Sometimes I forget how to feel

Published in the 2017 Blue Fringe Arts 25th Anniversary Short Story and Poetry Anthology.blue fringe arts 2017 25th Anniversary short story and poetry anthologySometimes I forget how to feel

Sometimes I forget how to feel. And a hand lingers in front of my face as I envision every muscle movement. Fingers dancing and curling in slowly as they will against my thoughts. And as I picture my synapses firing in every direction, I wonder if some thought, some meaning, will birth from my focus. Then I become aware just how hard it is to keep my fingers straight; they keep curling in.

My own body fails me, betrays me, and denies me power over it.

So, you see, I forget how to feel because sometimes I don’t know how to feel, how I should feel. But, do these thoughts emerge from myself?

I wait with bated breath for an answer to come and save me from whatever has provoked my anxiety this time. And again wait for something to stifle it once more.

If I can only focus on my hand, and allay all other thoughts, let them melt away, feel the skin peel away, until I am left with the cold, mechanical form of being, and realise that’s what I am, nothing more, and that I must afford myself significance, not await it, I think I can finally be free of myself, of my dread of needing validation, justification, for my own existence and happiness.

blue fringe arts 2017 25th Anniversary short story and poetry anthology

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The kiss, a caress, of happiness for a while

Published in the 2017 Blue Fringe Arts 25th Anniversary Short Story and Poetry Anthology.blue fringe arts 2017 25th Anniversary short story and poetry anthologyThe kiss, a caress, of happiness for a while

Sometimes, when at first light
a euphoria seizes
and it pleases, if only
it would last until the night.

For I remember the smile
and therein a moment’s bliss
then the kiss, a caress,
of happiness for a while.

My fingers tremble, wrestle
for the light, draws into wane
and the laughter drains; the malady
of an empty vessel.

Like my heart, which flutters,
I reach for my own resolve.
And yet, behold, nothingness
I am left to utter:

“Where is the light stolen away?
Why do I feel, when it darkens
and hearkens but a breath
every damned day?”

Yet, striating through my flesh
the reminder, I am alive.
And naught deprived, for it still
flutters beneath my breast…

the kiss, a caress,
of happiness for a while.

blue fringe arts 2017 25th Anniversary short story and poetry anthology

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo

Hi everyone,

It’s very close to National Novel Writing Month! Eeee! I’ve started my research and planning and now have a better idea of what to do exactly for the project.

I will be writing about some events or incidents in the Marquis de Sade’s life, a sort of series of short stories in a way, with the overall plot focusing on his imprisonment in Vincennes (and possibly his movement to the Bastille and then to Charenton asylum), and his insufferable wait to be freed.

As much as Sade was a terrible man, I cannot help but see his mother-in-law as the true villain. If you think your in laws are bad, you should hear what Madame de Montreuil (Sade’s mother-in-law) was like.

Mme de Montreuil arranges a lettre de cachet (arrest by order of the King, and imprisonment without trial) against Sade for being a very naughty man, but he evades the authorities. She then sends Sade a letter to inform him that his mother is sick. He comes out of hiding to visit her only to find it is a trap — his mother had already died weeks earlier. Sade is then arrested and spends the next 13 years in prison (moving from Vincennes, to the Bastille, to Charenton asylum), until lettres de cachet are abolished during the Revolution.

So, yeah, I wouldn’t like her for a mother-in-law!

I think the next step is to work out how to portray Mme de Montreuil in the novel. She was, of course, very upset that Sade was freed!

I also want to look at Sade’s childhood, education, time in the army, and other things that I am not so familiar with. BUT, I absolutely want to further explore some of my theories (the reasonable and outrageous) which I only briefly touched on in my thesis — and perhaps ideas of Sade as a libertine and libertarian, a pornographer and philosopher. The great thing about writing fiction (or potentially creative nonfiction), is the creative freedom — I can convey my absurd ideas, and feel only slight guilt about anything I think is unethical!

Yes, I would love to stay as true to the facts as possible (his life was far too interesting to necessitate the addition of fiction), but I’m not writing a biography. I want to write my own narrative of his life.

So, I am quite well into my research. I would absolutely love to chat with some of the authors of my textbooks, such as Francine du Plessix Gray, Neil Schaeffer, Timo Airaksinen, and even Michel Onfray — Why not? Though, it would be interesting and awkward, since I’m not a fan of his arguments at all, haha!

