Creating My Odyssey

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

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Creating My Odyssey: BLAHHHH.....

Creating My Odyssey: BLAHHHH.....: BLAHHHH..... Right... It's like this... That's how I've been feeling. It's all for the good, but very unsettli...



It's like this...

That's how I've been feeling. It's all for the good, but very unsettling. The story thus fàr has been - for those of you who're newbies here - the rebuilding of my life starting nearly five years ago - that long?! Scheisser! - since complete recovery from thirty years of depression and anxiety. 

As my 'about' and introductionary message says, I'm rebuilding my polymath creativity and life. Which also means that we're redecorating and freshening up the house after thirty years of neglect. 

Not being the most domesticated of persons, matters in those areas have been largely ignored. I concentrated on bringing up two children so that they wouldn't turn into glue-sniffing, granny-bashing, heartless buggers later on. That worked, mostly. More than mostly. They're fabulous adults and we love 'em to bits and we're sooo proud of 'em and we're best mates. So that worked, definitely. I was also struggling with depression and anxiety. I was writing my epic novel because I had to/needed to/desperately needed to, and that did help keep me sane.  

So the house went largely to pot. I did manage to disinfect the loo occasionally (Himself did a nuclear clean up once a week), and did the washing (our sweet elderly neighbour noticed that the washing had been hanging up for a while - a day or two - and she'd been tempted to take it down herself! I didn't want to be seen as domesticated at the time so it got left out...). I managed to cook, just about. I loathed needlework at school and preferred cooking, but daughter was a shocking eater, which put me off cooking forever. I now prefer needlework!

Sooo...not domesticated. 

In recent months, then, we've been eyeing up the house and, our psychological outlooks vastly improved and stimulated, we decided enough's enough! Bit more than a spring clean. I wander around the abode and see stuff that's needed fixing since we moved in (1992ish. Son was four. He's now thirty). A few years ago we did redecorate our bedroom and the hall and stairs and they do look good but need freshening up. A few months ago we redecorated and rebuilt the utility room and downstairs loo. New cupboard fittings, fresh paintwork. Now it's the turn of both the upstairs bathroom and loo and the conservatory/studio. We decided to do it all at once. We're on a roll now. 

We bought new cupboards for my antique curios collection and new glass and decorative wrought iron table and shelves for the conservatory/studio. Love them! Halfway through the bathroom and starting on the conservatory. We christened the new loo last night - hooray! - going downstairs to the cold loo at night was a right pain in the posterior. 

I am suffering a little. We returned from our two weeks in Madeira, and I almost immediately came down with a nasty bout of the flu which meant I missed my sculpture course for two more weeks, and missed writing group. And having the house in continuous upheaval while we redecorate isn't much fun. So yes - suffering a little, mentally. As Husband says, my comfort space isn't. Or wasn't. I was desperate to get out, and low mood descended. Unsurprisingly. So we're making sure the sitting room is comfortable for the evenings. 

We're getting there, and we can see results. Husband is working his butt off with plumbing and putting together the bathroom cupboards. He's so good! It's coming together. Lots of photos to come....

The conservatory as it was...

Wednesday, 28 March 2018


Creating My Odyssey: TO ALL CREATIVE COACHES - A BIG THANK YOU!: TO ALL CREATIVE COACHES - A BIG THANK YOU! I'm subscribed to umpteen zillion creative coaches, a practice begun just after I bega...



I'm subscribed to umpteen zillion creative coaches, a practice begun just after I began recovering from depression and anxiety, and may I say what a fantastic job these people do!

     They send out regular, free newsletters containing tips, hints, encouragement, a gentle kick up the rear end - to artists, writers, singers, musicians, dancers - anyone in the creative biz, whether professional or otherwise, who may be struggling to do what they want/need to do, for whatever reason. They've been ill for a long time and need a pick-me-up. They've had a long break for any number of reasons. They've been in totally different disciplines and want to try their hand at creativity. These coaches are particularly good at giving those who've lost their creative confidence a bit of a helping hand. 

