The Writings of Cat Mercer

Hello… this is the first blog post of this year and since I had my baby.

Update On My Life

I signed off last time after something of a rant about people being pedantic about historical fiction and being incapable of realising it was FICTION they were watching, not a documentary. A few short weeks after that, I gave birth to my fourth and final baby, a gorgeous, perfect little girl.

My life is understandably upside down and inside out. Two kids, it turns out, is a lot of hard work.

My older daughter is now happily settled in at school and has about 12 best friends already.

Of course, my baby is absolutely thriving. So, as I have five minutes to myself, I thought I would logon and bash out a quick post and write generally about stuff and remind myself that I am indeed, rather selfishly, an adult woman who is capable of thinking. Although what comes out at the moment due to a gloopy mixture of baby brain and exhaustion might be terribly questionable.

We are having some work done on the house soon, so that will be interestingly disruptive. It is part of the grand plan of selling up. If only I could move to Whitby in North Yorkshire… just the most gorgeous place. God… what I could be inspired to write living THERE… If you’ve never been, GO. Do it at least once. The home of Dracula, Brenda and Effie. Oh lord, I feel a road trip there coming on for when my baby is a bit bigger. Probably via York on the way home. It would be nice to visit York and not be attending a conference, unlike last time I was there. It was a good conference though, especially as my alma mater where also delegates and showed up late – my thoughts were “typical” and it did make me giggle – in a wholesome, good-natured way. Ooh, and we need to buy my beautiful new baby her own lucky duck in her birth month colour!

Crikey, Virgina Woolf would have been proud of that stream of consciousness.

Writing

I’ve been tweeting and that is it. I’ve even given up on Facebook to an extent. No time for it. Other than this Blog post, which is the longest thing I have written in MONTHS. It even felt odd on my fingers when I depressed the keys. I will get back into writing in the next few months. Due to not writing, I have been left thinking about writing instead. That means I have plenty of ideas for Limebirds posts when I return there from Maternity Leave. In the meantime, please get over there and read what they are up to!

I’m desperate to get my hands on a couple of my old stories and develop them further because I have had some great ideas about story or how to refine the writing itself and ease the pacing issues I’ve had with one story. However, right now and for the forseeable, no time.

Reading

I have read one book in all this time. I think I read a book in August/ September (which I still need to review for Limebirds…) and the one I have just read was a romance novel. It even had one of those hilarious bodice ripping covers of scantily clad Regency period rakes and heroines. I LOVE those covers! So corny but so funny.

So yes, the only thing I read was a romance novel. It was part of a series of books by Julie Anne Long so it had a couple of familiar bits in as it was the second one in the series I’ve read. I love the romance genre as much as any and think it gets such a bad press. Yes, there are mucky bits (and as an exhausted new Mum, I couldn’t be less interested in them if I tried), but they are pretty much part and parcel of the novel to make it work. It’d be like Doctor Who without the TARDIS. It just wouldn’t be cricket.

On the reading and writing scene though – my daughter is top of her class at both. In the words of Kryten from Red Dwarf : “smug mode”.

Anyhoo, take care dear readers.

C x

Hello

I’m closing in on my maternity leave, which ultimately means that I will be posting even less. I know, I know… you’ll be devastated!

Although this blog is a personal endeavour, I have to say that I am going to have to quieten down more than I thought I would. Basically, being a Mummy is a very time consuming thing and my babies are the most important thing in the entire world and deserve all of my attention. Therefore, my writing is dying a death for the next year or so.

I often say that the most important thing I’ll ever be in life is a Mum… well, here shall be the proof. I might tweet a bit, but that will mainly be because I’m breastfeeding and any Mum who breast feeds will tell you – once you’re baby latches on, that’s it. Bring a magazine or the TV remote, breast fed babies take their time :)

Historical Fact and Fiction – Know the Blummin Difference!

So, I thought I’d grumble about something. The annoying tendency of some people to not be able to differentiate between historical fact and fiction. It honestly winds me up something chronic.

My Sunday nights are currently bereft of entertainment, as ‘The White Queen’ on BBC 1 has now concluded its 10 week run. In America, it’s just getting going and being shown on the Starz channel I do believe.

It was a wonderful chunk of drama, taken from Dr Phillipa Gregory’s ‘Cousins War’ series of historical fictions.

