Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

A whole new game.

October 6, 2013

Now, don’t panic: I’m keeping this blog.

But I’ve also started another one I’m happy to let you have the address for.

I get stuck easily, though. That’s why I’ve not been writing here. Because I’ve been thinking about my desire to stop being anonymous on the internet, particularly after a (short) string of paid writing work, and I knew I wanted to start a new blog, but I just hit pause in  my mind.

TMD took the kids out today for a couple of hours, and I spent the time on my arthritic laptop setting up the basic features on a new blog. I have exactly one post up. It’s all self conscious and assholey because I wasn’t necessarily in THE MOOD to write, but I needed to get something out because otherwise I don’t think the pause button would ever be unpaused.

Other things on pause: my vulva. Consultant dermatologist reckons I’ve got some weird skin infection that can cause brown spots on the vulva. Yeah, really. She’s given me steroids and I have to apply cream twice a day, steroids once. It’s like I’m Snort with skin problems, except….well, not. Anyway, I go back in three months. If the spots are still there, then they get chopped off and biopsied. GOOD TIMES.


Back to the other blog stuff.

I’m worried about it. I’m worried about writing about how awesome I think unschooling is, because I don’t want to alienate or hurt friends with kids in school. Which is TOTALLY RIDICULOUS because I am not offended when these people write about how good school is for their kids, so  maybe I should stop worrying.

But how can I tell you the new address? It is

So I guess if you are my facebook friend, you may know my full name? Or if you followed me on twitter @existere, that links to my new real name twitter account, which links to the blog.

OR you leave a comment here with your email address and I’ll email you the address of the new blog. It has pictures of faces on and everything. Don’t feel embarrassed to get in touch even if you never have before. I had one other blog before this one, and it was much more widely followed. I closed that blog so I could write about my experiences working as a therapist on this one, and issued a similar call for comments and email addresses. And you know, I met some interesting people. Many people were just a ‘Hi, here’s my new blog address’ sort of thing, but some? Some were more. It was nice.

Catch you on the flip side.

What I just posted on Facebook. (30/365 ONE)

June 19, 2013

I remember how I felt that evening two years ago when I walked fifteen minutes without any assistance. I dubbed it ‘the summer I would learn to walk again,’ and after two years full time in a wheelchair, and still on crutches every day, it seemed a big task.

I developed symphysis pubis dysfunction during pregnancy, and I still have it – along with the resultant arthritis – today. But I haven’t used a wheelchair in a year, though I’ve had a handful of days where I couldn’t walk. I’ve only used crutches on less than ten occasions.

Today I start a new goal – thirty minutes of walking every day for the next 365 days. Walking can be substituted with a DVD, class, etc. I may have to be flexible in cases of severe relapse or illness, but would prefer to swap walking for meditation or stretching on those occasions.

These thirty minutes have to be separate from whatever other activity I may have done that day – like walking miles at the seaside today and being sore before I even went out this evening!

I’m doing this for head space, for time to rediscover me, to work on my next novel, to explore my neighbourhood, to get more healthy – and I guess, I’m doing this because I’m just so grateful I can. After being told I may be in a wheelchair for life, after finally coming close to coming to terms with daily, chronic pain, I can walk. I don’t want to forget how amazing that is.


So here is where you come in. I’m posting this publicly because I need support. I know my motivation will flag and I will want to give up. I need likes and comments and support. I won’t flood your news feeds and I will never write a status this long again, but I WILL post every day.

Today is day one. I walked for 33 minutes, 2 mph, for 1.11 miles.

Go greased drama…..greased drama! Go greased drama!

January 17, 2013

Well, it’s official. We are swimming school dropouts. Not entirely sure how I feel about it. This morning Snort asked to go to swimming lessons (sigh), and at the mere mention Coconut began to cry again. It’s all go go gadget drama.

Yesterday we ended up meeting some friends at a museum, so that was a bright spot. The other bright spot was getting a full refund for the remaining eleven weeks in the swimming term. Of course, I will now have to spend more money to take them swimming myself, but at least we got that money back. Phew.

The other thing going on is that I’ve been accepted as a writer for a well known site. I am going back and forth in my head about writing as me versus writing as existere. Well, obviously both are me, but you know what I mean – fake names or not. Writing as existere would certainly drive traffic towards this blog, but I’m not too keen on that. I write this blog for myself, my family, and the small community that has sprung up as a result of it.

I am tempted to write as myself. To gain a few writing credits under my real name, however small time they are. We shall see.

In the meantime, we are all inside today. I’m all sore and brokenesque, and I think we are all fighting a cold. Coconut also managed to scrape off fully 70% of the skin on the underside of one of her pinkies, and we are now on fever and red streaks watch. That is a whole separate drama. I won’t write about it now because she has just started crying about how it may snow tomorrow and she doesn’t want her extensive finger plaster to get wet.