     When I first subscribed to newsletters, hundreds of those subscriptions were to life coaches, which were equally valid at the time. After a year or two, I cancelled most of them because, thankfully, I was doing pretty well, myself. And of course I thank these people too, because they're also doing a free service. But I've hung onto creativity coaches (if you see what I mean!) because, although I don't necessarily need their services myself, for which I'm very grateful, the advice, prompts, exercises they offer are very useful to other creative souls, and I want to pass on their advice to others. 

     On that note, I've just opened up my latest batch of emails, and, one of them is from a creativity coach. That's when I decided a big 'thank you' was in order, and the idea of sharing these mails on my blog and to social media popped into my head. Here follows, for everyone's delight and delectation, a non-exhaustive list of some of the creative coaches I'm subscribed to, plus others, and doubtless I'll be adding more later.  

     So, to all you creativity coaches out there in the big beyond - thank you so much!

40 ways to stay creative | Infographic | Creative Bloq

Creating My Odyssey: MISSING MY BLOGGING!

Creating My Odyssey: MISSING MY BLOGGING!: MISSING MY BLOGGING!  It started with my two weeks away in Madeira and lack of chargers. Then, almost the minute we returned - perhap...



It started with my two weeks away in Madeira and lack of chargers. Then, almost the minute we returned - perhaps a week later - I came down with a nasty bout of the 'flu which lasted well over a week, and I'm still just getting over that. The last time I had anything like that was before we got married, over thirty years ago. I don't tend to suffer with physical ailments, for which I'm incredibly grateful to my mother who gave me her genes. ('Give 'em back!' She says...)

     Throughout the bug I tried to and catch up with my TO DO list. That worked, sort of. Long ago I sent posts to a couple of journals/blogs who initially said: 'Great! Send us/me something!' then haven't acknowledged or thanked me, despite, after a reasonable length of time, my asking if they arrived safely, which is just plain rude and discourteous. I know I initiated that in the first place, but still... So I guess the answer there is to move on and don't send them anything else. 

     Then there're the creative blogs I've contacted who said: 'Great! Send us something!' and I still haven't. No excuses there. That's just me. I have made a list of these creative contacts, but again, they've got buried in the noise. I'm humongously disorganised. My name is Confused and Disorganised.

     Throughout this 'flu bug I decided to attempt to unsubscribe from some of my zillions of newsletters. That's worked, to a degree. I've still got a bulging inbox, but I've noticed that some of the incoming emails aren't necessarily from people I've subscribed to, so I'm busily unsubscribing from them as well. But when you get that many emails - not telling you how many (too embarrassing) - you can't possibly get through them or even read them comfortably. The minute you pause and read one, umpteen more jump in. The problem is that I grew addicted to subscribing to blogs that look even vaguely interesting. Husband threatened to unsubscribe me when I wasn't looking. Wouldn't put it past him. Lol. 😮 I promised myself that for every new blog that I prescribed to, I'd unsubscribe from at least one. That worked. Not.

     I also decided to try and delete the ridiculous number of photographs off my Android phone and upload them to my laptop. That hasn't worked either. I've got so many that my phone has come to a crunching halt in protest. My tech man, Husband, has tried to explain about Cloud and Google photos, and the delete button and my memory card that we bought to enable me to take even more photos. Anyway, he, as we speak, is struggling to delete my pics off my phone, having made copies of them on the main computer. 'Wouldn't have started from here.' As he keeps telling me. 

     Working on my epic novel, Alias Jeannie Delaney, of course, little by little. The organisation of which is a humongous undertaking as well. I wrote the timeline years ago. I listed my cowgirl  protagonist's gang - the boys, all bar one whom she knew at school. Their names, personalities, family backgrounds, the reasons they join forces with her. Printing out chapter by chapter and Husband's critiquing each one. We're on chapter fourteen, I think.

