The New Year’s New Resolve

•January 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The progress I make seems so tiny that it seems harsh some times to be checking in but I also feel a commitment to what, approached more gently than a score card, remains a good scheme.
I wrote down what it is I want to achieve in the coming year and in many ways they were affirmations of what I have written before.
But there is a little more definition in some areas, while others remain flabby or indistinct or otherwise slightly abandoned.
But I am beginning this year with a renewed sense of determination and a desire to reaffirm my commitment to achieving my goals in life. I am aware of the need for patience with myself that I haven’t made huge steps and there haven’t been any giant leaps. But I am still on the road.
MIND/THINKING/WRITING
For this year I want to do a lot more reading: I have a general idea of what I want to read in the coming year: Philosophy and politics plus some more novels.
There is a freelance writing project that I really want to make work.
CREATIVE
Continue working on my novel
Work consistently on my blogs
Finish my collage
Continue knitting and begin selling online
Buy mannequin and improve photos
WORK
I want to find two more regular writing opportunities
Pitch for features
HEALTH
Walking daily
Regular exercise
Reducing the amount of food I eat
Morning pages and time for meditating
SOCIAL
Making more effort to see art shows and performances
Making more effort to spend time and keep in touch with friends
HOME
Finish off the projects I have: chairs; curtains; cushions
Get new storage for the spare room and office

Getting back on track..

•October 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ravishing RedsThis weekend has been largely taken up with leisurely shopping for food, walking, talking, writing in cafes, and sitting in the park looking at this tree.
Weekends are a lot about recovery these days – and drawing up plans and to do lists to help me achieve things that are about me and my desires, my projects and my passions. Each weekend I realise that I have done way too little towards achieving them.
So here is a list of things to do that will help me on my way..
Draw up a synopsis of a book idea
Email a features editor with an idea
Finish a freelance project
Submit a regular column
Spend one hour minimum in the morning writing before opening up my email
Get that notebook out that I use for drawing and writing ideas and designs
Go for daily walks – at least 30 mins each day
Daily stretches and exercise
Reguar breaks from the screen and a few moments to collect myself and assess what I am doing
Buy this book (or take a look and see if it’s any good)

Another year over, and a new one just begun…

•October 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The year has passed and if I was to review my achievements up against the long list of projects I would certainly weep but I am going to add to that list the ability to be imperfect and enjoy it. I start things, I stop things, I berate myself for my forgetfulness and inability to carry things through.
But I have made progress, with my writing, my poetry, with my work. I could just flounce away from this blog because it reminds me of my failures but that’s just being churlish.

And so today is the start of another year to see how far I can go.. again.

The High LIne by Dale Phurrough

The High LIne by Dale Phurrough

What inspired me most today was a report on From Our Own Correspondenton the High Line, Manhattan’s park above the streets. Listening to the report I was struck by the wonderful creativity of turning a disused railway line into something new, vibrant and beautiful that isn’t all about white-washing and commercialisation. It seems to be both a grand gesture towards the past transforming something disused and decaying and redeeming it and turning it into a living and beautiful place – that isn’t open only to people who can pay.

Looking through the website brought me to the website for the Kitchen which made me dreamy about creative people coming together and building something that makes a difference.
Maybe it should start off small at my dinner table but I do have dreams about bringing people together to work on projects together, to make good things out of what is old, apparently hopeless and going nowhere. A disused railway line transformed into a beautiful open space that helps people see the city from a different perspective. Robert Hammond had gone to a local meeting expecting to hear plans to save it from demolition and discovered there were none. When he met travel writer Joshua David there they discussed what could be done and set up the Friends of the High Line.
I don’t know what this year is going to bring. But I choose the High Line as my inspiration.

School of Life

•February 23, 2009 • Comments Off on School of Life

Yesterday I wrote about full time work v part time work… and some of the misery I felt as a result of the slog of work. It’s not that I don’t like working but I don’t thrive on routine and the relentlessness of working five days a week did get me down.. I wanted a more creative way of working. I don’t work in a factory on a production line and I know in many ways I’ve got it pretty good. Maybe it’s ideas I’ve inherited but somehow the idea that work is all about hard graft, a thankless task has wormed its way into my thinking.
Today I came across Alain de Botton’s book on the Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, which is also going on my ‘to read’ list…
Alain de Botton is also involved with the School of Life.. I like what Emma Townshend picks up on it in the Times:

The School of Life is the baby of Sophie Howarth, formerly of Tate Modern, who found herself after five years in the job frustrated by the lack of dialogue between culture and self improvement, two areas that she felt equally passionate about: “The cultural world was just so snooty about everything to do with personal development, but I felt there was so much potential for the two to interact.”

So she decided that it was time for a change. She found the School of Life building, a beautiful Georgian shop in tree-lined Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury, then enlisted all her best contacts, including de Botton, who is a founder member of the teaching staff. Howarth’s vision was of a place where you could go to think seriously about life, a private but open-doored university where you could take courses, read books and even travel in new ways.

Some of the courses are on work, which interests me.. and also the sense of learning and developing as a person.

The Idle Parent

•February 23, 2009 • 2 Comments

It’s a discussion we’ve been having a lot recently.. if we were to have a child how much of what I’ve termed “benign neglect” is feasible before it gets plain neglectful?
I live opposite a park where you get to see – and sometimes feel – the anxiety of parenting.. yet when I think back to my parents I don’t think they were so very anxious about keeping me entertained… I wasn’t neglected – a fact I even had to reassure my Mum of recently after she saw some mothers with their children and thought ‘I don’t remember doing all that’..
There were activities arranged for our entertainment and education and I did go to some classes but I never got the impression that life revolved around keeping me busy, entertained or stimulated.. Continue reading ‘The Idle Parent’

The times are a changing..

•February 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A couple of photographs.. one of a hat I knitted for Mark – an indoors hat.. both of us wear hats at home from time to time, which some people have commented on as odd when they’ve been round but sometimes it is a very comforting thing..100_0035

Also I read this about Sue Steward photographing her mother’s hands after she had died.. The emotion of remembering stayed with me for the rest of the day because I notice peoples’ hands… I can still remember my grandmother’s, whose hands were so like my mother’s.. and my hands I know are like Mum’s and my nieces are almost replicas of mine.. Men’s hands I love too.. and so because when I checked out Mark’s hands I couldn’t believe how perfect they were to me, I took a photo of them too..

100_0073
Which brings me to something I was reading today:

“Our authenticity is found hidden in the small details of our daily round – home, family, work, pleasures. We think it’s the big moments that define our lies – the wedding, the baby, the new house, the dream job. But really these big moments of happiness are just the punctuation marks of our personal sagas. The narrative is written every day in the small, the simple and the common. In your tiny choices, in these tiny changes. In the unconsidered. The overlooked. The discarded. The reclaimed.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach, Something More)

I have some decisions to make – about work mainly – as there may be a job on the horizon. The thing I’m not sure about is the hours – it’s more than I currently do in my part time job and will mean less working at home, more in the office. Working part time has helped me shed the tiredness and sense of drudgery that comes from unrelenting daily routine.. But what I cherish most is the fact that having more time has allowed me to do more things that give me pleasure, to take time over things I usually did with some impatience and always on the hoof. But there’s a part of me also that isn’t sure about working at home so much.. I miss the collaborative part of working. So there are questions.. but I think the challenge will be to maintain my joie de vivre whatever I choose to do.

Wherever I lay my hat

•February 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

We have a crisis of sorts.. The upshot of which is we’ve been desperately trying to find accommodation for “Tyrone” while he’s at college..
When it fell on me to make some of the endless calls to the student accommodation services, the college etc I referred to him as ‘my husband’s son’.. He’s not my stepson so that doesn’t flow easy but I found people stumbled over using the phrase.. “Your son” “your husband’s.. your… the son”
“Don’t worry I told her, I’m not sure how to refer to him myself..” And I’m not…