Tuesday 31 March 2009

Hope in the soap that is life

Hope - a little like the moisture on the outside of the dam wall when the cinematographer is letting you know something major is building up - is thinking of making its presence felt ...

I'm not saying I'm ready to engage in some 'Julie Andrew's style running up a mountain spinning' form of celebration - (not just yet) but my friend was able to give her full name and date of birth - when questioned yesterday - she turned over once too! These two momentous occurrences hold - not just the promise of improvements today - they contain the hope that we had no longer really believed would be possible - ...................... yep that one! I'll just settle for thinking it at the moment; I'm risking nothing. Maybe on the day they let more than just close family into her room I'll allow that thought to fully form. My hope bubble feels as insubstantial as a soap one at the moment but it is certainly a whole lot bigger than it was two days ago.

The Bransford debacle aka - Oh shucks!!
Not wishing to say I'm a bit of a novice in the posting - 'blog' not 'box' - department (although the case could be made both ways - all things considered) I seem to have commented identically twice on the only blog I follow daily! Panic - what can I say? I used to misplace my own blog periodically - so this is still learning on the steep side of the curve.

I couldn't get my tickets for READING 2009 - the cheap way - in the first hour - don't you just hate internet connections that are faster than yours? Never mind, I just need to find a more inventive way to track down a now ludicrously over-priced ticket or more!

Sunday 29 March 2009

sshhh! More to Muse about ... 'Not Exactly Human'

I'm whispering this - very quietly - not wishing to attract the attention of the cosmic force that I know tracks such things (and then creates ever more inventive ways to block my path to the post office) but the submission is actually ready to go ~~ : ( I can't put the real punctuation mark because that kind of thing would alert the sleeping Harbinger of Anti-writing }: (

It will hit the back of the post box on Monday - in Staff Meeting? or ... or ... or next Friday - but I'll be suicidal if it hasn't gone by then - psychosomatically sulphurous - with little trace of my 'WTF', 'laissez faire', 'if it doesn't kill me it is designed to make me stronger and ensure I have plenty to write about' attitude to life.

I'm celebrating my imminent success in completing the submission and getting it into a post box

I celebrated finishing the first manuscript too:

Now, I know this is the wrong way around but I celebrated the completion of 'Not Exactly Human' by writing a concept album for Muse - I know this is not the standard way around when using the albums as a rich source of ideas - so close it is almost like using the lyrics as a writing plan worked for others
But I genuinely spent two evenings writing song lyrics - for Muse - nothing but the best for me ('Park' boys' notwithstanding).

Anyone in the know - who could let Matt and the others - sorry this is writers short-hand for trying not too appear too geeky/knowledgeable/stalker-y - know that if they're having trouble with that tricky fifth-ish album they should make contact! I've ten fully completed (linked) lyrics all written and ready for them to work out the easy (musical) bit..!!!!

Song titles include:

  • Have to
  • Centre of Attention
  • Only Human


My favourite must be the completed lyric 'Muse gets the Christmas number one with....' :

Lonely Christmas AKA Wanted It Until I Got It


It's 2:50pm and the Harbinger has alreay stolen one hour from me today - I've Lit planning directed 'from on high' - not that high - the visiting inspector thinks I should plan 5 weeks on Dr Who - now don't get me wrong I love him in all his guises - from the behind the sofa stage to the leaning forward eagerly head in hands stage - but 5 weeks? Even the obsessive in me is balking at this one - 'ours not to question why' apparently..


Trial or Number one has returned to barking - I thought we'd cured that habit of his - the sunlight seems to have brought it back - I banned him from going to ASDA for barking - how many parents get to write that!!

Tribulation or Number two is dating - argh!!!! Just when I thought my life couldn't get much more complicated. Now I truly know the meaning of fear! Lovely boy really - but I couldn't eat a whole one!!



I know you think you see me
You think you know it all
You cannot hope to comprehend
Unless you want the quickest end
So brawl and crawl and haul and fall
You cannot know it all

Rip me from your senses
Tear me from your heart
Scratch me from the surface
Gouge your soul apart

I know you study all my moves
You think you know it all
You do not want to understand
But maybe on the other hand
You want to brawl and crawl and fall
So you can know it all

Rip me from your senses
Tear me from your heart
Scratch me from the surface
Gouge your soul apart

Know when you are a danger
Because you know it all
The truth that you appreciate
Comes with it fear and with it hate
They’ll make you crawl and make you fall
Because you know it all

Rip me from your senses
Tear me from your heart
Scratch me from the surface
Gouge your soul apart

It’s not enough to love you
Deception keeps you safe
It’s not enough to say I care
But knowing that it isn’t fair
I’d brawl and crawl and haul and fall
So you can know it all

by Elaine AM Smith

Thursday 26 March 2009

Return of the optimist after the 'inspector calls' - ripples

Ripples ...

