Blogging Books

Decayed Decade

I’ve been very silly. I’ve left the last decade out to rot instead of putting it neatly away in the deep freeze. I’ve read what other people accomplished in the last decade and decided that I didn’t accomplish anything. But now that I think about it, I was at a very different place ten years ago.

Ten years ago, I was struggling to do things without really understanding why they were hard. Now, I still struggle but at least I understand what I’m struggling against.

Ten years ago, I was still attempting to keep my childhood out of my life, as if I could pretend that it didn’t happen. Now, I’ve come to terms with it and accept that it’ll always be there. Sometimes, it’s even useful.

Ten years ago, the people I went to school with were nasty, hurtful children. Now, they’re some of the nicest women I have met.

Ten years ago, I didn’t know Gill. Now I know her as a wonderful friend, one I will always be indebted to.

Ten years ago, I hadn’t even thought of doing any writing (apart from technical writing). Now, writing is something I enjoy immensely.

Ten years ago, my only social hobby was folk dancing. Now, I also look forward to the fortnightly meetings of my writing group.

Ten years ago, I lived in a small house in a beautiful neighbourhood. Now, I live in a large house with a beautiful garden in a less beautiful neighbourhood. You can’t have everything!

Ten years ago, I hadn’t visited India, Mexico and Guatemala. Now, I have.

Ten years ago, I didn’t have any online friends. Now, I have friends on Facebook, Twitter and more, friends with whom I can connect on a level rather than feeling like the unwanted poor relation.

Ten years ago, I didn’t have this blog. Now, I have the perfect tool for explaining all the things I couldn’t say.

As I hurry to pack up the last decade, I wonder what the new, fresh one will bring, where I will be in ten years’ time. I hope it’s a good place. And I hope all my readers will be in good places, too.

Blogging Books

The Long and Winding Road

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door

I always loved The Beatles. I grew up with them. But I didn’t think much about the words in those far-off days….

I’m on that road; we all are. But each of us has to get past different hurdles on the way. I’ve just passed one – not just by being acknowledged as a writer, although that’s a big enough hurdle in itself, but also by having my blog discovered by more people, including people who know me but don’t know me. That still frightens me, despite all the praise and encouragement I’ve received. But I know it’s what I want.

Many thanks to everyone who said they liked my story. It makes it all worth the effort.

Have you passed any big hurdles recently?


Blogging Books


I was never good at keeping things in. I did it too much and ended up hiding my personality – even to myself. Even this blog has been suffering from that disease. So now, all is revealed (well, maybe not quite all) in my guest post on place and writing that the lovely Tania Hershman kindly agreed to host on her blog.

Now that it’s all out, I need to add to my About Me page. In the meantime, I will say this: even though I live where I live, I will never intentionally blog about politics. Many people do this, some exceptionally well. I have another mission.


Blogging Books Rhymes

What I didn’t do on holiday

Touch a computer,Tiger
Become a tutor,
Lose weight,
Smash a plate,
Go to a dance,
Take a chance,
Climb the Eiger,
See a tiger,
Live in a hovel,
Write a novel,
Or even a short story, a flash or a twenty-five worder,
Or a rhyme that sticks to rhythm or order.

But I did have a great time. And I thought a bit about the novel I want to write and where I want this blog to go. More next time ….

Now I’m off to find out how everyone has managed without me.

Blogging Books Rhymes


Walking in Switzerland

A time to walk.
A time to talk.
A time to look.
A time to read a book.
A time to write.
A time to be bright.
A time to relax.
A time to make tracks.
A time to unwind.
A time undefined.
A time to think.
A time to drink.
A time to eat.
A time to treat

So, we’re off for a well-earned holiday. Well-earned by my better half, that is. I’m tagging along and looking forward to it. And while I’m away, I plan to think about what I want to write, where I want my life to go and how this blog is going to fit into that. Currently, I’m thinking of writing about things I haven’t mentioned up to now. We’ll see.

Tara for now!

Blogging Social anxiety

Let’s be weird together

AliensI was delighted to see that at least two people identified with the sentiments of my last post. Delighted that they really got it. Why? Why do I care whether others feel the same way as I do?

As children, our natural tendencies are to want to be like everyone else. We fear being singled out as “different”. But as we grow up, we don’t mind that so much. We even want to be different, to be individuals, not one of the herd. Up to a point. Because if we’re too different, we’re considered weird and that’s not good.

So we hail our individuality and then seek out similar individuals. We form groups of individuals who are all the same. Because really, most of us don’t want to be different at all.

People who suffer from social anxiety feel very different. They know that others think they’re weird and this increases their discomfort in society and causes them to hide from it. Most people who join a social anxiety forum say this: “I thought I was the only one in the world with these problems. I’m so glad to have found other people who go through what I go through.”

