27. November 2015 · Comments Off on The pains and gains of distraction · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Good news. I’m back on the book: Household Stories/Katei Monogatari (in Japanese) But three years has taken its toll. It’s not simply a matter of making sense of the time frame; there’s so much that needs re-writing. What worked written fast then does not work now: what was joyous on now distant occasion reads flippant; what made sense at the time seems muddled, incomprehensible even. So there’s a lot to do.

As usual, though, there are days I cannot settle…

From day to day the weather dictates whether I can get into the garden. Though leaves are largely swept and distributed into piles for compost, there is bracken to cut back, the burn to clear, new saplings to support and protect from deer and the ravages of the Scottish winter, and planted borders to put to rest until next year.

Welcome to a wintry Scotland...

So much to do in the great outdoors…

There is a new asymmetrical hair style I’m trying to cultivate; easier said than done!

There is also the co-op.

It was Leila who suggested way back in early summer that I go along to a meeting at the Birnam Hotel (across the Rover Tay from Dunkeld) to see how I felt about joining a co-operative of like-minded individuals, all with small businesses. Also how they felt about me. Seems I passed muster, because I am now one of the nine founder members of The Perthshire Care and Wellbeing Co-operative (www.thecareandwellbeing.coop) offering our various services to this part of rural Scotland.

L to R, back: Lindsay (legal beagle), Joyce (GrowBiz mentor), Anneke (bio-dynamic gardener), Donna (carer and co-op contact), Gillian (befriender) , Angela (writing guide), Olivia (down-sizing and re-homing) Fiona (carer), Leila (herbalist)

L to R, back: Lindsay (legal beagle), Joyce (GrowBiz mentor), Anneke (bio-dynamic gardener), Donna (carer and co-op contact), Gillian (befriender) , Angela (writing guide), Olivia (down-sizing and re-homing) Fiona (carer), Leila (herbalist)

It’s been one hell of a learning curve. For one thing, since allocated the role as words person, it was naturally assumed I would take on the task of writing copy for the co-op’s website, as designed by Louise Copeland of the Blairgowrie-based company Great Little Brands. The schedule was crazy as we planned to launch at Perth’s weeklong wellbeing festival in October.

Never again (well I say never again…) Thank goodness for Louise’s level head and experience in the field, leading me step by step.

Keep it simple I was advised. Write for the average 12-year-old I was instructed (whoever that may be). Repeating the same work in one sentence is not lazy writing, it seems, but reinforcement. Oh, and write the site from the middle outwards to the end and beginning.

Result? Some sleepless nights and one less than happy ‘writer’. We got there in the end, of course, and made the deadline, but I would not describe my part as a happy experience. But only because my ego was upset. As of old (before it was allocated the new role of life companion rather than a saboteur) it tried to jump in to protect old habitual feelings from hurt, self-doubt and fear of failure.

Launch day in Perth on October 5

Launch day in Perth on October 5

The Perth launch went well, as did two linked events. The general consensus in the minefield called social services and community welfare in general in the UK today seems to be that we are ‘new, innovative (as in thinking outside-the-box…), to be watched!’

Carer Fiona and befriender Gillian have already gained new clients. Donna, a family home carer and the co-op’s ‘face to the world, is busy acting as our contact, gathering information and attending endless meetings to network on our behalf.

It is a whole new world to me, and one that I embrace whilst at the same time acknowledging that I am a newcomer not only to the co-op, but Scotland and Scottish culture, and in many respects it’s a bit late to start a whole new career. Not that I want to: I am a writer first and foremost. As I have written on the website, “Through courses, workshops or working one-to-one, I am a writer who loves to help others with their writing.” So we will see.

Lots of interest in the project... Now it's up to us!

Lots of interest in our co-operative effort…

I am not just sitting back however. Leila (a herbalist) , Gordon (a mindful nature guide) and I (via words) are putting together an event called THREE KEYS TO AWARENESS, which we will test in February in Perth and repeat in Pitlochry in May.

So now you see why my book is coming along more slowly than planned. There are so many meetings to attend these days that I’ve even had to buy a Filofax again – the first in ten years – to keep myself straight.

When people assume I am that odd word “retired”, I have to laugh. A new world is opening up to embrace my acceptance of all that is to come. And yes, that does include scheduling my own writing in there; I just have to be more organised and s-t-r-e-t-c-h time out as I did in the good old bad old days of earning a living when multi-tasking juggler extraordinaire was my second name.