Sunday, July 24, 2016

Missing the Words

I can't think of another period in my life since I began my creative writing journey in 2003 where I've lost the Words so thoroughly. It's not that I haven't been creative in this time, in fact, I can honestly say it's been one of the most wonderfully artistic times, but there just haven't been the Words.

Dave begins his radiation therapy on Monday. His fabulous oncologist wants him to do a five week course, five days in the week to knock the tumour back well and good. There is a great deal of concern about how well his bowels will cope with the radiation as there is the chance that they may become paralysed. This would mean a period of hospitalisation and the end of the treatment at this time. 

It's meant Dave's return to his abode outside of Norwich as it will be easier for him to get to his daily treatments from there. I've had a re-shuffle of my bedroom and have incorporated my studio space in it. I also went through my bookshelves and removed two-thirds of my books, keeping only those I am likely to read or are attached to. I now have a plastic crate full and about eight bags of books waiting to go to charity shops. Letting them go was quite hard. Most of my reading these days is genre-based and I tend to download the books onto my kindle out of preference. I find it easier to read on kindle when I can adjust the text size according to how tired my eyes get. And it's not like any of the books are valuable to anyone else. Hauling them around the countryside is an exercise in ego that I no longer have time for. I've known too many people with massive libraries full of worthy books, who were complete tits. I've got nothing left to prove to anyone.

The chickens are fine if a bit of a pain. Canasta decided to go broody again, but with the temperatures being what they were, I was disinclined to let her stay in the greenhouse. I hauled her squawking butt out of there every night and if it got too hot, put the laying bag outside under the damson tree. She got fed up and stopped, but unfortunately all of the hens then stopped laying in the bag. At first I thought they'd stopped laying because they were moulting, they're a scruffy looking bunch these days, but no; they're laying away. I kept them in for a few days and actually, they are laying. Today, I let them out and I'll see what they do. If they keep laying away, we shall have to think again about the arrangements. I can't be having chicks on top of everything else right now (or ever, given Jenga's genetic closeness to the girls). 

You may, or may not remember that this time last year I did a five day artist's skills and methods course and then started a year long drawing and painting course. The five day course led to me falling in irrevocably love with oil paints. I tolerated the drawing and painting course, but had to drop out in January with Dave's diagnosis. I think it must have been April when I thought "fuck it" and picked up my drawing pens and then oil paints. I had to learn as I went along and it was mostly an exercise in frustration. 

Dave lost patience with me and strong-armed me into signing up for a day's course in Oil Painting for Beginners. He also suggested that if I like the tutor, I should ask if they are available for private tuition. He then hit me with the line he used to use on the PhD students in his care: why spend an afternoon in the library, when you can spend six months in the lab? Umm...yeah...okay. 

I really liked the tutor and he seemed to get where I was coming from. We arranged for him to come over and have a look at everything I'd been working on. After he left, I felt quite nauseous. My little shapes, my little obsession spoke to him. He gave me lots of technical advice and his questions made me take myself, my creativity and my art seriously. I'm into the abstract. Shapes and colour in their purest form. Partly because I don't have the skill to do representational art, partly because I'm not terribly interested in representational art. Much of the art scene around here is still life and landscapes. I am booked to do another day's course, this time it's oil outside. I want to know how to draw and paint, if only for when I move on from these shapes. 

Yesterday, I started my four-week mindfulness course. I've never had formal meditation training and I figured this is the perfect time to address this. My mind is like a barrel full of monkeys which is mostly fine during the day, not so great when trying to get to sleep. The past few weeks sleep has been a precious experience. Given sleep deprivation makes me cranky and more vulnerable to daily stresses, anything I can do to help myself right now, has got to be a good thing. Also, because I'm doing this as a course and there are exercises and homework, I have to do it. There are no excuses. Last night, I drifted off to sleep without any difficulty. 

So that's pretty much it darlings. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm pretty sure the Words will be back, so if you could be patient with me, I'd be grateful. I don't take your friendship and support for granted. 

Sunday, July 03, 2016

July, who'd have thought eh?

Hello lovelies. How's it going?

It's been a busy time what with one thing and another. Writing hasn't been terribly high on my To Do List that seems to have a reproduction system akin to a rabbit. 

The last scan Dave had at the end of Cycle 4 showed no difference in the main tumour's size. Given the side effects have been getting worse and the damage to his right kidney after a consultation with his oncologist, Dave decided to call a halt to the chemo and go for the radiation treatment. We are waiting for his appointments to come through. After that course, there will be another scan and hopefully, a long period of inactivity on the tumour's part. 

Dave however, will be very busy. He's really looking forward to going back to work at Strangers Roastery. Although, he's been popping in and doing tastings and the odd bits of work, he's missed it. 

I've managed to get a few days in the garden with Dave's lovely sister and we are beginning to tease the shape of things to come out of the mass of nettles and ground elder. She has promised to come visit in the autumn for a mega planting session, but in the meantime, I've got a lot of work to do. 

My application to do the MA has been turned down. It's a "no", but not a permanent no. It was felt that I had too much to deal with emotionally and the training would be distracting and too demanding at this time. As disappointed as I am, I realised that they are absolutely right. I need my energies focused in my life right now. I have other things to do and the training won't be going anywhere.

The chickens are nuts as always. While I was away for my training, the little tinkers treated Boy and Dave like substitute teachers. They played up so much, I was embarrassed. Jenga in particular was a right dick about coming home at night. He thought he'd continue his disobedience on my return. It earned him a few days in the hen house while the hens played. I think he realised the shortness of my fuse when I ran him down twice. I picked him up and carried him home in the end. Since that time, he's behaved reasonably well. 

Boy has his results and now has a BA in Marketing and Advertising. He's spending the summer having fun, working in various music festivals and intends to do his serious job hunting based with me, come the autumn. The job market for graduates sucks so incredibly much right now; it seems like an uphill struggle to get a foot in the door. He's got a good work ethic, oodles of determination and mad skillz, so I'm not worried about his future. 

And then of course, there has been farce and catastrophe of Brexit. I've spent enough time rating about it on other social media and if I'm sufficiently moved, perhaps I'll throw my tuppence worth on here next week. 

I decided to do some mindfulness training and learn to meditate properly, that will keep me out of mischief for a bit. There's also the arting that continues in dribs and drabs. I wrote a poem the other day and there's still my novel to get stuck into. One thing is for certain, Life is all about Change. Some within this woman's control, most not at all so. At the moment, I'm going with the flow.  

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...