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Something Rich & Strange

Over the past few months, I have written some of the most beautiful paragraphs I've ever managed. And yet I have not been able to sit with them, to turn them into story. These days are so dark in so many ways, my heart seems drawn to lightness. For me, magical enchantment has always been moonlit in my mind, and lately I've been needing sunlight.

And so I've been writing a romantic comedy. The people who are reading it as I go along seem to like it, and I guess I'm writing it for them as well as for my own self. Writing to bring in a little laughter. Writing for fun.

And yet I worry. Will I lose the ability to compose lyrically that I nurtured and worked on for decades? It means a lot to me, it is a matter of craft, of love. If I lost it, I would grieve. But I have always been an organic writer, working with the story given to me. And right now I've been given something wry, light, plainly languaged. It's the exact opposite of what I intended to offer the world in its darkness. I believe, as I said yesterday, that we need beauty. But maybe froth is as beautiful as the sea's substance. Maybe a laugh is an expression of love.

Speaking of moonlit enchantment, have you seen this magic?

Beautiful Resistance

I beg of you, do not be civil to evil. But that does not mean to be evil yourself, or to become less than who you wish to be. The only thing that truly overcomes evil is beauty.

No, I didn't say that love overcomes evil, because I've seen what love can look like when it has grown out of a cracked or confused heart. Love is not always wise or even good. (The purest core of it is, of course, but I'm writing today in human language, of human experience.) Beauty however is indisputable. Oh, we debate what it might be in regards to a woman's body, but that's not real beauty, is it? Our souls recognise real beauty and our best selves know what it feels like to act in its name.

We are living in dark days. Almost always, people have done so, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't discount this darkness now. Civility will not defeat the evil that squats in America, Syria, North Korea, and so many other places, that shreds our climate, and that hurts the gentle minds of so many people. Our only hope against it is a wild and beautiful incivility.

That means write the tender-hearted or amusing novel. It means share the affirmations, the lovely stories, the inspiring quotes, the moments of good cheer, the frangible truths from your own life, the flowers' scent, the colours of your season.

It also means protest in the streets - but peacefully, with candles and smiles, and clean up your litter afterwards. And speak up against wrongdoing - but without throwing bombs. Stand vigil, singing, outside immigrant camps. Spend your dollar where it can support good not harm. Talk to the troubled teenaged boys. Leave out food for the hedgehogs and small birds.

Do beautiful things with a beautiful spirit. Evil can not grow where beauty is.

The Trauma of Living A Fairytale

You had a violent stepfather? So your life was kind of like a fairytale. When I read these words today, directed to someone else on the internet, my heart stilled for a moment. Over the past thirty years, I've been using fairytales as a healing tool for people. Stories of hurt children forced into the dark forest ... disenfranchised girls ... transformed boys ... They speak of the suffering so many people experience. I too have know suffering (haven't most of us?) and fairytales help me work through it.

And yet, when I read those words, my first reaction was no. Even though I appreciated the sentiment, I feel that to be locked out in the cold, mentally tortured, or whatever other torments occured beneath the phrase "you had a violent stepfather" can not be described as a fairytale. Because while many fairytales do depict awful experiences, they do not tell about the crush of the soul, the pain of the cold, the terror of blood in the mouth and stars in the darkening vision. They do not confess that, even with a happy ending, trauma remains in the cells of the body, that it changes how the brain operates, that it can cause infertility, addiction, and chronic illness, and that it will be passed down through DNA to the next generation and the one after that.

Furthermore, fairytales have a resolution, usually a joyful ending where children are reunited, princes returned to the castle, heroines wed to the gallant hero. But in real life, a girl must drag herself out of suffering, through hope, into whatever happiness she can construct for herself. Very few actual heroines are rescued, whether by talking birds or handsome princes. And even if they are - perhaps being taken to a shelter or a foster home, or running away to university, or finding the first man who will marry them - there still may be years, decades, forever, of painful memories, physical effects, to deal with.

