Reasons for Reading

“We read to know we’re not alone” – William Nicholson, Shadowlands


Day 15:  Take a Cue from Your Reader (or not in my case, I picked one of the prompts as didn’t have any suggestions sniff sniff)

Back on day 2 or 3 when I made a disastrous attempt to write a list of things I am good at (it never saw the light of day), Phillip mentioned how he was jealous at how good I was at reading and all the stories I get to read.  I have never viewed my reading as a skill, it is simply something that I do so it felt quite odd to have this said to me.  It is not something I have practiced in order to get better or improve, I simply read, quickly and all the time.

This quote got me thinking about why I read as much as I do, what it is I go from continuously finishing one book and picking up another.  There is always a book sitting waiting for me to pick up and continue our adventure.  I suppose there are many surface reasons for why I read – that I want to be entertained, to relax and to enjoy are some that immediately pop into my head.

Deep down though the main reason I read is because I want to escape.  Reading takes me away from my anxiety and depressions, it lets me go away when I am feeling stuck, it helps me to feel at times when my emotions may be struggling.  Reading shows me new places, it takes me to different worlds.  It shows me all the potential that could be out there, it encourages me to dream.  My world would be a much smaller place if I did not read and I suppose I would indeed be much more alone.

 

Pile of books - from Pixabay

photo by Pixabay

 

You Are Not Alone

 


Day Twelve: Critique a Piece of Work


“Hold on, Hold On.

Everybody hurts.

You are not alone”

~ REM Everybody Hurts


Another day I initially felt very tempted to skip, another day I found myself thinking this isn’t my thing, what on earth would I write about?  Then something came to me, something very personal.  It is not really a critique or a review, more an expression of what one song means to me and how it will play for me at the end of my days.

When I tell people that I want this song played at my funeral, at the start when everyone walks in, the reaction is usually always the same.  It is always something along the lines of ‘wow you really want people to cry, don’t you?’ and accompanied by a look that suggests I am being mean, that I am bad person for wanting to do that to people.  It is a song with a reputation for being bleak, a depressing song about hurt and loneliness, a ‘tear-jerker’.  And to be fair, once upon the time I thought so too.

As a teenager, my brother introduced me to a new world of music, quite different to the boy bands my friends were listening to.  This was how REM came into my life.  I loved REM then and still do, they seem to get how odd, screwed up and yet awesome this life can be.  They say to me that it is okay to be different, quirky and expressive.

‘Everybody Hurts’ was released shortly before I split up with my long-term boyfriend and temporarily moved back into my old bedroom at my parent’s house.  I was devastated.  My world and security had broken down and I was lost.  This song spoke to me of my grief, encouraged my sorrow and let me dwell again and again on how my life had gone so badly wrong.  To me it was indeed a song filled with hurt and sadness.

For years though this song has become a positive message to me especially when life has seemed more than bleak.  It is a song of hope, of finding a way through difficult and painful times, of not being alone.  There is acceptance that life comes with suffering, that everybody hurts and cries.  It is to me the perfect song to be played at a funeral, at a time when grief can seem too much to bear.

It is a song that has held me through many difficult times, it is sometimes the very thing that has stopped me feeling so alone and empty when depression has struck or when I have come face to face with grief.  Everybody does hurt, I hurt and it is this song that has helped me to hang on through some of the worst parts of my life.  Thank you REM for giving me this song, my world would have been a tougher place without it.

Dear Tokyo, I miss you…


Day Eight: Reinvent the Letter Format


Today’s task is to write a letter, any type of letter, to anyone or anything, about any subject.  My first instinct was that I didn’t want to do it.  Once I decided to go for it, my next instinct was to do one of those letters to myself aged whatever or to my anxiety.  Something that was comfortable, a subject that I am used to writing about.  I didn’t want to go down that often walked path though, not today.  I wanted to stretch myself and write something a little more different, more positive.  So I am writing a letter to a city, to my home for 6 months, to Tokyo.

