Tag Archives: influence

Femininity in the family

My feminine influences growing up!

I was raised by an unglamorous tom boy, who was never without her pair of jeans, white t-shirts or turtle necks under thick jumpers or oversized blouses, she preferred sandals to heels or trainers and she never wore make up and her hair was always cropped short and her nails were always bitten back and sore looking.

That thankfully, was not my only feminine reference growing up and I yearned for my mother to be more like her sisters or cousins, because the majority of my family oozed femininity – even my mum would say she was the black sheep of her family and to see her amongst her sisters and cousins in photo shoots you’d believe it!

I spent a lot of my childhood being shunted around – again, thankfully!  Because I grew to be influenced by other people about what it means to be a woman rather than taking guidance from my mother, which was practically non-existent!

What did my mother teach me about being a woman?  That women are always burdened upon and are doomed of having a life of sexual harassment and fighting for their rights on a constant basis.  That when you get married you have to train your husband  and she was being serious too!  She really believed these things!

She never wanted me to grow up and have a relationship or have children, but she did tell me if I were inclined to do so that I’d need to get a professional man who doesn’t want children and who is smaller than me and submissive!

Not on your Nellie, that’s not my type at all mum, sorry!

My influences were from women who insisted that just because you are married to a man it doesn’t mean you let yourself go, you know?  You have to keep a certain standard, you have to make an effort or then whose fault is it if they strayed?

Don’t bite your nails dear, put nice things in your hair and if you are not going to bother wearing make up at least make an effort to pinch your cheeks and wear lip gloss instead!

You want a nice man who will look after you, protect you and make you feel loved and safe and you want to be able to support him as much as you can and treat him like a king!

Hearing this being spouted to me at a young age, my mother’s reactions was often covering my ears up and giving short nasty criticisms to whoever was poisoning her daughter to become a man’s slave!

Shame on you!  Shame on the lot of you and to think where women have come from, only for stupid women like you to talk the next generation back a hundred years! 

Don’t you listen to them my girl, they are wrong; you don’t need that, you are better off far away from all of THAT!

That was my influence growing up and I still stick to my aunts and cousins concepts and steer well clear of my mother’s!

On my dad’s side of the family, up until the 90s it was quite common for the older generation to help you look for your husband if they knew you were leaning towards wanting a family at a young age.  My mother hated that about them – my grandmother knew when I was fifteen that I only wanted a career because my mother and big brother expected me to have one of their choosing, not my own.  But ultimately I wanted a large family and work from home either as a writer, designer or childminder. 

When I was seventeen my grandmother had found some nice young gentlemen to set me up with, but my mum got furious about it and it is one of the many reasons why mum decided never to speak to my dad’s mum again.

I had to listen to my mum, though I liked what gran was doing, because it’s been a thing I’ve wanted my whole life – a large traditional family.  Had I of started young, it would have been fun to see how many children I would have had by now!  I know a second cousin who is the baby of 17 and she too had 17 children of her own so large families are not uncommon in my family!

But I am forty now and only with one child and it really has never been my intention to have such a small family, fate was taken out of my hands.

It has left a deep hollow in me; it is something I have never accepted looking back in my life.  I am hugely envious of women who are running alive with kids!

I think I would have been healthier for it too, if I had got my way.  I don’t live for myself, I live for other people and when you have just one child and his father completely takes over and pushes your nose out of the way all the time, it makes you feel unwanted and useless – I think that’s why I got sick.

On my dad’s side of the family, they are feminine too, but they are a different kind of feminine than my mother’s side of the family.

My mother’s side of the family are very glamorous and are often mistaken for rich women.  The kind of women who feel naked without make up, stink of expensive perfume, wearing heels and have three inch long decorated nails with diamante on them.  One or two are unethical fur enthusiasts and all of them spend an hour on their hair a day!

Their focus is mostly to please their man, care for their looks, socialise with friends and then the children come somewhere after all that! 

My dad’s side of the family are the old fashioned but very maternal types.  To the women in that side of the family, it is you feed the man and take care of him when he is sick and support him in most of his endeavours if he is sensible, but outside of this you don’t dare come between a woman and her children!

The children come before everything after the basic care of the husband, the house cleaning is next, self-maintenance and then friends if you have the time – but as long as self-maintenance and friends doesn’t interfere with you becoming a good citizen, volunteering at charities and attending church or entertaining the elderly in nursing homes.

These women dress in simple country clothing, floral dresses with lace and mid shin and tend to wear pearls.

They also have the same ration ratio per family, the man gets the biggest portion, then the kids and the women tend to go hungry if they are poor or have meagre rations in comparison.

This is why almost all the women in that side of the family are gardeners, they grow most of their own food and have a “be prepared” attitude to life, as most of them were girl guides in their past!

They are the women who will eat left over from the day before or make soup from them, unlike my mother’s side of the family who seem to have a phobia of all food once it’s been opened or cooked!

As I was growing up, my mother’s family regarded me as an anomaly, because there I was a mere slip of a girl telling them what they can do to budget their food and how to save money.   Because I had learned it all by staying with my paternal relatives!

My dad’s family also taught things like sewing by hand, basketry and all sorts of things. 

Whereas my mother’s family knit only when they are past 50yrs of age and before then have no idea about darning socks and whatnot.

My family to onlookers would appear to be like Last of the summer wine ladies at tea Vs the Kardashians.  Or putting them as individuals my dad’s family as a whole woman would be Emma Thompson’s Karen from Love Actually vs Elizabeth Taylor.   Whereas my mum is more like Ellen Degeneres!

