A – Z Reflections 2017 – #AtoZChallenge

I had hoped to have been posting my survivor badge and talking about how well this years challenge has gone, well truth it 2017 I FAILED!!!!

I did manage about a third of the posts they were posted late and I did not feel I really wanted to get stuck in. The truth was that my normal exploits in A – Z have been planned ahead of time, I pick a theme research a couple of options for each letter than go with the one that interests me the most. This year I was already chasing my tail, theme reveal day arrived and I had not even given it any thought, I should possibly have stuck with my gut reaction at that point which was to skip this year but instead I thought I could wing it. I made a snap decision to do the dictionary thing without considering how it would play out. I mean fair enough I did drop lucky with the words I got, partly I suspect due to the dictionary I was using being one I have a had a while that maybe fell open at pages I had previously use, but that luck could not have held out for the whole thing, in fact the next word I had picked for M was mandible which would have ended with a post on wrestling.

So what did I learn, well first I need to be prepared better, I need to pick a theme ahead of time which excites me and makes me want to write about it. I need to begin preparing the posts well in advance, research and write them with at least a week in advance so I don’t end up falling behind when life gets busy. Secondly I learnt that when I fall behind I have a tendency to want to quit, and while knowing when to call it quits is not a bad thing I need to learn not to talk myself out of doing things because it might involve knuckling down and focusing my energy. Some times we can actually learn more from our failings than our successes, they teach us our own strengths and weaknesses, and we all have plenty of both. I find that when I am doing badly in one area of my life I tend to find everything is going badly and becomes hard work, for example being tired and stressed at work makes me grumpy at home and makes it harder for me to focus to write, this gives me two options to either try to be happy all the time, which I am pretty sure is impossible without serious drugs, or to learn to compartmentalise more, and to force myself to sit at the computer and write no matter what my mood even if it means writing something completely different to the piece I an working on at that time. I have also been struggling to fill my journal in lately which again goes alongside this lethargy I have been feeling in general.

Some times it does us good to really stop and think about what is going on with us, why we are struggling, are we taking too much on? Are outside influences having a negative impact? In my case I think it was simply poor time management skills combined with a lack or direction both in terms of writing , blogging and life generally, hopefully the writing of this post it actually part of me turning this around.

Advertisements

L is for llama – #AtoZChallenge

llama

[lah-muh]
noun
1.

a woolly-haired South American ruminant of the genus Lama, believed to be a domesticated variety of the guanaco: often used as a beast of burden.
2.

the fine, soft fleece of the llama, combined with the wool for coating.
Let’s turn the timer on…
last year on my way to dancing we were driving past a field on the way to Marsden when I got all excited and started shouting ‘Llama!’ Of course, technically as you know if you follow my Instagram, they weren’t llamas they were alpacas, same family different wool. But they look very similar but are less inclined to spit. That is the first thing I remember ever learning about llamas, they spit!
The first time I ever saw one I was a kid, I was with my grandparents and we had gone to Bridlington. We had been on the ‘front’ for a while and been for lunch at a restaurant on the front, I used to think I was so grown up, obviously back then there were very few actual restaurants that did a children’s menu, so I would order a ploughman’s lunch, and then after they would bring round the dessert trolley with cakes and desserts on it, I would usually pick Black Forest gateau if there was not a plain chocolate cake option, which as this was late 70’s there frequently was not. After eating we would catch the land train up the hill to Sewerby Hall this was where I first saw a llama, my granddad warned me it would spit so we gave it a wide birth even though I was fascinated by its seemingly huge eyes, I had never seen a camel at this point either so had know way of knowing those lashes were nothing compared to other family members. I think I thought of them as a little like horses, but deformed, more comical then graceful and sleek, but the one thing there was no denying was they were kind of cute and had personality, especially as it spit at a small boy who was annoying it.
I guess animal families in some ways are a little bit like our own, don’t get me wrong we are all human and not separated by species and sub-species but if you follow my meaning we have those that look pretty, think vicunas, then those that are productive like alpacas, then you start getting the strange cousins that can be a bit grumpy at times, like the llamas, then you have the really camels who just walk and talk different and have those huge humps. You have to wonder when a llama looks at a camel do they recognise they are the same family or just look and think freak?
That’s it timer has gone and so must I

K is for kindle – #AtoZChallenge

kindle1

[kin-dl]
verb (used with object), kindled, kindling.

