photo credit: Leonard John Matthews via photopin cc

Brace yourselves, I’m off.

It’s that time of year fellow bloggers when I and my family decide we can live together twentyfour hours a day, in a small space. Add to that amnesia re last year, and we are all set. Tomorrow we leave for our annual family holiday.

For years we went to my favourite place on earth, Allihies in West Cork. We packed swim wear, t-shirts, coats and wellies,01b139837e9bac3da089ea1a7352f75cf81b6be05d prepared for all four seasons in a day. Friends wondered why we risked it as they left for their sunshine holidays abroad. On rainy days I wondered the same, but each year we hugely enjoyed our holiday regardless of weather.

Then one year we relented. It was after my youngest had told her class that she had a great time in Disneyland Paris, a place she had never been. When I asked her why, she said she was sick of telling them we went ‘nowhere’. Since then we have been sucked into going abroad every year and each year I have faced it half heartedly, as a sun holiday is not ideal for someone like myself who dislikes the sun!

Until this year.

This year I am counting down the days and at last there is only one more sleep. Yahoo. Why you may wonder have I changed my mind this year? Well it is half way through July and we have had about three months rain so far. Add to this the fury I have felt since a trusted weather forecaster told us all, three weeks ago, that we were going to enjoy a heatwave. The excitement. My friend was going on holiday and I sympathised with her, spending all that money to get the weather we were going to enjoy for free.

It’s been three weeks now, so where is it? Where is the feckin heatwave? Is there someone I can sue?

I know it arrived in Dublin as I had to listen to my mother panting down the phone every day, but the very opposite of a heat wave arrived here. The sky has been grey most days, and even when it isn’t raining it has pretended it might bucket down on us at any minute. So as you might have guessed, I’ve had enough of lying forecasters and rainy days.

With a skip to my step I’m off to the sunshine.

Yesterday I bought my holiday essentials, four books, a notepad and pen. I am so looking forward to passing my time photo credit: Al_HikesAZ via photopin ccreading, maybe writing, swimming, relaxing, drinking and not cooking, not in that particular order.

I have decided not to schedule any posts over the ten days I’ll be away. My reasons are simple. I love to interact with all who read and take the time to comment here. To know you have commented and I not replying for weeks would stress me out. So you’ll just have to do your best to get by without me. In reality it will probably be harder for me than for you, but I like to imagine you all missing me.

So until I get back, stay safe and for those of you living here in Ireland, stay dry!

Slán
xxx

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photo credit: Leonard John Matthews via photopin cc

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My top tips to help you be the amazing mother I am.

Do you ever read my posts and wish you were as good a mother as I am? I knew it, so sit back and I’ll let you in on some of my secrets.

My life as the perfect mother began the moment I held my first baby, a daughter, in my arms. I knew I’d be a great mother, possibly even the greatest mother and I would of course raise the perfect child. That child would grow up to be clever, perfectly behaved and of course eminently successful in life.

All went well until the first night.photo credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc

Yes, I think it was on that very first night that I left the road of lofty ambitions and changed direction. My reality was never going to happen, as I had not pencilled in the fact that my child would not have read the same books I had and worse again, she would have her own mind.

So I muddled through doing just about everything I swore I’d never do. Over the past twenty four years I’ve allowed my children sleep in my bed, eat all sorts of sweets, drink fizzy drinks and watch copious amounts of television. If I’m truthful Barney reared the first two and Bear in the big blue house the next two. When they became teenagers I watched their skirts get shorter and their tops rise up their bellies. Second holes appeared in their ears and their belly buttons were also pierced. They shouted most disrespectfully at me on many occasions and their father was definitely not a figure they feared.

I wasn’t stupid though and I learned many things along the way.

1. Listen to all they are not telling me.

“You’re home early”.

“Ye the party was boring”.

Lies, there was definitely a story there.

2. When you say something, mean it.

“Clean your room”.untidy bedroom

“Ye”

“I said clean your room, or else…”

“Chill mum, I will”.

I was not in need of chilling! This situation may or may not have been sorted by me going into the room and throwing everything on the floor out of the window, because I meant what I said.

“Put that plate in the dishwasher when you’re finished”

“I will, I always do”.

“You never do”.

Later I note spaghetti stained plate is still in the sitting room.

Much later…

“Mum you psycho!”

The plate just may have been left on her pillow.

3. Develope spying skills akin to a secret agent.

I just may, on more than one occasion, have driven to an area where I thought my children were hanging out when they told me they were somewhere else, after which we had this conversation.