From internal and external sources have washed through my week ~~

Pressure ripples - self-directed and external:
  • panic and self-examination - the less healthy end of self-analysis
  • Stock-take Day - so much more than taking stock - the feeling that you're being fitted for the old-fashioned version of the stocks
  • endlessly re-'reading', re-'visiting' and re-'evaluating' and re-'thinking' the planning (not changing it - there never was anything wrong with it) for the week
  • spending hours pondering every comment ever written in my books -humour is in the 'eye' of the two people involved in on the joke - not all jokes translate into 'inspection speak'
  • selecting the 4 books that best represent the different abilities in your set (ability sets in a Primary school - contentious apparently) - 22 disappointed

Didn't get to sleep before 2:30 am any night this week since Sunday!

Good ripples - achievements this week:

Learning my last lesson was rated - or would have been if it had followed the formal protocal (ie the whole session) a 1 (this is as good as it gets without inventing a whole new grading system - that'll be next week)

Passing my Refresher First Aid Course - I can again resuscitate an 'Annie' if not a real human (as yet, thankfully, untested)

PPM (pupil progress meeting) successfully negotiated - yes same week

Family ripples - Pressure caused by the offspring:


Multi-disciplinary heaven went well - as long as you can put up with the patently obvious being discussed as if it were new news - do you know we had noticed that he:

  • is hard to manage
  • doesn't like to do what he is directed to do
  • won't eat healthily
  • has eaten even when he says he hasn't
  • won't .... any of the other 557 things you can think of either

Yeah - we know that actually!


My 'intervention' - when the younger version decided to go to school dressed in a bad, British comedy, French Maid costume - didn't go down well - I rounded off the second day of the 'School "Non-Uniform" Wars' - by kicking the cupboard door when she explained that she couldn't wear brown tights because they matched

Pressure - physical:

Limping all day - see above - I have no sympathy - don't kick cupboards if you're not intending to hurt your feet - I seriously thought I'd broken something 'til the something clicked back

Enjoying the light relief?

That lot has been the light relief that has saved me crumpling in a big heap from Tuesday onwards - on Tuesday morning the hospital put my friend on a ventilator - to alleviate the pressure on her heart. The doctors stopped the anti-biotics - they didn't think they were helping.

Then came the flicker of hope from the misery of others - ripples

A cousin phoned my friend's mother on an unrelated matter and said - that sounds exactly like the condition an uncle and cousin had!

Suddenly the doctors had two avenues of investigation - after so many days when 'no worse' had stopped sounding like good news even to the most optimistic of ears:

  • hereditary - miserable but at least a cause rather than a symptom
  • other treatment avenues that appear to have worked for others

I haven't felt anything but pathetically tearful for days (when I stopped stressing long enough to allow the waves of real crises to crash into my conscious thoughts) -Hail! Return of the optimist! - It's a (qualified) good feeling!

Still Writing? Sort of ... this! I deserve some sleep and tomorrow is Friday and I'm 'rather fond' of those remember? I'm feeling that feeling grow!

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Grim things are so hectic I did get time for the Bransford Blog!

My friend is not exactly making a speedy recovery and this time, after the panic when the life support machine was almost needed on Saturday - 'no worse' is definitely good news! It isn't 'now worse' like it was on Saturday - grim!

Quiet week at the Smith household:
  • My Math and English books are in for 'work scrutiny' by the advisors Thursday
  • The other Smith just has the class assembly and lesson observation combination to deal with
  • Multi-services disciplinary meeting for the non-neuro-typical offspring Tuesday same day as the compulsory First Aid Refresher course need to help run a football club - (the other spare time activity I haven't even mentioned so far -(starting the minute my Chess Club ends - the other other thing I do that hasn't had a mention yet))
  • A school football tournament and Football training to run on Friday (the other, other, other thing I fit in with the work life balance)
  • Transporting to the Friday tournament and the Wednesday match just to add spice to the complications
  • The Mouse's big concert at the end of the week - I'm looking forward to it and hope to avoid sleeping through it!

The first of my Keep-fit nights has bitten the dust already this week - this is not making me exactly chuffed - but hey no-one is mentioning brain damage in my direction so as far as a spectrum of challenge to misery goes I'm peppy as a cheerleader!

I don't see a big writing week in the offing - but I really, nearly am going to get that subscription into the post!

I've got a teacher's sized Easter holiday coming soon - yum - Still Writing - I like Jess and Caleb's world it's so uncomplicated!

Half past two in the morning so it is probably late enough now for sleep - zzz!

Sunday 22 March 2009

Patient X claims its next victim

Well whoever said it should be a normal Saturday - what is normal?

'Mousie in the housie' is sadly Patient X's next victim - poor thing!

