Monday, June 12, 2017

Live your life and the creative well



My Dearest Friends. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. With regards to my writing and blogging I’ve been feeling on top of the world. Every one of you made me feel accepted and heard. Thank you. This community is so important to me and my sanity.

I’ve spent the last week caught up on all things Harry Potter. I’m reading The Goblet of Fire, and I really appreciate and admire J.K. Rowling’s imagination and her easy to read writing style. It definitely makes it easy to escape to Hogwarts and get caught up in all the happenings. Sometimes that’s just what I need. It definitely makes me want to get back into my own fantasy world of Thelum, which I had created a few years ago. I am definitely in the state where I’m just absorbing all sources of inspiration. Doing that makes me feel good and inspired. Having others around you that inspire you is crucial to the creative process I think, and absolutely feel.


Music to dance to 

My personal life is a mess, but I’m working through that. The fact that I’m fighting my way back to my writing makes life a lot more tolerable. I have missed it so much. I missed how it nourished my soul and made me feel alive, and it made me feel like perhaps everything wasn’t going to hell. These days I’m learning something new about myself all the time. It is so strange, but it definitely gives me more to write about. Music was always a way to replenish my writing well when it ran dry. These days I can listen to music and it makes me feel . . . period. Depression tends to make you feel isolated. For me it absolutely drained enjoyment and life out of everything. I’ve been so used to not feeling, that these days, when a catchy tune comes on, I can actually dance to it. One thing my therapist made me aware of is that happiness is not the opposite of being depressed. Living is the opposite of depression. So, live. Show your doubts, anxiety, and those nasty feelings that want to drag you down into the darkness, that it won’t steal your love of life. It won’t make you dead, or numb on the inside.

If there is anyone dealing with depression, or with feelings of not being enough, know that it might not seem like it, but there are ways to feel okay within yourself, and eventually you will feel okay. Life might not be okay, but you . . . your inner self, can become okay. It is possible.

Can I ask, what inspires you? What are other great ways to fill your creative well when it’s empty?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Got some spring in my step and an update


via GIPHY

It feels like I only ever share bad news on the blog. But the truth is that my life has been thrust into darkness for the past few years. But I can say with a smile I’ve been feeling much better lately. Yes, I still struggle with depression and anxiety, and I probably will forever, but for the first time in a long time I don’t feel utterly hopeless.

I’m finally off of my anti-depressants. It sounds counter productive, I know. But my psychiatrist had prescribed them in the hopes that it would cure me. It didn’t. I don’t react to meds the way I’m supposed to. I found that out during the two years of experimenting with various chronic pain meds with my rheumatologist. He had so much patience with me. But my psychiatrist hadn’t. I didn’t write about this last year, because I didn’t want to add more depressing stuff. But basically the psychiatrist went off on me one day and mentioned that I wasn’t a real writer because real writers write regardless of depression, and that the meds should have worked by now, and that I was lazy for not doing more to drive away the depression. That I would never be a real writer with my attitude. I felt like shit for months afterwards.

But I was still (and still am) seeing my therapist once a week and she assured me my psychiatrist was probably having a bad day and had taken it out on me. But she mentioned that the psychiatrist was wrong and she had set me back another few months. Which I had agreed on. I stopped seeing that psychiatrist and am only going to therapy these days. Therapy helps me more than any medication ever had. Aside for suppressing certain emotions, anti-depressants don’t really work for me. It never makes my moods better. It just makes me feel horrible. But finally being free of them feels like such a relief and blessing.

I’ve weaned myself off the meds slowly and I have been anti-depressant free for almost a month and I feel so much better. Sure my emotional state is still a mess, but I can actually feel again. I no longer have this numb feeling anymore. I can differentiate between the various emotions I feel and I can actually write now. I can make sense of words, which wasn’t always possible before.

I’ve been working on a few short stories, and a few sentences on book 2 in the Thelum series. I also started practicing how to make e-book covers. Every penny I can spare, or if there is more I can do towards my writing career, the better. I’m definitely more of a hands-on kind of person. I like being involved in every detail.

Also, I have a clearer idea of the types of books I want to write. They are darker in theme and feel, but definitely in the fantasy genre. I haven’t dared put any of my books in fantasy because someone once told me that I wasn’t smart, or talented enough to write fantasy. I allowed those words to really make me doubt myself. But I decided that I was going to put my books in that genre regardless. There are so many fantasy sub-genres, like supernatural and urban fantasy that my Thelum series fit into. Perhaps book 2 would even be better suited toward dark fantasy. Either way, I just feel like I know more about who I am now than I did a year or 2 years ago. And I have to be true to myself and my gut.

