Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Transitional Issues

That's pretty much how I sum up the last couple of months. I had great plans for my productivity at the beginning of February and they have pretty much come to naught. I did not anticipate the level of fatigue I experienced, nor did I fully appreciate the impact of a lack of time table.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't spent all my time in front of the TV or Kindle, though there have been a few days when that has been the case. I've mostly been busy. It's hard not to be busy out here. There's wood and coal to be hauled, meals to be prepared, food to be purchased, laundry to be washed and of course, the general tidying and cleaning up. Oh yes, I've also been completing the first part of my training. 

I realised from the 4,000 or so words I'd initially written that there was a lot I had to re-learn. I'd lost touch with my creativity. To rectify this I went out and bought a plethora of artist's materials: paints, brushes, paper etc. and Dave, bless his generous heart, added to my collection as well. I've been painting and colouring and this week, I've even started writing poetry again.

For me writing poetry is a discipline. Every word has to justify its existence and work hard to propel the poem forward. This feeds into my writing. Why say in one page, what can be said in a paragraph? No, I'm not writing literary fiction. I'm writing genre and that requires the story move at a sharp clip, with pithy descriptions and a canny use of space to give the reader the specific experience they are looking for. I am blessed in that my friend, awesome poet and poetry tutor Julia Webb, is helping me get back in touch with that long-dormant part of myself.

Speaking of long-dormant parts of myself, did I mention I've joined a Shiny Gym? After an unsuccessful attempt at trying to find a functional-focused gym, I gave into the inevitable and joined the local Shiny Gym. My path back into fitness is not a happy one, it has to be said. 

Physically, I've lost a lot of ground, which is bad enough. Unfortunately, my wrists are still weak and an ill-executed attempt at a push-up buggered my right wrist. Not to mention that the inactivity has caused my knee and lower back to start playing up. Mentally, it's even more of a struggle. It's a Shiny Gym. The patrons are Shiny, fit and thin. I joined and couldn't face going for a couple of weeks. In the end, I booked some PT sessions, just so I could have someone hold my hand to get me going again. By the way, this isn't to do with their judging me, this is about what I imagine them to be thinking about me. I am working hard to remind myself that I have to start from where I am, not from where I would prefer to be. I want to push it. But right now, actually getting to the gym is pushing it for me. 

It seems that the traditional method of goal setting (keep goal in the forefront of your mind, set milestones and targets) just doesn't work for me. Rather, I am focusing on where I want to be eventually and doing today what I can to get me there. My Life is now pointing in the direction I want to go, it's time to do the work. If I think about it in terms of building a house, rather than a journey, I've built the foundations. I know roughly what it will look like in the end, now I'm focusing on getting the framework built. Being fitter and more creative is part of this framework. It's important for me to be more physically robust, there are things I want to do, that I am not able to do right now and being more creative feeds into my writing. 

I suppose I'm a little bit frustrated by my supposed lack of progress. I'm aware I could have pushed myself harder. It's true I would have more words by now. It's also true that the 4,000 words I wrote earlier are probably all going to be binned. I need quality now. Ultimately, I must work within my limits, even if it takes a little bit longer.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring has sprung

My garden has snowdrops and daffodils in varying stages of flower. I've also seen a few clusters of spade-like tulip leaves popping up. I'm now on spring heating, which took a bit of boiler manipulation on my part and means I don't need to light a fire first thing in the morning. It's also meant I've been a bit sluggish in hauling my wood. But that's okay, it will happen.

Rummy 'helping' me with my assignment

Dave is likely to be very busy with Science Week coming up soon, so Rummy came to stay last Friday. He's settled in very quickly and as I feared, has trouble with doors. This place has more doors than a submarine. Don't get me wrong, I adore him. But he really is as thick as two short planks. He keeps trying to open my bedroom door at the hinge end when the door is already open. 

He's been exploring the garden and the rest of the estate over the last few days. Pet wisdom dictates that when a cat is moved to a new place, you leave them in for at least a couple of weeks. Rummy lasted a couple of days and then I had enough of him meowing to be let out and trying to make a break for it every time I opened the door. 

Yesterday was the first morning I let him out and he very kindly brought me breakfast. It was still squeaking. Happily, he wasn't offended when I told him what a clever cat he was and refused to let him in. He went off to eat elsewhere. I was pleased to report to Z that at least one of her squatters was earning his keep.

Unfortunately, he's met the local lynx. It was not a happy meeting. I say lynx, because that's what this cat looks like, it's not really a lynx (though apparently there are plans afoot to release them in Thetford, about 30 miles away). Rummy is sleek, but incredibly solid beast and very physical with it. Whereas other cats flow and tread softly, you can hear him walk and he lands with a thump. If you try and push him off something, he'll stay put unless you put some intention behind it. 

The lynx is a third larger than Rummy. Granted he was probably puffed up, but I have seen him out and about before. He's huge. In any case, Rummy got his ass handed to him on a platter with crudités and dips. I chased off said lynx. Rummy's dignity and ego were more wounded, he spent the evening curled up on my lap. 

This morning he kept me company when I fed the tortoises and velociraptors. Given the predator helping itself to their ranks and their general reluctance to come in at night, Z has decided it's best to keep them in their pen. Something they are not very happy about at all. They've been plotting. I've seen trouble brewing. Not this morning.

Rummy wasn't the least bit interested in them. The velociraptors however, were unimpressed and for the first time in a long time, didn't try to make a break for it when I came in with their breakfast. Rummy's interest was instead focused on another cat, huddled under a pile of wood. This kitty stayed put and apart from a bit of hissing back at him, didn't offer much violence. I'm hoping they'll make friends. Rummy is actually a sociable beast. When he's been with Dave, he hung out with the rest of the cats in the close. To the point that they'd try to invite themselves in for dinner. 

In weak moments I wonder about getting a border collie puppy.

Waiting for Paint to Dry

Yesterday evening, I thought I'd finished the triptych. I kicked back, drank a glass of raspberry beer and contemplated my work. As I co...