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Art & life

The update of my art practises and production has become non-existent as you can tell for nearly two years now, if you follow me on my other social media platforms, you would realise that I haven’t updated my art gallery on DeviantArt and similar websites since late 2019; this is purely because of the lack of supplies, not the lack of will to produce art.

I simply cannot replace art supplies as often as I want to in order to produce what I want when I want; I simply do not have the funds to do so.  However, saying that, there is a silver lining to the cloud recently, I have a small increase in my monthly budget for personal use which will be used for art supplies henceforth.  This means that shortly I will start updating my art social media again and I will also be creating a website specifically for my art, so keep a look out on that!

Practising art has had to be purely a pencil thing only, sketching has improved a lot, but it’s the painting, shading and blending I want to practise as I am not at all confident in that area yet!

I will be aiming to produce art to saleable quality by the spring of 2023, I know it’s a long way away, but it is my goal to do that.

This is why I am mentioning it on here, because soon, I will be showing some of my art here and discussing my style development as it goes along and also I will be discussing what kind of artist I am becoming, because I am not really sure yet how to categorise myself, because of the lack of practise and socialising within the art community.

This too, will change, I aim to join a couple of online art clubs soon, to try and learn more about art, but also about myself and my style – there are several clubs on offer out there and I am excited to say that this is on my agenda before the end of this summer!

I will also be making use of my patreon account finally, I have had a patreon account for around two years, but didn’t really know what to do with it, so that will be made use of by the end of the year too, not sure what I will offer on that yet, but I am thinking about that a lot!

Also as Henry is learning more and more about design technology, web building and robotic coding at school at in his after school clubs, I will be more confident in actually setting my YouTube channel up finally, again, it will all be for the end of this year!  So the end of 2022 is potentially all go for me!

I have not been writing anything towards my novels since 2nd February because of tiredness and general home and family commitments, I will be honest with that, but all of this should have blown over and settled down by the end of summer.  The main problem in the house is that our boiler leaked and ruined two of our walls with water damage and mould, which we’re having cleaned up and redecorating, that is the major thing right now.

The boiler is fixed so there will be no further water damage, Frank has been a wonderful help with things recently, and he really is a blessing to us, so glad to be reacquainted with him!

With a confirmation that the bad neighbour is most definitely moving within the next couple of months, I am so excited that it seems that life is going to get better quite soon, it’s all very intoxicating!

So with all that going on, there should be a lot more updates on here for you to read, so that would be nice wouldn’t it?

I have been too quiet recently and I owe you more than that!

Thanks for reading and take care!

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Home update, diet change & differences

I am still writing and I still intend to get published in the future, but my timeline has had to be shifted dramatically because of a lot of new things happening in my life.

An old friend has reacquainted themselves with me and along with this I am also preparing the house to take in Ukrainian refugees, as well as trying to manage the worsening symptoms of my disabilities.

Also with this, Paul has bought it to my attention that we may also move house within the next few months and so there will be an even bigger upheaval.

My original publication goal was to send my work to an agent at the beginning of autumn of this year, hoping to be published within the next two years – but with these new events going on, it may be pushed back further, because I am very dedicated to working to the best of my ability to help the Ukrainians settle in and feel at home.

We’re unsure whether or not I will get a brood bitch for the service dog charities and do that this year, because of all the other things going on now.  But I hope to definitely be a brood bitch carer sometime in the future.

Also my hearing has got far worse, even with a hearing aid I am struggling and my hearing is now at 6 hertz, very low, without a hearing aid.  Because we are unsure what is happening with the refugees we will be taking on, we are holding off approaching a charity for a hearing dog for me, but it is something we have thought about.

