Saturday, 29 March 2014

Which way is up?

I wrote yesterday about my feelings and I hope you were not troubled in reading them.Because I worried that I might have upset you with my vague uneasiness about the future.

So with that in mind, I discussed it with a group of friends and I made a startling discovery...they all felt pretty similar to how I felt. And yet each and every one of them was in the complete opposite of my own personal situation.

Here was a group of women who also feared what the future held...who also felt that their lives were lacking in some way. And I got to wondering whether this was endemic in our society or whether it was just testament to the old saying of 'misery loves company'.

But the truth has got to be something deeper hasn't it? Religion or lack of it has no bearing on the discussion as some of the women were true believers and others strict atheists.

Finances seemed to have no bearing either as some of the women came from affluent households and others of more modest ones.

Nationality and the idea of culture that is born from this played no part, as I was born in Scotland, one of the women was Irish and the others English.

Finally educational status was no indicator either as levels ranged from University education to local comprehensive to village school. Some of the women went out to work, some did not.

Many years ago I remember reading something about how all of the above both singly and in combination can affect a person's potential to feel happy about life.  I believe the term was coined 'happiness quotient' although it was a long time ago and I may be mis-remembering it.

So what is wrong with us all...why this apathy and worry? Mid-life crisis? I think that is too glib an answer. I also think the truth lies much, much deeper and some of it does indeed stem from childhood.

We are taught from a young age that meeting someone and settling down with them is the ultimate goal. Its the sugar coated ending on the romantic comedy, the finale of many novels and films. But its not the end, in fact it is only the beginning. However it is a beginning that is perhaps more mundane than the lead up to it. It is the start of routines and seeing the same face sitting across from you every morning and having the same conversation time and time again.

I am no psychologist or anthropologist but I think that maybe it doesn't have to be that way. The happiest couples in my social circle have active hobbies which they do together and continue to learn from. They socialise regularly with other couples and they talk about their issues and problems with an honesty and forthrightness that allows them to be fully understood.

Talk might be cheap but it is also invaluable. Just make sure you mean what you say.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Early this morning I read a lot of philosophical sayings. There was a reason that I did this and it had nothing at all to do with one of my books or my writing. I won't bore you with the reason but I did want to share some thoughts with you.

I had thought that I was always an intrepid explorer sort of person. I thought I was the sort of woman who would have pioneered across America in the days of covered wagons and cart horses if I had lived in that age.

I had thought that if I had lived in any other age my metal would have been tested and found to be strong and true. But I have come to the sad conclusion that I have been somewhat delusional over this.

My original assumption was based on the fact that I left home at sixteen for a summer job which required me to live-in. Although I returned home in the autumn, I left home for good a bare eighteen months later at the age of eighteen.

I moved around a lot when I was younger, leaving Glasgow for London, London for Birmingham and Birmingham for Bromsgrove. I got bored of the same old scenery, the same old places, the same old faces and when I stayed in any one place it was not through choice but through necessity because I had ties that bound me there.

More recently I longed to move, to seek new horizons, to embrace what the world had to offer. That said it would have been within the geographical confines of driving distance to the schools my children attend, so granted I was never about to backpack around the world!

But I find now that the future has the distinct shape and pattern of the past, the same hue and colour and holds no more promise for me than my chameleon past.

This is not about my writing or my children...these are things that I hold dearly to my heart and always will...this is about my personal journey through life as a single woman, a wife, a mother, a divorcee and finally back to a single woman again. It is about me alone.

I know exactly why I feel as I do and I know exactly what to do about it. I also know that it is in keeping with the next book I am about to embark on. Perhaps that is the whole point of me feeling this way? Perhaps it is a vehicle in which to enter the mind of my next main character? Perhaps. Or perhaps I should just stop analysing it and get on with things...

So no more goes...wheee...!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I conducted a second book signing and book talk/reading last night at Bleakhouse Library and had a wonderful time yet again.

It's always lovely to speak to a receptive audience and the folk who turned out to see me last night were both welcoming and interesting. I talked about my series of books The Owners and also about my novel Split Decisions, which is just starting on the editing process. In return I was asked lots of questions about the development of the plot within The Owners and my writing in general.

But what struck me most was how enthusiastic the audience were. As a writer it is easy to get caught up with the characters and plots of your own fabrication but it is quite another to see it in a reader.

I hope that the audience enjoyed it as much as I did!

I am returning to Bleakhouse on the 4th of April as I have been invited to deliver a prize to a winner of a school/library literacy competition. Again I will be talking about writing and available for book signings.

How I love my job! :)