I am tired.

…For now.

June 3, 2012

Today is a boon day.

Yesterday was spent in caves, largely, and a good time was had by all. Largely. But by the time we got home, I was ready for bed at like 6:30 pm. I decided to skip writing the manuscript for the night and catch up today. I woke up this morning and realised while showering (the birthplace of many good ideas) that we are actually going abroad for part of June. (But my FIL will be here in the house, lest any of you think theiving thoughts.)

So I need to write MORE than 1667 words per day to finish Camp NaNoWriMo. 3198 so far today, for a grand total of 4975 thus far! TMD took the kids out shopping to leave me alone – and what a perfect morning for it. Cloudy, slight breeze through my window, downloaded music floating in the air.

I was sad about not going as I wanted to pick up ‘summer trousers’ (I literally own one pair of trousers that fits and they definitely are winter ones.) – but TMD picked some up in a size lower (I’m back on vintage weight watcher points and doing well, so thought there was no point in buying the size I have been wearing) and THEY FIT PERFECTLY. I like to wear trousers low, but never in a million years would I think the next size down would comfortably fit worn round my hips. They even fit while I’m sitting. SITTING!

So, I guess I am a smaller woman writing a bigger quantity of words.

That is all…

Other stuff we did not know.

June 1, 2012

Here’s something I didn’t know that you probably didn’t know either. NaNoWriMo has a camp. Oh, yes, my child. In June they have a summer camp version of NaNoWriMo. We’re all ready to write a 50,000 word novel (or the first 50,000 words!), slathered in suncream and signed up for archery lessons.

I want the fucking poster they are selling. I want all the other stuff, too, but the poster is the cheapest and I imagine it to be a great souvenir once this session of camp is over. Have I told you I LOVE CAMP? And I LOVE WRITING?

It’s roughly a 1667 words a day commitment. I just did my first 1675. JOIN ME. Will you join me? Canoe rides with laptops balanced on our laps? Sleepovers and ghost stories? Or, you know, just a few people cursing themselves and trying to write a novel that is going nowhere. With no compasses.

See, it sounds fun. Leave a comment if you’re gonna do it! You can sign up on the site and we can be friends and kick each others asses. Or join my little circle on facebook – myself and a friend have committed to doing it and you are likely to see our daily wall exchanges on the topic if you and I are friends. If we aren’t friends, maybe we should be. Consider it and leave a comment for that shit too, but be warned I’ll probably only friend you if we have chatted online, or I know you from my blog or your blog, and you promise you aren’t an axe murderer.

Because, kids, it’s camping season and everyone knows summer camp is when all the creepy killers come out of the woods and stab you to death in your camp bed.

Um. Okay. So. Writing. Camp NaNoWriMo! This is my first attempt at the camp version of nano, and I *think* I’m looking forward to it.

But now I need to go read The Hunger Games for the fifth time (thank you, wonderful Lynn!) and maybe go pee beforehand just so I can use my new awesome homemade reuseable wipes/family cloth (thank you, wonderful Jinxy! I ADORE them. So soft! I may have even let my butt touch them, and it’s like wiping with a cloud!). I am going to try to stick with nightly writing, though, so that even if I have a heap of crap at the end of the month, I’ll have a heap of crap. You know? Because I can sit on top of my heap of crap reading e-books and wiping myself with nice family cloth.

It all works out in the end.

Once upon a time…because I DO have something to say.

May 23, 2012

So there we were, walking along the street, and the words popped out of my mouth. ‘Once upon a time….’

I wove words into a simple tale, and got the most gratifying response. ‘More.’

Another story. ‘And more.’

Another. ‘That’s a lovely story, Mama.’ Beaming faces. Intent listening. The urging for my words to keep going, to weave around us in a spell of golden light, to find out what happens next.

And it occured to me – while I have read endless stories to my children, made up millions of songs, I’d never before just said those simple words. Those once-upon-a-time wonders that opened the doors to stories about, well, anything I fancied. My reluntance to tell stories had perhaps hindered me to think about the possibility of creating them for that most brutal, yet loving, of audiences….my very honest children.

So with the words of ‘More, Mama! More stories!’ in my ears, with the memory of my daughter instantly grabbing hold and starting her own ‘once upon a times’ to herself, I sat down to write again.

Pen against paper this time. No straying from what has always been my home, writing for older children and younger adults. My two completed novels, and my half finished novel, are still here in this house. But now there is a new cheapie notebook, lined with my increasingly messy handwriting, filling up with stories the way I told them when I was eight years old. A little at a time, in my own writing, carried around and always ready to record more of what I have to say.

A story about rain.

April 28, 2012

Brie says: I would like a story about rain, please.