I’m not saying that I’m upbeat and smiling-for-no-good-reason-kind-of-happy, or that I ever will be, but I’m in a good place mentally. I’m not saying I will only post happy stuff, but I will be myself more and sharing things that are more me.
I have a darker side which I hide because it’s polite to not show your crazy. But, I love tattoos. I like gothic stories, and poetry. I love biker style boots and the more buckles, the better. I also love having my hair short and I don’t like wearing skirts or dresses. Never have and probably never will. Someone said that’s not very lady-like or feminine of me and I don’t give a crap. I know I’m a female and I don’t need clothes or other people to tell me who I am anymore.

I’ve finally started on the Harry Potter books. I know, don’t gasp! I never had the urge to read them before, but over the past two weeks I started. I started collecting the books about two years ago, and only bought used copies. I was determined to only read the entire series until I had all the books. A few months ago I gave up and just bought the two copies I couldn’t find in used bookshops and pay full-price for them. I don’t mind now. I’m really enjoying the books. It is definitely whisking me off to a new world, which I enjoy. I’ve definitely found that I don’t like reading books when they are popular, or on the rage. I will often read books years after the buzz has died down. Don’t really know why, but it’s just something I do. Anyway, I now have a mismatched set of Harry Potter books but I don’t care. The content is still the same, even if the covers differ.


Did I mention I’m trying to make my own e-book covers? They are hard to figure out. I don’t think I have an artistic eye, but my siblings think I’m not giving myself too much credit. They saw some of the finished products. It is definitely fun trying to teach myself another skill. It’s strange, but I really don’t mind learning something new each time.

I’m avoiding all the sites that I usually peruse for writing tips and so forth. I feel that I’ve done too much of that the past few years, that I just have to sit my butt down, and get some actual writing done. Plus, all those marketing advice and stuff don’t work for me. Just figuring out what does work for me and doing what feels right to me has worked better in my case. So I just don’t need more articles at the moment. Do you ever feel like that?

I watched Beauty and The Beast and liked it. I could sing along to most of the songs, as I was a fan of the animation as well. I think Emma Watson did a great job. Suicide Squad and Deadpool are me and my sisters go to movies these days if there’s nothing to watch and we need a laugh. I loved Harley Quinn. I just wish there was more of her in the movie.

So, that’s it from me. What are you up to? Got anything you wish to share? 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Just keep going


Hey friends. In one of my previous posts I spoke of how South Africa’s investment grade has been downgraded to junk status. The country didn’t collapse overnight, even though the tension within the country is high. There was no sudden collapse of order either.  One thing I’ve learnt about South Africans is that we are resilient and we adapt to change very quickly. We keep on surviving no matter what we are faced with. That quality alone makes me proud to be South African.

As a teenager, that wasn’t always the case. I felt like good things didn’t happen here. Or that if you wanted to achieve something or be successful, you had to be from America, for instance. Thankfully, thanks to many South Africans proving me wrong and leading the way, I’ve learnt you can still be successful in any career you want, as long as you work hard, and it doesn’t matter where you come from. I’ve never been more thankful for that lesson than I am today. Great writers from my country have shown me that I can be a good writer. That the only thing that is holding me back, is me. That is so true.

I guess we’ll see what the future holds for us over the coming months. I’m not afraid as I used to be. I have my family and I have all of you, my friends. I have all I need. In therapy I learnt that I have high self-destructive instincts. For some reason I don’t think or believe, that I, as an individual, am allowed to be happy. Crazy, right? But I’m learning how to change that. So, come what may, I’m ready and I’ll even write about it.


How are you doing?

Monday, May 8, 2017

My dream reading space

When asked, could you describe your dream reading space, or even library?

I was recently asked to do just that, and even though I had an idea, I was still caught off-guard and left speechless. So, after I had a few days to think about it, I think I finally have an answer.

I'm a visual person. I know what my idea/ vision looks like in my mind, but I'm not always good at explaining myself. Ironic for a writer, yeah? So, I'll be using images from Arhaus.com to bring my vision to life.

I personally hate rooms that are too posh to enjoy, as you're afraid you might spill something or even cause a crease in the seating fabric. I know this because my mom has only one such room remaining in our house and that's the formal living room. I spend no time in there at all. My own style is more relaxed and rustic with a modern edge.

