Another test... Another Wait

Today I have a Doctor's appointment. 
I have been struggling with depression for a while, I have had it for so long, but lately I'm not doing too well.
I had a new medication introduced a while ago and we are due to discuss the withdrawal of the previous medications.

I'm feeling anxious as I go. I don't do well at these 'drop in' surgeries. It is always crowded with a long wait.
I go in to see Doctor, and he has received a letter from my psychiatrist, so he is already to discuss the staged withdrawal. I tell him that I think I am pregnant. He tells me that they do not usually do a pregnancy test until patients have two missed periods. I tell him I have been tracking my periods for years as was trying to conceive, so I know I am late and I have had a positive test. 

He tells me that he can do a test but we wont get the results till next week! Seriously, I can pee on a stick and get the result in 60 seconds, but the medical advances cannot tell me for four days! 

We discuss the medication, there is not enough evidence either way whether it is harmful to child, but I say I would rather not take anything if I am and he agrees this is the best course of action for the time being. We agree to stop the prior medication immediately and start a staged withdrawal of the new medication, and I'm given folic acid. I tell him, I will do another test today to confirm before I cancel medication. 

I went to pharmacy and get another test, take it and surprise, it's positive. Definitely no mistake, this is not a false positive then. 



I accidentally blurted out to the baby's father I was pregnant. His response was not great! I walked about, well stomped & stropped, for about half hour, then sat & cried for 5 mins. I text him to say sorry, wasn't quite the way I intended to do that but my head is all over the place too.



Pictures from OneGeekyGirl  and WeddingByColor

Big Fat Result!

I did a pregnancy test today. The minute whilst I wait feels like an eternity. 


A big fat positive, erm.. ok.. what now?
I have spent five years trying with my ex husband with no luck, and now I fall on by accident? I'm not even in a relationship.
Part of me wants to shout and let the world know, but part of me just wants to lie down and cry. Ironically enough curled up in the foetal position.
I have wanted this for so long, it seems a cruel trick to play on me. I can't help but think that it is a false positive. That I somehow had managed to get a faulty test.

I am currently at ACS (Acute Community Service) as I have been struggling with my depression and I am being baby sat for my own protection. I try to put the pregnancy test out of my mind (*laughs* as if it was going to be that easy) and go in. I ask to speak to my support worker, who has been a fantastic help in my time here. She worked with me during my last stay too, so I feel we have clicked. She immediately senses something is wrong and says she with reschedule her appointments about to see me soon. I assure her I am fine to wait, so there is no need but to give me a shout when she is free.

A while later she asks me if I am free to go for a chat. I tell her that I have done a pregnancy test and that I am feeling strange. I want to get excited but I am scared. We decide that the best thing to do is get a test when I visit the Doctor on Friday.

So I am faced with a nervous wait...

By the way, hoodie pictured is available at Zazzle.co.uk

The First Excellence by Donna Carrick



When I first started using Twitter, my main focus was promoting myself and my freelance work. I didn't expect to make great friends. 
Sporadic chats with other writers introduced me to a new world. A literal literary world, with discussions on style, prose and publishing. Although I often felt out of my depth when it came to fiction, I was welcomed into the fold quickly and the Carrick writing team of Donna and Alex helped me develop.
I often retweet authors notes, links and information. There is a kindred spirit in battling with the self-promo beast.
All that said, I wouldn't necessarily pick this particular book up if I was browsing in a book store. We all know the cliché of judging a book by it's cover, but I know I'm not alone in doing so.
The First Excellence doesn't leap out at me, there is nothing remarkable about it's cover design. To me it looked straight laced, stuffy even. I'm intrinsically drawn to covers with people, I think a draw from factual books.
Reading the synopsis didn't help either. I often read with a dictionary to hand. I have to know the meaning of the words. Would this book have too many Asian references, who I be too distracted looking up meanings to follow the story?
Previously Donna had written a Penny Serial, which I immensely enjoyed. Frequently pestering it's author for the latest instalment or some 'inside' news. But this was whole new genre.
Having downloaded the book from Smashwords, I read it with an open mind. I knew Donna and Alex extended their family to include an adopted child and part of me thought the story may be a touch voyeuristic, or sentimental.
The first time I started to read the book, it was already too late. I quickly read the first eight chapters, getting sucked into the story. The characters were believable, I wanted to share this journey with them. 
I struggled with the names, I wasn't sure how to pronounce them, so I 'Englishised' them. 
There were a few things I had to look up, Kindle integrates a dictionary into it's iPhone app. so this was easy to do without having to leave the story. Carrick writes the story with a western view, so the character Fa-ling explains a lot of key things as she and the book develop.
I don't want to give the plot away, but the separate stories intermingle in a beautifully crafted manner.
The last chapter, which feels like an add on as the story has evolved triumphantly, had me in tears. 
I admit I cry easier at books that films, but the other authors who have done so write tear jerking tales. These include Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, House Rules) and John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas).