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Dear Tokyo,

It is two whole years since we said goodbye yet I can still feel you, can still smell you.  I know what it was to walk your streets, spend time in your shrines and temples, watch people live their lives.  Yes it is two whole years and I have not forgotten you.

At first living in your sprawling, busy, noisy and so very different city was hard.  It was not what I expected from our brief acquaintances before.  I hadn’t realised how strange you could be, how alone you could make me feel.  Sometimes you were so hard to understand, so alien.  I wanted to run, find something familiar, go ‘home’ to where I could understand and be understood.  It broke my heart because I was so sure that you and me would be such good friends.

And I was right.  At some point I stopped fighting and listened to what you had to say.  The loneliness I felt in your presence turned to an appreciation of solitude, of pleasure in my own company whilst spending time walking your streets.  I opened up to your ways, found pleasure in your odd and quirky nature and loved the traditional ways that underpinned everything you do.  I always felt safe with you wherever I was and whatever I was doing.  My home was small yet outside my door was never ending exploration and adventure.

I miss those days, miss that life and I miss you Tokyo.  Leaving you behind was one of the hardest things I have ever done and the feeling of being there with you has never left or eased.  You still have my heart.  I will see you again Tokyo.

till then…all my love

A Place to Write


Day 6 – The Space to Write (everyday inspiration)


In my head I dream of having a writing desk or a favourite coffee shop where I can tap away and be inspired to write many great things.  The reality though is….well….shall we say slightly different.  Most of the time I sat on my comfy sofa perched at one end, sometimes cross legged and sometimes stretched out balancing my tablet on my legs.  Always though at the same end facing the big window looking towards the bird feeder.  And that is exactly where I am now.

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photo from pixabay…not my sofa…I wish that was my floor…it is gorgeous!

It is by no means perfect, I am often slightly uncomfortable and frequently disrupted by Phillip telling me bits and pieces from what he is reading or by birds coming and going to the feeder.  It is though my spot.  It is where I write my thoughts, where I tell you of my adventures, where I talk of my life with anxiety.

That is not to say that I am fixed to this spot and could not write without it.  I have written perched on a tree stump in a forest, tapped away in a Starbucks (*other coffee shops are available*) or sat in my little camper.  To get attached to a spot is no longer in my nature.  The plan is to write wherever and whenever.  For now though this is my morning spot, the place I write before the day’s adventures begin and life takes me elsewhere.

For a future task coming up, I need some ideas from my readers on what you would like me to write about…pop your idea in the contact form below if you have something you would like me to write about.  Thank you!

Everyday Inspiration: Day One


Day One: I write because…


Why am I here?  Who am I?  Why do I blog?

I am starting to explore the drive behind my blogging and work out what exactly it is I want to blog about rather than the kinda random approach I have at the moment.  So I have signed up to a few of the courses offered by WordPress to start learning more about blogging and myself as a blogger.  I try to write everyday in the morning, most of what I write never sees the light of day though some of my morning musings do go on to become posts on here.  What I often struggle with is what to write about and it all too often ends up as me using it like a journal.  Not a bad thing in itself yet I don’t feel like it is expanding my writing in the way I would like.  So I am starting with the ‘Everyday Inspiration’ course and starting at the beginning….

I write because….

Why do I write?  I write for a multitude of reasons.  I write because there is so much going on in my head that I need to get it out somewhere sometimes.  Because my anxiety drives me to it.  I write because I love words, I enjoy finding ways of describing the world around me and the feelings within me.  I feel I have things I want to share with other people, to help people not feel as alone as I did when my anxiety was at its worse.  I write because I want to share my experiences, to show my travels and how the world is a varied, interesting place.  I write because I am a writer and I want to keep improving, developing and sharing.

I blog because….

Why do I blog?  Again there is a whole heap of reasons why I blog, some selfish and some not so much.  I blog in the hope that I will entertain, inform, encourage and help.  I share my thoughts and experiences to find connections with others.  I blog because part of me wants validation from others that my writing is good although I know this really needs to come from within.  I blog as a way of advertising that I can write to potential employers, to build a portfolio.  Most of all though I blog because I enjoy it, I am a blogger.