      Meanwhile - back at the ranch (sorry, that slipped out...), we're rebuilding and redecorating parts of the house. Halfway through the bathroom. Repainting, plumbing (Husband's good at that. Sorting out leaks as we speak). We demolished the wall dividing the loo from the bathroom - a 'Here's Johnnie!' moment, chose the floor covering. Part of a lovely shiny silvery speckled ceiling is up, as is part of a lovely shiny, subtly pale green marbled wall, and the radiator.  

     Simultaneously we decided to demolish the conservatory/art studio and start all over again. The conservatory is one of the main reasons we bought this house way back in 1991, plus the rather ample garden. It's lasted all these years but we had a rush of blood to the head and got all excited over the prospect of having a new one. This old one is wood and glass, with wooden flooring, all requiring annual maintenance and prone to leakage. More leaks. Was added to the back of the house during the seventies, after the house was built. Now we're going for white plastic coated metal and possibly stone flooring in a more elegant style. 

     So virtually every room is uninhabitable. I exaggerate, but that's how it felt. My brain exploded. Threw out my vast collection of magazines - art, writing and period interior magazines I was keeping with intentions of getting round to reading them. Enough! I'm been feeling terribly weary. Still, I managed to empty the conservatory in preparation for the measuring bloke to come and measure.
      But I've been feeling terribly sorry for myself and a bit low. A lack of direction. We put some of it down to post viral but I definitely need something. Husband is busy with rebuilding rooms and Accessible Boating (Narrow boat trips in Hampshire for people with mental health and mobility issues). He's suggested I drive the boats occasionally. I need to return to voluntarily work and that's ideal. Also we think because virtually every room is in a pickle because of major redecorating, I'm suffering mentally. No real space to relax. So we've got to make certain the sitting room is available. 

      And back to blogging. I've been neglecting it and need to return to it. 

     So there we are, bang up to date! Time for me to shake a leg...or thumb...

Ps: If anyone wants to say hi, that would be fab! 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018



Okay, I admit it - I've never journaled in my life and there's no guarantee I will. But I'm often tempted to do so when I read about those who do, because I blog, and that's a form of self-expression similar to the journaling experience.

     If I did keep a journal, I'm more likely to art journal than I would be to keeping a little book made out of moleskin or any other intriguing animal material, complete with padlock and key. (No harm came to moles or any living thing in the production of this journal). The idea, of course, is to record all those weird and peculiar thoughts and feelings I want to keep under wraps. (And if you think you're weird and peculiar because you have all those weird and peculiar thoughts - well, yes you are. Weird and peculiar, that is). But I'm just not like that. I do tend to think weird and peculiar thoughts but I usually pass them onto Husband. He already knows I'm weird and peculiar.

     I'm an artist and writer and so many would say that both of those disciplines and art journaling would go hand in hand. So many (creative) folks journal and so do many who perhaps suffer mentally or need to write down their thoughts and struggles. I'll admit to having done that while suffering from depression and anxiety, just to be able to put into words how I was feeling for the benefit of Husband because perhaps I found it hard to vocalise it, and creating artwork just wasn't doing it for me. Art therapy was indeed a suggestion but I'm really not into drawing/painting/collaging rotten thoughts and feelings. I'm more into art that's (hopefully) good to look at, and that's just as therapeutic. 

     Since my recovery I'm encouraging myself to get back into creativity, something I've neglected over time. I've looked at art journaling examples and frankly I've been very uninspired! Just a mess of paint and scraps of magazines and paper stuck into a book. I know - that's very scathing of me, and intolerant. The creators of these pieces aren't necessarily bona-fide artists as such, but have enjoyed the process, or have found solace from doing them, and that's excellent. I apologize! I suppose, because I'm an artist and have been forever, I'm dismissive of the art, and that's just plain mean. Take a rap on the wrist, Jo. 

