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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Value the Friendships You Make


It's Sulphite Free! 

What I've Been Thinking

Three months ago a dear writing friend passed away, and it's been hard to come to terms with her death, and the knowledge that I won't see her again has made me terribly sad. Sometimes, when I go to the writers group, I look around for her in the coffee bar. I know, that's just plain crazy.

Apart from our mutual love of writing we had much more in common. Photography, walking, history and cake tasting featured a lot during our friendship. We'd spend time chatting about our novels, supping tea and eating cake. We'd discuss ways to deal with errant characters, wayward plots and other writerly topics. And I fondly recall those times now, never quite realising how precious my memories would become.

I attended her funeral, and spoke publicly about her writing life to those gathered, her family and friends, it was very hard. I can't describe how heartsore I felt, as I realised then that I'd never see her again. We weren't going to have another conversation, and I wouldn't hear her read her novel, and there'd be no more time in her company.

In the last year of our friendship, she became ill, and I had mobility problems, but even so we both made the effort to meet up and see each other, although it was much less than before. I'm so, so glad we made the effort.

It's made me realise the obvious. Life is short. It's not like I didn't know this truth before, but like most of us, I lose sight of it from time to time. Then something happens, and it highlights the need to live life to the full. What I'm trying to say - is that sometimes, you never know the value of the moment, until it becomes a memory.

If you've been putting something off that you really want to do - like taking that holiday for writers, self-publishing your novel, or even finishing it! Starting a writers' group, or getting up on stage to perform your work - get on with it!

Follow your dream, and don't neglect your family or friends.
If there's someone you haven't heard from in a while, reach out, contact them and arrange a date to get together. You'll be glad you did.

My Week

I've had a head cold all week, so all exercise was off, as was writing. I've learnt it can't be done with a nose like a dripping tap, and a head that feels like it's about to explode.

By Wednesday it had eased enough for me to take part in #writingchat on Twitter, and things progressed in the right direction from then onwards.

I attended my first Playshuffle this week, which is an event where a bunch of writers, actors and 'voyeurs' turn up over at Derby Theatre, and basically the actors perform scripts they have just been handed by the writers. There is no read through, no rehearsal etc It is simply script in hand and off you go! It was very good, and showed the talents of both actors and writers. I was classed as a 'voyeur', as I went as a guest of another writer who had a script he wanted to hear performed.

As a writer, it's interesting to see, for example if anyone stumbled over their words, in which case you know you need to tweak things, or in the case of the comedy scripts, you could see where people laughed, and where they didn't, and how spaced the laughs were coming.

There were breaks, and you were encouraged to mingle and discuss the acting, writing and anything else you wanted to know. It was an enjoyable evening.

As soon as the bell went to signal the end of the working week on Friday, I zoomed off to the steam room, followed by the jacuzzi and swimming pool. It was very relaxing, and I really enjoyed the silence of being on my own. Afterwards I dined alone too, and it felt good to be in my own company.

#3 Reasons I was grateful last week
  1. Friendship - Doesn't matter if they are online via Twitter, or standing in front of you. Surround yourself with people that make you happy. 
  2.  Wine - My favourite eatery put a sulphite free wine on their list. Hurrah! They listened, and followed through, and now I can enjoy a glass of wine when I want one. And if you're not aware then yes, I'm sulphite sensitive, and you might be too. Read more about this sensitivity HERE .
  3. Warm Clothes - The big fluffy purple dressing gown my son gifted me for Christmas, my fleecy bed socks, and my big warm coat and gloves. Don't know if it's because I've had a cold, but it's been freezing around these parts in the last week. Roll on Springtime! 
The week ahead is going to be busy at work. I'm still getting over the dregs of the cold, so I'm going to take it easy where I can. I've got a pilates session booked, which I'm looking forward to, but anything else will simply be a bonus. 

There will be writing in some form, but I'll have to pace myself, as I want to be on top form for Saturday when I'll be attending a writers workshop in Birmingham organised by the RNA (Romantic Novelist's Association). I'll report back and let you know all about it in my next blog post.

How was your week? And what lies ahead? 

32 comments:

  1. Very moving Maria. I am sorry for your loss.
    This week I was lucky enough to meet up with some friends. One flew from Dublin, another from Vilnius and another I had not seen in 15 years. We met to watch a rugby match. What joy the company of friends can bring and how fleeting those times can seem. Glad you are feeling a bit better. Onwards and upwards!

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    1. Stuart, sounds like you had a great time with your mates! I hope you've planned another meet up soon?

