By Scott Bailey © 2014
The pressure of the deep
Tried to scream
It all rushed in
The life that was me
Swallowed in the sea
That is life
The pressure of the deep
Tried to scream
It all rushed in
The life that was me
Swallowed in the sea
That is life
So it seems the moment I signed up for NaNoWriMo the pressure from all sides of my life takes off like a rocket.
Work has become more and more stressful. To the point of the web site having major problems last thing Friday night. At this point I was so sick with stress I decided it would have to wait until Monday morning. I walked out and decided to try to forget everything for the weekend.
This was not easy, as I said work stress is building up and up, relentlessly. Getting tired of it now.
On top of that the pressure from our adoption is also growing – all the social workers and health visitors want a mass meeting with us – we are naturally stressing about this as we don’t know what it is about. The annoying this is that we feel we have made great strides in the last few weeks and the little one if definitely feeling settled, safe and his behaviour has improved dramatically. The problem is we don’t think they are seeing it.
And then there are financial strains, cars breaking down, things going wrong and family illnesses. All piling on and on.
So this weekend I though sod it all. Lets just concentrate on family time.
And we had a great time. On Saturday we took both boys to a local children’s centre and they had a great time. They found some bikes and played together lovely with them. Then Alexander went to one of his classmates birthday parties. It was in a cake shop, making cakes.
Although he could have stayed we decided that L would just cause chaos in such a small place with flour and eggs! So I took him down to the beach and we spent a great couple of hours together, the best behaved he has ever been. While Alexander had a great time making “Alien” fair cakes and eating marshmallows dipped in a chocolate fountain, L and I threw pebbles in the sea, raced the tide and sat an ate lollies while watching the boats. It was bliss.
On Sunday we went for a walk in the country side around the village. Again the kids were remarkably well-behaved, collecting leaves and twigs for a Halloween picture project mummy has planned.
I won’t say I wasn’t stressed – it was still there bubbling under but time with the kids and my wife has helped.
So despite all that – because of all that and to spite all that – I decided to plough ahead with NaNoWriMo. I uploaded the cover (see below) and synopsis. Using Scrivener I have made a very rough plan. Writing down some very rough scenes, mostly in order though a few may change. I think my next stage of planning will be to describe for each character how they change between each scene. So I get a little journey plan for each of them as a guide.
I still think there an extra dimension to my idea missing, but not going to worry about that at present. It will only be a first draft – I can add more to it later if I still think it needs it once i have finished.
Cold Sanctuary by Scott Bailey
Orphaned, wrenched from their home, can Gabriel look after his adopted brother? Can he find a voice to stand up for himself?
In an alien world, unwelcomed and lost, all they have is each other. They must endure a clash of cultures, adapting to a radically new life and dealing with deep-seated grief. Gabriel struggles to keep the promise to his parents to look after the brother he has waited for all his life whilst coming to terms with his new surroundings.
Can such a young mind take all the demands? And, when they are suddenly separated, can he find his brother again?
Their searches for answers, for each other and to fill the holes in their hearts leads them on paths of rebellion and revenge.
Amazing what a difference 24 hours and some pressure makes.
From nothing I now have the bare idea of a story in my head. No solid plot – but a rough idea of the two main characters, the setting and the themes! All I will say at this point is that it will be science fiction.
Well, the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is ravishing the West Africa nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. These nations, fantastically rich in mineral resources and timber are among the poorest in the world, their wealth not controlled by their own people but by Western corporate interests.
The three West African countries where Ebola is today wreaking havoc, while rich in resources, rank among the world’s poorest. The former French colony of Guinea is the world’s top exporter of bauxite, the raw material used in making aluminum, and also has plenty of gold, diamonds, uranium and offshore oil. Sierra Leone, a former British colony, and Liberia have significant reserves of rubber, iron ore and diamonds. Virtually all of the raw material is carted off by foreign corporate giants.
Before the Ebola outbreak, Liberia had one doctor per 70,000 residents; Sierra Leone one per 45,000; Guinea one per 10,000. Only…
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So those few who follow my blog (and despite nearly 500 followers I know only a few are regular followers) will have noticed a drastic drop in my output. Since finishing my year of a poem a day I have done very little since. This is despite my promise to myself to keep up the writing.
Well life always has its own designs on our plans. The old reason (excuse?) has been the lack of time. Its been a hard few months. We have been under a lot of pressure from all kinds of angles.