     Recently, on someone's blog, I saw photographs of their journal/sketchbook and I loved what I saw. It consisted of photographs, written scraps and sketches, all pasted into little books, indeed, but nicely done. I liked it very much. That did inspire me. 

      That's the other thing - as a bone-fide artist, I'm supposed to regularly keep a sketchbook. But I never have. Very important, they say. Keep your sketchbook handy at all times (otherwise call yourself an artist? Pah!). I see photos of 'real' artists (ie. not me!) diligently sketching wherever and whenever and I think: 'Yes! I must do that!' It never happens, and I know it probably never will. I'm just not in the habit, and habits are just that.

     You either do it or you don't. Certainly in my case. 

     The habit I have acquired - since I bought a Smartphone years ago, followed in the last couple of years by my Android, is 'doing stuff'. By the time I owned these delectable little devices, I had begun my long road to full recovery from depression and anxiety. I wanted to record every second of it. I had my Smartphone at the time, clicking away at the architecture in Bristol. Husband said something on the lines of:
     'Like your phone, do you?' (Daft question). 'Yeah,' I responded, 'it does stuff.' He laughed out loud: 
     'It does stuff. I like that!' 
     From then on, whenever he's referring to my phone, he says: 'Don't forget 'does stuff!''

     So doing stuff is what I do. My phone goes with me everywhere. Even to the loo, where I precariously balance it on the toilet roll to keep it safe. (You never know when you're going to need it). 

     The thing is - you've got to do what comes naturally. Journaling never came naturally to me, nor carrying a sketchbook. But 'doing stuff' does. And that is a form of journaling in a way. Recording what's happened and keeping it for prosperity. Only thing is, I should warn you - if, like me, you snap everything going from all different angles at different times of day,  don't be like me and fail to download (or upload) to your computer at the end of the day, because your phone will become overloaded and start protesting. Just like mine has. My Smartphone was easy-ish to upload from once I got the hang of it, the Android  ain't. I have to wait for my technical support man - Husband - to be available to help, and even he's a bit flummoxed at the number of pics I've got on there. 

     Eh, well, he's sorting me a Google photos management account as we speak. No peace for the wicked, eh? And yes - journaling - the act of scribbling your secret or otherwise  inner thoughts on paper with a pen or pencil - is assuredly much less complicated, but it's not going to happen. But does it matter? Not in the least.

     Whatever floats your boat, lights your candle, rings your bell, baby! 






Monday, 19 March 2018

Magic mushroom extract changes brains of people with depression

Magic mushroom extract changes brains of people with depression: Psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms, may help re-set the activity of neural circuits in the brain that are involved in depression

Thursday, 15 March 2018


Creating My Odyssey: SHARED POST PRECIPEACE: Hi guys - I'm subscribed to Precipeace , a mental health blog. Here's an article I'm sharing.  Precipeace Chrissy Teigen...

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Creating My Odyssey: HOWDY HO,  PEEPS!Arrived home from Madeira Saturd...

Creating My Odyssey: HOWDY HO,  PEEPS!
Arrived home from Madeira Saturd...
: HOWDY HO,  PEEPS! A rrived home from Madeira Saturday afternoon after two weeks plus one day's flight delay due to high winds! ...

Arrived home from Madeira Saturday afternoon after two weeks plus one day's flight delay due to high winds!

     We luurrve Madeira and its capital, Funchal, where we rented an apartment Barreirinha Funcho House (old town). Our third year visiting.

      The first time we visited was two years ago in a lovely warm January. That, apparently - according to the sweet lass who came to clean our apartment before we left Saturday morning - was the better time to visit, weather-wise.
      Indeed, we did have some glorious sunshine and warmth, but much of the holiday had been cool and rainy. One or two days had been torrential downpours. One matter that bothered my skinny-as-a-rake Husband, through no fault of anyone because it's generally warm out there - Madeiran homes ain't heated. Which meant that a large proportion of our first week was spent keeping him warm! 
     That said, we had some stupendous experiences, of which I will be writing. In the meantime, here's an update of my activities thus far, including a couple of tasks that arrived unannounced in my over-bulging inbox and I have...(done!)