I like to consider this has made me more like Dolly Parton, well eventually lol!  She is like a good healthy mix of the two!

Anyway, those are my feminine influences according to how I was raised by my family and I have a lot of sprucing up to do, because being sick for so long has made me lazy.  I am looking forward to transitioning back to the old vain me again! 

Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Home and Family, What inspired me?

The animal in me

What animals are in my soul according to how I see it… what quirks and personality traits do those animals have that I see in myself?

This is my honest opinion about who I am, in my animalistic side.

My strongest personality I believe is the spirit of the dog or the wolf, which I believe are the same animal really! 

I consider myself very friendly and easily excitable around my favourite people, people I trust and the better I know somebody the more playful I tend to become.  I am also very emotionally insecure and always out to get affection of some kind or another, or give affection and be amongst my pack in general.

I am a pack animal who is outcast as it were, right now – I am without a pack and it is killing me inside, it really is!

I mean it when I say I am excitable around my favourite people!  I exuberate the energy of “oh my goodness, you’re great, you’re this and that, I love you, come here, give a hug, who hurt who?  Let me at them”!  It’s quite funny to see me at times…

Yes I am needy I suppose, no shame in that I guess?

I want to be everyone’s friend but the world seems to fight back against people like me, fiercely it would seem!

I can easily adopt people if they are nice to me, it’s my nature but also like a dog or a wolf I don’t forgive others who bite or bark at me if they’ve been too fierce!  But boy can I be a bitch (pun intended) if you hurt the ones I love and who mean a lot to me!

Like a dog, I can easily feel shame and guilt about the slightest thing, rolling over trying to win back the favour of those I have disappointed if I love them, like some attention seeking hussy!

The other animal I am like is a squirrel – in the right places I tend to have a lot of excess energy and excitement, a bit like a hyperactive dog – but it can be more extreme.  Like a squirrel I love nuts, to eat them but also I like nuts as in people who are considered oddballs of society or Bohemian. 

Like a squirrel I am a bit of an airhead and can forget a lot of things, because I store away knowledge and items all the time and what’s worse, I move them around in case other people borrow them a lot, so sometimes those items can be lost to me… forever… so it would seem!

Also squirrels plant trees, I plant trees too, lots of trees, I like trees.

Give me caffeine or candy or a combination of them both I start talking like a horse racing commentator and speed walk everywhere at high energy for several hours, laughing my head off!

And like a squirrel I can often freak out about things, like the worry wart I am!  When I am stressed or worried, I talk so fast and so high pitched that people just stare at me wide eyed and think rightfully so… “What the fuck”?

Paul has got into the habit of grabbing me by the shoulders after I’ve told him things and then looks at me calmly and says to me…. “Breath, now tell me again… SLOWLY”!

So sometimes I start off again at the same speed and he patiently says “tut tut tut, slowly and focus”… to see us together like this makes you think I am demented or something, but sometimes even I feel I might be at times!

It’s more fun when I have had caffeine and candy and I am worried or have been recently affronted by something… its full steam ahead then, won’t get sense out of me for hours!

An ex of mine had the right idea when I get like that – just snog my brains out and I calm down and become passive almost immediately and then I manage to talk like I have actually got a brain instead of a hamster on a wheel in my head!

Another animal I am like is self-explanatory – rabbits.  You must know me enough by now to know what I am on about here!  The innuendo of what rabbits representation to society is enough for your imagination – but it is also one of the major things which boost my energy!

I am definitely an energiser bunny!

You can also see the rabbit in me when I garden as I often like to kneel on the ground and dig deep holes like I am making a warren… I don’t do it aimlessly, I am not insane!  There is always a purpose for the hole, such as a plant.

I lied.  I am insane, don’t you believe otherwise!

A cow is another animal, I am very nurturing by nature and I tend to graze rather than eat meals, because my body struggles with volume these days, a sandwich is a huge meal to me of late.

If we had the budget my diet would be reminiscent of my grandma’s advice, 7 small meals a day, no bigger than a tea plate (sandwich plate), because volume is an issue!

I remember I thrived when I lived her, it meant of course I seem to constantly eat – but I was thinner for it and I never had stomach ache!

Like the dogs, cows like to go around in herds or packs and I do miss having people in my life.

I miss having a nurturing role, Paul has made my ability as a mother almost obsolete since I’ve become ill, he has taken over everything and there is a huge power struggle for me to become an active mother again with Henry!

I can’t even nurture this family in other ways, such as baking or cooking because of finances but also because Paul has kept the kitchen in a manner that things I need are out of access for me or the kitchen is in such a mess that it takes me three hours of cleaning before I am happy to do anything in there!  It’s not as simple as pop into the kitchen to make a tuna sandwich, because the tuna is in a section of the cupboard I can’t reach because of a mound of boxes in the way and Paul is much taller than I am – I am 5ft 8 and still struggle to get things!

Even on tippy toes I can’t reach the highest shelves of a cupboard and that’s where most of the snacks are stored, so Henry doesn’t binge behind our backs, but it also means I am heavily reliant on Paul to reach them for me as he has forbidden me to use the step ladder, due to my vertigo issues.  I don’t have a fear of height; I have vertigo because of ear damage.  I am fine using them, but he is over protective.

Like a cow, I like to be around children as much as possible and I love to mingle with others in nature.

Another creature I am like is a peacock, though it strongly depends on who I am around.  I am heavily influenced by other people who are in my life the most.  If I am around people where image doesn’t matter, I fall on the wayside with them and don’t make an effort because it’s never noted or appreciated when I do.