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  2. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It's hard coming to terms with the loss of all those little but immensely valuable things that make up a friendship. I wholeheartedly agree that we should let it be known how much we care about our friends, and not save it up for their funeral. I'm glad your week has involved some good things - the Playshuffle reading event sounds most interesting. A friend of mine was involved in a similar project (I think) here in London.

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    1. Playshuffle is definitely something I'll be revisiting. Not sure I'm brave enough to attempt a script though...

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  3. I hope you get over your cold quickly.

    My mantra is, Life is short. So I'm with you.

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  4. I wholeheartedly agree about cherishing friendships Maria :)

    I hope you feel better soon and glad you invested some time in yourself xx

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    1. Hi Lou, yes, I am investing time in myself. Doing well at that this year. Juggling is my middle name.

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  5. Sympathies on the loss of your dear writing friend, Maria. It's always difficult to come to terms with after a friendship that has become an important part of your life.

    Last week an older member at the writers club died; he was a font of knowledge, and we always had interesting conversations- I will miss him too, but am glad I will always have good memories of him.

    Hope you'll enjoy the workshop on Saturday, and the rest of your cold will have gone by then.xx

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  6. So sorry about your friend, you're right that we should at least make a start on what we want to do. I hope you recover from your cold soon and that you're all better by the weekend, it sounds like a really good event. The Playshuffle sounds brilliant as well, what an unusual idea, but no doubt very illuminating. Wishing you a good week Maria. CJ xx

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    1. Hi CJ, I'm really looking forward to going to the RNA writing day on Saturday, it'll be an adventure, and I'm going with a writing buddy, so that guarantees the fun.

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  7. So sorry to hear about your loss. Losing someone special from our lives is never easy and it does indeed put lots of things into perspective, including the need to not keep putting things off if it's something we really want to do. I'm glad you have such fond memories of your friend.
    I too have had one of those head colds this week. There seem a lot of them about. I hope you are fully well for your workshop on Saturday.

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    1. Feel better soon Suzanne. :-)

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  8. It is indeed sad when we know that we lost a friend and that person will no longer be part of our lives. Sending you a hug!! My week was good and we were happy about the weather but today it turned so cold again. Hope next week the weather will behave better.

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    1. I heard birdsong the other day and thought Spring was well and truly on the way, and then we've gone and had this horrid cold snap!
      Let's hope it warms up soon.

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  9. Great post, Maria and you're right - it's so easy to lose sight of the fact we only get one life and it's gone all too quickly. Ive experienced the same feelings at the sudden loss of a loved one and it seems to wake us up for a time, before we often drift back to the same pace as before.

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    1. We have to keep reminding ourselves to make the most of life. :-)

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  10. Coincidentally I lost a friend at the end of last year and like you it's reminded me that life is short and that we should make the most of it.

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  11. Hello Maria

    Here's a ((big hug)). Sorry you've had a tough time and thank you for sharing your news with us. What a wonderful idea to list three things that you were grateful for at the end of your blog. An uplifting message to end with.

    Love Ange xx

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    1. Thank you Ange, I'm making a special effort to look back at each day and find something to be grateful for, and there always is something.

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  12. A very moving piece. It is times like these that remind us not to waste time and to value our friends.

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  13. So sorry to hear about your friend, Maria. It must be heartbreaking for you and her family. You can still talk to her and read her your stories. You knew her so well, you would probably instinctively know what she would say.

    Glad you are starting to feel better, Maria. I too have a big fluffy purple dressing gown :) which is super during these cold months.

    Wishing you a peaceful, healthy and productive week.

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    1. I so like my fluffy purple dressing gown, didn't think I would like it as much as the previous white fluffy one, but I did!
      Enjoy your week.

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  14. My sympathies, Maria - it's so difficult when someone close to us passes on too soon. I'm glad your week progressed well and I love the sound of that sulphur-free wine - I can't usually drink white wine as it affects my sinuses!

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    1. That was the first indication I had Rosemary, then it progressed to a red rash like a flush. Then I couldn't breathe! ...you can get white and red sulphite free wine from www.goodwineonline and apart from it sorting out your sinuses, you don't get headaches after sinking a few bottles as there are no chemicals in it!

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  15. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Maria. You've given us such a positive post and I look forward to hearing all about the RNA workshop.

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    1. Thanks Jan, I shall report back soon.

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  16. Hi Maria ... losing a friend is such a huge loss ... I feel for you. However I'm glad you had time together in the last few months/year ... and you were able to let everyone know about her authorship ... that's lovely to see.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, there are plans afoot to try and get her novel published. :-)

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