Hopes, dreams, desires but no resolutions

Hopes, dreams, desires but no resolutions


I’m running a little late with my New Year’s Day post, but we do have over 360 days left still.

I’ve avoided making resolutions for many years because being a past-master of self-sabotage, I’ve always managed to jinx myself before I’ve even started, so the most I am going to work at is intentions, hopes, etc.

2012 is a much-hyped year but I am not even going to dignify the silliness by attempting to talk about the end of the world!

My hopes for this year include: my daughter’s full recovery from M.E. This is a very important one, and also is something I want very much. Other hopes include: finding a decent job I enjoy that doesn’t drain the life out of me with office politics and also pays well. This one is something of a forlorn hope; not convinced how many companies would like to employ a middle-aged woman trying to launch a new career, regardless of how able I actually am. More realistic hopes work-wise include doing an increased number of Continental trips, teaching a steady amount over the whole year. Unrealistic hopes: a pay rise and better working conditions for my teaching job.

I am also hoping that the steady month on month increase in sales of my books continues to grow and that people who enjoy my writing will pass news of it onto others. Without a marketing budget, I do rely on word of mouth.

Dreams: somehow finding my mojo again. I feel like the sheer slog of getting books promoted has driven away my joy in writing. During the winter months, I have a lot of time on my hands that I could use to write. I get little done and I have no motivation to get myself back in the saddle. Lots of people have been talking about strategies and five year plans and so on, but I realised that being the disorganised mess I’ve always been, setting that sort of thing out is just going to be another stick to beat myself with for failing. I am a writer, I am not a businesswoman or a marketer. I can’t force myself into a mould I cannot ever fit and so I want to be true to myself and retain my own personal integrity. Some people might sneer at that and mutter that I am doomed to fail as a writer. So be it, then. I’d rather fail as a professional writer than fail as a human being trying to live an honest and personally authentic life. This means I shall continue to steer clear of practises that I have seen others use to sell books and which do not sit comfortably with my own ethical and moral stance.

More dreams: I want to do a lot more deep, inner work. Meditation, drumming, journeying, retreats and pilgrimages. I’ve not made a plan, but I have a number of new books to work through.

I want to read more generally. I am bored of most books, and have been finding a great deal of comfort in the surprise discoveries of certain Indie books, where the homogenising influences of editorial pressures have not slashed and burned the originality out of new works. The books I have written about on here have been a selection of these, not so much reviews(this is not and never will be a book review blog) as recommendations. There are more I wish to “review” but again, I don’t want to feel pressure to do so. I have had requests from various writers to review theirs, and in time, I hope to do so. But I don’t want to change the focus of this blog by concentrating on reviews.

More dreams: I am considering releasing 3 volumes of works all drawn from this blog. Since there are over 600 posts here, articles, poetry, short stories etc, it is impossible for a reader to trawl through the categories and find what might be most enjoyable/helpful. So I envisage 3 books: Tales from the Tightrope ( a book of short stories), Songs from the Tightrope (poetry) and  Words from the Tightrope (articles) all to be released in sequence as e-books and as paperbacks. In terms of the Words one, I’d be interested from my readers which posts would you most like to see in a book.

Desires: to get lost in writing again. I have an extensive back catalogue of novels I shall be releasing, but I also have 2 novels in various stages of disrepair, and ideas and thoughts for plenty of others. But to bring them to fruition, I need to be able to find the motivation to write. I don’t write for the money, or for fame (though a moderate amount of each is acceptable) but for the stories themselves. They have a life force all of their own, and at present, I am unable to really channel that.

More desires: to find some lasting inner peace and not be driven by my fears and my failings. I’m never going to be perfect and I need to accept that I will fail, I will hurt people at times, and that I am human and utterly fallible. I drive myself very hard at times; I want to learn how to step back and say, “Enough!” and rest.

I want to sleep. It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it, but I have been having trouble with insomnia consistently for some years now. I have times where I sleep well; at present it is very poor indeed. I think this ties in with my inability to let myself stop and rest. Things that I cannot resolve prey on my mind, very deeply and my mind doesn’t quite shut down enough to rest. I’ve tried dozens of remedies and techniques and some work for a while. But like my baseline depression this goes deep; cut off the shoots, they spring again because the roots remain untouched.

I want to stop hating myself. Of all the dreams, hopes and desires, this is probably the biggest one of all, and the oldest of problems. If I could find out why I feel this way, then perhaps I might be able to change it.

