Apr 2011


Why do we pick out and keep certain sentences that we read or hear? I suppose it’s because they mean a lot to us, especially the ones that make us say, “Eureka! That’s it.” Like this one from Solar by Ian McEwan, which says a lot about my life:

“Like many men of his generation, he did not speak about his experiences and relished the ordinariness of post-war life, its tranquil routines, its tidiness and rising material well-being, and above all its lack of danger, everything that was to appear stifling to those born in the first years of the peace.”

And three I’ve posted before that seemed to describe me.

On the other hand, we might keep quotations just because we like them. Like the ones I jotted down when my children were small:

  • (On seeing a cow close by) “I’ll be happy at it not doing anything to me.”
  • “What are your eyes for?” “To see.” “What are your ears for?” “To hear.” “What is your nose for?” “To get mucus out.”
  • “Mummy, don’t lie on the grass, that’s Daddy’s job.”
  • (About younger brother who hasn’t cleaned his teeth) “He’ll be the black teeth of the family.”
  • Many thanks to Deirdra Coppel, who has given me the beautiful Powerful Woman Writer Award on the right.
  • I will return on Wednesday with the letter Q.

Bye for now.

I like doing them. Really. I love to stand in front of a crowd of people and deliver a prepared speech or presentation. I get a thrill out of it.

You see, I’m an extravert at heart. Social anxiety is just a veil that came to hide the real me.

Most people with social anxiety are introverts. They’re the ones who give nervous twitches and forget to smile. Me? I’m enjoying myself.

I’ve always been an outsider.

As a child, I hated it. Being an outsider was definitely bad.

As an adult, I haven’t particularly liked it.

As a writer, it’s supposed to be an advantage. Perhaps it is. Perhaps I see things from outside that I wouldn’t see from inside. Or I see them differently. I’m not sure.

I still don’t really like being an outsider. It can be cold and lonely out there.

What do you think?

I’ve had a funny relationship with fiction writing. At school, I was put off it. I thought I’d never be good at creative writing. I think I just wasn’t mature enough for the things I was supposed to write then.

Jump many years and suddenly I was writing my first novel, motivated by my urge to raise awareness of social anxiety. I worked hard on it, joining a writing group and learning a lot from the critiques. Eventually, with professional help, I came to the conclusion that the plot wasn’t strong enough. I wrote several short stories, tried another novel which I gave up because it wasn’t going anywhere, and suddenly, a little idea has started me off again and

I’VE FOUND MYSELF WRITING ANOTHER NOVEL!

I’ve written three chapters and have decided to join a group of writers who are going to write 80,000 words in 80 days, starting on May 1st. So if you don’t see me around much between 1st May and 19th July, you’ll know what I’m doing.

If you want to join in, it’s open to everyone.

The surname I was born with began with an E. I loved being ME. But who was ME? Who is ME? Who am I?

I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a cousin, a technical and creative writer. I’m British, Israeli, at least middle-aged although I feel younger. A car driver, a hiker, a dancer, a singer. I used to be a daughter, a piano and violin player, a mathematician, a computer programmer.

I’m wrapped in an extra layer, called social anxiety. But that’s not me at all. The wrapping has to be removed to find me.

And I still don’t think I’ve worked out who I really am. Perhaps I never will.

Do you know who you are?

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Now, here’s something that people with social anxiety are generally good at. You can tell us your troubles and we’ll listen, without trying to change the subject.

But please, listen to us, as well. We also have problems. It might be harder for us to come out with them, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to.

I have to admit it: I’ve never read anything by Kafka. What I’ve read about him has put me off. I’m afraid I won’t understand his writing.

But I do like this quote:

A cage went in search of a bird.

I think it illustrates my message for today:

No one chooses to have social anxiety.

I chose Joshua because he inspired the name of this blog. Like Joshua, I’m trying to knock down walls. His obviously weren’t as strong as mine!

I love this rendering of the song:

Of all the mistakes I see in English spelling/grammar (and there’s no shortage of them) this is the one that bugs me the most. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s so common. Or because it’s one of the first rules I learned.

I was seven years old. Our teacher took a whole lesson to explain and I’ve never forgotten it. Here’s the rule as she explained it:

IT’S usually stands for IT IS. Sometimes it stands for IT HAS.
ITS is correct if you can insert the word OWN after it.

That’s all there is to it. So why do people get it wrong so often?

Because ITS without an apostrophe is possessive. It means belonging to it. And the possessive form with a noun is spelt with an apostrophe, as in MIRIAM’S BUGBEAR. So some people’s logic tells them that ITS meaning belonging to it also requires an apostrophe. It doesn’t. Logic is not always a sensible attribute to use when writing English.

Another reason is that English grammar is no longer taught as it used to be. That’s considered unnecessary these days. Grrr!

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