1.

to start (a fire); cause (a flame, blaze, etc.) to begin burning.

2.

to set fire to or ignite (fuel or any combustible matter).

3.

to excite; stir up or set going; animate; rouse; inflame:

He kindled their hopes of victory.

4.

to light up, illuminate, or make bright:

Happiness kindled her eyes.
verb (used without object), kindled, kindling.

5.

to begin to burn, as combustible matter, a light, fire, or flame.

6.

to become aroused or animated.

7.

to become lighted up, bright, or glowing, as the sky at dawn or the eyes with ardor.
And the timer begins…
This is another one of those words where the first meaning that springs to mind is not one listed in the dictionary, until a few years ago these meanings would have all rattled round my head but now Kindle is a trade name for my ebook reader. Don’t get me wrong I do still prefer real books but my Kindle is a life saver when going on long journeys, and free ebooks have been a great way to find new authors that I can then happily invest my limited funds in at a later date.  In one way of course, the very name Kindle for the device, ties in with one of the original meanings, because if you find a good book to read upon it then it does indeed kindle the imagination. Maybe on a winters evening you could even light a bonfire, using kindling of course, then sit with your Kindle and allow it to set your mind ablaze round the fire, while paying suitable attention to the actual fire of course, I have recently bought a incinerator bin so when the weather allows a few dry days I hope to sit by that as it burns my garden rubbish and enjoy a book in peace, of course dry weather also means having to wait until no washing is out and no one is having a BBQ as rose wood can be quite smoky.
I have to admit I do like having fires, even without reading a book just sitting watching the flames can let the imagination run lose, the pictures you can see in the flames the way the embers glow and move as the fire dies, so many chances to think on things. I grew up living in a coal board house where we had coal fires and there is something very comforting about sitting reading by a nice warm fire but I have to admit I do like the ease of modern heating systems where the house can be kept warm with the turn of a thermostat instead of getting up in the cold and having to wait for the fire to be built and lit to get warm, in an ideal home I would love to have both.
The timer has pinged so time to do some house work then get another post done.

I is for insane – #AtoZChallenge

insane

[in-seyn]
adjective

1.

not sane; not of sound mind; mentally deranged.

2.

of, relating to, or characteristic of a person who is mentally deranged:

insane actions; an insane asylum.

3.

utterly senseless:

an insane plan.
And the timer begins…
I think I am insane for taking one this challenge every April, don’t get me wrong I love it but is always seems that things crop up when I try, this is probably why I don’t try doing Nano in November. Insanity is a perfect subject for me I remember first seeing this info-graphic which I am going to insert here…
now you can obviously see why this made me stop and contemplate so many of the things you could be committed for let’s start with the first, being kicked by a horse! I totally get that if you are kicked in the head by the horse it could cause some form of brain damage but what if the horse kicked you and broke your leg, then clipped your head as you fell down but did not actually do any damage to your head do you still get locked up? Does it make a difference what you were doing to the horse when it kicks you? You can imagine for the writer side of me the endless possibilities each of the ‘reasons’ above. Many of them of course were aimed at women but I imagine that a few young men may have also ended up confined should they fail to live up to their families wishes.
My ex’s mum worked in an asylum a few years ago, a place which is now closed down, but she always said it was so sad that there were women there who were institutionalised by their years spent shut away, usually on the orders of their families for falling in love with the wrong people, getting caught having sex outside marriage and having children out of wedlock. I have an idea in my head for a story involving an asylum and a rich family which I would love to write at some point.
What is surprising is how many of the reasons that a man could probably be committed involve trauma, I know your normal hospital would not have been equipped to deal with brain damage or mental illness but you wonder how shutting someone away with depression or shell shock, in an institution full of people with serious mental illness (though of course many would not have the sort of diagnosed conditions we know of today) could eve hope to lead to their recovery.
Personally I would have been committed on numerous counts, let’s just mention the novel reading and as the timer is going leave you to imagine the others lol.
Leave a comment below for which you are most likely to be committed for is you dare!