I read a former soap actor criticize the acting skills as being ‘too wooden’ for him. Coming from a bloke who, in everything I have ever seen him in, has gone for stereotype roles or OTT melodrama that would make even Louis Spence wince, I found that laughable.

I actually found the acting restrained in the most part – and for jolly good reason. Should royalty of the medieval era go about beating their breasts and roaming the halls screaming and sobbing over everything? Or were they more accurately portrayed as people who had to keep everything, even in private, to themselves and bottled up, as letting out their feelings was a dangerous thing to do?

The latter. No standing in the street yelling and screaming here. These are not peasants we’re talking about and values were very different to what we have now. Nowadays, we expect our royalty to expose everything to us. When Princess Diana died in 1997, the royal family were widely criticized for not making a private matter public. Image forcing Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth being made to address the nation because an ex-family member had died? They’d have told you to sod off.  Take that back a few hundred years further and in the 15th century, death, murder and disease were normal, everyday parts of court life.

So no, the performances were much more accurate as being subtle and brooding, rather than the hand wringing and fist waving idiocy we think we should see by modern standards. Some people seem to have watched far too many Robin Hood films and expect wild pageantry and a cracking pair of tights chucked in for good measure. I have always found measured, calm and deliberate performance vastly more engaging and emotive than all-out soap-style acting.

The historical accuracy also came in for a massive telling off by people who, in my opinion, have a lot of time on their hands and little to complain about of substance in their day to day.

They seem to have magically forgotten that the show they were watching was historical fiction and that it was based on history. If they wanted to see something with the cast wearing 100% accurate clothes, rotting teeth and castles sans hand rails – go watch a documentary or a reconstruction. This programme is neither of those things. It isn’t either a docu-drama. It is dramatic entertainment and does not pretend to be otherwise – get over it.

It  wound me up that people were moaning and whinging about zips in dresses and modern gutters. If you cannot get the simple premise that this is a dramatization, then view a documentary instead. In fact, Dr Gregory has done a belting one to tie-in with the series on the three main women of the tale: Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville and Margaret Beaufort.

As someone who knows their history reasonably well (I was pretty good before I married a nerdy history graduate), I didn’t find it that bad at all to be honest. Timelines were compacted (which is a normal process for historical fiction plays and films to be made) and events were slightly reimagined and switched about, things were omitted or things that didn’t happen included, but the main points were pretty much there. I didn’t lose sleep over my country’s rich historical heritage being insulted. Fundamentally, I was vastly more grateful that this series may actually encourage others to find out more about the Wars of the Roses and history in general.

As a born Lancastrian (Merseyside used to be Lancashire until the mid 1970′s), I have grown up knowing about the historical war and therefore, always believing that the house of Lancaster was right. After watching the programme, I had my complacent ideologies challenged a bit, which I thought was brilliant. Henry Tudor had a very wobbly and rather tenuous claim to the English throne, which I think I always just glossed over and accepted, taken in by the Tudor period propaganda machine.

History is always written by the winners, right?

Richard III’s story was told to me by Shakespeare throughout my life and although I was aware of his history, it never occurred to me that there were so many powers at work behind the scenes - scheming and plotting against him.

In the opening soliloquy by Shakespeare, Richard III tells us that he was born deformed and therefore it was a hint to him that he should be evil as it was fate that had bound him on that course. More or less.

But Richard III was not the rotten, calculating murderer of Shakespeare. In his time, murdering and plotting your way to the top was normal. Brutal, but absolutely normal.

How many corpses did Henry VII walk over to claim the throne? Or Edward IV? Richard III was no different.

I didn’t see the zips in the dresses or the gleaming modern dentistry – I saw the drama, the history (however tweaked) and the joy of it all.

It is sad that others couldn’t and even went out of their way to say so.

British history, whether good or bad, is an amazing thing and makes me extremely proud to be from this country. I can’t be proud all the time, there are dark recesses in our history that are awful, but despite it all, we have something, as a nation to be proud of. I hope ‘The White Queen’ demonstrated to those who watched it and didn’t bemoan tedious what-nots, that history can be relevant, dramatic and interesting.

It has certainly renewed my interest in the subject, I can tell you.

 

Cat x

School, God & Hermit Crabs

Hello

I’ve been posting some more personal, more rambling stuff recently, haven’t I? Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.