We are still trying to adjust to having a very full on two-year old join our family, and all the knock on effect of that. We love him dearly and would not change our decision but it is taking the wind out of our sails.
Talking it over the other day as we realised that one of the issues that has affected us in a surprising way was his age. When we signed up for adoption we, like many, were envisaging a baby. As you progress through the courses and the process it becomes clear that it is unrealistic, so we opened up our minds to a slightly older child. When it came to it, in our minds age was no longer an issue, and in some respects we could see an advantage in a two-year old. One of the driving forces behind our decision to have another child was as a companion for our oldest – who dearly wanted a brother or sister and had already been deprived of one already. A two-year old would be more ready to play and interact with him.
However the reality has hit us harder than we expected. When you have a baby – as daunting as it all seems, you get introduced to each challenge gradually. So when they are first-born, you have to learn how to feed, them comfort them, change their nappies etc. But their demands don’t go far beyond that – by the time new challenges come along you have just about mastered the first ones.
With adoption of a slightly older child, all the challenges come at once. Not only have you got to learn to change nappies but also how to get them to eat their dinner, deal with challenging behaviour and stop them escaping the push chair Houdini style and make their escape.
Now I hear you crying we don’t have to learn all that as we have already done it once. Well that’s true. But you have to get used to doing it all again, and its a bit of a shock to the system. I don’t envy people who are doing it for the first time.
On top of that, the support we have enjoyed in the past has slowly ebbed away. This is no fault of our support network, they have all had their own plan challenging life changes, and they all support us still in many ways. But the support of having someone there has fallen. For example – we haven’t had a night out together for over a year now. And the nights out alone can be counted on one hand. It takes its toll. On the one hand our sources of stress have bloomed while our outlets for it have wilted. It’s no one’s fault. Just one of those perfect storms of circumstances.
Throw in a few bouts of very bad illness, some natural disasters ( a flood and a maggot attack! Seriously!) and it all adds up.
And then there’s work. We are balancing on a knife’s edge of survival. We have run that knife’s edge for a few years now. It’s a situation of risk, where we could crash and burn or reap what could be ripe rewards. Those rewards draw ever closer but as they do the risk and the pressure increase. Due to my position a lot of the physical responsibility falls on me. No solely but were I to get something wrong it would tip the balance enough to crash it. We are all in that position at work really and after a few years of it, it is tiring. Many late nights home and sleepless nights worrying.
So that I hope is some sort of explanation as to the lack of output.
Two things further to say. Firstly – that all sounds like doom and gloom but it’s not. In all areas we are making progress. A few months ago we felt like we were drowning. A few weeks ago like we were treading water. Now – we are swimming strongly towards shore. It’s some way off – but we will get there.
Secondly. Many people would say that if I had a real passion for writing none of that would matter – that I would make the time to write. Maybe that IS the difference between a successful writer and an amateur. I do love writing – but I also love my wife and kids and I can’t put down my responsibilities to them for my passion. I think that would be selfish.
That said – I have decided to give myself a rather large kick up the arse in the writing department. I am going to try the nanowrimo challenge. (Maybe unofficially if it’s too late to sign up formally.) For those who don’t know it it’s National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000 word short novel in 30 days. (The official website is here http://nanowrimo.org/)
Now I have all the same everyday stresses and challenges but I thought – sod it! I am going to attempt it despite all that – because it is difficult not easy.
Trouble is I am fresh out of ideas! I mean I have loads – but ones I think need longer than 50,000 words.
If it comes to November the 1st and I have nothing still then I will attempt the technique of just starting writing anything and see where it goes. Not something I have ever done before, I usually have a plan, even if it’s very rough.
But in the meantime – if anyone has suggestions or prompts they would be welcome. Maybe a title? Or just a single word? Perhaps a concept to explore? I like combining two disparate concepts into stories, that normally enlivens things. So maybe if I get enough separate ideas I will combine a few of them.
So wish me luck! I need a lay down now to think 🙂
The blood of a million children
Is heavy in my hands
Slipping through my fingers
Like eternal sands
Not the consequence of acting
But the consequence of not
A stain upon my conscience
And ever-growing blot
So I consume and I create
And so I spend and save
Consumer and producer
But I never gave
The hand that should have proffered
Is stained with guilty red
The reproaching cry from beyond
Of the wasted dead
So my heart is heavy
With echoes of that cry
If you believe of guilt you’re free
Look me in the eye