The idea of tweeting them to discuss Sade sounds both hilarious and inappropriate.

I would have absolutely loved to chat with R. F. Brissenden too. Honestly, his work Virtue in Distress, was a wonderful inspiration to me during my thesis writing. In fact, it helped me to decide on my argument (regarding the construction of virtue). Sadly, Mr Brissenden passed many years before I even began considering a thesis. Though, a child approaching him about the Marquis de Sade would have been painfully awkward!

So, I have been preparing for NaNoWriMo in research and planning, but I have also been doing other things, such as setting up a “package” for myself to use during November. It’s nothing, really, just something to help motivate me. For instance, a pack of my favourite pens, a new book stand (because those textbooks won’t stay open, damn it!), ink for the printer, new wrist rests for my keyboard and mouse (this is more because I’ve started getting pains — nerve problems, etc), a large whiteboard for plot/story planning, oh, and I got myself a new computer too 😉

My new book stand.

Book stand

Look how pretty! It’s been a pain in the arse trying to translate quotes and notes to the computer — holding the book open while typing. Blergh!

And, of course, I’m just casually showing off my textbooks in the background 😉

Probably should have taken a photo of my new computer. I suppose that’s something to be more excited about… but the book stand!

Anyway, I think that’s it for this week. I’ll be sure to fill you in with more of my goings-on next week.

NaNoWriMo and Mental Health Month

Hey everyone, I have lots of exciting things to talk about!

Firstly, congratulations to the winner of the 1,000 likes #sharingiscaring giveaway! Your super-awesome, amazing book bundle will set sail today. And, I have to say, I am so envious because not even I have the gorgeous Penguin clothbound editions of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and Wuthering Heights. Nor do I have the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban hardcover. And yeah, I know, giving away the 3rd book in the series is kind of mean, I guess. But it’s my favourite!

I’m already thinking of giveaway ideas for that next milestone — 2,000 likes — so keep an eye out!

Giveaway teasers

Now onto NaNo
National Novel Writing Month starts the 1st of November. The goal is simple — well, simple in theory — write 50,000 words in 30 days. If you remember, Eleanor was a winner of last year’s NaNoWriMo, with 50,131 words written in 26 days! Yay!

This month, I will focus on research for my NaNo project — a novel on the Marquis de Sade. At this stage I am simply going over my texts, and thesis work, and just re-introducing myself to Sade. Of course, you well remember my studies on Sade. No? I’m not sure where my fascination with Sade started, but throughout my BA Professional Writing and Publishing degree, I made an effort to focus any creative writing assessment on that very naughty Frenchman. So obsessed was I that I decided to write my honours thesis on him. Well, the thesis title was ‘The construction of virtue in the Marquis de Sade’s Justine‘, so it was more about his tortured heroine. Though, I sort of make a point that they are similar entities — something I will explore in my book.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

Eleanor by Cadence

While I am doing my research and planning for NaNo, my amazingly-talented graphic designer, Phoenix (of Phoenix Johnson Graphic Design) will be hard at work making a grand cover for the novel — it’s really more of a motivational tool to keep me committed to the project, much like the cover for Eleanor. And it certainly worked!

So, I’m very excited to see what Phoenix has planned for Sade.

During my research and planning, I will get a better idea of what it is I actually want to write. I have most of it sorted — in just this last week of research, I have been able to figure out the overarching plot, and some of the sub plots. Hopefully this means I can fashion up some sort of blurb for you soon.

I have a page set up already. I haven’t 100% decided on a title though. So far, I have a few ideas and have simply picked a temporary one to post up on the NaNo site — Crime of the Marquis de Sade — I’m likely to change it though. Also, I am a wee bit concerned it could be mistaken for a non-fiction work with a title like that.

If you are a fellow NaNoWriMo-er, feel free to check out my profile You are, of course, welcome to add me as a buddy.

Mental Health Month

You may remember, last week I spoke about Mental Health Month. Each year I use my Facebook page as a platform to raise awareness of the stigma associated with mental illness. But, it’s also a time when I ask followers to post pictures, memes, gifs, and whatnot of things that brighten their day, and may well brighten another’s day. See, we all know about the stigma. Words like “crazy”, “bipolar”, “insane”, and so on are casually thrown around, with little appreciation or understanding of mental health, nor of what implications those harmful words cause. Mental illness and suicide are sometimes stigmatised by the media too.

