When does your new home feel like home?
For those of you who have followed my blog in the past my apologies. What a rubbish blogger I’ve been. Surely, if you look up blogging in the dictionary it’ll mention regularity, consistency, keeping in touch, blah, blah, blah. But life got in the way of my blogging. And now life has changed and I’m not sure if my blog should to?
Let me fill you in. Very quickly. I have now moved across to the other side of the world to a tiny red dot on the map that you and I know as Singapore. Yep, me, the hubby (who still travels to here, there and everywhere), the three kids and even the mad Labradoodle upped sticks. About two months ago in fact, we all said our goodbyes – more of that another time – left all we knew and loved behind and came to this mad place to start again. I am now an expat.We had plenty of time to get used to the idea and make our plans. Pah! We had loads of time to organise ourselves (well actually I did most of the organising). Pah! We had lots of time to get to know about life out here. Pah! We planned, made decisions, chose schools wisely, found somewhere to live without compromising (too much), made contact with fellow expats (my new buzzword it seems), asked dozens of questions. So, we were ready. Pah!
How wrong we were. It has been an interesting experience to say the least and one we were not prepared for at all it turns out. I have stories stored in my head to tell you, anecdotes to share, quirks to ponder with you, wonders to wonder over. Shall I though, shall I? Here I am. Still a reluctant housewife. But different. For a start I can’t even say I’m a housewife now as I have help (definitely more of that later). Everything is different. I’m different. But still I need to write. So, tell me. Does the blog stay or should I start a whole new one? I’ve made a start – take a look fivegomad.wordpress.com. Should the blog be brand new and stand alone. Should I combine the two or start anew – and maybe even improve the poetry content?! For now, thank you if you have returned after my intermission. I promise I’ll try to keep in touch. Be lovely if you did too. Please take part in my poll to get the ball rolling. For now, here are a few images to get you in the mood. TRH
Is it with someone in your mind, someone you know, or may have met in the past?
Do you build a character around a particular hair colour maybe, or a quirk you want them to have? A tick, habit or catchphrase maybe?
I recently wrote a short story, which turned out to be part of a longer one, and managed to incorporate a character I have been dying to write about for ages. It just happens to be someone I come in to contact with every now and then and I just knew he would make a fascinating character. For no other reason than I found him interesting – his looks, his mannerisms (especially those) and the whole way he held himself.
I wonder, do other writers do that too? Do you meet someone and immediately you know you will write about them. Maybe not straight away, but you’ll store the details away for later. Keeping them in that pocket of your brain reserved for such things.
Of course, if any of us do admit that yes, we are guilty of this then we are really letting the cat out of the bag aren’t we? It’s a occupational hazard already isn’t it? Friends, family, people we barely know recognising themselves in our stories. Although from what I’ve heard, they often get it wrong.
Oh, and another funny point. It seems few mean or unlikeable characters are recognised by the people who they are actually ‘loosely based on’. FACT.
That’s not a fact at all, but I bet it’s true.
Whatever you admit to and however you build your characters, they are the key to good read aren’t they? I was given some great advice by a former tutor who said to build character you have to really know them. That you should ‘live with your character.’ Know what they eat and drink, what they watch on tv, who they like and dislike, where they live, where they come from, what makes them tick, what pisses them off. Go to bed with them and wake up with them in the morning (in your head that is) he advised. I agree, for me, I have to know the why before I know the what of my character. I need to know exactly what they are about before they go about anything.
How about you?
I love a notebook it has to be said.
The promise of what those blank sheets of paper can offer. Lined, plain, coloured, decorative. I like them all. I jot down ideas in my notebooks, plan characters, scribble thoughts and make lists.
I have many different notebooks scattered around my desk, a couple by my bed and a few here and there around the house.
The problem is, I have so many I can sometimes lose track of what I’ve written where. Or worst still, where they are. And that’s my problem today. Amazingly, even with the bonus of having my two nieces for a sleepover, I find myself with a free hour or so.
I thought I’d try the ‘daily prompt’ which suggested a topic of what to do on a rainy afternoon. Perfect. It reminded me of a piece I wrote a few years ago whilst sitting on a balcony in a hotel in Singapore. It was in the middle of one of Singapore’s many tropical storms and I was mesmerised by it. It was a great piece, even if I do say so myself. I wrote it long hand in my notebook. Of course, I always meant to type it up and keep a copy. But didn’t.
Now, I’m full of that feeling that it’s lost. Those words are gone forever. And it really was good. I loved it. Possibly because it was in a place I love to be, watching nature do its stuff, feeling very relaxed (I was on holiday). So, the memory of it is good.
That notebook though also had other stories and notes that I now desperately need to read. I’m sure there was a piece about a very inspirational book I’d read and how I related to with my Son – in his pants.
I think it was black. The notebook. It was small. The notebook. It was dog-eared. My notebook. Where is it? Dam notebook.
I have gone through the pile of notebooks by my desk. There’s the purple flowery one full of ‘topics’ I was given when I attended a creative writing course years ago. See, I kept that one. There’s the one with lists galore in (I also love a list). There’s one with random comments about what to do at the PTA summer fair two years ago. There’s a beautiful hard backed one with ‘Believe in Yourself’ on the front that my friend gave me for my birthday this year. There’s even a good old-fashioned reporters note book with something scribbled in about wardrobes. But none with a story about the rain in Singapore and my son in pants.
I have to find it. When I do I’ll post the storm story and you can tell me if it was worth the hunt.
For now, the rainy day story is, well, in my notebook.
Recently I have to admit to scoffing at something my daughter’s school was doing; and then eating my words – twice over.
On the (newly launched) school twitter feed (that’s a whole other story) were many tweets about how the children were ‘contemplating’ and ‘thinking about forgiveness’ in the new prayer room. I thought this slightly odd as although it is a Church of England school, there had never been any mention of a prayer room before. To be frank, many of the families who attend the school are not overly religious. They may go and support school events at the church and know the Lord’s prayer, but you won’t see them attending church every week. I thought maybe it was some kind of push from the more religious of the governors and/or parents to get the children thinking about faith. It came across as quite hippy like and perhaps a little pretentious. Certainly I felt, it was a little over the top.
This morning, I made my usual visit to school to teach the littlies Signalong and whilst there, one of the staff suggested I have a look in the ‘prayer room’. Apparently it had been set up as part of RE wee k.
Obviously being the nosey person I inherently am, I went for a look. It is, in fact, a classroom that isn’t being used this week as the children are away. It has been decorated with a tented gazebo, cushions, fabrics and general soft squishy stuff. It has areas in which they can consider things like ‘how to let go’, ‘how to say sorry’ and how to ‘just be’.
There is a quote on the ‘just be’ area saying:
“We are not human doings, we are human beings.”
It explains, in a simple sign hung above the area, that it is ok to stop doing sometimes and just be. Profound. And so, so apt nowadays.
I was totally blown away by the work that had gone in to the room. The children had obviously found it to be very worthwhile too from the comments they had stuck up on post it notes. I won’t say too much more as it is, and should be, private. But I was really touched by what I saw and read.
It lead me to think once again about how we live in a world where doing is so important. I know I’m always telling my kids to get on with something. Why?
A world where harbouring grudges happens far too often. That many people never learn how to say sorry.
Such important life lessons that many of us never learn. Or if we do, we forget all about them.
So take a leaf out of this little village schools’ book and take some time out to just be. Think about forgiving someone just because you can. Accept some things as they are and say sorry if you need to.
This, for me, isn’t about religion, it’s about humanity.
“As a housewife, I feel that if the kids are still alive when my husband gets home from work, then hey, I’ve done my job.”
– Roseanne Barr