Good evening... or should I say good night? It's coming up to 11 pm on Sunday and I guess we should really be heading off to bed in preparation for another week at work. But, after an extended siesta this afternoon (oops!) I'm not feeling that sleepy. Ah well...
I don't often sleep in the day, but after a rather hectic week topped off with a Hen Do yesterday, today it was more than needed. Besides, I've just started to read a book on mindfulness and positivity which encourages sleeping well to keep the mind clear. I admit I am on a bit of a mission to "develop" my spiritual side and I see these factors as key to a happy existence. I agree, it isn't always easy, but I'm working on it...
Take this week for example. On Wednesday I went to a talk at London Zoo, "The Jungles of the Mind," after learning that feminist, psychotherapist and mild obsession of mine Susie Orbach was the guest speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk - and getting up close and personal to some amazing animals - but admit leaving feeling a bit flat. You see, at the end of the talk, I approached Susie and asked her to sign her my copy of "Fat Is a Feminist Issue". As she did so I told her how much I admired her work and how it inspired me. She nodded politely and asked me about myself. But, as I spoke, I couldn't help but notice her eyes glaze over as I described my day job. Walking home, I felt disappointed in myself for failing to leave nothing more that a lackluster impression on someone I so admire. When I told my good friend Laura about the encounter, she pointed out that Susie probably met a million people like me every year, but, in my mind, it was just confirmation of what I most fear - that my existence on this planet means nothing.
Since then, however, I have talked to, met and thought of friends who have inspired me to look at the bigger picture. Two of these women, one of whom a have worked closely with for over two years and another who I have just met, told me that they had grown up with a parent who was addicted to alcohol. I was gobsmacked - both these beautiful, savvy women have amazing careers that I am somewhat enviable of, one of whom has developed hers as a single mum. As they spoke they reminded me of other friends who, despite family illness, bereavement and the day to day knocks of work and relationships, never fail to amaze me, raising money for the charity that supports their sick father rather than wallowing in the pain of his disease, heading home to support their dad when their mum is in hospital and going the extra mile to ensure their sister is getting the spiritual support they need when they lose their mother.
Not only do these people inspire me, but they remind me that, even though my one bed flat is not quite as impressive as the converted barn of the aforementioned hen, and that I have yet to make an impression on the literary or art world, I am pretty darn blessed. Something I need to remember next time I get my knickers in a twist over my fluctuating weight and unpublished novel.
So, if our paths cross in the near future and I begin to bemoan my fate, please do us both a favour and remind me of this blog. My positivity is a work in progress, and I might need a bit of help to get there. Bear with me...
Okay, so maybe not - but wasn't the weekend great? Well, sorry to brag but mine was - not in a particularly flashy way, but in a rather smugly satisfactory way.
First, there's the writing. On Saturday I finished the first draft of my second novel. Yes, you read that correctly. FINISHED. And I admit without shame that I did a little jig once I'd hit the save button.
But that's not all: I have made an appointment to meet with a professional editor who has agreed to look at novel number one. This is somewhat terrifying (what if she says it's shit?) but really rather exciting...
And then, my dear friends, we have my other creative pursuits. I have started a new painting AND am planning to record a podcast with mate and stand-up comedian Chris. You see, after a rather heated (and alcohol-fuelled) debate about the advice given to women on dating by supposed experts, I thought it would make a rather amusing discussion - as well as future blog (watch this space!). And Chris, I know you read this blog, so there's no getting out of it now: We've gone public.
Then, of course, I have to say something about my little flat (come on, it's been a least a week since I last did...) Whilst the flaky paint situation continues to flout my attempts to decorate the kitchen (I suspect it hadn't been treated with much TLC by the last owner), everything else is coming together - it was only half an hour ago I received an email confirming that my service charge had finally been sorted after a two month battle. And, to top it off, the more time I spend in the area, the more I like it. Yesterday I headed back down to Hackney for a swim in the London Fields Lido and a mooch along Broadway Market - a lovely morning topped off with a walk along an achingly cool bit of canal. Yep, I admit it, East London has got me hooked.
