I finished my latest sampler! It’s the dinosaurs and superheroes one for Logan, and I’m just in time – he’ll be two in August. It was great fun to do!
And I have sort-of finished Totoro. I wanted to do a full background: I don’t like the purple now and I’ve gained some bits of green that I’d much rather use, but I don’t really want to unpick and as he’s now off to a new (temporary) home along with a laptop, I’m just glad to have finished his belly.
Also, have some bonus (badly taken) cat pictures. I recently moved bedrooms, and he seems to be insistent on making the room his…
I have to do this, because the world is getting overwhelming, and I’m struggling badly. I need to focus on the positives and the good, and need to remind myself there is some out there!
Moana. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I’ve watched it three times and have been singing the soundtrack pretty much endlessly. My most freakin’ irritating and annoying friend keeps texting me lines and THEN I HAVE THAT SONG AS A DAMN EARWORM and it’s the. Best. Thing. Ever.
It’s a small thing, but Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations chocolate. I love the jelly bits. I probably shouldn’t eat as much of it as I do, but it’s the best when I’m feeling down! (Also, Ben&Jerry’s Peanut Butter. WIN.)
Clouds. I’ve been walking to work and watching the clouds over Stroud hills, and the sunsets recently have been lovely! I think it’s the mix of sunny days and rainstorms that has meant a nice change from overarching grey.
The cat. He might be a complete bastard and wakes me up at 2.30am because he’s forgotten where his food bowl is, but he’s also been curling up next to me at night and greeting me at the front door each evening. He is a git, but he’s also a cute panther who shrunk in the wash!
(Pssst – I now have an extra button over on the sidebar! I don’t have the energy for a Patreon or anything like that – you’ll just have to cope with blog updates – but if you’d like to show support, or keep me sane, there’s a little button there for you to buy me coffee. I may spend it on tea, because I’m a rebel like that.)
Warning: long post, and contains an update on me. Tl;dr – new job, separation from my husband, health issues, still writing, still sane (mostly).
It feels like everything’s happening at once, or has happened over the last few months. But I finally feel that I’m swimming forward, instead of just treading water. There’s a few bits of good news and a few bad, and some that are just…things.
It’s hard to write all of this because I don’t usually share my problems; I don’t like spreading worries around. I am a private person – some close friends knew some of what’s in this post, but I didn’t want to talk about it more widely. For anyone reading who is feeling left out, or upset that I didn’t talk to you; I am sorry that I have upset you, but I hope you can understand why I preferred to keep it private.
Please don’t feel that you need to comment, and in fact I’d rather you didn’t; I wanted to put this out into the world because there has obviously been something going on with me, and this is my personal blog! I’m not asking for sympathy or help; I simply want to explain and update, and let people know some of what’s been affecting me for the past few months and years, and what’s going to be affecting me for the foreseeable future.
So, the good!
I’ve started a new job
I’m doing web development in Gloucester. We have two office puppies (who are SO CUTE) and I’m doing mobile app work, front-end development and marketing (including Google Analytics) and so far, I’m liking it! I’m going to be learning so much; I get a walk again for my commute, which is awesome; and there’s a really nice little coffee bar on the way in so I may end up spending some of my paycheck on tea every morning…oh noes. And I have become a sleeping spot for the puppies…double oh noes. It’s such a hard life! Although it is going to be hard for a couple of weeks (months) while I settle in, so far it’s good. And involves puppies. (More pics further on – aren’t they CUTE?!) They’ve also been told about my depression and had one taste of an anxiety day (turns out, cuddling puppies helps a lot) and they’ve been really good with it, so I’m hoping I’ll actually be able to have some sort of normality on the job front with that.
I did have a very frustrating couple of weeks in February/March, because after nothing from the jobs for several months, I had four (!!) interview requests in the space of two weeks, and they were all for different fields! I had to decide whether to continue with my library career, go into web dev at the bottom of the field, take a more graphics/copywriting route, or get into professional editing…I’ve gone for web dev with the company in Gloucester, and I think I’ve made the right decision. It’s one of those things that I will always think “what if…” but on weighing up the fields and talking to people I trust, I think I’ve gone for the field that will bring me most pleasure and let me do what I want to.
Editing and writing
I’m also still doing freelance editing work for Grimbold Books and privately (Scritto Editing, for anyone interested!) and I’m really enjoying that. I did wonder if doing professional editing would make my ‘other job’ feel like a chore, so that was a major factor in not continuing along that career path. I am also apparently a Senior Editor at Grimbold (*mad dances*) which makes me ridiculously happy. I must be doing something right! I’m loving the stories I’ve had – I’ve had one of our new writers, one sequel to a book I loved originally, and I’m currently working on a book that both Jo Hall and I have dug our elbows into. In addition I’m getting to beta-read and slush-pile read books, and it’s fab. One of the best things about being an editor is getting to read (and have input!) on stuff before anyone else!
I’m still writing; I’m doing new things, I’m still submitting No Man’s Land to agents and I’ve got projects (like No Man’s Sky) on the go. I am reading again, and reviewing, and I want to get some more short stories done. I’ve also got projects with Cake Club, and reading for friends…so my writing and associated stuff is continuing! Obviously more news on all of that as I do it because this is primarily my writing blog, and I’ll always keep you updated on the mad plans that seem to come out of my brain and onto paper.
