June Blog: Be Kind

Once again the time has flown by since last month’s blog. I’m now, thankfully, a lot more mobile and have started physiotherapy for my broken foot. I’m also down to one crutch and weaning off that, so it’s all going in the right direction. I returned to my day job this week and after not being there for three months it was absolutely soul destroying to go back. I appreciate that I’m lucky to have a decent day job that pays the bills but I’d love to be working in an area that’s more related to writing (or dare I say it, be able to make a living wage as a writer). While I don’t hate my job (at least not most days) being back has made me realise more than ever that I need to get out of it and into something I’d be happier doing sooner rather than later. I’ve first hand experience of people working hard all their lives and then as soon as they get a chance to start focusing on the things want to it’s too late. At least the desire to chance is a motivating one and oddly inspires me to keep slogging away in the hope that I’ll get there someday. There’s a lot to be said for accepting where you are (which I try to do) but accepting something doesn’t mean you have to like. It’s okay right now, I want it to get better, and I’ll work to make it so. In the meantime I’m going to try to be kinder to myself.

Speaking of being kind to oneself and to others, there’s a new book on that very topic by Padraig O’ Morain called Kindfulness. Padraig has been a mentor of sorts to me over the years and he’s an absolute gentleman. If I’m honest, he’s someone I aspire to be like. You can read more about Kindfulness (and maybe order a copy!) here. I haven’t got my copy of it yet but if it’s anything like his previous non-fiction books, Mindfulness on the Go and Mindfulness for Worriers, I’m certain it’ll be well worth having. If mindfulness is your thing I can also recommend signing up to his daily bell email. It’s a simple little daily email that encourages a moment of mindfulness and you won’t be bombarded with spam.

Writing wise I’ve finished a short story I was working on, so I’m pleased with that. Hopefully it will see light at some stage but I’ve done what I can with it and the rest is the decision of others. Attrition continues to progress and I’m happy with the direction it’s heading in. It’s unlikely I’ll meet my self-imposed deadline of having the first draft competed by the end of the summer but I’ll have to wait and see how it pans out. I feel that the story is strong and I love Kitty despite her murderous tendencies, so I want to see what she decides to do as the story moves forward. There’s still a lot of work to do on it and some days it’s a struggle but I know it’s just a matter of persisting and preserving with it.

I’ve returned to poetry somewhat over the last month too and have a few early drafts of different pieces written. I say returned as though I’ve actually left it but as any writer knows the ideas are always skulking around in the unconscious and are never fully turned off. I usually write free prose but have been exploring other more structured forms. One such form that I wasn’t familiar with is the triolet. A triolet is an eight-line stanza having just two rhymes and repeating the first line as the fourth and seventh lines, and the second line as the eighth. I decided to give it a go as an exercise with some other writing prompts (the words memory and spoon). Here’s what I came up with.

Memory Spoon

I wipe away your dribble,
Feed some more and talk
But avoid every quibble.
I wipe away your dribble,
Your thoughts now just a scribble;
Your memory like chalk.
I wipe away your dribble,
Feed some more and talk.

It’s by no means perfect but I think it’s always good to try something new every so often when it comes to writing. You might love it or hate it but the experience itself can give you new ways of thinking and working, and you might discover something you love. I’m not sure I’ll be writing any more triolets by the way but it was a nice little challenge to use the structure and I enjoyed it too.

For the rest of the summer I’ll be working on Attrition as much as I can and no doubt adding more to my endless to-do list. I will take a little time out to be kind to myself along way though and I hope you will to.


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