Low Resolution, High Resolution ~ New Year Thoughts

Low Resolution, High Resolution ~ New Year Thoughts


I considered calling this article, The Last Post, because it will be the last one to appear in 2013, but then I realised that this might sound as if I am giving up blogging. This year has been a huge struggle to keep going with lots of things and I confess that making sure I post a new piece once a week has sometimes been quite a challenge.

That makes me wonder who I am blogging for and why.

Blogging is almost by definition confessional, personal and yet very public. I share my thoughts because I believe that they are worth sharing, that those who read what I write may find it interesting, helpful or challenging. At times the conviction that this is so is shaken; a former colleague made various attacks on me on Facebook indicating that she found my outpourings tedious. It upset me more than is reasonable and made me question the worth of my writing, especially my poetry. In the end, I chose to ignore that viewpoint based on the torrent of support I received.

I wasn’t sure I had anything I could offer today as a hope-encrusted gem, making the best of the year gone by and projecting desires and wishes for the year to come. I don’t generally do the whole New Year’s resolution thing, not since teenage years when it usually consisted of one muddled wish to be thinner. Yet, here I am in middle-age, fatter than ever. Nothing ever works out quite how we desire it to.

2013 has been a hard year for me. I had to fight to get diagnoses of two conditions, one life limiting, the other life limiting AND life threatening. I knew there was something very wrong, and yet getting through to medical professionals with it has been terribly tough. I can’t help thinking that had I not been who I am, I might well be looking at a grim future and an early death. While I accept that neither condition is easy to diagnose or well-known, it seems criminal that blood test anomalies had been ignored and glossed over probably for some years. I have now seen my enemy on an ultrasound screen. 8mm by 5mm doesn’t sound that big but given that the gland the tumour grew from should be no bigger than the head of a pin (or thereabouts) it’s colossal. I’m hoping that the removal of it will give me new life. I’m sick of pain, sick of the fogginess and memory fuzziness, the feeling of being significantly impaired, of being woken 8 times a night because of the polyuria, of having a permanently dry mouth that means I need to sip water to stay hydrated. I’m tired of being tired, and of all the other nasty symptoms that doctors were originally ascribing to depression. I’m fed up of being sad and being unable to feel good about things. My real hope for 2014 is that I can start to live again.

The writer’s block I have wrestled with for as long as I’ve been blogging may well turn out to be a direct result of the malfunctioning parathyroid. It’s hard to carry ideas, plots, characters, dialogue, settings and descriptions when your short term memory is peppered with tiny holes. Much of my writing is brewed in the subconscious layers of my mind, but is filtered through the conscious strata and ordered by the logical, methodical processes that are affected by the illness. The continuation of writing during this long illness is something I feel I should be proud of, yet I fear that perhaps I’m actually a crap writer who’s burned out all her good stuff years ago.

I did some of the things I aimed at doing this year. I published The Moth’s Kiss, got it and The Wild Hunt out in gorgeous peachy-skinned paperbacks. I reviewed and re-uploaded the Kindle version of Strangers & Pilgrims, cleaning it of the typos that had marred it. You perhaps cannot imagine how very difficult and painful that was for me, or how cathartic it was. I spoke at the TAP conference in March. But I didn’t get The Bet out in paperback, and I didn’t put together the book I intended to release of the top posts from this blog, or the ones I wanted to do of my poetry.

I began a new novel in January, which has been hard work to write and I think I am roughly half way. I’m about half way through the story I began originally here as a serial, Lost. I’ve written some short stories, some poetry, and I’ve managed to blog here at least once a week, all year. It’s none of it been easy.

Things I want to do next year include delving ever deeper into the Grail lore I’ve been studying and writing about, mostly privately. I want to write more for myself. I’ve realised that while I have a niche for my writing, and I have a lot of wonderful readers, I’m not going to ‘make it’ as a best selling author, selling tens of thousands of books, or even millions. To have even one person read, enjoy and benefit from my writing is success. I’d rather stay small and stay myself than be lured into chasing the will o’ the wisp of commercial success. I can remain resolutely amateur and while I wish to present my work in as accessible and attractive a manner as possible, to invest money I don’t have in let’s say,cover art that aims to seduce the potential reader (and other stratagems) I’d rather be original and myself and risk being deemed ‘unprofessional’.

I do want to get my poetry out there and also the compilation of the best posts from this blog, but I don’t want it to be something to pressure myself with. I know now I am quite ill and the last thing I need is to stress myself with foolish self-imposed deadlines. I’d rather have the pleasure of using my clearer moments to write things, and enjoy writing, than spend the time on things I don’t enjoy. If my hopes for this illness are borne out, then once I begin to recover, then tasks I have hitherto found as hard as tap-dancing in quick drying cement, may flow more readily and take up less energy.