The problem is, with this public blogging about stuff, is that it is just that – public. It’s not like I can open up about my deepest and darkest on the interweb for all to see. To be honest, I don’t think the web is the right place for that. I married my best mate/soul mate/ personal love god so if I have issues, I generally bore him to death with them instead. Some stuff I think it is right to share, which others might see as being a tad personal or even taboo. I often share the fact (and rather openly so) that I lost two babies in 2007. This is to raise awareness.

All I can go off is my own experience and it is a very lonely, isolated world out there as a bereaved parent. You think that you are the only one and it is terrifying. It is like the fickle hand of fate pointed at you, for no god-given reason and decided that you were the mother that should have their babies snatched away from her. It’s not until you hear about or read about the experiences of other people in a similar position to you, that you realise that you are by no means alone. It is comforting in one way – but harrowing in another: there are a lot of other people out there that didn’t get to take their babies home from hospital either. If you want the statistics, they read like this: 17 babies per day die in the UK, within the first 4 weeks of life. That includes before, during and after their births. 17 Mum’s and 17 Dad’s lose their baby. One baby per day in the UK will die due to the fact their mother smoked during pregnancy.

I know the above statistics are nothing compared to the third world, but, harsh as it sounds, that is not the world where I live. I live here, in the UK and the problems we face here are for me, just as real. We can’t go round trying to fix everyone else’s problems when we have many of our own still to fix. When you’ve lost a baby yourself, you truly do not think in terms of how other countries are faring instead of you. You think about the horrific nightmare you are currently lodged well and truly in and want to figure out a way to make it better for other people. What we learn through researching stillbirth and neonatal death can only benefit people all over the world, not just in the UK. It would be lazy and atrocious to suggest otherwise.

See? I do talk a lot about other stuff. I just get going on things and them… wooomffff…. I’ve written a blog on something that has nothing to do with writing.

I’ll update you on my writing then…

Writing Update

I’ve put the novel back on the shelf for a bit. I think I need time away from it for a while to just try and rethink it a bit. It’s my unfinished symphony.

On another note though, I’ve gotten a couple of articles off to Limebird Writers. One has just been published and one is awaiting publication. I’m generally more proud of the latter because I had to do a bit of research and hark back to my Uni days a bit with how I thought about it. Crikey.

The recently published article was on fanfiction, which is handy because I’m writing one at the moment. It’s getting bogged down in convoluted description again. Every time I reread each chapter to edit it, I still don’t see what I’ve done wrong with it, but I can just feel that there is something not right. I think it’s pacing. Lots of beating about the bush and not much action. This is why I love writing fanfiction (well, one of the reasons), because I don’t have to worry too much about character or their motivations. I just have to move them about my imaginary set and have them read out my lines. It can just help you figure out what is wrong, sometimes, with you own original work.

I wonder if it is pacing with mine. My heroine is procrastinating an awful lot, whilst my hero is brooding too much. I know I’m doing it and I just can’t stop myself from doing it! Gah! That is why I’m writing something else for a bit. See how that goes. I’ll get it up on Fanfiction.net at some point when I’m a bit happier with it and see what the feedback is like. That’s another reason I love fanfiction – the feedback.

School, God and Hermit Crabs

Other than writing and pondering, I do have a life. Oddly.

My little girl starts school in a few weeks, big weepy moment for many a mum. I will be stood at the school gates, crying whilst my dearly beloved just calls me a big soft fool as we wave off our tiny girl. I’m one of those mothers who are absolutely proud of their child. Seriously proud. Not delusionally proud, just heart-swellingly proud. She’s my precious miracle and I thank God every day for her.

No… I’m not religious. I identify as Agnostic. I believe in God, I just don’t agree with his (or her) various biographers or fan clubs and what they have to say. I’m not getting into a theological debate either. If you have beliefs – that’s nice. Good for you, I respect that and your freedom to have them. However, I will never push my beliefs on you so please, don’t ever even consider pushing yours on me. Each to their own.

Now, where was I? Ah yes, impending end-of-an-era type school starting. I might blog about it closer to the time. I don’t know. I might be too emotional to even get near a keyboard. Especially as I’m heavily pregnant and thoroughly hormonal without the added situational stimuli.

