Happy New Year everyone!
Well I hope you all had a restful and fun-filled Holiday season. I was one of the lucky ones and haven't been to work since Christmas Eve and am feeling much better for the break. However Monday is looking less than merry right now...
So, I don't know about you lot, but other than catching up with family and friends I didn't do an awful lot - which meant I had time to do some serious reading - and writing to boot. I've finished my short story The Night Before Christmas which you can read here and carried on with novel number 2, which is now at 56,000 words and counting - woo hoo! Oh, and before I take the plunge and investigate self publishing, I've contacted
a couple of agents this week in the hope that my first attempt at a novel, Faith Hope and Chocolate, will finally be snapped up by one of them first. Keep everything crossed for me...
Well, I would go on to talk about New Years Resolutions but I plan to write about that next week in my blog for Anglo Info - so keep your eyes peeled if you want to hear more.
Well, that's all from me for now - I want to watch a DVD on my new telly before I go to bed and have a hectic day of massage, brunch and photography exhibitions tomorrow. No rest for the wicked, eh?
Hurrah! The sun is shining, Murray has won Wimbledon and I’ve just poured myself a glass of chilled pinot to reward myself for another day of hard graft in the office. It’s the kind of day that makes you think that, even when the going gets tough, anything is possible – as long as you put your mind to it.
Whilst I admit that I don’t always quite fully subscribe to this idea, I am a firm believer in giving things a go and, if I make a fool of myself in the process, at least I will die knowing I gave life my best shot rather than wondering, “What if?”. Take my trip to Peru for example. I’ve wanted to go for years and came to the conclusion that if I didn’t just get up off my arse and book the trip for me, myself and I, I’d probably never get there. Then there are my attempts to find a publisher – and now an agent. Okay, so the rejection letters suck, but I’m never going to get anywhere if I don’t take them on the chin and keep trying. And now I find myself in the throes of training for the Great North Run. So far it could be going a bit better (not having thrown myself down a mountain on said trip to Peru would have helped) but, you know what? Even if I crawl around the course, I will be able to say that I gave it a try.
It interests me when I tell people about my escapades and they look at me and say, “Oooh, I could never do that! You’re so brave!”
I apologise if you’re one of the people who has said this to me over the last few months, but I disagree. I don’t think that I’m brave. I’m not doing these things because I’m heroic, I’m doing them because I want to achieve something, to experience something, or to move on to better things in my life. Okay, so sometimes I have to take a deep breath before I march into my next scheme and ignore the little voice inside my head (or the negative person I’m talking to in the pub) telling me that it’s a stupid idea and I’ll just end up with egg on my face. But essentially my motivation is purely selfish.
Over the last few weeks I have heard lots of stories of true bravery. Of course there is the woman who faced up to the Woolwich murderers. On telly last week I saw Eye Spy on Channel 4 and watched with amusement at how bystanders reacted to blatant sexism, homophobia and racism – and was proud to see my fellow Brits stand up for those being discriminated against without a second thought.
Closer to home, I see people being brave every day of their lives. An old friend of mine has a niece who, at thirteen, has just had surgery to try and reduce the curvature of her spine caused by muscular dystrophy. The surgery left her very weak and for a while my friend and her family thought she might not recover. But she’s still fighting – a fact that, having known her for quite a large part of her life and admiring her feistiness in the face of her circumstances, doesn’t really surprise me. An attitude that takes guts, if you ask me.
At work, my colleague and good mate Chris recently sent an email around the office, not asking for sponsorship for something stupid like a half marathon (ha!), but reminding everyone about the importance of being a registered organ donor – and making sure your registration details are up to date. Her niece Emma, who was only twenty, had been given under one year to live unless she could find a donor and have a lung transplant before cystic fibrosis would take her life. A couple of days later I was sat in the pub with Chris and asked her how Emma was coping with her prognosis. I know I for one would struggle to keep going in the knowledge that, unless I was lucky enough to have someone with the same blood group as me who also happened to be a registered donor die in a relatively short period of time, I was done for. But was Emma sat at home feeling sorry for herself and bemoaning her fate? On the contrary. In fact, she was rocking out at the Isle of Wight festival along we me and thousands others only three weeks ago.
Yep, that is one brave lady.
Luckily for most of us, we don’t have to climb such huge mountains on a day to day basis. But I think we can all be a little bit braver. When we see something that we don’t like or disagree with, we can take action, whether it is supporting a campaign or just speaking out when someone in the office makes a derogatory comment about the homeless person selling the Big Issue outside or the transgender waitress in the canteen. Of course I’m not suggesting we wade in if we see a fight in the middle of the street, but rather than rubber-necking along with everyone else, we can call the police - something I’ve felt compelled to do twice in the last few weeks.
The other thing we can do to show our distaste at a situation (or of a person for that matter) is to simply walk away. Whether that be boycotting an unethical business or turning our back on people whose behaviours or beliefs we do not accept, it can often be more effective than arguing with some narrow-minded people will ever be.
