Panic

Me and panic, or should that be panic and I, are on first name basis. I can panic about loads of stuff, I guess that everyone must be the same.

I pull out of a junction and I don’t see a car – a close shave… Or take yesterday. I decided to take my pup for a walk. I don’t walk her loads because she has the run of a half an acre. Mostly I  let her go where she wants so she never ‘needs’ a walk. But there are times when we both want one.

Yesterday was one of those days.

So I popped her lead on and we were gone. I had a water bottle with me and some poop bags. But apart from that it was just me and the dog. I normally would have thrown her in the car and driven up to Cors Caron but there have been a number of Adder bites reported. I didn’t fancy  coping with that for me or my dog. So I decided to do the ‘block’.

I live very rural. So the block is a three mile trek on the small roads that can at times be a climb and a downfall slalom. Think Welsh mountain roads. But one of the roads is the main trunk road to and from the largest town in the area. It is busy. I picked the quietest time but still I was caught out.

Me and Meg had just crossed the road when I saw a car carrying two older woman. When I say saw I mean they were 3 metres away from hitting me. I’m not sure how fast they were going but I had just glanced at the corner they came around and they hadn’t been there. What I had been worried about were the two cars coming behind us. They were large, loud and moving too fast. I heard them before they saw me so I’d taken avoiding action. The car in front of me was one I hadn’t counted on.

Panic shot through my system.

“Wait,” I said to Meg and she immediately put her bum in the hedge and sat there looking at this car.

Thankfully they had managed to stop but for that split second I saw an end… And end that would have happened only 500 yards away from my home. Panic hit and I felt everything. The lead in my and and the bag on my shoulder. The sun hitting my head and warming my back. The slight ache in my legs and the small headache that I was hoping the walk was going to eradicate. And for that moment I understood who I was.

Then time restarted and the two cars shot past me. The two ladies swung around me and Meg, and waved. I couldn’t help it – I waved back.

The panic had passed leaving me a little breathless and weak legged. I didn’t stop though. I finished my walk and decided that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. I almost died yesterday and yes I panicked but right now I am fine and I have made myself a promise.

To live life.

A simple 3 world mantra. But I’m not going to worry about money or relationships or anything I can’t do a damn thing about. If money and love happens then I will grab it with both hands but otherwise I intend to live and smile. To pass the panics that happen and just be me.

Because I can guarantee there will be more panics.

From the daily prompt – panic.

Generous

I try to be. Everyday I try to be there for people. Even if it means I don’t get what I need to get done. Even when I have a character paused just as they are about to dodge a bullet, or not, I will be there.

I don’t have a lot of money but I try to be generous with time and deeds.

I’m the person who will walk past someone homeless and get them coffee and breakfast. Although the last time I did that it turned out the guy was vegetarian and the food I got him had meat in. He enjoyed the coffee though. I gave him the cash to replace it with a vegetable option.

I talk to anyone and there are times when I have stayed in a relationship that was not good for me because it would damage the other person too much to leave right at that moment.

My mum says I’m too good. But the other day I was invited away. I decided to go but I have been having issues with the travel. The person in question lives 200 miles away.

“I’ll come get you,” he said.

“Really?”

“Yes…”

So next month I am going away for a long weekend because someone is willing to drive 200 miles to meet me. I questioned whether I was worth it. I considered saying I was busy but I didn’t. Because I looked back and realised that it had been over a year since someone had asked me somewhere without an ulterior motive. I had even got asked to go to Birmingham by a boyfriend, only to find that I needed to do a lot of the driving. He couldn’t manage unless I did it. I had tendinitis in one leg and had he asked originally I would have said no – it hurt too bad. But he didn’t. It was sprung on me as I got to his house. Should I have been flattered that he thought we were that close he could just rely on me? Or should I have felt used?

I think you can guess which feeling I got out of it. I was left adrift. He didn’t even touch me the whole day. He spent more time with the friend I had gone with. But I couldn’t say anything. It would have hurt him too much then. Instead I ‘weaned’ him from my life.

And for that I am sorry. I was not very generous.

I try to be but sometimes I fall down. I have good intentions but there is a point where I have to say – no more. I have to laugh as well. I like to feel special. I don’t ask a lot from life and the people I am with. A little support, a hug maybe or even a thumbs up and a smile.That’s all.

But without them I am adrift and alone. And that is a bad place to be.

So next month someone is going to be so generous to me that I feel like they have made a mistake. I asked them. They haven’t. And I have found out one big truth. Generosity makes the world go around, but you have to give and take. Even if you feel uncomfortable in the taking, because without it you will burn out.

From the daily prompt – generous

Jump

It can be a scary leap… I remember doing it. One minute I’m a student and wondering what I’m going to do in the world and then I have my own business. At first I drew animals… and I loved it. Making toys had been my hobby but people started asking for them. And I found myself a toymaker.

In fact my twitter account is still @the_toymaker and probably always will be – even though it is a strange name to have for being a writer and artist.

