried too much about what people thought. Now I won’t. For a while, it stopped being fun – a hobby – and became a chore. A pressure.

At times during my blog-break, I have wondered why I would blog at all – after all,  I thought (in my bleaker moments),what do I have to contribute? Why would anyone want to read my words? Is it helping anyone, in any small way, at all?

For now, I sense that I will carry on – until it stops being fun, until it stops being a forum for honesty and transparency, until it becomes a noose rather than a joy.

My hope is that this blog creates a space – for myself and others – to talk openly instead of in whispers. To say the difficult things – rather than pretend they don’t exist. To challenge, provoke, question, encourage and, maybe occasionally, inspire. To come back, again and again, to the question: “what really matters?”.

Writing is, for me, a therapeutic balm. I hope that reading it will, every now and again, be that balm for your soul too.

To blog or not to blog…

30 Jun

… that is my question.

I’ve been fretting about the blog for a little while now. Last night, chatting to a friend, I spoke about how I don’t feel I give it enough time anymore. Yesterday morning, someone asked how many people read it. Last weekend, I confided in a friend that I worry people might misunderstand some of what I write about here. And over the last two weeks, several people have asked if I am “ok”. They had read recent posts and worried. Which, for me, adds to the catalogue of confusion.

You see – I have been feeling insecure about it for a few weeks. In a “hovering-in-the-background” way. In a “can’t-quite-shake-the-feeling” way.

Is it too gloomy (or as a friend commented to my husband “more gloomy than usual”!)?

Is it egotistical online therapy – or does it serve a bigger purpose?

I started the blog to open up conversation – about failure. About daily, almost-mundane failures. And bigger, catastrophic ones too. I wanted to be able to talk about things-that-remain-taboo. To break the power of shame, silence and sorrow. Of disappointment.

But I worry that the blog no longer does this.

And whilst I love writing, and find it therapeutic too, I could go back to just writing a private journal. Rather than hanging it all out to dry on the online washing line.

So – what I would love to know, particularly from any of you who read regularly, is:

Which posts have you most liked/appreciated on the blog?

Which are less appealing? (I know that preferences are very personal, but I’d love to know)

Are there any that really turn you off?

How often do you read the blog?

Do you ever comment on posts? If not – is there a reason why? Would a more interactive set-up be a good thing?

Are there any specific issues/subjects you would like to see on here? Would you be interested in doing a “guest post”?

So.

To blog or not to blog…

That is still the question.

 

Be yourself (or how do you find your words?)

3 Mar

I have just come across this fantastic TED talk by Susan Cain. She extols the virtues of an introverted life in a world that seems to favour extroverts – those outgoing, confident, “I-know-where-I-am-going” people. I fall far more firmly in the “haven’t-a-clue-but-I-like-thinking-about-it” bracket.

I am an introvert. It took me quite a few years to realise this, for I am also pretty sociable and love being around people. I am certain, however, of my introvert tendencies as I crave and cherish time on my own. Time to think, to read, to write, to process. Time to be. Without this time, I feel out of sorts and get a bid moody (as my husband will tell you!).

I am not writing today to claim that “introverts are better”. No, of course not. Rather this talk has made me reflect on the importance of being yourself – wherever you fall on the introvert-extrovert scale. And if being yourself means being on your own – that is ok. In fact, it is more than ok, it is good.

For the world needs you to be yourself – to bring all that you are and have, to live in your “element”, to create and lead in the ways only you can do – in order to make our world a richer and better place.

I sometimes find myself wishing I’d been created a bit differently – a bit less introverted and reflective, a bit less “angsty”, a bit more “normal!”. I look at others and wish I was more like them – a bit thinner, a bit more thoughtful/productive/capable/confident, a bit less “me” and a bit more “you”. I imagine life as “someone else” and think it would surely be better than today. When I feel “up”, these thoughts rarely bother me, and, if they do, I find it easy to brush them aside. When I am down, they can haunt me, follow me round for days, lodging themselves in my sometimes-fragile mind and refusing to go away. Maybe this is the curse of the reflective introvert.

Like Susan Cain, I love words. I have always loved books, always adored reading and getting lost in a book. Like her, I hadn’t seriously considered that I could become a writer until more recently (and my various career attempts until this point have been far less successful than her years as a Wall Street lawyer!). I still have days where I feel it could never happen – who would ever pay me to write? Why would they want to? How can I ever make money out of the randomness of thoughts in my oft-slightly-screwy brain?!! But I know that this is when I feel most alive, most “me”.

I absolutely love writing this blog. I love the people it has brought me into contact with. I love the ways it has challenged me to be more open, vulnerable and transparent (even when it hurts). I love it – this blog might not pay the bills, but it helps me stay connected, creative and much more sane than I would otherwise be! I love the power of words – and spending time on my own helps me to find my words. In the words of Susan Cain – “solitude is often a crucial ingredient for creativity”.

How do you find your words? Make sure you don’t deprive yourself of these experiences – whether you require solitude or crowds, whether on your own or with others. Don’t try to be someone you are not – it doesn’t work (I can tell you that one from experience!). Be yourself. And find your words – for the world needs to hear them.

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