The Illusion of Time

I’ve given up trying to figure things out. Take my advice don’t even try! Just when I think I’m close to understanding something – boom there it goes!Like a constantly changing puzzle I’m left holding a weirdly shaped piece with little understanding of how or where it may fit. I am of course talking about my writing.

Today I’ve been busy with my work in progress. I’m about half way through with a reasonable idea of where it may land, although, as you may have gathered I have had a few curve balls to deal with. I do get distracted quite easily and when not ‘day jobbing’ or writing here’s a few of the other things that have been keeping me out of trouble…

Last year my gardening skills were exemplary, we brought a greenhouse, and gave our garden a good once over worthy of Charlie Dimmock. We were rewarded with an abundance of produce. This year my skills can only be described as shoddy, and (rightly so). We’ve had a handful of potatoes and a couple of yellow courgettes to brag about! Even the greenhouse tomatoes have refused to turn red! I’m blaming the wet weather and the army of slugs who have marched across my raised beds! But time has marched on regardless without so much as a backward glance at my decimated broccoli!

Unlike last year we have been lucky enough to celebrate with our son and daughter in law. After a years delay they finally did it and got married. It was the most wonderful of days full of laughter and love. It was so good to be with so many people again – it almost felt ‘normal’ and reminded me how much I’ve missed it. I will never again take such freedom for granted.

So with Summer turning to Autumn and the garden kind of taking care of itself I turn my attention back to my current novel. The odd shaped pieces still haven’t found their home but I’m confident that with a bit more time and attention all will be well.

In November I’ll return to Oxford and spend a few days looking down the backs of sofa’s and underneath tables. There are a few more pieces to find but with a fair wind and time on my side I’m hoping to complete book 4 by Christmas.

Beautiful Day…
The rusty wheelbarrow put to good use with wildflowers!
Now where does this piece fit??
Thanks to Unsplash for the photo

Autumn Ramblings

The strangest of years is almost at an end and I’m left wondering where the year went?

It’s hard to believe we’ve been locked down since March! OK, so I’m stretching the truth just a little, but it certainly feels that way. There was a glimpse of normality over the Summer before the hatches were firmly battened down again. I’m not sure what normal is anymore, but whatever it is I’d like it back thanks very much!

Like a lot of people my refuge has been nature. I’ve found beauty in the smallest wonders and it’s given me a welcome boost. I’ve stayed connected because of it – thank you nature!

During Lockdown V.1 we were all working from home. Different rooms of our house became makeshift offices where four diverse companies came together under one roof. My kitchen became our work social space and we would meet occasionally during coffee breaks, or lunchtimes. Chatter revolved around ‘how’s your day going?’ and ‘What time you finishing?’ We functioned, we worked, but live? Not much. Evenings were spent trawling Netflix, reading books, silently wondering when we’d be released from the holding pattern our lives had become.

With the appearance of Summer restrictions eased, and for a while we did ‘normal’ – meals out, meet ups with friends, shopping for things other than food, but that came to an abrupt end as numbers of Covid cases once again rose, and we prepared ourselves for Lockdown V.2.

There are some differences this time around. Now there are just two of us working from home, the nights have drawn in and there is less time to be outside. My writing has begun to increase again, as has my crocheting and sewing – I’ve become a dab hand at running up a quick face mask! My tbr pile has increased ten fold and I don’t think I need to buy anymore books until 2025! Although, you can never have too many books 🙂

We are almost out the other side now, and I am hesitant. I’ve gotten used to my new small world, it’s a routine of sorts and whilst I look back on the freedoms of previous years with longing, change is never easy.

As we move into another period of uncertainty I shall endeavour to write more, and eat less (seriously – it needs to happen), everything else is up for negotiation. The one constant throughout has been the small world at my doorstop. It has carried on regardless. Buds have blossomed, and leaves have fallen, and for the first time in a while I’ve been lucky enough to see and really appreciate every single season. Whatever happens next remains unknown. Me? I’ll be opening my front door and taking in a deep breath. I’ve even brought a bike!

I leave you with a few pics from my recent adventures – oo’s and ah’s are optional!

I looked back on my walk to the Tor and my breath was taken away…
At the top of the Tor a beautiful view and a wild pony greeted us.
One of the many mystical stone circles of Dartmoor – such beautiful Autumn colours.
Pebbles on the beach
Extreme social distancing!

Update

According to the Cambridge Dictionary to update is to~

“Make something more modern or suitable for use now by adding new information or changing its design.”

That is a lot to live up to, but I’ll give it a go!