Remarkably researched, creatively and convincingly crafted, decidedly daring, extravagant experiences. 
I am so pleased I delved below the surface to read this story, it is truly gripping.
I cannot wait for the sequel and will no doubt be pestering Donna to keep writing.

Propagator

The plastic propagator holds its precious life,
The first flush of summer light
April air warming its shell
Creating a mist of condensation.
Contents stirring gently as the dampness swells
Water mixing with air and settling
On the fresh flesh of the young
No murmur, no breeze, a stillness too pure
Pale flesh, tinged with blue, bruised.
Gentle touches, care, love,
Needing to gently encourage
The new growth
The fleece, furry on base,
The softness contrasts against the rigidness of the plastic,
The sharpness of the carcass against the new life germinating inside,
A weak limb held in place
The young fighting for strength
Eternally hopeful, eternally love.

Count up those books whose pages you have read


Count up those books whose pages you have read
Those self help guides,
Helping you hide from the real world,
From the real you?

Did anyone move your cheese?
Did you look for it?
Did you check down the sofa?
At the edge of the desk?

How much chicken soup did you consume?
Was is good for the soul?
Or more nourishment of egos?
Did it mend your broken spirit?

Count up those books whose pages you have read
Those self help guides,
Did they guide you to,
Or from yourself?

Count up those books whose pages you have read


Count up those books whose pages you have read
Throughout the years of your life,
The dreams they have inspired,
Both in a sleep depraved state
And an over eagerness to change the world.
How many ‘what if’s’ can you count?
How many ‘if only’s’ can you recall?
Brain charged, heart fuelled,
How many lost loves?
Literary and literally.
How many half started ideals lost by the way?
How many motivating tales, lost by real life?

Leeds LIPPFest Literary Festival


Having booked tickets for BarCamp in Manchester recently through Eventbrite, I had a look around at events in Leeds. I am aware of the site but do not look on it, I usually follow a hyperlink, book tickets and bugger off.

Whilst looking I saw a workshop entitled ‘Write Me a Picture: Writing Workshop in Association with LIPPFest Literary Festival.’ I read the blurb and thought it sound interesting, and as a bonus, the tickets were free. Therefore, I signed up.

I have an interest in writing, as most of you will know, but generally not creative writing. It is something I dabble in, but without any real interest or skill, so a poetry workshop was quite possibly going to be a challenge!

By Saturday morning, I had roped a friend in. I should point out that said friend is a very talented poet, who performs regularly, so I was wondering why I was going even more. I had no idea what to expect. For starters, it was held in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds. I did not even know they had a gallery! I have knowledge of three places at the university, and none of them are in the main buildings, unless you count the Union bar.

The workshop group was quite small, approximately twelve or so people. Suzannah Evans, who is one of LIPPFest’s young poets-in-residence, was facilitating the workshop; she gave a brief introduction and invited the participants to do a round of names and a brief introduction. She kicked off with an anecdote about a man practising at the skate park at Hyde Park. Several of the group had been to workshops held here before or knew each other from various writing groups.

I was feeling a little out of my depth at this point. By the time it got round to me I mumbled my name and something about writing factual work, etc. and was met with a few nods and nonverbal acknowledgments.

Suzannah quickly started us writing, she gave us a line:
I found a shell’

With no further description or clarification and asked us to write for five or ten minutes.

