Snow

Feb. 4th, 2015 09:32 pm
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It started snowing at about nine o'clock on Monday evening. It started settling. I love watching snow. I like most forms of weather, really; I will peer out of the window like a dog or a small child watching whatever falls from the sky. But snow is particularly good: the way it tumbles so gracefully, and sparkles in the light from the window, and reflects the streetlights back to the sky and turns everything orange. I put my arm outside the French window to catch a flake on the sleeve of my dressing gown; it melted before I could get a proper look at it. I kept putting my head behind the curtain to see if it was still coming down.

And then I started feeling guilty about enjoying it. Because probably the snow was going to inconvenience some people. Possibly it was going to hurt some people.

And then I realised that my feelings about snow, whichever way I tried to push them, would make no difference whatsoever to the fact of the snow, and that my enjoying it doesn't hurt anybody. I can't melt it by disapproving of it. I can't make it fall thicker by watching it. I'm allowed to enjoy it. I am.
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(A terse update because I'm pretending I'm not on the internet, really.)

Currently Reading

Twenties Girl (Sophie Kinsella) - a rather sweet chicklit ghost story. I am becoming less and less able to cope with the cringe humour associated with the genre (chicklit, not ghost stories) - Women Being Humiliated is not my idea of fun - but am managing this one so far.


Recently Finished

Maskerade (Terry Pratchett) - yay witches!

Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) - the middle was the best bit, I think. I felt it lost its way towards the end. Worth reading, though.


Up Next

Sparrow Story has arrived, so perhaps that. So did The Penelopiad and Brat Farrar, both of which my mother thought I ought to have. And whatever is the next Discworld (Hogfather?) And I have spent a lot of time today lying on my floor looking at my bookcase from upside down, and seeing all sorts of books I'd forgotten I possessed, so maybe one of those.


Poetry

Still working through the Idylls of the King - I finished The Holy Grail the other night. Very odd reading Elaine for the first time, it's been quoted so much elsewhere. Quite apart from the sequence that is sent up so beautifully in Anne of Green Gables, there's 'their eyes met, and hers fell', and this: '... of more than twice her years/ seam'd with an ancient sword-cut on the cheek/ and bruis'd and bronz'd, she lifted up her eyes/ and loved him, with that love that was her doom.' Which I know by heart - I typed that up without taking the book off the shelf - and don't know why. I will swear I've never read the poem before. The only thing I can think of is that Agatha Christie quotes it somewhere. It's plausible: she does like Tennyson, and I read the lot at an impressionable age. I have a lot of Christie stuck in my head.


Other Media

Mapp and Lucia, book (in haste, a couple of weeks ago, so I could watch it) and TV. I think they've done it rather well. Cadfael, gradually.
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Clambering back on the bandwagon. I'm picking up from the beginning of this year, having mostly forgotten what I read in December.


Currently Reading

Maskerade (Terry Pratchett) - continuing the read-through with one of my favourites (the witches and theatre: what more could the heart desire?)

Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) - is very good indeed, sharp and perceptive. I am particularly enjoying the dissection of academic social justice Olympics.

Twenties Girl (Sophie Kinsella), which I won't say anything about as I'm only ten pages in.


Recently Finished

Fall On Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) - other than repeatedly giving me an O Holy Night earworm (you're welcome) this was excellent - deliciously, creepily, Gothic and treading gently on the border between the natural and the supernatural. I have to say that the last section felt rather as if it had taken an abrupt tangent into the middle of my id (partly due to one of the characters sharing my first name, which doesn't happen often), but I dare say that wouldn't bother anyone else.

The Borgia Ring (Michael White) - awful; don't bother. The modern-day police procedural plot was boring and the sixteenth century heretic plot plot was unconvincing in the extreme. And I would have expected a book that was so invested in the distinctions between the Church of England and the Church of Rome not to talk about 'crucifixes... Most were unadorned, but a few carried the image of the body of Christ'. This encapsulates the problem with the whole book, really: it wants to be about religion, but the author simply doesn't understand enough about religion to make it work.


