Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Monthly Archives: April 2010

A day to be forgotten

I really am at a loss for words to describe the day I have had today. I can, however, say with absolute certainty that I hope I never have to experience another one like it.

I have felt rather low most of the week, as if I have been in a fog unable to find my way out. Yesterday was the exception, when the fog appeared to lift, only to come back much thicker this morning as the alarm clock was waking me up to the reality of another day. What sort of perverted mind decides to invent a bloody alarm clock??? (I did google it but will spare you the details)

Getting out of bed was the first mistake of what was to become a day I’d rather forget.

I was in no particular mood for work and felt that a day at home hiding from the world would be much nicer than the harsh reality of the office. I usually walk to work which is a 30 minute journey that normally prepares me for the day ahead and also avoids the need to stew on a bus which takes more or less the same time once you factor waiting time into the equation. This morning, I was moving at a much slower pace and convinced myself that getting the bus would be a good idea. This was mistake number two! The bus arrived and for some unknown reason I literally fell onto the bus scraping both my hands and knees in the process and not to mention making a complete and utter fool of myself. I got my ticket and found a seat avoiding any kind of eye contact with the rest of the bus, who I suspect had found the whole drama rather comical. A girl came and sat next to me and kindly gave me the change I had forgotten in my rush to find a seat and forget about the whole affair!

When I got to work a colleague asked sarcastically if I had decided to crawl to work. When I spotted the two lovely marks on my knees I understood the question and felt that explaining my foolish bus entrance was easier than trying to come up with a story that would sufficiently explain the state of my trousers!!! I then discovered that I had traveled the whole journey with my fly undone.

At this point I was beginning to think that getting out of bed really was a big mistake and I was right; the day did not improve in the slightest.

The other Mortgage Consultant in my office is on holiday, which means I am looking after his clients as well as my own and I am not sure whether or not all of his clients have some secret way of communicating with each other, but they all seemed to think that ringing me continuously today was a great idea.

It may be an idea to explain that I have a very odd relationship with telephones, a condition I have picked up from my previous job, where my mobile/cell phone would ring non stop pretty much every day. It got to a point where I just stopped answering, which presented me with 20 to 30 messages at the end of each day, the majority of which were a problem that had to be dealt with by me. Why do it yourself when you can get other people to deal with it for you? Even at home I won’t answer the phone unless I know who is calling me (caller ID is a much better invention than the alarm clock).

As if the phone wasn’t enough, emails were flooding in too, at a similar speed, all containing tasks/requests/problems! But not just a task or problem; no no no! An URGENT task or problem to be dealt with! My to do list is now growing at super sonic speed and I am beginning to mentally shut down which is beginning to worry me because at this point it’s not even 10am!! Realising that I have another 7 hours of this doesn’t exactly boost my enthusiasm!!!

Luckily the client I was meant to see at 10am cancelled which gave me a chance to start on my to do list, which was beginning to look more like a novel in the making than a list. With the phone still going at regular intervals followed by more emails I was beginning to wonder if this was a bad dream that I would soon wake up from, but no such luck!

I also started to think that I would have a better chance of winning the lottery than completing my endless to do list.

At one point after lunch I had to get out of the office just to get away from the constant demands. I actually think I know what a dart board may feel like during a championship!!! I went for a walk and started to think that getting run over by a bus (as opposed to falling onto one!) would be a welcome change to my day. Resting in a hospital bed (in my mind) seemed very similar to a holiday on a tropical island!

My rational mind kicked in again and convinced me to go back to the office to try my best at reducing my list of tasks which had grown further in my absence and I did what I could. If the result of my day ends up being a P45 (pink slip) then so be it!

I am at home now, hiding from the world, at least until tomorrow when I am back at work, the prospect of which isn’t exactly filling me with joy!!!

Next on my to do list: Find a job that does not involve having to deal with members of the public or win the lottery (whichever comes first)!

With that, I am signing off in the hope that tomorrow, I will be greeted by a friendlier day!

So long and thanks for all the fish

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Solitude

A conversation with Vivienne Tuffnell

She's not a real Ninja!!I rarely review books on here or write endorsements to draw your attention to a specific book or product.

Today, however, I am going to make an exception.

The book I want to talk about was recently published by a person I have come to know as a wonderful friend and a friend whose writing has inspired me on many occasions, and on a few has caused me to be late for work due to my inability to let go of her work!!!

I was going to write a review of the book itself, but I fear that other people have done a far better job of it than I could ever hope to do, and yet they have all captured exactly how I have felt every time I have read it. (I have read it 4 times now!!)

The book is called Strangers & Pilgrims, by Vivienne Tuffnell aka viv66 @ Zen & The Art of Tightrope Walking

The above mentioned reviews can be found HERE.

Instead of reviewing the book, Viv very kindly agreed for me to ask her some questions, which is what I did recently when I went to visit her and her family.

***

I am sat curled up in an arm chair with a nice cup of coffee by my side (I have just been corrected by Viv who claims it is an awesome cup of coffee) and I am surrounded by books as well as two cats who are looking at me as if I am an intruder…but except for the cats I have been welcomed as if I was part of the family.

Viv is sat across from me with an equally awesome cup of coffee, (at least according to her) while her husband is cooking roast duck, which, if the smell of it is anything to go by, I am in for a dinner worthy of a King. I have often had this image in my head of what a writer may look like based on their work and the real Viv is not far from how I imagined her.

Viv, first of all thank you for agreeing to do this, I get the feeling that you are not keen on the idea of praise?

