Monday, 31 May 2010

Sowing and Growing

I've now completed two years of my degree. The last assignment of this semester was handed in last week. I am hoping I have done enough to get the marks I need to continue on my quest for a 2:1. I will find out my grades in due course, and this week will be able to send off the last application form for funding.

I spent a whole afternoon trying to work out what I was supposed to do with one funding form. In the end I put it down and went out and forgot about it for a while. I felt like my brain was about to explode. This applying for funding each year amounts to approximately two of the worst days of my year...intensely frustrating, ridiculous and scream-inducing. I write this, however, with the caveat that I am truly grateful that this funding has existed. I think that, following the recent election, this will all change out of recognition pretty damn quick. Fingers crossed the funding all goes through and I can complete this year.

In the meantime I now have a boisterous three-year-old, who is every inch the little boy, and such good fun. Hilarious, loving, wild and bright. Also a little monkey who has tested my patience to its limit recently. Having a break from uni will help restore the peace - I have been sleep-deprived for the last six weeks, since Sam decided it was time to leap (funny that) kamikaze style out of his cot. So the transition to a 'big-boy-bed' has been made but there have been lots of very early mornings. Trying to study and complete assignments after battling to get Sam to bed, and then never getting more than 5 hours sleep has been tough. But I've done it!
I just looked at my blog this time last year, here.

And that is still representative of how I feel.

I have been dying to get all of the uni work out of the way, even though I have enjoyed doing most of it, so that I can get on and just write. And read the piles of books sitting in my bedroom in very cliched leaning-tower-of-Pisa-like ways.
I have started with Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running", which I've had for about a year. It is so good I keep thinking to myself throughout the day "just five minutes of reading..." but of course it's impossible to do that with Sam, although I manage a flick through the paper for half an hour every morning.
I read The Road for one of my creative writing modules this semester and am still haunted by it, I won't and don't want to see the film. I am rubbish with horror, and it is horrific. I have read that it is very respectful to the book, and I love Viggo Mortensen, but I don't see how it could possibly do it justice. I recommend it to anyone but it is not an easy read.
I am still mainly concerned with writing poetry. If this is the vein I continue to plough and be excited by then I may end up doing an MA in Poetry...but let's see. I have to get through the degree first.

Since finishing uni I have been hard at work in the vegetable patch, as I have been in every spare minute I have had in the last few months. Yes, I have a veg patch! I started work on it last year and the blog I began to record its progress will soon be blooming again: It seems to be the perfect antidote to and also fuel for writing-and so I can relate to Murakami's thoughts on the way his running has affected his writing.
I have also sent off a poem to a competition- I am intending to do this as much as possible over the summer. I've also entered a piece of visual art into a competition. More about this in another post. I had something that fitted the brief. I have written elsewhere about how I always thought I was a visual artist- well, I am- but I am more wordsmith than that. The piece I have submitted is a mixture, maybe, of the two.

I can't stop and I don't want to. I am busier and more creative than I have ever been.

I am also trying to dig myself out of a hole. I need to get qualified so I can earn decent money so that I can give Sam the things he needs. So I can take care of us.

I have taught Sam to say "We don't like David Cameron". I shall say no more for now but this may change as the travesty unfolds...

Love, Love, Love xxx

Monday, 3 May 2010

May Bank Holiday

A cold, grey rainy day so far. But that's ok. Croissants have been devoured and the end of another viewing of Toy Story approaches. Then it will be tidy up, hoover the crumbs and make a pirate ship time. I am hoping the rain will hold off so we can get out for a walk in the park later but if not I am going to get the finger paints out.

I have got so much uni work to do that if I think about it I panic. Sam is now in a big bed (terrible timing but exciting too!) so bedtimes have been a bit unpredictable and mornings have been very early...5.30-6am...He is doing really well with making this transition but I am exhausted, which has made studying, and even finding time to study very hard. Last week, for the first time in ages, my skin flared very badly. I am not entirely sure why, it is imposible to ever know for sure. The lack of sleep, prolonged stress with too many competing priorities, emotional upheaval of late, and too much reliance on sugar and caffeine have definitely not helped. This is also birch pollen time so that has been a factor too.

It seems to be calming down now, and fingers crossed, will improve back to its normal state. It's been a mighty reminder of what it used to be like, and how bad that is- very bad indeeed. Severe eczema/rosacea flare is like having someone rub fibre glass into your face and eyes and then liberally dowse it with itching powder. Plus it looks awful and immediately makes me want to dive under the duvet. I used to have to steel myself against looks and comments when it was at its worst. What is it that makes some people think it's ok to walk up to you and say "What's wrong with your face?" ?

You have to make a choice about how to deal with it- whether you are going to let it rule/ruin your life. I never have although it's had a major impact in the past, and it has been very hard to cope with at times. Other people in my life have found it hard to deal with too. I don't talk about it too much these days because I don't want to be defined by it but I do help other people where I can who are going through it, or watching members of their family struggle with it.

Sam and I went out with a single parents group last week for the first time. It was such a relief to have company on a sunday, and Sam had a great time ten pin bowling. We will meet up with them again and it is going to make a big difference to both of us. When families are doing stuff together at weekends is when I tend to feel most lost and isolated, and obviously that is true for other single parent families. It was great to meet other people in the same boat and do something fun together.

I am in the midst of writing twelve sestinas for one of my creative writing assignments. These are a reflection on my situation, my thoughts and feelings on motherhood and what is happening in my life. Some of these are intensely personal but if I am pleased with them, I am going to self-publish them in a small run and send them off to publishers. Worth a go innit....

Love, Love, Love