Jaye’s Week: From the Edge of Insanity…

My brain needs discipline, as I can no longer make it behave the way I want it to.

Mind you, it must be contagious, for my laptop and tablet are showing similar tendencies.

I have spent last evening, first with the laptop and then the tablet, trying to run through my emails from the comfort of my armchair.

The laptop was on a go-slow, so I switched to the tablet.

This annoying piece of crap decided not to respond at all. Patience personified, I kept trying, only for the battery to drain away faster than a chocolate teapot. Something it shouldn’t have been able to do since it wasn’t doing anything.

I can feel the day coming when I will take a hammer to both of them as I am not sure how much longer my brain can cope with these insanity-inducing contraptions.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t aware of all the wonderful things they can do. When in a good mood, of course.

But I ask you, is it asking too much to have a piece of equipment that does what it says on the tin?

We wouldn’t stand for such substandard performance from any other electrical object, so why, for all that’s Holy, do we put up with it?

The main desktop PC is not immune to such shenanigans, it’s just sneakier. Its favourite trick is ignoring whole sentences while I am busy typing them.

I get no warning, no sign that something has gone awry. The first I know about it is when I try to read the work back, only to find yawning great holes where parts of my story are missing.

I tell you; it is beginning to feel like a conspiracy…

Speaking of a conspiracy, has anyone else noticed how difficult (annoying) Word is becoming? They seem to tinker with it almost every day and it is becoming a nightmare. I was reading a post earlier, where the virtues of Scrivener were explained, and how sensibly easy it is. Maybe I didn’t need Word anymore?

Any feedback on this, please?

On the bright side, and I do try to find this even on those grey days, nothing affects my pen and paper. Sometimes I am so glad that I can write, blissfully, as far away from technology as I can get. As happy as Larry, knowing that I am in total charge of the creative process. Until it is time to commit it to digital, that is!

So, to end on a much happier note, I must report that the mindset for the new WIP Ghost of a Chance, is firmly in place. I just need to find a better way of working on it.

But I have enjoyed being away from all the technobabble so much, that I shall be doing more of it!





Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

It is supposed to be, but I think not. Not the way most people do it, anyway.

I have always hated imitation of any kind, for it always seems to take something away from the original. Why do we need to have substitutions when we already have the original? Why can’t they leave well enough alone?

It doesn’t seem to matter where you go, whatever field you are interested in, there will always be someone trying to copy or improve something.

My pet hate is the remakes of all my favourite films. I watched the new (and supposedly improved) Ben Hur with my family, (it was either that or revising!) But even with all of today’s wonderful new technology, it wasn’t a patch on the original film with Charlton Heston.

I love to watch all kinds of people at work. Artists, sculptors, craftspeople, even plumbers and mechanics. I think this is because my nosy brain just wants to know how things work. My favourite programme at the moment is Artist of the Year and I love watching how all the different artists go about creating original and unique pieces of artwork.

What I cannot stand about these programmes, are the so-called experts who try to tell the artists that what they have done is wrong and how they should have done it. Sometimes the thoughtless and callous way they pull the work apart is so cruel it makes me cringe.

To my mind, no one has the right to condemn or criticise a work of art. Either you like it, or you don’t, but don’t presume to know better than the artist.

As a writer, I subject my work to beta readers and editors so that errors can be pointed out and corrected. This is normally done in a constructive, helpful manner and not in a condescending “I know better” attitude.

Critics always sound so false, their remarks too self-serving and the damage they can do to any fledgeling artistic genius should carry a health warning.

I personally have had at least one scathing critique of my writing; one so bad I wanted to shred every page and then crawl away and hide in a cupboard. It is only when you realise that it is only an opinion and probably not meant to kill the tiny shoots of creativity in your soul that you can pick yourself up and move on.

I may not be a great writer or even a particularly good one, but I am trying my best. At the end of the day, that’s all we can ever do. But what we do produce, whether it is good, bad or indifferent, it is original and not some cocked up imitation…

(And before you all reach for your keyboard, I know I have just criticised quite a lot of people… my bad!)

What a Week this has Been!

What a week this has been!

At the beginning of the week and fed up to my back teeth with feeling so sick and giddy all the time, secretly wondering if a stroke might be imminent as my head felt both awful and wrong at the same time, I bit the bullet and rang my doctor.

I was probably wasting my time and wouldn’t get an appointment, or even the time of day if last time was anything to go by, but I was hoping for a conversation at the very least.

