Friday, January 1, 2021

JANUARY 2021

JANUARY 2021

NEW WEEK
If you want to read from the beginning, scroll down to the end.

Sunday 31st.

Got up at 10.00 am, fed cats, sifted the crap out of the cat-litter, covered my hair in hair dye (blond... it once was), practiced ten minutes of yoga (that didn't require any lying down, obvs), with hair dye still on, shower, breakfast (I only do this on Sundays... eggs benedict with fresh hollandaise sauce from Morrisons), mucked around on YouTube and Twitter until 1.00 pm, and will soon be heading up the rain-sodden highstreet to visit my mum, as per usual on a Sunday. 
That's that, the final entry for January 2021!
This is the only writing I shall get done today because I frittered away my valuable window of opportunity (11.00 to 1.00) faffing around on social media.
Still, I'll make up for it tomorrow. 
  
Friday 29th

Well, I think I'm finally building the framework for a first chapter that I have some faith in, so I'm looking forward to working towards chapter two.
Friday is my stay-in day, the one day a week I don't visit my mum because she has somebody who comes in for two hours to help clean the house. Mum doesn't really need any help, she's still very active at eighty-two. 
Since as far back as I can remember, she's had an OCD issue with floor paint. There are floorboards throughout Mum's fairly large townhouse and about three times a year she staggers back from Jim's Cash & Carry with large tins of white or grey floor paint. After spending several days on her hands and knees, inching back and forth across both the ground and second floor, I'm asked to admire her handiwork.  
Of course, the painted floors don't really look any different, if they had previously been painted grey, they will be white, if white, grey. 
I've given up questioning her madness and dutifully feign amazement at the extraordinary transformation achieved from her labors.
My mum's an artist and paints every morning, so it's not as if she has nothing better to do. 
In 2020 I compiled a book about her work, and thoughts, from taped conversations and photographs of selected paintings. Here's a link In Conversation with Gill Watkiss
Today I woke up with a Fibro foggy head and headache so I had an Ibruprofine tablet and decided to practice some gentle Fibro-friendly yoga. It's rained for two solid days, but today the sun was streaming in through our bay-window and I just lay there for a while absorbing its warmth.
Some people tackle illness by putting their faith in natural remedies and/or Homeopathy. I'm not one of them, I'm grateful for the prescription pills that make each day so much easier.
A friend of mine religiously (and with an air of superiority), steer clear of anything prescription and treats her own Fibromialgia with pills and potions from the shelves of Holland & Barret. 
Despite her dedication to plant-based products and a special diet, she's still always tired, ill, and has been unable to work at anything for over twenty years. Natural doesn't come cheap either.
So, forgive me if I'm skeptical. 
Anyway, writing this entry, and making well overdue telephone calls to two of my sisters (now that the fog has lifted), means I've used up and wasted today's novel-writing window of opportunity... damn it!

Monday 25th

It's still happening, each day I look at the previous day's work and press delete.
I've banned myself from re-reading anything on this blog as every entry would just end up in the recycle bin. 
I'm getting nowhere with the idea for my new novel. 
Maybe It's time to embrace defeat and start afresh.
I remember, a few years back, reading The Sunday Times 'Day In The Life Of ' article, and Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, was that weeks subject.
In addition to describing what she ate for breakfast (no, I can't remember), she told the story of how, after the success of The Joy Luck Club, she'd spent the following eight years working on a new novel, before concluding that her efforts were sadly lacking and feeding every page through the shredder.
Wow!
I don't know why I find that story inspirational... but I do. 

Thursday 21st

Write one day, re-write the next, but at least I'm writing again. Having to re-write the previous day's work doesn't worry me, in my mind, it's still progress, I'm self-editing and hopefully, always improving.
I'm not one hundred percent confident that I can make this a funny, clever, and engaging read. Should I just shelve the whole idea and start something completely new... probably.

Today's journal entry will be a warm-up exercise. then I'll read Wednesday's effort and decide whether to bin it or not, if I press delete again, maybe I should place shelve the whole idea?
Sometimes I like to muse on what might make an eye-catching or amusing book title, with the idea that from scribbling down that first simple seed, an entire novel might spring forth.
One such title is this... 
Don't Get Married, Have a Trifle Instead.
What?! That's not clever, or amusing, I hear you say, and what the hell does it mean anyway!
Don't get married, have a trifle instead, is the sum of a perplexing piece of advice I overheard whilst lining up in the local greengrocers ready to pay for my punnet of plums.
There were two women in front of me, chatting away.
Here's the transcript:

"So, you're getting married!"
"Yes, next month, just a small affair, family mainly."
"Will you be having cake?"
"Oh, yes, we'll have a cake."
"I love cake."
"Yeah, I love cake."
"What sort, fruit or sponge?"
"Um, fruit, I think."
"I wouldn't want to get married. I like trifle."
"Oh yes, I love trifle?"
"I'll tell you what, don't get married, have a trifle instead."