Up Next

Sparrow Story (David Rhodes), which was my choice for book club and which I should therefore really re-read before I am called to make intelligent comment thereon. (I wasn't expecting the company to choose this one from the shortlist of three that I'd assembled, and so hadn't actually gone so far as to acquire a copy. I'm waiting for one to be delivered at the moment.)


Poetry

Dipping into Answering Back, ed. Carol Ann Duffy, which is a rather lovely collection of paired poems - in each case, a contemporary poet chooses a poem by someone else (I think all dead) and writes a reply, or a retort, or a remix.

Working my way through Idylls of the King (Alfred, Lord Tennyson) because it's January.


Abandoned

Rogue (Danielle Steele): the story was boring and the writing was insipid.

This year I am going to make more of an effort to get rid of books I don't enjoy, so expect this category to become more populous than of late...
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I'm very happy to say that my story Be Careful What You Pray For has been published at Everyday Fiction.

This is my first piece of published original fiction, and the first thing I've been paid for writing since I won first prize in the age 10/11 category of the Festive Ludlow Poetry Competition. So, you know, that's a thing.
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There is one thing missing, and that is my word for the year.

Nobody asked - it didn't come up in Reverb - and so I was going to do without a particular word-for-the-year this year. However, there is one particular word that has been jumping up and down screaming at me to notice it. I have come across it in all sorts of contexts, and every time I do it leaps off the page, or the screen, or whatever it is.

It's kind.

This is terrifying me in much the same way as generosity did earlier in this series, on account of being knackered. Compassion fatigue. And yet I know it's not actually about that at all. Kindness costs nothing, indeed, particularly if I make it important to be kind to myself as well. And I remember 2013, when my word was love, how it all came in, how I found that I had already been swimming in the stuff. If kindness works the same way... yes.

I note that they seem to appear as adjectives rather than the associated nouns. Last year it was free, not freedom; this year it's kind, more than kindness.

This year, then, is to be kind in, to be kind to others and to be kind to myself, to let kindness happen to me. Bring it on.
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[personal profile] cahn asked me to talk about silversmithing class

In August, I signed up on a whim for a class at a local arts centre - 10 Wednesday evenings learning how to work with silver.

Annoyingly, I lost about five of those Wednesdays to work, illness or sheer bloody exhaustion. The autumn drew in and it got dark and I found it harder and harder to leave the house, once I'd got home.

The other five were great fun. I got to: use a saw, use a blowtorch, hit bits of silver with a hammer, solder bits of silver to other bits of solder, use a polishing machine, use a pendant drill. The tutor was great: he showed us how to use things and then let us get on with them, and encouraged us strongly to come up with our own designs. This is pretty much exactly how I learn and work, so I thought it was great.

I made a ring, a bangle and a sort of torc (the last I need to polish up). I was reasonably pleased with all of them - largely on the level of 'I made a thing!'; they were not perfect by any means, but still, making a thing is pleasing enough in itself. I would need quite a lot of practice to get good, that's the trouble, and one evening a week - often an evening that doesn't actually happen - isn't enough. And of course one's restricted in terms of tools: I have neither the money nor the space for my own workshop, and can do very little without one.

I enjoyed such of the course as I was able to get to, but I think that at the moment I need to stick to things I can do on the dining table. In the end, perhaps the most useful lesson I learned was how much I can reasonably expect of myself on a work evening.
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Things ending, things beginning

When a door closes, a window opens. Or, when the door closes, we can finally see the light from the window that was open all the time. May it be so. Even so, I think all my doors are still on the latch at the moment.

Things ending: this month in which I begin the new year at my own speed, getting a head start. Things beginning: this new year.

Things ending, run to the end of the reel and wound up, flapping a little as the momentum runs itself out.

Things ending: my twenties. A decade of transition, of exploration, of losing my confidence and finding it again. A decade of trying things on for size, of ridiculous impulses and paralysing fears.