At our surgery, patients must first go through hoops with the receptionists. They are instructed to triage all calls, basically to judge whether you are sick enough to be blessed with a chance to speak to your doctor. They draw the line at dying though, as the recorded message tells you not to bother them; to ring 999.

I made it through the first hurdle and was told my doctor would call me that day. Oh boy, I must really be sick, I thought, but not dying though, which was good to know.

The verdict was an inner ear problem, and a prescription was sent to my local chemist. I was to take the pills for two days, but if the dizziness hadn’t gone to ring back, as she would have to see me (in person!)

During those two days, a very sad family disaster upset everyone’s apple cart, and we finally received notification of the start of Anita’s thyroid investigation at the hospital. We only waited for weeks this time, so that was an improvement.

I felt no better after the two waiting days, so I rang the surgery again. This time, they said my doctor was not available and that my name would be added to the duty rota list. Hopefully, someone will call me later.

Later turned out to be a synonym for never, apparently, as I am still waiting!

Despite such a terrible week, I have managed to continue writing in short bursts, I must admit, but worrying about my characters problems has kept me sane.

Hoping for a quiet weekend… and wishing the same for all of you!

Dreaming…

Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

I have been told that thinking is a dangerous thing to do at my age.  It is possibly a dangerous thing to do at any age if you think about it, for who knows where it may lead?

I quite like thinking, and all the things that trigger it off. Like books and pictures for instance. What I could do with is a method of keeping said thoughts, as they usually evaporate like so much smoke, never to be seen again. I make notes on everything in a vain hope of remembering all the good stuff, and it works most of the time.

Then I am told ‘what do you expect, at your age?’

But this is the difficult part. My mind does not feel old, even though it seems to have more holes in it than my favourite cheese, and when I see or read something that stirs my imagination, I am back in my prime, having a sneaky feeling that this is not all there is for me.

Some of the time I must admit I really don’t want any more, I am too tired to even consider the possibility. Then there are the other days– when you forget just how old and how stiff you are. That you find it difficult just going to the shops and back.

Days when you choose to ignore the sands of time slipping through your fingers and find yourself considering the most amazing possibilities.

Of course, this may be what happens as you approach old age. I don’t know, I have no experience or knowledge of it, not having done it before.

But if you can think, you can dream. And if you can dream, I believe you can do anything… at any age!

I have been struggling to finish the fifth book in my crime/mystery series. Although I am three quarters finished, the sneaky feeling that there might be something wrong just won’t go away.

It gets worse. 

I have been waking up in the early hours, thinking about the story. This has been going on for weeks now and last night I dreamed about it. In the dream, my hero and my villain changed places for some reason.

I wanted to know about temporary and easily changeable hair colourants. None of this made any sense to me, all my book needed, I think, is a substantial edit to tighten up the plot. But it did get me thinking. 

Could my choice of villain be all wrong? This could be why my hero was a bit lack lustre too. The whole premise could be askew. Anita and I had a brainstorming session to try to make sense of it all, and although we came up with some interesting ideas, they all involved major rewriting. No mean feat when you are 60.000 words in already.

I should be feeling devastated, and not sure why I’m not. The problem may or not be sorted, but whatever happens, it is doable. So that old post was right after all. If you can dream, you can do anything…

The Windows of my Soul…

a big yellow, dizzy emoji
Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay

The Windows of my Soul…

The first time it happened, I thought my brain had decided to quit, breakdown or crash, whatever it is brains do when they die. One minute I was perfectly fine, reading something on the computer screen and then it happened.

My brain lurched.  That is the best way I can describe what it felt like. It was as if the contents of my head twisted around in one quick movement. Instantly, I felt sick and nauseous, and when I tried to stand, the room revolved violently, and I had to sit down again.

I was unable to walk or work. I wasn’t actually sick, but it felt as though I would be at any minute. The following morning, I opened my eyes, expecting the worst, only to discover whatever it was had gone. It didn’t happen again for what seemed like a long time, but I had to endure these “dizzy days” every couple of months, and although I coped with it, I secretly worried what it could mean.

Last year these ‘spells’ have begun to get closer together and last a little bit longer than just one day. This was roughly when the optician discovered I had cataracts growing in my eyes. They were very small and didn’t need to be removed yet. I was assured they were not the cause of my symptoms and prescribed a special coating for my glasses to combat the glare from the computer screen.

Fast forward to this year and the dizzy spells. They last for a bit longer now, and another visit to the opticians confirmed that the cataracts are still small and unlikely to be causing me trouble. Again, I am not convinced. Something must be causing all my dizziness.

