A Love Supreme

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This week, I signed up for the first (and second) part of my formal training to become a Mental health Champion. By the end of January, everything will be in place, and it will be time to take the next step into a wider Universe. There’ll be a Time to Talk day in February, of course, but after that… well, that’s a question. I’ve already talked about what can be expected in terms of the site’s content.

Now it is time to talk about me.

This year has been one of the toughest personally I’ve ever experienced. Quite apart from a stay in hospital, my health’s been a point of contention. Everything is crossed for some clear air ahead. Christmas will be a time to finally recover and when blood tests are finally done in January… I’ve done all that can be to improve my iron levels and reduce cholesterol. If it’s not enough, the consequences will be coped with.

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That’s the biggest single change since last year. Before these hurdles and setbacks would put mind and body back weeks, often months. Not any more. Failure has become copeable, fuel to keep me going. Each rejection still hurts, however, and there’s never going to be a point where that’s not the case. However, how I deal with those rejections is going to change going forward.

Most importantly of all, forcing myself into Mental health counselling was the most significant thing I could ever have done for everyone. What has been dislodged as a result will take many, many years to finally deal with. Some of it may never be coped with at all, of course, but that’s not your problem to worry about. Last week, trauma over dentistry was exposed to the light for the first time in over 40 years.

The next time that has to happen, and it will, I’ll be considerably happier.

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For everything else, there is time, and writing. You can expect more passion and anger in my work, less fear and anxiety. There may well be other avenues to pursue with that too: I have a microphone set up with a webcam on my PC. There’s a video editing programme standing by. Although I can’t promise Hollywood production values, I have standards. Words and pictures will appear in 2020.

I’ll see you soon.

Love What You Do

I’ve made it to 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon and am still going strong. This is a largely unusual phenomena: normally at this point in the day there’s be flagging, copious amounts of caffeine and that uncomfortable pit-of-the-stomach feel it was all going a bit off course. There’s been a hiccup (next time, save your CV somewhere you’re not likely to delete it) but apart from that, it is all going surprisingly well. The reason for this may come as something of a shock.

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A month’s worth of reconstituting old work has been a wake up call: amazingly, not everything that’s been written for the website is awful. In fact, some of the weekly output turned out to be surprisingly thoughtful with far more depth than previously recalled. It has ignited within me the desire to keep plugging away at the old stuff, polishing and tightening as I go.

As a result, next month is going to continue the trend. This has also provided inspiration to start a new collection of poems (graphic above) which have been written in the three month period since I was first published. There are enough fragments and pieces of work from January to March to put together a twelve poem collection. What I do with it once done is now up for discussion…

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I’ll be borrowing one of the (many) short story ideas we came up with this month as the one to run with via Twitter in April, plus we’ll see both #Soundtracking2019 and #Narrating2019 back in their daily 9.30pm slots. After a period where it was impossible to schedule anything via Twitter’s own Tweetdeck platform, harmony is now restored, and I have the rest of this month’s content already lined up and ready to go. It makes life so much easier…

The much-discussed residency proposal needs to be in for Friday. Then, over the weekend, it’s time to bring down the calendars and begin April’s planning cycle. There’s already a ton of stuff on the To Do list…

 

 

 

Free as a Bird

On my day (which let’s face it is most of them) I am a world class procrastinator. The problem with this, looking at the calendar, is that we’re already three months into 2019 and this bid for World domination is not going to move itself. So, how do you push past failure and remain focused?

The top of those two monthly planners (intentionally blurred so you don’t get to see what I’m working on) has a very clear set of outlines. Next week, without fail, I was gonna push out some poetry (despite telling myself I was done for a bit, which was clearly a lie.) Except this morning, whilst desperately looking for a way to avoid having to tidy up, brain informed the Poetry Department it had a couple of rather useful lead-ins to the work that needs to be done. An hour later, I’ve written two out of four of my initial submission plan.

What occurred to me as I was hoovering up the floor avoided an hour previously was the rearrangement of mental priorities which is freeing up more creativity. What used to be the case is that there’d be no real grasp of what needed to happen when: this would lead to a ton of last minute panics, with work being rushed. If there’d been sufficient planning, more effort could have been put in at the outset. Having used wall planners now for about six months, it’s a far more effective means of getting deadlines to stick, and not panicking over outcomes.

The visual is a really big deal, which should have been more obvious than it was. There’s a third planner up on the wall, a 12 month one, on which deadlines are slowly being filled.It allows my brain the space to grasp what there is to do, what’s coming and where everything fits together. It also, crucially, allows me to plan for surprises. That’s what, if I can do something well before a deadline, it is far more sensible than leaving everything until a week before when inevitably, there’s more pressure.

It transpires that this is how I work best.

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Of course, none of this wins me anything, but that’s perfectly fine. The satisfaction I now feel in being able to manage and feel comfortable in my own skin, to recover from disappointment to get back into the process of writing is worth considerably more to mental well-being long-term. In that regard, this is far more significant a win than anything else that’s likely to happen for a while.

Finally, there’s a freedom just to be that didn’t exist before.