There’s books on my hard drive ready to be polished up for publishing; I’m about half way with Square Peg so if there are any of you who fancy being beta-readers or proof readers, I’d be happy to hear from you. There are two sequels to The Bet. And several other tales I’ve maybe never mentioned before, as well as the incomplete ones (two of which I have mentioned already, and another two I haven’t), and a longer short story I’d hoped to have out for Christmas and failed.

Anyway, I have meandered and muddled along through this article and I need to wrap it up by saying a huge thank you to everyone who has read this blog, either as a regular thing or as an occasional dip-in. I’d like to thank those who have bought and read my books: you do not know quite how much that means to me.

May the new Year of 2014 bring you blessings and challenges in a balanced measure, enough to grow and develop and also to have much joy to counter the sorrow that is woven through all of life. 

8 thoughts on “Low Resolution, High Resolution ~ New Year Thoughts

  1. You’re brave and tenacious tackling the obstacles in your way and to keep writing. I’ve too many ideas and words for my own good and am challenged to sharpen my output. I don’t blog more than two or three times a month. If any of the blogs I follow post once a week or more I can’t always keep track. Blessings to you, and good energy in the year ahead.


    • Thank you. It has been a great pleasure to read your always-sage and compassionate comments, even though I am aware I have not always been able to respond.
      When I began blogging almost five years ago, I posted several times a week, and I have even done it daily during various initiatives. But since, like you, I find if a blog I like posts more often than once or twice a week I cannot keep up, I decided that I would no longer take part in any daily blogging challenges.


  2. You’re a great writer Viv. Sorry to hear that a colleague had been vindictive like that. I was blogging at the time my sister was ill and with her permission I blogged about what she was going through and how it was affecting us as a family. It was by its nature quite personal and at times difficult and poignant. It got a lot of readers and was some of the best writing I’ve ever done but the most painful to think about. It’s now disappeared into the digital ether and I’m in no way sad about that.
    Most people were very supportive and understood what I was doing. One person who I’d met in the summer locally through blogging was really not. This person attacked us, gossiped about us privately, suggested to people that it was all attention seeking. On and on it went. I was in a pretty confused state and then entered grief which turned into a full blown depression that lasted for years which you know about. This person tried, but failed to go for the jugular. This same person also suggested that a mutual friend whose both parents were suffering from cancer was making it up to seek attention. Both parents soon died but the vindictive person was completely unrepentant.
    We removed this person from our life pretty sharply but that hasn’t stopped them continuing on but thankfully we’re far removed from it. This is why I hesitate to blog much or if I do I retreat from it. It makes me feel too vulnerable. Not that most people aren’t supportive or interested or kind, just that there is always the danger that you’re opening up to people who see vulnerabilities and go for them.
    The person who attacked us we realised is deeply, deeply mixed up and permanently dissatisfied with their life whatever they do. They’re someone who over the years has sought to alleviate their own pain by causing it in the lives of others, someone who was bullied who responds by trying to become a bully. We wouldn’t play the victim and that really incensed them. I feel sorry to a degree for this person, I certainly pity them. It must be dreadful being trapped in that head. Who on earth would attack someone who had just lost a much loved family member ?
    I suspect if someone has been personally attacking you because you’ve the courage and audacity to write honestly and openly then they too have a few issues they’d be better occupied addressing. Keep writing Viv, I for one would miss your blog even though I don’t comment often.


    • It sounds as if this sort of nasty behaviour is sadly more common than I thought; you had a terrible time of it.
      I always love to see your comments here, Martyn, and it’s a comfort to hear that you value my work so well.
      May 2014 smile on you and yours!


  3. May 2014 bring you joy, health and contentment – I will always be grateful for the comfort Away with the Fairies brought me and look forward to reading your future publications. Amanda


    • It brings a real lift to read your kind words; it’s a potent reminder that I don’t write just for myself alone.
      Hoping the coming year brings you lovely things. Thank you xx


  4. Good for you, Viv! I have found blogging/diary-writing, being healthy, and if they don’t like what you write, too bad, so sad, bugger off!
    Your struggles with health are heart-warming. You are tenacious, and call a spade a spade.
    My depression is getting manageable. Life is good.
    I wish the best for you in 2014.
    Cheers from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!


    • I once knew an Anglican nun who shared my Christian name, who said pretty much the same thing: she said, you call a spade a bloody shovel and I like that.
      I’m glad to hear your depression is becoming manageable; I love seeing all the pictures you post from the lovely place where you live. Cats and deer and countryside give me a lift. May the new year bring you good things too Jenn xx


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