In short; as long as you aren’t harming anyone else, do what you want to do, be who you want to be, stand up for yourself and for others and you can’t go far wrong. Oh, and be thankful for what you’ve got. It could so easily be taken away from you. Sadly, that is what happened to my mate Chris and her niece Emma today. As I left my last meeting of the day and headed to M&S to buy that well-earned bottle of white, I received a text message telling me that Emma lost her fight today and had passed away just an hour earlier. I admit I shed a tear as I walked through Camden this evening, but then smiled to myself knowing that this plucky woman had lived her life to the full right up to the end of her tragically short life.
So, tonight I am raising a glass to Emma and everyone else out there who shows such incredible courage in spite of illness, persecution or discrimination. They are the real heroes in my book - and a true inspiration to us all.
Happy Friday one and all!
I don’t want to know how long it is since I last blogged here but I know it’s been a while. Sorry about that, but, well, I’ve been really rather busy, mainly putting my body through hell whilst having a bloody good time. Those of you who read my Overground Underground blog (http://blogs.angloinfo.com/underground-overground/2013/06/05/mountains-and-molehills/) will know I’ve just been to Peru – and have since fallen in love with it – and anyone who follows me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/lovehatelondon) will also know that this week has been dedicated to recovering from a really rather wonderful weekend at the Isle of Wight Festival. It would appear that standing in a field bopping to a plethora of bands for four days starts to hurt in your thirties...
So, needless to say, my creative endeavours have taken a back seat over the last month or so – but not completely. Following two rejections from literary agents (FOOLS!) I have written to two more, and managed to squeeze in a writing session between my jolly jaunts too. Other than that, I admit I’ve not done a lot – but I’ve had a break and am rearing to go.
Of course, going to far flung places and being able to take a step back from the day to day grind has given me space to reflect, gain perspective – and be inspired. The stresses of work aren’t getting to me anywhere near as much as they did pre-Peru, and I thank the country for reminding me what is important in life – and not to sweat the small stuff. And, as corny as it sounds, it brought me back to earth – as in it reminded me how beautiful the world can be, even when it pushes you to your limits. So, on the way home I made this little sketch – and intend to turn it into a painting some time soon.
Another great thing about travelling (and the silver lining of long haul flights with dreary stop-overs in dull airports) is that you get time to read – and devour a book in 24 hours. I practically inhaled Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood and found myself nodding away to Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman – and have been inspired to get the paints out to celebrate womanhood too. No doubt I shall produce a collage or two to record my time in Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and those amazing mountains whilst I am at it.
Watch this space....
It’s Friday! The weekend is here! And today is my “work life balance” day so, rather than dragging my ass to the office, I am sat in my dressing gown talking to you lovely people. Cool, non?
So, what am I going to do on this gloriously wet spring morning, you may ask? Well I have a gratis lunch booked at 1pm (keep your eyes peeled on Capital Life for the review!) and then I think I’ll treat myself to the stupidly expensive May Ray exhibition. At £14, it better be good.
You see, that’s the problem. Going out can be an expensive experience – which in general I am cool with (well, you have to be in London!) as long as I have a good time. Last week I made the mistake of going to see the Folly Mixtures at Madame JoJos – okay, so it was only seven quid, but by the time you’ve bought your dinner in town and had a couple of glasses of wine, the cost starts to mount up. I wouldn’t mind if the show had been organised to the extent where you could see the stage without standing on your chair (no, I’m not even joking) and if JoJos hadn’t filled their venue to such a ridiculous extent that I am pretty damn certain that it breached a number of health and safety regulations. And, if the show had had a bit more to it, we might have stayed beyond the first half...
I know people have been saying it for ages, but maybe staying in is the new going out after all. Last weekend I had two really great evenings quaffing wine and munching takeaway/cheese and nibbles in the front rooms of two of my chums, talking Tooting (it’s hip, dontcha know?), men (ha!), the trials and tribulations of that thing we call work (uff) and everything in-between.
I admit, in the week I have been a bit of a hermit too – but this does mean that I have been busy making stuff! After a very painful introduction to cable knit (sorry sis) I managed to create a lovely cosy headband (modelled by Mr Pink) just in time for spring, and also threw together my “Bag Lady” carrier bag holder – and am thrilled to announce that I can remember chain stitch from my home economics classes at school. Yay me!
The jury is out as to how far I shall venture into the wide world this weekend, but, if the weather doesn’t start to improve, it may not be far – which means that at some point I shall have to stop procrastinating and compose a letter to be sent to the two literary agents I have chosen to approach. Yes I am scared – rejection is never a nice feeling - but I guess a girl’s gotta to what a girl’s gotta do to get what she wants out of life.
Anyways, I’m off now for a lovely bath before facing the world – and whether you decide to stay in or brave the weather, have a fabulous weekend.
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...