Freewriting In Response To My Book Review

I just wrote a book review, one which I found incredibly difficult to write. The book was confusing for me because it was so heady, and I lacked an emotional connection with it. How would I write a book which is dynamic, gripping and with emotional connection from the beginning? I’m not sure, I cannot answer that at this stage of my writing career, but I expect I would need to write from a place of passion and emotional involvement myself. I can see that writing a novel is hard work, and that developing a writing style isn’t easy. At the moment I’m writing short pieces of a story, and I have no idea as to how to develop and connect these so that a book appears. Beaumont has done this, but it was bloody hard going. I’m relieved that I’ve managed to cobbke together some kind of book review, although I’m displeased with what and how I wrote. I have two pieces of non-fiction to read next, books that I would not normally read; this has been suggested in the coursework. I’m certainly looking forward to the Arthur Miller play.

Reference

Beaumont, S; 2008; Thirteen; Newcastle Upon Tyne; Myrmidon

Assignment One

The Brief; You already have a body of work – congratulations!

Get out all the work you’ve done in Part One and read through it carefully. This will include:

  • The work you’ve done for the exercises in projects 1 to 4
  • All your extra freewrites
  • Your notebook work

Choose two or three pieces of work from this. They don’t all have to be the same length but they should be the pieces that resonate with you the most.

You don’t have to write a story, a poem, or any specific form for this assignment. You just have to show your tutor your writing – what you’ve already been doing.. If your writing by hand, you now need to transfer your work to a Word Document or similar. Submit approximately 1,000 words for this assignment. Use the word count facility to check how long your pieces are. Use the spellcheck too (but with care, as it can substitute a completely different word from the one you intended!). If your chosen pieces don’t make 1,000 words, you now have the choice of extending them. Only do this if you have some good ideas though. Otherwise, include a fourth piece to make up the word count.

Submit your work as soon as you have a fair copy. You may be surprised at the words of encouragement you receive, even if you thought your piece was not all that good.

Sophie Lives, from exercise 1.3

Sophie was horrified with the reality that she was in A and E and having to wait for a psychiatric assessment, she felt ashamed of herself and guilty for wasting so much of the doctors and nurses time. She had thoughts that other people were seriously ill and that they needed the medical attention that she had taken away from them. Waiting for the psychiatrist was daunting, seconds seemed to drag by. All she could do was think. She had never tried to end her life before, despite thoughts of this being a constant companion for many years. How could she explain what she had done, or the harm that she had suffered at the hands of Mark. Initially she hadn’t considered it to be domestic abuse, like thousands of other women she had always believed Mark’s words about how useless and pathetic she was, and how he had to put up with her failings. Deep in her core she knew he was right, and these beliefs were so intense tonight. Only a failure of a human being would try to end their own life. She knew the psychiatrist would judge her and believe it was all her fault.

Winter is a Bastard, from exercise 1.6

Spring is most definitely in the air despite the periods of relentless rain. Crocus and daffodils are pushing their necks out of the ground, and they are adding glorious pockets of colour to my days. Such joy. My mood is improving slowly but surely, I’m isolating less, and I’m having more clarity of thought. Gratitude is what I’m feeling as I write this short piece of freewriting (I adore freewriting, it’s shown me that I do have lots to write).

But winter is a bastard, an effing c of a nightmare that I often struggle to get through!

This year my mood dropped at the end of December, and my thoughts darkened. I began to obsess about suicide, and I researched methods on the Internet, and purchased some pills which I believed would end my life.

Motivation and pleasure from activities deserted me and I felt hopeless. Situations which involved close contact with others was a struggle and I avoided people. Ultimately I was overwhelmed and tried yet again to take my life. Disappointed that I didn’t succeed, but the disappointment that I tried to end my life pushed me into accepting help. I’m now attending a therapeutic day unit. It’s a short term program for a few weeks, enough to get me through until I am able to keep myself occupied and productive.

My energy always improves in the spring. If only I could hold back the self destruction long enough to get me through to the lighter, brighter and warmer days.

My thoughts are much clearer now, and I am enjoying my studies. I had my coursework for over a month before I could even open the folder. Eventually I realised I had to just begin the first exercise, I couldn’t wait until my motivation returned, I had to simply take action without expectation. I’m so grateful that I did because I find it has brought joy and satisfaction into my daily life.

I’m looking out for signs of spring now. I’m not waiting for motivation I’m acting as if I’m motivated, and I’m finding signs of spring right now. Recovery is action. Hope is important but I can’t hope my way into feeling better, I have to put the effort into hunting for joy and gratitude.