I absolutely adore people who are vain, narcissistic or believe that image is everything… they are my kind of people; they are the kinds of people who keep me to my standards!  But I don’t like the ones who make things too personal.  Yes, nag me to take care of myself, my hair, and my fashion, give me tips and advice, but don’t go getting personal about weight and things I can’t change like nose shape and eye shape etc.

I know I am overweight, I am working on it, I don’t need to be told, I am already deeply ashamed about that aspect about me without being reminded or judged for it!

There is nothing I can do about my nose and eyes other than surgery and I don’t want to be the Bride of Frankenstein, no offence.  Though I do need surgery on my nose, because I have broken cartilage that has never healed, but it’s not aesthetic. 

Also I don’t like the ones who think there is something I can do about my big scars.  Yes I know make up works wonders, but some of my scars go into my hairline and messes my hair up if I use cosmetics in those areas!

Always be kind in your advice, never vitriolic.

I love glamour, but I am not well versed in using make up – I never had a feminine influence who taught me things like that.  It’s something I need to learn!

Like my mother never made a point about hygiene, I learned from other people who took care of me over the years.

I remember when I had my first menses as a child, I was unusually early, 8yrs old – my mother gave me sanitary towels but never told me how to use them and for the first few months I wore them with the glue attached to my vagina and not the underwear – when I got my first hairs I learned I had been doing it wrong, because I complained to her about it one day and she called me a fool!

But anyway, I love fashion and I like to stand out a little.  But I do love my baggy comforts and rough and ready looks in dungarees and what not on a day to day basis.  But generally, I love to play with my looks whenever possible because I am a suppressed attention whore, I know I love attention if I can get it and showing off my latest outfits is one way to get attention!

I know when I was a lot younger I was very much the “notice me, notice me” type – but I got beaten pretty badly off my pedestal over the years.

I refuse to believe that as I get older my ability to be a peacock is less and less obtainable, I mean just look at some of the classic stars in Hollywood still bombing around at their best at ninety!

There’s life in the old dog yet, lol what am I saying?  I am only forty!

Growing up I loved the egotistical and I have a playlist called “Vanity” where I have all sorts of songs on it, one of them happens to be the theme tune “Sexy boy” from the wrestler Shawn Michaels – “eat your heart out girls, hands off the merchandise”!  I had Shawn Michaels as a pin up in my bedroom but the bigger poster I had was his quote rather than him “IMAGE IS EVERYTHING”!

Gosh, if I hadn’t of been brutalised, what would I have been like right now as a person?

Though I say all this, yet I am nothing like how I want to be right now – I am a shocking mess, enough to make the true inner me heave whenever I look in the mirror.  But I do feel – why bother when nobody cares and you’re just spending money on your looks that you can’t afford?

I spruce myself up occasionally but it doesn’t get a reaction from anyone around here, not even Paul.

I am embarrassed to say, my depression got so bad in 2016 I found it hard to get the motivation to do basic things like brush my hair etc. around the house – I wasn’t going out as I was bedbound and so often times I didn’t bother.  It made me go around the twist a bit and I think I went stir crazy, because one day I woke up and decided to literally buzz cut my hair clean off!

With the alopecia I have, I am near wanting to do that again, but scared I’ll regret it, especially as my hair is long now and it’s becoming a pacifier for me to brush my hair through with my fingers when I feel insecure.

I think I am also like a snake – it hurts to admit this, because my mother used to call me that a lot when I was growing up and made me feel guilt, shame and disgust for it. 

Why do I think I am like a snake?

Because when someone hurts me, I am quieter than I used to be – I am more observant and I tend to strike at their weakest moment and strike hard!

I think I am a snake because like a snake I sit in the grass watching my attackers, seeing what they are doing to me or trying to do to me and I am calculating… calculating their next move, then WHAM!  I find out their weakness and it’s not pretty. 

I have always been the quiet observer – as my auntie always said “you’ve got to watch the quiet ones”, she kept warning people not to push me too far as I am one they’ve got to be more careful of!

A snake isn’t untrustworthy; it’s a misunderstood creature because it has a superior intelligence for survival, which is unique in the world.  Because they do strike when you least expect it, because you never respected the snake, you underestimated it – you thought it was small and helpless and an easy touch – but the snake will always show you!

If someone criticises me and I give a small strained smile and go quiet, just understand, you’ve hurt me more than you think.  I tend not to be vocal about my hurt feelings too much with people I hardly know.

But also that same smile can be confusing I guess – because it is the same smile I have when I feel anxious or not very confident.

I am also like an elephant… I never forget – I forgive sometimes – but I never forget and I will always make sure you never forget either, if you’ve ever hurt me!

I am also big and a klutz and I survive with my hearing loss because I rely on vibrations, like elephants do!  I also don’t know my own strength, I am unusually strong really.

I mean, before I got sick I could carry a two hundred a fifty pound man over my shoulder!

I used to have big aspirations as a glamazon strength contest woman, this was a thing in the early 2000s in the UK – like the strongest women in the world contest but they were also glamour pusses too!  Not all of them had grotesquely huge muscles; some looked like normal women, but could bench press three hundred or more pounds.

I got out of that ambition when I was 21 because men found it a turn off.

I still kind of dream about doing something similar again, like I used to dream about being a gladiator or a contestant on that show or a female professional wrestler, yes, these are genuine past ambitions I once had!

I loved fitness a lot and it is something I really want to get back into again in a big way – but again, without other like-minded folk in my life, it’s hard to motivate myself!

I like to think that I could get fit enough again where I could potentially do those things in the future and maybe go on the new show Apocalypse Wow too!

