E is for Exhausted

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I’m not really exhausted. Honestly. But part of me wants a vacation. I know this from last year – there comes a time in April where my brain stops functioning and I just can’t anymore. Can’t write. Can’t be active on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook (I’m trying honestly). Can’t read books. I guess it’s normal for teachers. Summer is coming, it’s been a long year of texts about body parts, countries and flowers. Lessons about punctuation (ever tried to teach someone where a sentence ends? It’s harder than it looks.) Lessons about 15+15 and 8-3-5, not to mention countless fights, drama among my girls, booboos and actual wounds and that time one my student got a “butterflycomb” (who sends a butterflycomb with their kid to school?) thrown into his eye. Don’t worry, he was fine even though we didn’t think so first. It’s been a year of angry (and not-so-angry) e-mails from parents. Of hugs. And pieces of art from my students that I want to spread all around me. Of meetings. Of tears from me when it’s just too much pressure to do this stupid, wonderful, lovely job.

My brain has shut down a little bit. It’s on hiatus. It’s just trying to survive until June when I finally can breathe again. Be myself again. Be a writer again.

Right now I just want to be alone. Do my job. Work on miniatures that don’t require brain-power the same way (current dollhouse pictured above). Maybe write a short story. Cook. Walk with my dogs. Cuddle with my wife.

That’s all there is left of me.

I’m sorry I can’t do better.

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C is for Courage

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made off

– Bethany Hamilton.

I slept in a bit today, prioritised rest over a proper breakfast and so I had to eat my breakfast walking to the bus station. It was a peanutbutter and jam sandwich and as I chewed away I had three thoughts.

1. Raspberry jam isn’t as good as strawberry jam.

2. I’m bad at evenly spreading peanutbutter.

3. Tram and train tunnels really remind me of The Walking Dead.

As I threw away the crust in the trash like a child and could finally stick my cold fingers in gloves, I started thinking about courage and freedom.

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B is for Books

I took an embarrassing amount of time to think of a word for the letter B. I thought of babies, but I don’t have much to say about that right now. I thought of bananas, but even though I don’t eat them I’m not a banana hating extremist and I don’t have much to say about that either. It could be B for blog but I’ve already talked about my lack of blogging enough times. For some reason the word “books” didn’t cross my mind until last week.

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My Main Protagonists as Songs

It’s no secret that I’m slightly obsessed with Marina and the Diamond songs. I don’t know if it’s her lyrics or her voice or the fact that she’s half-Greek and half-Welsh and as a half-Swedish, half-Turkish girl I feel a sense of kinship. Whatever it is that has caused it, the end result is the same – I am obsessed with Marina and the Diamond songs.

Now that I have two novels out I have found the four perfect songs to represent my protagonists from “Out of Hand” and “State of Emergency”. Please ignore that it’s just a silly excuse to put more music on my blog.

Out of Hand:

Leo:

 

Mimi:

 

State of Emergency: 

Mercedes:

 

Idun:

Summer…

What can I do now? What can I do to keep every single moment in my mind forever?

How is it possible that Daniella (my student assistant) and I no longer work together every day? How is it possible that I will never again enter 3B’s classroom and greet the sixteen little souls that I had been entrusted to look after and teach every day?

How can I keep the memories? What can keep me from forgetting? Deirdres smile every time she saw me and how we struggled to make sense of math problems. Luke’s tantrums. Even Jake’s stupid comments or how he insisted on bringing a fidget spinner into the classroom even though we had had no choice but to ban them.. Or how the majority of my kids seemed incapable of learning to stay quiet. Or stay seated.
Please help me remember. Playing games. Reading the fourth Harry Potter book for them.  Marvin’s childish charm which made it impossible to stay mad at him no matter how difficult he had been. Katie and Maisie, my darling girls who have helped me so much. How Phoebe’s anger could be turned into creativity. How I’ve gotten at least one hug from Tina.

Or how when we were going to go and sing for the parents on the last day, I didn’t need to tell them – they just lined up behind me like a row of ducklings.

Or how Louise, one of my younger coworkers, would light up my day with a hug or even just a smile.

My classroom is so empty now. I cleaned all the text from the whiteboard. Took their drawings down. Cleaned. Wiped away our memories of tears and yelling and laughing and smiling. And learning of course.

How can it be over? Why isn’t it still January?

I seriously, seriously, seriously love my job.

(All kid’s names are changed)

P is for Pride, S is for Shy

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Pride has come to town. Sadly, I’m quite reserved. That includes my sexuality.

I’m comfortable. It’s not a big deal anymore. I’m still occasionally worried that a parent is going to freak out and complain (I’m a school teacher after all and to some homosexuality is contagious -.-) I’m not in the closet. Not even to my students. I don’t make announcements of course, but if it comes up in conversation I don’t deny it. If they ask if I’m married (and children do, especially if you’re a young woman it seems) I tell them “I don’t have a husband, I have a wife” and like I’ve mentioned before, kids usually don’t care.

I think the best gift we can give our kids, in terms of different sexualities, is to not make discourse of everything. As an adult I’m tired of lectures at university or high school telling me “when we meet gay people we must be nice to them”. I’ve never met another message than an ‘us and them’ message. It doesn’t matter how well meant it is. It shows that the lecturer or teacher or professor is straight and they assume that everyone in the room is straight too. And message recieved. I will always be “them”, “the other”. The message is not for me. I don’t want to be taught to be nice to gay people.