As predictable as I am, I choose to write about a seashell. A few of the group managed to work it into a different scenario. One lady interpreted it as a shell of a building, abandoned and unloved. The friend I was with used it as a metaphor for a man (drug addicted). Again I was back to feeling out of my depth!

After those who wanted read theirs for the group, Suzannah took us to view the current special collections exhibition. In a smaller gallery upstairs was the exhibition itself, which explored the history of independent publishing at Leeds University.

As I mentioned previously I do not know a great deal about the University, so I found this interesting, the local history and poetry / publishing. We were encouraged to view the materials and write if the muse struck us. My muse had not had enough coffee to strike me, but a few words stood out for me. I jotted these down and continued to read the poetry available. I had not come across any of the poets before, nor the publications.

A word in particular stood out to me and I noted down a few lines, more prose than poetry.

After a Tea break, again those who wanted to share their work could. I was intrigued how so many people could view the same things and interpret them so many different ways.
Suzannah asked someone to read Ian McMillian’s My Dog, which is a humorous poem. After a brief discussion about opening lines, McMillian having used someone else’s as the basis for this poem, we moved on to another writing task. She gave us an index of first lines, approximately one hundred and asked to pick one and write something from it. I struggle to write freely when told to, Write or Die would have been great for me here. However, as I read the lines, ideas were jostling around my head; I could not write fast enough.

I chose the line:
‘I killed them, but they would not die.’

Here is was I scribbled:
I killed them, but they would not die.
Their resilience to all, heart breaking.
Nature’s best, homeopathic,
Laser beams pin pointed,
Chemical reactions not revolutionary enough.
Prayers, chants, mantras.               
Positive, pragmatic thoughts,
All in vain.
Beaten back beyond the border,
Once, twice,
But three times no.
The fight harder than the disease,
My body’s system sending signals,
My brain unable to comprehend the direction,
The pain, the sickness, the loss.
The illness I can fight,
I have fought and won before.
The loss of myself is harder.

Not quite at the skill level of Keats or Byron, but not bad for five minutes (well I thought!). I even had the nerve to read it aloud. I had some encouragement and polite praise.
The next task was in response to reading Peter Sansom’s My Town. We discussed how it written and whether the line breaks were deliberately hard to keep in with the personalisation of it being his town. We discussed the use of places and borrowed nostalgia, to feel like we could identify the place and the memories. I was comfortable enough at this point to disagree with one of the ladies, and explain why I liked a particular line, what it meant to me and why it added something.

Before the next writing opportunity, Suzannah added some extra notes to include. She asked us to include:
A place we knew well, perhaps where we lived;
Some place names, shops, pubs, etc.;
The sound of the place;
Other people, who were there, what, were they doing?;
An urban myth or some gossip;
A piece of truth, an anecdote;
And we could only do one thing, for example, Sansom had laid down, we could feed the ducks, etc.

This was more of a challenge for me as I felt restricted by what to add and how. After ten minutes or so of writing, she asked if anyone wanted to read theirs, almost everyone did by this point. I could hear some very good poems developing.

Although we reached the allotted time easily, nobody was in a rush to leave. Overall, it was a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning, and I will be back. Well, if I can find another one…

For those that are interested in finding out more:

Letting Go

Letting go doesn't mean giving up... it means moving on. 
It is one of the hardest things a person can do. 
Starting at birth, we grasp on to anything we can get our hands on, and hold on as if we will cease to exist when we let go. 
We feel that letting go is giving up, quitting, and that as we all know is cowardly. 
But as we grow older we are forced to change our way of thinking. 
We are forced to realize that letting go means accepting things that cannot be. 
It means maturing and moving on, no matter how hard you have to fight yourself to do so.
Andrew Johnson

Pessimist

A pessimist is a person who has to listen to too many optimists. 
Don Marquis

Think Of Yourself

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. 
A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. 
Achieve! Achieve!
Andrew Carnegie

Are You Having Fun?

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
Dale Carnegie

Believe In Yourself

Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.
Cynthia Kersey

Be Kind

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. 
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. 
Scott Adams

Knowledge

One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, 
never regains its original dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes