Painful Reality and a Publishing Dream

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Amelia's Magazine 10 year anniversary #TWWDNUMy friends and family know that I am dedicated to my book and how passionate I am about my work. They keep a vigilant eye out for literary tidbits that might further my writing as well as asking poignant questions like, “haven’t you finished that bloody book yet?” A friend told me about an open brief competition. A selection of winners would have their work published in a super special book (real gold leaf specialness!) to mark 10 years of Amelia’s Magazine – an online publication that highlights all kinds of creative outlets.

Brilliant! I’d love to have my writing printed on actual paper! My goal is to finish a full first draft of my WIP - this would be a minor distraction. I read through the inspiring brief and got myself really excited, until I got to the part about miscarriage. Oh. This was more than an ordinary competition. A submission here would require more consideration than simply digging up and honing one of my sci-fi short stories. I couldn’t do it.

The idea rolled around in my head for days – I couldn’t leave it alone. I have family and a very dear friend who went through several miscarriages in an attempt to build a family. They mourned each loss and visited darker and darker places to find the light of a child. My Mum suffered the brutal loss of a full term baby – I lost my little brother. I dreamed of him when my father died. He was beautiful. I haven’t seen him since.

I did what I always do when facing any kind of parenting issue – I went to Mumsnet. I remembered their Miscarriage Care Campaign. I discovered – despite our advances in so many fields of psychology and medicine – the lack of care my mother received 40 years ago is still the case today. My own experience doesn’t even scratch the surface of what some women have endured. Two years after the birth of my second child I started to feel cramps normally associated with mundane monthlies. They got worse. And worse. I nearly passed out with pain on my way to the bathroom to be sick. The blood loss was hideous and continued for days. My doctor said, “Yeah, you probably had a miscarriage. Come back and see me if you have any other problems.” What shocked me most is that my ‘question mark’ pregnancy got a similar response to someone with a confirmed, proper, full on pregnancy with scans, a heartbeat and everything. What the hell?!

I’m still not sure what happened to me but I know how this kind of grief manifests itself, lingering and oppressive. Mumsnet have been amazing in their campaign. Women who have suffered this type of loss need to feel less alone and find a way to express their trauma, if they are to move on. Amelia asked for artwork and writing to be submitted for a book through an open brief on the Amelia’s Magazine website on the theme of That Which We Do Not Understand #TWWDNU. The brief was inspired by Amelia’s personal experience of two late miscarriages, one while she wrote a piece for her magazine on Alice Lunt. The book will explore the many ways in which humans seek to understand the things they don’t understand in life. The final publication will be beautiful and inspiring, full of thought provoking contributions that question and celebrate the miraculousness and delicate nature of life. She has begun a Kickstarter campaign to help realise her dream for the book.

It’s an uncomfortable subject but I couldn’t back away and submitted my work. What better way to channel soul sapping bereavement than to turn it into positive creative energy. My book is sci-fi, one of the themes is life; the persistence, delicate nature and pain of life. My contribution is a poem that I hope captures the essence of life from the smallest cell to the vastness of the universe. I really am honoured and touched to have my poem accepted for publication. I will be a published author, my dream. Amelia’s dream is to make this book a reality. Tragedy and loss interpreted by authors and artists to reflect back positivity and light.

I really do hope this venture is a success. Good Luck Amelia.

For more information please go to:

Running in Lavender

Mumsnet Blogfest 2014

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My day did not start well – I was up before dawn and had no coffee for the next THREE hours. I pounded cobbled streets in heels dragging an overnight bag and arrived at Mumsnet Blogfest a hot and bothered … Continue reading

and the winner is… Me!

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It’s award season; red carpets are being vacuumed; trophies polished; outfits chosen; the media are on standby, and that’s just for me. I wish! This month I have been given the Versatile blogger Award AND the Very Inspiring Blogger Award … Continue reading

How do I find time to write and blog while running a household?

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This is the question I’ve been asked the most since I started my blog. My husband and I are both fully committed to his business and, as a result, we both work very long hours in our respective roles. He’s … Continue reading

Space and Time

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Hijinx iHijinx studio space

I had a lovely email from a reader a while ago asking why I hadn’t posted for so long. Initially and instinctively I thought, “well, I don’t have much to say right now.” The truth, however, is that I did have something to say but I’m not sure I could have written a post at that time without it coming out as a rant. When I publish a blog post about an issue or a problem I think it’s best to leave the reader with some sort of resolve, a way out or forward. If I can’t I won’t write it… Maybe I should start a new ‘Rant’ category? Goodness! Can you imagine?! …I can and I think it’s safer to NOT go there.

Nothing much has been happening other than the usual family stuff, exams, kids on summer break etc. I thought there would be a wonderful change in my life this year, a change which would allow me to step back a touch from my daily duties and put a little more time into my creative thought process, writing and art. I waited and waited and I’ve come to the conclusion that – disappointing as it is – that change is not going to happen.

Writing is difficult if you don’t have a clear head. It takes time to get into the meditative state needed to inhabit, play back and rewind your narrative. The ability to see into the future of characters and events enough to use foreshadowing effectively can only be done in a state of flow.

What does a lack of time to write mean? For me it’s the supremely frustrating state of stillness; static and stagnant, lifelessness, the frozen sterility of inaction. THAT’S what gets to me and drives me (ever so slightly) insane.

On a positive note I do feel that when writing time presents itself I don’t just sit and stare at it. I use it. How wisely depends on my mood and the atmosphere in my environment but every scrap of time is used. I have to believe that even the smallest step forward is a move in the right direction otherwise I would feel permanently demoralised and defeated which simply can’t be allowed (see here and here).

As I say, atmosphere and environment are important, to this end I have taken a great little space in town to use as a studio (which is where I am now – yay!) to focus my attention. I love being here, I really do switch straight into work mode. So here’s the resolve: my two little angels/hooligans/lights-of-my-life are back at school which means that from 9.30 – 3pm I can get time to write. The caveat is that I have to get all my other appointments and jobs done to a schedule to allow the clear days. I see the end in sight for my book and I’m itching to finish so that I can; explore some new sci-fi angles, write new stories that keep popping into my mind, read and research scientific and cosmological developments to feed my imagination and (take a breath) get on with some artwork.

IMAGE: In the Hijinx studio and getting back to my old creative confident self

 

 

My vacation with the bad man

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WordPress send out a new year report so you can track activity on your blog over 12 months. It seems I’ve been a pretty inconsistent blogger posting only once a month for the last half of 2013. This is not … Continue reading

Tick, tock says the clock

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I took part in my first ever event as a writer last week with two published authors – John Costello and Joseph D’Lacey. I had great support at The Leamington Literary Salon from friends and valuable encouragement from John and … Continue reading

Shooting for the stars

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I travelled down to The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) yesterday to attend a talk on Alien Evolution by Lewis Dartnell. I parked at Northolt and took the tube to Vauxhall. This was my first serious delve into the world of the professional astrobiologist. … Continue reading