 

I intend to complete each daily task on this course, some will make it on here….and some won’t.  So for a while there may be a little more of a mixture of topics on here than normal.  I hope you will enjoy them and discovering more about me as I discover more about me as a writer.

If you have any tips on daily writing practice or how you develop your writing, I’d love to hear your tips!

Back to normality

So our holiday is over and what a holiday it was!  I had a pretty awesome time and have much to tell…and lots of photos of food to share and salivate over.  It is back to normality for us now though…

Or may be not.  The day after we returned, I started feeling pretty rough, even allowing for jet lag.  In the early hours of the next morning, the reason for this became clear…a delightful case of gastroenteritis which has completely knocked me sideways.  So normality is on hold for the moment whilst I see off its nastiness and get to the point where I can string words together in coherent manner without too much effort (you have no idea how long this short post took or how many corrections I had to make!)

Normal service will resume soon and I shall tell you tales of animals, vegan food and other adventures in Orlando.  For now though my bed calls again…

February – a round up

Oh man I sat down today to start writing on what I thought was quite a good idea. I wanted to do a little summary of what had taken place on my blog in the last month, taking a little peek at what I enjoyed writing and what you seemed to like reading. Seemed like it would help me with feeling my way through what I want my blog to be and what direction or focus I wanted to take with it. Good idea yes?

Well so I thought until I sat down to write…and then sat some more. I had made a little note of the posts I had written and how many likes each one had received expecting, well I don’t know what exactly but I certainly didn’t imagine I would simply sit there with my head in a jumble not knowing what to make of it all or what to say.

Maybe that is indicative in itself, maybe my blog is a little bit of a jumble. And if it is, well that is okay. When I dusted off my blog and restarted it, I spoke about opening up my blog to new topics and parts of my life in my post Starting Anew.  I made a decision to write about all sorts of things until I found what worked for me and I suppose this is what I have done.

If you missed any of my posts this month, here is a quick little summary for you and me:

Time to Talk – ‘Time to Talk Day’ and the importance of talking when it comes to mental health.

In Defence of Winter – many people seem to wish winter away in their longing for spring and summer, this was my look at why I love the season.

What next for Mr B’s Button Jamboree? – a look at why my button jewellery business hasn’t quite gone to plan and what I have learnt from the experience.

My Veganuary Experience – my experiences of taking part in Veganuary (asking people to go vegan for the month of January – see what they did there!) as well as some of the recipes I made.

A Need for Control – a little look at how I could turn my anxious need for control into a positive force to move me forward.

Discovering a Love of Urban Photography – how I began to fall into love with urban photography whilst on our travels.

Seeking a Feeling of Achievement – my new approach to getting things done and achieving what I want to with my work and life.

So yep quite a jumble of topics there and honestly I am no clearer in what is my thing or things to write about. I enjoyed writing about winter, my photography and my new approaches.  Popular ones were the posts about Veganuary, urban photography and my button jewellery business.  A quick glance at January shows my travel posts on Hadrian’s Wall and our Big Adventure seemed to go down well as did my Anxiety, Harry Potter and Me on Facebook.  All as clear as something very unclear to me (complete brain fail there on what a good ‘unclear’ thing would be!). For now then I will continue as I am until I find it is no longer working for me or I settle into a groove of what is me.

Am going to give myself a small pat on the back for writing 8 articles in February – working out at 2 a week!  I didn’t want to put myself under pressure with writing this blog and give up before it had really got started simply because I had set my goals too high. So I thought aim for 1 a week, try for 2 if you can….I not only can, I did! So 2 a week is now the aim, try for 3 if I can (note to self, the week before you go away for 3 weeks is possibly not the best time to aim for writing more…).

I am wondering if this post may seem a little self-indulgent, I hope not and that you will find it of interest even if you have already read all the posts mentioned. So what do you think? A good idea to do this at the end of each month?