The pen is mightier than the sword – Edward Bulwer-Lytton Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Life has thrown a few curve balls lately. 2020, to put it mildly, threw us all for a loop and this year has been like a long drawn out goodbye. I am very thankful to have survived and my heart goes out to those who have lost family and friends.

Closer to home, my elder sister, (is it elder or older?) had a heart attack early in the year, open heart surgery, with complications, knocked her for a six and she is still recovering. My elder brother was diagnosed with a heart condition and has made significant lifestyle changes (child of the 60’s, wink, wink) and my elderly mother moved into a retirement village last month and is in hospital as I write. It’s the sort of stuff you expect will happen when you get to the pointy end of life, although not one after the other. The thing is, there’s no road map for this, like when we had children, we’re making it up as we go along.

It’s my birthday next week and I will be another three hundred and sixty-five days older or is it three hundred and sixty-six because 2020 was a leap year? No wonder I’m feeling old, an extra day snuck in while none of us were looking. Thanks 2020. Birthday’s tend to make me reflect more than usual. How much time will I have left? Am I using it wisely? How can I be a better person? Will I ever finish writing anything? Will anyone want to read it?

I spend my days either working as a horse therapy person (changing the world) or sitting here at my desk figuring out how to write blogs and stories (changing my world) I am working on a young adult fantasy novel, a Junior Fiction novel, and this monthly blog. This is fraught with peril as I vaccilate between altering states of confidence.

I spend a lot of time devouring books on creativity and writing, instead of writing. I listen to podcasts on writing, instead of writing. I watch YouTube videos on writing, instead of writing. I take courses on writing, instead of writing. Then I remind myself that it’s not a thing that can be forced or regulated, it’s about letting go and having a go. I gave myself grace last month not to write this blog, because, as my mentor Jen Storer tells me, I’m in charge here! Jen often says ‘You’re the boss, it’s your story.’ She’s right you know. This writing lark is slippery. It must be held lightly or it takes flight.

Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul ~ and sings tunes without the words ~ and never stops at all. Emily Dickinson

This birthday I feel like tempered iron. We purchased some cast iron frying pans this week. They can’t be used straight away. First they have to be tempered. This means spending time oiling them, heating then cooling, then more oil, then more heat, layer after layer until they blacken and form a coating. I think they might be a metaphor for my life. I’m in a better space, creatively speaking and I have more confidence in my writing. This birthday I will be thankful to have made it this far and I look forward to the next chapter as it unfolds.

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