This may only be my third entry but I'm already becoming aware of how I could easily write the same beginning for each one. For some people that may be a bad thing whilst for others it may be good. For me, it makes it feel like the writing of a weekly report for work and I want this to be something different. It also forces me to think more about what I'm doing. Writing this blog was to exercise my brain, to get used to thinking differently and developing my writing style. And I mean 'my' writing style, for once in my life to develop a confidence that the way I do something is ok. To be more than ok would be amazing but I will be very happy with ok.
No written exercise this week, just 'read', as if your life depended on it. So I have read, although it hasn't been easy. I've been off work for several months with anxiety and stress and have found it extremely difficult to focus on anything during that time. I have flitted between several books and found it too much but I have been reading novels that were bought for my children. My favourite has been Department 19 by Will Hill which has, infuriatingly, turned out to be part of a series. I have no qualms with books being part of a series if this is clear from the outset so that I know they are all written when I start reading them, but in this case, I am quite cross. I read the first in good faith and that was fairly standalone but the sequel made it very clear that there were more. Finishing the third book knowing that the story may not get to the very end for another couple of years has made me very cross. This is good in one way, it's helping me think about what I do and don't want to write. Definitely standalone stories, for a start. Looking at some of the stand-out books during my reading life has also helped. I am a huge fan of Thomas Hardy, loving the deep sadness in his books, almost relishing that there wouldn't be a happy ending. I did nearly think there would be in 'A Pair of Blue Eyes' but was brought back to my senses. Other greats for me are Armistead Maupin, Toni Morrison, Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and John Irving (in no particular order), all of whom have many of their books on my shelves. I like the idea of picking them back up to see what I liked about them and to critique rather than just read. This will probably mean reading them much more slowly than the first time so that I can take that element in. Of more recent times, the author who got me back into reading was Audrey Niffeneger with 'The Time Traveller's Wife', the first book for many years that had me slowing down as I neared the end of it. Desperate to complete the story at the same time as not wanting it to be over. I was bitterly disappointed by her second novel yet inspired that someone who wrote so brilliantly could also write not so brilliantly. Today I am reading 'The Happiness Trap' by Russ Harris, looking at a mindfulness-based programme for overcoming stress, anxiety and depression. Profoundly grateful to find an approach that accepts my way of thinking rather than trying to change it. In my search for my truth and an understanding of myself this is vital and I am enjoying the journey.