Anyway, a very brief run through of some of the things at the forefront of my mind in these early days of the new year. I’m down with a cold that refuses to come out properly and my face feels mashed and sore with inflamed sinuses, so I hope this was not too garbled.

Let’s see if together, we can make a difference to the lives of others this year, and maybe also our own. For it is in giving that we shall receive.


Interview with Isobel Trelawny ~ Star of Away With The Fairies

Interview with Isobel..


As a writer, I meet some extraordinary people in the course of my work and I get to write their stories for them. Of all the people who have appeared in my books, Isobel Trelawny, whom you may know from Away With The Fairies, has appeared in more tales than anyone else. She’s played best supporting actress in several but she’s the star of Away With The Fairies and today she’s agreed to sit down with me and have a bit of a chat. We’ve got the coffee, but instead of Isobel’s favourite biscuits, (chocolate Hob-Nobs), I’ve only been able to find some ginger snaps.


Viv: I hope the biscuits aren’t too much of a let down.

Isobel (laughing; she does this quite a bit). That’s OK, I’m cool with ginger biccies.

Viv: I’m glad to hear that! Anyway, thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.

Isobel: It’s a pleasure. Gets me a bit of space in my day, to be honest.

Viv: I gather that can be quite a problem, yes?

Isobel: Well, I know your family is grown up now, but I’m sure you remember how much hard work small children are. Miranda, my oldest, is alarmingly bright and I have to be up to the mark all the time. Luke’s much more laid-back about life. And simply finding the mental space to day dream rather than doing things all the time is really hard. I’m often so knackered by the time the kids are in bed, I really don’t have the energy to paint, or even think.

Viv: You weren’t sure you’d be able to have kids, as I recall?

Isobel: True, which makes me feel guilty about whinging about them when I do. I had a series of miscarriages when Mickey and I first got married. There wasn’t an explanation; there was nothing wrong, as far as the quacks could see. I just kept losing them early on. Then some years later, I woke up one morning not only knowing I was pregnant but also being fairly sure this one would go to term.

Viv: Your parents died when you were pregnant with Luke. How did that affect you?

Isobel (laughing again) You know damn well how it affected me! OK, well, I was shocked and then I was angry. I’d not had a good relationship with them, to be honest. I felt (and I had good evidence about this) that they neither of them approved of me and my life choices very much. I was just at the point in my life when I felt it might be possible for them to start approving of me when they killed themselves. I don’t think anyone really knows how they truly feel about their parents till they’re gone. I certainly didn’t. I didn’t know how ill they both had been. I’d kept them at arms’ length for years, avoiding anything that might bring out any emotional reaction. And when they were gone, suddenly, like that, I couldn’t process it. I was heavily pregnant and people kept telling me to relax and not get upset and so on. Oh and “Think of the baby!” So it was a while later before I could start to even think about it all. By then, you see, people assume you’ve done your grieving and you’re tickety-boo. But I wasn’t. Far from it. I was pretty much at breaking point and yet, I simply didn’t know it. It was killing that deer with the car that was the tipping point that meant I couldn’t go on pretending any longer.

Viv: I know. Since the events of Away With The Fairies, you’ve had some more tough things to deal with, so it does seem a long, and ongoing process.

Isobel: I think what’s gone on since then has been long overdue. I’ve got a streak of wildness that I thought I had under control but it seems not. I’ve always soared from extremes to extremes but never quite as devastatingly as this. 

Viv: Now, your husband Mickey is a clergyman. Looking at you, you seem a long way from any clergy wife of popular but horribly dated sterotypes.  (Isobel has henna’d hair, wears ripped and paint smeared jeans, and a rather wonderful amber necklace that matches her eyes. She talks very fast and with a lot of hand gestures; she’s a comfortable person to be around but she’s not prim and certainly not proper) How much impact does his job have on you?

Isobel: Too much, sometimes. The doorbell and the phone never stop bloody ringing. Oh don’t get me wrong, generally, the vast majority of folks aren’t a problem, but once in a while, I get people making a big deal of the fact that I don’t do anything in church. I don’t get involved in groups or lead anything. The fact that I turn up at all is a miracle some times. My best friend Chloe is a very rare sight in any church, and her husband and Mickey trained together.

Viv: I’ve met Chloe too. Given what she went through at college, I’m not surprised.