Our long term plan of selling the house is coming to fruition over the summer. At least getting it ready to sell anyway. We bought it a few years ago with the intention of selling it on after a couple of years, but it never worked out that way. Instead, we’ve just sort of stayed put for one reason or another. However, with a new baby on the way, we are ready and motivated to get it sorted out and on the market. It needs a few jobs doing, which are going to be accomplished in the most part by my husband’s uncle who is a pretty much all-round builder/joiner/plumber/sparkie etc. We’re not blessed with the natural ability to knock together a load of stuff ourselves, so we’re getting the pro’s in.

I realise it will take forever to sell (unless all that good luck we’re owed comes in!), but we have to make a start somewhere. We’ve been planning to get it up for sale for this summer for a couple of years or so now, so we’re sticking to the long term plan. I think, despite another little one coming soon, we are ready to move on and make a fresh start. We bought our current house before we got married so it’ll be an end of an era. However, it’s not the right house for us anymore – hopefully it will be the right house for someone else though! We’re all hermit crabs in the end. We all move about, looking for a new shell to live in that used to belong to someone else.

I think I’ll feel better when it’s on the market, for however long that will be for.

So if you want to send some positive thoughts our way, you have three things to go at: new baby, little one off to school and getting our house sold.

Take care dudes,

C x

Dreams

Hope is meant to be the last thing we have left in our armoury when all else has failed. However, hope without action is meaningless in my view.

It’s like having a dream about becoming a concert pianist and never learning the piano. If you don’t do something about it, it is never going to happen. It will remain a dream and nothing more. No amount of hope or prayers is going to set the personal want free and make it real.

I could apply this to my own dreams, but that makes me no different from anyone else who strives to make more of themselves.

It all has to start with a dream though, doesn’t it? Regardless of whether we act on them, we have to have them. I suppose it is one of those things that make us people. It makes us who we are.

Whenever I speak to particular people, they want to know why I’m not earning a fortune and why I don’t have a brand new car or fabulous house. They want to know why I’m not ticking some strange, arbitrary list they have in their head as to where I should be in life, according to them.

The simple truth of the matter is, you must not know the first thing about me if you think I have not achieved my own dreams.

I’m never going to have those lovely materialistic things and I’m not going to be comfortable financially until I’m middle aged and even then… who really knows? I’d like to move house, definitely, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of my life.

For a few years in my 20’s, I confess I did lament how quickly the years passed and how little I felt I had done in that time. However, now in my more pragmatic 30’s, I’ve come to realise that I had managed to achieve my greatest dream: being a mum.

I haven’t had children to fulfil my own wants and needs. No-one should have a child for selfish purposes. My children represent, as nauseating as this is, the love between my husband and I. Does that sound a bit twee? It doesn’t matter, because however you try to look at it, it remains fact.

Having children, for us, was a natural extension of our marriage. One that is essential to the progression and continuance of the human species to be sure, but one that represents the bond I have with my husband.

I know people say ‘don’t have kids because of blah blah blah’, but to me that just represent their personal hang ups, not mine. Yes, it costs more than we have to bring up kids and we have bugger all at the end of the day, but what would I use that money on instead? Holidays? Cars? My life is redundant without my children. They are worth more than any monetary value could be set at. They are priceless. Each human being is priceless.

It irks me when people cannot get drugs for illnesses or certain operations, simply because what they need is seen as too expensive. How? A drug or an operation costs money. Money is not alive. A human being is priceless and absolutely cannot be replaced.

Ultimately, it is only money.

Of course, I do wish I had more, simply because I’d love to be able to give my kids everything they’d dream of and the best life style money could buy. But I can’t.

Instead, I know I can give my children a happy, loving, safe and healthy environment where they know they are loved and looked after always. Having little does not mean a child will grow up to be a certain type of person at all.

From others, I am continually told my third daughter is such a happy, chatty, wonderful little girl. Most people can’t get over how far on she is for her age. That is the best compliment ever as a Mum. I’d rather someone remarked on her as a person than what clothes she wears or what toys she has. Telling me that they think she is a happy, lovely little girl is the best compliment ever.

I wish I was half of what she is when I was her age.

I do mention her as my ‘third’ daughter, as she isn’t my eldest. She’s my oldest living child I suppose, but she is one of four. My eldest two passed away in early infancy (go to my ‘About’ page on here to read more about that if you wish).

