Creating My Odyssey

Artist / writer / explorer of life & creativity / mental health & lifestyle blogger

Thursday, 26 December 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: FOLLOW ME!: PINTEREST I have umpteen gazillion categories. From A for art to E for exploration, from P for ponds to W for wild west. Go and have a p...


I have umpteen gazillion categories. From A for art to E for exploration, from P for ponds to W for wild west. Go and have a peruse!

I'm making a point to try and post more regularly. My creativity, explorations, foreign travel, out and about, everything that interests and excites me, in fact!

I don't post nearly as much as I'd like to, but I promise I'll try to in 2020!

I post whenever I have a blog post to publish, so keep an eye out for that!


 Twitter  LinkedIn    Facebook       Instagram   Pinterest

Follow Me!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: SIX YEARS AGO - MY MEDICATION CRISIS & WHY YOU DON...: I can't believe it was six years ago, starting on Christmas Day itself, that I suffered a medication crisis that lasted several days and...


I can't believe it was six years ago, starting on Christmas Day itself, that I suffered a medication crisis that lasted several days and was finally dealt with on New Years Day. 

     The short version of what happened is that I'd been suffering from depression and anxiety because the effectiveness of my
medication, Venlafaxine, which had worked well for seven years, had begun to wear off. My psychiatrist put me on Prozac a week before Christmas then buggered off on holiday. 

     A week later, on The Day itself, we were downstairs in the sitting room unwrapping presents. Just Husband and me because our son was working. I felt I 'should' be happy. Jolly. I just wanted to cry. I went upstairs and cried. That was the start. I literally became suicidal. Horrific. Husband's family and my daughter helped us through it. Details of what happened after that are in my links, but six years later (it's Christmas Eve, as I speak), I've never felt better (more often than not).

     And now, let me talk about Christmas itself. (You don't have to do it!). Although it's a bit late to be saying this, it's certainly something to bear in mind for the future. 

    I was brought up by a mother who knew how to be a hostess. We all loved her food and Christmas dinner was fab. They were family gatherings with friends added on. The day was good. Pressies followed by dinner followed by lazy Christmas afternoons reading our new annuals and watching Christmas telly. 

     But as I grew up I grew moody, and after getting married, I began to dislike these family gatherings. I felt left out. Neither of my two older brothers communicated with me (they never had), and their wives treated me with distain. I was forced into being sociable, which I disliked. 

     After I had the kids and depression overtook me, Husband and I began to hate Christmas and family gatherings. The enforced jollities, the jolly mask we had to adopt. Yeuk. But we had to do it for our kids' and our families' sakes. Husband's family were fine. They were sympathetic and understanding of our situation, but my own family dismissed it, ignored it, brushed it aside. I felt inadequate and out of it. Not part of my family. 

      Then I had my medication crisis. One of our neighbours introduced us to the brilliant mental health team who cured me. Not just like that, obviously, but over a period of five years, with a medication combination and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 

      The year after the crisis I was on the mend and gradually getting better and better. That year both my parents died within days of one another, and suddenly I was free. Free to separate myself from emotionally damaging family and those social gatherings. My new found happiness was paramount and nothing and no-one was going to ruin it!

     For three years following my parent's deaths, we took off to Looe in Cornwall, for Christmas, and that was brilliant. We did our own thing and thoroughly enjoyed it. One thing changed my mind over the enforced jollities and being sociable over Christmas. On Christmas day in our apartment overlooking Looe Estuary I looked out on Banjo Pier that jutted out from the estuary into the sea. Fishemen sit there most days. And on that Christmas Day, a fisherman was sitting on the end, fishing to his heart's content. Doing what he enjoyed most on Christmas Day. And why not, eh?

     Since then, we've decided that the memory of that horrific Christmas has passed and we're happy to remain home for that day. And do you know what? It's good. We're not forced into celebration if we don't want to. I give cards to our cul-de-sac neighbours, I email a design I created to various friends... and that's it. We give money to our offspring and our thirteen year old granddaughters. We have a Christmas dinner with our creative group, take our granddaughters to Birmingham Christmas market, have Christmas Day dinner with our son, and the week after, we go out for dinner with our daughter's family. And we decorate our sitting room and have a coal fire running. It is rather nice.