Rabbit Hide and Seek, from exercise 1.6

I was running through a dark forest when

A rabbit did appear

A ball of white cute fluffyness

I’m sure his look was queer

He bounded right up too my feet

And then he looked at me

And beckoned me to follow him

And hid behind a tree

“I can’t play hide and seek with you”

I really don’t have time”

His face became so sorrowfull

I said “oh dear, yes, fine”

So we played a little game or two

The rabbit he did win

I thanked him for the game we played

And his smile became a grin

Book Review – The Shepherds Crown

Terry Pratchet wrote The Shepherd’s Crown whilst he was dying, and fittingly one of his most loved characters, Granny Weatherwax died at the beggining of the story.

Her death left a gap in the barrier between Discworld and the land which the elves live. She past her cottage and roles as lead witch to Tiffany Aching.

The elf Queen, Nightshade, has her wings torn off and is thrown out of the elf kingdom by Peaseblossom. He did this because he felt that Nightshade had become to soft on goblins, and that she should be organising an attempt to take over Discworld now that the barriers were weaker.

Tiffany struggles with meeting her duties in Lance and on the Chalk. The Nac Nac Feegles live on the Chalk, and they also have a duty to look out for Tiffany. Nac Nac Feegles are blue, 7 inches tall, and they speak with a Scottish accent. They love to drink and fight.

The Nac Nac Feegles reluctantly agree to Tiffany’s request for them to guard Nightshade, who Tiffany refuses to kill because she is injured. She hopes to convert the elf Queen to understanding humanity and developing a cooperative attitude rather than a hostile one.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey, who left home due to bullying  from his father, wishes to become a witch under Tiffany”s guidance.

As the elves begin to prepare for war Tiffany calls all of the witches together to prepare to defend Discworld and banish the elves forever. Geoffrey unites the local men and they develop weapons to prepare for the war. Elves are harmed my metal, so they build a catapult and gather scraps of iron to fling at the elves.

As Geoffrey and the men defend Lancre, Tiffany, the witches and the Nac Mac Feegles defend the chalk. At the start of the war Peaseblossom kills Nightshade, but the are ultimately beaten when the King of the elves turns up, and overthrows Peaseblossom.

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters were believable and my imagination was gripped throughout. I could picture the different people and events in my mind. There were moments of laughter, excitement, compassion, sadness and dislike. I love the humour in Pratchet’s writing.

Pratchet, T; 2016; The Shepherd’s Crown; London; Corgi books.

Richard Keys

Richard516716

Assignment 1

 

 

Winter Is A Bastard – Exercise 1.6

Spring is most definitely in the air despite the periods of relentless rain. Crocus and daffodils are pushing their necks out of the ground, and they are adding glorious pockets of colour to my days. Such joy. My mood is improving slowly but surely, I’m isolating less, and I’m having more clarity of thought. Gratitude is what I’m feeling as I write this short piece of freewriting (I adore freewriting, it’s shown me that I do have lots to write).

But winter is a bastard, an effing c of a nightmare that I often struggle to get through!

This year my mood dropped at the end of December, and my thoughts darkened. I began to obsess about suicide, and I researched methods on the Internet, and purchased some pills which I believed would end my life.

Motivation and pleasure from activities deserted me and I felt hopeless. Situations which involved close contact with others was a struggle and I avoided people. Ultimately I was overwhelmed and tried yet again to take my life. Disappointed that I didn’t succeed, but the disappointment that I tried to end my life pushed me into accepting help. I’m now attending a therapeutic day unit. It’s a short term program for a few weeks, enough to get me through until I am able to keep myself occupied and productive.

My energy always improves in the spring. If only I could hold back the self destruction long enough to get me through to the lighter, brighter and warmer days.

My thoughts are much clearer now, and I am enjoying my studies. I had my coursework for over a month before I could even open the folder. Eventually I realised I had to just begin the first exercise, I couldn’t wait until my motivation returned, I had to simply take action without expectation. I’m so grateful that I did because I find it has brought joy and satisfaction into my daily life.

I’m looking out for signs of spring now. I’m not waiting for motivation I’m acting as if I’m motivated, and I’m finding signs of spring right now. Recovery is action. Hope is important but I can’t hope my way into feeling better, I have to put the effort into hunting for joy and gratitude.

Freewriting Is A Blessing

I’m surprised by freewriting and how it has been such a positive experience. My initial response to reading about the freewriting exercise was dread and anxiety, with thoughts that I would be writing random words without a clue about what to write.

