Tuesday, November 2, 2021

NOVEMBER 2021

November 25th



'Tis the season to be jolly... and sociable.

Relatives and long lost friends will be parachuting in with their bonhomie and bottles of homemade gin.
They'll be expecting to bask in your warm glow of good cheer as they devour the spread of stodgy seasonal party food laid out in their honour.
Barrackade the doors! You're under attack!
That's what my primaeval brain will be telling me.
Under such circumstances, I revert to the fight or flight mode... of which flight seems the most appealing.
Yes, I want to see these people, but my daily routine will end up all over the place.
A month of chaos and anarchy spreads before me.
What about my daily nap?
What about my writing? 
Yes, OK, there's many a day when pen never finds paper and fingers fail to dance across the keyboard as inspiration eludes me.
No matter, those days are simply the necessary preludes to an incoming tsunami of creativity.
Another not unreasonable concern...
Will I end up drinking more than usual and behave appallingly?
(It's not been unheard of)
Will my medication-induced state of equilibrium erode under the pressure of it all?
There's no definitive answer to any of these questions. 
My husbands' even worse than me when it comes to having his set routine messed around with.
When I first met him, he seemed very gregarious, brash and quite loud, but no, we were one and the same.
Example:
The other evening a good friend he'd not seen for months telephoned. 
Then said friend threatened to come over for drinks and was Saturday night alright?
Well, not really.
Our set-in-cement Saturday nights schedule would be in tatters!
We always, but always, have steak and chips eaten in conjunction with watching Strictly Come Dancing.
Well, too bad, until now and the new year, we were just going to have to adapt and bloody well enjoy ourselves in the process.
Fortunately, said friends telephoned later to ask if it was alright to turn up on Friday rather than Saturday. 
What a relief!
There's nothing much on telly on a Friday night (though it's a shame he hadn't turned up last Friday when Children in Need disrupted the usual televisual schedule),
Better yet, he's taking us out to dinner. Neither of us will have to cook.
Winning!
I realised that my fear of invitations to dinner, drinks, or both, were perhaps extreme when I was forced to see such invites in a different light.
I told a friend of mine (with my face contorted in despair) that I'd been invited somewhere for dinner.
Oh, how lovely to be cooked for! he exclaimed.
Why anyone invites me anywhere anyway is beyond me.
There was one occasion when a couple I know were coming over from Sweden to stay in their Cornish retreat. 
They always invited me to dinner (I was single at the time, so it was just me) and I'd invent an array of excuses as to why I couldn't go.
News of their imminent arrival had sent me into quite a spin as I was running low on plausible excuses.
Fortunately, I nearly collapsed just days before their arrival and I had to have a blood transfusion. 
Although I was only hospitalised for one night, I'd just been given the perfect excuse to reject any incoming invitations.
Years passed, and I finally ran out of excuses, so in the end,  I succumbed to their kind and generous offer of food, wine and good company.
As it turned out, I had a lovely evening. 
The only issue was that back then, I chain-smoked.
As smoking indoors was, quite rightly, frowned on, I had to hang my head out of the bathroom window for a quick ciggy between courses and at any other opportune moment.


November 14th

Painting, Church Cove, Cornwall, by Gill Watkiss

First of all, two of my books are on a FREE promotion, 
Lies & Revelations (contemporary novel) download for just two more days, so if you're interested CLICK HERE
Showing Off (comic fiction) only one more FREE day CLICK HERE

So, what's been going on this week?
Well, I have been writing with renewed enthusiasm and making improvements (I hope) to the original story layout.
The change in season may have adversely affected my fibromyalgia, but I'm back in the zone writing-wise. 
Anyway, today's a good day, a lazy Sunday. 
I've had a love-hate relationship with Sunday's most of my life. These days, I like them.

(This is my mum, the artist, Gill Watkiss)

On Sunday afternoon, I visit my mum, and she tries to ply me with alcohol so that she's not alone in downing a glass or two of wine herself.
Unfortunately, I can't take the drink anymore, not since my fibro flare-up. Alcohol just wipes me out.
I'm not teetotal (that's an appalling word) as I still like the occasional vodka and tonic.
My hair's still thin, and barren patches of scalp are still evident ... am I bothered? Not really.
I don't have full-on alopecia, so I'm lucky.
My son's corneal transplant seems to be adhering. There are no signs of rejection so far. 
We had a train trip to Bristol Eye Hospital for a routine appointment on Wednesday (another long journey there and back in a day).
I'm not complaining, I quite like our excursions. 
Sitting in a train seat for nearly ten hours in total is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in a good book, and I had one.
The book I'm reading right now is a novel by Bernadine Evaristo's.  It's titled Girl, Woman, Other and I highly recommend it. Absolutely brilliant. 
I think the best lessons in good writing come from reading great writers and taking note of what it is that makes their book so compelling.
What else have I been doing? 
Well, I bought a six-foot-six artificial Christmas tree with faux snow on its faux needles for just £5.00 at the Cancer Research shop.
I'd prefer a real tree, but don't want to deal with the needles it will inevitably shed as I drag it from the first-floor lounge, down the stairs, and out into the yard.
I still come across the odd dried-up old needle from what must now be three years ago.
Anyway, this way, I'm recycling, and I do love a bit of kitsch.
I'm not big on Christmas, but I kind of like the oddness of Christmas week (between Christmas eve and New Year's day).
Anyway, for now, don't forget your free download.

November 2nd


So, here we go, November already. Another year draws to a close.
My mother often says that time seems to speed up as you get older. 
Now I'm older, I know she's right.
The summers of our youth weren't any longer, but they seemed longer. The count down to Christmas seemed eternal.
Anyway, the last few days have been very productive. I feel as though I'm finally back behind my book.
Having had a lot more me-time has helped.
Visits from the siblings north of the Tamer have been few and far between until now.
It's funny, my mother said, the older I get, the more family seem inclined to visit.
Her point being made... that they all think she'll soon be knocking on heavens door.
So, with the sisters staying, I've stayed put.
I haven't stepped outside, not even once, today,
I've been holed up in the living-room tap, tapping away on my laptop.
When I first started this journal in January, I said I'd write a true and candid account of the year ahead.
Well, to be honest, it hasn't really been as true or as candid an account as I'd have liked. 
A fair amount has been withheld. 
What if someone I know reads the blog? 
I can't risk telling stories that they might recognise as having a role in.
Also, to be frank, and completely honest, emotional, is against my upbringing.
We were bought up to suppress unnecessary emotions and feelings, which was...  most emotions and feelings.
Spock, I guess, was a kind of role model. 
My father wasn't.
It's a shame he couldn't practise what he preached as he was very openly emotional. Unfortunately, the emotion that came predominantly to the fore was his uncontrollable temper over everything and nothing.
Still, once I moved from home and met "normal" people, who talked about stuff, there was no stopping me.
Anyway, keeping a few things back isn't such a bad thing.
Next year, I've decided to take the blog in a different direction.
I'm going to challenge myself to upload a new short story every month.
So, watch this space.
If you're into short stories with a dark twist, you might enjoy reading them, as that's how my stories usually pan out.
Of course, December and Christmas are on the horizon, so there's another couple of months yet to go.
You could always join me in a similar pledge.
By the end of the year, you might have a collection of short stories worthy of publication, self, or otherwise.
Or just a few lines of flash fiction.

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