I miss Ryan like hell, and we have the inquest coming up soon (as he was killed on the railway, they automatically open one) which I’m sort of dreading, but also want to just get it over with. It feels like a final thing hanging over us, stopping us from grieving, bringing up the questions again and again…so I’ll be glad when it’s done and we can start accepting it. But even though I miss him so much, I have had the pleasure of getting to know his family; I’m in touch with his mother almost every day, and I’ve been visiting the family (and their mad puppies!) – I had a wonderful afternoon over there the weekend just gone, which was bittersweet. It’s really hard going over when he’s not there, and being at the pub is still so difficult; there’s an empty space, a missing friend, someone I’m just waiting for…but I am grateful for the memories, grateful that he knew I loved him, and grateful for the new friendships that I’m making thanks to him. I’m still crying every time I think of him and I know the hole in my heart isn’t going to heal anytime soon, but in some ways I think that’s good; I’m not forgetting someone I loved so dearly.
And the not-so-good
I’m separating from my husband. It’s my decision after two years of anxiety and stress and trying to work out my feelings, and it’s currently amicable. We’re keeping our mad old pub and continuing on with the renovations, so that’s going to be (fun) chaos! Beyond that, we’re just taking things as they go. It’s really hard for both of us, but in many ways I’m happier because I’ve finally made a decision and it’s not hanging over me – and the burst of relief, horrible as it was, suggests I’ve made the right one. This may be the first you’ve heard of this – I don’t publicise my personal Facebook, although my author page is here – so if you know my husband, I’d greatly appreciate your support for him. It’s a shitty time for both of us but I’m really lucky to have some brilliant friends around me, and he doesn’t have as much of that support network. I still care about him so much, and it’s been a really horrible decision to have to make…but I think it is the right thing to do, much as it hurts.
I’ve also had some health issues in addition to the depression over the past few years that have left me feeling broken, for all that I’m (as far as tests show so far) physically ok. It was mostly just routine but included one rather bruising encounter with a specialist who basically informed me that I was lying about everything, and then declared that I should have done X, Y and Z…well, if my GP had told me to do X, Y and Z originally then I would have done it! That was incredibly frustrating and hurtful, but luckily my regular GPs have been awesome. It’s all settled down for the moment, but it has been several years of additional ups and downs that haven’t helped with anything. Again, some people know the details of this, but I hope you can appreciate why I prefer to keep it private. It may be something that I do open up about further in the future, but for now it’s just too painful.
On the mental health front, I did start medication again for a month but I’ve now come off it again – against the advice of a lot of people, I should add! Being on the medication meant I had artificial ups (I was singing! Baking! I did grumble that if I had small birds trying to help me do the chores, I’d feed them to Frankie) and felt like an alien in my own skin. I haven’t been sleeping well generally, with a lot of vivid dreams that mean I don’t feel rested. While medication does make the downs less violent, I was hating the changes, and so I chose to come off it again. I am hoping that I’ll be able to weather the ups and downs more naturally – I may still go back onto it, but I’ll see how I do.
So. That’s a snapshot of the current chaos!
I’m giving myself three months (my work probation) to settle in to everything, and see how things go on both the work and home front. I’ve set myself a deadline of Christmas before I make any more big decisions; I want time to just settle into myself again, absorb the changes, and feel like me. Beyond that…I’m just taking things as they come.
I’ve also got some scarier long-term plans in the works – I don’t want to say much as it all still feels like a “what-if-maybe” dream, but let’s just say that they’re big and scary and I don’t know if any of it will even work! But I’m taking small steps towards them and if it works out, it works out! It feels odd having a long-term goal, as the depression means I often find that so hard, but…it feels good, too.
If you’ve got to the end of this, congratulations! Thank you for reading, and also thank you to everyone who does read this blog for your support. I really value your contributions and views, both from those of you I know in real life and those I don’t. Thank you.
Again, don’t feel the need to comment; just thank you for reading, and for your understanding. I really appreciate it 🙂
*goes off to hide under the duvet with chocolate for a bit*
Over the four years, I’ve published 537 posts…70 writing and 67 reviews, and the rest either blog or assorted! I’ve had 8610 views over the past year, and 3756 visitors. It’s pretty good for a small blog about me, writing, books, crafty stuff and anything else I feel like writing about – so THANK YOU FOR READING!
It was a cold night; cold enough to chill the two figures walking along the lonely road to the bone. One, the smaller and thinner of the two, was huddled against the weather, soaked and cold. The other, taller and lankier, didn’t seem to feel the chill, striding along as if it was a summer’s day.
“Dad, are we nearly there?” the smaller figure asked, her words nearly lost in the wind.
“Yeah.” The man pointed. “Next bend. That’s the tree.”
It was indeed a true hangman’s tree, bent and twisted. The man turned off the road as they reached it, stepping onto a smaller track. “Just a little further.”
“You said that aaaaages ago!” the smaller one whined.
It’s the start of a new story, and you can find the rest of it in my writing section. There’s nothing further, yet – I don’t have a world or a plot, and it’s a bittersweet start. I wrote this on the day Ryan died and sent it to him for comments; he liked the characters that this is based on and read all of the 160k of original story, so I wanted to know what he thought of the new iteration and the world. But he’d already gone by the time I wrote it, and the email will stay unread. I think he would have liked it, but I won’t ever get the comments that I valued so highly. But that’s life.
So I’m picking it up again now, or at least taking another look. It’s definitely going to have to be a fantasy world – I wondered if it would fit into No Man‘s or Greensky, but I don’t think it will. It needs magic and grit, people and politics; the world’s full of mountains and strange paths. I think it may turn out slightly like Neil Gaiman’s Stardust…it’s sort of got that feel, I think.
If I’m putting it into a fantasy world, I want to turn some cliches on their head. I want to subvert the Chosen One trope, and I’d love to play with some of the other fantasy genre cliches. I don’t yet know what the Thing is; I don’t yet know – beyond a few ideas – what the plot is. But I’m just going to let it simmer and see what comes of it!