But I can be a bit rough with people and I have been known to break the stems of wine glasses by holding them too tight – really I sometimes wonder if I am half orc or something!

I look big and muscular whether overweight or not and people are often shocked when they hear me talk when I feel anxious or shy, because… yeah… my voice doesn’t match my physique and no… I do not have an annoyingly high pitched voice… I have a really strange calm, soothing voice by all accounts that sounds slightly young, but it’s not high pitched unless I am excited or angry.

The closest British actress I can think of that has a voice similar to me is Camille Codari, she is definitely a close sound alike – Americans will probably know her from the John Goodman and Peter O’Toole movie King Ralph!  But also Jackie Tyler from Dr Who; I can be a sociopath at times and put on voices depending on the situation, I am self-conscious of my childish common natural voice, so I do try and suppress it a lot.

My grandma did a lot of elocution lessons on me as I was growing up and so I do know how to talk more mature and aristocratic when I need to and keep it up for quite some time!  It was an essential survival tactic I needed as I was growing up in mixed religious and class cultures.

I can put on a voice that does suit my looks but it is the kind of voice that gets you noticed in public and I don’t like that – it’s a rough and ready school ma’am type of voice, that sounds like I won’t have any funny business!  Lol!  That voice can sound reminiscent of Pam Ferris or Martita Hunt, scary contrast if you ask me!

But there you go me in animal form.

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Filed under About Me

Who influenced my writing? Part 1

Over the next few days I will be choosing three authors who has influenced me the most in writing and why; what did I learn from them by reading their books and so on? There will be eighteen in total and they will be placed in alphabetical order each day. Enjoy my first three;

Suzanne Collins showed me that writing about politics is necessary, particularly fictional politics, because politics is a major factor in every bodies lives whether they are interested in it or not.  Nobody can escape the politics of their country or their culture and their lives are influenced by it more than they realise!

She showed me that the government can eventually become anything and do anything and that it is our job as writers to think of all possibilities that could occur to arm the public with the knowledge to understand political trickeries. 

Her books showed me how to write characters that are trying to survive dense political control and how to overcome them in ways which inspire others, rather than just being a rebel without any real cause outside of themselves. 

She has also taught me through her writing, that even the most disgusting creatures deserve love and respect, because she is certainly the only writer I have ever read that actually made me feel sorry for and cry over the death of a cockroach!

Neil Gaiman showed me that writing has to be fun and you should play with ideas no matter how silly they appear, all ideas are worthy and all ideas will find people who love them! 

He showed me not to be afraid of my own sense of humour or my sense of darkness either and that everything about the worlds you build should have some kind of balance to them. 

He showed me to find sense of humour in dark things and to find dark things in the light!  He is very clever at this in all his works! 

Also no matter who the character is, their position in society, their outward personality, everybody has a hidden side, a fun side and he shows this well in his works too! 

Stephen King showed me not to make my writing too pretty because it doesn’t help your readers identify with your world.  In order to make a realistic world you need to put in some of the bad nitty gritty stuff occasionally.  People aren’t perfect, people falter and have flaws and every character you write about must show their flaws as much as anything else.

If you are writing horror, you have to get over yourself and your own sensitivities in order to write it more effectively, because if you are uncomfortable and squeamish and give yourself nightmares over what you are writing, then congratulations you are a horror writer that is going to succeed!

I’ve learned that you can find the most fearful or disgusting thing about anything if you put your mind to it, even a gentle walk in a flower meadow will have its horrors!  A dead rabbit lying amongst the flora rotting away with maggots and flies, or an earwig hunting aphids on a bellflower:

Thank you for reading! 

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Filed under About my work

The wonders of technology

I have been learning a lot about what to do with the technological gadgets I have; I have always had various social media accounts, but never really got to grips with how to make the most of them.

I have only just realised that the “notifications” I get in twitter are not all messages the public give to me, but are actually random posts from people or subjects I follow.  It was very confusing for me for a lot of the time and my wires got crossed a lot!

I have since learned how to tell if something is actually for me or a random public post and it has destressed me a lot!

One thing I am still not clear on in regards to twitter is how to reply to thank someone for retweeting something without having to go to their actual profile page to do so?

I didn’t fully understand the value of twitter as a writer until recently either.  I was always told that as a writer you need a social media presence, but I didn’t understand why.

I realised it’s not all about self-promotion at all, like I was told by other writing friends – It’s all about your personality and who you are.  It’s fascinating to think that I have gained over sixty followers this past week, purely on a heated topic I took part in earlier this week on twitter about gender identity.

I really didn’t think that people really cared about a writer until they’ve read copious amounts of their work and then decided to become a fan.  I didn’t realise in this day and age, your personality accounts for a lot.  People are really into this “influencer” ideology and I have been behind the times for years it seems.

It’s opened up a whole new world to me, I didn’t know this was a thing until I actually bothered to research all this stuff as I am preparing myself for a career in art and writing and I am taking it all very seriously!

I was distraught the other day when I learned that Goodreads was taking away their ability to recommend books to friends option – but then, when mooching around the site I found that there are three little buttons at the top of every book I’ve read where you can share your book on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest; why get upset then?  I can merely click one of those buttons and do it another way anyway!

Although I had a Pinterest account, I had never really wanted to use it as a proper social media until Goodreads took away the recommendations options.  I have made new boards on Pinterest about the kinds of books I read, so my followers can go there and have a look and perhaps get inspired to read something that inspired me.

I have since learned that Pinterest can be monetised without ruining your follower’s relationships and it will earn you a passive income – this is something I will delve into more deeply later on in the month, to see if it’s something I may or may not do.