Once upon a time there was a young girl. She was about 14 years old.

This girl loved reading in the bath; on the particular evening we are talking about, she was in the bath, rindow cracked to ventilate the room. It was your typical dark and stormy night – lashing wind and rain. That’s why it was so odd that she heard a voice out on the deck, which was a story below the window of her bathroom.

She knew, in the way that children sometimes know things that are impossible to know, that it was her father on the phone with another woman. He was hiding outside so no one could hear him speaking. She rose from the tub, water dripping down her beautiful body she didn’t know how to appreciate, and walked into her mother’s room. She grabbed the phone, lifting it in that oh-so-careful way she had perfected when she wanted to listen in without anyone knowing an extension had been picked up.

Her wet footprints followed her back to the bathroom, where she carefully locked the door behind her and crouched, shivering, facing the wall. If you were to ask her fifteen or so years later if she remembered the exact words she overheard over the next forty minutes, she’d say, ‘Well, some of them, but I mostly remember the wall I was looking at.’ It was old, 70s style funky wallpaper, brown stripes in various patterns and thicknesses. Water beaded and dried across her goosepimpled and naked flesh, and she looked steadily through that wall.

The young girl heard her father speak intimately to another woman. It was a shock, a surprise, a betrayal – although it wasn’t the first time her father had cheated. But it was the first time she actually caught him. And the last.

Because the rain hitting the window, the water on her body, the tears on her cheeks – oh, the shattering pain. And the deeper, colder, calculating self that wanted to punish him. That self made the girl rise and walk across the hall to her younger sister’s bedroom. Her sister had a tape recorder with a microphone attached, and this girl wanted to tape her father – to give him no chance to deny, to hide. She wanted to make him pay.

Her sister yelled ‘Get out of my room!’ despite the girl placing a finger over her lips and trying to explain. The girl heard her father say, louder than life, ‘Shit. My kid heard everything.’

She angrily, and quickly, told her sister what had happened, before running across the hall, slamming the bathroom door, and locking herself in. Her father’s footsteps pounded against the stairs, up to her door, where she sealed up a part of her. She became silent, and in fact wouldn’t speak a word to her father for the next two years. He kept his voice light and jolly, trying to skillfully kid and pretend nothing had happened. He told her one bullshit story.

Her younger sister was upset, too little to understand what was going on. The girl’s father pulled her sister downstairs, told her a different bullshit story, then sent that poor seven year old kid upstairs to fight his battles for him.

‘Dad says it’s a friend from the bar, she’s dying of cancer, he’s just being a nice friend to her,’ her sister’s voice pleaded. The girl remained silent.

Hours later, her sister went to bed. Her father stopped trying to cajole her. She crept out of the bathroom, long dry, but still naked, and got dressed. She was downstairs waiting for her mother to get home – she worked night shifts at a hospital. She didn’t know where her father was. The girl knew she was going to tell her mother, but in the end her sister did. She ran down the stairs, said, ‘She said she heard dad cheating on you!’

And that was the end of her parent’s marriage.

Not the ongoing violence that had first happened when she was still in her mother’s womb. Not the alcoholism, the PTSD, the colourful and deadly combination of mental illnesses. Not the past cheating. Not the attempted suicide in front of the young girl and her little sister. None of that.

Just one phone call, and one angry young girl.

This post brought to you by my compelling desire to write, and complete inability to do so. Generous people have given me funny, thoughful, and factual suggestions for posts. Click here to see them, or add your own. I’ll work through them all in time.

Tell me a story……1998 edition.

April 26, 2012

This post brought to you by my compelling desire to write, and complete inability to do so. Generous people have given me funny, thoughful, and factual suggestions for posts. Click here to see them, or add your own. I’ll work through them all in time.

Winnie says: I’d love to hear stories about when you and TMD were first together.

I love this topic and will come back to it in future, but first my brain says: which story? Can I type after a day of two sick kids and a glass of wine, with TMD reading a helicopter book to Snort in the background?

I met TMD at the summer camp we both worked at. It was about twenty minutes from my home, and across the ocean from hers. I worked there for many years, in many roles, and every year we had a sizeable amount of staff from abroad. I don’t remember many of them. But I can say, hand over heart, I remember the instant I met TMD.

I had been at camp for a few weeks with the other managerial staff. These early weeks were to get things organized, to train managers, and to watch shitty scary movies and eat candy. The international staff frequently flew in near the end of our month of preparation, a few days before the local staff, because they needed to sleep and get used to the time difference.

So in they came – a group of red eyed, yawning, and terrified young women from around the globe.

The moment that sticks in my mind is this: We were all sleeping together in one big room. The international staff dragged mattresses into a corner and promptly passed out. But TMD? She had the biggest, brightest smile and she was Happy To Be There. She wanted to join in, to hear our stories, to laugh with us. I was really impressed with her. I can actually visualise her exact expression, which is odd because anyone who really knows me knows I can’t recall events that were apparently key in my own life.