With her concert she is singing in tomorrow looming large we're hoping for the speedy version of the bug.

Still Writing - laughing in the face of adversity - and vomit - again!!

I spent the day researching and writing a submission - remember the one I was going to do last Saturday before the teenage version of man-flu struck the 'Bull in the china shop' version of offspring? - Yep! That one! That is the one I've been preparing.

The web-site has asked for three things I've never had to prepare before so I had to write those.

I needed to really know which of the three agencies which I've been researching I stand the best chance with and which agent. I decided that careful research should cut down on 'hopes disappointed' and the impact on global de-forestation that mailing out 60 x 40ish pages would create.

Nearly really - really, nearly, really - reading for posting (obviously I have not discounted the fact that an areoplane on its flight path over our house may decide to fall on it) but aside from that kind of interruption I can confidently suggest that I might just possibly get the bloody thing into the post box sometime in this millenia!!

Now for some sleep - although it is a little early - for tomorrow - as yet!

Friday 20 March 2009

For a trip that went well that went badly

Well - that was a week:

Highs and less highs ...

A tale of two halves ...

Life's rich tapestry twining in its merry way

Loved the Chateau - decor - log fire
Grounds - beautiful in the golden sunlight and amber pink sunsets etc
The forty-odd were superb company who tried hard to use every word of French they'd learned in all the right places

We travelled with Patient X and her stomach bug - sick as ...
Tuesday one patient
Wednesday four more sick
Thursday nine ill including me
14 (15 including the 'hysterically ill' attention seeker who didn't want to miss out
on all the fun!) (I still say that my use of the word is justified!)
each soundly and profoundly ill for 24 hours each

I remember uttering the phrase: 'This is the best day I have ever experienced on a school journey - ever!' on Wednesday
This was, of course, followed by Thursday - see above - being sick combined with caring for the sick when you're only the second sickest member of staff and the one with ' in charge' on the forms .
Oh! The guilt of going to bed Thursday evening knowing that two were still actively .... and four were sleeping off the affects of .... being sick - but being so ill that you've moved to camp next
to the radiator on the floor in the corner of your room so you can be warm and sleep.
Friday - no-one was ill from Chateau to ferry to home - bliss!

Got 'The Host' for Valentine's Day this year - it's is truly amazing how accurate your partner can be when you have explained carefully to anyone who will listen what you really want to have bought for your present.
Well Wednesday I knew I was going to caves - been to caves full of salactites etc before - no big deal - however, I'd been there half a minute when I realise that thing I don't really remember reading is about caves in France that had inspired the setting for The Host - suddenly my Wednesday and the caves went from vaugely interesting to 'well badly'~~!
The images in my head of the 'rooms' escalated in the light of these caves and the way of life sustained in times of danger! Enough waxing lyrical - the kids dragged me out eventually with me still 'yeah but .. yeah but ... just imagining!'

Measles and the Mallockee - Ian Ogilvy
The boy in the striped pyjamas - I swear we had at least two Brunos away with us - John Boyne
Shakespeare - Bill Bryson
The talk of the town - Ardal O'Hanlon

I ran out of books at this point - thanks to Will for providing the side step into Sci-fi
Prador Moon Neal Asher

STILL WRITING - not 32,000 words so much as 32 - made major decisions though:
putting back the bit I'd cut - it's not just about the central romance - give the bit players their side step into humour and real life - it can always be cut by some 'insightful' (heartless) Literary Agent/Editor later.
I have saved from the rubbish bin a few thousand words - which is similar to writing them again
Then I figured out how to link between chapters 3/4/5 including shuffling the chapter order - so flexible I'm positivey bendy!!! (Yes - deliberate in joke only one other person can share - the best kind I find!)

Sleep next - tomorrow is Saturday and that is writing day!

Sunday 15 March 2009

When 'no worse' is good news

You know things are bad when you feel relieved that things are 'no worse' - and you find yourself convincing yourself that it sounds more hopeful than 'no better'.

Tomorrow I set off for France with forty-odd children - but it could be worse because I could be setting off with forty odd-children. I was, and still am, looking forwards to it ( in-charge of notwithstanding).

What's with that word - notwithstanding? It's a comedy word - got to be one of Shakespeare's inventions - I can just see him sucking on the end of his quill trying to find a word that matched his meter and rhyme - 'Oh pebbledash! I'll have to invent another word ... got it - notwithstanding on the landing .... gadzooks! I've got it!'

Hysteria strikes again.

I've noticed that I have a propensity for writing the word 'hysteria/-erical' in my blogs - could I just suggest you pop in and help my other half out this week - while I'm finding the forty-odd a piece of cake in comparison - and we'd see how often you thought it; felt it; wrote it.