I’m proud of all of my children and in some unique ways too. I barely knew my second daughter, but as her Mummy, I knew her well in my own way. She was as fragile a snowflake and just as perfect and unique. I knew how she slept and how she moved. I knew her smell and I knew her features.

All children are indelibly linked to their mothers hearts and souls, even in a way different to the way they are with their fathers.

As I keep telling my third babe “Mummy’s know everything”.

That is my dream. To have my four pretty daughters in my heart and soul, to work hard for them and to make them feel safe, loved and wanted always. I’m living my dream.

I’m not going to travel the globe or write an award winning novel, but I am going to do the ordinary, that for me, is extraordinary. I’m going to slog away at the coal face of life to make sure I can give my daughters what they need, regardless of whether they are with me otherwise.

As a bereaved parent, you’d be surprised as to the amount of things you continually still need to do for your children. Just because they are not here, does not stop you from being their Mum and being responsible for them. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Maybe the nay-sayers of my life will look at it as ill-spent and without the tapping of any potential, but for me? I have reached my goal.

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Dream come true… My man and me

Oh, I have other dreams too. I’m the wife of the most gorgeous, handsome, clever, funny, caring, warm, beautiful, silly, wonderful man alive. I married my best friend as well as the love of my life. We just fit and always have. It’s not always easy, but we just can’t be cross or annoyed at each other for long. He is the epitome of the concept of a soul-mate. And he’s mine. 10 years together and we still find more reasons to love each other every day. We are sickeningly in love.

Not big dreams by most people’s standards I’m certain, not going to change the world, but for what they are and for how much value you put on them, they are still mine and I have them.

This notion reminds me, that during difficult periods in my life were hope seems very scarce, I am not as far behind where I want to be than I really, actually, am.

Originally posted on Limebird Writers:

The world of fan fiction has been thrown a new bone in the onward slog to be recognised as perhaps more than a niche writing underworld.

Amazon Worlds, available only to the US for now, has been something of a breakthrough for those of us who love reading and writing fan fiction.

PD James’ ‘Death Comes To Pemberley’ is, in my mind, fan fiction at its absolute most public and accepted. Because it is written by a well-known author of some repute, it is easy to forget that what you’re reading is, in fact, fan fiction. So why not extend that in some way to more but unrecognised writers?

View original 533 more words

The spot light on the recent death and rape threats received by a number prominent females on twitter and the rest of the social media sphere, has thrown up for me some self-reflection on the issue of freedom of speech.

I’ve read a few messages on twitter to one of the women being harassed, saying that there has been nothing wrong with what people have said to her, because of ‘freedom of speech’. Apparently, in these people’s view’s, if we the public or firms like twitter start taking action against people who make malicious communication, then we are censoring people’s freedom of speech and we’ll all end up gagged.

Personally? I say bollocks. You were brought up to know the difference between right and wrong and if you weren’t, then suck it up. You’re an adult.

Hate speech, threats, bullying and malicious communication is absolutely against what I see as freedom of speech. You are trying to supress someone else’s human right to live in peace and without fear, for little more than self-gratification. Why, therefore, should you even dare for one second to think of yourself as being amongst those who ‘freedom of speech’ should apply to?

One person suggested to one of the victims on twitter that they should use some sort of ‘panic button’ on twitter, which would entail their own account to be locked down so only their followers can receive tweets and it sends a warning to twitter.

The victim replied ‘no’. She rightly pointed out that she should not ‘hide’ or not be as free as everyone else, because she is being targeted. She didn’t understand why her own freedom should be restricted because someone else wanted to impose their own twisted behaviour on her. I had to agree. Why should anyone be forced to hide when they are the victim?

Is that what the freedom of (hate) speech brigade are after? Telling me that freedom of speech applies even to those who make threats of violence and death to people (regardless of gender) is saying that only the aggressors deserve to remain in the open world of the word. It is saying to me that if you become a victim of online cruelty, you must back down, hide in a cupboard under the stairs and never utter another word in case you incense some sad little weirdo’s sense of perspective? Really? Because those trying to pick fights with the victims waving the freedom of speech banner at them are saying this loud and clear to me.