Things beginning, ever so slowly. My life as a writer who gets paid for writing. ($3: a token amount, token perhaps in more senses than one. A notification arriving 31st December: how's that for a cosmic message? Except of course 31st December doesn't mean much to me in terms of endings...)

Things beginning, and having to choose between all the bright wonderful things that might begin, in favour of the one or two that will.
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Since it's nearly the end of 2014, I'm inviting anybody who chooses to leave an anonymous comment here. If there's something you want to say to me, to the universe, to anybody, something you want to have said before the end of the year, you can do it here.

Anonymous commenting is on; IP logging is off.
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Contextual theology: faith in what?

'Contextual theology' is spot on. If I'd got my act together and written this yesterday, I would have waffled at length about the Incarnation, and what it means about the importance of the present.

Context is inescapable. We cannot stop learning about our universe; things change; what we once thought was true turns out to be only a tiny part of what we now know to be true.

Faith in what? Faith in God who is infinite. Everything that I can imagine that God could be, plus everything I can't imagine. God in whom we live and move and have our being; God who contains everything that we know - and that everything is always expanding, and that what we believed yesterday is not enough, and what we can imagine today is nowhere near the truth.

It isn't so much that what we knew yesterday is wrong; it's that we understand more about it. The new truth doesn't contradict the old truth; it builds on it, reaches beyond it, adds dimensions upon dimensions to it. The more we know, the more we understand, the more we are able to appreciate the wonder of reality and of how much we can never know.

What we knew yesterday was good, but we have more of it today. One has to take all the evidence into account. Integrity demands it.
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An anonymous friend asks:

What would you like to be remembered for? If someone were writing an obituary, what you want them to include? Which achievements are you proud of?

I would like to be remembered as -

- the author of Speak Its Name, which I would like to have made a difference to somebody
- more generally, as somebody who could write, and did
- a person who was not afraid to admit how difficult it can be, whatever 'it' might be
- a committed trade unionist. (I think about my own funeral more than is perhaps normal; I would love it if I had a couple of trade union banners there. That's my embarrassed confession for the day.)
- a singer who was prepared to sing
- someone who tried very hard to see things as they really are
- more than anything, a person of integrity
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Help us spread the real meaning of Christmas to as many people as possible by tweeting what Christmas means using images, video and text

SHAN’T.

I am stretching the definition of ‘prompt’ a little bit here, since, while the Church of England has certainly prompted people to write about what #ChristmasMeans, I think I’m meant to do this on Twitter, and, you know, take it seriously.

I started on Twitter, but it ended up spread across several increasingly irritated and unintelligible tweets about why I dislike being told to do things on Twitter.

So I thought I’d write about that on here, instead.

I have never been able to take the Church of England’s hashtags seriously since their #EverythingChanges campaign a few Easters ago; anyone who’d watched five minutes of Torchwood must have been sniggering. (Not that Torchwood was without its clunky paschal imagery, I must admit. But still. The twenty-first century is when #everythingchanges, and you gotta be ready.)

Twitter encourages triteness. The tweets currently gathering on the hashtag are no doubt very sincere, but they are mostly making me want to vomit. I am a terrible Christian (but a very British one). There is not much room for deep theological debate in 140 characters – 115, once you include the hashtag – and simplistic religious messages, however pithy, set my teeth on edge. I am the sort of Christian who smiles at, and, yea, retweets, things like ‘Actually, axial tilt is the reason for the season’. (And this is the reason that I will never be invited to tweet from @OurCofE.)

And then I think I am just hopelessly contrary. Even things that I like doing, that I would go out of my way to do, can be soured for me by a Twitter instruction to do them. Go to this! Do this! Why not...? I growl, ‘I already do this, you patronising tosser’ or, ‘Sod off’. I very rarely retweet things that tell me to retweet if I agree, even if I wholeheartedly do agree – because I don’t want to place that same burden upon my followers. This is, I think, just my stuff about being told what to do, and I don’t know where I picked it up from, but it’s a thing.

