My first blog
|This is my first ever blog, so I'm not really sure what I'm doing . I guess I'll learn as I go along.|
|What event in history do you wish you could have witnessed, and why?
This is such a great prompt. It's hard to decide what to choose, though, as there are so many things I would like to have seen. Woodstock, for example. I would love to have been at Woodstock, with flowers in my hair and love in my bones. In fact, I would have loved to live through the 60s, in general. The hope that was contained in that one decade. Antibiotics were the new wonder drug. People started to believe they could live for ever. The pill became available, making love much freer. Medical possibilities were endless. Music filled the air with the sound of happiness. The Beatles, I would love to have seen The Beatles. Peace and love. I could have been a hippy.
When I think about it, most of the things I would like to have witnessed are music related. I've always thought it must have been an electric time when dance halls first filled with the sounds of Bill Haley and rock 'n' roll. Until he arrived in the UK, easy listening was as exciting as music got. Elvis. Oh my wow. I can only imagine the thrill of seeing him gyrate up close and personal.
Aside from music, I would love to have been part of the Bloomsbury Press. To discuss writing with the likes of Virginia Woolf would have been incredible. A little scary, I imagine, but so interesting.
None of these are big events in history. Rather, they are times in history. If I'm more specific, I would love to go back to the early 1800s, just for a few days. Not because of any big event that took place then, but because I would like to witness the poker game in which my 3 x Great Grandfather lost the family farm and all his employees. I would love to have seen the conversation with his wife when he gave her the bad news!
I'm not sure if I've really answered the prompt. But I couldn't narrow it down any more than this.
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|Wow. That's the word that is floating around in my head. Wow wow wow. The Quill Award Ceremony took place last night, and I am stunned by a couple of the results. Firstly, I want to list my awards, including those from the PreQuills Ceremony. I want to list them because I'm proud of them. Also, because I need to look back at this entry whenever I'm feeling like I am worthless and have no talent.
Best Health/Medical ~ HM for "PTSD & Me"
Best Short Story ~ HM for "Charlie's Story"
Best War/Militaria ~ Quill for "A Hero's Heart"
Best Short Non-Fiction ~ Quill for "21st July 1988"
Best Portfolio ~ Quill Winner
You see? Wow. That's why. I never expected this. Ever. I have to admit, I got a little tearful when Best Port was announced. It kind of dawned on me that maybe I can write. Maybe. It was the strangest feeling. Wow.
I'm so honoured to receive all of these awards, and I'm so happy for some of my friends who also won awards. For example, Sally and Whata Turkey . You guys were both on fire! And I cannot describe how happy I am that QPdoll got an HM for her No Dialogue Contest. So, so, so happy! Similarly, Witchy woman prays 4 Ukraine , you should be so proud with your HM for the Love Shouldn't Hurt Short Story Contest. I'm so happy you won it.
It was a great ceremony to watch. Very entertaining. Elle (she/her) did such a great job at organising everything, and her "panel" of guests were great fun. I don't think people who aren't WDC members understand just how much these awards mean to us. I mean, okay, we don't write in order to win awards, we write because it's who we are. But to be recognised in this way is the biggest honour. Which leads me on to my next point. Make sure you nominate all your favourite 2017 items. Here is the link: "Invalid Item" . If you don't nominate, the ceremony doesn't work. It's great to have such a wide variety of people nominated and winning. Let's make sure that continues to next year.
Well, that's me for today. Happier than my last entry. Still kind of in shock. But definitely happy.
|Well, it's been a funny, old week. Last Saturday was a massive high. I closed up my Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and when I added up the figures, I raised over 1.4 million GPs. That was incredible, and I felt so happy to be able to help out my four chosen groups. Then, in the evening, shock central when I won a Quill Award at the PreQuill Gala. I won Best War/Miliaria with my poem, "A Hero's Heart" . I was not expecting that at all. What an honour. What a massive, wonderful honour.
After Saturday, my week has kind of been sucky. But that's to be expected. You see, today (7th April) marks five years since I lost my Mum to pneumonia. The events of that last harrowing week have been invading my mind. I keep thinking how could I have not noticed how ill she was before? I should have noticed. She might still be here.
I remember everything about that week as though it were yesterday. She went into hospital on the Monday morning, with the paramedics telling us they thought she had pneumonia. "But you can die from that," I said. On the Tuesday when David and I visited, she was wearing this breathing mask (CPAP, maybe??) that was violently forcing air into her lungs. I almost collapsed when I first saw her like that. She looked so frail. But she was awake and I told her all about our neighbour whose partner had just given birth to my god daughter. The doctors took me aside on that day and said that if she didn't respond to the treatment they were giving her now, there was nothing more they could do. So far, they said, she wasn't responding. But I knew that the moment I saw her. I knew she wasn't going to get better.