It is an absolute abuse of freedom of speech to target people with violence and bullying. Freedom as a concept is an absolute, however, when you are denying someone the basics of being free from fear, you are denying that freedom and therefore opposing the underpinning notion of freedom of anything, let alone speech.

I’ve had run ins with trolls in the past too. One a poetry writing website of all things, I received a threat to myself and my family. I deleted my account and never returned.

That was an example of me being a victim and running away. If I didn’t have kids, I think I’d have fought it out with the troll involved. I had mentioned that I did some professional writing and had been published once or twice in a chat room. They then became extremely aggressive, demanding links to things I had written and threatening me. I was gobsmacked. Something extremely irreverent was leaped upon and savaged like a wolf pouncing on a rabbit. People seem to be actively desperate to attack others online, from my own experience with it.

I wonder if they walk round in their everyday lives, riddled with anger and frustration and feel only capable of letting go of that online to complete innocent strangers. It’s really creepy. I also wonder if they realise that this is how other people perceive them. They think they are being terribly clever and perhaps even witty, however, to the rest of us, they just come across as clearly disturbed or extremely childish. The image they think they portray online is not the one everyone else sees.

When you are a victim, you just react by recoiling in horror and fear. At least I did. Whenever I have been bullied or harassed in the past, I would become horribly, horribly depressed by it. I’d sit there thinking I’d deserved it and it was all my fault – when in reality, I have just been unfortunate with who I had come into contact with.

As I’ve grown older and wiser, certainly over the past decade, I take less crap from others and will volley it right back at them. Either that, or ignore them and proceed to deal with the appropriate channels. I am no fish wife.

But if someone threatens my husband or children – that’s it. If it’s online, I run away because I can’t take the small risk that the prepubescent kid making the threats is deranged enough to carry them out. If it’s face to face, I’m one hell of a force to be reckoned with. It’s my natural instinct to protect my family, like any mother of any species.

Yet the faceless threats are more intimidating. Logically, you know it’s some sad act who has read some Wikipedia articles and therefore thinks they know about life and just wants to hurt you to make up for their pointless existence. So how can I not see that?

One route to reaffirming the facts is to underline the importance of freedom of speech. As a writer, I find that so bloody crucial. I want to tell a story that entertains or challenges or whatever. I don’t want to have the same process I use in expressing myself in a healthy, positive way to be abused by bigots and bullies.

Look at what freedom of speech actually means to people. People have fought oppression throughout time to be able to have their voice heard. Are the messages that these people died for been essentially evil? No. The suffragettes endured hate, ignorance and threats, simply because they wanted to be seen as people, not a specific gender and that just because they had ovaries, didn’t mean they were less worthy of equality . And then you want to stick some warped understanding of freedom of speech in with great people who have suffered and died so that they could be heard? Are you for real? Get over your own hang-ups; get that chip off your shoulder. Go get some real understanding of what it is to be truly suppressed and bullied and stop bothering the world with your backward thinking and hate.

Personally, I still find it all a tad intimidating and often feel like… hummmph… what is the point in communicating on twitter and things like that, when there is a web of loony’s out to get you for any reason. They could publish my address on the web. Things like that. Then there is the slight, credible threat that one of them is legitimately dangerous. Scares me really and I know it shouldn’t.

If you genuinely, hand on heart think that threats, bullying and cruelty, online and off, are akin to the principle of what freedom of speech stands for, then you are wrong. You are extremely, very very wrong and extremely badly deluded.

Back! No, Really!

There has been a gap – and I apologise profusely dear readers.

I have been away with illness for some time, from both here and Limebird Writers. I wrote an article on there recently, explaining my musing on the fact that we writers types do occasionally have a want of a break from our writing. The upshot of which, is the terribly tiresome return to our quills and parchments and how difficult it can be to ruddy well get back into it.

On the other hand it presents a good challenge for us all to grapple with as writers and indeed, tests our tenacity for our vocation.

Personally, I find it something of a bore to have to slog away at something I love.

It shouldn’t be a chore, but getting back in the saddle and riding into the sunset can be tricky.

Anyway, enough of all that. I have written about it on Limebirds already, so please view that and fill your boots with my ramblings and witterings as you have so far done with this fine blog post.

The World

Since I last wrote, a few terrible and scary things have happened in the world. What – you want me to list them? Read the news. That does sound horribly rude of me now, doesn’t it? It isn’t meant that way. To be oblivious to the horribleness in this world would mean you have been living under a rock for some time and therefore would be unable to have an internet connection.

As writers, we assume a level of reader knowledge sometimes. Here, I’m presuming you have kept yourselves abreast of current world affairs.

Of course, one can easily see the argument for not reading the news. There are some terrifyingly awful things to behold therein. As a mother, I find myself feeling utterly guilty that I’ve had children and brought them into this horrible, terrible world with nutcases and vile peado’s hiding round every corner. I do all I can to protect my children, but there has to be a limit. I can’t smother nor stifle – it’s about finding that balance and hoping to which ever deity you believe in that you’ve brought them up to be smart and savvy.

Then there is the madness and horror that ensues after something terrible has happened – the baying for blood and retribution, the inability to change this terrible place, our terra firma…

A rather good thought came in recently from a wonderful actor and fellow science enthusiast, Mr Stephen McGann: “Beware all rage. Highly infectious and toxic, and it always destroys its host. Due process of law is vaccination, not vacillation”.

Or Even this from Fun Lovin Criminals frontman and BBC Radio DJ,  Huey Morgan about those who never let the bad times go: “Living in the past leads one damned to repeat it”.

However, I think learning from the past, rather than living in it, are the better options. Then there’s the further complication for those who are denied the basic premise of closure and justice, such as the brave and admirable families of the Hillsborough disaster. At last they can let their children rest in peace after being denied the ‘due process of law’ for so very, very long.

Hillsborough is something I could talk about for a very long time and you’d all get bored and shuffle off. So I won’t bore you. There are better, more qualififed people than me out there who can talk about it in a better, more articulate manner. Either way, it’s worth noting that I hope that the families get the justice they absolutely deserve and, as a Merseysider from a large Liverpudlian family (on my mother’s side), I completely support them 100%.

I digress. I think I’ve noticed the world’s horrors more due to having a lot of time on my hands of late, whilst been laid up for a number of weeks with illness. This, I suppose, adds to what Cognitive Behavioural Therapists might call ‘catastrophising’ – thinking that things are scarier and more terrible than they really are. Yet it has provided some reflection for myself. In conclusion of that self-lead discovery, I have to say that the bad in the world can actually help throw into sharp relief the good.

There really are some good people on this planet. Decent, hard working people. We all have our troubles, but we also have our good, loving, caring sides too. I don’t believe that the vast majority of people on this earth are monsters. I believe it is a minority and let us hope that they remain an endangered species for all of time.

Writing

Well, as stated further up, I’ve been away and achieved virtually nought. I’ve kept up twitter and given up on Facebook. Or ‘Faceache’ as my step-grandmother calls it. I’ve given up I suppose and left the management of my writing ‘like’ page to others. It’s not that I do not love thee, fair reader, just that I used it mainly for people from back home that I don’t see much anymore. Now I figure, everyone has my e-mail, address or phone number and at the very least, know my husband, so anyone who wants to genuinely know how I’m cracking on, can use one of those ways. It’s sounds petty in a way, but I feel a bit better without in my life right now. I may bring it back, who knows?

As to writing, despite not annoying my keyboard for a while, I have not stopped dreaming up ideas as to where to take older stories I’ve been working on and how to make new ones work. I have a mahoosive backlog of new stuff to be getting on with, which means I’ve no time to coach new writers at the moment. I probably won’t have chance to do that for another year or so to be honest – I’ve got a lot to do!

Personally…

Family are grand, work is busy and I’m still recovering. Other than that, I can honestly say I have more to be happy and grateful for in life than to not be.

On another personal note, last Thursday was the 10th anniversary since my husband and I started seeing each other. For ten years we have been in each other’s lives and madly, nauseatingly in love. It’s no bed of roses, like any relationship, but fundamentally, we’re where it’s at. Seriously, we have genuinely been to hell and back together and made it out the other side stronger and deeper in love with one another. Why do I declare this so publicly? Because I’m proud. Because it’s testament to many that there are couples out there than can bloody well make it through the terrors and wilderness in life and come out the other side okay. So if we can make it… so can you.

Enough of my stalwart idealism and random meanderings! Begone! Be free! Write, read and love.

Be good to yourself and each other (terribly Jerry S of me and no messing).

Cat x

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