… and breathe

The world has gone a little crazy hasn’t it. Who knew, as we ushered in a new year just a few short months ago, that this is what we had to look forward to.

Who knew that there would come a time when we are actively told to stay home, to not work, to not even leave our own houses unless we really need to. Who knew that something as small as a virus would bring the world to a halt and fill us all with a level of fear we never expected.

Grandparents can no longer have visits from their grandchildren, children cannot visit their parents, friends remember fondly meeting up with friends.

But at the same time, we are lucky in ways that we have never been before.

At no other time in history could we still see each other, still talk and be together, as if we were in the same room. Technology is allowing those isolated from the world to still reach out and make contact with those they love.

In this terrible time it is easy to let fear take hold of us, to worry for ourselves and for those we love, to imagine the worst and not be able to hope for the best.

We can get so consumed with surviving that we forget to live.

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So just stop. Take a breath. Look up at the bright blue sky and notice how much bluer it is without the streaks of white from countless planes. Breathe deeply and notice the scent of spring flowers on the warm breeze. Listen to the song of the birds and the buzzing of the bees.

Life is hard right now. It is frightening. It is worrying. But it is not going to be like this forever. Hold on to whatever faith you may have. Hold on to the love you share with family and friends. Hold on to the knowledge that this too will pass.

And breathe. Just breathe.

Strange Days Indeed

I don’t often post here on non-writing related matters but sometimes you do just have things in your head that need getting out.

What a time we are living in right now – sadly that phrase is often said in relation to wonderful situations, that is certainly not what we are living through.

I always figured that shows like The Walking Dead (which I love BTW) showed a rather negative view of human nature. Here comes a crisis and the human race turns to an “every man for himself” situation, fighting each other than the disaster (or zombies) that are threatening them.

Now, while people aren’t actually killing each other on the streets, there is definitely an unwelcome shift to selfishness.  I don’t recall ever seeing such empty supermarket shelves as people stock up their own supplies, with no thought for those who are unable to do the same and, as a result, will end up going without. No one should be left without access to something as simple as toilet paper!! (Or food of course).

I would like to think that, when the panic fades, all those random tins of soup that people bought, even if they don’t like the variety, will find their way to charities, food banks, or soup kitchens… but my faith in human nature is lacking a little right now.

This time of uncertainty is leaving us all feeling a little lost and unsure of what to do, we can only hope that “this too will pass”… and in time the world can get back on track.

In the meantime stay safe, but stay kind.

 

 

Another year draws to a close

Here we are again, at the end of another year. It’s hard to believe we are almost in 2017 – how fast time goes. I remember when I was very young wondering if I would still be alive in the year 2000 because it felt like an unimaginable lifetime away, and now here we are almost 20 years into the century.

I don’t know if the world has changed considerably since I was that young thing unable to believe I would see the year 2000, or perhaps I’ve just become more aware of it as I have grown older, but there is no denying that the human race are a strange and complicated species.

We seem to be capable of so many extremes – such utter brutality and cruelty to each other, or to other species we share the world with; such incredible compassion and love to those we care for, or towards complete strangers. It’s just sad that as time passes the cruelty seems to be outweighing the love. We live in a world now where acts of terrorism seem to be almost common place and are almost expected to happen. We can only hope that ultimately these people who preach such hate will be beaten – but even that in itself will require more violence and death. What a world we have created for ourselves.

This year seems to have been heavy with “celebrity” deaths – I don’t really like the world celebrity because these days it seems to be connected to more and more of the talentless who are only famous for being famous. That’s what makes the loss of so many of our old icons all the worse. Who will our children have to look up to – to wish they could be? Justin Beeber? (I assume that isn’t spelt correctly but don’t care about him enough to look it up!) Or how about the Kardashians?? Are these really the people we want the next generation to dream of being? To believe are worth looking up to?  I pity future generations if they never have the likes of Bowie, Lennon, Prince, Victoria Wood etc.. you don’t have to have been a fan of these people to know they made an impact  – a real contribution to the world.

So, yes, 2016 is almost over and we cannot know what 2017 might bring but we can hope that it will bring us more peace and love, and less of the horror that we seem to be able to accept as normal these days.

I wish you all the best – I wish all of us all the best 🙂

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Cherished Blogfest

As part of the Cherished Blogfest I would like to introduce you to one of my most cherished possessions…

BearThis little fella has been in my possession for as long as I can remember – I can’t remember the day I got him so I imagine I must have been very little.