Paul gave me some good news the other day that the bad neighbour may be moving out soon with his girlfriend because her daughter wants more independence around her house and she is tired of the conflict he is causing with her neighbours.  It still means that for this year I have lost another prime growing season, but hopefully next year I will be able to do my gardening again – it is desperately needed as things are overgrown to a very anti-social level now, primarily due to the fact that I feel sexually harassed by the neighbour when I am out there as he stalks me and acts lewdly around me – lewd for me is something that will shock people who know me well… because… well let’s just say, I am not known for being a prude!

This may mean if he moves out before Paul’s timeline, we may actually stay after all!  As we were only going to move out because of the bad neighbour, because I need the freedom to go in my garden without harassment and bullying and hearing him make loud speculations about my life to whoever is visiting him at the time – often crude and outlandish speculations at that!

Henry has been very distressed to the point of suicide because of bullying at school and the fact he may have to leave what he feels is his ancestral home, because of another bully next door!  Henry’s family on Paul’s side has lived in this house since 1956, that is 66yrs that this house has been in the family and Henry is proud of that, because also the family has lived in this village for 325 years next summer!

Not many children this day and age in the UK can claim such a heritage and Henry is not happy about breaking these family traditions of remaining in the area, even though it is Paul and I’s dream to move to a more secluded region.

We have a double bedroom available for Ukrainian refugees, we feel that we could put in a bunk bed, with a single bed and a cot, but whether or not whoever is arranging this for us, will agree to that, we do not know!

But hopefully whoever comes does not have a pet fur allergy as we have a house rabbit and would like a dog.

I have always enjoyed learning languages, I know French and Italian to better than tourist level, but not fluently and I am willing to learn how to speak Ukrainian to help them.  But Paul is all in for integration and has been coaxing me not to learn Ukrainian so that they have to learn English.  I have learned some words in Ukrainian and found that it is very similar to Slovakian, my sister in law is Slovakian and some small words she taught me are actually the same in Ukraine.

I have Latvian, Russian and Lithuanian friends, who live in this street, so they will have people to socialise with, readily. 

We researched the culture of Ukraine and I was delighted to find that the diet they have is exactly like or very near to my own personal diet – because my diet is much different to Paul’s and Henry’s because of my multi-cultural heritage.

Paul was delighted to find that too, because a lot of the food here is often thrown away as I can’t eat enough of it, and he and Henry don’t like it so won’t touch it – this means less waste for us!

I home make sauerkraut, pickles, I eat a lot of baked or pan fried fish, I have a lot of different soups and I make bone broth for myself a lot and I use paprika in 75% of all my dishes and we have crepes with berries at least twice a week, they’ll feel at home, basically!

Paul and Henry try to eat the Italian side of my heritage along with Paul’s English food, but other than that, they don’t really eat what I eat.  My personal diet isn’t very English – if I have a roast I have things that English people only have at Christmas time, cranberries and apple sauce for example, which Paul has got addicted to recently – the apple sauce – he isn’t too keen on cranberries.

He is starting to get used to the idea of paprika and or cinnamon in everything too!  I am trying to get him into the habit of remembering to use fresh herbs when he roasts meats and to baste with the herbs some of it, but that needs more coaxing!

I won around five years ago, to move him away from boiling veg to steaming or pan frying instead and cutting out salt in almost everything; though I acquiesce you need salt on some potatoes, sea or rock salt though!

I don’t think I will ever get him to like beetroot though – not even in crisp form.

I have recently learned that a lot of my food intolerances and allergies were not the things that I thought they were… this have opened doors for me again! 

I found out I was not intolerant to gluten or lactose, but I was intolerant to the products that contain soy or soya instead!  This is amazing and also I found out that I need a reduced fat diet because having fat too much in one day can make me react like a person who has lactose intolerance, so now I have managed my diet to include lactose and gluten, but I must remain strictly soy free and low fat!

I would never have found this out if it weren’t for my re- acquaintance to my friend Frank, who was very concerned at the prospect that I was becoming malnourished and were visibly losing muscle density.

So now I may eat lactose and gluten again, but I must avoid all soy and soya products, unfortunately it means no Chinese food, until I can home make them soy free!