On top of that, there’s that instruction to proselytise, in the superficial ‘ask a friend to church’ way, that I have never, ever, felt comfortable doing, that has never felt authentic. I will write some other time about my profound discomfort with the idea of ‘mission’, about getting free of that, about the liberating revelation that I don’t have to try to convert everybody. #ChristmasMeans is a ghost that haunts my past self, that tells me that I am an insufficient Christian, even though the harder I try the more diminished my faith feels. I didn't actually have this in mind yesterday, when I added "I do not pressure or guilt other people into doing things they don’t want to, dammit" to my dammit list, but in fact it's one of the oldest hurts I have, and no better for being partly self-inflicted.

#ChristmasMeans is also setting my teeth on edge, particularly coupled as it is with that old guiltbag 'the real meaning of Christmas', because I can’t help feeling that the subtext is ‘and you, whatever you are doing, are failing to understand what Christmas really means. You are celebrating the wrong thing, you are too selfish, too impatient, too taken up with worldly matters.’

And there are enough expectations placed upon people at this time of year as it is. I say this as a comfortably-off middle class person with no children who isn’t going to have to do any cooking until the 29th. I feel bowed down with the expectations that people – good, faithful, Christian people, in many cases – are putting on me, and it is exhausting to hand those expectations back to them graciously.

Insisting that we focus on the Real Meaning of Christmas just adds another expectation, unless we are also given permission to not take part in the Unreal Meaning. It has been a real struggle for me this year to write Christmas cards. I don’t know why; I know they ought to be simple for an administrative genius like me, and God knows I feel like a pathetic excuse for a human being for not even being able to write a simple Christmas card, but there it is.

I know that I can choose not to write Christmas cards. I know that some of the consequences of this will be: that some people will not hear of my new address; that I will go on some people’s Stinge Lists; that some people will not even notice; that some people will notice and wonder if we are still friends; that some people will notice and wonder if I’m all right. And so, because the thought of all that is daunting, I have written the damn things, and sent them.
I would like to know that #ChristmasMeans that I am not, actually, a pathetic excuse for a human being even if I do fail to write a single Christmas card. Somewhere, deep down, I do know that. But it doesn’t fit into 140 characters.

Do not get me wrong. For me, the Incarnation is the most important thing in the history of this planet. (Yes, for me, even more so than the Resurrection.) And yet #ChristmasMeans feels at once like an invitation to troll and like a burden that I cannot bear.

#ChristmasMeans turkey and mince pies

#ChristmasMeans new Doctor Who

#ChristmasMeans the most beautiful music ever written

#ChristmasMeans the most awful music ever written

#ChristmasMeans hard work

#ChristmasMeans I am, as ever, a social failure

#ChristmasMeans feeling horrible for rolling my eyes at the hashtag

#ChristmasMeans I am, yet again, failing to be a good Christian

#ChristmasMeans pretending I’m coping

I will tweet one single, serious response. It will not convey everything I am trying to convey. But it is the best I can do, and it will say this:

#ChristmasMeans you are OK exactly as you are.
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I'm still taking prompts for December Days, but for blank days I am wandering around the internet finding my own prompts. Today I am making a dammit list, à la Havi

I have been working on a Declaration of Independence. Actually, it’s more like a Declaration of This Is My Life, Dammit...

Being clear about what you stand for and what you care about and what you will not put up with, dammit.

Being clear and using the word dammit as often as possible, dammit. If only just in your head.

Oh, and let me say that yes, dammit is the most important word when you’re manifesto-ing it up, and ideally every sentence ends with it.

Even though it can really just be implied.



Here's mine. You would not believe what fun it was to write.


I don’t travel to the Continent by plane, dammit.

I don’t drink, dammit.

Except for ritual or ceremonial purposes, dammit.

I am the one who defines those ritual and ceremonial purposes, dammit.

I don’t like mushrooms, dammit.

