Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Before I go to sleep

This evening has been all about catching up. Emails and invoices. Recipes and replies to comments on social media. A glass of wine, something delicious to eat and in the background the hum of reality TV telling us who's left the jungle this evening.

The final conversation I had with a friend was about my writing. How I love to write. The question was where and when and the answer had to be "always and everywhere". Writing for me isn't always about pen to paper, increasingly that feels awkward and difficult. It's about fingers flying across a keypad, or more often words taking shape in a space somewhere beyond physical paper or a keypad. Sentences forming in the space before sleep. Paragraphs putting themselves together whilst preparing for the day ahead. Thoughts and dreams and visions demanding expression or they will haunt and harass and confuse and control the daily life over which they really have no say...

Many moons ago I began a challenge along the lines of declaring oneself to be a writer. Following on from this came the commitment to write. Daily I seem to recall, which at the time felt like some commitment. Perhaps it was, but perhaps it wasn't enough. For every day there may be two or three or four or more times when the urge to write is so overwhelming that not to do so causes a sense of stress it is hard to describe...

But life is busy. There are always dishes to wash. Laundry to deal with. Work to do, calls to make, meals to prepare and people to take care of. Writing can feel like a self indulgent pastime. Something to do when there is nothing else making demands on our time.

Last week I saw my GP and for various reasons was offered a prescription for Sertraline. It could have been so easy to get the pills, take them as prescribed, and live life in the foggy blur that these drugs endow us with. An alternative may have been the NHS's "talking therapies" and I have a lot of respect for the counsellors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists who take time to unravel the thoughts of those suffering from depression.

Perhaps, however, the cure for some of us lies not in talking but in writing. Expressing how we feel in ways that we know will be read by others. Framing things in a positive manner whilst including the factual detail that was probably instrumental in where we now find ourselves.

I'm going to give it a go and would love others to join me on the journey - thank you!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Living the Dream

How many people visit a coffee shop, see the cakes on display, and say to themselves and others that this would be their dream?

Making tea or coffee, baking, and keeping the place shipshape are tasks that many people would love to do. So why oh why is it just so difficult to own a coffee shop and keep it afloat in these difficult financial waters?

This isn't a post I'd have written six months ago. At that time the shiny shop window you may have seen on Facebook was to be preserved at all costs.

Recently however I've been persuaded to return to writing. Alongside baking of course - but as a way of expression my frustration at the reality of trying to make a small business work in today's economy.

This post first appeared on www.thekitchencroxley.co,uk where you can read more, and also find ways of supporting local business. I'd love your comments and feedback please!


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Write. Bake. Create.

This blog post has been a very long time coming. To say it was conceived in the summer may surprise many readers, especially those who follow us on Facebook and see the shiny shop window of a successful small business.

It may have been birthed in the Autumn...those days of mists and mellow fruitfulness when anticipation of the festive season brought a possibly false sense of security to those of us committed to community, determined not only to live with our vision but see it through the trials and tribulations that many promised would be a part of our life when we took on this project.

The decision to share more of the journey that has been "The Kitchen" is not one that was taken lightly. I was going to say that it comes down to the writer amongst us but checked myself as there are others in the family now who share my passion for what we used to call the printed word.

But the reality is that over the past few weeks, when things have been very tough, many friends old and new have repeated the same refrain to me.

"keep writing"

This is advice that I concur with on so many levels. Downloading our thoughts onto paper or the virtual equivalent is pretty much guaranteed to clear our brain of the stuff that goes around and around on a daily basis. Late night journalling, making notes in the middle of the night, keeping a diary - all of these things can help us "dump" and make sense of things that trouble us.

Some friends have suggested this type of writing - for  no one to see but myself. And there have been times when that has felt like an option. So I want to reflect for just a little while on why it is I am committed to blogging and the knowledge that this is out there in the public sphere and available to anyone who would like to read it.

I can't write for all bloggers of course. But my own experience over the last seven years or so has been that writing with the knowledge that what I say may be seen or read by many others changes how I write.

My writing is no less honest. But it is perhaps more thoughtful. It is no less angry or emotional. But that anger and emotion will have been considered or processed and is now expressed in a way that will help me to move forward. And whilst it is much less likely to name names or mention individuals it will hopefully allow me to move beyond these people and see the bigger picture.

Saying all of this has taken up the time and space that would make up a typical blog post. So for tonight we leave it there - unless I get ahead and write another for tomorrow. Thank you if you have read this far. Linda x