That evening at dinner is the first conversation I remember having. We were having make-your-own-tacos and she was like, ‘Uh, what are tacos?’ At that point I thought perhaps she had flown in from the fucking moon rather than Country B, but as I happen to be a modest expert on taco construction, I regalled her with my knowledge.

We became very good friends, best friends eventually. In the way of camp friendships, you become lobsters with those people you work with – you are laughing, whining, playing, living, and working with a tight knit group of people for months at a time. The odd side effect is that often you never speak between camping seasons – but if you happen to see them years later? The easy love and affection is still there.

TMD broke that mold by sending me an email one day. She had the address of my blog-at-the-time, and I had been writing about coming out as bisexual. I had a lot of Very Serious Queer Pondering to do, and that’s mainly where I did it. She wrote and said she thought I was brave. I later found out that she went back to the first entry, written a couple of years before, and read every word I wrote. I think a little of my queer bravery leaked out onto her, and in fact I helped bully her into coming out of the closet a few years later.

But that’s another story.

Because Nike says so….

April 25, 2012

Ah, all that shit about being inspired to start over again? I decided to do so by giving myself fifteen minutes to write fiction a night. No pressure, no biggie, right?

Except I got totally freaked out. So I thought, ‘Hey, no problemo. I’ll blog instead.’ Except I froze up.

I think it’s fair to say this shit is a pretty large phobia. Please help me over my phobia. Ease me into shit. Leave a comment with a suggestion for a blog entry – maybe a question you have about me/TMD/etc, a philosophical query like those in ‘The Big Book of Questions,’ or something like ‘write a two paragraph work of fiction about bananas.’ Or even ‘hit me up with two sentences from one of your completed novels.’

(Hell, you can even leave multiple comments. This is the one time you don’t need to fear judgement for doing so, because I will not be judging. I will be LICKING YOU THROUGH YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN. Good licking, not the sort of licking that leads to cannibalism and putting the lotion on its skin or anything.)

I will then have dozens (ha) of comments to work through when I freeze up. SO PLEASE HELP UNFREEZE ME. Don’t read this and run. I fucking see how many page views I get every day, and that shit does not match up with the teensy number of comments I get. I bleed when I don’t get comments like everyone else does, but you know I do not comment-grub. So cut me some slack.

Let’s aim for twelve comments. DO IT.

Unfreeze me. Anonymously, obnoxiously, I don’t care. Just do it.

Who am I, who have I been, who do I wish to be? HOW do I wish to be?

April 25, 2012

I’ve been talking to David more in the past few weeks than we have in the past few years. I like talking to him. He’s intelligent, funny, and we share a way of thinking. We know each other in a way I don’t know other people, or allow myself to be known. Somehow it’s always just been this way. Easy, and challenging. Our conversations make me think….and feel.

Today I was left with the question: How would I experience the world if I was the adult I would be had I never experienced childhood trauma?

I spent a lot of time locked in my room, trying to not hear the sound of my mother being pushed down the stairs by my father. A lot of time locked in my head, trying to ignore the yelling – or the silences, as these polar opposites were the hallmarks of my childhood. I didn’t experience a lot of the middle ground when I was a kid.

But then the thought occured to me that I’ve had a thousand times, and I know you have too: if I’d never experienced what I have, I wouldn’t be me. And while I have my rusty parts, my terrified parts, my cranky parts – on the whole I like me. So how to move forward?

It’s a fool’s game to try to change the past, to wish things away or into existence. We just can’t do it.

But you know, I think maybe, just maybe, we have the best of both worlds. We get to have learned from our pasts, but we also have the chance to build on that. Everything seems to be a pretty delicate balance, and for me, learning to stay somewhere in the middle has been hard.

I try to be graceful – my experience with a disordered father has allowed me a sensitivity to other people’s pain I might not have known otherwise. I have strong intuition and instincts because I needed them when I was a kid. I am grateful for these gifts….though of course I’ve had some unwanted gifts. A fear of my own creativity, of taking risks. A fear of standing up to people, lest I get punished in some inexplicable way.

We all have our hurting places. We all think we are the only one to have these secret doubts and black places, but that’s bullshit. We all have them. But I think we all have the potential to try to learn new ways of being, to try to be our deepest, most authentic self – yes, the person we would be if we were not scarred by our pasts. It is hard work. It is grueling, painful, and sometimes joyful.

I have gone through cycles of extreme growth, and lately I’ve been stuck in period of grey sameness. It’s been cold, muddy, mostly lonely. Perhaps this conversation, my watching a friend as he tries to force his way out of a concrete cocoon, will be my inspiration to start over.