Soy is in everything though, so though it has opened a lot of doors to me, I must check everything I buy to eat like some kind of paranoid creature because as Paul has found out… one product will be soy free, but the same product in another store from another factory may not be!  We was caught out the other week with Snickers, they were soy free and I had 9 bars in a multi-pack, but then we bought a single bar in a different store and I reacted badly that night, confused, we dived down the bin for the wrapper to find that it does contain soy!  But not all Snickers do!

It’s odd.

Anyway, thanks for reading – there will be an art update soon!

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New system

All year I had been planning to do NaNoWriMo, the one for July, but that was cancelled due to the loss of my computer desk and sickness, then the one happening tomorrow – but I have changed my mind.

I remember that on two occasions I have participated in NaNoWriMo only to burn out by the twentieth because I felt I wasn’t as good as other writers who had already proclaimed that they have finished their novels and were now in the editing process.  By the way – don’t be perturbed by this, as I eventually learned that a majority of writers, who do this, have had words in progress long before NaNoWriMo even started!

I have a handful of writer friends online who started two weeks ago on their projects and one of them even started in the second week of September!

I find writing hard these days because I am not alone anymore when writing; I have no personal private, quiet space.  I have to write around my family and their noises and demands in very cramped conditions!  My work, both art and writing is spread in many parts of the house, because we lack space and there isn’t much cooperation in helping me get a larger space to put everything into, just so I can work like how I used to.

I am also doing all of this with very bad health, bed bound for at least four or five months of the year, so I don’t even have the comfort of my desk at times!

I used to write thousands of words per day, for my stories, poems, songs and a huge amount of online articles that were published daily on various websites!  There were times that Paul remembered me doing 12k in total in an entire day, he used to laugh and call me his future wife Barbara Cartland!

Regardless of my health, I could still produce that amount of work per day, if I did not constantly have to move around the house getting notes and using things in different locations all the while, whilst fighting to get to the places through mess and dodging fidgeters who are constantly on the move around the house! 

I have copious notes for each project and used to have postcard snippets to help too, but I have no table space to see them all at once, so I have to try and look at things by hand and put them back into places all the time so they are not lost!  This is difficult for another reason too, because I have a badly deformed underperforming left hand!  It is amazing that I am able to type 60 to 80wpm with that disability!

Before I lived in these conditions, I had half an entire room, the size of 10ft by 15ft and an L shaped desk that took up two whole walls.  I could use my swivel chair to slide from side to side and have up to twenty sheets of paper out or one hundred postcards, to constantly view whilst working, as well as having two large corkboards on the wall around me!  With this, I had total privacy and control over all stimuli that surrounded me!

I could still have that here in this house, but there are two rooms that are unused purely because we have a leaking roof and rising damp in them so it is not comfortable nor safe for electrics and paper!

We simply can’t move there is no option but to stay here because the cost of the house in such conditions would mean we would need to move thirty miles or more away from this village and Paul’s family and entirely out of our county, in order to buy a property of a similar size!  Henry has a three hundred year ancestry in this village, he is not eager to break it.

The roof will cost 5k to fix approximately, once it is fixed, I will gain two rooms and one of those rooms could have a C shaped desk set up that is even bigger than my previous set up.  So eventually, I will have what I need again and more.

Instead of doing NaNoWriMo this year, I plan to write differently.  A new way, in my tight noisy space, that will help me get less noise and more words done in a day, rather than sparse times in a month. 

My new plans are to write for ninety minutes before Henry comes home from school and ninety minutes on my laptop in bed when everybody is asleep.

By doing this, I will be producing an average of three to seven thousand words per day as an average, because my average fifteen minute timer says when I have planned words I can produce up to eight hundred words and on a bad day that is unplanned five hundred words. 

At the moment I am able to squeeze in twenty minutes around three times a week without hand notes, in between family quiet time or when Henry is in the bath or whatever.