However, this has not been the case. I generally start with a word or two in my mind as a prompt for my writing, and I have found this to be helpful. From this the words have flowed from my pen, and as I produce sentences more thoughts begin to coalesce.

The coursework asked us not to consider structure, but this had also been a natural part of the exercises for me. I’ve managed to write prose, snippets of auto-biography and a nonsense poem. I particularly like the nonsense and the poem that I produced.

This morning I wrote for over 20 minutes, which is quite a long time, especially as I originally thought that 5 minutes would be too long.

I can see how freewriting can help people overcome blocks that can surface with writing. I don’t expect this form of writing to be so natural all of the time, but it has been a positive experience so far.

If I Didn’t Have Paranoia – Exercise 1.6 – Freewriting

If I Didn’t have paranoia… I would aim to live in the female role again, and would save up for laser hair removal on my face. I find it interesting that I hate my legs when in the male role, but in female clothing and tights I find I have lovely legs that are slender and feminine, although my belly is still fat. I’d like to live in the female role, but I’m scared that I would be attacked. It wS hard to revert back to living in the male role, but I’ve become used to it now. I’ve learned to consider myself as being gender fluid, although deep down I consider myself as a trans woman. It would be nice to be Helen again.

If I didn’t have paranoia I would feel safe and secure, not have images of me and my home being attacked and feel safe in my home. I would like to be able to live freely and not live in fear for my life. I’d like to recover from ptsd, but I don’t know how to do so. Life would be more fun, and I wouldn’t have all my little measures to feel in control. Currently I feel the need to avoid the number 6. I have to have my TV volume set on 17 or 22, I finish the day by having either 4 or 8 puffs on my e cig and I have to get my clothes ready for the next day in the evening. I also feel the need to continously pray throughout the day and have my medication boxes with all of the labels facing the same way. It’s ocd, but my ocd doesn’t come out in hand Wasing and tidying and cleaning kind of way. If I don’t do these things then I get anxious and scared that me and my home will be attacked. It’s exhausting and frightening to live like this.

If I didn’t have paranoia I wouldn’t become anxious when I hear the sounds of my neighbours talking, and I wouldn’t thin that they are talking about me. I wouldn’t need to either turn up the TV or wear ear plugs so that I can’t hear them; and I wouldn’t think that when they talk they are talking about me.

My paranoia is self centred and self obsession, but I can’t help it at the moment. Maybe one day I will feel safe and secure but I don’t hold out much hope. My paranoia, when it becomes severe, leads to suicidal ideation , and I make attempts to end my life. I get so scared that I am going to be harmed. I get a strong fear of pain, and I would like to die peacefully. That’s why I overdose rather than jump off a building or poison myself or jump in front of a train.

Mother Nature – Exercise 1.6

1) Sit somewhere that is comfortable for writing and where you won’t be interrupted. Even if your usually a ‘straight on to the computer’ kind of writer, try this exercise by hand first if you can. Make sure you have plenty of paper to write on and a way of telling the time – a clock or watch is best. Don’t use your phone to time yourself or you might be interrupted by texts and calls.

Put your pen to paper, start writing and don’t stop – don’t let your hand stop moving at all – for five minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write. If you can’t think of anything, write ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over until another thought occurs to you. 

Remember that no one will ever see your freewriting, so you can be completely uninhibited. 

I wrote the following by hand and am now typing it up.

Daylight; Thankyou Mother Nature

I don’t believe there is a god. Evolution has so much going for it, so much evidence, its impossible for me to deny, so I have no concept of God. I’ve tried to force my myself to believe, but to confirm, but the concept makes no sense to be. However, I do pray to mother nature. My day begins with routine, and addressing the issues I may face this day and for the strength to overcome my weaknesses. It’s really hard to write without structure as I go along. I can’t help it this morning, it’s coming to me naturally. I’m really enjoying this creative writing course, and I’m loving that I’m studying again. Creative writing is no longer second best. Thankyou Mother Nature.

 

Writing Is Magical – Exercise 1.5

Writing is magical – it transports us. As you sit ready to write this exercise, close your eyes for just a moment. Recall the last time you were out in the elements. Feel the wind, snow or pounding rain on your face, the chill in your bones. Open your eyes when you’re ready to write about this. Stay in the moment as you write.

The sky was bright, though it was cloudy. I expect the cloud must have been thin and the sunning burning bright behind it.

I sought out the winter flowering blossom. It brings a tear to my eye to think of it. It’s my beacon of hope. I’ve nearly survived this winter. I took out my phone, I had to take a photo, a momento of my being beggining to leave its dark winter home. I give thanks to a god that I don’t believe in. The signs of spring mean so much to me.