“You were at xxx’s…. today”

“No I wasn’t”

“Really? I am your mother. I can spot a lie a mile away I’ve told you before, it’s mothers intuition. I know you were there and I bet so was x,y and z so don’t even try to lie to me.”

This almost always resulted in a confession of some sort.

4. Become an accomplished actor.

“Mum my friend xxxx is pregnant/a drug addict/ expelled”

Never bat an eye, keep all emotion out of your voice and never ever act like you wish to know all the details.

“Really, that’s awful. Set the table”.photo credit: ashley rose, via photopin cc

5. Now for my final piece of advice.

Accept now that even though you know you are an amazing mother, worthy of many awards, your children are pre programmed to blame you for everything that goes wrong in their lives, and at times they may even be in denial as to how much they love you.

However don’t worry about it, just follow my simple rules and delight in knowing you are a wonderful mother. Welcome to the teenage world of mothering.

photo credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc
photo credit: ashley rose, via photopin cc
photo credit: juicyrai via photopin cc

peeping cat

What it feels like every time I post.

Would you like to read one of my most popular blog posts here on wordpress? It received seventy five likes in a few hours, at a time when I had only a handful of followers and even less readers. I wrote it in a moment but it seemed to resonate with many. I was new to blogging at the time, but obviously knew enough to put a picture of a cute kitten on it to lure people in. Since then I have had posts which got a much larger number of views or likes, but this was the first and I still enjoy reading it.

Hello, I’ve posted, anyone out there?

I finish typing and re read my post.
“Wow this one is, if I may say it, Good!”.
I press publish.
Big smile.
Dare I hope “freshly pressed material?”.

Moments later.

Hello? I’ve posted,peeping cat
Anyone out there?
I have quite a few followers.
Hello, where are you?

Its been ten minutes.
No star.
Oh dear God I forgot to check,
have I over tagged?
Am I not available on freshly pressed topics?

Oh no. Worse again. I have tagged correctly.
What is the problem?
What time is it?
Maybe everyone is busy.
What time is it in America?
Or India?

“Feck”, they are not asleep.
Maybe it is a special holiday,
or the day after a holiday?
(Here in Ireland we understand,
what it is like to wake up the day after a holiday!)

Nope not a holiday.
Time is marching on.
No star.
No comment.
No follower ( not even someone promoting their blog!)

Quickly re check stats.
Heart sinks.
People have read it.
No one “likes” it.

I re read my awesome post.
Somehow it doesn’t seem so clever now.
In fact it is really bad.
What a rubbish post.
An embarrassment.
What was I thinking?

Young man having trouble studying, on white background

Young man having trouble studying, on white background

I close the laptop,
and try to carry on with normal life.
Thoughts such as walking away from blogging,
never writing again,
or quickly posting something better,
spring to mind.

I avoid my blog for another half hour.
Then, unable to resist,
I check in for a hypothetical two minutes.
I don’t even sit down,
in order to prove to myself, I am uninterested,
and not heartbroken by my followers lack of love.

Then I see it.
A star.
With a comment, “I liked your post etc”.
My heart lifts.
I smile.
Somebody “likes” me.
I knew it was a good post all along.
I am a great writer.
I hum to myself,
and bask in the glory of my own genius.

photo credit: miguelavg via photopin cc
photo credit: fazen via photopin cc

 

****If anyone would like to link their most successful post, or a post they are most proud of please feel free to do so in the comments, I’d love to read them as I’m sure would others.

photo credit: Chris Kealy via photopin cc

What’s next?

Ever look at you blog and wonder why you bother?
No me neither.

It’s two and a half years since I began to blog. I have loved writing every post and this blog is now my diary. My thoughts are here, often in their rawest form. There are days when I am working, or even the occasional moments when I do housework, and I dream of blogging. Yes without doubt I am now a blog addict.

So where to from here?

It has become clear to me that I have no interest in expanding my blog by working on seo or other important blog things photo credit: notemily via photopin cclike I should. Just like in real life I am a minimalist. I like to put as little effort into everything as possible. I see other bloggers getting big views and becoming better known and a part of me cries, (and a part of me bitches) but really I shouldn’t be jealous, for my blog is doing exactly what I am asking of it.

Some of you may remember I completed a creative writing course last year (well all but the very last module) and I loved it. It was with fish publishing. The feedback I got was worth it’s weight in gold and my kind mentor taught me so much. The biggest lesson I learned however, was not about point of view, perspective or show don’t tell, no it was a much simpler lesson, I love writing. Here on my blog I write reality, but when I was doing my course I was writing stories and how I loved the experience.

