I appreciate it’s not a new topic in relation to writing, but I’ve recently started a meditation series on Acceptance (via the Headspace app), which, rather than pushing you towards accepting a situation, reflects on how you are resisting certain changes, relationships etc.

On a personal level this has helped tremendously. My grandmother died very suddenly a month ago. She was such a wonderfully kind, loving woman, and such a big part of our lives for many years, not to mention one of the most active, lively octogenarians around, that her death was (and still is) an intense shock. Realising how much denial I’m in, how much I’m resisting the idea of losing her, is starting to lift that shock a little and help me begin to grieve.

I’ve realised how much I’m resisting other, more subtle parts of my life. The children are growing up, my youngest properly starting to grow out of the toddler phase. I never thought I’d be sad to have him sleep through the night (still not a guaranteed event), but as it turns out, I miss cuddling up to the little foot gouging at my ribs, and I’m not sleeping as well as a result. My eldest recently turned five, and (always the headstrong-teenager, even as a baby), is enjoying asserting herself and pushing all the boundaries with her new-found little girl understanding. All this will change, or I will change with it, but I’d forgotten that, as with all things child-related, the change will be smoother and faster if I work with it, rather than fighting every step.

There’s resistance with work: Finally deciding to give up teaching, only to be pulled back in with a contract that fits too neatly around my other commitments to say no (plus we need the money!). Feeling sucked back in to something that drains me to the detriment of my health and my family is scary, as is knowing I’ll have to re-evaluate again once this job comes to an end. I hate it, and I hate feeling like I have no choice (I know I do, but realistically, I don’t).

Finally, there’s resistance with my writing. The impact of everything else going on in life, plus a self-consciousness as I go through my Masters degree that have made the words stick. Pulling them out a sentence at a time for a workshop a few weeks back was like walking through tar. I need to scrap most of those, so am conscious I still need to get 10k good words together for the deadline in a month and a half. And I know most of what I have is rubbish, but I don’t know what to do to improve it.

But I know this. So I’m hoping that by letting myself relax, by letting the story come in its own time, I’ll get there. I’ve had a couple of bursts over the last week. Only minor ones, a paragraph or two, but shifting the work in ways I’m happier with. So fingers crossed I’ll have a few more of these (hopefully longer ones!), and I’ll be able to get there.

If not, the beginning of May is going to be a long week of pulling teeth words!






The Library: A Place of Quiet Introspection and Toddler Rampages…

It’s been a hurly-burly whirlwind of emotions again this month, with my return to work looming near.*

Baby boy has settled into nursery in good time** but it means the nursery fee rise coincided with the end of my (not-that-impressive) SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay). There’s a loooong, expensive month looming ahead before payday…

So I’ve been especially grateful for the fantastic resource that is my local library. Not only is it a source of books that I’d otherwise have to boycott until we’re solvent again, but it’s also a lovely free morning out with the kiddies (providing I can avoid getting lured into the “lolly shop” by my 3yo…)

Aside from which, I do love libraries.

Being the nerdy, bookish sort my fondest memories include childhood library visits and bedtime stories, so it’s been a mild source of anguish that my eldest has shown only limited interest in sitting still to read a book with me. “Quiet mother!” her look would say, “Let me focus on getting these things off the shelf so I can climb it..” Particularly painful as her best friend happily spends entire afternoons reading with his mummy.

Don’t get me wrong. She enjoys books for their own sake: turning the pages, tearing them out, ruthless editing with a wax crayon… Apparently she would sit in the corner with a book at nursery and laugh hysterically at the pictures (history of mental instability…us…?). And she likes stories. On the mooter. (aka, computer…). It’s all in there, but always behind whatever physical development needs working on next: crawling, standing, climbing, running… Talking and listening have taken a back step at every developmental leap.

But now her speech has caught up we can have proper conversations, and books are emerging in our daily life as I’d hoped they would. Library visits feel like so much more than a token effort now. So whilst my 10 month old empties the troughs of baby books  she carefully selects the books she wants to read (usually something totally inappropriate from the MG section that happens to have a picture of a fairy on the front, but no pictures inside. Fortunately she can “share” the ones picked out for her brother.) As I suspected, she’s often happier reading for herself, or to her brother, than she is passively listening. Which is probably a good thing.

Another bonus of the library is that they have a thoughtful “for adults” shelf in the children’s section, although I’ve yet to get around to exploring it thoroughly as I’ve been side-tracked by the rather good children’s books that have come out since I last looked for myself.

So now my biggest dilemma is whether to start cooking dinner, or make the most of the afternoon sunshine with a cup of tea and the rather compelling Dodger by Terry Pratchett. The latter would probably be the most responsible…after all, I have books on reservation to pick up when I’ve made room on my library card…

* I’ve officially started this week, but as it’s the holidays I’m pretending it’s not really real yet.

**After being traumatised by the minimal induction my lg had before my first day back it seemed best for everyone. I’m still so bad at leaving them that my husband still does the drop offs when I’m at home.