Funnily enough, my happily hectic weekend has left me rather tired, even if in a rather satisfactory way. And, what with all the warm weather and paint fumes in this flat (oil + emulsion = interesting concoction), I think I may have to love you and leave you so I can head off to my pit. Or rather, my lovely boudoir in the making. As soon as I get that bloody kitchen finished...
Three minutes to go...
I'm watching the World Cup Final, or rather have had it on whilst I natter to Lisa on the phone, finish painting my nails and do my ironing - all things I should have probably done a bit earlier on during my week off. Sadly a bad dose of tonsillitis left me with only a couple of days to get done every thing I had planned.
I admit that feeling like I had a load of nails stuck down my throat, a bag of hot coals of my head and lead weights danging from my limbs for the first three days of my week off left me in a bit of a funk. But one thing that kept me going was thinking positively. One of my mates challenged me to post three positives a day on Facebook and, whilst it was a bit tricky when I felt unable to do much more than crawl from bed to bathroom and back again, I managed it. And, although as weeks off work go it could have been a lot better, I'm pretty pleased with what I have achieved, all things considered.
Firstly, I finally finished my Peru collage. For ages I've been trying to figure out what to do with the background - the newspaper print on its own didn't really do it for me yet I couldn't get the addition of sky blue watercolour quite right. I tried to wash off what I had done - and quite liked the patchy effect, especially when the excess water was sponged up with a bit of kitchen roll. It's all about technique, you see...
Then, I got my shower fixed - and for about £200 less than the first plumber had quoted me. Bearing in mind that this cowboy was also going to replace completely the wrong thing and would have left me £350 poorer and STILL without hot water, I'm pretty chuffed.
But the thing that I'm really excited about is that I've finished the penultimate chapter of my second novel - which means I'm nearly done. In fact, I could have quite happily polished it off today, but was determined to get at least part of my kitchen painted (it was supposed to be a week of decorating, after all!) - which I did. And, despite the odd hiccup (let's just say the walls were NOT in a good state), I'm pleased with my progress and reckon I'll get it all done over the next two weekends. Then I only have four more rooms to go...
So yeah, all in all, things are going pretty well - and this time next week I may well have finished the said novel, set a date to meet an editor about the first one (watch this space!) and have my kitchen done and dusted! Along with a handful of social engagements in the diary, next week is looking to be even more positive than this one.
Just a shame I have to go back to work...
Yep, it's another Monday, and I'm out of the office once more. But, before you get too jealous, rather than cracking on with the decorating, I've spent most of the day down the doctors - or flat out on my bed. That's right - I woke up today with a lovely dose of tonsillitis.
BUT - I'm not going to let it get me down. Yes, so it looks like my planned trip to a knitting group in the pub is off the agenda, but I'll survive. And one of the reasons I'll survive is because of my mates, who, even though I'm not a complete invalid and can get to the local Co-Op for my tomato soup, I know they are there for me.
Take work, for example. It's no secret that I've found the day job a bit frustrating of late. But, last weekend, after a wander around Wood Street market, I chatted with my chums about my work woes - and, whilst making all the right sympathetic noises, they helped me look at the situation objectively and drill down to what was really bugging me. Then, after a particularly bad week, on Saturday I went out with friends who helped me forget all about it, made me laugh by behind off and danced with me until the wee hours - my kind of therapy.
It isn't just work that they've been helping my get my head around. As you regular readers will know, I've just bought a flat - and admit being a bit overwhelmed by the experience. Not only have my mates reminded me that I don't need to have the entire place done-up within the first few weeks, they've also offered practical advice on how I can overcome some of my conundrums - and even got stuck in with the DIY.
But most importantly, they are there for me when the going gets tough, reminding me that, even though I occasionally begin to lose hope, I've come a long way - and, with their help, can overcome any obstacle.
So yeah, today I want to say thank you to all my mates - and hope that they know that I am there for them too. Cos I love you guys and wouldn't be without you.
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...