There is also grief involved - the grief of not having had the kind of childhood that would have supported you in becoming your best self and left you with beautiful memories.

So no, to have had a violent stepfather is not to have lived a fairytale. This isn't to devalue such stories as healing metaphors - really, they are wonderful in this way. But they are not real. That's the whole point. They allow us to touch lightly on ... to look sideways at ... the unbearable pain of the real.

The Winter King

The world is crowned these days with flowers, but below the waist she is cold. She is sitting in a pool of tears, and the head of the winter king is in her lap. He has hair the colour of rain, and eyes that have seen everything. If you speak to him, he will answer in thunder, or in ungentle frosted silence; and yet he loves you. His head is in your lap. His tears are making you shiver.

I used to adore winter. I wrote a story about a girl who was stolen by the storm king. I wrote more poems to him than I can count. I have always pined for him through the other three quarters of the year. But this season I'm not so sure. Maybe I'm just getting old, or have seen too much of winter. Maybe it would be different in another environment - in the hills, in the valleys, where winter sheds leaves like poetry and the sky tucks up the world all cosy. Here on the plains, it just gets cold, not much more.

And I wonder if Old Woman World teaches us that we need both flowers and storms, warmth and weeping, in our selves as well as our seasons. Right now it's raining outside and I remember that I only love rain when it comes with tea and a cosy blanket.

But even now the winter king is growing flowers in his heart for us. And when he sees us with them at last, he is warmed, made full of joy; he dances, and the clouds dance with him, and love is renewed with a blue sky passion.

Every Little Light Is A Star

It's been a hard week. Surely there isn't a parent alive who, aware of the news, hasn't suffered to some degree, whether emotionally or intellectually. (And not just parents, of course, but any person with a moral centre.) Actually, it's been a hard few years.

What can we do when it's so hard? I'm finding my way only slowly towards an answer for these questions. But I'm pretty sure that, as always, it is love.

I do not want to rage at America, for I know the majority of people there are both horrified by what has happened and terrified about what will come. I want to encourage, support, and love those people. I want to do anything I can to build them up so they feel strong enough to take the hard road ahead. I want to remind them of their past heroes, men and women who overcame the shadows that have previously darkened the nation, and of their current heroes, those who hold up the light, be it a spotlight or a small, flickering candle.

I do want want to rage at all. I want to be peace. My favourite quote of all time is be the change you want to see in the world (Arleen Lorrance) and I truly believe in the truth and power of this. There are times when we must speak up against atrocities, but within that, encompassing it, permeating it, can also be an attitude of peace. For me, that looks like softness and roses. For others, it may be something more fierce. Peace is neither silent nor docile. Jesus himself caused havoc in the name of Love. But always there is the spirit of kindness, community, hope. Always there is the kindling and warming, that comes from light.

To be an effective guiding light you can't be forever flashing wildly. Steadiness, gentleness, calm, are important. We can't help others out of the shadow if we have no hope in ourselves for the light. And so, be peace for yourself. If you cannot, there's no shame in that - it has been a very hard few years. Find those who are peace, let them help you, and give them encouragement so they can continue the work without burning out.

And so I remind myself (again) that when I offer gentle images, quiet words, it isn't that I've turned away from the horrors. It's that I'm trying to shine a little light, offer a reminder of peace. It's a very little light indeed. But every glimmer is a star in the long dark.

Behind the Quiet

I'm not writing much here lately for two reasons. Firstly, I'm working on my next book and it's taking up most of my words. I won't call it a leech, I'll say, hmm, oh yes, it's a bulb being watered so that one day it will become a lovely flower in the world. Secondly, I don't actually believe there should be anything said in the public arena at the moment that doesn't involve the atrocities occuring at the American border, and this weblog is not a political platform. Therefore I find myself uncomfortably quiet.

