Yes, I’ve been busy but…

…that’s going to sound like an excuse, which it is, although I’m hoping that I may finally be on the right track.  After all my will I/won’t I get a job, I started a temp job this Monday.  I have to say it’s tiring, not having worked at all since September last year, and on top of that, I am so broke I don’t even have enough money to get the bus, so I’ve been walking the 6 mile round trip.  As if that wasn’t enough, the office is so hot that I spend all afternoon feeling nauseous. 

But you know what, aside from the tiredness, aching back, legs and eyes, I’m actually feeling pretty damn good.  I actually have motivation now, and let’s face it, anyone who can walk 3 miles in the morning and after work is not too short of motivation. The exact thing I’ve been lacking for the last couple of months, in fact, make that years, is suddenly coming at me in leaps and bounds.  Most people think I’m crazy when I tell them how far I’ve walked.  But aside from needing motivation, I need exercise too, and due to overeating chocolate (I’m definitely a comfort eater) I need to get rid of the belly I’ve acquired before the bikini season starts. 

The best thing, though, is that yesterday on my walk home, it came to me.  You see, I’ve been asked to write another fairy tale for The Reading Room Live to take place on Saturday 12th May 2012.  For those of you who don’t know, when I was studying at Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as part of my American Studies degree, I wrote a short story.  It was for a class I was taking, called Unlock Your Voice, which would culminate in an evening coffeehouse celebration of women’s writing.  Out of 17 students, I was the only one to write an original piece and I was thrilled when my Professor asked me to close the programme with it.  She suggested to me that I should write a book of fairy tales, so far though, I’ve written one since then, with a couple of ideas that are just that, ideas.

So I knew I had to write something for The Reading Room Live, which is a live broadcast of Siren FM’s monthly literary show.  Headlining the show is Red Dwarfstar, Robert Llewellyn, who will be speaking about his new book.  So, for me, no pressure or anything…

Anyway, as I was saying, I was about halfway home yesterday when I suddenly knew what my next fairy tale would be about.  In my mind I could see it flowing as the first one had.  Today during my lunch hour I got the first page or so written and tomorrow I’ll work on it again.

I’m kind of feeling like I’ve missed the boat a bit on fairy tales, with so many representations of them appearing in the world of television and film lately.  But I hope mine may be of interest to people too. 

I’m keeping it close to my chest, so if you want to hear it, you’ll have to get a ticket for The Reading Room Live, being held at the LPAC (Lincoln Performing Arts Centre) in Lincoln, UK on Saturday 12th May at 7:30pm (tickets £5). 

So what is it that’s got my motivation going after all this time?  Maybe it’s because, after 14 years, I’m once again a data entry clerk earning not much more than minimum wage, just like I did in 1998 after I returned from living in London.  I’m doing it not because that’s all I’m capable of, just that I need the money (obviously…).  But I guess it feels like a vicious circle, one that I’m determined to get out of.  I want to write for a living.  The only way to achieve that, is to be able to write. 

I’d best get to bed, since it’ll soon be the witching hour and some of us (including me, yay) have jobs to go to in the morning.  And the rest of a short story to write at lunch.




Get It Write: Amendments to 3 pounds 9 ounces and loving life…

First of all, I have to apologise.  To my brother, Baz and his girlfriend, Emma, parents of my recently born nephew, Jamie.  Although they were happy with my last blog post, they did point out a few errors, mainly related to days of the week!  I told you I had a problem with concentration; but I didn’t realise I had such a problem with knowing what day it is!  The other main error, which I’m ashamed to say, is that I got Baz’s age wrong.  He is in fact, 29 and a half!! Not 28 as I had stated.  Maybe the fact that my little brother is not so little any more, that he’ll be 30 in September, that he’s father to a beautiful little boy, is still catching up with me.  He’s not the little boy who used to go downstairs in the mornings and raid the biscuit tin with me, or who used to play on his plastic road mat with his hundreds of dinky cars, or used to beat me at Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge (sometimes!) on our old Amiga. 

He now has responsibilities on those broad shoulders, far more important than those that I have.  But I look into his eyes and I know he’s ready to accept them.  Again, more than I am with my lesser responsibilities. 

