As the season turns warmer, and everything bristles with change, I am reminded of all the good things. March was a tough month, for no particular reason other than the cold and the restlessness that comes with the beginning of the spring months. A frustrating pushing against what I perceived as my limitations. I decided early this year that I would use the two words – action and abundance – to shape the way I think. Looking back, I have actually done well – I’ve been out more, with friends and my husband, I’ve tried a few new things, I’ve done my best to choose action rather than overthinking, and I’ve focused on gratitude, inner strength and bravery, as well as self-love.
There have been a few difficult weeks lately, and I’ve reached the point where I’m ready to do some more work on how I think and how I behave, breaking old patterns that don’t serve me. The change of spring mirrors the changes happening inside, attempting to be reflected on the outside. Growth is like a bud pushing through the earth, reaching for the sunshine, being nurtured by the rain. Looking outside the window, my eyes catch all the movement from birds, squirrels, bees, and wasps – a hopeful medley of life coming to life. It is always with the first greenery of spring that I am at my most hopeful.
‘With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?’ – Oscar Wilde.
March ended and April began with the beginning of our project to renovate the house. I decided, to combat the frustration and restlessness, to start painting my Mum’s study for her. It pushed me to do something proactive, that moved something forward. It really is rewarding to do something physical when all you want to do is crawl under the covers and wait until the sun comes out. And with it – I was taking meaningful action. I felt good doing something for someone else, and the room is moving towards completion much more quickly than expected. We also have a major job to do in the garden, with the arrival of the studio cabin set for the beginning of May. It does feel as if change is rushing up upon us, and we can look towards the future with more optimism.
I’ve also started off with learning new crafts and skills with a typography cross-stitch set from Etsy. One of the things I promised myself this year was to try things – to experiment more, to play, and create. It serves as a counterpoint to writing, and spending time on the internet – and might even, along the way, resurrect the power of having ‘hobbies’ which don’t seem to be as in vogue as they were pre-internet. I know that I used to enjoy all kinds of things, from painting to knitting. It also takes the pressure off – the goal with hobbies is not to be perfect, but to try things, become absorbed in them, and do something enjoyable. I’m far too much of a perfectionist, so having something where I can just play is helpful for relaxation.
I’ve also been debating how to improve the blog – the layout, the pages, the content. I realised that I don’t need to follow a set way of doing things, because – I hope! – people read my writing because they enjoy it. I know that I need to be more consistent with how often I post, and the processes involved in idea generation. However, I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself to always post content that is deep and profound, when I think that people also enjoy posts that are lighter, and photo oriented. So you can expect to see more photography and lighter topics here too in the coming months.
What have I been reading? I’ve re-read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, an excellent vampire tale from the author of The Spiderwick Chronicles – along with Sunshine (Robin McKinley), and the Vampire Chronicles (Anne Rice), this has to be one of my favourite vampire books. Mostly because it’s dark, and infused with realism, rather than being overblown and unbelievable. I’m now reading The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, which I’ll probably review because it’s so good, and I like sharing amazing books!
I’m still writing and compiling essays for my non-fiction essay book. It was optimistic of me to think that I’d have the first draft done by spring, but all being well, it should be ready by early autumn (if not sooner). It isn’t a compilation of blog posts, but essays written from scratch – at the moment I’m not completely sure what the final subjects and sections will be – but you can expect it to cover some of the topics I write about here, perhaps more in-depth or from a different angle. My fiction book is also coming along, but again, I’m pushing the releases later into the year. I do feel very positive about both projects though, and I’m looking forward to sharing excerpts and more short stories soon.
‘Spring is the time of plans and projects. And, as he came out into the farmyard, Levin, like a tree in spring that knows not what form will be taken by the young shoots and twigs imprisoned in its swelling buds, hardly knew what undertakings he was going to begin upon now in the farm-work that was so dear to him. But he felt that he was full of the most splendid plans and projects.’ – Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.