But while quiet in this space. I am active elsewhere. On twitter, I mingle political outrage with thoughts about writing. (As a citizen of the world and a moral being, I feel entitled to my outrage even though I live far away from the atrocities not only in America but also Israel, England, Yemen, and sadly too many places to mention.) On pinterest, I collect mostly peaceful images which help me get through the day. And on instagram I try to make peaceful images myself. Bringing more softness and gentleness into the world is just as important as shouting in outrage.

I'm also trying to make more of an effort to be on facebook, since it's still the greatest referer to this weblog, but really that isn't easy. Their popularity-based algorithms have ruined the place. (I wonder what a social media site designed and run by women would look like? Actually, I already know, since they existed back at the start of the internet: discussion fora that looked like a forest of tree roots, mingling topics, mingling voices, creating art from conversation. Unfortunately, most of the ones I participated in folded due to gossip, back-biting, debate, and power struggles.)

So while I'm still writing here, I'm mostly engaged elsewhere for this season in life. Here's hoping for a beautiful, gentle spring ahead. 

Having Empathy For Each Other

.... The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

I am reading the beautiful memoir, In Shock, by Dr Rana Awdish. It is her story of falling desperately ill and how the hospital treatment she received taught her to become a better doctor by developing empathy for patients. It's beautifully written and a powerful message.

However, I found myself bewildered at times by various things she struggled with. During her first surgery, she heard one of the doctors say, "We're losing her," and she was horrified and offended that they said it. Try as I might, I can't stir an understanding of why. If I heard those words, I would be terrified of course that I was dying, but I'd also know that someone recognised the situation, cared about it, and was determined to fight for my survival. Similarly, while Dr Adwish was disgusted that a doctor told his colleagues during morning rounds that "she's been trying to die on us," I personally would have have felt warmed by it. Rather than thinking the doctor was seeing me as an adversary, I'd have looked past his phrasing and felt seen, valued, and that the hospital staff were focussed on winning the battle to save me.

For a while I wondered if there was something defective in me that made me see caring where Dr Awdish saw inhumanity. But I reminded myself that empathy doesn't look or feel the same for everyone. My personal life history and the culture I live in makes me inclined to sense caring within blunt language and apparent detachment.

For example, when I was seventeen, I was in an accident that almost killed me, rendered me unconscious for days, and  left me looking severely wrecked. On my second morning of consciousness, awake but drifting in hazy half-dreams, I was roused by a doctor lightly kicking my bed. Some people were horrified to hear he did this. To me, alone and scared in a hospital room, confused, in pain, sure that I looked like a monster, his kicking the bed felt friendly. It felt like he understood my misery and was able to reassure me with one simple gesture that he wasn't worried about me, nor disturbed by how I looked.

I also know empathy and good manners present quite differently in other cultures. And as we understand more about neurodiversity, we are learning that some people experience empathy by different processes than we are typically used to. There's also the fact that how a person expresses themselves is not always indicative of how they feel. For example, a woman can be so highly empathic that she is overwhelmed and shuts down, thereby seeming disconnected and uncaring.

I actually believe empathy is overrated. We can't always understand what someone else is feeling, even if we want to. And it's just as easy to be good to someone even if you don't resonate with their emotions. I rate kindness above empathy. I also rate higher the simplicity of listening to each other. Tell me how you feel. I might not empathise, but I can have the decency to allow you your feelings and care for you in ways you actually find helpful. I can also tell you why I talk to you the way I do, how I feel, what I bring to the relationship, and I hope you will be willing to listen and value my perspective even if it's not what you yourself feel. Together we can communicate and come to harmony without having any empathy at all.

These thoughts about empathy were sparked by but aren't in response to Dr Awdish's book. It's a gripping recount, thought-provoking, gorgeously written, and I highly recommend it.

Truth & Beauty

I've been at a loss as to what to write here this morning. I have been in despair about the state of world affairs for a long time, but things just go on getting worse and I don't seem to have the ability to numb myself to it, nor to switch things off. Of course, I live in a small quiet village at the end of the world - others caught in the heart of the situation must feel so much worse than I. After many discarded drafts, I've decided to simply share links today, instead of my own words. I hope they fill your mind and heart. There's a mix of truth - because we need to face the truth - and happiness - because we need to take care of ourselves and remember how to smile. Generally speaking, it's a beautiful world out there. But each of us is responsible for keeping it that way.

A tragedy few people know or care about

There are so many people in this world who are truly a blessing

Anyone who knows history will shudder at these words

Magical beauty

Hilarious, because it's all true

This . This . This . This . This . ThisThis
I don't trust myself to leave a caption here

Natural pest control

A grandmother turns her village into an art gallery

The magical art of Stephanie Law

Hardy Women, Dreaming Women, & Poet-Magicians

The world is swaying in a white embrace of winter this morning. Strange how a storm can seem so calm. I imagine that is what the great poet-magicians of Old were like - for instance, Gwydion, Math - tranquil in their self-assurance even as they upended the world.

Days like this, I want to run away to the countryside where I can sit wrapped up in some old house, writing, drinking tea, reading by candlelight, while winter has his way with the hills. Mind you, it's all writing, drinking tea, reading, here where I am now too. But I do wish for hills.

Only sometimes though, and only if I'm taken there, then brought back again. I really have no inclination to be a hardy woman. I like a village nearby, and little roads through the hedgerows (not that we have hedgerows here). I like chimney smoke from other houses, and people to meet along the way. I wasn't always so - I had my half-empty house in the forest in the hill-roots. I did the wild thing. But I've come to value comfort. Truth is, I'm more Anne Blythe than Cathy Earnshaw, and unapologetically so. Always was, just didn't know it until I learned in my twenties that I could be. Before that, I hadn't read the book, so didn't know Anne was possible. I had always been surrounded by hardy women.

What I wish for girls is that they are surrounded by a diversity of literature so, no matter where they live or what other women choose to be, they can find mentors, examples, kindred spirits to inspire them in finding their own selves. Modern offerings follow character trends, so thank goodness for the old books, for LM Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott, for those girls who don't want to be fiesty or furious. Or even for the girls who do, but who need to learn that whatever other girls want to be for themselves is okay too.

(Including being a poet-magician, since it's not right that only the boys should have the fun.)

This Is For You

Let me tell you something about you. Oh sure, I've never met you, but I know this just the same. You are beautiful. You are special. We need you in the world.

Infact, without you the magic won't quite work. Because we're all in this together, like layers of a rose, or threads in a weave, and you bring what only you can to it. You are a valued part of the work we do together, creating the great enchantment that is life here in this strange lovely bubble of earth, sea, weather.

You bring you, and it's wonderful.

I don't care whether you're homeless or a millionaire, fashionably pretty or all the supposedly wrong things. I love the angle of your finger bones, the corner of your eye when you smile, the silence you set around yourself when it all feels like too much. I don't need to have ever seen or heard these things to love them. To know they exist is enough. I've never seen the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel either, but the mere fact such wondrous art graces our world is heart-warming, inspiring, a joy. I feel the same about you. Your laugh tumbling out all unexpected, and your shoulder hunching protectively towards your heart when they sneer at you, and the stillness on your face when you watch the sun rise. Everything about you is art. The scars, the sorrows, the wishes, the flaws.

So if it ever gets too sad, or you're worn down by the day, remember there's a woman in New Zealand who is glad you exist, and who is sending you a hug, a wry smile, a cup of tea. It may be too hard to tell someone that you're sad or worn down; reaching out may feel impossible. So do this, if only for me: hold your own hand. Lift your face to the sky. Keep on going for one more moment, and then another, and then another. Things will get better. The world is full of beautiful things. Leaf veins, butterflies, silvery skies before rainfall, ancient paintings, and you.

The Writer's Truest Thing

I am not a particularly creative person. I can do the technical things to build a story, write a poem, take a photograph. But the wild magical imagination that births really beautiful and unique books and visual imagery is not inherent to me. I spend a lot of time studying other people's creativity to think about how I might do something similar myself, without actually copying them (because then after all it wouldn't be creativity).

What I do have is an intuition for sentence structure. My thoughts move with a particular cadence, and when I write them down I am able to stay true to that cadence, so that what results is something sincerely my own. Never borrowed, seldom edited, always authentic to its beginnings as a whisper, a stirring of old silence, deep inside me. My words aren't precious to me - words belong to us all; and besides, I like to keep them simple. But my style is valuable to me, because it is me.

I've had people use my photographs without crediting them. That's annoying, but a common peril for those who publish images without watermarks. I don't feel my photography warrants watermarking. I've also had people use my words without crediting them. That's more annoying. And my ideas, that's worse. I really do suffer when people take my ideas for their own, probably because of my struggle to be creative and come up with fresh thoughts. But even then, that's a gift from the universe, helping to guide me into my true heart where it's not the ideas themselves that matter, only their song.

Different though is when people copy my phrasing, my sentence structure, my cadence - not just echo it but directly take a whole paragraph of it and put their own words instead for the same purpose. That's strange, eerie, and upsetting. Maybe it shows I am inspiring, which of course every writer wants to be, and I should be delighted. But that style, it's the truest thing I have as a writer. It's the truest thing any writer has about themselves. No one could call lifting it plagarism, because the words are different. And yet, writing is not just words, is it?

I took a wild path into the craft of writing. Because of this, I'm not as clever as many other writers, I'm a bit rough-hewn and wind-shaken. I never learned the rules. All I did was read and think and wish. Often I dream of being more skilled at the craft, and always I'm trying to improve. But it matters to me that at least, for better or worse, no one else writes like me.

I don't mean that to sound boastful. Imagine you were a dress designer. You would want to create a unique brand, wouldn't you? And if you were a singer, you'd want the tone of your voice to be different from others, or else you might as well join the chorus. Surely any creative artist strives to be recognisable in the crowd.

And so I can tell you this : with the exception of subconscious echoing, which we all do sometimes, what I write is honestly from me. Oh, the plot may be cliched, the ideas may have been done before, and especially in the case of my latest project you may think it a homage to other writers simply because they are the people from whom I learned my sense of humour. You may even thinking I write terrible. Fair enough. But my voice is mine. I will never relinquish it in silence.

Soften Your Mind With Roses

How do you stop nightmares? I was asked this question recently and thought I'd share my answer here since it is the same answer I give for many things - how to prepare myself in the moment before I must answer a phone call; how to calm an anxiety attack; how to get myself in the right mental space for writing; and so on.

Soften your mind with roses.

At least, it's roses for me. Roses and wedding dresses, sunlight drifting like gauze through English woods, tea cups on a white lace cloth, cottage gardens. I have several pinterest boards which I use for the purpose of bringing peace to my mind and my body. So when I see the landlords are phoning, or the noise in town gets too overwhelming, or I have half an hour to do some writing and need to shift quickly into a creative mood, I mentally reference those boards, and fill my mind with gentle beauty.

Changing our responses and biases is entirely possible with the practice of reimaging. After all, the reason we have those automatic feelings and thoughts is because certain images were allowed to echo over and again in our minds. Some of them may have come from our families during childhood, some from criticisms we told ourselves years ago and never released. There's also the constant saturation of awful images and dark messages from all kinds of media. We are able to change that by the persistent re-education of our brains.

I'm not talking about gratitude, nor the power of positive thinking. I dislike both those ideas, as I've written about before. I'm simply suggesting a gentle shift of the subconscious preoccupation of our minds to something lovely, warm, safe. So when the phone rings, let it trigger you to think of an image you adore, and take a moment to smile over it before you answer that call. If you do this consciously every single time, you will soon find yourself calm and smiling the moment the phone rings.

If during an anxiety attack you imagine yourself in a rose garden, or wandering through a meadow, or tucked up in a cosy bed, your body will begin to respond to what your mind is communicating, and the panic will ease. It won't be instant, but just keep reminding yourself that the anxiety, with all its terrible imagery and thoughts, is just neural activity in the brain, and you can "reprogramme" it.

As for nightmares - at night, along with washing your face and cleaning your teeth, make your emotional and mental hygeine part of the habitual evening process. Fill your mind with beautiful visual thoughts (nothing verbal, as that gives the old negativity an opportunity to argue). Just sweetness, gentleness, peace.

I hope this idea is helpful to you in some way. Have a lovely day.

The Rules of Popular Blogging

Following yesterday's post, Sue commented that my idea for posting was resonate of instagram, a fact with which I had to agree. She referred me to a post by A Bookish Baker which discussed how "the rules of blogging" had led to its decline. I do think rules have something to do with it - or rather, the feeling of inadequacy that drew people to follow rules which might make them more like the popular bloggers. It sent me into flashbacks of primary school, where the gorgeous sparkly bit of fabulousness who was Most Popular Girl in our class used to tell me all the rules of her playtime games - for example, no mention of bunnies or kittens, despite them being the key to inclusion only yesterday. Yes, the rules kept changing. The system was set up to keep her popular and in power, and I was never ever going to be admitted to her circle no matter how many of those rules I followed.

I have no doubt that girl went on to be hugely successful in her life. She understood her power and how to use it. She was confident in herself and knew that this confidence translated into having a spark other people wanted to be warmed by, or to catch themselves.

I see the same thing in blogland. What I personally believed caused the decline of the community is the monetising of blogs. Those bloggers with spark and self-confidence learned how to use their lives, their families, their self-confidence, to make money. Good for them! That's not a bad thing. But all too many other bloggers were like I was as a small child - trying desperately to follow rules they didn't quite understand and would never be able to because they were shy, or magical, or had freckles, or were bad at sports, or liked the wrong music, or they wanted it to be always bunnies and kittens.

If they didn't try following the rules ... or tried but failed (because after all the rules were simply the structure of other women's success, and not designed to encourage competition, despite all the "how I did it and you can too" posts, which are after all part of the structure as well, making people feel like they too can be beautiful, satisfied with life, rich, excellent gardeners, or imperfect but adorable mothers) ... if they were not ever going to have that same success with their blogging, they just faded away.

I am still blogging because I love to write. There's really nothing else to it. I would write here if only one person read it, because my whole way of being is Writing.

I should say that there are still many healthy blogs out there which aren't essentially magazines run on the basis of what readers desire and what sponsors require. There are ladies with large audiences who love their discussion of tea, recipes, and faith. There are art bloggers. There are book bloggers. I don't have many good recipes (I can't even cut a tidy edge on my cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches) which is why I thought to try book blogging. At least writing about writing and reading, I would be authentic.

I hope that the instagram craze will settle enough that space is made once more for the complex and in-depth conversations blogging allows. But I don't really think that will happen. Humans seem to evolve towards ease.

Rain & Sorrow

how you always remind me to leave it at the lovely

After the rain, the world shines. Have you seen a woman after sorrow? How she shines. Not the heartbreaking kind of sorrow but the one that nourishes, the tears we know we need to soften us, feed our roots and heal us; the sorrow like rain.

In the combox I'm going to write about my decision regarding this little webspace. I'm doing it there because it feels a bit messy and I want to keep things quiet here. (It's not anything bad.)

Your True Voice

When does a writer (or creator of any kind, from artist to parent to gardener) develop their true creative voice? Is it something that comes from years of immersion in other voices, of education, practice, and maturity, until they winnow out what they like best for themselves? Or are they born with it?

