Day 9: Reinvent the letter format

My dearest dearest house

It is getting very close now to the time when I have to leave you, when we part company forever. You have been my sanctuary and my nemesis for over 20 years now and leaving you is such a wrench. I know so much of me is imbedding in you I fear I may leave too much of me behind. But no, I shall leave you to enjoy your new residents. Their youth and enthusiasm will fill your rooms with life and laughter and optimism once again.

I tried to leave you many times before but just could not conceive of any possibility of being able to find anywhere else so perfectly positioned and so delightfully unique in your qualities to move to. In fact, I doubt I shall be able to afford anything as wonderful as you. But you do have your down side and despite all your plus points I can no longer live in such a cold and damp climate and in such isolation anymore. Most of our time together has been spent just surviving. Your upkeep has been a full time task which initially was a joyful experience but as the years have rolled on I can see it robbing me of opportunity to do other things. It is a big leap of faith for me, and funnily enough it will be an identical leap of faith that brought me here in the first place. I have no idea where I am going. I just know that I must go.

It was a good decision all those years ago. From here, in your embrace, I have found myself. It took a long time but during those years we shared the excitement as you protected me from the ravages of the wild weather, you lovingly opened your doors to cherished friends and warmed my heart in the winter firelight. When the summers were long and warm you breathed easy allowing the gentle breezes to waft through your open windows to air your rooms. We sat together in the quietness enjoying the changing seasons, observing the wildlife and indulging in every sunset and starry night.

Now I am leaving you, my sanctuary, my little piece of heaven and maybe a little part of me. I must be mad. In fact, most folk think that I am mad. But things change, I must go and I must go now.

Every now and then a sense of grief hits me, tears at me deep within. When I started this process, I had no idea it would be this painful. Memories flood my being. Dreams fulfilled that I will leave behind, just a memory to fade with time. Dreams unfulfilled hopefully left behind, praying they will dissolve into the ethers never to torture me again.

If the people that are to dwell within your walls have half as much joy as we have experienced, they will have a happy time here. I know you will nurture them as you did with me and those that came before me.

Goodbye my dear friend, I will always remember you, ballads may even be written about you as I share our cherished memories in the years ahead of me.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to you but words seem so hollow, but I know you know. The time we have spent together has been so short in the greater scheme of things, a mere blink of an eye. But to me in my humanness, it has been so full, so varied and eventful.

Yes, there will always be a place in my heart where you reside, for I could never ever forget you.

With deepest love
Loi x

Day 6: The space to write

I need and desire a quiet space to write.
A room empty of people.
A room that is tidy, without clutter.
I can be easily distracted!
A room that oozes stillness and tranquillity.
With plenty of natural light.
Just me, some simple furnishings, a small table and a laptop.
And preferably with a view that is of nature and goes on forever.

Day 4: Let social media inspire you

Isn’t that the same with almost everything in life. “Everyone appears to have it easier than me!”

Of course they do!

From the onlookers perspective!

But the onlooker has a huge amount of information missing.

In that moment we make a judgement it is almost like taking a snapshot. A moment frozen in time. And in that moment we decide, based purely on what we see,hear, feel, sense and coloured by our own life experiences, we make a grand conclusion about the other person’s experience of life!

Who am I kidding!

What about the other images, snapshots of all the other moments in their life. How many PBs of space would you need to capture adequate information about someone else’s life.

And how could you ever feel what they felt, interpret every aspect of how they experienced it to be able to accurately conclude that they had it ‘easier than me’.   And …..

…there’s a whole sensory experience missing …..the emotions.

When we observe others we are generally emotionally detached or far less involved than we are when we are judging ourselves.

Dream on, stop justifying being not present with yourself.

Your attention has become split, only part of it is on you and part of it is on them.
When we honour ourselves, it matters not a jot about how other people experience their lives.

Which frees us up to enjoy our own.

Fun interesting fact: 1 PB = 1000000000000000B = 1015bytes = 1000terabytes. (I didn’t know that until I wrote this!)

Day 2: One Word – Inspiration – Uncertainty

The (not so) mere word, ‘uncertainty’, can instantly create a conditioned reaction of a knot in my stomach.

The greater part of me watches with light amusement at my physical reaction to my mind’s instant conclusion, that it’s not a good thing.

Why must it be a bad thing?

Isn’t every moment of every day full of uncertainty?

There are only 2 things I can think of that are a certainty – birth and death.

I cannot see anything in between.

Without uncertainty the world would be so boring. No surprises. No anticipation. No joy.

So if I know that, I mean really know that, then why do I still experience the knee jerk knot in the stomach?

Habit! That’s what it is. Pure and simple conditioned habit. Despite all the self development work I have lived over the past few decades I can still, sometimes, have an old programmed reaction.

But I am changing consciously. I cannot not change. So I may as well accept it and allow change to happen.

I can embrace uncertainty with a different perspective. See it as a source for wonder. Wondering just what may appear in my life next. Wonder what the next adventure may be.

The knot in my stomach is there still but my experience of it has changed.

Now it is one of anticipated excitement. A journey into the unknown. Endless possibility.

I know that if I refrain from labelling it, it is certain to remain a limitless experience.

Writing 101 DAY 20 –The Things We Treasure

Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

It’s the final day of the challenge already?! Let’s make sure we end it with a bang — or, in our case, with some furious collective tapping on our keyboards. For this final assignment, lead us through the history of an object that bears a special meaning to you.

A family heirloom, a flea market find, a childhood memento — all are fair game. What matters is that, through your writing, you breathe life into that object, moving your readers enough to understand its value.

Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.

It has taken me quite a long time to think about this one. My immediate reaction to the question of my most prized possession was a blank. Ziltch, Nothing.

Now even I know that can’t be true.