I have had an Instagram account for a few years now and have never posted a picture on it – but again I learned it can be monetised without affecting follower relationships too, again earning you a passive income each month.  I got an Instagram account because I was friends with a lot of artists who wanted to share their artwork with me and a couple of relatives who like to show their holiday pics up there too.

I have wanted to start doing short poems, art and wildlife photography to put up onto Instagram, maybe with a few inspirational quotes as well?  But not sure when I will take the plunge on that yet! https://www.instagram.com/tardycreative/

I will share my profile from Instagram but you will see its empty more or less.

I am @CreativeTardy on twitter these days.

My Pinterest is https://www.pinterest.co.uk/naturescreativecomrade/ it is called NaturesCreativeComrade because that is my account on google and will be the name of my up and coming YouTube channel.

I bought the webcam and microphone a year ago and still haven’t learned how to set it up; I really ought to get around to it! 

Why did I choose that as my YouTube name?  Because my YouTube channel is going to be about my journey as a writer and an artist, but also a gardener and wildlife photographer; I will also include pet care in the videos.  Writing is not my primary focus on this channel – it will be about my relationship with nature and how it inspires me to become creative.

I focus a lot of my gardening on permaculture, polyculture, food forest, no dig ideologies and completely 100% organic, I heard the bad neighbour is moving by the end of summer, so hopefully I can get back out there – saving the world starts at a garden a time, after all!

Thanks for reading!

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Filed under About my work

Do you show yourself up?

I have started my writer’s journal yesterday (6th June 2022) and I was finding it insightful rethinking how my projects developed over the years and how I have grown as a writer.

Because I get so wrapped up in my projects I often forget to post on my blog, so I often do blog posts around two weeks in advance, just to help maintain activity here – because if I don’t, the blog goes quiet for three months at a time and I don’t like to do that!

Anyway, going back to my first paragraph of this post, I discovered that certain projects were bland when I originally started them – but over time, they fleshed out really well and morphed into something completely different, even character names changed to suit the new situations that ensued.

For example, I had a young child protagonist who was originally seven years old, she then became twelve and now the character is going to be fifteen.  Simply because of how the story developed into something much different and my goals are very different today than they were back then!

I also only had around five characters that were friends of the hero and helped her on her journey; this grew to become nine solid friends and a small number of fly by helpful friends.

I decided the villain dies in the end and that so does the heroine too, but this changed, I leave no spoilers as to my current decision or you’d be looking for it in any book that sounds alike, when it gets published.

But what threw me was the fact that the book developed when I developed – I don’t mean creatively developed, I mean, its subjects developed with what was going on in my life at the time of writing…

The heroine was a runaway –then she was not.

I was a runaway at the same time this story originated in my mind, the characters plot of running away changed, when I no longer felt the need to run away in my real life. 

This is a development I didn’t notice until I revisited the writing process to add to my current projects journal – it is interesting.  I used to pooh-pooh the idea about creative people subconsciously putting their lives into print and that people psychoanalysed everything that wasn’t really there, but, you know… I think there is something about all of that!

If you write a certain theme, it’s because you think or feel or have experienced it in the past or at the present and it is coming out in your writing. 

So be careful at what you are writing out there, I know a lot of real life bitches who tend to write a lot of romantic dramas where there are mega bitches and they just think, their work is set apart from themselves… but… hey… what will literary psychoanalysts say about you in the future, what will they see in you through your work?

It does reveal a lot – I have a writer friend who writes a lot of childish roles in her stories that are not entirely based around children and she struggles a lot with her inner child, she is trying to be mature, but she just can’t hack it and she doesn’t mind I am writing this, I asked her!  But she found it amusing about how accurate this seems to be even with her!

I know another writer who always wanted to be a rock star or a Goth, but was always nervous to do so because of societal stigma, particularly within the Jewish community – so, they write those kinds of characters.  Sorry I didn’t ask them about this, but being that they aren’t named… do they really mind?  I hope not!

You don’t know it until you see it!

But you write yourself in everything!

Since learning this, it has kind of made me paranoid about what people will think about me… but then again… I am happy with who I have become and I am happy I am not who I used to be anymore, so I won’t stress too much!

I just don’t want the analysts to harp on about my mental illness all the time and look back on me with pity!  I don’t like that.

The journal has been a revelation.

What is included in the journal is my journey and thought processes about what is happening in the book – any movies or books that influenced those pivotal scenes, are my characters actually a mock-up of say, my favourite movie characters?  Yes, actually, I can see that a lot in my work!  But it is unique enough to not come across as a total rip off!  That’s very important!

I have even included lyrics which also helped me think of scenes, with references to the singer and the song name. 

Why am I doing this?

Because these journals are on a work by work basis, when I get a piece of work published I have this goal that if I sell ten thousand books, I will send out to publish these snippets from my writers journal to show my readers how I got it done and what influenced me, because I don’t know about you – but I am a very nosy reader!  When I read an author’s book, I want to know more about them as a person, what they think and what they like so I can see who influenced them!  Because I love evolution!

Being a creative, whether you are a writer, song writer, musician, artist etc; you are going through an evolution which will influence and inspire other creatives in the future.  This is exciting and I love this sort of thing!  I am obsessed with evolution, particularly the evolution of the mind, culture and society!