Kind of profound when you think of it!

Monday 18th January

Well, chapter one of the new book idea is underway. I'm trying to build a structure to the day and make some progress with the story, even if it's no more than a few lines. 
There's a flat grey sky outside and heavy Cornish drizzle, so I'm very happy in the warm cocoon of my living room with the fake log fire aglow.    
I'm always aware of how comfortable my life is in comparison to many and surprised when people I know, who are similarly blessed, feel that their share of life's riches has somehow fallen short. 
Unless you're top of the rich-list, your affluence will always be proportional.
I remember a conversation I once had with a young homeless woman.
I'd stop and chat when I pass her regular patch in the recess of a doorway on the high-street. 
A new homeless couple had arrived in town and laid claim to space under the jutting overhang of the art gallery's facade. 
My street friend, I'll call her B, was envious.
"They're lucky," she said, "I'd have liked that spot. When it gets wet and windy they could hang up a tarpaulin or something and it would be a really cozy place. Also, the gallery brings out coffee and tea and lets them use the loo. They've got it made there".
Both sad and funny, to her, this new couple had really landed on their feet, proportionally, they were better off.
B, has now, after well over a year on the street, moved into a flat.  
I don't know what happened to the lucky bastards living under the gallery, they moved on a few weeks later. Maybe the gallery coffee wasn't that great after all.


Friday 15th.

Feeling so much better today, mentally and physically. The two pages I typed up on Wednesday, I chose to delete, they were still not good enough, but today has been productive, and I've re-written them. 
Also, I have another blog, which is about fifteen years old. It's called Lu's Kitschin Link to Lu's Kitschin Click Here
(Yes, it is deliberate that, Kitschin, is spelled that way).
Lu's Kitschin is just a random magazine blog of much ado about nothing
I love music, discovering new tracks, and sharing them. So, every Friday I choose five different tracks and feature them on the Lu's Kitschin blog.
It's been a good day, starting with a half-hour of Yin yoga. The first time I rolled out my yoga mat was over ten years ago and now I find the time I spend practicing the gentle stretching and quiet mindfulness really grounding and helpful. It's time out from everything else.

Thursday 14th

So, on Wednesday, I finally started writing again and completed two whole pages worth of type... 
Good or bad? I shan't know until I re-read them.
Today I woke up tired, with a familiar Fibro fog clogging the frontal lobe area... there's only horsehair and dung where the grey matter should be. 
Post morning visit to my mums, I came home and crawled back into bed with dear Mitsy sprawled at my feet.
It's now four-thirty in the afternoon, and I'm laying limp and despondent on the sofa. 
Dull throbbing and sharp niggling pains ripple up and down my arms. 
I suspect, that during the night, some weird and insipid creature must have crawled under my skin, burrowed in through the bones, and feasted upon the marrow within.

This feeble whinging entry in my journal will be all the writing I get down today, but as Scarlett O'Hara says at the end of Gone With The Wind... "Tomorrow is, another day."
Well, we hope it is.
(If you haven't seen the movie, do, it's a brilliant film).



Tuesday 12th

Spent most of the day trying to fix my printer, and finally succeeded.
I had changed my internet provider and it refused to accept the new router password. They have minds of their own these printers... I had to outwit it.

NEW WEEK

Monday 11th

Well, I have managed, with great determination, to drag myself out of the malaise that has hung over me these last two months.
The first tick on my mental to-do list was to begin the day with an hour of meditative and rejuvenating yoga. Mission accomplished, big high-five!
Second, on the imaginary list was to finally get back to work on the new novel.
This is the novel that I am trying to resurrect after buying a new laptop last year and accidentally losing the forty thousand word layout (I was on the cusp of completing), during the transfer of files. 
I thought I'd saved the document to a memory stick, but no, it had vanished into the ether, lost forever.
Deciding that perhaps this was a sign, a nudge towards abandoning something destined only for the slush pile, I started a whole new and very different novel.
Unfortunately, I'm the kind of writer who just starts typing and then lets a very loosely strung idea take me in any direction it chooses to go. Ten thousand words in, I realised that where it was going was, precisely, nowhere.
So, last October, I revisited the first idea with rather lame enthusiasm and managed to type three whole draft chapters before stumbling over a massive writer's block.
Today I re-read those three chapters in order to refresh my mind and assess their merit. 
After assessing their merit, I promptly deposited them in the recycle bin.
The idea for the book, in my opinion, is good, it has, as they say, legs. and I've now decided to begin afresh. It's a new year and I shall approach the story from a whole new angle.
Conclusion... It's been a productive day, of sorts, where not doing much is actually doing quite a lot. Decisions have been made and muscles have been stretched. 

Friday 8th.

This will be a day of two halves. Woke up tired, fed the cats (I have three), made my son scrambled eggs and beans on toast as he had just returned from his nightshift, had a shower, thought about yoga, then went back to bed. I had forgotten to take my all-important Amitriptyline Amitriptyline information tablets for Fibromyalgia and felt awful. I didn't realise quite how necessary they were to my feeling of well-being! Enough of that, I've taken the meds, it's stopped raining, and I'm feeling better. 