I don't remember when I first knew I was a writer, although looking back I can clearly see I followed the path the craft itself followed through the millennia: telling stories orally before I eventually evolved into putting words on paper. My earliest stories were mere repetitions of what I had read, mingling with influences from the world surrounding me. Since I read a lot of classic fairy tales, and my world was an enchanted wood, I tended towards telling magical stories.

But one of my most enduring memories is of the day I encountered a typewriter. It was at the house of my mother's friend, and I was given permission to use it. As I touched my fingers to the keys, I felt my soul awaken. From that moment on, I understood I was a writer. And yet, what I composed on that typewriter was not anything about fairies or singing owls. It was sheer wry humour. And as I watched the adults around me read it and laugh, I knew there wasn't anything else I wanted to do (apart from be a mother and travel the country in a gypsy wagon, reading tarot cards at country fairs, of course). Knowing you are something and wanting to be that are two different things, and I believe both can be changed. But I never wanted to change. I was hooked on the feeling I got when I sat at that typewriter and turned ordinary little words to my purpose. 

The years went on and I quietly studied the craft of writing through reading, practicing, and getting a university degree in literature. My practice continued in the way it had through childhood: essentially repeating what I was reading. Which meant fantasy stories. A few times I tried humour but lost my nerve.

Recently though, I struck upon a story idea which can only be told in a wryly humorous manner. I told myself not to bother, because I am a dreamy poetic writer. But telling myself seldom works. Before I knew it, I had three chapters written within the space of three days and could not stop, even when I was nowhere near a keyboard. I don't feel necessarily confident in what I am doing (although it helped when two test readers told me it made them laugh out loud, and whatever happens I will always treasure one of them, a bluntly honest person, telling me it read "like Jane Austen crossed with Terry Pratchett".)

What I lack in confidence, though, the story itself seems to have, because I can't let it go. And so I continue on stubbornly. And this is what it feels like:

Like my true creative voice has been engaged.

So I wonder, do writers (and other creators) get a true voice along with all the other inherent things that make them grow up to be writers, and have to guard against it being lost through education, other voices, expectations? Or is it just, in the end, a matter of sheer, bloody-minded confidence?

Thinking About Blogging Identity

For years I have rummaged about within myself for a steady blogging identity. Homeschooling used to be my focus, and when I stopped writing about that I was unsure what to do next. I have rambled through lanes and meadows ever since, and while I don't regret that, it has made things a little difficult for me - never having much of an idea what my next post should be about, never being sure what my readers will appreciate.

I thought for a while I should just write about daily life. But I live very quietly, go on few interesting adventures, don't do crafts any more, and my current milieu is not even close to attractive. What I mostly do is write (or angst about not writing) and read and take photographs on the few occasions I'm able.

And so more and more lately I've been contemplating a shift here at my weblog towards focussing on writing, reading, literary matters, and the thoughts that arise in me from various reading experiences. I believe it would help me to feel happier in myself. For too long now I've just been "someone who blogs her random thoughts." I would like to be a writer who blogs. Or journals, to use a prettier verb.

I am also contemplating shifting my online space gently into this one. I'm not totally keen on having my name for the url, but at the same time I've long disliked knitting the wind, and thinking up the perfect journal title isn't as easy as you might suppose. I can't afford a personal domain, nor a fancy website to go along with it. But I don't know that people care about such things anyway?

A change of focus will lose me readers. A change of url definitely will. But I have to consider what it will gain me personally. Online journalling is an opportunity to share what is important, beloved, or meaningful to you. I don't think writing and reading are more important than parenting, climate change, animal welfare, and so on - but I do think being a writer is important to me, and I not only want to share more about it, but I want to align myself internally more with it.

And now to get dressed into warm clothes and go into the village for bread. See, exciting!

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Thanks & Blessings.