At this point in time, there are hundreds of works by other people who have influenced all seventy nine of my nearly finished works, yes, seventy nine!  There have been many things which have influenced me several times over in most of my works and those are;

Nox Arcana music, art and lyrics

Neil Gaiman’s works, particularly his prose and comics

Colleen Doran’s Raphaelite style artworks

Various wrestling shows with their gimmicks and storylines

Aurora Aksnes lyrics and music videos

Anne Rice vampires

Vampire movies in general

Modern gothic art, particularly by Anne Stokes

Tim Burton’s movies and artworks

Ancient myth and legends worldwide

Roald Dahl’s works and movie adaptions

Lady Gaga’s music videos and lyrics

Stephen King’s works and movie adaptions

Brian Froud and the Froud families’ artworks and puppet movies

The Mad Max series and franchise

Mafia movies and history

Max Brooks works and movie adaptions

Children’s classic bedtime fairy-tales

Marilyn Manson music videos

Queen music and music videos and adaptions

The Rocky horror picture show and its adaptions

Suzanne Collins works and adaptions

The Animals of Farthing wood

Watership down and its adaptions

Wind in the willows and its adaptions

Monty Python TV shows and movies

Terry Pratchett’s works and adaptions

Johnny Depp’s characters

Robert Downy Jr’s characters

Gabriel Byrne’s characters

Al Pacino’s characters

Bette Midler characters

Kathleen Turner characters

Pam Ferris characters

James Earl Jones characters

Bon Jovi lyrics

To name but a few, I know it’s really a lot, but its few in the real number of influences I have had over the years!

So you see – you are what you are and you can’t hide it!

Happy reading everybody!

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Combat sports and feminine culture

Combat sports is another big influence in my stories; being a former judoka from the age of ten, I was just six weeks shy of the Commonwealth games trials of 1998 when I was rushed into A&E with a serious mastoid infection that literally ended my career before it could even begin, because I couldn’t do any kind of self-care for two years after the life-saving surgery I had to undergo.

This devastated me totally on a mental health level, because I used judo as a means to train my body for the hard knocks I was preparing it for as a professional wrestler, when I left school for college.  My grandfather was a backyard wrestler in the early 40s and 50s and he was a huge wrestling fan and I wanted to make him proud of me as he looked down from heaven and saw his “little cocker” as he called me, as world women’s champion!

But that was never meant to be, because my surgery meant that I had lost certain bones at the back of the right side of my head, which meant any future impact could be life threatening, so all dreams of combative sports had to end right there and then!

I love combat sports of all kinds, judo, karate, cage fighting, boxing, you name it, and I love it.

A lot of the various gimmicks in professional wrestling and other forms of fighting, whether it is combative entertainment or real, had influenced a lot of my characters and sceneries in some of my books – particularly those of the dystopian and cyberpunk genres.

I have a lot of background knowledge in fighting terminologies that can help with understanding the jargon, but I do know that a lot of my readers will not be au fait with the sport jargon that could be in the books, so I have honed in my skills as a very good describer of action scenes – of which a former English tutor is rather impressed with and says is a rare talent.

Along with my love for combat sports, I have a massive love for war history and battle games such as Rome total war, Warhammer, Medal of Honour and such the likes.

Back in 2004 I became an online player of Rome Total War’s original game that was based on my favourite TV show “Time Commanders”, as an avid devourer of history books, this was a massive thing for me and I soon became one the top five best generals in the world on their game leader board for two years!  Under the name Raven Warrior!

More recently I follow the artist Jazza which lead me to finding his brother’s channel of which I enjoy immensely “Shadiversity” which talks about the history of weapons and how good they are or not.  This is another tool which has helped me a lot in writing action scenes and accurate war scenes in my books.

You will find that there is a lot of fighting in my stories usually, but it is not constant mindless violence, I hope you will agree someday.

I’ve never been a girly girl and seeing ultra-feminine and helpless women in fiction is rather irritating for me, my characters tend to be female lead, strong-minded and independent women that save themselves because of hard times dragging them through into survival mode; usually they don’t have time to sit back and daydream of their perfect love life, they are usually dreaming about freedom and where the next meal is coming from! 

Thanks for reading!

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My brain takes me here…

They say that the books you love to read, the movies you love to watch and the things that stick with you the most can be seen in your own writing. 

What you love is often reflected in your writing and once you know yourself well enough you write better.  Once you throw yourself into all of your passions and are writing things based on your passions or similar to your passions unashamedly, you will develop your style and you will therefore come across as unique and fresh in the genres you write.

As long as you stay true only to yourself, do not write for the market, write for you!

I hope this is true.  If it is, then you can more or less guess from my likes and dislikes what could end up being in my novels.

I don’t like to be predictable though, but it is true that there is a little of what I love in everything that I do

Below is a list of stories, books or movies in which I mentally visit and live in a lot, for some reason or another, I am dragged back there to relive scenes or add new ones in my mind.  However, I never write those reimagining’s down through fear of becoming a fraud!  Though I have sometimes thought about doing fanfiction!

1922 By Stephen king – this story in particular has actually influenced a horror I am writing, which is based around a well in a garden too, funnily enough.  But the story concept is poles apart besides the setting of a well. 

Spider By Hanns Heinz Ewers – Every time I see a spider I remember the story.  Every time I see a woman working at a loom or spinning yarn, I think of this story.  You would think that wouldn’t be very often then, but I know a lot of prepper, homesteading type ladies who do this regularly.  I have wanted to do this myself; I have always wanted to make my own felt too. 

The complete collection of The Wizard of Oz By Frank L Baum – So many imaginative things in all the stories, living china dolls, servant monkeys, it’s absolute joy!  The landscape descriptions, oh my word, they are divine, I just can’t help but bring myself back to those scenes. 

Smoke and Mirrors By Neil Gaiman – So many lovely stories and poems in this book, I presume they are poems in any case?  I see them as such, I love the prose, I just love the way he writes!  It is very soulful writing. 