Given the right environment I was very productive and proactive and very addicted to my work and was never tired nor burned out by it!

Happy reading!

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Plotting vs planning & minimalism vs chaos

I am usually a plotter type writer and I do not like reading in first person and outside of poetry and my blog posts, I rarely write it.  Yet there is something going on in the throes of my imagination recently that I don’t quite understand.

The series I am working on here on my blog “Shadowlands” is not plotted; I have no idea what is going to happen from one week to the next in this story.  It is as much of a surprise to me as it is for you.  As soon as I have written each post, it is put here on the blog without redrafting – yes you are reading first drafts, I am sure you can tell? 

I am also astonished that I am writing this in first person; I usually hate reading stories that are written in first person.

I don’t know if this is a fantasy, a horror or a dark fantasy yet either.  I suspect horror.  But I can’t really say, for I do not know.

I don’t think about the series until I am ready to write more.  I am doing this to see if I can become a Pantzer – if I can and if this series turns out to become good and popular, I may try to pants my way through other stories in the future.

I have no idea what started this, but I have learned to live by impulse regarding all creative matters recently and not to try and make everything perfect like I usually do.  It doesn’t have to be perfect if you are having fun and you are creating something.  So far, it is a good rule to live by in my opinion.  I have started doing things in art, journaling and writing that I have never done before because I felt that there was a certain system and order you had to do things – systems and organisation are innovation killers.

I used to think it would be lovely to pour coffee over a crumpled piece of paper and stick it in a journal purely for aesthetic reasons with a few pretty buttons, ribbons and cut out vintage faeries – but then I thought, HOARDER ALERT!  Who’d think that was artistic?  But I recently discovering a whole host of people on YouTube who are junk journal creators and they are selling those very ideas I often secretly coveted for myself over the years.  I was surprised that most of my unique but ignored ideas were actually a cultural thing in certain bohemian creative circles and I then I became sad as I realised how much fun I have been missing out on in life.

I was raised by a scrupulous mother.  White walls, beige carpets, glass tables, clinical house stinking of bleach and spring cleaning happened monthly!  No room for cutting and pasting pretty things into makeshift little booklets and journals.  No room for saving buttons off the shirt you are throwing out and keeping cinema tickets as memorabilia, that is dirty hoarding, it’s not creative, it’s not nice and it is not art!  This is what I was raised to believe, this is what was brainwashed into my mind and I often dreamt of freedom.  I often dreamt of keeping all the pretty things, because most things I had growing up were often thrown away within less than a year – nothing lasted.  My mother was often proud of her “throw away” cultural ideologies.  She even bragged that she wasn’t the sentimental type too – often throwing away family photos of people who she had recently disowned and never saving anything just because of emotional value.

She tried to make me like her.  For a time it nearly worked, until I literally had the second nervous breakdown I ever had in my whole life.  She was making my home like hers, though a little more dowdy because she knew I liked natural colours.  So magnolia walls with brown carpets and curtains, she winced at my liking for oak furniture (the most sensible normal choice she could accept) and I hated it.

I felt my home was cold and uninviting and very old fashioned, it never represented my personality at all.  Not the true me anyway.

As soon as I decided I couldn’t take contact with her anymore, my house dramatically changed and it is slowly becoming a warm, fun and cosy place for me.

My living room side walls are green with wallpaper on the chimney wall that looks like trees from the Lorax.  My sofa cushions are a mix of all my favourite things, bees, marvel comics, quotes I love, kittens, rabbits and butterflies.  I have faeries and dragons lining the bookshelves as guards to the world of my imagination that are my favourite books. 

My window ledge is festooned with herbs and a lemon tree, which my mother would probably find dirty to have potted plants indoors like that.

It’s lovely and it is my home.

I know I am 39 on my next birthday, as things progress to how I want for my life, the more I am starting to believe that for me, life might really begin at forty as they say it does!