Every couple of weeks an email would arrive with the details of the module within it, along with relevant stories showing how it looks when the topic is done well. I would look and wonder, how was I going to do what was asked? Sometimes I’d think that it was an uninteresting topic, or I’d no idea how to begin. I’d close my laptop and go away daunted or disappointed.

Then slowly I’d find myself becoming consumed. A thought would occur to me, usually out of the blue. I’d begin to wonder was this something I could make into a story? Over days I’d become more and more obsessed with the story until I had to drop everything to let it out. Finishing it always left me with a great feeling of satisfaction.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/69065182@N00/12011421575">Certainty and Doubt</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Then I’d leave it there, and sure enough over a few days I’d begin to doubt what I’d written. Was it any good? Did it make sense? Did I fall into traps I wasn’t even aware of in my writing? By the time I’d press send I’d be a mix of embarrassed and nervous by my story.

Thankfully the feedback when it arrived was always very positive, even when it was not.

Since then I’ve joined an online writing group, called Imagine, write, inspire. It is mentored by Carmel Harrington who has two books under her belt (Beyond Graces rainbow, and The life you left, both great reads) and another two soon to be published. She has been hugely generous of her time and I’ve found the group a great place to bounce off ideas, dust off stories, listen and learn with like minded individuals. Since joining I’ve had the courage to send off two stories to competitions, one was longlisted, the other is not to be decided on until September, so it’s still a maybe.

Come September my youngest is off to secondary school which means that for the first time in nineteen years I will be free from 9am until 4.15pm. I am thinking, surely I’ll have time to write? So my plan for the future is, to continue to write short stories and flash fiction, perhaps do another course and wait for it… continue to write my book.

Yes I have begun a book. I’ve only written the first chapter and already I’m full of doubt, but it’s a story I’ve been thinking of for quite some time. I’m not exactly sure where it’s going to go yet, but everyone must start somewhere.

So there you have it, my future hopes and dreams. I was reluctant to write this as sharing it meant I’d have to follow through, but I’ve done it now, so no going back.

The biggest drawback of all this is that I cannot share my stories here as all the competitions want unpublished stories. I itch to let you read them, but for now I’ll have to leave them to your imagination.

So now you know, probably more than my own family, where my writing is going. I will continue to blog here and read and enjoy your posts and comments as much as I always have. This blog has been a life saver for me, and now it has brought me to a new path in life.

I look forward to travelling it with you all.

photo credit: Certainty and Doubt via photopin (license)
photo credit: Chris Kealy via photopin cc
photo credit: notemily via photopin cc

The ones that got away.

How many drafts have you sitting unfinished? The other night as I was posting I realised I am only seven posts away from my 700th published post. I then checked how many unpublished posts were sitting there, gathering dust.

Would you believe it there are 194?

So I thought you would like to see what some of them look like. Some of these date back to my early days, while others were only last week. Some may yet see the light of day. Some will quite rightly not…

What next?281659324_d511fcf23f_n

Over the past few weeks I’ve been wondering… what next for me? For my writing? I’ve been blogging for over two years and I can’t quite put into words how much I enjoy it…

Take a moment to breathe.
In every day we have moments which wow us. Often we meet this moments, think ‘wow’ and then move on, forgetting them. Today I had a number of such moments…

For all the things you do.
The way you insist on driving slowly on motorways, and like a rally driver on a narrow country road, The way you think you are the only one, who can load the diswasher, The way you twitch when seeing…

Untitled.
In my life I have two sayings, the first is, “no one has everything” The second is, “Life is short, is this worth it?”

New day.
Do you look back wistfully, wondering if your best days are behind you? Or do you do as my youngest does, wake up every day with a smile, in anticipation of another good day? A combination of writing this blog…

Untitled
Tonight you came into the sitting room and began to recount part of your day. As I looked at you, standing before me, I zoned out and my mind began to wander. You saw me sitting in front of you…

Dreams and wishes
A while ago my younger brother, who is my daughters godfather, gave her a hardback notebook. It was titled ‘Dreams and Wishes’. Today I happened to come across it and read a page of it…

So there you have it, just some of the possibilities sitting waiting to be brought out of the darkness. I must say I like the sound of some of them, while others I looked at and wonder “What was that about?”

Now enough about me, what about you? Have you any interesting drafts waiting to be written?
I’d love to hear.

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