     Rebuild and decorate bathroom. Clear conservatory/creative studio ready for demolition and rebuild this year. After my virtually complete recovery from depression, I knew I would be able to cope - indeed, was inspired and happy to do it - even excited to do it! But now we're living in a dusty building site. Have to remember the (hopefully) end result.

     Real research. Edit with Husband's assistance. They do say that it's a great mistake to ask friends or family to critique one's novel, but in my case I'm dead lucky in having someone who's excellent at it! He's not biased. He's very honest in fact, but fair. And he's been an inspiring writer himself for some years.
     I say real research. When I began writing it, I made up a tremendous amount of the detail in the hope that I was right! When I decided it was high time I got this thing out, I swallowed my ridiculous embarrassment at the subject matter and allowed husband to help me, and also decided that proper research was required. So, working on that as I speak. Part of that research is checking that what my protagonist, Jeannie, does is accurate for the time and place. Tricky. 
      I still get the lows over my novel. That desperate need to 'get it out'. Then I have to apply Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to that feeling. That I am making progress. That I'm being helped. See how far I've come! Except when he critiques a piece and I can't grasp what he's saying!

     When I acquired a Smartphone a few years ago I couldn't stop taking pictures! I loved It! Then I acquired my Android some months ago and I love that even more! (Too many exclamation marks!!!). And since my recovery I can't stop taking pictures, particularly when we go somewhere new. The problem now is that I've got a phone that's  overflowing with photos taking up all the memory space. With my Smartphone I knew how to upload the images to my laptop, but the Android is much more complicated and I hate that! So I'm overflowing and don't know how to deal with that. Husband, chief technical assistant, has been up to his eyeballs in DIY and various other matters so hasn't been able to help me deal with it. But now he's got his genius IT hat on (he did work in IT for over thirty years!) And he's working on getting me onto Google Phone App management. Which also means that I now have to delete all the images that I don't want off my tablet. And that's a lot! 



ART - 
I've had a couple of creative opportunities come up. Submissions. I'll try not to miss them but there's no guarantee! Here's a couple: 
Poorly Represented (a collaborative and creative community focusing on the promotion of mental wellbeing and art through zines, events and workshops).
Jackson's Open Art Competition 2018  I did organise art sessions hosted by Yours Truly last year. I must endeavour to do that again.

Blog posts and more blog posts.

Something to read for writing ģroup Open Mic at our house. The queen's coming - clean the house!  

Unsubscribe. I'm subscribed to far too many newsletters! After my recovery I subscribed to any vaguely interesting sounding blog/newsletter such as self-improvement (I'm wonderful as I am hadeha!), creative, renaissance soul, interior design, writing, art, travel, offbeat, bohemian, eccentric, blah, blah... You name it. My inbox bulged. Correction. My inbox bulges. Despite unsubscribing from a fair number, the newsletters still come in thick and fast and I can't keep up with them. My respond box bulges, although I have starred the very important ones. So, when it comes down to organisation, I'm not! I was born confused and disorganised. 
     In short, I've promised far too many people I'll write a post, share, post a link, you name it, and I'm having trouble keeping up. So, apologies to all you folk waiting on that! 

Because I do so much online I do find it hard to just read a book/magazine/ novel. However... when people utter: 'Get off that phone/tablet and read a proper book/magazine.' I just want to say that it doesn't matter whether you read on a phone/tablet or not, provided you read. Phones/tablets/magazines/ books are simply the tools by which you do the reading. 
     I managed to read Adventures in Human Being just before we went away. It was hard to get through it, although it made fascinating reading. Written by Gavin Francis, a Scottish doctor, working his way through the body, and what and how each part of it works. A philosophy of each part of the body and ancient/historic references to them. I skipped parts of the heavy stuff, (I'm not into Greek mythology), but since human biology fascinates me (I failed Human Biology GCE exam at school which really peeved me, but I never could pass exams) I wanted to finish it. And I did. 
     Now I'm reading Inventors & Imposters, about inventions and discoveries and who really invented or discovered whatever it was. I've read about the discovery of America by any number of historic travellers from the past, none of whom were Christopher Columbus. He just happened to have a poem written about him and that was that: 'In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue.' Don't know who wrote it. Certainly can't find a name. Another book I'm ready to read is Leonardo's Machines. I'm looking forward to that one. 

