100 Days to be Happy: Sunshine

I live in the UK. Yup, that’s right, I live in lovely, rainy Britain.  In fact I live in Wales and for some odd reason, the rain here is an awful lot wetter than it was when I lived in Plymouth or even when I lived in Suffolk. There always seems to be a lot more of it as well.

You remember that bit in MIB II? Where K is talking to Laura? This bit:

Agent K: When you get sad it, always seems to rain.

Laura: Lots of people get sad when it rains!

Agent K: It rains because you’re sad, baby.

Anyway, the amount of rain we get here during the autumn, winter and spring tends to knock my mood right down. So when it’s sunny, my mood picks up.

Right now, it’s cool and breezy but it’s also bright and sunny with a blue sky that seems to go on forever. It’s the sort of weather that I love, that I deliberately keep my computer next to the window for, that makes me want to just laugh and celebrate.

The colours of the world brighten and the music of nature is louder when the sun is out. I can write more; I have a longer anger fuse and a thicker skin and I eat less. Everything and everyone seems happier. There are more smiles and laughter on the breeze.

So #3 on my 100 days to be happy list? Sunshine.

Why? Because when it rains, sunshine brings out the Rainbow.

The Qualities of Silence.

Have you ever been somewhere that is so quiet that you can hear your own heartbeat?

Have you ever just sat outside and listened to the world breathe?

When was the last time you turned off all the electronics in the house and listened to the house move?

Silence.

It’s an odd place.

Your own words echo inside your head and every movement or shift of your body feels louder than the world around you. The slightest noise is more emphatic than a shout and can make you jump, heart pounding before you realise that it’s not going to hurt you.

I don’t think we really appreciate silence properly.

Our lives are full of sound, a cacophony that is unrelenting and often well meaning. If you’ve ever experienced true Silence, then you’ll understand what I mean.

I’m an introvert. I can put up with the sonance of the modern world, but every so often it gets to me and I need to find Silence again.

I know that sounds odd coming from a woman who is pregnant and already has two children, two cats and a partner to look after, but that is who and what I am. If I don’t get the chance to find Silence then my mood very quickly slips and I get ratty with everyone, even my children.

reflection

Sometimes I go down to the beach and sit listening to the waves. Or I might walk up into the woods and feel the wind on my skin, the same wind that blows the leaves of the trees.  I reconnect with the natural world, but I also draw in the silence that comes with it.

I pull it in and wrap it around my heart to shield it from the eventual requirement to go back into the pandemonium of life.

My favourite kind of silence, the one that builds my defences and holds me tight against everything that tries to penetrate them is the sort of silence I get at home.

I have it today. For the first time in six months, the house is quiet. Yes the cats are still here, but they are off doing catty things (probably sleeping or eating) and they do them softly. My partner is out at his new job. The children are at school and wonder of wonders, Sprog (the one I am carrying) appears to be asleep and hasn’t kicked me for at least an hour.

I have no music on. The heating has just gone off, so the boiler roar is muted and all there is to hear is the tap of the keys as I write this, the beating of my heart and the hushed hum of the PC.

Later I will have to go back out into the world. I am going away this weekend and that means I will have to be sociable and talkative. I will draw in this Silence and use it to keep me calm when I can’t get away from people and the clamour that goes with them.

I enjoy socialising and chatting. I know that the first thing that anyone is going to ask me is “When is the baby due?”, followed swiftly by “Is it a Boy or a Girl?” (as if I have a choice over which is born!) I will answer and smile and be pleasant.

But this Silence I have now will sustain me. Until I can find it again.

Wool, Grapefruit and the World…

You do strange things when you’re pregnant.

I just spent three quarters of an hour trying to section a red grapefruit because I was fed up of having to dig the sections out and leaving so much fruit behind… I guess I thought that sectioning it would be easier; peel the fruit, cut out the sections and eat.

Hah!

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was sat eating my hard won grapefruit segments that the actual fruit is made up of all this little bubbles of juice that burst when you bite through them. They’re sweet with a sour after-taste and oddly compelling.

 

Writing is like that. Well actually, Reading is like that, not writing exactly.

I read “Wool” by Hugh Howey yesterday and it is the first SF book that I’ve read that has made me think in terms of the words I was reading. Each word was like a bubble of grapefruit juice, soft and elongated on my tongue and each time I read and understood what he was saying, the taste of grapefruit juice built up; sweet, sour and oddly compelling.

I had “Wait” by Take That playing while I was eating and the song seemed to fit with both what I had observed in the grapefruit and through reading “Wool”.

The lyrics that really stuck were:

 

Free your soul to me,

Words can set us free.

 

It’s true. Words can set us free; we just have to have the courage to say the right ones. They are the ones that hurt, the ones that highlight the problems in our world in such a way that we have to deal with them.

 

Reading “Wool” was a sweet / sour experience. On one hand the story was incredibly compelling and interesting. You wanted to see what happened to the characters next and it was difficult to think about mundane things (like washing up) while you read each chapter.

But about half way through the book something happened. I realise that whether he had intended it or not, Hugh Howey was commenting on what was happening in the world now. And that his vision of what the future could hold was a real possibility.

That’s scary.

Why?

Well think of it this way. It’s 2013. I’ve got two children (one 12, the other 8) and a third one on the way. If I think about what is happening in the world now, there is a very real possibility that their future, the one that I may never see, will be an ugly, regimented world where food and energy are rationed down to what you can afford to buy.
There will be a need to limit the population; whether that’s because of the food shortage, space shortage or whatever, so the joy of being a parent will be limited to those who either can win / buy the right or those who are considered so essential to the running of the world that they have to continue their line.

It will be a world of sacrifices with most people just trying to live in it the best they can with the hope that their children (if they have them) will have a better world in the future.

And that scares me.

It doesn’t matter what the energy companies say, fossil fuels (even shale gas) are finite. They will run out. The population of the world is expanding and instead of helping the Africans to improve their land and grow crops to feed themselves and maybe others, we are helping them to fight each other through the Arms Business.

It’s all so backwards.

 

I don’t care about money. Actually, that’s not quite true… I do care about it, but not in a materialistic way.

I’m forced through circumstance (lack of full time teaching jobs in my area, being unable to drive and a son who needs more than usual maternal attention due to being Aspergers) to remain a stay at home mum. So I write books, publish them myself (as best I can) and volunteer in the community as a Guider.

My partner, having been thrown out of one industry for being Dyslexic and undiagnosed Aspergers, is changing career to one that suits him as a person and looking for work. Unfortunately, it’s one of those careers that (like writing) is very difficult to get into without a lot of experience. Which he doesn’t have, despite being talented at his chosen career.

I care about money because we need it to live; you can’t buy food or energy without it and the prices are getting higher every week as the more materialistic of the human race try to pull as much of the world’s money into their personal accounts.

My writing makes a little bit of money. The rest (because of the aforementioned circumstances) we have to get through the benefits system. Which people higher up the money chain are trying to pull out from under us because they think that we don’t deserve it or that we are taking too much from the country and not giving back at all.

It’s a grapefruit juice bubble existence.

Sooner or later (the latter please!) it is going to be bitten into and who knows what comes next?

 

I’m not sure that I am making any sense at the moment – blame it on Sprog, he/she seems to enjoy making me write oddly – so I will leave you with this:

 

Read “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

Enjoy the words as they burst on your mind, revel in the wonderful story, then think about what he is telling us about our world.

 

And when the next chance comes for you to vote in an election of some sort, consider what the party you are going to vote for would do with the country you live in.

Would they make it better for everyone or just for themselves?