We are therefore surrounded by ideas and words which construct an image of a monster; that the mentally ill are people to be feared.

During Mental Health Month, this is the perfect time to challenge those ideas and words, and to challenge the media, to ensure we no longer stigmatise the mentally ill.

Remember, you can help shed a more positive light on mental health by making a #MentalHealthPromise

Mental Health Month promise

It’s very difficult to talk about the stigma surrounding mental health without going into a great, lengthy rant, but I will try and rein myself in.

The point is that we all know about the stigma. We need to work together to end it. Now! You can help. Yes, you can! Please avoid using words like “crazy” to describe someone. At least, ask yourself why you would call someone that. When a crime has been committed, don’t assume the criminal was mentally ill. Don’t even joke about it. Most people living with a mental illness would sooner hurt themselves than anyone else — we are empathetic; we understand pain a great deal and would never wish to inflict that kind of pain on anyone. Also, the mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of crime.

I didn’t want to go this far, I know.

The main aim, however, of my Mental Health Month Facebook posts is to elicit some form of positive reaction. A smile, maybe. Or a picture of a cat. Doesn’t matter. I want people to know they are safe and can post whatever they like on my page without fear.

It’s hard to admit to having a mental illness, because of the stigma, because we can never be sure how someone will respond. It’s important though not to be ashamed or afraid of having a mental illness. Remember, mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is.

Please be kind to each other.

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone
Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24 hour crisis support.
If it is an emergency, phone 000.

Mental Health Month

Eleanor, giveaway, and Mental Health Month

Giveaway
Firstly, I want to thank everyone who entered the giveaway. It has, of course, closed and I will be announcing the winner on the 7th, so follow my Facebook page and keep an eye out to see if you’ve won this awesome book bundle!

 

So, how did you go with the giveaway? Were you able to name all the books?

You may have noticed that most of these books are on my review scale.


Eleanor

A weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I submitted Eleanor to an agent yesterday! Eeee! I’m both relieved and scared, but finally letting Eleanor go means that I can begin focusing on my next project — my entry for this year’s National Novel Writing Month competition — a novel on the Marquis de Sade.

Eleanor by Cadence

It will be a while before I hear back from the agent, in fact I may not hear back at all. I’m not too familiar with the process, but I know that the odds are against me — I have a greater chance of being passed on.

Regardless, I’m just so happy to have finally reached this stage. It’s been a long road, certainly. I’ve heard it said that writing the book is the easiest part. I knew it to be true (as an editor and proofreader, I knew I’d be killing myself trying to reach perfection), but it wasn’t until I went through it all that I realised just how hard it was. Of course, it hasn’t really ended — not until Eleanor is published!

I want to thank everyone who helped me along the way. Thank you to my partner, Simon. I honestly don’t know how to thank you for everything you’ve done for me ❤

Thank you to my wonderful friend, Phoenix (of Phoenix Johnson Graphic Design), for designing the mock-up cover for Eleanor for last year’s NaNoWriMo. It certainly helped me stay motivated and committed to the project. And, the cover looks damn amazing — I can’t stop looking at it!

Thank you to Amanda J Spedding (of Phoenix Editing and Proofreading) for the copyedit and manuscript assessment. I was simply blown away. Honestly, I’ve been reduced to an inarticulate mass of… of… of something. The advice, suggestions, detailed report on concerns with the manuscript — it was everything I needed to help perfect Eleanor.

And, of course, thank you to family, friends, and fans!


Mental Health Month
Mental Health Month promise
October is Mental Health Month, and if you’ve been following me on Facebook you would have noticed all my posts. There’s so much you can do to get involved, and I’ve got a bunch of ideas how — not only in how to raise awareness of the stigma associated with mental illness, but in how to fight the stigma!

This month, you can make a #MentalHealthPromise to help share a positive light on mental health. You can make a promise here.

Be sure to share your promise (you’re welcome to share yours here, or on my Facebook page) and invite your friends to make their own.


Hyperbole and a Half
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Ever heard of Hyperbole and a Half?

This blog (and book) is a must read for everyone, but for those living with a mental illness, Hyperbole and a Half is a little gem to brighten their day ❤

If you or someone you know is living with a mental illness, I highly recommend you check out the book. It is a fun, honest, and hilarious read, and one that would make a wonderful present for a loved one.

I have my own copy, and I just love it!

 

That’s it for this week! But, I’ll be sure to fill you guys in with all my happenings and shenanigans.