I live in a continual state of updating, whether personal or professional. I think the key is to keep pressing forwards – a blog post here, a  red pen edit there, a finished novel here, another red pen edit there, a new blend of coffee here – coffee, did someone say coffee? I’ll admit I am not the best blogger in the world, and as life crowds in my blog gets pushed down the list of ‘to do’s’. The frequency of my posts leaves a lot to be desired, but like any good cookie will tell you (digital not edible), there is always something going on in the background. Continue reading “Update”

The Journey…

My current work in progress has been a long hard slog. It has danced fast and slow, and at times come to a halt. There were moments when I wondered if it was to be an ‘eternal’ work in progress, destined to be placed on the back burner and dusted off every now and again. But I have pulled myself together and viola!

As many of you know, I have been working on an historical fiction novel for the past few years. This has involved an enormous amount of research. I have read books both fiction and non fiction, spoken to historians, and tried to get under the skin of the time period. I have realised that amidst the changes brought on by moderisation and technology, hidden within the cracks of wars and disasters, lies a truth which transcends everything – we, ‘people’, we don’t really change that much. Certain aspects of who we are have remained constant. Like night following day we continue to love and laugh and cry. It has been a wonderful journey, full of so much richness and discovery. Quite what I shall do once I finally hang up the red pen on this one I’m not sure, but one thing I do know is that it has been well worth the ride!

Is Space Really the Final Frontier? Weekend Musings…

Sitting on the train back from Manchester I let my mind wander. Is space really the final frontier? Perhaps, but I would argue there is one that lurks a lot closer to home. The confines by which we live, think, engage and converse are all set…by us. We have errected our own barriers, our own limits. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the way we work.

We have conditioned ourselves to be busy bees, always having somewhere to go, something to do. ‘I’m busy people’ we shout to anyone that will listen. But what if we stopped? Someone I admire once said if he saw me staring from the window he knew I was thinking. I may have just been thinking about what I’d like for tea, or when I needed to feed the dog, but the fact I’d given myself the head space meant I was already a step ahead. Giving yourself the freedom to ‘just be’ and let your mind do its thing can sometimes get lost in the drama of life. The ‘I’m too busy’ to think mantra perches on your shoulder and before you know it 💥 – another day gone.

So lovely people my advise for a rainy December day – ditch the ‘busy barrier’ and give yourself the time and space to think – you’ll be amazed at what happens!

What lies within your heart?

Today I happened upon this quote. It spoke to my heart so I thought I would share it.

“At heart write always for yourself, not for family and friends, for admired teachers, for reviewers or publishers; but make sure you write from your real self, not that one besotted by vain glorious dreams of a future self. One day you will realize that the true rewards of writing lie inalienably in the writing itself.”

John Fowles

Photo by Ileana Skakun on Unsplash

Writing, Magical Friends and Other Tales

“You talk a lot about reading these days Nicole, but what about writing, what’s happening with your writing?”

This is one of the regular conversations that is on repeat in my head these days. I am constantly on my own case! This is usually how the conversation goes:

Me 1: “I need to write down my ideas before my brain explodes…. maybe I can jiggle a few things around tomorrow evening….”  Stares longingly from window…

Photo by Alec Douglas on Unsplash

Continue reading “Writing, Magical Friends and Other Tales”

Feed Your Soul ~ Ramblings of a Writer

There really is nothing finer than writing – except perhaps reading. Both provide food for my soul. There are times when the words refuse to come, so I read. Then, there are the times when all I want to do is read, and so, I don’t write. They are two sides of the same coin, intrinsically linked by my imagination which flows to and from the words on the page and, as much as it pains me, I love it with all my heart.

Yes, dear reader, it pains me – big deep unabashed stabbing pains of self-doubt and inadequacy fill me. A sense of never getting it quite right sits on my shoulder in judgment as I type away. I often wonder where the words come from and at times am left questioning if it really was me that put them there! Perhaps the words are using me, not I them?  A conduit by any other name but a conduit no less. Weird? Not really. Who knows where the words come from. All I know is they burn images and sentences within me that do not abate until they are released.

Each day is a battle to continue, to sit and know that most of what I will write will be dross and disappointing, yet it is because it is dross that I continue. It was Beckett who said ‘Ever Tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better’, and that is what I intend to do ‘fail better’.

Don’t get me wrong there are victories, small quiet ‘pat myself on the back’ victories and it is these that make my heart sing. Moments of self-congratulation, however, do not stay long, they are fleeting and come crashing to the floor at every given opportunity.

Sometimes the words I smugly admired not 24 hours before have, overnight, magically transformed into the worst sentences I have ever written! On rare occasions, the opposite is also true and I dance for hours, complimenting myself on such skillful wordplay. But…. when I am there, like really there, in the zone, allowing myself to freefall into the words, there really is no place I’d rather be. It is food for my soul and I love it!

‘Ever Tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better’.

Samuel Beckett