So I apologise to Baz for trying to make him younger, although I reckon he’ll be begging me to once he hits his 30s!

The other errors I made in reporting the story is that he went to Worksop for the first time on Monday, when actually it was Tuesday and the day Emma went into labour was Tuesday 28th, not Monday.

The other thing, rather more important thing I got wrong was the day of the week that Jamie was born. It was a Wednesday, the 29th February 2012 when Jamie entered the world, not a Friday.  I knew that.  And it only happened just over two weeks ago.  How could I get that wrong?

I’ve been noticing lately that my spelling is not as good as it used to be.  I have always considered myself an expert speller, although recently, when I’m typing, I will type a different spelling to a word, ie I recently confused wear for where.  I recently had a test for dyslexia which did not indicate signs of dyslexia, although I was told that depression can cause similar problems. 

For myself, as a writer, it’s been an interesting experience having to make corrections to my blog.  Having worked in a job which required a high level of attention to detail, and myself being rather a perfectionist, I hate the idea of any of my pieces of writing going out with errors.  As I’m also an honest person, I would rather hold my hand up and say I made a mistake (or four) than hide behind a computer screen.  To me, its important that the truth is told, be it the day of the week, a person’s age or how I feel. 

Anyway, I have made the amendments to my original blog post.  But I state here the errors I made for all to see.  I know I’m not perfect, and neither was my blog post.  But to me, Baz, Emma and the rest of our family and friends. little Jamie is, and always will be. ❤ 


3 pounds 9 ounces and loving life…

On Wednesday 29th February 2012, a little miracle happened.  My first nephew was born 🙂 But that is the short story.  The real story went something like this. 

My little (or not so much anymore) brother, Baz (Barry), 29 and his girlfriend, Emma, who was 23 on the day Jamie Joshua was born, had announced their pregnancy last year.  With a due date of 29th April 2012, we were all anticipating baby to be born just in time for England’s May bank holidays.  However, it seems that Jamie didn’t want to wait that long.

Emma had been in and out of hospital since January with bleeding.  The placenta was also low which may have indicated the need for a Cesarean section.  By mid-February, it had got to the point that she couldn’t continue to lose any more blood and if the bleeding continued, they would have to perform a C-section.  Emma was 29 weeks pregnant.

Over the next two weeks, Emma was in and out of hospital, as they did scans and performed blood tests, although the cause of the bleeding could not be identified.  The placenta was not as low as it could have been, so they were just going to monitor Emma’s condition.

On Monday 20th February, Baz had gone to Worksop to take the exams that he’d been building up to the last three years, while retraining to be an electrician.  He arrived at Worksop on Tuesday morning, ready to sit the first of three days of exams, when he received a call from the hospital.  They were going to deliver the baby before lunchtime.  Of course he rushed back to Lincoln County Hospital, where he and Emma waited anxiously all day, only to be told they were not going to deliver the baby after all. 

The following day he returned to Worksop, praying to get his two and a half days of exams finished before the arrival of his son, otherwise face £1000 fee to re-sit.  He completed the exams and passed, so congrats to him on that 🙂

Fast forward to Tuesday 28th February; Emma had gone into labour at 10am.  She had just turned 31 weeks.  It was an anxious time for us all as we waited for news.  I worried about whether I should be at the hospital, but Baz reassured me there was nothing that I could do, and that he would let everyone know when there was news.  I awoke at 8am the following morning and immediately checked my phone.  Nothing from Baz.  I have to admit, I feared the worst, so I text my mum, although knowing she would be driving to work, I didn’t really expect a reply.  So I called my dad at work to ask if he’d heard anything, and he told me that Emma had given birth to a boy, Jamie Joshua, at 6:41am.  As far as he knew, both mother and baby were doing well.  I was so relieved, I cried.

Baz called me shortly after, and I had to admit I’d already spoken to our dad.  He called me impatient!  Now he calls me Auntie Jodie 🙂  He did tell me that I was the first to hear Jamie’s birth weight: 3 pound 13 ounces.

Later that afternoon, I went up with my dad to see Jamie in the Neo-Natal Unit, situated on the sixth floor of Lincoln’s Maternity Wing.  The view over the East of Lincoln was amazing, but we all only had eyes for little Jamie. 