I heard the flutter of wings and turned my heard sharply, in time to catch a flock of pigeons urgently seeking flight. A predator must be around. Alas, its only a Magpie, no majestic Sparrow hawk for my mind to marvel at. There are people at the bus stop so I secretly salute the bird, with the saying “hello Mr Magpie, how are you and your family.” I realise there is only a single bird, “one for sorrow”, the words are an arrow to my heart, but I can’t stop the thoughts and fears arising. Suddenly a second bird appears, “two for joy”. I breath a sigh of relief. They briefly circle the tree then land. I notice one of them is preening small twigs. They’re forming a nest. Spring, another sign of spring. Yes. How marvelous.

 

Thank Fuck It’s Nearly Spring

To be honest it’s been a hard winter. I lost all interest in the people and projects that matter to me, and getting through each day has been a chore. A pointless effort with no reward. I’ve been in a very dark place, I’m still there on many levels.

However, today I felt some spontaneous hope. As I left home to attend counselling I realised it was light. The bus journey was diverted, and I found myself feeling excited to be living in London.

The past week I haven’t felt anything positive, but I have been putting the effort into positive behaviour. I’ve undertaken some photography for a long term project, I’ve read through some of my course literature, and I’ve undertaken a little writing yesterday and today.

Spring is just around the corner, and I’ve been looking for signs of it:- the growth of my trees, lighter afternoons, crocus and daffodils emerging, trees budding, and winter flowering cherry.

One of the things that true for me is that I have wonderful friends, and I seek additional support for my mental health. But life has still been a struggle.

Spring is a time of greater joy, energy and enthusiasm for me. Come on spring, please hurry up.

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rhdr

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The Bane Of Codependancy

It would be easy to state that codependancy is people pleasing and the desire to make others happy, but that view would be a naive statement.

When I am in the company of others I don’t want to make decisions for myself because I am afraid that I will cause offence. My preference, at least outwardly, is to agree with suggestions from the other person, because I want to make them happy. It’s easy to go along with this way of thinking and acting, but to do so is to believe the lie.

When I’m reflecting upon this kind of behaviour with an open mind I can see the truth of the matter. That truth is disturbing. People pleasing is dishonest and self centred. My codependancy is born from a fear of rejection, of not being good enough, a belief that if I state my needs in any given situation then you will not like me and will abandon me. My self esteem is low.

I know this internal belief comes from the horrors of my childhood. My upbringing has left me full of shame about who I am. I feel like I am a useless, worthless and bad person. These emotions become heightened when I interact with others, and to be seen as a good person I must make you happy. If I disagree with you then I am bad and you won’t like me. I’ll then feel the shame of my very existence, exposed, naked and raw. It’s self centred and puts me at the centre of the universe. It’s a statement that I have the power to make you feel good or bad, that I’m that special and unique.

It also means that you cannot have a relationship with me. If I’m not being true to myself in my dealings with you, then you’re not in a relationship with me. You are in a relationship with who I think you want me to be. It’s a selfish way to live.

In romantic relationships I am at my worst. The emotional entanglement overwhelms me. If you point out a fault, or disagree with something which I say or do, then you must be right. I find it easy to see things from your point of view, and in doing so I lose myself completely. I slowly stop having opinions or ideas and I end up a confused mess in near constant pain. I stop being me.

The above is a scary picture, and painful to see in black and white, but this was my experience for most of my life.

Living on my own for several years has given me a break from the mess, and it’s also given me the opportunity to begin to address my codependancy and heal. I practice self care in many ways, and doing so improves the value which I place in myself. My friends can now ask for an opinion and I’m able to respond truthfully. I can be with others and say what I would or wouldn’t like, at least some of the time. I’m a work in progress, and I have to put a lot of effort into being honest with others. I still have a strong fear of rejection and abandonment, but I am improving slowly. A romantic relationship is definitely off of the cards, but I’m finding I’m more able to be honest with friends and family to a degree.

I’m finding out who I am, and beggining to let go of who I think you want me to be. I’m not perfect, I can still avoid sharing my truth some of the time. But I’m certainly moving forwards one step at a time.

Two Years Blogging On WordPress

anniversary-2x

WordPress sent me a notification that I have reached my two year anniversary of being a WordPress blogger. During that time I’ve seen some amazing photography by my peers, followed some awesome blogs from awesome people around the world, developed a new online community, taken advice about what camera would be better for my long term development, and some how I have 1,919 people follow my blog.

WordPress has been a wonderful platform for me, my prose and my photography.  I’m most grateful.

rhdr