     We've discovered how many people don't enjoy Christmas. A lot! More seem to not enjoy it than do. Of course I wouldn't wish to pour cold water on those who do - and millions love it - but for those who don't - respect their wishes. 

     So, my advice is - if you don't enjoy Christmas - leave it alone. Easier said than done, I know (I've been there) but if you possibly can, tell friends and family that, if they don't mind - or even if they do - you'd rather spend it at home in your comfortable environment. Doing what you want to do, whatever that is. One year on Christmas Day Husband changed the differential on our classic car in the garage. A work colleague was shocked. 'Did Jo mind?' Why should I mind, for goodness sake? Husband was happy! Good enough for me! 😄

How to Survive Christmas - Don't Do It!  
Five Years Later..
Christmas Five Years Ago
Californa Rocket Fuel - This is a Miracle...
Incredible Healing Journals - My Guest Post


Past posts:

Headtalks - Oliver Chittenden

It's Okay to Ignore Christmas
          - Honestly!

The Matterhorn in the background - 
the none familiar side! 
On a rail trip some years ago.


Saturday, 14 December 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: IT'S BEEN TOO LONG...NOVEL PROGRESS.: One example of the zillion pages  of notes I've written Hi guys! I have a gazillion posts in drafts, mostly unfinished, an...


One example of the zillion pages 
of notes I've written

Hi guys!

I have a gazillion posts in drafts, mostly unfinished, and it's been a while since I posted. A lot of it is because I'm being more creative artistically, but mostly it's because I've been concentrating on the novel. I've made some major changes in the plot line which are going down well, all encouraged by Husband, my fabulous critic and mentor.

     I've come to the end of Part Three, which I haven't touched since I first envisaged it all those years ago, and it seemed very wishy-washy. It wasn't working. I won't go into too much detail because I've become a bit paranoid about plagiarism, but suffice to say that I couldn't envisage part of the plot, which involved the gang mates of my protagonist, Jeannie, so I've changed it. 

      A challenging chapter to write, so, some time either this year or last, Husband helped me brainstorm it. He's my 'plot bunny'. It worked, making it more credible than the childish scribble I'd had initially, and I rewrote that chapter.

     That was either this year or last. Do you think I could find that chapter? Of course not! I lost it completely. I don't understand my laptop's document filing system which didn't help, and that chapter was nowhere to be seen. I was more than miffed because I remember typing it, and I liked it. Luckily I remember a lot of it, so I rewrote it. I think it works. 

     So this is a warning to all of us in the long process of writing/editing novels, long or short. save your work! USB stick it - two or three times, at least, and keep a stick outside the house or somewhere safe. Print a hard copy.  😣 

     Actually, what we've done now is at Husband's insistence because I don't understand software filing systems. (Give me a metal filing cabinet any day - but that wouldn't work for the amount of editing I do!). I ditched the USB sticks because my method of saving and filing wasn't working and was giving me a ton of unnecessary work. Then copy the whole thing onto two portable hard drives, one of which is outside in my wild west cabin/shed.

     About the writing itself, the tactic I use when writing complicated chapters is search 'Books' under Google. I type in key words, such as 'bank robbery', 'old west', 'posse' 'chase' and see what comes up. Often novels or relevant books pop up containing these words and I can use a sentence or description as a basis by changing words using Thesaurus or Rhymezone synonym/ related and turning those sentences around. Some folk might suggest that many of these novels could be rubbish and you can't rely on their writing. True. But I think I'm experienced enough to know the difference between good and bad writing, and I can differentiate between the two! So I might see a reasonable sentence and be able to turn it around to suit me. This often works, but one does have to be aware of what kind of writing the reference is, and not cut and paste willy-nilly. I could be done, quite rightly, for plagiarism!

     There we are. My editing/writing is challenging but not impossible. That's how I'm feeling about my writing, which is not a bad thing, although more often than not I feel desperate to do some work on it, particularly if I hear a piece of music or see something on the telly. That must be saying something!

     So keep going. I've divided the novel into parts which makes it seems less of an elephant to consume. That's how it works. Thanks Husband!

Recent posts:

                                                                        We're Gonna Go 
                                                         & Steampunk!

                                              Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
                                                             - gorgeous!



 Pinterest  Ello  Bloglovin'

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Billy The Kid Mystery In Upstate

Billy The Kid Mystery In Upstate

My son found this on the net. I'm sure it's him cuz I'm pretty good at facial recognition.