I couldn’t believe how tiny he was! Tiny, but perfectly formed.  He looked so small and vulnerable sleeping there.  When the nurse passed Jamie to Emma to hold, taking care to move all the wires he was attached to before removing him from the incubator, I started to cry again. 

Looking at Baz and Emma, they looked so grown up.  Not that they weren’t before, but I guess they’d progressed from being a young couple to being parents, Mummy and Daddy to a little boy who couldn’t wait to greet the world.  I couldn’t be more proud of the proud parents and my gorgeous new nephew.

A few days after he was born, Jamie had to be moved over to Leicester, due to some funny colour liquid they’d removed from his stomach. They performed tests which showed everything to be normal, and day by day passed when we expected Jamie back at Lincoln,  Once again a worrying time for everyone, especially Baz & Em, who were travelling back and forth to Leicester, with Emma staying over with Jamie a few nights. We were somewhat relieved when we found out the delays were due to Lincoln not having the staff to look after Jamie, rather than a problem with him, although we were all desperate for him to be back. 

Jamie returned to Lincoln in an ambulance on Friday 9th March.  The day before his Mummy’s 24th birthday.  I think he knew he had to be there for her 🙂

Since then, they’ve been feeding him up at Lincoln and he’s gaining weight.  He’s still in the incubator and will continue to be until his temperature goes below 29 degrees (it’s currently 31).

I’ve been up most days to see Jamie and every day he just gets cuter!  He has these gorgeous blue eyes which open wide every so often (yes I know all babies have blue eyes at birth) and tiny fingers, which wrap around my index finger.  I haven’t had proper cuddles yet, they’re just for Mummy and Daddy, but I can’t wait because I know soon I’ll be able to cuddle him as much as I want to.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know how difficult I’ve found life lately.  I don’t know what I want to do with my life.  I find it hard to get motivated to do anything, and half the time when I do get something done, I am full of fear that’s it’s just not good enough.  I worry about whether I am capable of doing things then have dreams about them, which I wake from full of doubt, which can make it hard to start the day positively.  Even if you’ve never read one of my blog posts, you can tell from the title of my blog it’s not all about sweetness and seahorses.  It’s about life.  My life.  My feelings.  The person I am.  The person I want to be.  The person I don’t want to be. 

I take Fluoxetine (aka Prozac) for my depression, and Lymecycline for my acne.  I thought I would be off the acne tabs by this age, but no.  A few weeks ago, I couldn’t afford to get my Lymecycline prescription.  So when I ran out, I didn’t have any more tablets to take.  I figured I could go without, surely it wouldn’t be that bad.  As has happened before (I am rubbish at collecting my prescription before I run out), I had a major breakout of spots.  Not just little pimples, a huge volcano of one on my chin, with several smaller ones on around my mouth.  Not exactly a great thing to see when you look in the mirror, especially when you already feel crappy inside. It really affected my mood.  A few days later, I ran out of Fluoxetine.  Although I’d planned to buy more Fluoxetine, things had happened and I’d just not had chance to get to a pharmacy.  At first, I thought perhaps I was getting away with it.  I felt ok.  Despite my face, I was feeling ok.  But two days later, I could’t stop crying.  I went to the pharmacy, parted with my £14.80 and left with both my Fluoxetine and Lymecycline. 

I guess I just have to accept that right now, it’s not possible for me to live a stress-free life without my tablets.  I know I’ll get low if I even miss just one day’s worth (which I try to avoid at all costs).  I would love to have beautiful (albeit somewhat scarred) facial skin at the age of 33, but that’s just not possible either.  On the tablets, I am fairly spot-free.  I get the occasional one, but I can cope with that.

But you know what?  So far, my little nephew has to be fed through a tube that goes into his nose.  I watched him being fed yesterday, where milk previously expressed from his Mummy was fed into the tube using a syringe.  Today he’s going to try breast feeding with Mummy, which is definitely an improvement, and an exciting progression towards finally being able to be a normal baby 🙂 

If my little nephew, born 9 weeks early and weighing little more than a bag of sugar, can fight through this time of difficulty to stay alive, then so can I.  So what, we may need a little medical help to do that right now, but sometimes you just have to accept that. 

I wasn’t particularly thrilled at having to suspend my studies and spend at least another 18 months here in Lincoln.  But now I have someone who needs more looking after than I do.  Someone who needs his Auntie Jodie there, for cuddles and playtime, as much as Auntie Jodie will need him.   Besides, being born on a leap year, he’ll need his whole family around him, to make sure his birthdays every year, but especially every four years, are extra special.  But I don’t think he’ll have any problems finding people to celebrate with.  Not least, his proud Auntie Jodie, who loves him so much already. ❤


Melancholia: It’s Not The End Of The World…Is It?

About a month ago I watched the 2011 film, Melancholia, starring Kirsten Dunst.  One of the reasons for picking this particular film was its inclusion of Kiefer Sutherland, whom I’ve been missing since Jack Bauer disappeared from our screens. 

I didn’t really know what to expect from this movie, although I was aware it wasn’t going to be a particularly happy film.

The film is told in two parts from the point of view of two sisters, with the impending stray planet Melancholia on a potential collision course with Earth.  The first part tells Justine’s story; she is severely depressed, to the point of being unable to enjoy her wedding day, an expensive, glamourous party thrown by her brother-in-law, John (played by Kiefer) and held at his mansion.  While Justine gets more and more depressed as the evening’s festivities continue into the night, her behaviour becomes more erratic, taking a bath during the reception and having sex with a stranger on the lawn.  Although she seems unable to cope with her familial relationships and with that of her new husband, Michael, who finally leaves her the following morning, she is unphased by the possible planetary crisis. 

Part two tells the story of Justine’s sister, Claire, who is trying to cope with her sister’s depression as she comes to  live with them after the wedding.  Claire, who appears to be happily married with husband, John and son, Leo, becomes obsessed with fear over the potential end of the earth. 

“Cheer up, love, it’s not the end of the world.”  How many times do people tell us that in life?   Right now I am having a down day, I felt it coming on last night, possibly something to do with the cloud that’s been over Lincoln the last two days, while the rest of the country seems to have been bathed in glorious sunshine.  There’s not really any particular thing that has got me down, just life.  There’s no foreshadowing of doom, no catastrophe due to eliminate the earth (if you ignore the Mayan calendar).  So should I be enjoying my life?  Yes, I should.  But sadly, when you suffer from depression, it takes you up and down and some days, like Justine, I am incapable of doing anything – getting showered and dressed, eating properly.  At this moment in time, 13:27, I am still in my PJs, laid on the sofa, tears in my eyes.  My food intake so far today has consisted of three quarters of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, half a glass of Diet Coke and a coffee.  I couldn’t even drag myself down to Starbucks to partake of their offer of a free tall latte. 

Melancholia examines melancholia as a disease; the first definition I find is “a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity”.  If that doesn’t describe the way I feel right now nothing does.  I am aware that I haven’t written a blog post since 26 February, and that post was entitled “Four Days!  I Lost Four Days!!!” after not writing in my blog for four days.  The truth is, I’ve tried a few times to write, but melancholia has taken over.  My newborn nephew, Jamie, who arrived two weeks ago today, is waiting for me to write a blog about him (as are his proud mummy and daddy, Emma and my brother Baz).  But that “pessimistic sense of inadequacy” just won’t let me. 

Anyway, I’m writing this blog in a bid to keep writing.  I want to be a writer.  But how can I do that when I can’t even write?  How can I hope to write a  book when I can’t even write a blog?

After I post this (and I WILL post this) I’m going to grab a shower, put some make up on and do my hair, get dressed and then head to the hospital to see Jamie.  Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. 

I think I know where today’s slump came from, the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The news that another swan has suffered in Lincoln, being lured with bread before being beaten with a stick full of nails and thrown into a van.  After my previous post, The Dead Swan, you can see how this might have upset me.  True, it’s not the end of the world.  Or, to quote another old cliche, a matter of life or death (not for me at least).  But when you’re on the path to another melancholic episode, anything can tip you over into a full bore slump. 

To show your support for the swans of Lincoln, please like my new Facebook page,  As for me, I’ll be ok.  Eventually.  One day I won’t be a planet called Melancholia.  One day, I’ll be more of a Venus ❤