This is one of the reasons why I want to publicise the disorder. To help sufferers to feel less isolated in a tough world. We all need to connect to others who understand.

No man is an island, entire of itself.” ~John Donne (1572 – 1631)



Being Brave

Hiking in Switzerland

People tell me I’m very brave for writing what I write in my blog. “I know,” I reply, biting my lip. “Maybe too brave.”

I thought about this blog for a long time before I started it. When I finally decided I was ready for it, I went ahead. I haven’t regretted it … yet. But I’m still frightened.

Once, on holiday in Switzerland, we started off with the children on a three-day hike. Rain was beating down and we knew that we were coming to a path on the edge of a cliff. Two people passed us, going the other way. “You’re brave,” they said to us, admiringly. That’s when we decided to turn back.

I’m not going to turn back. What I’m doing is not life-threatening, as far as I know, and so far nothing bad has happened because of it. Anyway, I’ve been too cautious for too long. It’s time to break out of this protecting, restricting, inhibiting fortress.

So, it’s all right to tell me I’m brave. I’ll take it as a compliment and not as justification for turning back.

Are you brave?


Blogging Books

I have been proved wrong


In my previous post, I suggested that writers’ blogs are shallow and uninteresting. By writing that, I have been introduced to some very different blogs, and especially mapelba, who poses some thought-provoking questions. The question in her latest post is: “Where do you come from? Does your answer explain your writing?” Some people come from some very dark places. I come from a place of love, protection and loneliness….


I come from a place so deep in suburbia that the bus came only once every half hour – if you were lucky.

I come from a world of secrets and pretence. Of feeling guilty every time I forgot.

I come from a father who I now know was a people pleaser, who needed everyone to think well of him, and who took out his frustrations on his wife. And a mother who never understood that. I come from a mother who never understood many things. I come from parents who had had enough excitement in their lives by the time I was born.

I come from a place where religion is a noose, a chore, a secret, an embarrassment, a reason for keeping quiet. But also a fine tradition, an offloading of worries and hopes, an expression of sadness and joy.

I come from a place where teachers just taught and children were free to torment as much as they wanted. Where no one explained to them that their actions could be a life sentence.

I come from a place where loneliness is the norm and thoughts have no human outlet.

I write to tell the world that whole lives can be spoilt because of where they come from, if no one notices or acts in time.

Blogging Books

Writers’ Blogs

I write.
My friends write.
They get published.
That’s wonderful.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs by writers lately. It seems every writer has a blog. That’s not surprising. Writers want to publicise themselves and their work, and writers can write. So, it seems natural that they should blog.

What do they blog about? About writing and publishing, about authors and publishers, about writing competitions and other news in the writing world. And, of course, about themselves, what they’ve written and what they’ve had published.

They write well, of course, because they’re writers. Sometimes, they’re even humorous. And yet, I’m starting to get bored with these blogs, because of the one thing they leave out: personal struggles. Yes, I know, they write about their pets, their children, the places they live in. But they don’t write anything really personal. We readers can’t tell much about their characters. We don’t know about the hurdles they’ve overcome, or the way their personal lives influenced their writing.

And I wonder how honest they are. They treat their writer friends very well, praising them for their skill and their good fortune when they win competitions or have their books accepted by publishers. But do they really mean that? Aren’t they just a tiny bit jealous of other writers’ triumphs? According to Ann Lamont in her wonderfully humorous and informative guide Bird by Bird, they certainly could be:

Jealousy is such a direct attack on whatever measure of confidence you’ve been able to muster. But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know – people who are, in other words, not you.

Not that I’m jealous. I haven’t got that far, yet. And I’m not criticising anyone else. I’m just wondering how all of this relates to me. This is what I’ve decided:

Writing involves innovating, pushing boundaries, being courageous. And I’m going to continue writing what I write, because, amongst other reasons, I don’t want to turn this into just another writer’s blog.



The Trouble with Blogs

World Viewing Blog

The trouble with blogs is that everyone can read them. I know that’s the whole point of writing a blog. Before I started this blog, I thought long and hard about the fact that I was exposing myself to the whole world – to anyone who might stumble across what I write and, even more daunting, to people I know. Although I know that this is what I want to do, I’m still frightened by the possible consequences.

During the past few days, I discovered another problem. Something happened between me and one other person. I wanted to write about it on my blog, because my reactions to it were partly what most people would consider “normal” and partly due to my lack of self-esteem. In fact, I wrote the article but decided not to post it, because that one person might have read it and might have been hurt by it, and I have no way of knowing.

So that’s all I can say. My lips are sealed.

Tune in again, keep in touch and don’t suffer in silence.