I found respite by wearing sunglasses over my glasses, at the computer as well as out of doors, and may invest in new tinted glasses to avoid wearing two pairs all the time. I have been reluctant to bother my doctor again, as he didn’t have a clue last time I went. I already suspect it is probably yet another of those mysterious ailments that must be endured as part of growing old. I am learning to limit my screen time and I cannot wear my glasses all day either.

The thought of losing my sight, or worse, fills me with equal amounts of fear and dread. I think of all the things I love to do and might not be able to manage anymore, and don’t know how I will cope if the worst happens. Quite apart from my writing and hobbies, there are so many other things I love to do. It breaks my heart to even consider life without them all.

For a start, what would I do all day…?

Remembering my first Encounter with a Mobile phone…

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Remembering my first Encounter with a Mobile phone…

It’s not often that I give up on anything. Being one of the most stubborn people on this planet, means that I usually persevere or (drive myself and the rest of my family insane) until I master whatever it is I want to do.

But giving up doesn’t happen often, and I am ridiculously happy to be able to say that. I gave up on a job once. It was well paid but strenuous, and after two weeks, I was forced to admit that it was slowly killing me. I gave up on my marriage for roughly the same reason.

What this usually means, is I regard it as a personal failure, rather than the acceptance that it was a mistake and not for me. It has to be my fault, you see, that I had to run away/or give up.

And today, I gave up on my first mobile phone.

Sounds silly I know, when you consider that I have tackled the world of computers, the internet, self publishing and the vagaries of Twitter, to mention but a few.

I had wanted a mobile phone for a while. Everyone I knew had one, so they couldn’t be that difficult to use, I thought. What I didn’t realise, was that you are essentially looking at a computer system in a very small box.

“Just charge it up and switch it on…” the attractive young man in Carphone Warehouse told me. Adding, with a smirk, that I could return it inside two weeks, if I changed my mind. And that should have alerted me. For if it was that easy to use, why would I need to change my mind?

I chose a Samsung, nothing too fancy, assuming it would be easier for me. It had a nice big touch screen, and I remember looking at it in the shop and wondering how on earth it could be operated with just the one button.

The first day, I opened the box and stared at the phone for most of the morning before switching it on. I was at once assaulted by several messages – all requiring me to do various tasks. I tried to understand what they wanted, but after just one hour of insanity –I switched it off in disgust and not a little frustration.

I had been assured it had an instruction manual, but a small leaflet explaining how to change the battery did not cut the mustard!

On the second day, I tried again. After several attempts to enter the required information, I gave up again. Mainly because it logged me out after two attempts. I moved on to more interesting subjects, installed a few apps and explored a bit. But even with my stubborn streak running at full throttle, I ended up switching it off again.

The damned thing goes into stand-by mode every time you stop to think.

It also makes countless annoying bleeps, for as yet unknown reasons.

None of the menus appear to work, switching you to other screens as and when it feels like it.

I eventually found the help screen, but even following the advice to the letter, nothing helped. The instructions were concise but didn’t seem to be referring to my phone. And even when I found something to actually try, it didn’t work.

I was beginning to feel increasingly more stupid than usual, so I decided to quit. I didn’t really need a crazy, non functioning nightmare accessory to highlight my faults, so I put it back in the box and went back to my regular means of frustration, most of which had already learned who was boss…

The trouble with being super stubborn, is that you never really give up, and of course, I hadn’t. Sometime later, I was introduced to an Apple iPhone and fell in love with how easy it was to use. Makes me wonder if I would prefer an Apple computer too as they are so user friendly…

This was written for me!

MLMM Wordle #259 ~ Remember My Name ~ #Poetry

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Remember My Name

Muliebrity fled my nature long ago
When I became a mother
I no longer heard my name spoken
I became mum, or darling from my husband
I became a new entity
But some would say motherhood
Is a part of it
I didn’t take to feeling different
I pushed myself to the commitment
I made by getting married
Everybody tells me I will get used
To being split in two
It is too big a change in my life
A good friend, a mentor, told me
To focus on one part of the day
Go from there, above all, stay calm
Don’t let your mind dazzle 
by the many thoughts
that come all at once
focus on the road ahead, the corner
never knowing what lies beyond
I take all their ideas on board
Wait for them to filter through
Most of all, I look forward
To the evening when I can
Have a few moments to myself
The one who had a name…

© Anita Dawes 2021