I don’t give Christmas cards to people I’ll be seeing only three days before Christmas, dammit.

I will not get involved in all the political shit, dammit.

I pay a decent price for decent art, dammit.

I will sing in the street if I feel like it, dammit.

I don’t have a car, dammit.

I don’t miss having a car, dammit.

In fact, I might not ever take my driving test again and I don’t care, dammit.

My office has windows, dammit.

I respect the integrity of my own work, dammit.

I am allowed to have fun, dammit.

I wear my skirts as short as I damn well please, dammit.

I look fantastic in hats, dammit.

And I wear hats whenever I please, dammit.

I do not pressure or guilt other people into doing things they don’t want to, dammit.

And if they do secretly want to do those things, that’s their business, and they can get to it in their own time, dammit.

I can hide anything I like on Facebook, dammit.

I wear outrageously bright lipstick, dammit.

Or I wear no makeup at all, dammit.

I am allowed to buy another pair of red shoes, dammit.

I don’t have to keep everything everyone ever gave me, dammit.

I don’t have to pretend to like shopping, dammit.

I can spend all lunchtime behind a book if I feel like it, dammit.

I do not get pushed out of my own Church by anyone who diminishes my humanity or whose idea of salvation is less than all-encompassing, dammit.

I am not inheriting a bus, dammit.

I don’t play Monopoly, dammit.

Or Risk, dammit.

If I don’t see a need for something to be done, I’m not going to be guilted into doing it, dammit.

I will not apologise for any book that anyone sees me reading, dammit.

I don’t have to buy the cheapest version of everything, dammit.

I am allowed to retreat, rest, and otherwise spend time consciously not doing things, dammit.

And other people are not allowed to make me feel guilty about that, either, dammit.

Sometimes I would really very much rather be on my own, dammit.

I can avoid using any sort of pronoun for God, dammit.

I never call myself ‘Mrs’, dammit.

I have never asked anybody to call me ‘Kath’, dammit.

I refuse to attach moral value to food according to any sort of correlation with nutritional content, dammit.

I don't sign up for things in the street, dammit.

I believe in decent pay for decent work, dammit.

I believe in live music, dammit.

I don’t have to be good at anything the first time I try it, dammit.

Or even the fiftieth, dammit.


I could go on, but my computer is clamouring for a restart. You are welcome to leave your own dammits in comments!
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What can you say today with certainty?



From here, the days get lighter.

I have a friend who asks me exactly the right questions (even if I never answer them).

I know what is the next step on Speak Its Name.

Things are grim, but they do not stay grim.


In 2015, I am open to... huge, exciting, things happening

In 2015, I want to feel... light-hearted and full of grace

In 2015, I will say no to... over-commitment

In 2015, I will know I am on the right track when... I see the secret holiness of everything. But when I find myself veering off course, I will gently but firmly... rewrite my timetable so that I have a day or a week free to reset what needs resetting

In December 2015, I want to look back and say... that, my love, was the best year ever.
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One thing I learned in 2014 was how to make space for joy and levity, even in the midst of challenging circumstances or sad times.

How could you make space for joy in the year to come? How could you protect it?




I have noted repeatedly that this is going to be the year for fun. I am going to seek fun out deliberately. I am hoping that there will be joy coming along with the fun.

One thing that I found immensely useful in 2014 was the #100happydays meme. I am a little cynical about forced gratitude, particularly of the sort imposed on one from outside ('cheer up, there are children starving in Africa', or, 'cheer up, it might never happen') but this practice, taken on because I wished to do it, proved to be surprisingly joyful in itself, so much so that I have embarked upon it again. Even on the darkest days (today is 21st December, we note) it had me looking for one single good thing to talk about, and, once I'd found that, I often found more.

It's always there. I just have to find it.

