Saturday, 21 February 2015

"..."


The plate is increasingly full, fat sparse,
the tree that cradles the family nest
is mournful creaking.

Beneath, a dark shroud over
snow pierced with crocus...

The new moon soon 
calling Cornflowers to be sown;
for peace.

We sway, this way-
that way, made of stars
glinting hope over crass hate.

...cigarettes smoked in silence,
alone, between tar stained fingers,
no time for tears, fears but
calm

(and cussing).

Thursday, 1 January 2015

TW: Everything can change, on a New Years day.


So 2014 was a mixed bag, eh?

Started off rather well, in that glorious spring all hopeful and marked by sunshine. There was a writers con and London book fair, much poetry, a brief if pleasant love affair, time well spent with friends, the book faced hard truths and was seriously cut and expanded, the whole narrative arc being reformed into a duology.

Then I got sexually assualted, nose broken, menstrual cycle askew from where I was thrown into a wall, furious at the police officer that told me to 'Fuck off' rather than help, and cracks began to show. The old night terrors sarted in again, with a vengeance, and all my years spent mediatating through my depression and triggers were tested.

Although much shaken, the gleam of spring lost, I continued. A bit quieter, a bit more focused on myself and my health, but carried on writing.

Then, in the first week of the summer holidays, someone I care about screamed 'I want to destroy you!' and slammed a car door into my head, the locking mechanism striking just above my temple. There was blood and brain fluid gushing out of my ear. It was pretty grim. The Dr diagnosed a concussion the next day and sent me home with no help or pain meds. I simply didn't realise how badly I was hurt.

I have little recollection of the week that followed: passing out in bed with lucid dreams, and tremours, hair perpetually wet and nose running, and a lot of pain. Only getting out to make meals for my son following routine, saying little but 'yes' 'no' 'I love you', then going back to bed.

I got relatively better, persevered. Though really I was overcompensating/ applying false logic to make sense of the changes in my behaviour. It was also cyclic: I'd rest and feel better, then push myslef to far, too fast and have a flare up. Toward the end of summer, and again in the autumn, I had a scab of blood and brain fluid come out of my ear and then the pressure in my head would rise and all my symptoms became worse: memory, balance, motor functions, vertigo, stutter, the inability to access memories/thoughts or deal with the frustration that all of this caused.

In septemer I went back to the Dr's. Trigemenial neuroplasia suspected. Eye tests followed, 20:20 vision but partial face paralysis and nerve damage. Further tests were done to check for bone fragments pressing against my optical nerve and thankfully none were found. Before midwinter I had an apt with a neurologist and am on the list for a CT scan, and given naproxin to bring down the brain swelling. Which is actually working and I feel more clear headed than I have for a long time, though it does little to stop the pain at impact site or headaches.

I am healing, slowly, and hopefuly no brain lesions or what have you will be found. Hopefuly it will be a matter of controlling swelling, working through symtoms and letting time do its work.

Somehow, during this, I finished the book (again) and sent it out to my beta readers. Though the feedback that has started to come back has very much driven home my obvious inability to edit whist all of this was going on! Embarrassing, but now I find it kinda amusing (which is a good sign, my sense of humour returning). I simply cannot work as fast, or process as much, as I used to but am quietly tinkering away, changing the first chapters to better reflect story, to incorporate the feedback.

So, yes, in the autumn I went dark. Simply didnt have energy to deal with people in my personal life, or online, except for dealing with the fallout of divorce and deaths in the family. I pulled focus on recovery and looking after my child, trying to minimise the effect on him. I didnt really get much help, and may have lost some friends along the way. I have no tolerance for negativity, or for loud, bright places. It has been overwhelming at times.

And now it is 2015. My resolutions?

1. To remember how to put the world aside and simply enjoy the love of my family; my clever, capricious, kind Rowan and our canny cat, Sherlock, who so recently choose us.

2. To continue to recover, if not to who I was before than to someone better.

3. To not get assaulted, sexually or violently.

4. To polish this book into something worthy of readers and prepare for publication. To keep writing, keep editing, keep researching. To be who I want to be, and to find my success.

5. To raise my voice against the injustice that is abysmally insidious within our cultures. To not accept less than what is right, to fight for it if need be. Though always remembering that violence breeds more violence and if peace and equality are to be pursued with an honest heart than those tenets should be what guides the actions in pursuit of such.

