About me

“I’m a writer and poet and a longterm sufferer of depressive illness. I try to keep smiling but sometimes I fail.

I love the natural world, and am a great fan of the vagaries of the English weather.”

That was written when I started this blog in February 09. I really didn’t know what I was getting into and I didn’t know what to write about myself. To be honest, I didn’t think anyone would really be interested. Now I know differently.

First, the blog title. It came to me before I even thought of starting a blog. I’ve enjoyed the whole concept of the Zen koan, a short question that usually has no answer but is intended to provoke more questions and more thinking. Think of the classic one: What is the sound of one hand clapping? Most of my posts are written  with this aim in mind; I just lack the compactness of a koan. I try to look at the world from another angle. I like(like: not sure I like it but I am inwardly compelled to do it) to ask questions, sometimes awkward ones. There is no final answer about anything. That’s the joy and the sorrow of it.

I am a professional writer: that is to say, I earn money(and a few other benefits) by doing so. Not my living, yet, I have two day jobs for that. I write about life, I write about what is important to me. I write fiction and poetry and I ought to warn you that some of what is billed as fiction is true and what is billed as….non-fiction may actually be something else entirely.

Apart from one tongue in cheek article,  I don’t write about writing. Or the publishing struggle. There is no short cut or easy way for either. I write because I enjoy it and because it frees something in me. I had my first novel published this year: you can see more details of this either by reading the page Strangers and Pilgrims, or clicking the links therein.

I’m still a depressive and I still love the English weather. I’d just like a little less extreme variations in either.

58 thoughts on “About me

  1. Your poem that you remember since you were sevnteen. It has the call of someone needing peace.

    I understand.

    But can it not be that they need peace to think, peace to understand and deal with all the stuff that gets thrown at us each day.

    We all need this kind of peace sometimes.

    Me too.


    • Oh absolutely!
      Peace is a valuable thing, however you see it. But I managed to miss off the subtitle of the Hopkins’ poem. It should also read, A nun takes the veil, and I emotionally identified with that unknown, imagined nun, how I would feel in her sandals.
      Later Hopkins poems really go deep into the torment of self and depression; this was an early one.
      nice to see you here, and thank you for the comment.


  2. Hey Viv. I am so glad to see you taking these steps if those are the steps you know in your heart you must take.

    there is no right or wrong way just your way

    i am a bipolar and that is a serious debilitating illness and i can relate.

    You can see by the Way I WriTe hEre that I don’t care what people think__see!

    So i support you as i have always since we first met.



  3. I too have suffered from depression all my life. Thank goodness for pharmaceuticals and therapy! Anyway, can’t wait to dig in and read, and good luck with your blog. Be careful…its addicting! It becomes like your baby!


    • good to see you here!
      I gave up on pharmaceuticals last autumn, and made a switch to St.John’s wort, at least until the spring weather means I can’t take it any more(photosensitivity), and finding therapy in the British Isles is impossible unless you can pay. The NHS provides some for the most severe cases, but walking wounded like me are not considered ill enough to merit it. It’s frustrating because while I am high functioning, I know that I’d be a million times better(and more productive for society let alone my own life) if I had some help.
      My baby? Nah, this lets me sleep at night!


  4. Happened to come by your blog and fell in love with your poems. They are so touching and sweet. I have not read everything yet but they are mesmerizing. I will keep coming to drink from your cup. Thank You and Take Care.


  5. Hello. I came across your blog going through the WordPress tags, and I think it’s wonderful! Your poems are lovely – I especially love Here Be Dragons and Dangerous Age (being a 36 year old female, that one really spoke to me.) I’ve bookmarked you and look forward to reading more.


    • I’m a little older, but I wrote Dangerous Age a few months after my fortieth birthday(I shall be 43 next month) and we were as a family going through some dramatic changes; a fortnight later, everything shifted again and it took months before I found any sort of equilibrium again. I had to have some heavy duty medicine that stopped my whole cycle in its tracks and threw me into a sudden(but temporary menopause). I was briefly a crone!
      thank you for your kind feedback!


  6. I find it hard to relate to your work (being 15 years old and such) but i find that there’s a wisdom that hides in the shadows of your pieces that i can learn invaluable lessons from.
    Props to you, looking forward to reading more.


    • Thank you.
      I don’t think being fifteen is neccesarily a bar to either wisdom or understanding(I have a daughter a little older) but it is a bar to people taking you seriously, as I remember well.
      Good luck and thanks for popping by!


  7. Hi Viv, I just wanted you to know that I do read your blogs as well. I appreciate your visiting my pages and commenting. I have to admit that I get wrapped up in “me” and often become blind and deaf to “other”. Perhaps you are part of the important “other” that will draw me out of my “self” more. Is there hope for one that turns 60 in a few more months? Ah but then, I already know that answer. There has always been hope, that is why I still roam this version of reality.


