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.

Short words ~ Day Thirteen: Play with Word Count


“Come come! Come Out!
From bogs old frogs command the dark
and look…the stars”

Kikaku


The task for Day 13 was to try the opposite of how you normally write in terms of length.  Now I normally write quite longish pieces (I always quite liked the opportunity to write a nice long essay…didn’t appreciate the stress that normally went with that opportunity though!) so short writing it was today.

I used to write (bad) poetry when I was younger and you can’t get much shorter than the Japanese poetry style of haiku.  The standard structure is 5-7-5 syllables in western terms and I did follow this..until I went all rebellious on the last one.  I was in two minds over whether to post these and decided to in the end as evidence to myself that I can try new things.  Read, enjoy and laugh at my poor attempts at this amazing form of poetry…

 

Outside my window

Birds sing, getting their nests ready.

New life in spring time.

 

Crashing of the waves,

Storm brewing, turmoil inside

Seeking peace somewhere.

 

Worries, thoughts, what ifs

Head is jumbled, body is tense

Looking for release.

 

Blue skies, clouds rolling

Day for dreaming, fleeting life.

Time to be living.

 

Turning away, avoiding all the eyes.

Need some space.  Life overwhelms.

 

If you’d like to see some examples of traditional haiku, take a look here.  Have you ever tried writing a haiku poem?  I would love to see them!

If we were having coffee right now…


Day Eleven: A Cup of Coffee


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Image from Pixabay

Another day, another new style of writing to try out and I am quite liking the idea of it.  It is a virtual coffee date between me and you, a time to share what I have been up to and have a catch up.  So I have settled down with a cup of coffee (with oat milk today) and looking forward to my date with you.  Grab a drink, a chair and let’s share (ooh that rhymed!)

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you I have started jogging…again.  Yes I know I have tried it before with varying degrees of success.  This time though I am determined to give it my best shot.  I woke up this year to the need to look after myself better.  I changed to a plant based diet and am always working to improve my mental health so exercise was next on the list.  Jogging is free and we don’t have much money at the moment so the running shoes are back on.  I will have to let you know how I get on.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you about all the tasty creations I have been making since I changed to a plant-based diet and how much I love making ‘buddha bowl’ type meals.  You would probably be astounded when I tell you I can make yummy mayonnaise with chickpea liquid and gooey tasty cheese with potato and carrot.  I would tell you how I have now heard the ‘what do you eat?’ question and that thankfully I have not yet experienced any of the negativity that some vegans seem to encounter…so far…

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that slowly and surely our plans for mobile working seem to be coming together.  Our microstock portfolios are growing and so is the income from them.  I would excitedly tell you that someone is actually paying me to write things for them and then confide my doubts about whether I am actually any good at this writing business.

If we were having coffee right now, there would be news to tell you about my blog. How I am looking to moving to a self-hosted blog, how I have lots of ideas for how it will look and how I am being held back because I think a name change is in order.  I would explain that the name inspired by my button jewellery business no longer seems quite right but how confused I am about choosing a new name that reflects what me and my blog is becoming.  We would chat about ideas and hopefully inspiration would strike!

If we were having coffee right now, I would ask how are you?

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!

Jumping = Life


Day 4 – A Story in a Single Image


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Today I needed to pick a photo out of four and use it as a starting point, a springboard into a story, poem or personal thoughts.  All four photos had things I could say about them yet this one spoke to me in a way the others did not.

There is such care-free abandon in that jump, such freedom, such joy.  It makes me happy that there is such joy in the world and yet at the same time it makes me feel so sad and so lonely.  Moments like that seem so rare in my life, my life which feels so controlled and worried about.  I want that type of feeling, I want to gleefully leap into pools, dance down the street and laugh with my friends.  I want to feel such freedom rather than the feeling of constraint and tension that seem to accompany my day to day life.

Wanting and doing though are two very different things.  The very things that mean my life feels it is missing these moments are the very things that put barriers up to stop me moving towards such a place of, if you’ll excuse the language, not giving a fuck and grasping life with both hands.  Every movement towards a life that will bring me joy seems to be so hard fought, involves such effort.  And I am tired, tired of this constant battle with myself.  The me that is so scared, so worried, so doubting vs. the me that sees such joy, such fun, such pleasure in the world and wants it in my world.  There needs to be some agreement, some compromise…because that person in the photograph, that is me, I can feel it deep inside.