Isobel: I feel mildly guilty at times about that. The events of her final year at the vicar factory which ended with her breaking her leg every which way but Sunday were partly down to me. My wild, rebellious streak got out of hand and poor Chloe was the one who got hurt badly. I don’t think she’s ever blamed me, but I do sometimes blame myself.

Viv: I’m sorry to hear it. I know the story and I think whatever you and Chloe had done, it would have ended badly. Possibly worse.  Now, you were able to buy a small place in the country where you could paint. I’m having trouble with my writing and I’d love to spend some time at your cottage. Is it really so spooky as you said?

Isobel: It can be scary, which might be me understating it rather a lot. But it rather depends what baggage you go with. My friend Antony spent some time there a while ago. But apart from stopping his mobile phone working, nothing happened that time. More recently, he stayed, and some deep issues he’d not been able to deal with began to surface. It’s one of those places that has a foot in both realms. In the ordinary, everyday world, it’s a slightly run down, rather picturesque hideaway. But it’s also a place that stands on the edge of the other world, the world of beings that we seldom interact with, and that can be tough to deal with.

Viv: You’re talking about the fairies now? 

Isobel: (grinning now) I suppose I am!

Viv: You’re a pretty pragmatic sort of person from what I know of you, and you’re not at all one of these New Age believe-anything women. So, far as I can see, you’re not the most likely candidate for getting caught up with the whole concept of fairies. Can you tell me what they’re like?

Isobel: I can tell you what they’re not. They’re not anything like what you see in modern depictions of fairies. There’s no glitter or pretty-pretty faces. None of the sparkly magic and so on you see in both kids’ books and the New Age ones you referred to. They’re…..well, primeval is the only word I can think of. Earthy. They’re not what you think and they’re not what you expect. I’m not even convinced I understand them myself. 

Viv: OK, and that brings me to a hard question. How does any of what you experienced in the cottage square with your faith?

Isobel: That IS a hard question. I’m not sure how to answer it. Churchianity tries to give nice neat answers to life’s tough questions and it gets cross and burns people at the stake for refusing to accept those neat answers as all that there is. I don’t believe we can know all the answers, but that we have to keep asking the questions anyway, even after we think we know the answers. Certain branches of Churchianity would tell me that my parents are burning in hell for committing suicide, that by that one act after two good, caring lives they damned themselves forever. And yet, I came to see that their deaths were possibly the most noble things they’d ever done.

Viv: Churchianity? I like that term!

Isobel: So do I. The thing is, God is not bound by human rules and that sadly is what many churches have sought to do: bind God by their rules. That’s like trying to cage the air, and make it obey your rules. Anyway, enough God-talk.

(She’s looking a bit uncomfortable about this, so I think it’s time to move the conversation to something else.)

Viv: OK, so tell me about your painting, your art?

Isobel: That’s tough. Hmm. Let me think. OK, I don’t have your way with words, but I think I paint my stories. You write yours, but I have to paint them. I paint the things I see and I feel inside my head, and I try to use that to tell the greater narrative of life. I can only paint a tiny section of it and hope that it adds to the greater picture somewhere.

Viv: I certainly feel you succeed with it, as much as any of us can. Anyway, can you sum up for us your experiences?

Isobel: You do go for asking the tough questions! I’ll try. Hmmm. Perhaps it’s best to say that there are more things that we don’t know that that we do, and to be open-minded about the world and not get bogged down with dogmatic answers to life’s big questions. Oh and love your family with all your strength. That’s something too easy to forget, that the love you share with family and friends is not an automatic right that’ll be there forever. People die and they don’t always give you any warning of it. So tell those you love that you love them. I never got a chance to tell my mum and dad I loved them until they were gone. Don’t make my mistake.

Viv: Thank you very much indeed, Isobel. I’d like to wish you luck with your continued exploration of the world through your art.

Isobel: It’s a pleasure. Now, do you think we can sneak off for a glass of wine somewhere? I’m parched!

Viv: Sure, but you’re buying!


Amazon US



Amazon UK



Lulu paperback (will be on both Amazon sites in time)


(The events with Chloe will be appearing in a new book this year, titled, Square Peg. From the title I suspect you can guess that one of the themes is not fitting in and being uncomfortable about it. I’ll let you know when it’s ready. Many of the characters in my books appear or connect with other characters in other books, so you can often meet new people and familiar ones in surprising places.)