Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Never trust a cyclist

Especially if she's me...
So, as part of my training for my charity trek in the Himalayas in October (massive big deal on so many levels), the husband and I went cycling -to work those thigh muscles for climbing and all that. We went along the tow path on the Taunton canal. It was scary but all good, so we stopped for tea and cake before heading back another 4.5 miles.
Barely off when a bunch of teens came a walking. They could see me, and as hubs had passed first, and in his words, built like a brick sh-house - they had moved out of his way. But it would seem that despite the new yards of ass my middle age has endowed, they thought I needed less room.
Therein lay the problem.
Teenage self-ish, gangly, no awareness of body space...and the generous but mistaken notion that person on bike equals cyclist (i.e. someone who competently manages bike). I am a rubbish cyclist. I am not confident cyclist. I didn't have a bike when I was wee (there were 7 of us, that's a lot of bikes to afford). I am even more nervous if he next space is a body of water. So, dear teens, I really needed you to move. I had nowhere to go.
Too late, I realise that the last few inches are not spared and I whack into the girl's elbow - just enough to tilt my handlebars and throw me off balance. I can't swerve into the water, so I fall off, twisting my big toe as I hit the ground.
It swelled up so badly I was sure I'd broken it.Not funny when I am supposed to be training big time. Well, ten days later, the toe is moving and not broken and I should be able to walk again properly before the week is out.
My note to teens is - really - don't assume the adult is more competent, just cos they're on a bike! Save your tender skin and get the f-ck out of the way.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Motivation and characters

In the past week, an odd question has been put to me about my current work.
The novel is dark, handling themes of violence, abuse, sexual deviance and betrayal of the deepest loyalties.The question is this; what am I doing to protect myself while working on these topics and manoeuvring my characters in and around the tale?
I was touched by the question - offered out of genuine concern. And it certainly made me think. I mean, if you watched horror movies all the time, you'd get jumpy (I had a three hour nightmare about Zombies the other night that took a whole day to shake off). If you read sleaze all the time it would alter your perspective, wouldn't it?
When I studied Acting, we had strategies to put in place if you were undertaking a heavy role (I had one where I'd lost my mind and my daughter was about to put me to sleep with her gun). They were processes to disengage yourself from the role and the things that were happening to your character.
That was when the curtain drew back and I finally realised why I have been struggling to get on with this book. I simply haven't been looking after myself -carrying around deep grief and pain on behalf of my young girls in the story, and feeling generally heavier than I might otherwise.
So, I share this as a cautionary reminder that you should make conscious preparations to enter the created world you are writing, but more importantly, exit it mindfully and definitely when you are finished for the day.

I shall endeavour to put this into practice and let you know if it works.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The dentist

A seven month trial of infection and pain finally came to and end for beloved Aspie.His poor mouth had been in agony since Christmas, and he really needed root canal treatment. BUT he is completely needle phobic, so there was no way he was going to face all that. An extraction was suggested as the best way forward. But how to sedate him?? we ended up travelling to three different towns to special Dental Access Centres, the last was a two hour round trip. All to no avail. It was looking like a general anaesthetic would be the only answer -not what I wanted to hear - he's had too many for one life time already.

Then, at my own dental appointment, my good lady dentist asked to meet him. I took him along - just to meet and look around etc. Well, she talked to him for a whole half hour, telling him exactly what would happen, discussing the difference between horrid feelings and actual pain, and made a deal with him that he could leave only if he promised to come back and let her do the job. He responded quietly, "Just do it."

A collective deep breath.

She used that needle and extracted that tooth in 5 minutes. Of course, I had to lean over him, holding the side of his face while his eyes widened in terror, very aware of the sensations and trying to process them. I coped with watching the needle go in, but when she fixed the wrench around his tooth, I thought, selfishly, this is another of those awful moments that no-one prepares us poor special needs Mums for. That was not a picture I wanted in my mind, so I had to look away. Too much!

He was in shock afterwards - in a good way - that he had been through it and he was okay. And he took great delight in showing the tooth to the members of my choir who stopped to eat with us after an event the next day...I only just managed to convince him to clean the blood off first.

So, where was I? Oh, yes, writing a novel...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Absence...with Aspie

Can't believe how long I've been 'missing' but I can assure you it has been in action. Beloved Aspie has been studying for a Foundation Degree (I know!) and it has been enormously hard work - for him and his interpreter (me). A lot of the time it felt like bashing a square peg into a round hole and I wondered why we were doing it. During that whole period - I had no time/life to call my own and barely got to write a word. Heavy days.
Well, term is finished, results are out - he just missed an overall distinction !!! And I am back at my keyboard. Hooray! Expect more...