Speaking of which (writing - I mean) I spent hours today transferring the key notes for four chapters into a very large note book to take with me to France. Chances of writing 32,000 words in five days and four nights - with pen and paper - seem quite slim but I was preparing for all eventualities today.

Preparation check list:
  • Prepared for everything weather related from monsoons to heatwaves
  • Illness related from both ends of the digestive tract to external conditions and internal ones too
  • Considered other key areas related to financial - animal, vegetable and mineral

I think I'm ready to go.

Now, as long as we're not invaded by Martians I think I've got everything covered.

Saturday 14 March 2009

My friend is ill

My friend is ill - really ill - transferred from our local hospital to somewhere more specialist - unable to receive grapes, flowers or visitors - ill.
I'm sad - for her, her family - her son's forgotten birthday - sad.
The sad of not being needed or being able to help too - that feels like the sad for me kind of sad but that is just the tip of the iceberg of exactly how sad I feel.

i haven't felt this sad since I found that I couldn't actually cure Autism - but I was able to really work on that.

I hated proof reading Jess and Caleb's world because that's our thing.
I'm going to be in France next week - much use I'll feel there.
I'd put my faith in doctors if I had any - I hope they're good: well trained and clever - I hope they've been sleeping well and are not overworked.

Hope - that's a word.

As sure as little eggs

So - I think it's Saturday morning - TODAY IS THE DAY!

Two sets of chapters one to three ready to go - I do that now post out in pairs - the certainty that one submission is all it will take a dim and distant memory - I do two at a time now! Some way to go until I get to sixty in a mail shot as I heard from someone else.

But no - back to the subject under discussion - two submissions ready to go (apart from the 'hike' to the post office and the buying the never going to bio-degrade plastic bag-lets and investing in the stamps times two - make that four) - really nearly ready to go!

So what could go wrong with my plan for the morning? Missing out-reach carers? No, that was last week - this week it's teenage flu.

Check list for the guilt life balance:
  • still writing
  • still posting,
  • still packing for France,
  • still juggling

I think the periodic groans from the room next door are a nice touch!

Oh well - carers to cancell - submissions to post - plumbers to wait in for

Not so much OXO as 'Oh No' !

Friday 13 March 2009

It's Friday so it's time to really write


Friday is an electric word - the start of things

Don't get me wrong it is Saturday that is truly great - the uncrowned monarch of the week

(Sunday 'smells of desperation' - how much can you do - that you don't want to do - before it must be done? Sunday even in written word format is a scary beast let alone in actuality.)

But Friday has that 'all things are possible' air of expectation about it.

I love the words that provoke an instantaneous emotional reaction so strong it translates into a physical one too.

Friday - exhausted between 5 and 7
Now I'm feeling the word take hold - let me at the computer

I've got that balance thing not sorted

Day two in Victorian Watford

The social experiment is progressing well - hysteria equals bathing in a wash bowl.

If my work life balance was a vision of harmony and equilibrium I would have:
  • called a plumber when the boiler opted for not working
  • done the pile of work I brought home
  • made actual food - as opposed to skilfullycombining ingredients from the chip shop ((with frozen peppers and sweetcorn) - that made it sound almost healthy - sorry for that gross exaggeration of the nutritional content of the food)
  • learned how to set up and blog - found it lost it and found it again
  • written
  • read
  • slept

Can brackets have barackets - oh no back to the supported group for writing development!

Can I XOXO like Gossip Girl? 'OXO OXO' - oh look there's me - right on trend!!

The second posting is so much harder than the first

I lost my blog for while there ....

It was like I put it down and it wasn't there when I went back to look for it ... found it again - nearly started worrying!

Started eight diaries - usually on the first of January or the day after my birthday when I'd been given a new book to write in - number nine is the one - the one not hidden under the bed! I remember how obsessive I used to be about diary secrecy - this is the on-line equivalent of writing it on the garden wall!

Now I've found the blog I mis-placed I ought to do the sleep thing - check list of the day:

  • written
  • worked
  • submitted a very partial submission of the book (first)
  • avoided more work
  • created, written, lost and found blog
  • written
  • remembered to communicate with children and partner
Just reading and sleep to go and maybe a bit of writing and I don't mean this!

Thursday 12 March 2009

Still Writing

Move over JK and Stephenie - room for another at the top?

Last October I started writing a book - by January I'd finished writing it - or that's what I thought at the time.

I posted out draft one to a Literary Agent - only one - obviously 'cos how many Agents do you need?
It came back with a 'smiley' note and polite encouragement - they're my favourite people - I'm putting them on my Christmas Card list because I laugh when I read the first draft now; they must have been in hysterics- bless!

Did you notice this is in Times New Roman? The font of champions not the one I avoid like the plague - see development in writing awareness already - I'll be in the G&T group of writers any day now.