6. To remember, when pain is sharp and body grinding with exhaustion, when my mind is hemmed in by inability and frustration, when memories claw with all too real talons that bear the sensation of their origin and the fear and rage within rise...to remember that it gets better. That simple truth that seems so absurdly ephemeral a times. It gets better.

7. To try. Always.


This is a personal post true, though I'm all too aware that this has been a shit year for a lot of people. But perhaps we can all have hope. I think change is coming. It will be painful, and disappointing, and full of awful times, but if we grit our teeth and refuse to be bought down, to be destroyed or subjugated, than maybe we can ensure that change is a good one.

In love and solidarity.
Ash


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

in twaine


 it stretches in silence
this whine pulled long, loose and fine

    not enuf slices of pie to swirl

painted glimpses of nows past
into rationalised sighs

diffusion perhaps
is the issue forthright

   all over in cusses the
                  cusp of the tongue tips

or refusion to effuse
in spite of blight when
brighted thoughts anoint

              but for pointed fingers and shy eyes

Which issues then most grave?
When one of the grave and the other
in peril
sweat spiked silence esues

much better then, this
reattaching quintessence

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Mera










A pencil (and a little accidental charcoal) sketch of Mera. Very much a work in progress.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

This is the End


It is done.

Done and gone.

Which is rather a relief, since facing my critism and the decision to cut, cut, cut, I feel as if I have been scrambling to catch up with myself. Letting go the hopes of dreams and facng the grinding reality of the hard work it takes to produce something of quality. No indulging in writers block- edit, make notes, reread, research! No clinging on to writing that simply does not work, or is not good enough- cut it or improve it. No complaining that you cannot find the time to write. You want to be a writer, be a published author, then you simply have to make the time. It's your job.

This can be difficult, life can be difficult. I'm a single mother, so I know this all to well. There is always housework, shopping in ill weather, a ravenous child needing love and entertainment, homework and all the other myriad demands of parenting. Joyous, hectic, exhausting.

And then there are the inevitable dark times. I was sexually assaulted in the spring, my nose broken. A family member passed away. At the beginning of the summer holidays I suffered a nasty concussion, which has left me with neuropathic damage. It was a bit shit for awhile there and lets just say that such injuries, and the emotional fall out, are not very conductive of writing.

But you have to persevere. No matter the loss of control that life leads to, you are the only one who can control your actions, your reactions, can work toward your goals. Even if that means pushing self imposed deadlines forward two months and planning for a slower rate of writing. Even if that means struggling with frustration and guilt. You have to keep on keeping on. Don't yearn towards dreams and let others drag you down. Be the dream.*

My title has changed. Before I had been working with Song of Sorrow but, well. A Song of Ice and Fire is a rather good series, you may have heard of it, and Song of Stone is also a very good book. There are enough songs out there, I think. Now:

The Otherside
Of Bloody Reflections
Refractions of Fire 


Of Bloody Reflections is complete at 110k, about 60k of which is new material and the rest much revised. Some days, during the revision, I was deleting as much as writing per session. This is good, considering my criticisms, but an odd feeling none the less. The whole has been restructured, during editing I pulled each character into separate files: Mera, Llew, Tomas and alt. The better to edit without getting sucked into the story. Then woven back together always considering pacing: of tension, of action, of suspense and mystery, of character development. The closer to the end the more the earlier scenes were tweaked and expanded. After the restructure came line edits, which were not that bad due to half of it having been previously edited and my habit of reading through and editing when creativity isn't really flowing, or when a subplot arc is complete/reaching height. I don't know that I'll ever be happy with it (no, brain, perfection is not attainable. It is a paradox!) but it is much improved. A good story.

Last night I started contacting my beta readers, six of them already have it. I thought I would feel nervous and twitchy (I mean, nobody has read the new material, gasp) but...It's good this feeling, nice, like I'm finally back where I should be. Proactive.


Next: Working with betas, then tackling the synopsis, covering letter and searching for the right agent. I will do some posts on these. Then NaNoWriMo and using the random scraps of scenes and notes to start Refractions of Fire.

But for now I strongly suspect that something is rotting in my kitchen. Adieu!


*Yeah, that is down right cheesy I know.