Then there was the massive leap. The jump that took my breath away. I stood at the edge of a metaphorical cliff and I simply stepped off it.

My hand was forced I guess. I had been suffering from headaches and it turned out that my eyes were not reacting well to all the machine sewing. My optician had simply looked over her glasses and informed me that there was a reason seamstresses had gone blind. I had a decision to make. Do I carry on and cope or do I stop and find something else?

I had no idea what at the time but I was noticing that I had begun to tell more stories. I would tell them to anyone who stopped long enough to listen. I didn’t write, I spoke them. I love stories and I just couldn’t help it. I had to tell people.

Write them down, my mum said.

I had shaken my head – silly. I couldn’t write! I was too badly dyslexic. But my hand had been forced. My eyes were too bad to go straight back to drawing so I had to do something.

I decided to go for an evening class. I had never been taught a vast amount of English language. Or if I was – I just didn’t understand. So the complexities of writing down stories was a mystery.

I went to the evening class.

I wrote a story.

Try getting it published in this anthology, my lecturer said.

I tried.

I got published and I had to go to the launch and read. Another jump. One that I shook through with nerves.

But still the written word was something I didn’t understand completely. I needed to know more. My business was slowly being shut down so I decided to go back to uni. Relying on my degree in Archaeology I applied to do an MA in creative writing.

I got in.

I got the MA.

There were issues with my reading level and other problems but I got past them. I’d jumped and landed fairly well.

After the MA I started writing as a business. I was no longer a toymaker but an author. I got a publishing deal with an Australian Publisher.

I decided to publish some work myself – jump. It was a steep learning curve. My eyes started to recover and I started to draw. Not animals though. Instead I was drawing people. Portraits. Another jump – I hadn’t drawn anything in 6 years.

This year my jumps have been just as scary. I have started going to book fairs and talking to readers. In fact, on the 1st October I will be in Carmarthen. And I am drawing – seriously. I draw for galleries and I love it.

My life is a series of jumps. Sometimes to get over a small bump in the road and other times it is stepping off a cliff. There are loads of different jumps, each is scary but each I can’t help but grin just before I take the leap.

Jumping can give you a buzz… I just hope the landing is soft.

From the daily prompt – Jump

Art and a new WIP

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I’m working on something new and it is made up from tiny 7cm square pencil drawing canvases… They are fiddly but eventually they will make up a larger canvas. The only problem is that I have 8 to do…

It is to signify people and their diversity living in the same place. Of course all these people aren’t from the same place. They are randoms I have collected over the years and ones I have found on Flickr without any copyright restrictions. But still they will convey what I want them to.

Hopefully if these work I can do another one using local people only and then move out. Maybe this is a series in the making but for the moment this is a trial run. Although I will be exhibition it next month at the Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes from the 24th Oct to the 8th Nov.

All exciting and very time consuming especially as I have left myself a little short on time.

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My artwork can be bought as originals from Artfinder or on Society 6 or Zippi as prints.

Silence

I live my life by trying to avoid silence. I mean sometimes I think everything is silent but it never is… Except one time I was down a mine; a coal mine. Everyone stopped talking and there was nothing – no birds, no traffic – nothing. Just cold and damp and rock.

Yet the man in front of me had worked in a mine most of his life, he had lived with this. He still did. He would take tours and rotate onto the lift controls. There are two, one topside and one below ground. When he is between tours there must be silence.

You might think there is silence when you sit and have no music on or no one is there, but it isn’t truly silent. There is traffic or nature.

Nature is very loud. She can scream at times, day and night. I live in the country and I know she is always making her presence known. At night there are owls and foxes, the trees rustling and mice moving. Chickens settling for the night and the odd scream of an unfortunate creature.

Silence, I think can denote loneliness. Except I have never been lonely in my workshop on the smallholding although no one can be around the whole day. Sure sometimes I play music or listen to an audio book (normally when I’m drawing) but sometimes I turn everything off.

Then I hear nature and she reminds me I am just one cog in a massive wheel.

The only time I was truly alone, so much so that I ran, was when I was on a writing retreat. It was in a beautiful building that had been home to monks. I guess I lucked out on the rooms. I found myself in a typical monk cell with a 2ft 6in bed and a table. A bathroom that had no shower and a small window. The problem was I could hear everything. The rattle of the kitchen and the traffic, people’s voices and their laughter. But I was alone.

I was on my own with no one who wanted to talk to me… I don’t know whether it was because I had a cold or I was just feeling vulnerable but I was lonely.

The silence of the unfamiliar grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. In my own space silence doesn’t scare me. But outside… In the world… It worries me.

I still avoid it, but that is because I love music and learning. I fill me days with what I love and I try to listen to something new everyday. Today it is Beth Orton…

Maybe it isn’t silence I need to be scared of but being alone, even when in a crowd.

Update – the Beth Orton link is now fixed… Sorry for that.

Inspired by the daily prompt – silence.