Comfort is important first of all. I imagine a large comfortable chair or chaise on which to lie and spend most of my day. Also, lighting is important. I would prefer reading by lamplight, or even in front of a window. I hate those bright overhead room lights. They always seem to hurt my eyes. Importantly, I need a large side table on which to place my hot chai latte and cookies. Or any other snack that is needed. Sometimes after too much sweet things I might need something salty. So yes, a big side table. A woman has to keep her options open.





Images from Arhaus.com (Living room furniture & Lighting)
   
Of course a cool breeze coming in through a window in the summer days would just be idyllic. But, when winter comes and the fireplace is alight with the dance of flaming wood and glowing embers while rain beats down on the roof, now that would be my ultimate reading dream come true. I can imagine the peace and happiness right now. Also the mug of hot chai. My cellphone will be locked in a room far away, and when I'm done reading, I can write a bit too.

Naturally I would have a wall completely covered in floor to ceiling shelving, in or close to my reading space. I wasn't sure if that counts, but yes, each of my beautiful book babies would have a home on a shelf and not collecting dust on a desk or even worse, the floor (gasp).
Image from Arhaus.com

So to break things down. Comfy (dream worthy) seating, a nice ambiance and no disturbances from the outside world.


Image from Arhaus.com (Sectional sofas)

So dear reader, do you know what your ideal reading space, or library would look like?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Junk-Status and all that stuff

Hello, my beautiful friends. How is everyone doing today? Brilliant I hope.

Today I feel scared. As everyone probably knows by now, South-Africa has been downgraded to junk-status. The country is full of political unrest and the last time things were this bad, I was a toddler. My mom did a good job from hiding the ugly that was going on in the country at that time. Unfortunately, this time I’m 31 years old, and unable to ignore what is happening around me.



I fear for my family’s safety. I fear the fall of our economy, and the collapse of the country. I fear the Rand (our local currency) becoming absolutely useless. The equivalent of toilet paper. This is all a possibility.

All I can do is hope for the best. And because of the economic uncertainty and lack of funds, I’ve decided to take on my own cover design for future publication projects. I have to find a way to produce an excellent product for a reasonable price. I have to start working smart with the few pennies I do have. Though, creating my own covers scares the hell out of me. I have no idea of what I'm doing.  I'm hoping to learn yet another skill. 

I will still be hiring an editor though, as that is my true weakness. I can’t always see my own mistakes and my editor teaches me something new each time.

I won’t be deterred from writing, or publishing. I will keep on doing what I love, because it speaks to my soul and makes me happy. I cannot give something like that up.

Do you want to hear something funny? My family and I fantasize about moving to Canada someday. We watch a lot of their design shows, and loved what we saw. We don’t have the funds to actually move there, but hey, dreaming that we one day might fills us with hope and joy. So, why not dream big?

I know the world has gone mad, and almost every one is facing some sort of hell at the moment, whether it be political or not. I sympathize with you my friends. I too am terrified. But do not let the fear stop you from living. Follow your dreams and cling to the things that give you hope and fill you with joy.
  
On the positive side, I managed to write a short story last month. In all honesty, I don’t know what to do with it now. Do I edit it? Do I rewrite it? Do I try to clean it up? I’ve never been in this situation. Novels are what I’m used to;)

How are you doing? Do you need a hug? I’m sending you tons of virtual hugs.






Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reading into the past



Sunday evening I had a problem sleeping. It was 3 am and I didn't know what to do. So a thought occurred to me. I decided to read through my blog, but, only the very early posts. I found those first few years of posts to be very refreshing. Embarrassing and cringe worthy, but refreshing regardless.

The voice of those posts were so clear. It was so different from the voice with which I write today. What I really liked about those posts is that they were honest. I would like to think that I've kept that quality intact. I loved how I wrote from such an innocent perspective. I didn't think of myself as a writer then. I wrote like someone from the outside looking in. Though, somehow, over the years I had transitioned from the outside to the inside without me even realizing it.

I have since become a writer. I embraced the title with pride and excitement. It is still so strange how much I have changed and hadn't realized it until I read those old posts. I was such a different person back then. I hope it's not arrogant of me to say that I have grown, and have come to like myself and my writing even more. I have become so much more confident within myself, and my writing. I don't know if I would have come to this realization without therapy.

I now have to fight the urge to delete certain posts, or go back and rewrite them. I don't think it's right messing with my past. I had written those posts, and it gives me motivation to be a better blogger and writer in the future.

So, do you ever go back and look at previous posts, or photos? Do you ever look back at your past? If not, how are you doing today?