I’ve seen quite a few bloggers do a weekly round-up of their life and blog posts and I’ve found it a wonderful way to connect with them. Not only does it help me get to know them on a more personal level, not just via book reviews or blog tours, but I can catch up with any posts I might have missed during the week. If I am travelling for work, I seldom check in online, for instance, and sometimes certain posts don’t appear in my timeline or inbox, even if they are on the same platform as mine (i.e. WordPress). The mysteries of technology… no wonder people thought it was witchcraft initially!
I’m not sure I could bear to hear myself rounding up every week, however, so I’ll stick to a fortnightly schedule. Especially since this past fortnight has been one of the most positive ones I’ve had in a really long time. I’ve managed to get my anxiety attacks under control with some muscle relaxation exercises, worry diary and other suggestions from my Talking Therapies sessions. I’ve tried out some new sports, such as Nordic Walking, and continued with Tai Chi, walking with the Ramblers, weekly table-tennis and badminton sessions courtesy of Sport in Mind. Plus a little light medication. All this has resulted in better sleep (around 6 uninterrupted hours per night, which makes a nice change from waking up 4-5 times throughout the night and a total of no more than 4 hours of sleep in total, which has been the case since about June 2016). So a big thank you to my GP and the mental health charities in Berkshire. I gather we shouldn’t take this for granted, as a friend who lives just across the river Thames, only a couple of miles away from me, in a village which belongs to South Bucks, has had a very different (and negative) experience with her local mental health team.
I’ve continued to experience rejections on both the job and the writing front, but I’ve also been informed that I’ve won 1st, 2nd or 3rd Prize in a poetry competition being judged by one of my favourite poets. I will let you know the details once I have them and am allowed to share them, but it’s a big boost after months of feeling my writing has gone downhill. It has made me return with renewed vigour to my old novel and I’m having fun editing it, even though I’ve just changed a third person to a first person POV and have given myself a LOT of extra work. And I’ve even managed to find 2-3 jobs to apply for which I might actually enjoy, not just what I am qualified for and capable of doing. So fingers crossed!
One final piece of family news: my sons have both done their GCSE French exam (early registration, they are not yet Year 11, but I was afraid they might forget their French by then). It’s been a hard slog getting them to put any work in, as they were convinced they already knew everything and 11 and 13 is perhaps not mature enough to take exams seriously. However, it’s over and done with now, they say it was quite easy, so I have high hopes of a good mark and one less worry when they have other GCSE subjects to revise.
On Monday 15th May I wondered whether the pressure of releasing a book a year was to the detriment of originality and quality when it comes to crime fiction. The two books I reviewed, however, were both very good: Andrée A. Michaud’s Bondrée and Susie Steiner’s Persons Unknown.
I wrote a little poem about female friendship on the 16th of May and participated in the WWW Wednesdays meme on the 17th. And that week’s Friday Fun was dedicated to the wacky, colourful, joyous architecture of Hundertwasser.
This week I finally added another review to my #EU27Project with Andrzej Stasiuk from Poland and his travel journal through the lesser-known parts of Eastern Europe. I also embarked upon a new series of blog posts, after being reunited with some of the obscure books from my loft. I will probably be posting a weekly encounter with the most obscure books from my shelves, and the first instalment looked at my Virago editions.
Wednesday 24th brought a very short poem about insomnia, while on Thursday I compared two novels with post-modern tendencies which provoked very different reactions in me as a reader: Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Sand and Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories. My regular Friday Fun slot was dedicated to some covetable interiors, which make me sigh and dream (as usual).
I have a huge batch of books to read not just this Bank Holiday weekend, but also over the coming week (half-term holiday, so minimal work planned – the advantages of self-employment). Amongst them feel-good books like the Cazalet chronicles and The Enchanted April, poetry and essays/diaries, and of course crime fiction (Pierre Lemaitre, anthology of crime short stories, Annemarie Neary etc.)