Let’s see!

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Home to home

I have a wonderful home where the butterfly roam and the trees are purple and gold

I have a small garden fragrant and sweet, where silver geese have overflown

There is lavender blue and forget me nots too and the wine comes straight from the vine

I sit and I knit with cobwebs I’ve picked, laced with dew and I think life is fine

How the laughter of summer gives us all good cheer and warms us straight to the bone

I sit and I ponder about life beyond yonder and I can’t ever leave this home

For it is said there, that life is cold and without care

That people laden forests with chrome

They have not a good thought about what will be fraught of the animals they have to rehome

I cannot yet see, how life can be, as cold and cruel as it is there

I cannot imagine life within margins where everything is ripped bare

I don’t believe it’s true, I bet neither can you

Those creatures can be so mean

It must be a story for there is no glory in living life that demeans

So I sit in wonder at that awful place

It can’t be real I say

For surely intelligent creatures can see the damage of what they take away?

Life can never be that way

I think here I am meant to stay

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Our biggest mistake

The Millennia bought so much hope to all around the world

Life was changing for the good

Medicine at its finest, racism crushed underfoot

Then a decade in its all trashed

With plastic waste and a democratic slash

Democracy is bleeding to death

And my heart along with it too

Life was good, but nobody knew

Nobody knew that how they lived would make the world askew

A simple little plastic, a few chemicals here and there

A carefree attitude to living that is what has me in a scare

Things have to change quite soon, not soon in fact, right now

Because how we live today, is our sufferance in the future – WOW!

Yes profound, but true wise words

Don’t keep on with your ignorance and being backwards

It’s time to learn it’s time to change, for you and all your future kin

Because trashing this beautiful world has to stop, it is a sin!

Not being religious now, but Earth is our home

If we kill this planet off this century where do we have to roam?

Nowhere, that’s where, you can forget living on Mars!

Mars is a desert, cold and cruel it is not as nice as ours

You have to take care of our ancestral lands, for we are ancestors too

Stop thinking about yourselves for a change, you are not here for long that’s true!

You got to think about the kids, about the creatures we all subjugate

Because if we don’t take responsibility, all of us!  It will be our biggest mistake!

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I really, really need you

I know you are somewhere in this world

I need you, to come and find me

Come and take me home

I really, really need you

This world is destroying everything about me

Every tiny fibre that is me

I really, really need you

Please come soon baby

I want you, to be with me soon

Quite soon

Oh, oh, I am going mad without you

Oh, oh, I am going mad without you

I need you to take me home.

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it should be simple

Wistful I have been, thinking of my road to home

Will I ever get there? I’ve had far enough to roam

How simple the little quest should be, to get from A to B

But not for someone who’s not from here, not for someone like me

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Cold war brings cold bodies

Since childhood we both would sit underneath this tree, reading books and singing songs and running away from bees.

When we were grown we made love together each and everyday.

But then a war was broken and it’s taken you away.

So long I’ve loved you, so long you had fought.

Many years you had been gone, I grew even more distraught.

Then one day they found you, dead and all alone.

The war had took you swiftly, and away from me and home.

Life is nothing without your love, to hold me, it’s so cold.

The torture I have lived with each day, is more than can be told.

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home to paradise

I was floating above my shell last night

About to travel to the world of my dreams

But then I stopped

I don’t know why

It’s frustrating that I do not fly into that other realm

Maybe it’s because the idea overwhelms?

Oh is it real?  I can’t tell

But I know it’s a place that’s put me under its spell

Maybe they’ll call me tonight or maybe not?

I hope so; to me it means a lot

Though I worry that it’s not all real

That a game is being played

I sometimes think that way and I shouldn’t

But I think I’m mentally frayed

Well one day I shall know

And if it’s real my happiness will overflow

But if it’s not, then my soul will die

Because for many years this place has made me cry

For I want to go home

I want to go home to my paradise

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