The man in the picture By Susan Hill – This is the only book in my entire reading history, of such length, that I have read and could not put down even for a toilet break!  It is just so gripping and I loved it, it had a similar air to Dorian Grey, but in my opinion much better executed.  I love Venice, never been, but still, always wanted to, love with a passion masquerades and carnival life. 

Matilda By Roald Dahl – Ever since I was little, since Victoria Wood read this on TV I have loved this story and nagged my mum in buying me the book, but she never did.  I must have borrowed this book a hundred times from the library before I became an adult and bought it as part of a trilogy compilation.  How I wished that my soul got angry enough with the people in my life that I could play with the supernatural like she did!  It may have solved a lot of my childhood problems, or created worse ones, who knows? 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Very alike to Wizard of Oz, the scenes are great, but I also like crazy characters, madness or at least the descent into it ideas.  I love kooky takes on animal and plant life and this was such a joy to behold.  The artwork etc, I love everything about Alice in Wonderland and I have an addiction to collecting Alice in Wonderland novelties.  There were times I pranced around in life hoping I fell down a hole where things were very different too. 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – If you can actually manage to read the whole book and get past the awful main scene, you will actually find this book very deep on an emotional level that is not just traumatic, but beautiful too.  If you read deeply, push past the horrible stuff, it is very meaningful.  How the dead view the living, how the living cannot move on until the dead does, what dead children do in the heavens.  Living out their wildest imaginations; yes, a lot of it is weird and sickening, but I urge you to try and edit those horrible bits out of your mind and read it without those bits.  It takes strong stuff to do that, I know!  But honestly, it is a lovely book besides. Try to skim the nasties.   

Confessions of an ugly step-sister by Gregory Maguire – I love Cinderella anyway, but this plot was good and more to the way that I thought it was behind the scenes.  I love how I learned real history in this book too, the bit about the tulips in Holland.  By the way, that’s another addiction I have – tulips.

I.T By Stephen King – I used to be scared of clowns, big time, before I even learned about Pennywise, but it is funny to actually say that I loved the character Pennywise so much it lessened my fear of them.  Weird I know!  In the past two years in particular, I have lost my fear of clowns entirely and now enjoy them, in fact, they are becoming the main projects for my art!  I just hate the scene of little Georgie.

The Mad Max Movies – I have a thing for life on the road, roguish living, post-apocalyptic tribal societies and the general chaos of survival as whole societies descend into madness.  For this reason too, I think I like the next movie;

Reign of fire movie – I love subterranean settings and when you throw in dragons in a post-apocalyptic world I am in my element. 

Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins is another subterranean setting I love, full of gothic elements such as bats, rats, roaches and gore with an edge of the apocalypse feel to it. 

The Blue Bird starring Shirley Temple – this has been in my mind since I was a very small child, a lot of things about this movie can be seen in small snippets of some of my work.  I have mentioned Old father time and I have cats and dogs which can take on a human form, children trapped in dream time in a couple of my stories to date so far.  No Spoilers, because they were just passing things in the plot, not the actual plot at all.

The Karnstein Trilogy – I love this much more than Dracula, I love the movies and the books they were based on.  I loved it so much that I had been heavily influenced by this trilogy my whole life; I have had to be careful when writing my vampires in fear of coming off as a plagiarist.  You may see what I mean with what I mentioned in “The Blue Bird” paragraph.  I have had to learn to chop up everything I love and move them around genres and different stories, like some experimental stir fries. 

I shall write about the tropes and scenes and types of characters I like in future posts – keep eye out for those!

Happy reading! 

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Top 10 children’s books that influenced me

Top 10 children’s books that influenced my writing and why

Dragon’s dinner by Susannah Corbett

This is a hilarious book I read at least once a month to myself, I know it’s a young child’s picture book, but I adore it!

It is written in rhyme and there is a comedy element on every page, not to mention great illustration too!  I have a love for dragons that almost rivals my love for vampires; this is seen in the novels I write.  In fact, I have nearly finished a dragon novel to the extent that I may be considering sending it off to an agent in 2022.  At the moment I have approximately three more chapters to write of it again, this is the eighth draft, but then I will store it away for a couple of months and look again with fresh eyes and see if it needs a ninth draft – but I doubt it at the moment.

A strange thing for me is that writing the story initially can take just under a month for me to do, but editing and redoing drafts can take me three months, because I find that a boring process, I hate redoing stuff!  I am trying to learn to love doing that.

My dragon novel is potentially YA or adult fantasy, not sure yet, it is definitely bigger than this picture book and does have a lot of comedy elements to it.

Horton hears a who by Dr Seuss

I love most books by Dr Seuss and this is my favourite.  I like books where something unbelievable is eventually proven to the other characters of the book and that is something that is seen in a handful of my own works.  Once again there is a comedy element to the book.

I think I love this story a lot because when I was a child I used to blow bubbles and imagine that every bubble was a planet full of life, like Earth only different with unique creatures on each planet and that the time scale was epically fast.  I never read Horton Hears A Who until I had my son Henry and bought the book for him when he was 2yrs old – so the book resonated with me a lot.

James and the giant peach by Roald Dahl

There would be more than just one book by Roald Dahl on this list, but I wanted to be as broad as possible in my listings; it was difficult trying to narrow down which book to choose for this list by this specific author; I chose the one that I felt was the most unique and the one that literally got my heart pumping with excitement as I read it.