Novels - I wish I could find a novel I want to read. I've read zillions over the years, including some classic names. My favourite used to be Daphne DuMaurier when I was young. I read Nicholas Monsarrat's
The Cruel Sea, The Girl on the Landing, The Time Traveller's Wife by Paul Torbay, and Mary Stewart's The Sun King. Enjoyed them all. But these days I find it hard to find a novel I want to read. Humph. 

     I have umpteen magazines to get through. Because I do so much online now, I get my Artists & Illustrators Magazine and Writing Magazine through the post and they remain in their wrappers forever! I've got a whole rack of various other magazines - mostly period interiors - Period Living, and Coast magazine waiting to be quickly skipped through and chucked. Oh, the hardship! 

     I hate phones! Making calls or answering them. You may or may not know that. Which prevents me from making social arrangements. But we are endeavouring to up our social game. Husband is chief social secretary, but, since my recovery from depression, he and I both want me to make the effort to keep in touch with friends and make arrangements. 
     Luckily our friends haven't shied away from us because of depression. Contrarily they've been fabulous. What can I say but how lucky we are! 
     As I say, we've got a writing group Open Mic coming up on Wednesday so I've got to have a couple of pieces ready to read. Perhaps a daft poem or two. I'm good at that. Alternatively maybe I should keep one for Friday morning because we have writing workshop then. 

     Although I'm no longer doing living history, I still want to dress up and attend events. So we scour Google in an effort to find those that might be either local-ish to us here in the south of England, or around Warwickshire, where our narrow boat is moored. I must also update my website Kitty Le Roy's Wild West. Also this year I'd like to do something interesting with my garden cabin. Shingle the roof, add an extension. That involves scouring Google and Pinterest for images. 

     I took up archery many years ago after having a go at our sports centre. My uncle had done it and I'd always fancied a go. I joined a local group but most of it took place in the evenings, which didn't really suit me. I had to give up because of bloody depression again. I'd been an okay shot - using my shiny pearlised pink arrows - and I keep on about returning and son and Husband have given up on me! There's another club nearby Farnham Archers, Surrey, which you can attend during the day, so I'm determined to go in the spring (which is here!!!!). A friend has offered to come with me, so no excuses!


     Hah! We walk tons! Miles. On Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Name 
dropping a bit, scusi), we walked over ten miles one day, part of which was up and over a not necessarily defunct volcano. Fabulous. We did similar on Madeira, walking, it turns out, over nine miles on a stretch of levada one day, and high up in the mountains in the town of Monte, which were both rather surreal, it has to be said. 

     I used to cycle a lot. I was brought up in a flat-as-a-proverbial pancake village on the river Thames in Surrey-used-to-be-Middlesex (Surrey's posh, Middlesex ain't).

Image result for river thames surrey
     Husband was brought up in Buckinghamshire. Hilly. Very. His cycling calf muscles were/are BIG. We moved to Hampshire, UK. Hilly. He's used to it for cycling, but I've now got an electric bike. I can overtake him now, going uphill. Yay! 
     Our other forms of exercise are paddling our canoe, me - yoga (when I think about it), going to the gym when there's an 'r' in the month, swimming (not a lot, admittedly. I prefer mucking about), and my stationary pedalling machine. 


     This list is the size of an elephant! How do you eat an elephant? A bit at a time! 

What are you guys up to? I'd love to hear!