It’s not so much praise as gush!
I also have an unfailing radar for bullshit when it comes to insincerity. I know I write well; that’s not false modesty. But I guess I prefer it if praise comes with a real sense of engaging with what someone is praising; I like to know what exactly they liked. On a purely personal level, yes, I do have a problem with praise because it makes me uncomfortable; it changes the relationship and if it gives me no opportunity to reciprocate that leaves me feeling unhappy. In the world of the Celts(who I claim some kindred with) a gift MUST be met with another gift. So to receive praise I need to be able to do more than gabble
“Thank you!” and run away. It’s all about relationship I think.

I understand your point but from my perspective you write in way that keeps my attention and very few authors have achieved that. No need to reciprocate by the way!

Where did the inspiration for Strangers & Pilgrims come from?

Actually a lot of places. I did write at the start of the book that the Wellspring is a real place and indeed it is. But the characters have been around in my head for a while. Some of the events are from dreams. Some of the places are real famous places too, like Glastonbury and Bath. I think it was quite hard to write because it was such a different task, to write from the perspectives of six different people. And each of those characters is a facet in certain ways of my own…

I can imagine because they are very different and yet they seem to search for the same thing, a relief from the pain they are feeling. What really drew me into the story was the fact that I felt I was part of the journey. Sometimes it was as an observer but sometimes I felt I was actually part of the story. How much of the story is purely fiction and how much is based on your own experiences?

Hmmmm….that’s a hard one because in some ways it’s all fiction but it’s also all true. The incident that I can say did happen to me was the time when Ginny was taken to Avalon; I camped at the foot of the Tor many years ago now and woke in the night. Wandering through the campsite a heavy mist descended and I actually became lost in it, trying to find the bathroom block which was only about 30 yards away from my tent. It was very eerie and I felt very certain that if I just did something or said something I could part the mists and travel to the land of Avalon. Needless to say, I didn’t, but at times I still wonder what would have happened if I had.

You seem to have a very active imagination to which I can relate as my imagination often take over from reality. However, I often wonder, is there a price to pay for the creativity involved in writing a book?

Yes. Unequivocally yes. Sometimes it’s enough to make me want to stop it dead in its tracks . But it’s worth it when I have finished a piece of work. There is something mysterious about how it all happens to come together without me having to direct it; a story has a life of its own when you let it have its head.

Can you give us an example of when the price made you want to stop it dead in it’s tracks?

To answer this I think I need to backtrack a little. You know me quite well and you know about the depression I’ve suffered much of my life. It’s all connected with that, I think. Part of clinical depression is about brain chemicals but in my own case, some of it is to do with having too few skins to cope well with life. Much of my life I’ve been told I am “too sensitive” and to “toughen up”, which is really not a lot of use. I wonder if what makes me able to write is also what makes me so subject to depression. When I am writing a book, it flows generally with such ease as to be almost automatic writing; I don’t really concentrate. I just write. Things come out as if out of nowhere. Entire plots materialise, out of a few random thoughts, with such power I find myself unable to sleep for days at a time. But that has to come out of somewhere very deep, so deep as to be inaccessible to my conscious mind and those deep places are often the same ones that are involved with my depression, and the same memories and feelings. So in some ways, writing is a therapy; it takes away the pain. But at the same time, the depths that are creating the pain are what I use for the writing. Chicken and egg. I’m not sure I can explain it better than that. The downside, the things that make me want to shut it all off, result in spending days unable to leave the house, weeping uncontrollably at the silliest things and sometimes wishing I might die, well, I do ask myself if it’s worth it. When I have finished a book, or even a short story of poem and I feel I have been present at an act of magic, then I do think it’s worth it, especially when people tell me how much they enjoyed something and how it has helped them. Your comments regarding one novel in particular have touched me very deeply indeed. So that’s another reason why I wanted so much to have the novels out there and available for people to read.

I have often been told that I am too sensitive and that I think too much so I can easily relate to that. I don’t remember the exact nature of the comment but I do know the novel you are referring to and in my humble opinion it really has to be out there.

I remember telling people about the synopsis when I was on a training course and their jaws dropped, which was immediately followed by “where can we get it?”

It wasn’t so much a comment as a series of comments relating to a particular character.

I know the one!

When did you make the decision to go for the self publishing route and how do you feel about the book now being out in the public domain?

That was last April.

I feel good about it. I’d like to see wider sales and availability but that’s something we can work on.

What’s next in terms of further releases?

OK, well I am working on something very exciting which I hope to have released by the end of this year but it may be early next year. It all depends. You can’t hurry these things. I’ll keep you posted; you’ll probably be one of the first to know!

I’m usually working on a few things at once, but like almost all writers, I do have a day job too (well, actually three which sort of add up to almost one if you know what I mean) and a home and family and friends to take care of. I’m also a beekeeper so I have a good fifty thousand little ladies to take care of too. My life provides as much inspiration as it does distraction though. I don’t think I’d want to sequester myself to write, at least not for long; life around me is what gives the little nudges and clues about the stories I am thinking about. I love listening in to people around me; it gives snapshots of other lives that somehow are very enthralling. But life is like that I guess.

The most mouth-watering roast duck has just appeared from the kitchen and with that, this chat came to a natural end as we gathered around the table to enjoy the most wonderful feast cooked by Viv’s husband.

If you have any questions for Viv, feel free to either comment or send her an email.

More importantly; if you haven’t already picked up a copy of Strangers & Pilgrims, please do yourself a favour and do so. It will take you on a journey, not just as an observer, but a journey that will be personal and unique to you.

For those of you who prefer the instant download version, go HERE

For those of you who prefer to curl up with a physical book, go HERE


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