H is for – #AtoZChallenge

hoard

[hawrd, hohrd]
noun

1.

a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.:

a vast hoard of silver.
verb (used with object)

2.

to accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden or carefully guarded place:

to hoard food during a shortage.
verb (used without object)

3.

to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc.
Starting the timer now…
It is strange when you read a definition yet the most commonly thought of use of the word is not included, once upon a time to hoard things was seen as a positive but these days because of certain types of Tv programmes we thing of hoarding in negative terms, you think of houses piled with newspapers, a labyrinth of junk to squeeze between. I guess the question that I am pondering is where is the line between positive and negative hoarding?
My dad has shed in the garden full of what my mother classes as junk, broken electronics, motor parts, things he intended fixing or things he thought would come in useful, my son thinks it is a treasure trove, he wants to be an engineer at the minute (palaeontologist has been replaced at the top of his career choices for now) so he sees a hoard of treasures he could create fantastical inventions from. On the other hand my mum is a crafter, she has reams of paper, card, jars of glitter, paints and a million other items for creating cards, doing cross stitch, all of which my dad thinks are junk and take up too much space in the house. In my house I have too much stuff for the size of my house, I know this, but the majority of what is packed in boxes were gifts, my collection of elephants packed away so the cats, and, let’s just say, people that blamed the cats, could not damage any more of them, my Pop Funko’s which I love but are patiently waiting for a bigger house with an office where they can live and the biggest hoard, books!
I know there are books I should probably get rid of, I have so many still to read that re-reading others makes no sense yet I still do it, I do not just keep sets by my favourite authors, I pretty much keep all the books I buy, the only I clear out are kids books as they become to babyish for them though again classics such as the Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books remain. My ex frequently threatened a trip to a car boot sale with my books but then to be honest he frequently saw things by their monetary value rather than the pleasure they could give, even checking to see if the oil paintings I possessed were worth anything, the are of course worth only what someone would pay for them the Ebay going rate for the is between £50 – 200 to me they are priceless they are not just paintings they are the story behind their acquisition, books are the same, they are not the paper upon which they are printed, they are the worlds created within the cover.
Am I a book hoarder? Maybe! Am I a collector of stories, a traveller to a thousand lands? Hell yeah!
The timer has gone so tell me what could you be accused of hoarding?

G is for gloom – #AtoZChallenge

gloom

[gloom]
noun

1.

total or partial darkness; dimness.

2.

a state of melancholy or depression; low spirits.

3.

a despondent or depressed look or expression.
verb (used without object)

4.

to appear or become dark, dim, or somber.

5.

to look sad, dismal, or dejected; frown.
verb (used with object)

6.

to fill with gloom; make gloomy or sad; sadden.

7.

to make dark or somber.
Timer started…
Until last week I always thought of gloom in terms of fog and dark, dingy days, the sort of evening where the serial killer lurks in an alley way ready to leap out and attack, it makes you think of doom and gloom, things being depressing and a sense of hopelessness and that does still tie in ever so slightly with what I think now.
I love board games and I watch Wil Wheaton’s youtube channel where it shows him and a group of friends playing board games, not monopoly but some of the other more obscure games that you see on Amazon but don’t consider buying because they can be quite expensive without knowing you can definitely play it, the other day they were playing Gloom (I will put in a link at the end if I can find it). It is a card game, but one for those with imagination and a sense of humour.
Each player has a family, the objective is to make them as depressed as possible before killing them off and to make your opponents family happy, what makes this game fun is that in order to achieve this you have modifier cards , you can use two per turn and must weave a story to do so, the whole family adds to the overall story and it means that the game can never be played the same way twice. Of course, the quality of the story depends on the people you have sat round the table with you, those with crazy, quirky imaginations will provide the best playing partners and the ability to remember what people have said previously is an advantage, you know a little like the shopping memory game.
The timer has gone so I will go try to find the Youtube video