    • Hi, great to see you here, Retired Eagle.
      I know what you mean, I get very wrapped up in my own issues and have to make myself look beyond my own inner world/ In many ways, visiting other blogs as well as having my own is a safer way of doing this when I am feeling low, though I have had the odd TRoll here. They are part of the blogging world I’d rather avoid, but then that’s what a) moderation and b) the delete button is for. I got one the other day asking me if I believed in various things, including hell, to which I wanted to reply, no, I don’t believe in Hell(as he probably saw it) but I do believe in the Spam folder and that’s just where you’re going!
      There’s always hope, says me, who was moping all yesterday for just the selfsame reason. I turn forty three next week and am off shortly to have lunch with my beloved parents in Cambridge(we have to go for my daughter’s tutorial) so they can celebrate with me and give me presents that are to bulky to post easily.


  8. Oh, I just remembered that I haven’t shown you some of my poetry – http://rgl-poetry-with-soul.blogspot.com/

    I will be returning there later this spring to add so much more. My poetry is sitting in wait for my return to my house in Canada. And here in Mexico (where I get sun and warmth which helps me get through the dark and cold of Canada in Winter) I am being quiet other than through my photo blog site.


    • I shall have a read when I get a quiet moment.
      I rather envy you the two homes thing, especially the warm side. I suffer a fair bit with SAD and this winter has been horrendous for me.
      I do so love the way you tie the awe inspiring photos so beautifully to your thoughts!


    • Lovely poem, thank you.
      You can just call me Viv, the 66 is just one of those random numbers one ends up assigned to avoid confusion with other people using WordPress who also have Viv as their name!
      We all do what we can.


  9. Thank you Viv. I’m glad you came to read the poem.

    Yes – we all do what we can.

    My poetry inhabits a landscape of many sentiments, not least among them is an underlying message of Hope.

    Thanks again, Viv.


  10. You are a poet with depression diagnosis?
    Guess what? Me too.
    I have suffered depressions since I was 19 years old.
    I understand the pain you know so well.
    I like your poetry. The few I have read this far.
    I wish you the best you can get. You must know very well that from depression sands creativity arises.


    • I’ve been over to have a peep at your blog but as I don’t speak your language, I’ve not been able to read it or comment. You’re very brave to try in mine! Well done!


  11. Hey Viv…This is my first time around to your blog. I landed up here from somewhere else. And just out of curiosity, I checked the about section. And just the 2 sentences from you have made a lot of impact.
    “I try to keep smiling but sometimes I fail.”
    This is the essence of life. And you have so brilliantly put it in words. So honest and so apt. I am really happy to have come across this work of yours. 🙂


    • Hi Dev,
      I think I have seen you over at my friend J’s place and a few others so it’s lovely to have you visit here now. Thank you.
      Yes, I do try and fail but that is indeed the essence of life. Most people who know me in the outer world beyond my pc, are shocked rigid when they find out about my depressive issues, because I am known for generally being a cheerful soul and one who can always be relied upon to help others out of their troubles. I think it comes a big surprise that I struggle so much too,
      I look forward to meeting you steadily here; I shall pop over and visit your blog soon,


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  14. Hi Viv,

    There is something very special happening around here. Reading about you and the comments coming straight from the heart. Very inspiring indeed.

    Many thanks and best regards.


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  16. Hi Viv
    I think this is a great blog site. I wondered have you read the works of Sydney Banks (such as The Missing Link or The Enlightened Gardener). You may well find them very beneficial.


  17. Hi Viv, I love your blog and have nominated you for a sunshine award – if you would like to participate please check out the post Sunshine on my blog and follow the instructions: 1. link back to the blogger who nominated you; 2. copy and display the sunshine award logo; 3. Write ten random things aboout yourself; 4. nominate ten more bloggers. All the best, Roberta


  18. Dear Viv, Just writing to say I came across your blog while searching idly around about Elizabeth Goudge. You have a wonderful blog and I really enjoyed reading your posts. Take care!


  19. Extraordinary synchronicity. The Nun takes the Veil is the note left by the suicide in the book seeking beta readers! You said Hmmm and that brought me here(via Roz Morris) Then I find you were just down the road at Glastonbury. and then I find we pretty much share most things.


    • Now that is extraordinary indeed.
      I live in south Norfolk, as it happens, and I adore Glastonbury. I was hoping to get to visit this summer but have failed dismally.


  20. Thanks for Fb friendship. I must have misread, I thought you had recently visited Glastonbury. Interested in the concept of your Strangers and Pilgrims…but will wait for a window. So many queuing obligations!


    • The blog has been around for 5 and a half years; there’s probably posts about Glastonbury every so often. Some of Strangers & Pilgrims is set in Glastonbury too.
      Don’t worry about reading it; I know the perils of the TBR pile!


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