That night, I phoned my Auntie Beryl. She was Mum's favourite sister. They spoke everyday on the phone, sometimes five or six times a day. I told Auntie Beryl to take our visiting spot the on the following afternoon, as it didn't look like Mum would make it. She went, with my Auntie Betty. I was glad they got to see her. She was in good humour, they said. Confused, but cheerful. However, by the time I got there in the evening, she was unconscious. She never woke up. I never got to speak to her, or hear her say my name, again. I'm glad Auntie Beryl got to say goodbye, but I'm jealous that I never got another conversation with her.
I was at the hospital with her every day until her final day, on the Saturday. Easter Saturday. I don't know if she knew I was there. When the doctor told me her lungs were clear, but she wasn't waking up, so they thought there was something else going on, I crumpled and cried. I had the choice to make. Should they withdraw life support? You always see people on TV dramas who are given this choice. They agonise over whether to do it or not. Well, I knew straight away it was the right thing to do. Mum was struggling so hard to breathe (even though they said her lungs were clear) and I knew she was ready to go. So they took her off support at 4:30 p.m., and I held her hand and watched her disappear. Her breaths became smaller and smaller. It looked like a part of her was still fighting it. So I said, "It's okay, Mum. I have David, I'll be okay." Within the next minute, she stopped breathing.
It took fourteen minutes from when they switched the machines off. That's all. It was actually really peaceful and understated. As she had been in life, she was in death. It was in sharp contrast to Dad when he died. He fought and struggled and terrified me. Not Mum, though. She just quietly slipped away. And my heart was shattered.
So, here we are, five years on. Some days, I don't think I will be able to live with the pain of losing her. I can't believe she is really gone. Throughout my whole life, she was constantly in and out of hospital. So, for some reason, it still feels like that. Like she's in hospital, and she will come home again. Because she always does. She always did.
I miss her so much. She was the kindest, bravest, most selfless person in the world. She suffered so much pain in her life, and I know I let her down too many times. She deserved better than me. She's left such a hole in my life. Auntie Beryl misses her terribly, too. The one thing I take comfort from is that in her very last breath, it looked like she smiled. I would like to think she saw Dad and was finally home. Maybe she saw God, I don't know. I don't have any religious beliefs, but I really don't know.
Well, I'm crying so hard I can barely make out the letters of my keyboard. So I think I'll leave it there. I love you, Mum. I miss you. I hope you're with Dad and pain free. I hope we meet again one day.
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|I've neglected this blog this month. For some reason, when I signed up for Pursue The Horizon last year, I started a new blog, rather than using this one. So I used that one again this year and, well, I didn't have time to write in this blog as well. Things have been insanely busy on WDC. I've been running the Mad Hatter's Tea Party Raffle. It ends today, and I can't wait to roll the die and find all the winners. I'm so excited. It's ridiculous. Seriously. I've also been running the Verdant Poetry Contest this month, and I'm still running Shadows & Light while Aundria is away.
Then, we have Rising Stars. I've just about managed to write my three M2M reviews this month, along with writing my piece of slam poetry. Here is a link to it, just in case you're interested:
It doesn't look like much, and it probably doesn't read all that well. But it's meant to be read out loud.
I signed up for one of the HSP classes, as I'm rubbish at writing about love and intimacy and sexual scenes. So this is going to help me. I hope. Or maybe I'll find it's just not my style. But I hope I don't. I want to write well.
But, to the main reason I decided to write today. I wanted to tell you about a dream I had last might, and ask for thoughts on what it might mean. I have horrible dreams most nights, but they're usually about my grandfather or my ex. This one was different. It felt suffocating and frightening but in a really weird kind of way.
At the start of the dream, I two of my female cousins came to stay in my house. Except they weren't my cousins, I didn't recognise them. In the evening, I wanted to go to see my two friends, but every door and window had a layer of cardboard blocking them up. As I ripped away at the cardboard, and doors were revealed, I couldn't figure out how to open them. My "cousins" had put some kind of weird technology on them and I couldn't work it. Every time, I asked for their helped, they laughed, then when I turned back to the door it had moved and had cardboard in front of it again. When I finally got outside, I wasn't wearing my shoes, so then I had to try to get back in in again. But the cardboard was now on both sides of the doors. There were people shooting at each other and diving for cover all around me, and I realised I didn't know where I was. It wasn't home, and my house didn't look like my house. I wanted to find a public phone to ring my friend to come and get me, but I didn't know her number by heart. So I had to get back inside. When I did, I was stuck again, with moving doors, boarded up with cardboard and two mean women laughing at me.
At the end of the dream, I got back outside, but I forgot my bag and mobile, so still couldn't ring my friends. But a car came to collect me and the driver said he would take me to my destination. When I got there and stepped out of the car, I was in the middle of No-Man's Land, in a bunker, with shells flying over my head and people dying all around me.
So, that's my dream. It's left me feeling unsettled. I have a headache. I can't get it out of my head. Maybe writing about it here will have helped. If anyone interprets dreams, I would be interested in your thoughts.
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|Day Thirty ~ Motivational Monday! Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, born on this day in 1882, once said "I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues." How important to your success (in any part of your life) is it to surround yourself with talented, knowledgeable, and/or fun people?
Ooh, a nice tricky topic for the last day. In an ideal world, I would say talented and knowledgeable people aren't necessary for success. But this isn't the ideal world. We all need to be able to have conversations with people who stimulate us. It's part of human nature, isn't it? I think it also helps ideas to spark in our minds, when we surround ourselves with people with similar interests. For example, being a part of WDC has inspired me to create a bucket load of stories and poems. I know I wouldn't have written half of them without speaking to people on this website. So I think it definitely helps us to be creative. I guess that is success in itself. This whole blogging experience has been inspirational as well. It's been good to know I have to write something every day. I'm hoping that will continue. The people I've got to know have been great as well. One thing I've learned, through the whole of WDC, is that everyone has their story to tell. It makes me feel less alone. I think that connection I feel when interacting with others is as important as any other aspect of surrounding myself with talented people.
In my first marriage, my husband isolated me. I had no friends near me, no job, I moved away from my family. I didn't have the internet. It was just him and me. In that instance, it was important for me to be surrounded by people, period. I didn't only need talented, knowledgeable, and fun people. I just needed someone. But that's probably not what this prompt is about. That's a completely different situation.
I think fun people are important in everyone's life. Striving to achieve greatness is all very well, but if you have nobody to party with, what's the point? We all need cheering up from time to time. Emotional well being is key to true success. For me, emotional well being is success.
But I feel I have just rambled my way through today's entry. I think we need talented and knowledgeable for creative and work-related success. Also, for intellectual stimulus. I think we need fun people to keep our mental health in check.
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|The Sunday News! Please, I don't care what you want to talk about today, just no politics. Find a story that makes you feel good about the world and tell us about it.
A soon as I read today's prompt, I thought of this guy. His name is Ben Smith, and he is an inspiration. He was bullied for eight years when he was at school, and he had massively low self esteem and self worth as a result. Age eighteen, he tried to take his life. He comfort ate through his twenties, and became very overweight. Age twenty-nine, he had a TIA stroke. This is the point where he knew he had to change his life. He began running and found it was something he was born to do. He loved it, it gave him a sense of self worth. Then he decided to take on a challenge, and to raise both money, and awareness, for bullying. He decided someone had to try to make a difference. His challenge? To run 401 marathons in 401 days. Wow! I can't even imagine how much grit and determination that would take. What an incredible feat.
He completed his challenge in October last year, finishing his last marathon in his home town of Bristol. He battled two colds, a chest infection, and a serious back injury along the way. Wherever he visited, he tried to talk to school children and educate them about bullying. He's an incredible guy. This video doesn't really come close to showing just how incredible. I was fascinated with him every time he was on the news. Our local news comes from Bristol, so they talked about him a lot. What a way to turn your life around! Apparently, after he ran his last marathon, he had to continue running every day, gradually reducing the amount of miles each time, in order to let his heart get used to not running. Can you imagine that?
Anyway. This is the story of Ben Smith (I'm sure this is not the last we hear from this guy):
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|Day Twenty-Eight ~ Pick one of the following scenarios and expand on it: 1) An animal you can humanely wear while it's still alive; or 2) A house you can live comfortably in that is made entirely of edible materials.
Okay. So the animal we can humanely wear . . . I guess this is the part where I don't take the obvious route and suggest a gingerish cat that can be worn on the head to pass for hair. Because I've seen that done somewhere lately. Hmmm.
Maybe I'll take the second option instead. An edible house. My first thought was, unsurprisingly, chocolate. Big bars of dairy milk for the walls, and a thatched roof made of inter-connected Twirly Wirlies. But, then, I thought that wouldn't work because it would melt under the sun. So, I'm changing it up a little
The walls would be made of American-style, crispy streaky bacon. They would be a few layers thick, for sturdiness. The outside layers would be glazed in maple syrup, which would protect the bacon from rain and the elements. The roof would be made entirely of toffee. It would have been heated, to make it malleable. That way, it could be moulded into the right shape and fixed to the bacon. It would then become hard, and it would be rain-resistant. So, already, we have a safe, tasty exterior. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!
Inside there would be a floor made of rolls of seaside rock. The rolls would be laid out side by side, and liquid icing sugar would be poured over them, filling the gaps in between. This would set as hard, making it easy to walk on. The scent of mint would work wonderfully well at making the house's inhabitants feel happy. Nausea could be combatted by kneeling down and sniffing the rolls of rock. It would be a single storey house, as anyone would be crazy to try to find a food suitable to make ceiling/second floor!
The chairs would be Twinkies and Mini Rolls, with a lollipop dining table. The main door into the house would be French toast. Like the outside walls, it would be coated in maple syrup for weathering reasons. Mmm. I want to visit this house. Although, it probably wouldn't be too healthy for a diabetic! Ah well. We can dream, can't we!
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|Fun Fact Friday! On this day in 1926 a Scottish inventor named John Baird demonstrated a pictorial transmission machine called the television. Do you remember seeing your first television...the one your parents had when you were a kid? What were some of your favorite shows? Do you still watch any of the old programs you enjoyed as a teenager?
This prompt has sent me meandering down Nostalgia Lane. The first thing I want to say, though, is I really didn't watch that much TV as a kid. Really. I'm going to mention quite a few shows, but that's purely because they have taken up residence in my head and are tugging at my heart to be mentioned. But, for most of my childhood, I was outside playing with my friends. I spent little time at home. And when I was at home, I spent most of my time reading and listening to records on my Dad's old gramophone player. Even so, this list is quite long
I don't remember the first time I saw my parents' TV. I do remember it, though. I remember it having a screen on the left of it, with four knobs on the right side (volume, channel changer, contrast, and on/off). Yes, we had to get up to change the channel. I don't know how we managed! It was colour, and it stood on four thin wooden legs.
Okay, here's another disclaimer. I was an odd child (I guess nothing has changed there). I've never liked cartoons or animations, so most of the shows I remember watching as a child aren't aimed at children. The three that are children's shows are "The Flumps," "Scooby Doo," and "Jamie & The Magic Torch." I loved Scooby. He was so cute and funny, and I loved how the guys drove around in The Mystery Machine solving, well, mysteries. I have to link the theme to "Jamie & The Magic Torch" because, I think, it explains a lot about the kids of my generation who saw this when they were little.
This show was insane. It was psychedelic, and I'm sure whoever wrote it must have been on something. But I loved it. Especially the dog: Wordsworth.
As for the rest of the shows I loved in my childhood, they were all detective shows, or action based shows. These were my favourites, up until the age of about ten or so:
"The Gentle Touch"
"Hart To Hart"
"Cagney & Lacey"
"The Incredible Hulk"
"The A Team"
"Dempsey & Makepeace"
"Van der Valk"
"The Littlest Hobo"
"Charlie Chan Mysteries"
The funny thing is the part I remember most about all of these shows is their theme tunes. I've just watched all of them on YouTube and they all move a part of me deep inside. I could actually feel it turning. Especially The Hulk and "The Gentle Touch." Looking back at the latter, it was broadcast from 1980 - 1984. So I would have been 4/5 - 8/9. What was I doing watching a gritty detective show that dealt with rape and murder? I don't know. But I know I related to the victims. And I know I wanted DI Maggie Forbes to come and save me. Maybe that's why the programme affects me physically today. When I was nine (in February 1985) the first episode of a new British soap opera was broadcast: "East Enders." I remember watching it with my parents. They hated it. I loved it. I still do. It gets a lot of bad press. But it's always people who never watch it who think they are qualified to rubbish it. Anyway. I am a lifelong fan.
Moving onto teenage years, I had a TV in my bedroom. I watched a lot of American sitcoms: "Cheers," "The Golden Girls," "Roseanne," "Charles In Charge." I think I needed programmes that helped me to escape. These did the job really well. I still love these comedies, and I've since added a lot more to my list of favourites. "Miranda" is right up there. I love the bones of that woman!
I have a fond memory of watching "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." It used to be on Sunday mornings, and I vividly remember watching it with Dad. I googled the theme tune about a year ago (I can't remember why) and I had the strangest reaction. I started to cry. Like, uncontrollable sobbing. And I couldn't stop for about an hour. David looked kind of scared, if I'm honest. Which is fair enough. But it made me feel so sad. I couldn't explain it. So I don't think I'll be watching that show again.
I still love "Cagney & Lacey." It's dated, but I love it. The other shows from my childhood, I would still watch if they were on. But they are never as good as I remember them. You kind of add a rose tinted filter to happy memories, don't you?
In recent years, aside from comedies, I've discovered some amazing dramas. Unfortunately, most of them have now ended. "Sons Of Anarchy," "The Sopranos," "Breaking Bad," "Law & Order," Law & Order:SVU," "Broadchurch." (The British one - first series.)
You see? I said it would appear I spend all my time watching TV. But I don't. I never have. You have to remember these shows cover forty-one years of life. Oh dear. I'm going to read other people's blogs now, and I'm sure I will find they mention three or four shows. I shall hang my head in shame. Believe me: I shall.
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|Plug time! What are some of the WDC events you'll be taking part in during the month of February?
Well now . . . I've just had a look and I have lots of things happening in February. I was, actually, wondering if we could give the month, like, ten extra days this year? That should give me time to achieve everything I want.
Firstly, most importantly, and most time consumingly, there is the Comma Sense Class with New Horizons. Oh my word. This class is kicking my butt! It's the most difficult class I've taken since I left school. It's way harder than my degree in Literature. This class continues through February, so I will be spending a lot of time with that.
As I am a future Rising Star, there are certain activities we are asked to take part in. So at the beginning of February, there is "The Dialogue 500" . I've entered that this month, and I like writing dialogue, so that should be fun. Also, and this is the one I'm looking forward to, GabriellaR45 has created a Musical Challenge. We have to write about six songs/pieces of music that mean something to us. This is exactly the kind of challenge I love. So I'm really looking forward to that. At the end of February, there is a Poetry Slam through Rising Stars, which I'm also looking forward to. I've never done anything like that before, so I'm eager to see how it works. Then there is the outside publishing challenge. We are to send items to outside publishers, up to a maximum of four items. I have some work to do before I am happy to send any of mine, but I aim to send a minimum of two.
I am taking place in "I Write in December-January-February" at the moment. The challenge is to enter a competition every week, and also review the entry before yours in the I Write Forum. I haven't missed a single week yet, so I'm determined to to keep up through February.
I help to judge the "No Dialogue Contest" every month with my good friend, Elizabeth. I love this contest. I encourage everyone to take a look! That is one of my first jobs every month.
Now. Last year, I ran the "Mad Hatter's Tea Party Closed for 2023" in March. I aim to run this again this year. So I will have a lot of organising (and asking for donations of packages) to do in February. (I'm open to offers of packages right now, by the way .) This year, the proceeds will be split four ways: 25% will be attached to one package, and the winner of that package will receive it, 25% to WDC Power Reviewers, 25% to Newbies Academy Group, and 25% to Paper Doll Gang. I'm really excited about this.
I also have my usual tasks to complete. So, crediting Power Reviewers and running the "Special Occasions Forum" .
My head's kind of spinning just thinking about all of this. I sense a fair amount of stress taking place in my household. Oh, that reminds me. It's David's birthday next month. I guess I'd better find him a present and arrange something nice for him!
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|Day Twenty-Five ~ Do you believe in miracles? Speculate on your idea of a miracle you'd like to see happen.
Do I believe in miracles? In short: no. Sorry to be boring and unimaginative, but I don't. I believe we all control our own lives. At least, that's when we don't have someone oppressing us and controlling them for us. Sorry. I digressed. But I do believe that if we want something, we have to do whatever needs to be done to move closer to that dream. The kind of people who really wind me up are those who whine constantly about how much they hate their lives, and how they want a better job, more money. But they change nothing. They don't look for another job. They don't ask their boss for a raise, or more responsibility. They just keep everything the same, and expect change to fall into their laps. That pisses me off. Especially when I know people who have worked their butts off to get where they are. Continue to work their butts off. So that's my realistic take on miracles.
Despite my thoughts above, I remember constantly wishing for a miracle when Dad was slowly dying of cancer. Especially in the last couple of months. I would see him growing weaker and weaker, and I would hope beyond hope that he would be one of those people you hear about who make sudden, miraculous recoveries when they are within days of death. A part of me genuinely thought he would. Until the last week. I had to keep hoping. But it didn't happen. Because miracles aren't real.
If I could have a miracle, though, it would have to be world peace. I would make everyone tolerant of everyone else. People could live alongside one another, knowing their beliefs are different, and be happy to call them neighbours. The whole world would get along. Now, that would be a miracle. I really don't understand why it can't be that way. I don't understand why people who pray to different Gods must be enemies. I know it's been the case, like, forever, but I don't get it. I really don't.
Alternatively, I would make chocolate the healthiest food on the planet. Ooh, world peace or healthy chocolate . . . tough call.
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