The most precious thing to me is my son, but I don’t own him. He is not a possession. Let’s think again …

Hours later, I had decided it was maybe my car. I love my freedom. From the age of 17 I had my own car. I scrimped and saved for eons to buy it. I had been learning to drive since I was about 14 years old. That is, I read and re-read the current driving manual which explained everything there was to know about cars and driving. The closest I got to actually driving a car was to sit in my father’s treasured Austin and pretend to drive! Under no uncertain terms was I to be allowed to drive his car until I had passed my driving test. Dream on. And dream on I did.

We lived on a country lane on the edge of a small village with the nearest bus stop over a mile away. This meant a long walk twice a day if I was going to college, or four times a day if I was going out in the evening to see a friend. Perfectly manageable when the weather was nice, a joy when the first green buds of spring appeared or when the wild flowers were in full bloom, or the autumn leaves had started to show. But when it was wet and windy or in the icy depths of winter it was a hike and a half. As I insisted on wearing fashionable clothes, which then were high heeled wedges and baggy trousers, even the slightest breeze (added to the speed that teenagers moved at) caused the trousers to wrap themselves around my legs threatening to throw me headlong onto the muddy path or at best slow me down with a gait akin to a Chinese lady with bound feet. Is it any wonder I was an angry teenager?

So becoming mobile was a must and getting my own car meant a modicum of independence.

Over the years I treasured my cars, the freedom they gave me. They became my sanctuary and a place where I tuned in to another world. Most of my questions were answered whilst I drove around the countryside taking in the terrain, indulging in the beauty.

But is it really my most treasured possession?

No, my most treasured possession is the box of photographs taken of my son when he was a baby, but that’s another story for another day.

Writing 101 DAY 19 – Don’t Stop the Rockin’ – A Little Bit of Me

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Writing. A writer. Just testing out the feel of the words. I always wanted to write. No, I actually ‘fancied’ being a writer. When I was much younger I used to write things down. I was always making up poems or songs. Then one day I experienced a much larger bout of criticism from my mother. I stopped writing. One day after much frustration I decided I did want to write down the things that were flying through my head. So I got a piece of chalk and in my old toy cupboard was a small wooden piano. On the back of the piano I unscrewed the three legs and on the area left available to me I wrote in chalk all the words from my head. Now I did have to keep rubbing it out to make room for the next inflow of words. This was safe. I could write all I wanted and she would never know what I had written. Thing was, neither did I. I would love to have had a book of all the things I used to write about.

Later on in life I began following correspondence courses in writing and using it as a way to deal with childhood stuff. But again I came up against criticism. What I wrote wasn’t really marketable. Too off the wall. I fancied being a journalist at one point and began teaching myself shorthand. But when I was told I needed to embellish the story I went right off the idea. I wanted to relate fact not fiction. It seemed wrong to be leading people to believe something was different to how it ‘actually’ was.

Years later I came back to writing verse. I had been ill and was in a recovery group working through the same stuff, childhood. As each person left the group I would have a verse in my head that was poignant for them. So I would write it on a card and give it to them as a leaving gift.

When I have written things about my life, thoughts, etc, I have found it quite liberating. It seems to disengage a part of my mind that needs to be in control. As that gets out of the way, it leaves room for all sorts of philosophical stuff to ooze out. It also can connect me to another realm, a place where everything just is, a state of beingness. So if that’s the case, I ask myself why the hell is it still so difficult to sit down begin. Begin. Anagram of Being. There must be something in this.

Writing 101- Day One – Unlock the Mind

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

I cannot remember a time when I did not have some urge to write but by the time I had reached for a piece of paper and in more recent years a dictaphone, or mobile phone’s voice recorder, most of the poignancy of the thought had dissolved into the ethers. I may then spend the next 20 minutes or so trying desperately to retrieve it even though I know from years of repeating this habit that it most certainly does not work. I may stand a chance of accessing a diluted version of the thoughts if I just accept that this is the way it is and totally let go of ever remembering any of it. It is as if I then become aware of the thought as if it were a cloud, slowly dissolving but I have caught it and the essence of what was in it, just before it finally disappeared forever.

Now there have been times when I have written things down. Somehow whatever was going through my mind in some way gained momentum, as if it was determined to be remembered. There was a time in my life when I was moved to support different people and short poignant verses would appear. Written on a nice card and given as a gift was quite transformational for them and lifted my spirits in the bargain.

Like most people, I was forced to write reams and reams at school, was expected to write essays about subjects I really did not resonate with and fictional stories where the focus was on the grammar. I can remember leaving it late in the day to do the work of a fictional piece and I chose to write a ghost story of all things. As I began to write, the story began to unfold by itself and for a while I was lost in it. That was until I scared myself rigid! Despite the fact that I knew I had made it all up, the horror thoughts just would not go away and it took me ages to get to sleep that night. I had to leave finishing the piece of work until break time at school, in daylight! I rushed the end of it just to get it finished. After that I had an even greater reluctance to write anything.

Years late I tried again. I purchase a correspondence course and wrote some dodgy short stories. I was then given an assignment to report on an actual occurrence, a news item. The critique was such that it again put me off writing. I had not embellished, sensationalised the news report, not made it appealing. For me that just seemed cruel and dishonest and I decided in that moment that a career as a journalist was no longer a desired destination – I would have to think of something else.

Time moved on and still the desire to write was there, tapping me on the shoulder, nagging me at the edge of my consciousness. Along came another course, this one had a different take on writing. It looked appealing and attainable. It was a daily course that encouraged me to write anything, just anything for a full five minutes without stopping. The point was to just get something down on paper (or screen). It worked, whilst I did the course, which for me was positive progress. And now this, 20 minutes, wow, that’ll stretch me and it has. Now let’s see if I can make it to Day 2!