There were so many wonderful things in this book, talking, friendly insects, a comedy element, drama, horror, lots and lots of excellent scenery I just adored it.  I loved the parts where the peach acted like a hot air balloon and was flying above the world.  It is this scene which has influenced me the greatest, because I am working on a fantasy series based on a hot air balloon traveller which is aimed for a YA audience potentially.

Harry Potter and chamber of secrets by J.K Rowling

Much like most people nowadays, it is hard to think of fantasy and children’s books without thinking about Harry Potter, it is a great series and narrowing down to a specific book was very difficult, but this is my favourite because of the living trees and the giant spiders.  Also I found this the funniest of the lot.  I like depictions of forests particularly with living trees mentioned occasionally, such can be found in many books, Lord of the Rings and The Wizard of Oz to name but two.  I have to admit, even I have written a scene with forest spiders in one of my novels, not to copy, but because it just felt so right and almost expected in a manner; in fact it is a scene in my main dragon novel.

Engelbert Sneem and his dream vacuum machine by Daniel Postgate

This had me riveted from the offset, it is amazing.  I love books where you get to dance around in someone else’s dreams and things like this, BFG and a couple of other stories had dreams in them too.  I love writing about dream worlds within my stories from time to time, but they do seem to be more horror based than my usual comedy fantasy.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I have loved reading Heidi ever since I was a child and I must admit not only reading it, but also love watching all the movies that come out based on this story too!  Heidi has influenced my imagination a lot over the years.  I love goats and mountain sceneries and books with snow, books that star strong minded children who seem to act as blessings to the adults of their world.  I love miracle stories too and little Clara certainly had a miracle happen to her!

Quite a few of my books do seem to be rather Germanic, Norse or Slavic based, unintentionally, I haven’t really understood why.  I have strong warrior figures in my novels and the landscapes usually end up sounding like Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, the Alps and sometimes even the Carpathians.  I have never travelled outside of the UK; it would be lovely to do so at some point and visit some of those places that influence me and my writing.

Diary of a wimpy vampire by Tim Collins

It is such a funny book and the fact it contains vampires is another reason why I love this book so much; also this book made my son into a reader, because before he saw me reading this book to myself and laughing my head off at it at every page turn, he absolutely hated reading!  But now I have to say, he tries to read a whole large novel once every month.

My vampires have some comedy interjected into the pages from time to time, but it is not deliberately set out to be a comedy series – I just can’t help myself.

Mr Stink by David Walliams

I like books where children change the minds of the adults around them as I have mentioned before and this book does that.  I love books which show the best qualities of humanity, generosity etc.  I also love stories that are riches to rags and back again to riches, I have loved themes like this since I was a kid.  I loved movies such as “The Jerk” with Steven Martin and “Life Stinks” with Mel Brookes amongst others and yes, it is a theme I would like to write someday too.  Once again, there is comedy here.

I will say, that as a child I read a lot, but it was mostly non-fiction and that a majority of the fantasy and stuff I indulged in were movies, I watched a movie every day, without fail, sometimes three times a day, because I was home educated and work fast in my studies and had a lot of spare time to myself, cooped up indoors all day long.  My father had a massive VHS collection over eight hundred which had two or three movies on each he recorded off the TV, so there were always a lot of things to watch!

The tin can band by Margaret Mahy

I love all the poems and songs in this book.  I love the artwork and everything about the book.  The art inspires my art a lot and the poetry knows how to touch several nerves too.  I love the concept of dancing in the shadows and having night time, shadow acrobats dancing around you, causing you to hallucinate and see things that aren’t quite what they seem when the lights are out. 

The poems contain witches and various other creatures, some with comedic ideas and others more serious in tone, such as deforestation and a lovely concept on death too.

I love authors that have a knack in making death less scary and more beautiful or at least more fun.

Wolf by Gillian Cross

I like books about the homeless and hippies and that sort of thing, this book contains squatters and a little girl who tries to live with her mother under extraordinary circumstances.  The child is rather independent and I just love the book, but I can’t say it has influenced anything in particular though.

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A writer’s thoughts

I have read somewhere in the past, that you are what you read and I believe that. The more I read the more defined my tastes have become, my skills, my genre leanings and this influences my writing and art.
With each good book I learn how I want to write and what I want to write about.
With each bad book I read, I learn how I do not want to write and what I dislike.
I do not believe that as a writer you must write things outside of your comfort zone, I believe you should be comfortable with what you are writing – although on an emotional matter, that’s quite different. You must write outside of your emotional comfort zone if you wish to write fear, pain and heartbreak effectively, unfortunately that means opening up your old wounds.
A lot of the time, I like to write about horror, trauma etc. and each time I do, I open up real and old wounds, this is why I often become quiet as a writer and have prolonged periods of not writing, whilst I emotionally recuperate.
I was once told that writers and artists generally go mad after a time and I believe it, we send ourselves mad for our art and stories because we are constantly reliving the horrors of our past for your entertainment and as a collective, we seldom are known or recognized for it.
I am not moaning about my lack of recognition as a writer and artist, because personally I think that’s my own fault. I think I am generally a lazy person and have not bothered to find myself a publisher or to advertise my work very much over the years at all. On the one occasion I did contact a publisher to see whether or not they liked an idea of mine, I was lucky enough to get a letter back within three weeks, but this terrified me, because they loved what I sent them and praised me highly for it; I never contacted them again, I was worried about becoming famous and at the time I was young and didn’t know about pseudonyms.
These days I am more prepared for whatever life throws at me because I will be totally blatant about what I can and cannot do and what I will and will not allow.
Other than twitter, my blog and magazines are there any other steps I should take to get myself known?
Please comment below.

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Filed under About Me, About my work