Tuesday, 20 June 2017



I might have largely recovered from depression and anxiety but this brain still suffers. You don't go through thirty years of it without some repercussions. And it always, without fail, centres on my novel and my parents, siblings and beyond and their possible opinions of it (not my children, Husband, Husband's family...). 

     It's been a humungous undertaking and it's definitely a beginning, a muddle and an end! I've said umpteen million times in my intro letter that I'm blogging about the writing of it, and here I am again.

     It's over a hundred chapters, but many of those chapters are only a quarter of an A4 page long, so it's going to be less, ultimately. I'm printing out each chapter for Husband, my chief critic, to read. He's very honest and very good for me. As I say, he's honest, but it's taken a long time for me to finally say: 'Read and critique these chapters for me, please.' because I was so sensitive and nervous about the rather delicate and mature nature of the subject matter, I didn't have the courage for someone so close to me to read it.

     Then I got better. Then I decided it's high time The Novel got out there! By hook or by crook. I've had such good responses to it, particularly on Facebook groups, writing and otherwise, that I would have thought that that would make it all worthwhile and my brain would be happy. And it is, largely. Except sometimes it ain't. Especially when I see a film advertised on the box, or hear a piece of evocative music and it reminds me of The Novel. I want to finish it! I want to get it out there!

     After a particularly emotional moment this evening over it (Husband had picked out a section that didn't ring true so I rewrote it last night and it was his job to reread it. Eek.) I was feeling quite frustrated by the whole biz, and Husband asked me when would I feel satisfied and happy with the thing. When I'd finished it? When ten people had read it? Twenty? Fifty? A hundred? It turned out I would be pretty satisfied when several hundred have read it and enjoyed it! That's not asking much, is it?

     Fact is, one of my mental issues is the lack of a definite goal post for it. No deadlines. I have one now. According to Husband, it's likely to take two years for us to go through it together, at the current rate. Not good enough. Could do better. And I will. Whether or not I get it published traditionally, or e-publish, is a matter for the future. And whether or not I write further stories for my heroine is also another matter.

     But a big factor in this biz concerns my family - parents, siblings etcetera. My parents largely knew I was writing a humungous novel, but I always told them it was set in the west (they did always encourage my western hobby with enormous bemusement, I'll give them that!) but it was a subject they wouldn't like or be interested in so we always left it at that. My elder brother has been writing a novel himself for years, but I'm just as loathe to talk to him about it for similar reasons.

     So, every time I get down about the novel and Husband and I CBT - cognitive behavioural therapy - it, and when my family are touched upon I invariably burst into tears. Fact is, I'm sorry that I could never discuss it with any of them. That they had no idea of this enormous undertaking. But, as usual, I must prick that blasted balloon of past pains and send it zoop! through the window. My little family - Husband, kids, Husband's family - are the important ones. They know what I'm doing and there's tons of encouragement and inspiration there, even if it ain't their 'thaing'.

     I will get there. I must! Must must must. Or I will burst!


A very successful weekend on our narrow boat at its mooring in Warwickshire, with our twin granddaughters for company.

Husband and twins on roof of boat
larking around as we do!
(Note TV aerial in background).

Enjoyable, but enormously hot!

Very successful as far as I was concerned, because when I was depressed or low I was convinced and worried that the girls didn't like me, and I felt that I 'had' to be entertaining and fun, which is bloody hard work when you feel like that. Not fun at all. I was also convinced that my daughter, the girls' mum, felt that I was hard work (probably was!) and didn't feel as close to me as I'd have liked. In the past, when Husband was caring for me, she and he became extremely close because of the situation, and she became independent very quickly because she had to, even to the point of looking after my son, three years her junior.

Three years after my 'crisis' and eventual cure, I'm loving them all! The twins are eleven and enormous fun, and daughter and her partner - who adores the twins - are easy to be with and I'm loving it. I no longer feel the need to be fun, funny or entertaining. I just 'am'. And when I want to be knackered and lazy, I can be.

Apparently it was my idea to buy the boat, some years ago after a canoe trip on the Thames when we came upon house boats. I've been boating - rowing - forever, and Husband introduced me to narrow boating. Sadly, depression visited me once again shortly after we bought Dotterel and I became neurotic again. Rivers tend to produce men in peaked caps 'in charge' of cruisers while their womenfolk sit beside them drinking wine (don't mind that bit) or lounging on the sundeck in bikinis.

Canals tend towards equality. More women 'skipper' narrow boats and men often operate the locks, although, on the whole, it does tend to be the women who operate the locks while their menfolk drive, often because it's harder to drive the boat (utter cods-wallop!), which, in truth, is a ridiculous way round because often muscle is required for some lock operation whereas tillering a boat requires a little skill and that's about it. Any Tom, Dick or Harriet can drive if they wish.

Anyway, I became neurotic on the boat because, within my state of mind I was determined to 'prove' that I was a very capable boatwoman, so to be seen in the galley/kitchen, or in the bows (beg pardon - the sharp end - technical term) was to be seen not doing anything boaty. That's how I felt, anyhow. Not good. I
became very anxious about activities such as turning the boat round, filling up with fuel etcetera, because I had to be tillering or I would be revealing any unboatiness about me. As for operating locks, Husband still does all that while I drive into the lock and show off my skills to other boaters. A very wearying business. Plus the fact that I disliked socialising.

Today, however, I no longer feel neurotic. I will happily wave to passers-by from the kitchen/galley and lounge in the sharp end. I'm enjoying it at last, and having the twins on board has simply made it even more enjoyable. We're taking them out on a boat trip during their holidays and I'm actually looking forward to it!