Thursday 7th

Yes, I know it says Wednesday 5th above Thursday the 7th, that's because in lockdown you have trouble focusing on what day it is, so I've left it at that, for me, two days ago, Tuesday was Wednesday.
So. there you were left with a cliffhanger... Did I commence work on that old half-written novel? 
No, no I didn't.
Yesterday, I visited my mum and then drove my moldy old Mercedes to Lidl's for that all-important (and Covid restrictions allowed), weekly food shop. 
My Merc is a wonderful and very reliable car that would once have cost a princely sum. Now she's a rather old lady of twenty-eight (that's a lot in car years), and rainwater is forcing its way in through the corroding rubber door seals.
I don't have a garage, and can't keep her dry, so an ugly, unsightly, black mold has spread across the damp upholstery, both front and rear.
You see what I'm doing here, yes, padding out a big old day of doing nothing of any real significance. 
The day started with good intentions. I was planning to practice an hour of yoga on the living-room floor, in the virtual company of one of my chosen online YouTube instructors. This didn't happen.
So, what DID I do? 
Well, I bought a bottle of shampoo that promises to make my hair look fuller and thicker. It won't, they never do. I spent some time mulling over whether to splash out on a hair rejuvenating product and then thought better of it. There's no quick fix for Alopecia Link to Alopecia for anyone interested. 
Mine began a couple of years back with a dramatic thinning, a hairdresser had to point it out.
I asked for a particular style and her reply was (after an awkward silence), "have you ever thought of buying a wig?" followed by, "I'd make a doctor's appointment if I was you." 
It's not a big deal, my Alopecia is quite mild, I can still look at a promising shampoo with some hope, for others, that's only a dream.
Anyway, tomorrow is the day. 
Tomorrow I really am going to start writing again. I shall not visit my mum in the morning because in the evening I am going to drive her up to the health clinic for her Covid vaccination.
Hurrah! One more anxiety partially crushed.
This the plan for Friday... 
I start the morning with some yoga stretches and then get right down to writing rather than whittering away (spell check tells me that whittering is an unknown word, well, too bad, I use it a lot, so now it is one), my time trying to reset a password on one of my phone apps because when I click on the reset link sent to my mail, I am asked to type in the password I've forgotten, yea, don't ask, boooring! Or, watching news reports for updates on the aftermath of Trump supporters storming the Senate, or speculating on whether everyone I love is going to die unexpectedly. Yes, I know, everyone dies, but it's the unexpected that makes a difference.

Wednesday 5th

We're back in full lockdown and for me, I'm one of the lucky ones, that is not a problem. It's January, very cold outside, and I'm happy to hole myself in here and try to resurrect my writing. For the last few months, I don't seem to have had the energy or inclination to work on anything. I'm hoping that committing to this blog might start my fingers tapping on a more regular and productive basis. 
I shall also continue to work my way through all the brilliant Scandi-noir series on Walter Presents. I've just finished watching, The Twelve, which was fantastic.
This morning I walked over to my mum's, as usual, then I came back, had some cereal, felt sick with unearned fatigue, and went back to bed for an hour... I know! riveting stuff! Now it's 15.08 so that's another noncreative day marked up.
Tomorrow will be different, tomorrow I will take a look at that half-written novel I started in 2020.... always tomorrow!

Friday 1st January 2021

This is Frank, he was a Christmas present from my husband. I saw Frank solemnly staring out of the window of a vintage shop a few months before Christmas and suggested him as a desirable candidate for the gift-giving season.
Anyway, I've incorporated a picture of Frank here at the beginning of this new (first ever), journal because he best illustrates how I feel most of the time, both physically and mentally.
I'm an anxiety led depressive with Fibromyalgia Fibromyaligia .
Apart from that, I'm a glass-half-full kind of person, as long as I keep taking the meds.
So, my intention, for the purposes of this blog having any kind of substance, to keep a weekly journal. 
Any attempts I have made in the past to keep a diary have failed. I make the mistake of reading previous entries and then shredding them in disgust... "Who is that pretentious, self-absorbed, tedious narcissist," I think before deciding to feed the shredder.
Still, we've made a start, and this is it (though I must confess, I've already deleted yesterday's input.
It's the third of January today and I'm off to see my mother in a minute, she lives no more than five minutes away from me and we get together every day including Sunday. All other visits are for morning coffee and a daily catch-up, Sundays are an afternoon affair that normally involves wine.
We're also going to saying hi to my brother and his family via the miracle of live video calling. My brother has a wonderful seven-year-old boy and now, just two months old, a little girl. So, I'm looking forward to seeing them, though not as much as I was before their pre-Christmas visit was canceled due to Covid.
At least we're all still here! Must be off, back soon.

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