That’s not what I want for my students. I want it to be a non-issue. If my kids come running, telling me that someone is gay, my answer is always a mindless, adult, “oh that’s nice dear”. Call me crazy, but I think that if I start telling my kids “don’t say that, don’t call them gay, they’re probably not gay and even if they are, that’s okay, gay people are people too…,” all they will learn is that gay people are the other. It becomes an issue. If we want it to be normality, we need to treat it like normality. If we make it a discourse, it will be a discourse and you’ll wind up with kids like me – quite sad and uncomfortable when they learn that they are lesbian.

Speak about gender. Yes! Talk abut the right to be who you are. Who you want to be. You’re allowed to wear what you want, have nail polish if you want. Talk about the fact that gender doesn’t matter. But don’t turn sexuality into a subject that needs to be taught. We don’t do that with heterosexuality and as long as we treat homosexuality like something different, it will remain something different. We need it normalised. Not special.

Lesbian is not all I am. It doesn’t define who I am. The gender of my wife has nothing to do with my personality. It defines how I think to some degree, it has influenced my experiences. But it is not all I am and I don’t want it painted as such.

I am very proud of and grateful for the great people who came before me. Thank you for my right to marry. My security. My ability and right to raise kids. Compared to older lesbians my life has been, is, so easy (my wife’s life hasn’t, but that’s a different story). So thank you for your struggle. It is called Pride, not as in the biblical sin but as in “we are not ashamed”. And we shouldn’t be ashamed because we have nothing to be ashamed of.

But gosh, my reserved nature does not like pride. Or maybe that’s shyness. I’ve known I’m a lesbian for ten years now and I’ve never been (and I’ve lived in three different towns that hosts Pride festivals). I’m equally terrified and curious. (and enjoying the rainbows which are EVERYWHERE this week) So this is my thank you instead.

Thank you for your struggle, to all who struggle for LGBTQA rights. And I’m sorry for my cowardice and occasional recluse nature. I will most likely hide this year as well.

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Well here we are… (beware frustration)

And what have I done? To be honest it feels like nothing. On average I’m writing 300 words a week if even that. Updating my blog isn’t even on the radar. Even though I want to, I really want to. It’s May. Last time I updated my blog was January.

I looked at my goals for the year yesterday. Almost all of them are writing-related. And what am I doing? I’m either dealing with the stupid health issues or working. There isn’t much energy for else. And most of the time I don’t even feel guilty. I’m doing the best with what I’ve been given. And you know what? I have less than twenty working days until the summer. And during the summer I will collect myself, get my body to work again properly and have so much time to write. Before then all I can do is bide my time.

So I’ll probably not write anything here until the middle of June, but luckily it’s not far away. In the meantime I can start thinking about what I actually want to blog about.

Before I graduated, the idea of my blog was short stories. And it kind of works (except the mess that is “Never break a leg before christmas”, I know I haven’t finished it and honestly I will) except during school weeks when lesson plans take up a lot of my creativity and energy. Whatevers left I want to give to novels or novellas. So what can I blog about? What do people blog about? I don’t have that much writing experience, I mean, I do but not if you compare to other bloggers. Especially not this dreadful year. I have very little experience with self-publishing. What can I write about then? Teaching. I have experienced with violent kids, kids with dyslexia, kids with ADHD, unhelpful parents. I can talk about being rootless, of not living in a place more than four years all my life. I guess I can talk about boats. And nature. I can talk about stress and guilt. Of putting on music and dancing around to it. What else is there to me?

IMG_20170501_184516My mum gave me this light. It runs on cooking oil, how cool is that?

Happy January 1st!

Here we are again, first of January! Welcome to 2017! I was reading my January first post from last year and I just feel like 2016 went incredibly fast.

So many things happened, not just in the world but in my own life. I got married, graduated and survived my first term as a proper teacher. I didn’t write as  much as I have in previous years but since I’ve been busier than ever, I’m not too disappointed with myself (well, I’m trying not to be).

My goals for 2016 were:

  • Finish On board the Monster (working title) which is my third novel.
  • Properly revise Out of Hand and add at least 20k words.
  • Find someone to publish State of Emergency.
  • Participate in Nanowrimo for the first time.

How did I do?

I *didn’t* finish On Board the Monster, it’s sort of on a semi-permanent hiatus. There are other stories that called my heart too much. Instead I started, and finished, a contemporary romance called Stargazing which is about a pornstar and a virgin who falls in love.

I did revise Out of Hand and added a buckload of words. It’s been through another bout of beta reading and editing and I’m planning to self-publish it in early 2017. But more on that in another post.

I self-published State of Emergency in August and loved the experience. I still want a publisher to publish it sometime in the future but we’ll wait and see.

I didn’t participate in Nanowrimo. There is no way I manage and I’ll not have that as a goal this year. In the middle of term it feels like I work 24 hours a day, planning, correcting, contacting parents, plus the actual teaching. There is no way I’ll manage to cram out 50k words in a month. That part of my life is over.

My new goals for 2017 are:

  • Revise and self-publish Out of Hand.
  • Revise and send Stargazing to a publisher
  • Try to update my blog once a month.
  • Not let my tumblr die. If I have one, I need to use it.
  • Finish The New Story, another contemporary romance.
  • Please, please, please finish Never break a leg before Christmas, (Come on, Kathy, this is getting ridiculous).
  • Start the sequel for State of Emergency. 

In just 12 days I’m moving to my new home. I think it’s going to boost my creativity a lot. The last six months I’ve been commuting four hours a day plus living in very tight quarters with too many other people.

I want this year to be a year of, well, writing again. More writing than 2016. Also happiness. And hope. And all the good things.

Happy January first everyone!