And what of levity? I gave up drinking alcohol this year but find, at least on the evidence of Friday's office Christmas party, that my sense of levity has declined not one whit. It had been a very long time since I laughed so hard that I was nearly sick. It's very good to know that this is still within me.
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Today, I invite you to consider: what sorts of signs and symbols have recurred for you in 2014? Think: repeating colours, shapes, people, sayings, music, images, ideas. Where could they possibly be leading you?



Mermaids - cheating, rather, because I went looking for mermaids once I discovered what an apt metaphor they were. Mermaids for me are a useful way of thinking about fiction, these creatures that look almost the same as us, but who, moving from one element to another, need things provided or explained that feel obvious in this world.

Rainbows - Lots of them, this year. There were a couple of weeks in the autumn where it seemed as if every day I saw a rainbow from the window of my train home. One of these felt particularly apt, coming on the day that Vicky Beeching came out. And there's one that falls on the wall at work, when the sun comes a certain way through the windows. I think the obvious message is obvious here. I have been managing to be more out this year, if (it feels) less active.

Bells - the quarter-hour chimes from the church opposite my office, bringing me back to the moment.

Purple - I know it's my favourite colour, but even my study wall was purple when we moved in. Still preparing, still waiting. But also luxury and sovereignty.

Inventive ways of transporting things - well, I have moved to Cambridge, and you would not believe what weird things I've seen carried dangled from a bicycle's handlebars. I managed to bring a planter of herbs home in my own bike basket (only spilt a few bark chippings); but the best one I saw was a chap on a skateboard, moving at a good speed through the railway station car park, with a wide, flat cardboard package balanced on his head. I am not sure if this has a moral, but I note it.

Chocolate - it's good stuff, an inexpensive indulgence.

Illness - mental or physical, one way or another I've been ill on and off since August. I think it's trying to say that I need some rest.
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In the busyness of the everyday, taking time to nourish the soul doesn't reach the top of the 'to do' list as often as it should.

What nourishes your soul? How would you like to incorporate more of this into your life in 2015?




I could quote the whole of The Elixir, which is all about making the mundane suffused with the divine, so that the busyness of the everyday itself contains that which nourishes the soul. This is part of it; this is why I am so captivated at the moment with the bells and the hours, the moments that make me stop, and listen, and find the deep well of peace that is within myself and everywhere.

There is more to it, for it cannot be denied that it is an awful lot easier to stop and listen when I remember that this is something that I am supposed (ha!) to be doing, and so, when I make space for myself to do it, I find that there are many more of those prompts to stop and listen.

My commitment for 2015, therefore, is to book myself a retreat, and then, before I go on it, to book myself another one. To join the new work choir. To attend Wednesday communion when I possibly can. And to find a way of talking about this that doesn't sound like I'm teaching a toddler how to cross the road, though perhaps it's not such a bad analogy.
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How can you stop being an a**hole, get out of your own way and make room for more of your magic to happen in 2015?



Today I would like to be a tortoise. I would like to pull my head and arms and legs into a shell, and go to sleep in a box full of straw, and spend the winter in a shed. And nobody would find this at all odd because, you know, that's what tortoises do. Nobody would feel at all hurt or insulted, nobody would expect me to send them Christmas cards, nobody would expect me to be anywhere but in my box. Because I am a tortoise.

Which is a long way of saying that I am knackered, and have been driving myself far too hard and expecting far too much of myself. I have been doing too much travelling, too much socialising, too much messing around on the internet... Not that I don't love all those things, but there are ways of doing them that drain me, and ways of doing them that fill me up, and at the moment they all seem to be wearing me out. Hence my desire to hibernate.

How can I sort this out for next year? I have a couple of ideas, and they are mostly about being more clever with my diary. Firstly, I'm thinking about working from home one day a week. I'd been resisting this, because of being terrified that I'd end up a hermit, never speaking to anybody - but one day a week is unlikely to result in this dire scenario becoming reality. On an ordinary work day I travel one hundred and sixteen miles. If I don't have to do that five days running, I think I'll wind up much less tired. Also, I've seen a small ad from a piano teacher who does daytime lessons. One of those hours that I'm not spending on the train, I can use for piano.