So, yes, he’s seen better days (haven’t we all) what was once white is now rather grey and some of his seams have had to be re-stitched over the years, well there was a time when he shared my bed and as such became my pillow, but I still cant imagine ever actually parting with him. He’s not worth a penny, to the rest of the world he’s just a tatty old panda but to me he’s a special little guy 🙂

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Please pop by some of the other blogs taking part in this blogfest and see what other cherished possessions there are out there 🙂

 

A Writer Writes

Hello and welcome to this, the first post on my shiny new blog. Isn’t it pretty? I decorated it myself you know!

Please, sit down and make yourself comfortable. Cup of tea? No? Don’t mind if I have one do you?

*makes a nice brew*

Okay then, let me begin. I’ve been trying to think of some clever, witty, and intelligent way of beginning this blog. It needs to be something instantly gripping and make you, the reader, carry on reading. Hmm seems I may have failed in that respect almost completely.

Still, if you have made it as far as this paragraph then I have some hope you might actually make it to the end of the post… and if you haven’t… nah we don’t want to be thinking about that!

So, you may be asking yourself, who is this person who thinks their words are worth reading in the first place? Well if I didn’t think that I had at least something worth saying I would be in trouble right from the start off as this whole blog is to be based around the persona of me, D.E.Howard “the writer”.

That claim in itself is a tricky one. What actually makes someone a writer? At what point can you assign that title to yourself?

If someone has written a hundred books (I haven’t) but has never let another living soul inside their pages does that make a writer? If someone blogs on a daily basis (I don’t – not yet anyway) insightful and thought provoking posts is that person a writer? If you have written a book and self published it (at last something I have done) are you then a writer?

Publishing a book (either self published or not) does not guarantee that your words have been read, not even making sales can guarantee that, for how many unread books must fill bookshelves the world round, let alone the poor neglected downloaded ebook sitting unopened on many a kindle or other ebook reader?

So what is a writer? Does it have to say so on your passport? Do you have to make your living from the written word to be able to class yourself as a writer?

I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to this question, I’m not even sure there is an answer but I at least have my own opinion which is this.

If you feel like a writer, if you write and love to write, if writing is something that’s in your heart and feeds your soul then whatever your “day job” might be, whatever you do to pay the bills is just incidental. A means to an end, a way to subsidise the truth of what you are. A writer.

My love of writing started just over 10 years ago. Oh sure I did a little writing during my school days and from what I remember I rather enjoyed it but 10 years ago I read a little story that, for reasons only known to my subconscious, sparked something in me that has since never been quenched.

The story I read was a little fan fiction based on the sitcom Black Books. (You’ve never seen it? What are you doing wasting your time here… go and watch it immediately it’s amazing!)

After that first introduction to fan fiction a story of my own began to develop. But I was no writer, I had no belief that I could translate the words in my mind into a worthwhile piece of writing, and so I didn’t. Not for a very long time.

The story, however, would not be silenced. It turned over and over in my mind day after day, refining itself with each new revolution. Characters and dialogue playing out each scene until I knew them in minute detail.

In the end I could fight it no longer. The story had to be written, for the sake of my sanity if nothing else. So, with some trepidation, I put pen to paper, well fingers to keyboard but you get the idea, and my first story was born.

I know some writers look down on fan fiction, and yes fair enough there is some trash out there, but then you could say the same about some traditionally published books, like everything else such things are down to personal interpretation and preference.

Personally I think fan fiction writing was a great way to hone my craft. It frees the writer from the problems of having to create a world and characters, there was no need to sell the origins of your stories because your audience already love the characters and the show from where they came, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading your fictions in the first place. Instead of building the world from scratch the writer can concentrate on story telling, learning how to tell your tales in a way that the reader will believe and, just as importantly, care about.

I have since written many fanfics throughout several different fandoms and I would like to think that my writing has grown over the years. As with all things practice, if not makes perfect, makes things greatly improved.

Fanfic writing also taught me two things about myself in respect to my writing. Being plagued by a story until I gave in and wrote it would be a constant occurrence, my mind filled with the tales waiting to be told, only to be purged once they had been written.

Secondly I discovered that I was somewhat of an approval addict. With every positive comment on what I had written spurred me on to want to write more, something which is rather more lacking when you go down the route of self publishing. So few readers it seems understand the importance of leaving reviews while to the writer each one is like a warm hug of approval.

So next time you read a book, be it paperback or electronic, spare a thought for the poor writer who would love a quick pat on the back and acknowledgement that their efforts were not in vain and that, in fact, you enjoyed the story that had been a close part of their lives for who knows how long.

There we are then. That’s my first blog post finished and well done you for reading all the way to the end. Whether we know each other or not I appreciate you spending the time reading my words and hope you’ll come back next time I have something to say. I plan to base this blog around writing both the process of and the creation of, with hopefully a few short stories scattered throughout as I go along.

Now, where did I put my tea…