My Partner and I moved away from London in 2007. We settled in the beautiful English county of Suffolk. Since then, I have achieved a number of personal and professional ambitions; to live in an old country cottage in a beautiful village and to live within a few minutes of the coast. To grow my Counselling and Psychotherapy practice to the point where I could be fully self-employed. To have a journey time to work of no greater than about half an hour. To keep Dogs. To create a cottage garden that benefits wildlife. To develop a respected reputation in my field of work. To enjoy photography as a hobby. To maintain older friendships and to develop new friendships in our new home county. To enable family and friends to share in this new lifestyle.
These are but some of my ambitions that I have realised and I feel incredibly grateful for these achievements. There is one particular ambition that still remains unfulfilled and this is where I intend to next focus myself; that of writing. Since as far back as I can remember, I have enjoyed writing as a hobby. It has offered me an important outlet within which to express myself and to explore thoughts, feelings, emotions, observations, experiences and ideas.
This has been particularly helpful to me during times of great sadness or stress; during times of bereavement throughout my childhood, times of distress at witnessing the destructive end of the Marriage of my Parents and through times of witnessing my Mum’s troubling use of alcohol as she battled Depression that was, itself, triggered by a lifetime of loss. Writing has been a source of comfort but it has also been an organic process of understanding humanity, understanding loved ones and of understanding myself. Writing has contributed hugely to my ability to be a reflective practitioner in my field of work.
In my childhood, both of my Parents encouraged me to read and they also encouraged me to write. In fact, my Mum had taught me how to read and write before I started Primary School. Here’s a photo of me with my Mum in South Africa, where I lived from age six months to nearly three years of age, before heading back to England:
I was writing in joined up hand at age five only to have my, in today’s terms, ‘old fashioned’ Teachers stop me from writing in joined up form as “We haven’t taught you that yet”. I had wonderful Teachers throughout my entire school life but their old fashioned techniques also made them direct me to cease using my left hand for writing and, instead, to learn to use my right hand. They succeeded but the result is that I have always had a very inconsistent handwriting, for I cannot find a natural style with my right hand. These days, my writing is the most consistent style it has ever been, but any Handwriting Analyst may wonder at the way my individual letters can appear so differently from one day to the next.
As a child and young person, reading offered me a Passport to other worlds, to magical lands and to situations of adventure and mystery. In childhood, I developed a love for Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis, in particular, but as I grew my repertoire did too and my love of English Classics opened up a whole new world to me. Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens have populated my mind with romantic and vivid characters and landscapes that were so familiar to me. I will write in more detail about books I have read and loved, in future Blog posts. Poetry is also a form that touches me deeply, to this day. When we take a boat out on the Norfolk Broads, I take with me a book of poetry. I find poetry lifts the soul, somehow.
Here I am on the Norfolk Broads, in 2015, writing and sketching as I watched the landscape from the gentle perspective of a boat on a summers day:
In my professional career, I have had a number of small articles published and that has always felt like a privilege. I have written quite a lot and I have never yet submitted anything as serious as a book, to a Publisher but my ambition is now to start a serious project and see how I fare with Publishers. That said, whether I could get something published, or not, does not matter, for the art of writing is something I do for enjoyment and that will continue as long as I have a functioning mind.
As for physicality, writing can be difficult as the onset of chronic illness has made holding a pen, or even typing, often challenging due to the pains I get in my hands and wrists through Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I can manage, but having to build in rest times can be frustrating, when I want to crack on with an idea. The fact that I am completely Freelance in my work, offers me the flexibility I need, however. Over the coming year, I suspect that I will take up a course in Creative Writing and I may attend some of the many local writing workshops that take place throughout the summer.
Update: Since writing this Blog post, I have, as of June 27th 2017, now conclusively been diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.
Watch out for future Blog posts about how I get on in developing this aspect of my life. If you have a similar ambition or if you have already started to progress down the route of becoming a writer, do leave a comment below and tell something of your own story.