Then I can be clever with my annual leave. My employer is extremely generous when it comes to annual leave. This year, now I don't have to use it on moving house and boring stuff like that, I'm going to book at least two separate weeks of absolutely nothing at all, as well as using some of it on actual honest to God holidays. And by 'holidays' I do not mean 'visiting my parents on the Isle of Wight again': dearly as I love my parents, visits to them are never as relaxing as I think they're going to be. Also, it's high time I went abroad again.

Next year, I'm going to let myself have fun, damn it.
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In 2015, is there something you’d like to try harder at because you believe it would make all the difference?

Conversely, what is something you could stop trying so hard at that might actually help you manifest what you’d like?




I have been promising myself piano lessons all year. At first they were waiting until the piano was tuned. Then they were waiting until there was some spare cash. Then they were waiting for the silversmithing class to be finished, because I can't cope with more than one extracurricular activity at the moment.

Now they're waiting for me to get my act together and find a teacher. I am avoiding this noticeably - even apart from being knackered and not getting much done anyway - I think because of needing to be good at it straight away, which of course I won't be.

I don't think trying harder is the answer, though. In fact, the thought of trying harder makes me want to cry, and that's hardly productive. I need to stop being knackered (Christmas holidays should help with that, although I am dashing around more than I'd meant to) and then unravel, gently, the stuff around needing to be good at it.
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What are you really proud that you made happen in 2014, despite the gremlins? And what will you do anyway in 2015?



In 2014 I finished (for certain values of 'finished'; read on) my first novel, Speak Its Name. I also resumed writing my first novel, The Slowest Elopement. The latter has been going, on and off, since I was twelve, maybe younger. The former is a relative newcomer; I started writing it in 2007. You will understand why finishing either of them feels like an achievement.

I sent Speak Its Name off to about five agents (consecutively, not all at once); none of them were interested, but doing this at all was bloody scary, and having done it has deprived the gremlins of at least one of their arguments, namely, that I'm too chicken.

Of course, having done very little with Speak Its Name for a few months now, I am haunted by a conviction that, even after two thorough edits, it needs to be about 15,000 words shorter (which I can do something about), written entirely from one particular character's point of view (tricky, but doable) and that it will never get taken up unless I remove the religion and the politics (impossible).

This, therefore, is a thing that I will do anyway in 2015. At least, I'll attempt the first two. I will then think about self-publishing, but the gremlins are most insistent that I'll get the pants sued off me if I do - with, I fear, good reason. I might not do that one anyway.

I will also complete The Slowest Elopement, which contains no religion, no politics, and might get me disowned, but shouldn't get me sued.

Piece of cake. Gremlins like cake.
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
The idea of rooting down into your own personal beliefs and center of truth is an ongoing process, and many things can serve as anchors or roots as you move through life.

What rooted or anchored you in 2014?

And where do you want to put down roots in 2015?




On the physical level, this year was very much a year of transplanting, of sailing between havens, of transitioning. A year of pulling up roots and lifting anchors - and putting them down again, elsewhere.

It isn't a what that kept me watered or afloat in all this, it's a who. It is my dear partner Tony, who at the beginning of the year was exploring Cambridge and sounding out these potential harbours; who for most of the autumn has been propping me up and provisioning me.

Going down inside myself, looking for the anchors and roots that are my own values, I find:

The thing that the Incarnation means for me, that this world is good, that the Divine can be found in everything.

The value of art, that art is worth making, and worth buying, and worth celebrating, and worth selling, and worth paying for.

And there's something there about trust in work, in the value of what one's doing, no matter how infuriating or mundane it seems.

2015: I want to build on the rootedness and stability that I've achieved thus far. I want to realise how grounded I really am, how much I already have. I want to appreciate that.

I am in Cambridge now. I am beginning to put down roots here: have found a church, with a choir; am beginning to learn my way around.

Here I am. I just need to remember that.

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Kathleen Jowitt

April 2015

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